The Federal Open Market Committee decided on December 10, 2002, to keep its target for the federal funds rate unchanged at 1 1/4 percent.
The Committee continues to believe that this accommodative stance of monetary policy, coupled with still robust underlying growth in productivity, is providing important ongoing support to economic activity. The limited number of incoming economic indicators since the November meeting, taken together, are not inconsistent with the economy working its way through its current soft spot.
In these circumstances, the Committee believes that, against the background of its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth and of the information currently available, the risks are balanced with respect to the prospects for both goals for the foreseeable future.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were Alan Greenspan, Chairman; William J. McDonough, Vice Chairman; Ben S. Bernanke; Susan S. Bies; Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.; Edward M. Gramlich; Jerry L. Jordan; Donald L. Kohn; Robert D. McTeer, Jr.; Mark W. Olson, Anthony M. Santomero, and Gary H. Stern.
APPOINTMENT OF NEW MEMBERS AND DESIGNATION OF THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE THRIFT INSTITUTIONS ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR 2003
The Federal Reserve Board on December 11, 2002, announced the names of seven new members of its Thrift Institutions Advisory Council (TIAC) and designated a new president and vice president of the council for 2003.
The council is an advisory group made up of twelve representatives from thrift institutions. The panel was established by the Board in 1980 and includes savings and loan, savings bank, and credit union representatives. The council meets three times each year with the Board of Governors to discuss developments relating to thrift institutions, the housing industry, mortgage finance, and certain regulatory issues.
The new president of the council for 2003 is Karen L. McCormick, president and CEO, First Federal Savings and Loan Association, Port Angeles, Washington. The new vice president is William J. Small, chairman and CEO, First Federal Bank, Defiance, Ohio.
The seven new members, named for two-year terms beginning January 1, 2003, are the following:
Michael J. Brown, Sr., President and CEO, Harbor Federal Savings Bank, Ft. Pierce, Fla.
Richard J. Driscoll, President, First Savings Bank, FSB, Arlington, Tex.
Curtis L. Hage, Chairman and CEO, Home Federal Bank, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.
Olan O. Jones, Jr., President and CEO, Eastman Credit Union, Kingsport, Tenn.
D. Tad Lowrey, Chairman, President, and CEO, Jackson Federal Bank, Brea, Calif.
George W. Nise, President and CEO, Beneficial Savings Bank, Philadelphia, Pa.
Robert F. Stoico, Chairman, President, and CEO, FIRST-FED AMERICA BANCORP, INC., Swansea, Mass.
Council members whose terms continue through 2003 are the following:
John B. Dicus, President, Capitol Federal Savings Bank, Topeka, Kan.
Karen L. McCormick, President and CEO, First Federal Savings and Loan Association, Port Angeles, Wash.
Kevin E. Pietrini, President and CEO, Queen City Federal Savings Bank, Virginia, Minn.
William J. Small, Chairman and CEO, First Federal Bank, Defiance, Ohio
David L. Vigren, President and CEO, ESL Federal Credit Union, Rochester, N.Y.
APPOINTMENT OF NEW PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CLEVELAND
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has appointed Sandra Pianalto as the Bank's new president. The announcement was made on December 12, 2002, by David Hoag, chairman of the Cleveland Bank's board of directors.
The appointment was made by the directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and approved by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She succeeds Jerry L. Jordan, who will retire January 31, 2003, after having served as president since 1992. She will assume her duties as president on February 1, 2003.
Pianalto has served as first vice president and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Bank since 1993. She joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 1983 as an economist. In 1984, she was appointed assistant vice president for public affairs, hnd in 1988 she was named vice president and secretary to the board of directors. Before joining the Bank, Pianalto was an economist at the Board of Governors and served on the staff of the Budget Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In announcing the appointment, Hoag said, "Sandy Pianalto brings to her new position an extensive knowledge of monetary policy as well as a keen understanding of financial services and the changing payments system."
Robert Mahoney, deputy chairman of the Cleveland board, led the search committee to find Jordan's successor. He said, "Sandy has served this Bank well for nearly twenty years. We are proud of her accomplishments and believe that her exceptional leadership will continue to be an asset to the Fourth District and the Federal Reserve System."
"It has been my great fortune to work with Jerry Jordan," said Pianalto. "He is a thoughtful leader who inspires, teaches, and learns. I'm proud to have the opportunity to continue the tradition of excellence that has defined our Bank and our employees."
