Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED
The Argentine Financial Crisis: A Chronology of Events
Argentina’s current crisis resulted from a confluence of events, some external to Argentina’s policy process, others directly related to its political and economic choices. The following is a summary of these events from before Argentina’s adoption of the currency board in 1991 to developments in early 2002.
The Argentine Financial Crisis: A Chronology of Events
Argentina’s current crisis resulted from a confluence of events, some external to Argentina’s policy process, others directly related to its political and economic choices. The following is a summary of these events from before Argentina’s adoption of the currency board in 1991 to developments in early 2002.
Agricultural Credit: Institutions and Issues
The federal government has a long history of providing credit assistance to farmers by issuing direct loans and guarantees, and creating rural lending institutions. These institutions include the Farm Credit System (FCS), which is a network of borrower-owned lending institutions operating as a government-sponsored enterprise, and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which makes or guarantees loans to farmers who cannot qualify at other lenders. When loans cannot be repaid, special bankruptcy provisions help family farmers reorganize debts and continue farming (P.L. 109-8 made Chapter 12 permanent and expanded eligibility). S. 238 and H.R. 399 (the Rural Economic Investment Act) would exempt commercial banks from paying taxes on profits from farm real estate loans, thus providing similar benefits as to the Farm Credit System.
Brazil's Economic Reform and the Global Financial Crisis
Despite backing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), capital flight from Brazil in 1998 prompted the government to jettison its pegged currency stabilization program and float the real on January 15, 1999, becoming another casualty of the volatile international capital markets. Brazil adjusted to its financial crisis faster than expected, which is considered over. This report provides a final summary of Brazil's financial crisis and related IMF assistance in support of Congressional interest in various aspects of the 1990s global financial turmoil. It will not be updated.
Electronic Banking: The Check Truncation Issue
If all checks were replaced by electronic transactions, the exact cost savings would still be unknown, because estimates of the cost of using a check and the number of checks written each year remain in dispute. Consequently, estimates of cost savings range from $1.4 billion annually for truncation alone to $68 billion for replacing checks with electronic payments. A significant part of the savings comes from eliminating the handling, sorting, and physically transporting of checks to the paying bank. To clear checks electronically, banks must negotiate processing agreements thatmake it unnecessary to physically present the paper check. Since the benefits are not uniformly dispersed among the participants, banks have found it difficult to obtain these agreements, thus constraining the widespread adoption of electronic check clearing.
Electronic Banking: The Check Truncation Issue
If all checks were replaced by electronic transactions, the exact cost savings would still be unknown, because estimates of the cost of using a check and the number of checks written each year remain in dispute. Consequently, estimates of cost savings range from $1.4 billion annually for truncation alone to $68 billion for replacing checks with electronic payments. A significant part of the savings comes from eliminating the handling, sorting, and physically transporting of checks to the paying bank. To clear checks electronically, banks must negotiate processing agreements thatmake it unnecessary to physically present the paper check. Since the benefits are not uniformly dispersed among the participants, banks have found it difficult to obtain these agreements, thus constraining the widespread adoption of electronic check clearing.
Electronic Banking: The Check Truncation Issue
If all checks were replaced by electronic transactions, the exact cost savings would still be unknown, because estimates of the cost of using a check and the number of checks written each year remain in dispute. Consequently, estimates of cost savings range from $1.4 billion annually for truncation alone to $68 billion for replacing checks with electronic payments. A significant part of the savings comes from eliminating the handling, sorting, and physically transporting of checks to the paying bank. To clear checks electronically, banks must negotiate processing agreements thatmake it unnecessary to physically present the paper check. Since the benefits are not uniformly dispersed among the participants, banks have found it difficult to obtain these agreements, thus constraining the widespread adoption of electronic check clearing.
