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Inside Washington (01/28/2011)
* WASHINGTON (1/31/11)--The Appraisal Subcommittee of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (ASC) has initiated a project to study establishing a national appraisal complaint hotline as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The determination was made during the ASC’s open meeting on Jan. 12. The hotline would receive complaints of noncompliance with appraisal independence standards and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, and concerns about improper influencing of appraisers or the appraisal process … * WASHINGTON (1/31/11)--Observers are questioning the value of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s final report, citing a lack of consensus among commissioners, poor narrative of the crisis and bad timing (American Banker Jan. 28). After more than 18 months of research and investigation, the 662-page report is designed to provide bipartisan insight on the reasons behind the crisis and a description of the response following it. But the commission was divided along political lines. Democrats held the majority of the commission, which was established when the Democrats still held both houses of Congress. The majority view held that the crisis was caused primarily by human error related to overpriced housing, inadequate mortgage underwriting and risky securities. Also to blame were the investors, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and regulators for failing to identify the risk. The four Republican members of the commission all dissented from the majority view. William Longbrake, an executive-in-residence at the University of Maryland, said the report’s value is further diminished because the Dodd-Frank Act has been made into law and various agencies and committees are moving on with the details of the act … * WASHINGTON (1/31/11)--North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph A. Smith Jr. has withdrawn his name from consideration to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a White House statement (Bloomberg News Jan. 28). Smith was nominated by President Barack Obama in November to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie, Freddie and the 12 Home Loan Banks. Smith failed to win U.S. Senate confirmation after objections from Republicans. Smith would have replaced FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. The FHFA has overseen Fannie and Freddie since 2008, when they were taken into government conservatorship …


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