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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Brainstorming Wednesday - part 1

Ms Merkel was and is a coward ( one of the big Rothschild hypes was to call her the new Iron Lady via the Economist) who hides most of the time and hopes for faith to run its course her way - well she was lucky enough to take over as global economies turned up thanks to another Greenspan bubble but she has shown that she is not a leader rather an incompetent ignorant bureaucrat after blowing Germany into one of the worst GDP years with - 6.9 % (official number). The problem these days around the world is that the political machine only breeds opportunistic cowards or corrupt bullies which is the worst class a democracy needs especially when the going gets tough. A wise word says that people get the leaders they deserve and that is the point of democracy just voting every four years does not make democracy as in all good relations it will only survive on a daily effort basis by everyone.


Greece Threatens EU It Will Go To IMF For Bail Out Unless Merkel Stops Changing Her Song Every Fifteen Minutes

From Dow Jones: Greek PM Says If EU Doesn't Help Greece It May Go To IMF. Also, this is the definition of a complete lack of leverage: Greek Cabinet Member: PM Says Greece Needs EU To Show Its Support Now, and that the Time for EU Help Has Arrived. And screw strikes - here comes the civil war:

  • Greece to cut public sector salary benefits by 30%,
  • Cuts wages across the board.
  • Establish emergency tax of 1% for salaries over €100,000
  • Freeze public sector hiring in 2010, and in 2011 one new job will be filled for every 5 retirements

And all this is followed by a cold water throwing Angela Merkel who just said that the Friday meeting will be purely on the "State of things" and no aid to Greece will be promised.

As always, pure anarchy - should be enough for some 1-2% worth in computerized S&P buying on a few hundred ES blocks.

2. Corrupt bank lobbyist Shelby plays again bad good cop with Frank as Frank is on the right side of the fence for this time. What a stupid and dangerous idea to give the FED any more power after they again have failed and thrown America and the world into a depression. The FED is not a federal organization it is owned by the banks literally and technically - why should the banks oversee the organization which is supposed to protect them from banks.


Consumer Agency Within Fed Seen as Victory for Banking Industry

By Craig Torres and Yalman Onaran

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- For consumer advocates, housing a new agency to protect Americans from financial-product abuse within the Federal Reserve would be a defeat after lobbying for an independent body. For banks, it would represent a victory.

Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called a Senate plan to house the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency at the Fed “a joke.” Shielding consumers from harmful financial products is “the most conspicuous failure by the Fed,” Frank said in an interview yesterday.

Banks say placing the agency with the Fed alleviates their concern that an independent entity would ignore the health of the financial system. Consumer advocates say it’s a mistake because the Fed didn’t succeed in curbing abuses during the subprime lending boom that contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

“We have all sorts of individual agencies that protect Americans, and none of them is subservient to the regulator that is in charge of looking out for the industry,” said Lauren Saunders, managing attorney at the National Consumer Law Center in Washington. “This agency has to be independent so that it can fix the problems the banking regulators failed to fix.”

The Obama administration’s proposal for a consumer protection agency is part of the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s. Putting it inside the Fed, instead of creating a standalone bureau, was a compromise proposed by Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, and Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat.

Joining in Criticism

Frank, who oversaw legislation passed by the House in December that would create an independent agency, said the chamber wouldn’t accept the proposed deal. Senators joined in the criticism yesterday.

Jeff Merkley of Oregon said the Fed had an “abysmal” record on consumer protection. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Banking committee, said the entity shouldn’t be autonomous within the Fed. “If you have something at the Federal Reserve, the Board of Governors ought to have the control,” he said.

Federal Reserve spokeswoman Susan Stawick declined to comment yesterday.

Banking lobbyists say the Fed’s knowledge of the banking system makes it well-suited to coordinate rules on credit cards and other consumer financial products.

Connected to Regulation

“Regulation of the products should be connected to the regulation of the bank,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president of government relations for the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the largest financial institutions.

The financial-services industry has lobbied lawmakers to defeat the plan for a consumer agency. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called the agency “just a whole new bureaucracy” on a December conference call with analysts.

The American Bankers Association, the largest trade group representing banks, organized hundreds of meetings with its members and Congressmen and spearheaded a campaign that encouraged almost 300,000 letters to be sent to Capitol Hill, all in opposition to the CFPA. ABA spokesman John Hall said the organization wouldn’t comment on the Fed idea until the proposal became official.

Consumer advocates say the Fed didn’t use its authority to put in place stronger protections for home buyers as the subprime mortgage market began to expand earlier this decade. The Fed has the broadest authority of any regulator to write rules on lending practices and disclosure.

More Clout

The Fed’s specific enforcement authority is limited to 800 state member banks. It wields much more clout as the supervisor of bank holding companies, such as Bank of America Corp., some of which had subprime mortgage lending subsidiaries.

Some $600 billion in subprime mortgages were originated in 2006, up from $310 billion in 2003, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication. The Federal Reserve began to hold hearings around the country in 2006, and consumer advocates provided details of abuse, transcripts from the meetings show.

“We were yelling at them in 2001 and 2002” to use their authority, says Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending in Durham, North Carolina and the current chairman of the Fed Board’s Consumer Advisory Council. “It wasn’t like people didn’t know this stuff was going on.”

Edward Gramlich, a Fed Governor from 1997 to 2005, proposed that the Fed use its bank holding company authority to examine subprime lending subsidiaries. The proposal was opposed by then- Chairman Alan Greenspan, he said, and never went to the Board of Governors. Gramlich died in September 2007. Greenspan in the past has declined to comment.

Subprime Casualties

Among the subprime casualties on Wall Street: Bear Stearns Cos., acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. with help from the Fed, Merrill Lynch & Co., taken over by Bank of America Corp., and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which went bankrupt.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke began to step up restrictions on subprime lending only after Congress threatened to strip the Fed of its authority. In a June 2007 hearing, Frank told then- governor Randall Kroszner: “Use it or lose it.”

“If the Fed doesn’t start to use that authority to roll out the rules, then we’ll give it to somebody who will,” Frank said.

The Fed drafted tougher mortgage lending rules in 2007 and completed them in 2008. The rules prevented mortgages for borrowers with no documented income, required lenders to write loans borrowers could repay, and made escrow accounts mandatory for high-cost mortgages. The Fed also toughened restrictions on prepayment penalties.

Credit-Card Disclosure

Separately, the Fed has forced credit-card companies to improve disclosure and has increased its scrutiny of possible discrimination in lending. The central bank referred 17 cases to the Justice Department in the three-year period ending 2009, up from nine the prior three years.

The Fed’s actions came too late, consumer advocates say.

Subprime mortgage delinquencies rose to 25 percent of the total at the end of 2009, from 10 percent at the end of 2004, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data. Total home loans in foreclosure rose to 4.6 percent from 1.2 percent.

“We have the track record of them failing to take action when they should have and potentially could have averted this foreclosure crisis,” said John Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington, a group of 600 organizations promoting fair lending.

The action the Fed does take against banks is often kept secret.

“When examiners identify banks with weak and ineffective compliance programs, they document the weaknesses in the examination report and take appropriate supervisory action,” Fed governor Elizabeth Duke, who served as Chairman of the American Bankers Association from 2004 to 2005, testified before the House Financial Services Committee last March.

Because “most banks voluntarily address any violations and weaknesses,” she said, “we find public formal actions are not typically necessary.”

rather an incompetent igno

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