The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues
This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues
This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues
This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues
This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues
This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues
This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Federal Credit Reform: Implementation Of the Changed Budgetary Treatment of Direct Loans and Loan Guarantees
This report explains the provisions of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA), examine the implementation of credit reform including credit reform provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA97), and discusses proposed modifications of credit reform. In order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to initially discuss justifications for credit programs, federal credit concepts, and the budgetary treatment of federal credit before the FCRA.
Understanding Mortgage Foreclosure: Recent Events, the Process, and Costs
This report provides a general analysis and overview of current foreclosure issues addressed in the bills cited above. It begins with a description of the behavior of aggregate foreclosure rates. The behaviors of foreclosure rates are placed in the context of activity in the housing and mortgage market to illustrate any relationships. The foreclosure process is then explained, first from the point of view of a traditional financial lending institution, and then from the viewpoint of securitization when loans are sold in secondary markets. Finally, this report collects information from other studies to obtain an estimate of the average foreclosure costs. A brief discussion of the effect uniform foreclosure legislation may have on costs follows.
Auditor Oversight: Proposals for New Regulator
This report provides basic background information on current regulation of auditors and summarizes alternatives now under consideration. Reforms proposed by Congress and the executive branch focus on oversight of the independent auditor, whose responsibility (in the broadest sense) is to certify that a corporation’s accounting statements reflect its true financial condition.
Credit Card Minimum Payments
Recently, credit card issuers began adjusting their minimum payment formulas, raising the amount of the required monthly payment. Congress has focused on the need to increase consumer awareness of the financial jeopardy that can result from paying only the required minimum. This report provides an overview of the issues and congressional action. It will be updated as events warrant.
Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 113th Congress
This report discusses the legislation in the 113th Congress regarding insurance regulation. Among the insurance regulatory issues addressed by legislation in the 113th Congress are the application of federal orderly liquidation authority to insurers (addressed in H.R. 605); the supervision of some insurers by the Federal Reserve (addressed in H.R. 2140, H.R. 4510, H.R. 5461, S. 2102, and S. 2270); and the licensing of insurance agents and brokers (addressed in S. 534, S. 1926, S. 2244, H.R. 1155/H.R. 1064, and H.R. 4871).
Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 113th Congress
This report discusses the legislation in the 113th Congress regarding insurance regulation. Among the insurance regulatory issues addressed by legislation in the 113th Congress are the application of federal orderly liquidation authority to insurers (addressed in H.R. 605); the supervision of some insurers by the Federal Reserve (addressed in H.R. 2140, H.R. 4510, H.R. 5461, S. 2102, and S. 2270); and the licensing of insurance agents and brokers (addressed in S. 534, S. 1926, S. 2244, H.R. 1155/H.R. 1064, and H.R. 4871).
Annuities and the Securities and Exchange Commission Proposed Rule 151A
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released a proposed rule that would effectively reclassify equity indexed annuities as a security product in addition to being an insurance product. This report presents the different types of annuities, explains the taxation of annuities, and disentangles the federal and state roles in the regulation of annuities. It outlines the proposed SEC rule and its current status.
Insurance Regulation: Issues, Background, and Legislation in the 111th Congress
This report discusses congressional and action on insurance regulation in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Although the financial crisis has changed the focus of the debate surrounding insurance regulatory reform, many of the pre-crisis pressures for regulatory changes continue.
Tax Gap: Proposals in the 110th Congress to Require Brokers to Report Basis on Publicly Traded Securities
Recent and projected large deficits and the need for revenue to offset spending or tax reduction proposals generated congressional and executive branch interest in different proposals to reduce the tax gap; and consequently, raise additional revenue. Proposals in the 110th Congress to require brokers to report adjusted basis on publicly traded securities sold by individuals are examined in this report.
Common Legal Questions and Answers Concerning Currency, Legal Tender and Money
This report answers common legal questions relating to currency, legal tender, and money.
H.R. 2415: Bankruptcy Reform in the Closing Days of the 106th Congress
No Description Available.
