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Housing bill could move to Presidents desk this week
WASHINGTON (7/21/08)—A comprehensive housing rescue plan may be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law this week, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Senior Legislative Representative John Hildreth. Hildreth said the bill will include a plan offered by U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Hank Paulson to bolster confidence in secondary mortgage industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “Because the Bush administration wants Congress to act quickly to give Treasury emergency powers to lift the cap on Fannie and Freddie's line of credit at Treasury and also to allow Paulson to purchase equity in the two (government-sponsored enterprises) GSEs, the bill takes on added urgency and could soon be passed by the Congress and signed into law,” Hildreth noted. In broad terms, this omnibus housing bill would allow the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to refinance $300 billion worth of subprime mortgages to assist some of the country's 2.2 million borrowers expected to face the threat of foreclosure on their homes over the next few years. The bill also modernizes the FHA as well as the regulatory structure of the GSEs. CUNA supports the overall bill but has lobbied against certain provisions in the legislation, such as the national registration of bank and credit union loan originators, a new IRS reporting requirement for payment card processors, and a cumbersome GSE product approval process. Key lawmakers continued to work on a compromise last week and emerged from closed-door sessions last week saying they were inching toward a deal on the bill. (American Banker July 18). At that time the House was expected to vote on a final bill by July 23, and the goal was for the Senate to accept it shortly thereafter without making changes.

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