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Contents of the Treasury Notes blog, from www.treasury.gov.
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05 августа 2011, 18:06

Treasury Bureaus on your Smart Phone

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Of the 10 mobile apps "that are changing the way government does business" according to GovernmentExecutive.com, two are from Treasury's bureaus.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing's EyeNote allows the blind or visually impaired to scan paper currency. Using a camera, the application analyzes the image and announces the bank note's value. And with the Internal Revenue Service's IRS2Go application, users can check on their refund status, receive tax tips and updates, and connect with the IRS Twitter news feed. Tax Tips can help you with your tax planning and preparation needs and the app's updates cover topics such as free tax help, child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, education credits and others. You can download the free IRS2Go app by visiting either the iTunes App Store or the Android Marketplace. EyeNote and IRS2Go reflect Treasury’s commitment to leveraging technology to providing you the information you need—whenever you need it, wherever you are. So if you haven't already, take out your smart phone and try these free mobile apps. Robyn East is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and Chief Information Officer at the Department of the Treasury

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04 августа 2011, 21:36

$253 Million for 20 More Community Banks

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Small businesses employ roughly one-half of all Americans and account for about 60 percent of gross job creation. But small business owners faced disproportionate challenges in the aftermath of the recession and credit crisis, including difficulty accessing capital. To help address that issue, the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) encourages community banks to increase their lending to small businesses, helping those companies expand their operations and create new jobs.  Here’s how the program works. The SBLF provides capital to community banks that hold under $10 billion in assets. The dividend rate a community bank pays on SBLF funding is reduced as that bank increases its lending to small businesses – providing a strong incentive for new lending to small businesses so they can expand and create jobs. As part of its next wave of SBLF funding, Treasury announced yesterday that 20 community banks across the country received a total of $253 million – meaning in total, the program has given a $590 million in funding to 43 community banks. A number of the banks receiving funding as part of yesterday’s announcement told their local newspapers what the program would mean to their communities and small business owners. Todd Adams, CEO of Adams Bank in Ogallala, NE, told the Omaha World-Herald that "this is a way to put capital back into strong banks so that they will expand their lending. We want to make sure we are able to meet the credit needs of the borrowers in our area. We want to make loans available to businesses so they can expand and keep the economy moving." "In a nutshell, what it does for us is allow us to continue to grow and support what has been the major engine of our growth — small businesses in the communities we operate in," said Bob Rupel, president and CEO of Team Capital Bank in Bethlehem, PA which received $22.4 million. George Cummings, President of Progressive Bank of Monroe in Louisiana which received $12 million, told the News-Star: "Our stated purpose is to help people achieve their dreams, and our participation in this program, and the $12 million awarded to our bank, offers us greater opportunity to do just that for our commercial customers." And because small businesses play a critical role in the U.S. economy and are central to growth and job creation, additional SBLF funding announcements will be made on a rolling basis in the weeks ahead. 

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03 августа 2011, 18:36

Geithner Op-Ed: "Compromise achieved, reform’s the next chapter"

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President Obama yesterday signed legislation raising the debt limit and removing the cloud of uncertainty over our economy. Today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in an op-ed appearing in The Washington Post, explained how the agreement puts in place a framework for fiscal discipline, and the challenges that remain ahead. He wrote: "Governing requires the recognition that we do not have unlimited resources. We cannot ask the American people to pay more in taxes without being able to demonstrate that we have found ways to use their taxes more wisely. Nor can we ask Americans to accept changes in Medicare and Medicaid if those savings will be used to pay for tax preferences for the most fortunate few. "Already, some are asking if we cut too much. Others want to know if we did enough about the long-term problem of a rising debt burden. "This agreement is the beginning of restoring fiscal sustainability. It is a substantial down payment, but not the end of the debate. The government’s ability to make smart, long-term budget choices has long been broken. This gives us a chance to fix it." [...] "And by locking in long-term savings, Congress will have more room in the fall to pass additional short-term measures to strengthen the economy — such as extending the payroll tax cut, which provides an average of a thousand dollars to the after-tax incomes of working Americans; extending unemployment benefits; and financing infrastructure investments. After all, strengthening growth and putting more Americans back to work are among the most important things we can do to improve our fiscal situation today and over the long term. "This week, I spoke to business leaders across the country. Not surprisingly, their relief that Congress has finally acted was tempered by concern about the damage caused to confidence by the months-long spectacle of threats of default. These business leaders, like many Americans, want to see Congress build on this moment of compromise. "It is not enough for Congress to have prevented a disaster it brought on itself. Lawmakers should return in September prepared to act to strengthen the economy and get more Americans back to work. Doing so will help repair the damage this fractious debate inflicted on an economy that was already slowing, not just here but around the world." Read the full op-ed.

