When the CARD Act went into effect in February, it also included new rules designed to limit some of the more egregious practices of gift-card issuers, like early expiration dates and “dormancy” fees. However, Congress put the Federal Reserve in charge of interpreting the new law, and yesterday the agency unwrapped its new collection of rules. Is it too late to return this one?
Fed Chariman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Committee on Financial Services today, reassuring lawmakers that the bailouts were working — but cautioned that they shouldn’t expect their constituents to have jobs again until 2012.
Stocks surged today after the Fed said it would buy $300 billion in longterm Treasurys and hundreds of billions of mortgage-backed securities. Effectively, it’s like an interest rate cut, or printing more money. By increasing the amount of money in the system, banks will be able to borrow more cheaply and could prompt lower mortgage rates and more lending. Remember when we told you what “quantitative easing” was? This is it, folks, and it’s big.
When you sign up for a checking account, most banks automatically enroll you in a “courtesy overdraft protection” program. This program means that the bank will approve overdrafts from your ATM or debit card — and charge you a $35 fee for each transaction, etc. But what if you don’t want the service? Well, the Federal Reserve has proposed a new regulation that will require banks to ask your permission before they sign you up.
The Federal Open Market Committee today established a target range of zero to 0.25% for its fed funds rate. This, as you might imagine, is unprecedented.
When Treasure Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, convened a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Capitol Hill last night to discuss giving AIG an unprecedented $85 billion loan, do you think they had a laugh about AIG’s commercials? We picture Paulson saying something like, “Ha, ha, ha… ‘strength to be there.’ That’s rich! Rich! Ha! I’m on a roll!”
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants to consolidate the nation’s financial regulators into a tripartite gang that can save the economy from distress and doom. The plan to give the Federal Reserve broad new regulatory powers and streamline the regulatory community has been in the works since last March, before the start of the subprime meltdown. Paulson is worried that the U.S. markets are no longer competitive with maturing world markets, some of which aren’t hampered by nuisances like regulation. After the jump we’ll explain the consumer impact of the plan and introduce you to your three new regulators.
Bear Stearns, facing a grave liquidity crisis, reached out to JPMorgan on Friday for a short-term financial lifeline and now faces the prospect of the end of its 85-year run as an independent investment bank.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is urging lenders to “forgive portions of mortgage debt held by homeowners at risk of defaulting,” says Bloomberg.
Banks are quietly borrowing massive amounts of money from the Federal Reserve. Some people find this worrisome. [Reuters]
Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households. Moreover, recent information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets.
Despite the fact that the Fed cut the federal funds rate on overnight loans between banks to 3.5 percent from 4.25 percent in an attempt to prevent a sell-off in U.S. markets, the Dow Jones Industrial average opened down by more than 460 points.
The Fed has unanimously approved a new plan to tighten provisions designed to prevent predatory mortgage lending, as well as help to decrease the number of consumers who irresponsibly take on debt that they cannot afford to repay.
The Fed cut interest rates again today as they continue in their attempt to swoop in and save the economy from the credit crunch. Much like Superman, but boring and not as effective.
The Feb will likely cut rates again in December “providing three conditions are met: financial markets remain distressed, the risks to inflation do not increase and the remaining economic data do not come in stronger than expected.” [MSNMoney]