There will be plenty of bustle on the Hill this week as the early August date for Congress´ summer recess advances. Legislators are holding on, for the most part, to ambitious regulatory restructuring plans, and hearings on financial regulatory issues will abound. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, meanwhile will be overseas-thus safe, for a week, from Congressional scrutiny.
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a 2pm full committee hearing on "preventing unfair trading by government officials. No witness list has been released.
The Senate Banking Committee will hold a 9am hearing looking at the proposed new consumer protection regulator. Witnesses include Honorable Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael Barr; Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal; American Bankers Association President and Chief Executive Edward Yingling; Travis B. Plunkett, the legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America; and Sendhil Mullainathan, a Harvard economist.
Meanwhile, at 10am, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises will look at oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a hearing for which witnesses have yet to be announced.
Financial Services will hold a 10am hearing offering banking industry representatives a chance to voice their views on the Obama administration´s regulatory restructuring proposal. No witnesses have been announced yet. At 2pm, the Subcommittee on Housing and Opportunity will convene a hearing on ways to preserve government assistance for affordable housing.
At 2:30pm, the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment will hold a hearing on regulating hedge funds. SEC Director Andrew Donohue will testify first. The second panel will include industry representatives: James Chanos, the chairman of the Coalition of Private Investment Companies; Trevor Loy, a general partner at Flywheel Ventures; and Joseph Dear, the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees´ Retirement System.
At 10am the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform will pick up its inquiry into the machinations of the merger between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch late last year. Last month, the committee heard testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a deeply unsatisfying hearing that focused narrowly on whether Bernanke threatened to fire BofA CEO Ken Lewis if Lewis tried to back out of the Merrill deal. This time, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will be the sole witness, and he is guaranteed to be questioned about whether he lied to officials in a deposition, in which he allegedly said Bernanke had told him about the intent to fire Lewis under certain circumstances.
Senate Banking will convene a 9:30am hearing on preventing foreclosures. The first panel of witnesses will be made up of regulators: Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Stability Herb Allison and senior Housing and Urban Development official Bill Apgar. The second panel will consist of bankers and credit counselors: President and CEO of the Bridgeport, Conn. Housing Development Fund Joan Carty; Mary Coffin, the head of Wells Fargo´s mortgage servicing division; Allen Jones, a manager at Bank of America Home Loans; and Diane E. Thompson, of counsel at the National Consumer Law Center. The committee´s Web site says there may be other witnesses announced later.
House Financial Services will hold a 10am hearing giving consumer advocates a chance to discuss the Obama administration´s proposals. Witnesses have yet to be announced.