?What?s it like to be kissed by a vampire? It?s a pain in the neck.?
? Halloween Jokes by BrainCandy
It was a dark and stormy night. A full moon ascended, casting its pale
light over the neighborhood, turning the landscape into shades of gray and
black, sparked only by the flicker of flashlights and the orange glow of
jack-o?lanterns on every front porch. We waited with excitement for sundown,
wearing our homemade outfits, stitched together on our mothers? sewing
machines out of old rags. We plopped mops on our heads and raided our
mothers? makeup cases to color our faces with eyebrow pencil and blood-red
lipstick. Or we became satin-caped fairies wearing tiaras and carrying magic
wands crafted out of aluminum foil. Some of us took the easy route and
became ghosts in white bed sheets with eyeholes cut out so we could see our
way up the street. We knew which houses gave out full-size candy bars
(yeah!) and we knew the one that always gave apples. If no one was home, we
whisked out a bar of soap and scrawled something mean on the storm door
window. Such fun! So tell the truth: Is there an adult among us who doesn?t
want to disguise his/her age and identity for one night a year to collect a
grocery bag full of glorious candy to dump out on the living room floor and
sort into good, better and best? And finally go to bed with our stomachs
churning with chocolate consumed along the way? Trick or treat, Halloween is
the sweetest holiday of all.
CSBS HOSTS FOREIGN BANKERS FOR ANNUAL DIALOGUE DAY
The Conference of State Bank Supervisors hosted some 40 foreign bankers and
their state regulatory counterparts this week for our annual International
Dialogue Day. This year?s program, held here in Washington, D.C., was
combined with a 1½-day foreign bank executive orientation program, with
educational sessions on the USA PATRIOT Act, other major banking laws, and
an overview of U.S. labor laws.
Most Americans probably are not aware of the important role foreign banks
play in our nation?s economic underpinnings. For foreign companies doing
business in the U.S., from large international corporations to small
businesses, it?s critical to have a foreign bank office or branch of a home
country bank to work with. Most of these foreign bank offices are
state-licensed. They are most active in New York, California, Florida,
Illinois, Connecticut, and Georgia, but also maintain operations in Texas,
Washington, and a handful of other states. These banking offices generate a
huge volume of small business loans and play a critical role in the economy
and the U.S. banking systems. As of December 31, 2001, state-licensed
foreign banks held $1.255 trillion in assets, accounting for 83.9 percent of
all foreign bank assets in the United States.
CSBS Senior Vice President Tim Bergan noted that this year?s event was a
resounding success, based on comments from the participants, who found the
educational sessions to be most helpful. Of special interest were the
sessions dealing with compliance with the USA PATRIOT Act, and compliance in
general along with sessions dealing with what?s covered in an examination
and how to prepare for the exam. Bank examiners from New York, Florida,
Connecticut and Illinois gave excellent presentations and responded to
numerous questions from foreign bankers. The program provided an excellent
forum for examiners and bankers to develop effective working relationships.
The program also included a dialogue with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan, presentations by key staff from the Senate Banking Committee and
House Financial Services Committee, a presentation by Wayne Abernathy,
minority staff director for the Senate Banking committee, who has been
nominated by President Bush to become Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
for Domestic Finance, and a review of current critical issues by Juan
Zarate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Violent
This year?s International Dialogue Day was co-chaired by Fernando
Capablanca, president and CEO of Banco de Credito Inversiones, Miami FL, and
Don Meyer, Commissioner, California Department of Financial Institutions,
who also co-chair the CSBS International Bankers Advisory Board.
TREASURY CITES PROBLEMS WITH IDENTIFICATION OF FOREIGN
NATIONALS HOLDING U.S. BANK ACCOUNTS
The Treasury Department acknowledged the difficulty in writing rules for
banks to verify the identity of foreign nationals who open an account, in a
report delivered to Congress on Tuesday. Because there is no reliable and
standardized system for identifying foreign nationals, Treasury said
financial institutions will have to make reasonable efforts to verify
identity using available identifying information and documents. The report
recommended that a study be conducted on establishing a verification system
for foreign nationals as part of an overall assessment of national
immigration controls and national security interests.
?The absence of available government databases containing complete
information about foreign nationals in the United States means that domestic
financial institutions cannot be reasonably expected to accurately verify
the identity of foreign nationals,? Treasury stated. For more information
about the report, go to the
Treasury Department?s Web site.
AROUND THE STATES
Illinois/Indiana/Ohio: The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that
approximately 1,800 Illinois, Indiana and Ohio consumers will receive
letters notifying them they may qualify to receive redress under the
provisions of the FTC?s settlement with Mercantile Mortgage Company. The FTC
alleged that Mercantile misrepresented terms of mortgage loans to consumers
and that the firm violated certain credit statutes. Information on who is
covered under the agreement and how to initiate a claim is posted on the
FTC?s Web site.
