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KC Fed President Backs Plans to Trim Security Holdings

By Bill Poquette, Editor-in-Chief

April 21 – Federal Reserve officials are signaling they want to start unwinding the central bank’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. This is making some market watchers nervous about the effect on monetary policy and the economy, but consensus on the issue is elusive, with forecasts ranging from little or no effect to major disruption. (more…)

Economy Expansion Continues in All 12 Districts

April 20 – The pace of expansion in the U.S. economy was equally split between “modest” and “moderate” in reports from the Federal Reserve’s 12 district banks for the April Beige Book. Economic activity increased in each of the districts between mid-February and the end of March and the pickup was evident to varying degrees across economic sectors.

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Tight Inventory Squeezing Housing Market

April 18 – Freddie Mac released its monthly Outlook for April, which was headlined “Where Have all the Houses Gone?” The report focused on how the tight housing inventory will affect home sales during the spring homebuying season. (more…)

Compliance Index Shows Few Regulatory Changes in First Quarter

April 17 – On the heels of a burdensome fourth quarter in 2016, U.S. financial institutions encountered fewer regulatory changes in Q1 2017 than any quarter in the nearly five-year history of the Banking Compliance Index. Simultaneously, regulatory agencies issued just 57 enforcement actions against financial institutions in the quarter, an unprecedented cooling 64 percent below the average number of EAs per quarter dating back to Q1 2013 when there were 157 EAs. (more…)

OCC Special Interest Charter Draws Responses From ABA and ICBA

April 17 – The two major banking trade groups have weighed in with feedback to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on the issue of the proposed special-purpose charter for unregulated financial technology companies. The OCC published a draft supplement in March to its original whitepaper of December 2016, and accepted comments through April 14.

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Fed’s Survey of Small Businesses Details Credit Gaps

April 17 – A significant number of small businesses experienced credit gaps and relied on personal finances according to the 2016 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms, released by the 12 Federal Reserve banks. The report examines the results of an annual survey of business conditions and the credit environment faced by small business owners who have full- or part-time employees. (more…)

FRB Seeks Applicants to Community Advisory Council

April 11 – The Federal Reserve Board is accepting applications for membership on the Community Advisory Council. The CAC is made up of a diverse group of experts and representatives of consumer and community development organizations and interests, including affordable housing, community and workforce development, small business and asset and wealth building. (more…)

A Modern Glass-Steagall Act Receives Bipartisan Backing

April 11 – A modern version of the Glass-Steagall Act was reintroduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., John McCain, R-Ariz., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Angus King, I-Maine. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, like the Banking Act of 1933, protects American taxpayers, helps community banks and credit unions compete and decreases the likelihood of future financial crises, the senators said in a news release. (more…)

George: Regulatory Environment ‘Misaligned’

April 6 – In remarks at the New York Fed’s Community Banking Conference, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said that the evidence indicates that community banks are extremely important to our economy. (more…)

FDIC Publishes Guide to Products and Programs Offered by Federal Home Loan Banks

April 6 – The FDIC has published a new guide to help community bankers learn more about the programs and products offered by the Federal Home Loan Banks  to facilitate mortgage lending.

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