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Inside Washington (03/06/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (3/7/12)--The Dodd-Frank Act appears to have created a disconnect in efforts to synchronize financial reform between U.S. financial institutions and other countries, according to participants at an Institute of International Bankers conference. Dodd-Frank created a mandate for U.S. regulators to rewrite financial regulation following the financial crisis of 2008 (American Banker March 6). Those changes have created a stronger possibility of divergent views among international regulators, said Jill Sommers, a board member on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics Inc., said that despite efforts by the Basel committee to harmonize rules, every country must largely set its own regulatory agenda. Petrou said the gap between attempts to end "too big to fail" in the U.S. compared with its preservation in other nations is as wide as the Grand Canyon …
  • WASHINGTON (3/7/12)--As many as 27% of the 37 million U.S. student loan borrowers have past-due balances of 30 days or more, according to a report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "In sum, student loan debt is not just a concern for the young," the report said. "Parents and the federal government shoulder a substantial part of the postsecondary education bill." From the second to the third quarter of 2011, the total outstanding student loan balance grew 2.1%, to $870 billion from $852 billion. Over the same period, other types of consumer debt declined or remained flat. Of the 241 million people in the U.S. who have a credit report with Equifax--which provided the data for the study—about 37 million (15.4%) hold outstanding student loan debt. Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances as of third quarter 2011, roughly 14.4%, or about 5.4 million borrowers, have at least one past due student loan account. Together, these past due balances sum to $85 billion, or roughly 10% of the total outstanding student loan balance …
  • WASHINGTON (3/7/12)--The Obama administration said Tuesday it will reduce fees for certain borrowers who are refinancing mortgaged backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) streamlined program (The New York Times March 6). Under that program, mortgages must already be FHA insured and cannot be delinquent. The refinancing must result in a lowering of the borrower's monthly principal and interest payments, and no cash may be taken out on mortgages refinanced using the streamline refinance process. The White House said the FHA's upfront mortgage insurance premium will drop to 0.01% of the loan balance from 1% for loans that were originated before June 1, 2009 …


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