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Fed Presidents Asked to Meet Lawmakers on Financial Overhaul

The presidents of four Federal Reserve banks have been invited to meet with members of Congress this week to discuss legislation to overhaul regulation of the financial system.

Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, the ranking Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, sent invitations to Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, Philadelphia’s Charles Plosser, Richmond’s Jeffrey Lacker and the Minneapolis Fed’s Narayana Kocherlakota to meet with members of Congress.

“The general topic would surround issues relating to the financial reform legislation,” said Jeff Schlagenhauf, Senate Republican staff director for the Joint Economic Committee, who sent the invitations on Brownback’s behalf. “The purpose was to provide an opportunity for an exchange of views and discussion that came from a non-Washington-New York point of view.”

Regional Fed bank presidents are in Washington to attend a two-day meeting of the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee that starts today.

Hoenig and Lacker are among the Fed presidents who are attempting to persuade lawmakers not to back a provision in senate legislation that would end central bank supervision over banks with less than $50 billion in assets. The Senate bill would shift supervision of smaller banks to other agencies.

“This will leave us ill-equipped for the next crisis,” Hoenig said this month at an event hosted by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. “I cannot imagine why any elected official outside of the immediate area we’re in would support this change,” Hoenig told the New York audience.

Fed District

Hoenig’s district includes all of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Colorado, as well as parts of Missouri and New Mexico. The Kansas City Fed oversees no single bank holding company with assets of more than $50 billion.

The four presidents were mentioned as attendees at a meeting with members of Congress in an e-mail sent to Republican staff on the House Financial Services Committee and obtained by Bloomberg News.

Schlagenhauf confirmed that the four had been invited, and said that New York Fed President William Dudley hadn’t been invited to preserve the non-Washington and non-Wall Street focus of the meeting. He didn’t say whether any of the other seven presidents had been invited.

Presidents of all 12 Federal Reserve Banks typically come to Washington to attend FOMC meetings. The committee will release its policy statement at around 2:15 p.m. tomorrow.

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