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US financial regulatory group seeks more openness

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm •  Published: May 7, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of U.S. regulators has adopted rules intended to make its deliberations more open as it monitors threats to the financial system.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council voted Wednesday to publish an agenda for its open meetings at least seven days in advance and to release minutes of its meetings, among other things.

The council, which Congress created after the 2008 financial crisis, is led by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and includes Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

A 2012 report by congressional investigators found that the council needed to improve its communications with the public.

The council's annual report released Wednesday identified nonbank mortgage servicing companies, which are more lightly regulated than banks, as one area of potential risk.

Business interests that opposed the financial overhaul law that created the oversight council have accused it of operating without transparency. Among those business groups is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Scott Garrett, R-New Jersey, a member of the House Financial Services Committee and an outspoken critic of the overhaul law, said after the council's meeting that he wasn't satisfied with the changes.

The council "refuses to take serious steps to improve its lack of transparency — as exemplified by the fact that today's meeting was prefaced with a closed-door meeting," Garrett said in a statement. "Instead, it continues to operate in the dark with no accountability to the American people or Congress."

In a closed session of the council before its public meeting, Lew discussed the status of sanctions against Russian officials in response to Moscow's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and noted the effect of the sanctions on the Russian economy, the Treasury Department said in a news release.

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