From: Sara Gagne-Holmes [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:17 PM
Subject: FDIC RIN 3064-AD37
November 12, 2008
RE: FDIC Regulatory Comments
RIN # 3064–AD37
I am writing on behalf of Maine Equal Justice Partners (MEJP), a
nonprofit civil legal aid provider in Maine, to respectfully request that
the FDIC revise the published Interim Rule regarding the Transaction Account
Guarantee Program of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program by amending
the proposed regulations to include Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA)
in the definition of covered accounts. Unless IOLTA accounts are included in
the definition of “covered accounts,” civil legal aid providers, who are the
recipients of the IOLTA program, will be unable to continue to provide free
quality civil legal aid to American’s poorest and most vulnerable at their
current levels. Maine Equal Justice Partners is one of five statewide civil
legal aid providers in Maine that receives significant funding from IOLTA.
For MEJP, IOLTA funding generally comprises 26% of our annual budget,
without which we would have to eliminate critical services and reduce an
already bare bones staff.
IOLTA accounts often hold client funds for short periods of time that
exceed the $250,000 coverage limit, such as large settlements for multiple
clients prior to distribution and real estate transactions. It is not a
viable option for attorneys to establish multiple accounts at various
financial institutions for amounts over $250,000. If IOLTA accounts are not
defined as a “covered account” under the TLGP, then attorneys will place
client funds in other unlimited insurance accounts, which will result in
less available funding to provide access to justice for the poor.
In these difficult economic times, please do not force lawyers to abandon
a program that provides much needed revenue for civil legal aid providers
who serve the poor, especially when such providers are experiencing an
increase in need for their services due to the increasing unemployment and
uninsured rate, foreclosures and evictions. If we truly are a nation that
believes in justice for all, then I respectfully request that the TLGP
proposed regulations include IOLTA in the definition of covered accounts.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.
Sara Gagné-Holmes, Esq.
Maine Equal Justice Partners
126 Sewall St.
Augusta, ME 04330