Regional Roundup

St. Louis Fed Publishes Homebuyers Guide

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has published a brochure that lists St. Louis-area homebuyer counseling providers and a summary of their programs.

The brochure is in response to recommendations from the four groups of the St. Louis Mortgage Credit Partnership project (MCP). The MCP project, co-sponsored by the St. Louis Fed and the Institute for Policy Leadership at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, is an ongoing effort to identify and eliminate barriers to affordable housing in the city of St. Louis. Members of the MCP project studied all areas related to the homebuying process, including lending, appraisal, real estate, insurance and the secondary market.

The brochure is available free of charge. It is also available on the St. Louis Fed's web site at www.stlouisfed.org. For more information, contact Kristi O'Dell at (314) 444-8761.

One-Stop Shopping for Direct Payment Utility Bills

The St. Louis Fed has produced a brochure that financial institutions in the St. Louis area can use to increase their customers' use of direct payment for utility bills. The brochure contains an enrollment form in which customers can sign up for direct payment with multiple utility companies. Participating financial institutions will mail the brochure to their customers in June.

By simply filling out the form and mailing it in with a voided check, customers can begin using direct payment for the utility bills of their choice. The brochure also contains frequently asked questions about direct payment.

Participating utilities include: Illinois Power, AmerenUE, St. Louis County Water Co., St. Louis City Water, Laclede Gas, Metropolitan Sewer District, Illinois-American Water Company and Charter Communications.

For more information, or to order a supply of the brochures, call Laura Vermillion at (314) 444-8946.

Agencies Withdraw "Know Your Customer" Rule after Unprecedented Response

After receiving an unprecedented number of negative responses that climbed to more than 200,000, banking regulatory agencies withdrew the proposed "Know Your Customer" rule in late March. The agencies had invited comment on the rule beginning last December.

The onslaught of responses against the anti-money laundering proposal came from the public, banking organizations, industry trade associations and members of Congress. Most of the comments reflected public concern over the privacy of information that would be collected and held by financial institutions. Other responses addressed the burden the proposed rule would impose on financial institutions.

In a joint statement, the agencies reiterated that "the withdrawal of the proposed rule does not diminish in any manner our long-standing support for the anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act."

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