Pianalto is active in the Fourth District's civic community, serving on the boards of directors of many community organizations, including United Way Services of Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, Leadership Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Akron Center for Economic Education.
She received a B.A. in economics from the University of Akron and an M.A. in economics from The George Washington University. She is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and she was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters from the University of Akron.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of twelve regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, regulates state-chartered member banks and bank holding companies, and provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including its branch offices in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and its check-processing center in Columbus, serves the Fourth Federal Reserve District, which includes Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.
PUBLICATION OF FINAL REGULATION W
The Federal Reserve Board on November 27, 2002, announced publication of a final Regulation W (Transactions between Banks and Their Affiliates) that comprehensively implements sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. The Board approved the final rule at its meeting on October 31, 2002.
Sections 23A and 23B and Regulation W restrict (1) loans by a depository institution to its affiliates, (2) asset purchases by a depository institution from its affiliates, and (3) other transactions between a depository institution and its affiliates. Regulation W unifies in one public document the Board's interpretations of sections 23A and 23B.
Final Regulation W will have an effective date of April 1, 2003.
The Board is also publishing a final rule that rescinds, as 6f April 1, 2003, the Board's existing formal interpretations of sections 23A and 23B (which have been incorporated into Regulation W).
In addition, the Board is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would prevent a depository institution from using an exemption in Regulation W for the purchase of extensions of credit from an affiliate if purchases made under the exemption exceeded 100 percent of the institution's capital. Comment is requested within thirty days of publication in the Federal Register. All three rules will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
REVISIONS TO POLICIES AND PROCEDURES REGARDING PRIORITY PROVISION AND RESTORATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS CIRCUITS
The Federal Reserve Board on December 3, 2002, announced revisions to its policy and procedures for sponsoring private-sector organizations under federal programs that provide priority telecommunications services to entities that are important to national security and emergency preparedness.
The Board believes that these programs, which are administered by the National Communications System (NCS), will help facilitate the operation and liquidity of banks and the stability of financial markets, particularly during periods of substantial operational disruptions.
The Board currently sponsors a number of private-sector financial organizations for priority provision and restoration of telecommunications circuits under the NCS's Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) program. The sponsorship covers circuits used in large-value interbank funds transfer, securities bidding and transfer, and payment-related services.
The Board is announcing an expansion of its sponsorship criteria for the TSP program. In addition, the Board is adopting sponsorship criteria for the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service program, which provides emergency access and priority processing of local and long-distance calls over the terrestrial public switched network, and for the Wireless Priority Service program, which provides priority routing of cellular calls during periods of severe network congestion. The new criteria are effective upon publication in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly.
The NCS was established in 1963 to provide priority communications to support critical government functions during emergencies. In 1984, the NCS became an interagency group of twenty-two federal departments and agencies, including the Federal Reserve Board. To be eligible for Board sponsorship, organizations must be essential to the performance of national security and emergency preparedness needed to maintain the national economic posture during a national or regional emergency.
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO THE OFFICIAL STAFF COMMENTARY TO REGULATION Z
The Federal Reserve Board on November 26, 2002, published proposed revisions to the official staff commentary that interprets the requirements of Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act. Comment is requested by January 27, 2003.
The proposed update discusses the status of certain credit card-related fees and the rules for replacing an accepted credit card with one or more cards. In addition, the proposed revisions discuss the disclosure of private mortgage insurance premiums and the selection of Treasury security yields in determining whether a mortgage loan is covered by Regulation Z provisions that implement the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act.
PROPOSAL TO EXPAND OPERATING HOURS FOR THE ON-LINE FEDWIRE FUNDS SERVICE
The Federal Reserve Board on December 16, 2002, requested comment on a proposal to expand the operating hours for the on-line Fedwire Funds Service.
Under the proposal, the Fedwire Funds Service would open three and one-half hours earlier than the current opening time of 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET). The closing time for the service would remain unchanged at 6:30 p.m. ET. The earlier opening time is expected to further the smooth functioning and continued development of the payments system, as well as to improve efficiency and reduce risk in making payments and settlements.
The Fedwire Funds Service is a real-time, large-value electronic funds transfer service, which is provided by the Federal Reserve Banks. Depository institutions and other authorized participants use this service to send and receive large-value, time-critical payments. Each payment transaction is settled individually in central bank money and is final and irrevocable once processed.
