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From: Karin Crump [mailto:karin@lakesidemediation.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:06 PM
To: Comments
Cc: betty Torres
Subject: FDIC RIN 3064-AD37

Ms. Sheila C. Bair
Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
550 17th Street, NW
Room 6028
Washington, DC 20429

Dear Chairman Bair:

I am a Texas attorney who is interested in legal services to the poor and the Chairman of the Texas Supreme Court Task Force to Expand Legal Service Delivery. I wish to raise my grave concern about the potential unintended consequences to the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program associated with the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP) and ask that you allow IOLTA accounts to be considered non-interest bearing for the purposes of the guarantee proposed under the new plan. This would allow a much-needed accommodation for legal services but allow you implement your interim rules. This small measure would ensure that the critical resources generated by the IOLTA program to provide legal representation to the impoverished are not adversely affected. Texas is already severely lacking in funding for services to the poor. This measure, as currently drafted, could prove disastrous to our state, which was just hit with back to back hurricanes and all of the legal needs that followed those storms. IOLTA funds in Texas are an absolutely necessary source of revenue for basic civil legal services to the poor in Texas. These individuals are the most vulnerable in our communities, including the elderly, persons with disabilities and victims of domestic abuse. Without this source of funding, the citizens ably served by these programs would, in effect, be excluded altogether from participation in our justice system, and would consequently be deprived of any ability to obtain its protection. We simply cannot sit by and watch this happen without speaking up for those in need.

I urge the FDIC to consider IOLTA accounts as non-interest bearing accounts under the terms of the TLGP. This position is supported by the very structure of IOLTA. No attorney or client have any expectation of receiving interest on the short-term escrow accounts that are accumulated to support the provision of legal assistance to the poor. Through legal services offices funded through IOLTA funds received by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, I have had the opportunity to represent individuals who would have never had the funds to hire an attorney. The funds pay for court costs, allow for translators, and cover basic overhead expenses for the few legal services offices that we still have here. With the desperate condition of our economy, it is likely that legal services funding will decrease even further. IOLTA is a means for lawyers to help fund legal services without paying out of pocket. If the FDIC cannot consider IOLTA accounts to be non-interest bearing, we would ask in the alternative that an exception be made in the TLGP interim rules providing unlimited deposit insurance to IOLTA accounts.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration of our request on such short notice. I would be happy to provide further information at any time. I may be reached at the cell phone number below.

Sincerely,

Karin Crump
Chair, Texas Supreme Court Task Force to Expand Legal Service Delivery

 


Last Updated 11/13/2008 Regs@fdic.gov