Unlikely Duo

A joint press conference by Sens. Charles Schumer and Richard Shelby?We had to read the press release twice, but sure enough, the New York Democrat and the Alabama Republican — who do not see eye to eye on many issues — teamed up last week to respond to the Bernie Madoff scandal.

The two Senate Banking Committee members joined forces to unveil legislation that would add hundreds of investigators and prosecutors to the financial fraud units at law enforcement agencies to target white-collar crimes.

"Our white-collar crime divisions are understaffed, underfunded, and overwhelmed," Sen. Schumer said. "When a wave of violent crime sweeps through a city, the immediate response is to beef up the police forces, putting more cops on the beat, extending overtime, and making sure the city returns to safety. Our reaction to the financial crisis and the massive and complex financial fraud investigations that loom should be no different."

Sen. Shelby agreed 100%.

"Our current economic crisis is one of confidence, which underpins our entire financial system," he said. "This foundation of trust has been badly shaken by greed but is further eroded by fraud. In order to restore confidence, those who perpetrate fraudulent acts must be brought to justice."

Back to House

Jason Cole, the executive director of federal affairs at UBS Americas Inc. for the past five years, is going back to work on Capitol Hill as Rep. Jim Himes' chief of staff.Rep. Himes, a Connecticut Democrat, ousted a longtime incumbent, Rep. Chris Shays, in the November elections.

The former investment banker, who started an affordable housing nonprofit, now sits on the House Financial Services housing and capital markets subcommittees.

Before becoming a lobbyist, Mr. Cole had spent five years as legislative director on financial services issues for Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., the chairman of the new House Financial Services oversight subcommittee.


The Senate confirmed two more members of President Obama's economic team Thursday.Shaun Donovan was confirmed by unanimous consent to oversee the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mary Schapiro was confirmed as the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, also by unanimous consent.

"I believe they are superbly qualified to help develop solutions to our nation's critical economic problems, and am confident they will serve as effective members of the President's economic team," Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said in a press release.

The Senate has scheduled a vote for Monday night on Tim Geithner's nomination to run the Treasury Department. He is also expected to be confirmed.

ICBA Board Slate

James MacPhee, the chief executive of Kalamazoo County State Bank in Schoolcraft, Mich., will be nominated as the chairman-elect of the Independent Community Bankers of America at the trade group's March convention in Phoenix.R. Michael Menzies, the president and CEO of Easton Bank and Trust Co. in Maryland, is slated to move up to chairman.

Other board nominations include Salvatore Marranca, the president and CEO of Cattaraugus County Bank in Little Valley, N.Y., as vice chairman; Wayne Cottle, the president and CEO of Dean Cooperative Bank in Franklin, Mass., as secretary; Larry Winum, the president of Glenwood State Bank in Iowa, as treasurer.

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