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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 11, 2010

Federal Reserve may yet rule over nonbank finance empire

Advertiser Staff and News Services

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"Avatar" became the biggest moneymaker in movie history.

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WASHINGTON The Federal Reserve, still dusting itself off from a fight that threatened to trim its powers, could emerge from a congressional overhaul of banking rules as the top cop over the nation's largest financial institutions.

Senate negotiators are considering giving the Fed the authority to supervise nonbank financial institutions that are so large and intertwined that their failure could pose a risk to the entire economy, according to people familiar with the evolving legislation.

The Fed also would retain its power to oversee nearly two dozen bank holding companies that hold about two-thirds of the banking system's assets, according to these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.


WASHINGTON The government ran up the largest monthly deficit in history in February, keeping the flood of red ink on track to top last year's record for the full year.

The Treasury Department said yesterday that the February deficit totaled $220.9 billion, 14 percent higher than the previous record set in February of last year.

The deficit through the first five months of this budget year totals $651.6 billion, 10.5 percent higher than a year ago.

The Obama administration is projecting that the deficit for the 2010 budget year will hit an all-time high of $1.56 trillion, surpassing last year's $1.4 trillion total. The administration is forecasting that the deficit will remain above $1 trillion in 2011, giving the country three straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits.


LOS ANGELES The appeal of 3-D movies helped boost movie ticket sales by nearly 8 percent to a record $29.9 billion worldwide in 2009, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

The jump, from $27.8 billion a year earlier, was driven by a rise in ticket prices and the first increase in attendance in the U.S. and Canada in two years, the MPAA said. On top of that, theaters worldwide benefited from the popularity of 3-D movies, as they brought in more moviegoers, who buy tickets that cost more than regular screenings.

There were 20 movies released in 3-D last year, including the blockbuster "Avatar" and animated "Up."


OMAHA, Neb. Warren Buffett brought home less pay than Berkshire Hathaway's chief financial officer again last year, but the company is paying more to protect the billionaire these days.

Buffett, chairman and chief executive of the Omaha, Neb.-based company, received $519,490 total compensation in 2009, an increase of 6 percent, according the proxy statement mailed to shareholders this week. The reason Buffett's compensation grew is Berkshire spent $28,781 more on his security.

Berkshire's chief financial officer, Marc Hamburg, saw his compensation grow 11 percent, to $874,750 in 2009, to remain the top earner at the company's 21-person headquarters.