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Inside Washington (01/07/2009)
* WASHINGTON (1/8/09)—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has posted on its website new guidance on how it will interpret states' compliance with the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act). States are required to have a system for licensing and registering loan originators if they want to participate in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. HUD’s review of the model legislation developed by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR) determined that it meets the requirements of the SAFE Act. The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) compliance team notes that HUD's guidance does not address the registration aspects of the law that affect credit unions. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the federal banking agencies are currently developing a system for registering credit union and bank employees on the nationwide licensing system and registry. Credit union and bank loan originators will not be required to comply with the state licensing requirements. The NCUA and the banking agencies have until August 2009 to develop their system, and credit unions are not required to do anything until the system is up an running. Additional agency announcements are expected in the next several months… * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--Lenders seeking licenses to originate Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages will have to wait while the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works overtime and on weekends to process the applications (American Banker Jan. 7). Brokers are hurrying to submit their applications so they don’t go out of business, said Scott Dodson, president, Federal Mortgage Licensing Inc. HUD recently cleared a backlog of applications that took five months to process. A typical application can be completed in two months. The slowdown in application processing is partly due to incomplete or poorly completed packages submitted by brokers. There are many ways to erroneously put together an application, and HUD does not have clear guidelines, Dodson said. The agency also is looking at large lenders for loan performance, added Brian Chapelle, former HUD official. HUD usually signs off on 90% of applications. For the year ending Sept. 30, HUD approved 3,297 applications, which is three times the number approved in 2007. About 70% of the applications were submitted by brokers ... * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--The Federal Reserve Board, Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released interagency questions and answers regarding the Community Reinvestment Act on Tuesday. The revised questions and answers encourage financial institutions to participate in foreclosure prevention programs. They also address activities that a majority-owned financial institution can take with a minority-owned institution or low-income credit union ... * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--Ronald Rosenfeld, chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, has resigned effective Dec. 31. “Under his leadership, the Federal Housing Finance board took steps to strengthen the oversight of the Federal Home Loan Banks and encouraged the banks to adopt policies that are in the best interests of the public,” said Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director James Lockhart. The FHFA announced Rosenfeld’s resignation Tuesday. Rosenfeld was appointed Dec. 14, 2004, to position ... * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Tuesday that he has made an agreement “in principle” with President-elect Barack Obama to release the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion rescue fund if banks agree to restrict executive compensation and help homeowners avoid foreclosure (Bloomberg Jan. 7). Frank and other members of Congress have criticized the Bush administration for not setting conditions on the first half of the bailout package. The Treasury also is working with Obama aides on releasing the remaining funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The department must notify lawmakers before accessing the funds, and lawmakers have about two weeks after being notified to block the money ...


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