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03 августа 2011, 00:17

Treasury Welcomes the Introduction of the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act

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Today, Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a bill to “combat U.S. corporations with hidden owners” that would require disclosure of beneficial ownership information in the company formation process. This proposed legislation would facilitate the transparency of the financial system by making it more difficult for criminal organizations to hide behind front companies and shell corporations. This bill would substantially advance the Administration's fundamental interests in ensuring the availability of meaningful beneficial ownership information about companies created in the United States.  As identified in the President’s Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime announced last week, such legislation is critical to the Administration’s objective of protecting the global financial system and strategic markets from abuse. Treasury, along with our colleagues at Justice and Homeland Security, is committed to working with Congress to achieve this important goal. Marti Adams is the Spokesperson for Illicit Finance and Enforcement - TFI and OFAC.

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02 августа 2011, 03:17

Tune In: Secretary Geithner on ABC

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Today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sat down with George Stephanopoulos to talk about the recent debt ceiling deal, which removes the cloud of uncertainty over the economy and creates more room for private sector growth. Catch part of his interview which aired on ABC's World News this evening and tune into ABC's Good Morning America tomorrow morning to watch part two.

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28 июля 2011, 20:36

The Hardest Hit Fund is Available to Help Homeowners in 18 States and the District of Columbia, like Paul in North Carolina

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Struggling with mortgage payments and facing the prospect of foreclosure can be overwhelming and frightening for homeowners. In 2010, the Obama Administration launched the Hardest Hit Fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure in the areas hardest hit by steep home price declines and unemployment. Through the program, participating housing finance agencies (HFAs) in 18 states and the District of Columbia are implementing a variety of different initiatives to help homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments. All participating HFAs are now operating programs widely and offering assistance to homeowners. The North Carolina program—the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund—pays an unemployed worker’s mortgage for up to 24 months (up to $24,000) while they are enrolled in an educational or training program or are searching for a new job. In high-unemployment counties, the cap is 36 months. The funds are provided as a zero-interest loan to the homeowner, which does not have to be repaid if the homeowner continues to live in their home for 10 years. The loan can also be used by homeowners who are seeking employment because of a financial hardship such as a divorce, or who have become re-employed but need to bring their mortgage current because they fell behind during a recent period of unemployment. Paul O. and his wife outside their home in North Carolina. Paul O. has experienced the benefit of the Hardest Hit Fund first hand. After 17 years as a shipping and warehouse supervisor for an electronics manufacturer in Winston-Salem, he was laid off in February 2010. While disappointed, Paul had peace of mind on the day he was laid off. Paul says that was because of the information he had received from the Governor’s Workforce Rapid Response Team about the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund. The Rapid Response Team offers early intervention for workers like Paul who are affected by layoffs or closures throughout North Carolina. Led by the N.C. Department of Commerce and local workforce development professionals, with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, a Rapid Response team meets with companies planning layoffs or closures and their employees on short notice and in confidentiality. The N.C. Housing Finance Agency’s outreach teams have participated in nine rapid response deployments within the past year, providing resources and information to over 4,000 displaced workers who may be eligible for assistance. Partnerships like these allow the state to target outreach directly to individuals who are likely to be eligible for assistance. N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund Caseworkers Paul says that what he learned about the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund during his Rapid Response meeting last November gave him his greatest comfort—knowing that a program was available to help him keep his home during the transition. He left that meeting with a notebook full of materials that gave him a sense of direction and hope. One of the pages he dog-eared instantly was the flier for the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund.  “We don’t want homeowners to wait until they’re in foreclosure to use our loans,” said Betsy Rozakis, the Housing Finance Agency’s CFO and director of the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund. “Our goal is to provide help before they’re in foreclosure, and before they have depleted their retirement savings or ruined their credit.” Paul is now enrolled at Forsyth Community College to get an advanced certification in shipping and warehouse management that will help him become more competitive in a job market he has not had to venture into in over 17 years. Paul believes this has only been possible because of the N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund. The N.C. Housing Finance Agency will use loan funds to pay his mortgage and homeowner’s association dues through June 2013, while he finishes his education and seeks re-employment. Hardest Hit Fund programs vary state to state, but may include the following: Mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners Principal reduction to help homeowners get into more affordable mortgages Funding to eliminate homeowners’ second lien loans Help for homeowners who are transitioning out of their homes and into more affordable places of residence. Homeowners in participating states can apply for the Hardest Hit Fund through 2017, or until all program funds are allocated for homeowner assistance. For more information about the program in your state, contact your HFA directly. Mark McArdle is Director of the Hardest Hit Fund.

