WASHINGTON — This week's congressional agenda features an examination of the prepaid card market, two hearings on housing, and a panel in San Antonio looking at the impact of new regulations on Texas banks and credit unions.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is holding a hearing Wednesday that is expected to focus on ways in which the regulation of prepaid cards might be expanded in an effort to protect consumers.

The hearing, which is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., will feature testimony from the National Consumer Law Center, which is advocating for enhanced disclosure, better security, and restrictions on fees for prepaid cards.

Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez and Jack Reed are holding a hearing Thursday at 2:30 p.m. that is expected to focus on the Federal Housing Finance Agency's resistance to principal reduction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages as a strategy for combating foreclosures.

The hearing, which is titled "Strengthening the House Market and Minimizing Losses to Taxpayers," will feature testimony from FHFA Inspector General Steve Linick and housing expert Laurie Goodman, who has been critical of the agency's opposition to principal write-downs.

The other congressional hearing on the U.S. housing market will be held in Las Vegas, one of the epicenters of the foreclosure crisis.

That hearing, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, is being convened by Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who chairs the House financial institutions subcommittee. Witnesses have not been announced, but the discussion is expected to examine a Nevada program that uses mediation between homeowners and lenders as a way to avoid foreclosure.

"Clearly, the various mortgage modification programs put forward by the president are not working," Capito said in a press release. "Our hearing in Nevada will help the subcommittee learn more about some of the steps being taken by the private sector and at the state level to help struggling homeowners."

With House members out of session this week, the financial institutions subcommittee is also scheduled to convene Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern in San Antonio. That hearing will feature testimony from executives at Commerce Bank, Frost Bank, Pecos County State Bank, and United Bank of El Paso Del Norte, in addition to executives at Texas credit unions.

The San Antonio hearing will look at the impact of the Dodd-Frank and what the subcommittee described as "excessively stringent federal bank examinations" on Texas financial institutions.

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