Friday, October 3, 2008

Greater Oversight Likely to Accompany Rescue Plan

Once a financial rescue plan is executed, legal and political observers expect Capitol Hill legislators to turn their attention to tightening the regulation of mortgage lending—an especially obvious target due to the fact that so much of the troubled debt handcuffing the nation's banks originated with the lax practices of mortgage brokers and lenders.

In addition, lawmakers may try to overhaul the patchwork of government authority over the nation's banks, which are currently regulated by four agencies with overlapping jurisdictions: the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Reserve.

Finally, legislators may try to bring unregulated markets, such as those for credit default swaps, under control. The market for credit default swaps alone has mushroomed to $44 trillion in face value, so vast that a problem at any one of the major participants poses a global risk.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Michael A. Hiltzik (09/25/08)

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