Editor's Note: This is a monthly publication on economic trends and financial policy issues. In this publication you can read "The Longbrake Letter", an analysis of economic trends and conditions written by Bill Longbrake, as well as commentary on financial regulation and policy written by members of the law firm Barnett, Sivon & Natter, P.C., a Washington, DC based law firm that specializes in financial services law.

ISSUE: #34, February 2013

The Longbrake Letter
- Bill Longbrake
In spite of negative GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, Bill Longbrake believes 2013 is likely to be a year of slow growth in the U.S. with improving momentum as the year progresses and the near-term negative impacts of higher federal taxes and reduced federal spending unwind. The trend in global economic activity should be moderately supportive of growth. In this month's letter, Bill discusses recent U.S. fiscal policy developments and prospects in detail and concludes that risks have diminished. He also provides updates on other aspects of the U.S. and global economies.

Implications of Canning Case on CFPB Rules.
- Ray Natter
This article reviews the recent court of appeals decision regarding President Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, its potential impact on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray and CFPB regulations, and the potential remedies a court may impose if it found Director Cordray's appointment to be unconstitutional.

Risk Retention is Unnecessary When Loan is a Qualified Mortgage.
- Bob Barnett
Both QM and QRM have as their goals the elimination of “bad” residential mortgage loans. Since the final QM rule establishes rigorous underwriting guidelines that in fact eliminate “bad “ loans, there is no need to have a second rule with a different definition to accomplish the same purpose. The risk retention rule should, therefore, should declare that any loan that meets the QM requirements will also meet the risk retention requirements.