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Inside Washington (02/23/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (2/24/12)--The Obama administration on Thursday released a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" that would give internet users more control over their personal information. The bill of rights states that consumers have the right to determine what personal data is collected by online firms, and to ensure that that data is handled securely and responsibly. They are also entitled to access and correct their personal data, and can "expect that organizations will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent" with the context in which they provide the data. Consumers also have the right to "easily understandable information about privacy and security practices," the proposal adds. The administration said these guidelines would be used as new privacy related laws and regulations are crafted. …
  • WASHINGTON (2/24/12)--Officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offered assurances that U.S. taxpayers will not subsidize the $26 billion mortgage settlement. An article in last Friday's Financial Times argued that there is a taxpayer subsidy because modifications performed under the Treasury's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) are eligible for credit under the settlement. In a blog post Wednesday, HUD said servicers cannot use HAMP incentives to meet their obligations under the settlement. HAMP pays incentives to encourage mortgage modifications, HUD said. While the incentives may include payments for reducing principal, most HAMP modifications do not include principal reduction. The settlement does not give any credit for these HAMP modifications. For the modifications that do include principal reduction, servicers only receive credit for the portion of the principal reduction that they themselves pay for, not for the portion covered by incentives in the program, HUD said …
  • WASHINGTON (2/24/12)--Carol Galante, acting assistant commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Wednesday said Bank of America's $1 billion dollar payment from the mortgage settlement was not a "gift" to bail out the FHA's mortgage insurance fund, but compensation for previous losses (American Banker Feb. 23). Galante did not dispute that the payment essentially kept the FHA's mortgage insurance fund from going in the red. As part of the $26 billion settlement with the five majors servicers, BofA agreed to a pay $l billion to resolve allegations of "fraudulent and wrongful conduct." The FHA plans to announce premium increases next week, said Galante, who spoke at a conference for mortgage servicers hosted by the Mortgage Bankers Association in Orlando, Fla. …
  • WASHINGTON (2/24/12)--Know anyone with a background in consumer protection, financial services, fair lending and civil rights, consumer financial products or services, or community development, who is not a federal lobbyist?  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Thursday that it is seeking nominations of just such people to become members of its Consumer Advisory Board. That panel of consumer experts will advise the bureau on emerging trends and practices in the financial services and products industry. Details of how to submit a nomination are included in a Federal Register document


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