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Washington
House Fin. Services approves trio of bills
WASHINGTON (4/29/10)--The House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday approved a series of legislative proposals that address insurance for floods, other catastrophes, and mortgages. Under legislation introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and approved by the committee, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will now be extended for a further five years. The NFIP has been recently reliant on temporary month-to-month extensions and will expire on May 31 without congressional action. The NFIP, which, according to a finance committee statement, provides “reliable, affordable flood insurance coverage for millions of American homes and businesses,” is important to credit unions because the mortgages they write for properties in a floodplain are required to have flood insurance. Waters also drafted H.R. 5072, the FHA Reform Act of 2010, which “will empower FHA to improve its financial position by allowing the agency to adjust its premium structure for new borrowers, while still providing affordable mortgage insurance to the individuals FHA is intended to serve including low-income and minority borrowers and individuals in traditionally underserved areas.” According to a Finance Services Committee press release, H.R. 5072 “also provides FHA with enhanced authority to terminate lenders’ approval to originate or underwrite loans backed by FHA insurance when FHA finds evidence of fraud or noncompliance” and strengthens the FHA’s own internal reporting systems. The committee also approved H.R. 2555, the Homeowners' Defense Act, on a 39 to 26 vote. The legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and currently has 74 House co-sponsors, would create a national catastrophe insurance pool that would be made available to disaster-prone states nationwide. All three bills will now move on to the full House for consideration.


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