It may be the week before Christmas, but there are still plenty of stirrings on the banking scene in Washington, and BankThink suspects that those whom the financial crisis has left sleep-deprived will have to power through a few more days before taking a break.


The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board of directors will meet Tuesday to issue a final rule on deposit insurance premiums for the first quarter of next year. In October, the FDIC proposed charging most institutions between 12 and 14 cents per $100 of domestic deposits in the first quarter of 2009.


FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair is giving a speech on responsible homeownership at the New America Foundation during a session that lasts from 9am to 11am. Ms. Bair will "share her perspective from the front lines of the economic crisis and offer her vision of how to make responsible homeownership work in the future," announcement on New America´s Web site reads. It adds, "Chairman Bair has been making a forceful case for a systematic and streamlined approach to loan modifications that will help keep millions of Americans from being displaced by loan defaults and foreclosure." You can say that again.

Later on at New America, author Leo Tilman will explain the process of natural selection that lies behind the massive failures in the financial services sector. Mr. Tilman´s book, Financial Darwinism, concludes that Wall Street will be better designed-sleeker-after the crisis is over. Does he have a bias? Mr. Tilman is the president of the strategic advisory firm Tilman & Co. He used to be the chief institutional strategist at Bear Stearns.

The Exchequer Club of Washington is having its monthly luncheon meeting at the St. Regis Hotel. Robert Pozen, the chairman of MFS Investment Management, a mutual fund company, is the scheduled speaker.


Is he a Captain of Industry? Some say Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson earned inclusion in the category with his bank rescues this fall. He´s speaking in a lecture series by the same name this Thursday at 8pm at the 92nd Street Y in New York.

Closer to home, the Federal Reserve is issuing its final rules on credit cards.

As reported in American Banker, a proposal published in May banned universal default, a practice in which a cardholder's interest rate is increased for external reasons unrelated to the card account. They required a 45-day notice before changing interest rates, restricted payment allocations to stop issuers from applying payments entirely to the lowest interest rate first and banned double-cycle billing.

Another proposal dictated credit card disclosures. It said key information should be laid out horizontally in box format and required periodic statements to provide more detailed information to consumers, including noting year-to-date interest and fees in bold type.

The most controversial change, however, would require banks to give customers a chance to opt out of overdraft programs before charging them fees. That is being temporarily held. Instead, the Fed is expected to reissue the plan for comment.