Kids Are All Right

The financial services world can breathe easy once again: the children are going to be OK.

Just a month after the Office of Thrift Supervision made headlines by saying its impending demise could lead to the shutdown of the Small Savers Child Development Center, a day care provider that operates rent-free in its building, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has said it will keep the center open.

Reading between the lines, it appeared the OCC didn't know about the issue until the OTS told the school it might have to shut down, sending parents into a panic and sparking immediate lobbying on the issue.

In a letter sent Sept. 17 to Small Savers, John Walsh, the acting comptroller, wrote that "we are very early in the transition process and this is an issue that has only recently come to our attention."

Still, the OCC said it would help the center.

"As we consider the future use of the OTS building, we will be very mindful of the benefits of continued operation of the center," Walsh wrote. "To ensure continuity, we are prepared to enter into an agreement with the Small Savers Center to provide continued access to space for the child care facility after the transfer date."

That Smarts

At a House Financial Services Committee hearing last week, Rep. Bill Posey posed a question about the state of the economy and touched off an exchange about a different question: who is the smartest person alive?

The Florida Republican started by asking Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner whether he believed, like some outside academics, that the recession actually ended already. When Geithner replied that it didn't matter since the economy was still struggling, Posey insisted he answer the question yes or no, declaring that Geithner was the smartest person in the world on such matters. Geithner quickly demurred, saying, "Not a chance," as Chairman Barney Frank got into the act. The Massachusetts Democrat said Posey was trying to trap Geithner, though Posey insisted he was sincere.

"Does the gentleman sincerely believe that the secretary of the Treasury is the smartest man in the world?" Frank asked.

Posey responded, "On this subject, I sure hope he is."

Posey later tried to amend his remark, and named Frank the smartest guy in the world.

Geithner is "the second-smartest man in the world," Posey said to Frank. "You've got to be the smartest."

Frank was not amused.

"No, I would say I might have been, but not after engaging in this conversation," Frank said. "No one would think I was very bright."

'Triple' Play

Frank wasn't the only panel member razzing Republicans last week. Rep. Spencer Bachus, the top GOP lawmaker on the House Financial Services Committee, took a swipe at Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.

O'Donnell, a Tea Party candidate who won the Republican primary, caused a stir after she canceled multiple appearances on Sunday morning news shows by claiming she was "triple-booked." She made the claim after it was revealed she had dabbled in witchcraft and — we're just guessing here — probably didn't want to answer questions about it.

Appearing before the National Association of Federal Credit Unions conference, Bachus claimed that he, too, had a packed schedule.

"I was — have you ever heard of the term triple-booked? It's kind of famous this week," Bachus said. "But I was triple-booked this morning. I was supposed to go bike riding with Barney Frank and also I was supposed to go on a picnic with Christine O'Donnell. I chose to be here with y'all."

New Face at CSBS

John Prendergast has joined the Conference of State Bank Supervisors as vice president of nondepository supervision.

Before joining CSBS, Prendergast was chief risk officer for the Massachusetts Division of Banks. He was at the division for 24 years and started as a bank examiner.

At the CSBS, Prendergast will coordinate state supervision of nondepository financial services provides, including mortgage lenders and money-services businesses.

He will work with the Multi-State Mortgage Committee to coordinate examination of these mortgage providers.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, nondepository financial institutions will get further supervision through risk-based exams from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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