Obama to Bankers: We Expect 'Extraordinary' Results

The top executives of some of this nation’s largest financial institutions got an earful from President Obama in a meeting at the White House today, where they were told that an “extraordinary commitment” was expected of them to help rebuild the economy. Primarily, the president told reporters after the morning session, the executives need to find more ways to “help creditworthy small and medium-size businesses get the loans that they need to open their doors, grow their operations, and create new jobs.”

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U.S. Chamber Now Targets Senate Finance Reform Bill

It orchestrated an expensive and ambitious campaign against a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lost that bid on Friday when the House passed its financial oversight reform bill, and the new agency along with it. Now the U.S. Chamber, representing more than 3 million small-to-medium businesses and organizations, is fixing its sights on the Senate version of financial regulatory overhaul, and hoping to convince moderate Democrats to downsize the CFPA’s regulatory reach and fine-tune legal ambiguities.

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Obama Rips 'Phony' Claims of Financial Reform Foes

President Barack Obama fired back today at opponents of financial oversight reform, including banks and their lobbyists, referring to their “phony arguments and bad habits” that could leave the U.S. economy vulnerable to “another meltdown.” The President’s weekly address came a day after the U.S. House approved a landmark financial regulation overhaul that creates a new overseer of the credit industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The reform bill has drawn significant opposition from banking groups, Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Treasury Sees Short Sales as Key to Slowing Foreclosures

Now fueled to a growing degree by prime borrowers, the foreclosure crisis is not abating, and U.S. Treasury officials are hoping new incentives will accelerate short sales and other alternatives to rescue homeowners. Starting on April 30, amendments to the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) will offer new incentives to lenders to accelerate short sales or DILs.

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Reform Prelude: Variable Rate Credit Cards Abound

Led by Chase – the top issuer – credit card providers are converting more of their best-rated customers to variable rates, a policy category that is exempt from provisions in the upcoming reform laws. Avoiding the tougher rules on hiking fixed interest rates is one factor contributing to the trend. The other: variable rates, most often based on the prime rate, will mostly move upward in coming months, especially as the economy moves deeper into a sustainable recovery.

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