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Home | News | Government

Federal Agencies Announce Thresholds to Classify Small, Intermediate Small Institutions

Federal bank regulatory agencies have announced the newly-adjusted asset-size thresholds that will be used to define financial institutions under Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations. According to a press release from the Federal Reserve Board, the CRA requires the thresholds to be adjusted annually in order to define institutions as either small banks, small savings associations, intermediate small banks, or intermediate small savings associations for CRA examinations. These asset-size classifications determine how institutions are evaluated under different CRA examination procedures, and determine whether or not financial institutions are subject to certain reporting requirements; those that are classified small or intermediate small are not subject to the same reporting requirements as large financial institutions.

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Fannie Mae Forecasts Economic Growth in 2015 Despite Ending Year On a Low Note

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Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group predicts in its December 2014 Economic Outlook that the U.S. economy will strengthen heading into 2015 following an up-and-down 2014 that ended on an unspectacular note. The Group is forecasting full-year growth of 2.1 percent for 2014, a full point below 2013's rate of growth, due to the reverse in the final quarter of some unsustainable forces that boosted the economy in the third quarter. However, the Group is predicting economic growth of 2.7 percent for 2015 based on firming consumer income prospects, rising consumer and business confidence, a broadening housing recovery, and reduced fiscal headwinds.

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Senators Ask FHFA to Revisit FHLBank Membership Requirements

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Twenty-seven senators have signed a letter addressed to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt asking him to reconsider the stricter membership requirements for the Federal Home Loan Banks the Agency proposed in September. The changes to membership requirements outlined by Watt in a speech at the FHLBank Director's Conference on September 2 require members to hold 1 percent of their assets in home mortgage loans (HML) on an ongoing basis, whereas the previous rule requires members to demonstrate this only at the time of their application and not at any time afterward

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Fed Announces Slow Approach to Interest Rate Increases in 2015

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The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it intends to take a slow approach to raising interest rates in the coming year, even as the economy continues to strengthen. Given the current climate, the committee hinted that it will take steps to raise short-term interest rates in 2015, though it still would not commit to a timeframe, saying only that "it will likely be appropriate to maintain ... the [current] federal funds rate for a considerable period of time."

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Tax Provisions Covered By New Senate Bill Include Mortgage Deductions

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The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Tuesday night that retroactively extends 55 tax provisions, among which are allowing deductions for mortgage insurance premium interest and tax relief on forgiven mortgage debt. The tax provisions covered by the bill, known as the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, expired on December 31, 2013. The bill provides for a retroactive one-year extension which expires on December 30 of this year and would be effective for those filing 2014 returns next year.

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Bank Claims $2.2 Billion in Consumer Relief Toward Settlement Requirement

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JPMorgan Chase reported that it has provided more than half of the consumer relief required in just one year as part of a settlement with the government last year, according to a report released Tuesday. The internal review group for the New York-based megabank asserted in the third Chase Consumer Relief Update, compiled by Monitor Joseph A. Smith, Jr., that Chase has earned $2.2 billion in consumer relief credit from the period of October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014.

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