OIRA’s 30th Anniversary

The thirtieth anniversary of OMB’s regulatory review office, OIRA-the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, was celebrated on Friday, May 20th.  The event was sponsored by Susan Dudley, a former OIRA Administrator, who presently heads the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center.

Virtually all former Administrators and Deputy Administrators made presentations, including Jim Tozzi, the first Deputy Administrator of OIRA.

The Bureau of National Affairs Reports:

Jim Tozzi, the first deputy administrator of OIRA, said the institution gives a protective shield against the wholesale dismantling of regulatory agencies, which play an integral role in society.

Qualified Residential Mortgage Regulations Threaten the Housing Market

by David John

The housing market is still weak,[1] and federal regulators are considering a regulation that could make matters even worse. Known as the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule, the draft rule could have the effect of requiring many home buyers to have at least a 20 percent down payment in order to qualify for a best interest rate mortgage. [2] In addition to making it harder for qualified consumers to obtain loans, the proposed regulation would preserve the roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored finance agencies whose collapse has already cost taxpayers in excess of $150 billion. It would also further concentrate mortgage lending in the largest financial institutions.

Debit Fraud and Interchange

From: BankingInfoSecurity

A new proposal tied to a small business bill [S. 493] is raising some ruckus in Washington. Retailers are outraged; bankers are pleased.

The proposal introduced by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., better known as the Tester bill [S. 575], calls for a two-year review of the impact a debit interchange reduction could have on the economy. If passed, Tester’s amendment would negate or significantly cripple debit interchange fee reductions included in a separate amendment attached to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness Advises Federal Reserve to Accept its Cybersecurity Responsibilities In Setting Debit Interchange Fees

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a letter to the Federal Reserve’s Chief Information Officer, http://www.thecre.com/premium/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/CRE-FederalReserve-CIOLetter.pdf , the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) explained that the Dodd-Frank bill requires that the agency adjust allowable interchange fees to account for the full costs of maintaining data security for debit card financial transactions.  As the letter notes, debit card issuers have incurred significant costs because of third-party cybersecurity breaches — costs that issuers need to be covered by interchange fees.

CRE’s letter also highlighted the significance of the White House’s just-proposed legislation which would impose federal cybersecurity regulations on financial institutions and other critical infrastructure.

‘Global regulations will lead to global failures’

From: GFSNews.com

The man behind Nomura’s deal to buy Lehman Brothers’ has expressed doubts over aligning financial regulations on a global scale, saying that it will lead to worldwide regulatory failures.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Economist’s Bellwether Europe summit, Sadeq Sayeed – who is now chairman of Metage Capital – said that while global regulation sounded like a good idea, the implications of a failure would be too far-reaching were it all to go wrong.

He said this was especially true while regulators are still failing to understand the huge impact that important decisions – such as refusing to bailout Lehman – can have on the markets.