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28 июля 2011, 16:56

New Study Finds U.S. Remains Top Recipient of Foreign Direct Investment

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Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported on a new study which found that the U.S. remained the top recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2010 – a clear sign that because of the fundamental strengths and openness of our economy, foreign investors continue to see the United States as one of the top places to bring their business. As reflected in a recent report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, foreign investment in the United States creates high-paying jobs, contributes to economic growth and supports American communities. The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development’s report showed FDI in the U.S. rose by $228 billion, or 49 percent, from 2009, while global foreign direct investment inflows only rose by 5 percent. Interestingly, FDI in U.S. manufacturing alone rose by 62 percent. While we know that the numbers will ebb and flow over time, our policy has been the same for decades – to welcome and encourage foreign investment. As President Obama said, “In a global economy, the United States faces increasing competition for the jobs and industries of the future. Taking steps to ensure that we remain the destination of choice for investors around the world will help us win that competition and bring prosperity to our people. Consistent with our national security and while ensuring a level playing field for American investors, we will do just that.” Marisa Lago is Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development.

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27 июля 2011, 00:06

Financial Stability Oversight Council Releases First Annual Report

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Today the Financial Stability Oversight Council released its 2011 Annual Report. This is the Council’s first annual report and the first public report ever issued by the U.S. government that provides a comprehensive view of financial market developments, potential threats to financial stability and recommendations for further strengthening the financial system. This report provides a snapshot of the financial system and potential vulnerabilities. It is also part of an ongoing process by the Council to identify and mitigate potential threats to financial stability. This is an inherently difficult exercise. No financial crisis emerges in exactly the same way as its predecessors, and the most significant future threats will often be the ones that are hardest to diagnose and preempt. Although we cannot predict the precise threats that may face the financial system, the best way to prepare for the inevitable uncertainty is to continue to build the shock absorbers and other safeguards that improve the resilience of the financial system. The report identifies three key areas beyond implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act where we believe more needs to be done: 1) Heightened risk management and supervisory attention Construct robust capital, liquidity and resolution plans. Bolster resilience to unexpected interest rate shifts. Maintain discipline in credit underwriting standards. Employ appropriate due diligence for emerging financial products. Keep pace with competitive, technological, and regulatory market structure developments. 2) Reforms to address structural vulnerabilities Implement structural reforms to mitigate run risk in money market funds. Elimination of most intraday credit exposure and reform of collateral practices in the tri-party repo market to strengthen the market. Improve the overall quality of mortgage servicing by establishing national mortgage servicing standards and servicer compensation reform. 3) Continued progress on housing finance To strengthen the housing finance system, the Council member agencies and the Department of Housing and Urban Development should set forth standards and guidelines for participants in the housing finance system, and other actions that strengthen mortgage underwriting. To give further confidence to the market and provide long-term stability to the U.S. financial system, the Council believes Congress must pass responsible legislation to reform the housing finance system. The reform efforts should not further destabilize the fragile housing market. In addition to recommendations for future action, today’s report includes a discussion of the current state of the U.S. financial system and some of the major forces that will shape its development going forward. Last week, we marked the one-year anniversary of Dodd-Frank, the most significant set of financial reforms in our lifetimes. The President signed Dodd-Frank into law because we experienced a financial crisis that delivered a devastating shock to our economy – a shock that many argue was more severe than what precipitated the Great Depression, and one that cost millions of Americans their homes, their