Michigan: The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIC) has
issued a bulletin outlining the regulatory status of viatical investments as
securities. ?Viatical investments are legitimate products but greater
protection for consumers is needed,? said OFIC Commissioner Frank M.
Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald noted that Michigan securities laws will regulate
this product in the state.
OFIS offers an information brochure on viaticals, entitled ?Viatical
Settlements: The Undisclosed Risks; What Every Investor Must Know? available
OFIS Web site.
AROUND THE AGENCIES
FED: Most Federal Reserve Districts reported that economic activity
remained sluggish in September and early October, according to the Beige
Book report released by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. Retail sales were
weak across the nation, including some declines in car sales from their
previously high levels. Manufacturing activity declined or grew at slower
pace in most districts, but home building and the residential market were
generally upbeat. On the agricultural front the news was mixed, with drought
conditions hurting some areas, while other regions reported good harvests.
There was strong demand for consumer loans and weak commercial lending
activity in most districts. Some districts reported a slight decline in
FRB: The Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago,
Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco are sponsoring a conference on
Nov. 18-20 in Scottsdale, Ariz., to explore ways to encourage banking
opportunities in tribal communities. The Fed said that the conference is
designed for bankers, tribal leaders, tribal economic and housing
development specialists, attorneys, and resource staff for community
development. Some of the speakers include Federal Reserve Board Governor
Mark Olson and Mary S. Gabler, vice president and community development
manager for Wells Fargo.
FDIC: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today
announced that the Bank Insurance Fund (BIF) showed comprehensive income of
$944 million for the nine months ending September 30, 2002, compared to $859
million for the same period last year. As of September 30, 2002, the fund
balance was $31.4 billion, up from $30.4 billion at year-end 2001. BIF's
reserve ratio increased from 1.23 percent at March 31, 2002, to 1.26 percent
at June 30, 2002, just slightly above the statutorily mandated designated
reserve ratio of 1.25 percent. The Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF)
reported comprehensive income of $651 million compared to $56 million for
the same period last year. The increase in comprehensive income over the
prior period was primarily due to SAIF experiencing higher estimated losses
in 2001 for actual and expected thrift failures. The SAIF had a fund balance
of $11.6 billion as of September 30, 2002, up from $10.9 billion at year-end
2001. Eight BIF-insured banks failed during the first nine months of 2002
with total assets at failure of $2.4 billion. One SAIF-insured thrift failed
during the same period with total assets at failure of $50 million. The
figures the FDIC reported are unaudited.
NCUA: The National Credit Union Administration issued a cease and
desist order on Monday against Korean American Catholics Federal Credit
Union, New York, N.Y., for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. The credit
union, with about $30.3 million in assets and 4,203 members, was cited for
failure to complete Currency Transaction Reports and Suspicious Activity
Reports on numerous member account transactions that involved cash
structuring activity. NCUA chartered Korean American Catholics Federal
Credit Union in 1979 to serve Korean American Catholics residing in New York
and New Jersey. The credit union has approximately $30.3 million in assets
and serves 4,203 members.
FTC: The Federal Trade Commission charged a Toronto-based company
with operating a fraudulent advance-fee credit card business. FTC alleged
that First Capital Consumers Group told consumers that they would receive a
pre-approved MasterCard or Visa credit card with low interest rates, credit
limits of $2,000 or $2,500, and no annual fees. Consumers paid the
defendants an advance fee of between $189 to $219, but never received the
cards. Some of the consumers received nothing, others received packages of
information on buying miscellaneous products or services, or "stored value"
cards that they could only use if they deposited money into an account.
FTC's complaint said the company targeted U.S. consumers who have poor
credit histories. For more information, go to the
FTC?s Web site.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Securities and Exchange Commission will hold the first in a series of
hearings to discuss key issues related to the structure of the U.S. equity
securities markets. ? SEC Headquarters, 450 Fifth Street, Washington, D.C.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will meet in regular
session. Matters to be considered include final amendments to Regulation B
(Equal Credit Opportunity); final amendments to Regulation A (Extensions of
Credit by Federal Reserve Banks) and Regulation D (Reserve Requirements for
Depository Institutions; Proposals regarding sections 23A and 23B of the
Federal Reserve Act; proposed 2003 fees for priced services and electronic
connections. ? 10 a.m., Federal Reserve Board, Marriner S. Eccles Building,
The Senate will convene for pro forma session only. - 10:30 a.m.
?Any of you who have studied economic history know there is nothing truly
unprecedented in today?s trials and hearings, or the images of shamed
ex-executives led off in chains. Those infatuated with greed eventually get
their due, in every generation. Our economic system has the flexibility to
absorb these shocks, adjust, and recover.? ? Treasury Secretary Paul
O?Neill, speaking Tuesday at the University of Chicago Graduate School of