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Inside Washington (04/01/2011)
* WASHINGTON (4/4/11)--As talks between state attorneys general (AG) and mortgage servicers, regarding best practices for the servicing industry, seem to drag on, federal regulators are expected to move ahead on their own with cease-and-desist actions targeting 14 servicers (American Banker April 1). The enforcement orders are likely to spell out best practices on such things as documentation verification procedures, oversight from third parties and additional legal counsel, limitations for dual tracking foreclosures and modifications simultaneously, and a comprehensive look back to uncover prior mistakes. While some observers remarked that a comprehensive settlement would be preferable to individual actions, they agreed that the regulators need to perform oversight of the banks where there are determined weaknesses. But others said the separate enforcements benefit the servicers by giving more leverage to push back against the state AGs … * WASHINGTON (4/4/11)--Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), said he is concerned that pending House legislation aimed at an overhaul of compensation levels for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees could carry great risks for the conservatorships, and thereby to the American taxpayer. The legislation would apply a federal pay system to nonfederal employees at Freddie and Fannie (American Banker April 1). DeMarco said the bill would make it harder for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) to retain employees. He also maintained it would have the ironic effect of spurring more complaints about the size of the two housing-related GSEs. DeMarco cited other concerns regarding some of the eight GSE reform bills introduced last week by House Republicans. In a separate story, American Banker reported on an inspector general report released Thursday that questions whether the FHFA, as regulator of Freddie and Fannie, should do more to trim executive compensation packages at both GSEs. Fannie and Freddie CEOs combined received about $17 million in 2009 and 2010, the report noted. At the same time, the top six officers at the GSEs received more than $35 million total compensation. The IG report also notes that the U.S. Treasury Department, to date, has spent $153 billion to stabilize Freddie and Fannie …


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