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WASHINGTON-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has announced the committee’s agenda for 2005. In making the announcement, the senator stated, “Over the past two years, I have been extremely pleased with the committee’s bipartisan ability to address many of the key issues in the areas of financial services, housing and transit. I look forward to working with Ranking Member Sarbanes and the other members of the committee as a busy first session of Congress begins.” Regulatory reform for the government-sponsored enterprises are at the top of the list for the 109th Congress, Shelby said. The Senate Banking Committee will hold hearings on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and weight issues of its expiration at the end of the year. The committee will also continue examining the insurance industry; allegations of abuse in sales practices of financial and life insurance products to the military will be a high priority. Other issues of interest to credit unions include regulatory relief, money laundering and deposit insurance reform. Shelby said the committee intends to consider a regulatory relief bill this year, which the financial services industry has been waiting on from Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The committee will also continue efforts toward reforming the Federal Deposit Insurance system, though observers have said it will likely be a toned down version with regards to coverage increases. Shelby intends to examine the potential conflict of interest between credit rating agencies and the companies they rate, continue oversight of the mutual fund industry; and safeguards for the financial system that is a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, among many others.

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