savings, and their jobs. Reform was not a choice, it was an obligation. Dodd-Frank provides a framework to fix the most fundamental problems in the American financial system. As part of that framework, the law established the Council to provide joint accountability for identifying and mitigating potential threats to the stability of the financial system. Congress recognized that financial stability will require the collective engagement of the entire financial regulatory community. The Council, which consists of 10 voting members and five nonvoting members, engages that entire community by bringing together the expertise of policy makers and both federal and state financial regulators. Three years after the worst financial crisis in generations, our financial system is now on more solid ground, less prone to excessive leverage and risk-taking, more transparent to investors, creditors and regulators, and more resilient to adverse events. For example, as these charts demonstrate, financial institutions now hold substantially more capital relative to risk than they did before the crisis.  Greater capital buffers serve as shock absorbers against unexpected losses and future downturns. Financial institutions are also less reliant on sources of short-term funding that can dry up quickly during a crisis. The progress made on these fronts – and that will continue to be made on these fronts – will help make financial shocks less likely and less damaging. Other areas of progress include: A global agreement on liquidity and capital standards. The ongoing work to create, for the very first time, a comprehensive framework of oversight for the over-the-counter derivatives market, which now has an estimated $600 trillion in gross exposures. A new agency dedicated to protecting consumers. The process to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reform the overall mortgage market has begun. And the completion of most of the emergency actions that were taken to put out the fires of disaster, with most large financial companies that received government support having repaid their obligations. Taxpayers have now collected $10 billion in profit to date from the bank programs. Just two years ago, hundreds of billions in losses were projected on those investments. The Council and its members will continue to implement Dodd-Frank on a coordinated basis to enhance the integrity, efficiency, transparency, competitiveness and stability of U.S. financial markets. The report was created collaboratively by the members of the Council and their staff and unanimously approved by the Council. It reflects the Council’s ongoing efforts to monitor risks to financial stability. Millions of Americans have suffered because of the financial crisis. Many are still suffering. And we owe it to them to build a financial system that has better protections against abuse and catastrophic risk – protections that can adapt to threats that we cannot necessarily predict, preempt or even fully understand. Jeffrey A. Goldstein is Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.

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26 июля 2011, 03:06

Fighting the Dark Side of Globalization

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One of the Treasury Department's core duties is to safeguard and protect the U.S. economy and financial system from abuse by all those who would seek to harm it, manipulate it, or undermine its integrity. This is the foundation of Treasury's national security mission. As our global economy and financial systems have grown more sophisticated and interdependent, they have also become more vulnerable to the efforts of transnational criminal organizations to do us harm. Today, I joined several of my colleagues, including Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns at the White House to announce the President’s new Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, which includes a new Executive order that provides us with broad authority to respond to the threat that significant transnational criminal organizations pose to our country and the international financial system. The Treasury Department is already employing this new tool by implementing sanctions today against four significant transnational criminal organizations: The Brothers' Circle, the Camorra, the Yakuza, and Los Zetas. The new Executive order freezes any assets these individuals and the entities who support them may have within the United States, prohibits any transactions through the U.S. financial system, and makes it a crime for U.S. persons to engage in any transactions with them. Transnational criminal organizations are principally motivated by financial gain. That is a major vulnerability that the new Executive order and the President’s broader strategy seeks to exploit, striking at the heart of their economic power. Read more about the Strategy and Executive order here. Also: Attorney General Eric Holder´s blog post on the White House Blog. David S. Cohen is Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

