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Inside Washington (02/17/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (2/21/12)--A report released Wednesday found at least one irregularity in 99% of California foreclosures examined, an indication of how endemic foreclosure abuse had become. The report, conducted by Aequitas Compliance Solutions Inc. for San Francisco's Office of the Assessor-Recorder, examined 382 foreclosures in California between January 2009 and October 2011. One or more clear violations of law were found in 84% of the loans, and 82% of the loans had evidence of at least one suspicious activity. The report said California's mortgage industry has undergone "remarkable innovation" since its real estate laws were written. "If there is one lesson to take away from this report, it is that, with so many homes being foreclosed and with so little oversight, California's foreclosure process appears utterly broken," the report said …
  • WASHINGTON (2/21/12)--Because of a bipartisan deal in Congress, government benefits will not be paid for from an increase in guarantee fees on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. The government-sponsored enterprises' fees were raised in December to pay for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts, and there was discussion that an extension of payroll tax cuts, extended unemployment insurance benefits and higher Medicare reimbursement rates could be financed with another increase (American Banker Feb. 17). The Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group that represents lenders, had pressed lawmakers not to raise fees again. The deal reached by Congress Thursday will generate an estimated $15 billion in revenue by authorizing the Federal Communications Commission to auction television airwave licenses to wireless firms …
  • WASHINGTON (2/21/12)--Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed would make an effort to prevent new rules from hurting the competitiveness of community banks. "Community banks make a critical contribution to the prosperity of both their localities and the nation as a whole, which is why we at the Federal Reserve and the other banking agencies are acutely interested in their long-term strength and viability," Bernanke said at conference on the future of community banking. Bernanke said small banks are particularly concerned with the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. He said the Fed will work to ensure that the more stringent requirements intended for larger institutions will not find their way to small banks …
  • WASHINGTON (2/21/12)--Among the candidates to replace Fannie Mae Chief Executive Michael Williams are the government-sponsored enterprise's own general counsel and the head of a banking industry trade group. Fannie's general counsel, Timothy Mayopoulos, is a leading internal candidate to replace Williams, who announced in January that he would step down when his successor is found, according to a Wall Street Journal (Feb. 17) report. Among external candidates, David Stevens, the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and Shekar Narasimhan, a mortgage industry consultant, have emerged as contenders …


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