Depository institutions and other Fedwire users would participate in the expanded operating hours on a voluntary basis. However, Fedwire users that choose not to participate in the earlier hours would still receive any incoming payment transactions sent from participating institutions during the expanded hours. If the proposal is adopted, the suggested timeframe for full implementation of the expanded operating hours is the second quaffer of 2004.
The Board invites commenters' views on the proposed opening time of 9:00 p.m. ET and on the business, market, risk-management, and operational issues that should be considered in evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of a longer Fedwire day. Comment on the proposal is requested within seventy-five days of publication in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly.
WORKING GROUP TO STUDY RISK IN THE CLEARANCE AND SETTLEMENT OF U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES
The Federal Reserve Board announced on November 26, 2002, that it had established a private-sector working group to recommend steps to mitigate risks in the clearance and settlement of U.S. government securities.
The working group will explore ways the two major clearing banks could substitute for each other if the services of either were interrupted or terminated. The working group has been asked to prepare a final report before the end of 2003.
Michael Urkowitz, senior adviser to Deloitte Consulting, agreed to chair the working group. The working group will include senior representatives of the two major cleating banks (JP Morgan Chase and The Bank of New York), the Government Securities Clearing Corporation, securities dealers, interdealer brokers, custodian banks, The Bond Market Association, and the Investment Company Institute.
The other members of the working group are the following:
Mary Ambrecht, Managing Director, Salomon Smith Barney (Citigroup)
Deborah Cunningham, Senior Vice President, Federated Investors
Frank DiMarco, Managing Director, Merrill Lynch
Dennis Dirks, Chief Executive Officer, Government Securities Cleating Corp.
Mary Fenoglio, Executive Vice President, State Street
Ian Lowitt, Global Treasurer, Lehman Brothers
Lawrence Maffia, Executive Vice President, Investment Company Institute
Stephen Merkel, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Cantor Fitzgerald
Ernest Pittarelli, Managing Director, UBS Warburg LLC
Brian Ruane, Senior Vice President, The Bank of New York
Jane Buyers Russo, Managing Director, JP Morgan Chase
David Simons, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Paul Saltzman, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, The Bond Market Association
Thomas Wipf, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley & Co.
Staff of the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury will participate in the working group as observers and technical advisers.
The Federal Reserve, Treasury, and SEC have a particular interest in promoting the smooth and safe operation of the U.S. government securities market given the market's critical role for conducting monetary policy operations, financing government activities, and providing benchmark prices and hedging opportunities for other securities markets.
On May 13, 2002, the Board and the SEC issued a White Paper on Structural Change in the Settlement of Government Securities. The White Paper expressed concerns about operational, financial, and structural vulnerabilities associated with the status quo, in which all of the most active market participants are critically dependent on one of two clearing banks for settlement of their trades and financing of their positions. The White Paper requested comment on whether structural change was needed to address the vulnerabilities.
The comments urged the authorities to concentrate on mitigating risks within the current structure, rather than considering structural change, at least in the short run. Several commenters suggested formation of an industry group to explore the specific changes that would need to occur to enable the two clearing banks to substitute for each other in the event that the services of either were interrupted or terminated. The formation of the working group is responsive to that suggestion.
RELEASE OF MINUTES OF DISCOUNT RATE MEETINGS
The Federal Reserve Board on November 15, 2002, released the minutes of its discount rate meetings from September 3 to September 23, 2002.
The Federal Reserve Board on November 22, 2002, announced the issuance of an Order of Prohibition against Eduardo Del Rio, a former employee and institution-affiliated party of Deutsche Bank, AG, New York, New York.
Mr. Del Rio, without admitting to any allegations, consented to the issuance of the Order based on his violations of law, unsafe and unsound practices, and breaches of his fiduciary duty to Deutsche Bank and its customers in connection with his embezzlement of approximately $8.5 million for his personal use.
DELAY IN PUBLICATION OF G. 17 STATISTICAL RELEASE
The Federal Reserve Board announced on November 19, 2002, that it would publish the annual revision to the G.17 statistical release, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, on Thursday, December 5, at 2 p.m. EST. The revision had previously been scheduled for release on November 26.
The revised estimates will be classified according to the 2002 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). Previously, the estimates from 1987 forward were classified according to the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System.
The revision will be made available on the Board's web site at www.federalreserve.gov/releases/G17
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|Title Annotation:||Federal Open Market Committee keeps federal funds rate unchanged|
|Publication:||Federal Reserve Bulletin|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2003|
|Previous Article:||Staff studies.|
|Next Article:||Final rule--amendment to regulations A and D. (Legal Developments).|