Predatory Lending: Background on the Issue and Overview of Legislation in the 106th Congress
This report presents an overview of the predatory lending issue, a summary of present law, a summary of joint HUD and Treasury recommendations to address the issue, and a side-by-side summary of five bills introduced in the 106th Congress that addressed the issue. Though no action occurred on these bills, the issue is expected to continue in the 107th Congress.
Multiple-Group Federal Credit Unions: An Update
No Description Available.
One Million Personal Bankruptcies a Year: Economic Implications and Policy Options
This report examines various explanations for the rapid rise in personal bankruptcy filings in the United States since 1980, the economic significance of the phenomenon, and policy options. This discussion and analysis provide a background for consideration of legislation before the 105th Congress ( H.R. 3150 and S. 1301), which proposes to reform the consumer bankruptcy process.
Global Financial Turmoil, the IMF, and the New Financial Architecture
No Description Available.
Global Financial Turmoil, the IMF, and the New Financial Architecture
No Description Available.
An Economic Analysis and Brief Legislative Overview of Usury Ceilings
This report gives an economic analysis of usury ceilings, laws which set the maximum legal rate of interest to be charged on particular types of loans. It provides a brief overview of recent Federal l e g i s l a t i o n dealing with usury, with special emphasis on the Federal authorities mandated by P.L. 96-221, and the effectiveness of Federal preemption of State usury laws.
Saving Rates: An International Comparison
No Description Available.
Mergers and Consolidation Between Banking and Financial Services Firms: Trends and Prospects
No Description Available.
Mergers and Consolidation Between Banking and Financial Services Firms: Trends and Prospects
No Description Available.
Mergers and Consolidation Between Banking and Financial Services Firms: Trends and Prospects
No Description Available.
Mergers and Consolidation Between Banking and Financial Services Firms: Trends and Prospects
No Description Available.
Mixing Banking and Commerce Using Federal Deposit Insurance: Industrial Banks and Nonbank Banks
No Description Available.
Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2014 Appropriations
This report discusses the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill that provides funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and more than two dozen independent agencies.
Managing Farm Risk in a New Policy Era
This report discusses the enhancements to the crop insurance and revenue insurance programs that are expected to be considered by the 106th Congress in order to improve the farm financial safety net and preclude the need for ad hoc legislative assistance.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
No Description Available.
U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues
No Description Available.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers. This report discusses the Bank's budget and related legislation, including the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, signed by President Barack Obama and authorizing spending limitations for the Bank.
Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues
This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.
Currency Manipulation: The IMF and WTO
This report describes how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) deal with the issue of currency manipulation. It also discusses apparent discrepancies in their charters and ways those differences might be addressed.
East Asia's Foreign Exchange Rate Policies
This report examines the de facto foreign exchange rate policies adopted by the monetary authorities of East Asia. In some cases, there is a perceived discrepancy between the official (de jure) exchange rate policy and the observed de facto exchange rate policy. This report will focus primarily on the de facto exchange rate policies
Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?
This report explains what the Social Security trust funds are and how they work. It describes the historical operations of the trust funds and the Social Security trustees' projections of future operations. It explains what could happen if Congress allowed the trust funds to run out. It also analyzes two scenarios that assume Congress waits until the moment of insolvency to act, showing the magnitude of benefit cuts or tax increases needed and how such changes would affect beneficiaries.
Greece's Debt Crisis: Overview, Policy Responses, and Implications
Greece is currently facing such a sovereign debt crisis. On May 2, 2010, the Eurozone members and International Monetary Fund (IMF) endorsed a historic €110 billion (about $145 billion) financial package for Greece in an effort to avoid a Greek default and to stem contagion of Greece's crisis to other European countries, particularly Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy. This report provides an overview of the crisis; outlines the major causes of the crisis, focusing on both domestic and international factors; examines how Greece, the Eurozone members, and the IMF have responded to the crisis; and highlights the broader implications of Greece's debt crisis, including for the United States.