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26 июля 2011, 03:06

Fighting the Dark Side of Globalization

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One of the Treasury Department's core duties is to safeguard and protect the U.S. economy and financial system from abuse by all those who would seek to harm it, manipulate it, or undermine its integrity. This is the foundation of Treasury's national security mission. As our global economy and financial systems have grown more sophisticated and interdependent, they have also become more vulnerable to the efforts of transnational criminal organizations to do us harm. Today, I joined several of my colleagues, including Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns at the White House to announce the President’s new Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, which includes a new Executive order that provides us with broad authority to respond to the threat that significant transnational criminal organizations pose to our country and the international financial system. The Treasury Department is already employing this new tool by implementing sanctions today against four significant transnational criminal organizations: The Brothers' Circle, the Camorra, the Yakuza, and Los Zetas. The new Executive order freezes any assets these individuals and the entities who support them may have within the United States, prohibits any transactions through the U.S. financial system, and makes it a crime for U.S. persons to engage in any transactions with them. Transnational criminal organizations are principally motivated by financial gain. That is a major vulnerability that the new Executive order and the President’s broader strategy seeks to exploit, striking at the heart of their economic power. Read more about the Strategy and Executive order here. Also: Attorney General Eric Holder´s blog post on the White House Blog. David S. Cohen is Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

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23 июля 2011, 21:56

Sunday Shows with Secretary Geithner

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This Sunday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will appear on ABC This Week with Christiane Amanpour, CNN State of the Union with Candy Crowley and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss the state of the economy, the ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction and the need for Congress to enact a timely debt ceiling increase to avoid defaulting on the country’s obligations. As he made clear in a press conference on Capital Hill last week, "We don't have much time; it's time we move." Make sure to tune in tomorrow morning.

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21 июля 2011, 17:46

Neal Wolin on the Dodd-Frank Act, One Year Later

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On the one-year anniversary of enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Deputy Treasury Secretary will be on Capitol Hill this morning testifying before the Senate Banking Committee. He will focus on how Dodd-Frank’s core reforms are strengthening safeguards for consumers and investors, and providing the necessary tools for limitingrisk in the financial markets. "These reforms were an obligation, not a choice. Without them, we could not build the financial system we need—a financial system with the stability and the resilience necessary to support our economy and protect it in times of stress," Wolin says in submitted testimony. "Our country needs a financial system that is stronger and more robust, and also promotes innovation, fosters growth, and creates jobs—a system that channels capital effectively to businesses and to consumers." Watch the hearing live at 10:00 AM ET. And yesterday afternoon, on the eve of the one-year anniversary, Wolin sat down with Lisa Murphy of Bloomberg TV: Lisa Murphy, Bloomberg: In terms of the current implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, what grade would you give it, or how much progress have you made versus what your expectations were a year ago? Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, Treasury: I'd give us a strong grade, Lisa. I think that we have done an awful lot of work in the year since enactment. This is a statute that put ourselves in a place where we can have a much stronger, safer financial system thatbrought our derivatives markets out of the dark and, for the first time ever, created a consumer protection agency. We have done enormousamounts in the year since enactment to make that a reality. Obviously, it is important that we get that work done right and done properly. We have taken enormous care in consulting with a wide range of stakeholders tomake sure that we get all the input that is appropriate. But I think with respect to creating the framework to end 'too big to fail,' to make sure that taxpayers don't bail out failed firms, to put in place a set of reforms that require firms to hold higher capital and have less leverage which are critical to making sure that we have a stronger, safer financial system to rest on and in terms of creating consumer protection that allows people to make sure they understand the basic choices they have in the marketplace - an awful lot of progress has been made on all of those critically important fronts. Watch the full interview. And yesterday evening, he appeared on PBS Nightly Business Report with Darren Gersh: Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, Treasury: In this country we shouldn`t have to choose between a strong financial system and one that allows our country to grow. We need both of those things, because the worst thing we could have of all is a financial system that led us to the crisis and to the brink of the abyss that we had before. And so we will, of course, be mindful as we continue to implement this statute in its various pieces that we need to have a financial system that does cause us to have and allows us to have an economy that is strong and grows. Watch the full interview. Related: Approaching the One Year Anniversary of the Landmark Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Secretary Geithner's op-ed "A Dodd-Frank Retreat Deserves a Veto"