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As Fed Postpones Meeting, Capital One Spins Schedule, But Hana Approved

By Matthew R. Lee

SOUTH BRONX, February 8 -- Why did the Federal Reserve postpone its meeting on Capital One - ING from Wednesday afternoon for five days until Monday, February 13?

  Capital One's spokeswoman said “The board has informed us that the planned meeting for this afternoon has been rescheduled for Monday, February 13th. We understand that the delay is due to a scheduling conflict, and we look forward to their decision early next week."

  But there's a problem with this spin, that scheduling made it impossible. At 3:05 pm on Wednesday, Inner City Press got a voice mail from the Federal Reserve's Legal Division, Michael Waldron, about an application that ICP Fair Finance Watch had commented on some time ago: Hana - Korea Exchange Bank. The Board had just approved the application, Waldron said (without also stating any right to request reconsideration.)

In that Order Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch is, yes, "the commenter." The Board lets Goldman Sachs off the hook (note 4) and ignores issues about Hana in Korea (note 7).

So if the Fed could approve applications on Wednesday afternoon but chose not to do so for Capital One, why not?

One can hope that the outrageous "document dump" of hundreds of pages on the eve of the Fed's scheduled February 8 meeting, which Inner City Press immediately raised to the highest levels of the Fed, combined with calls Wednesday from NCRC members to open the meeting, caught the Fed's attention.

Click here to view the Fed's February 7 FOIA Denial,saying there are 230 more pages withheld in full, and click here to view the redacted documents that the Fed provided to Inner City Press.

The Fed has a consumer complaint line, from which people were referred to the Board of Governor's own "comments" voice mail. This made some feel the Fed was being transparent. But why then close the meetings? And why take more than three to provide even the redacted documents it did on February 7, less than 24 hours before the Board intended to meet on, and presumably rubber stamp, Capital One's ING DIRECT application.

The Fed held ex parte communications with Capital One on November 21, writing a memo ostensibly as a tip of the hat to the rules against ex parte communications. Then the Fed withhold the summary under Exemption 4.

The Fed has even made withholdings from its own August 29, 2011 questions to Capital One. This is an outrage and is hereby being appealed from.

This last minute data dump is beneath the Federal Reserve - if that's even possible. The Fed is increasingly abusing and evading FOIA and this must be not only reversed, but explained and accountability imposed in response to this appeal. This information must be reviewed, and released and comment allowed thereon, by ICP, NCRC and others, before the Fed considers approving the Capital One - ING proposals.

As argued in Inner City Press' FOIA appeals, rather than going forward and rubber stamping Capital One's applications, the Fed should re-open its comment period

For the reasons of record, and as argued by NCRC, the Federal Reserve should re-open the comment period to fully consider Capital One's related proposal to buy the ex-Household predatory lending platform from HSBC, and the related stealth ING proposals.

  This is a pattern.

    Click here to view the Fed's February 3 FOIA Denial, from which Inner City Press has already appealed, and click here to view the heavily redacted 34 page document that the Fed provided to Inner City Press (and Capital One to NCRC and the other protesters from which it had withheld this information). There is more.

Fed governors, nominated hedge funder not yet shown

Now, even the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency which is considering Capital One's HSBC application has taken to withholding in full information concerned Capital One, then making it difficult to appeal. But that's another story - watch this site.

Footnote: When JPMorgan Chase executive William Daley left as President Obama's chief of staff, to be replaced by Citigroup Jacob Lew, some wondered if JPM Chase might be losing access with Obama.

But now nominated to the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the head of JPMC's investment bank, Jeremiah Norton.  That is, an executive of one of the largest recipients of federal bailout funds is being placed to guard the FDIC, which insures deposits.

The move is similar tothenomination in December of a hedge fund executive from the Carlyle Group, Jay Powell, for an open seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

 Beyond the obvious overtones of putting foxes to guard the chicken house, what in fact was learned from the global financial meltdown? What conflict of interest safeguards would be in place? What for example will Occupy Wall Street do? Who can still say that the Emperor has no clothes? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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