) -- Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will appear before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs at 10 a.m. on Tuesday in a hearing to review the bureau's progress since it was commissioned in July.

The first semi-annual report was released on Monday, detailing the activities of the unit since its launch under the leadership of Raj Date, special advisor to the Treasury.

The CFPB team now consists of more than 750 employees across the country, including more than 230 who transferred from federal banking regulators and other agencies

In the first six months, the CFPB received 13,210 complaints from consumers including 9,307 credit card complaints and 2,326 mortgage complaints.

Republicans have contested Cordray's appointment to the bureau during recess. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government reform committee, Cordray promised not to abuse powers. "It ... is not our intention to start going off and acting like we're some sort of mini-Congress, just doing anything we think is good and right," Cordray told members.

Banks appear to be gaining from the European banking crisis.


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JPMorgan Chase

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and other big banks have reported gaining some share in certain segments such as trade finance, as European banks withdraw from the segment in the process of deleveraging.

The latest Fed survey also points to the trend. About half of the banks surveyed who compete with European banks said they have noted an increase in business due to less competition from European lenders.

Meanwhile, "a large fraction" domestic and foreign respondents reported having tightened standards on loans to European banks or their affiliates and subsidiaries. The tightening of standards, already reported in October survey, was more widespread this time, according to the survey.

Overall, in the January survey, domestic banks reported that their lending standards had changed little and that they had experienced somewhat stronger loan demand, on net, over the past three months


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Chairman Richard Parsons is looking to retire from the bank's board, according to a

Wall Street Journal

report. Could this lead to a possible appointment of Vikram Pandit as Citigroup's Chairman?

According to Rochdale Securities analyst Richard Bove, a departure by Parsons could be seen as a "vote of confidence"in Vikram Pandit by the board.

While it is normally good corporate governance to separate the roles of Chairman and CEO, the practice is not widely followed among the big banks. Jamie Dimon and John Stumpf hold both roles at

JPMorgan Chase

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Wells Fargo

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respectively. Similarly, Lloyd Blankfein is Chairman and CEO of

Goldman Sachs

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Morgan Stanley

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CEO James Gorman assumed the title of Chairman this year after John Mack retired.

If Pandit is not appointed to Chairman, it could mean the bank is dedicated to superior corporate governance standards vis-à-vis the industry. But Bove thinks that if Citi's board does not appoint Pandit as Chairman, it could be seen as a negative statement about Pandit.

--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York

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Shanthi Bharatwaj


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