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Changes to cramdown bill insufficient says CUNA
WASHINGTON (3/5/09)—The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 1106 today, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) said that even with modifications made earlier this week, the bill’s mortgage cramdown language will be too broad. However, CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said Wednesday that CUNA believes there still will be an opportunity to limit the scope, application, and duration of the legislation when it is considered in the Senate. The House bill, called the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, contains language permitting judicial modification of mortgages, an action called a cramdown. While CUNA has serious concerns with the loan modification language of the bill, the credit union group strongly supports another provision that makes higher share and deposit insurance ceilings permanent. CUNA’s Donovan said that changes made to the cramdown provisions during House consideration of the bill this week do not go far enough in terms of directing bankruptcy judges to force interest rate modifications before cramming down the mortgage principal. “We had been hopeful that the amendment would include language prohibiting cramdown on modified mortgages that met the conditions of the President's foreclosure prevention plan,” Donovan said, referring to the plan unveiled by the U.S. Treasury Dept. yesterday. “Unfortunately, it appears the revised language only uses the President's plan as a guideline for the courts to follow, not a limitation on what type of loans the courts can cramdown or what the courts can do to those loans. “Therefore, while the revised language is better than what is currently in the bill, we will not be able to support the bill even with this language,” Donovan said. He noted CUNA’s work in the Senate, to narrow the cramdown authority in the bill, is fully in action.


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