The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Wednesday unveiled two measures to collaborate with the Treasury Department in establishing more transparency in financial markets. It’s part of the Treasury’s open government plan to publish more accessible data on tax returns, transaction reports of stimulus programs and quarterly bank trading and derivatives information. “Better government begins when citizens can understand and engage with their government,” said HUD secretary Shaun Donovan. “President Obama and I recognize that it’s important to give the public a better understanding of how we work and to give them a real voice in how we do business.” HUD will begin publishing an online database of historical data on the physical condition of public housing and multifamily units. HUD will also allow citizens access to an interactive “suggestion box” that will be considered in HUD’s long-term six-year strategic plan. “By engaging stakeholders through an open and participatory process, HUD will enable the American public to engage with HUD directly and provide input to create the most effective possible plan,” HUD said in a statement. The Treasury is doing its part to increase public access to data and information on government initiatives. The Treasury will provide more user-friendly data on tax returns, which will show migration patterns of tax filers moving across country and state lines. The Treasury will also introduce a new XML format for transaction reports of activity under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was recently extended through October 2010. The Treasury also said a quarterly report on bank trading and derivatives will be made available by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. The report provides information on the government’s supervision of banks, as well as financial institutions’ investment activities. The news comes as banks may face as much as tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue in part due to new derivatives rules cost financial institutions revenue from over-the-counter business, according to JP Morgan (JPM) estimates obtained by International Financing Review. Proposed legislation to require trades made through exchanges and central clearinghouses could cost JP Morgan from $2bn to $3bn. Write to Diana Golobay.
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