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Inside Washington (03/02/2011)
* WASHINGTON (3/3/11)--Although U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner did not endorse a specific approach that would take the country into the future of its housing finance system, he did offer clues to the future of the government-sponsored housing enterprises (GSE) when he testified Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee (American Banker March 2). The Obama administration has outlined three options for reforming the GSEs. One option would significantly cut back government support, leaving just the Federal Housing authority and a few other programs to help low-income borrowers with housing needs. A second, similar plan would create a government guarantee that could play a larger role in tough times but be scaled back during an economic boom. The last option would allow a group of private mortgage companies to provide guarantees for mortgage-backed securities. They would have to meet some tough underwriting standards, and only then would the federal government supply reinsurance to the securities holders, for which it would charge a premium to offset taxpayer losses. And holders of the securities would get paid only if shareholders were wiped out ... * NEW YORK (3/3/11)--Formerly the top economic researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, John Williams has been named to serve as its president/CEO (Dow Jones March 2). Williams' appointment was effective immediately when announced Tuesday; he replaces Janet Yellin, who resigned last October ...


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