- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Regulators take step toward cutting ratings use

Federal regulators have taken a first step toward eliminating the use of credit ratings in rules for banks, under a mandate of the new financial- overhaul law. The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday it won’t be easy to come up with a replacement.

The FDIC board voted to take public comment for 60 days on alternatives to relying on credit-rating agencies to assess the risk of investments. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency published the document requesting comment with the FDIC.

The landmark law enacted last month calls for reducing the influence of the three big rating agencies - Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

The rating agencies were discredited in the financial crisis for giving high ratings to risky mortgage securities.

The bank regulatory agencies are expected to follow with proposed new rules and eventually to adopt the changes. The process could take months.


Fingerprint sharing led to deportation of 47,000

A rapidly expanding illegal-immigration enforcement program has led to the deportation of 47,000 people over 18 months when the Homeland Security Department was sifting through millions of fingerprints taken at local jail bookings.

About one-quarter of those did not have criminal records and slightly less - about a fifth - had committed or were charged with what are categorized as the most serious crimes, according to government data obtained by immigration advocacy groups who had sued.

ICE posted the data on its website late Monday in advance of the group’s release of the data Tuesday.

The federal government says the fingerprint-sharing program, known as Secure Communities, helps to identify criminal immigrants who threaten public safety in the U.S.

Secure Communities is one of several ICE programs targeting immigrants charged or convicted of crimes. Overall, 49 percent of the immigrants ICE has deported so far this year have been criminals, compared with 35 percent all of last fiscal year.


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