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Inside Washington (04/05/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (4/6/12)--President Barack Obama Wednesday signed into law a bipartisan bill that prevents members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information they gleaned on Capitol Hill. The STOCK Act amends the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require a governmentwide shift to electronic reporting and online availability of public financial disclosure information.  The measure requires that members of Congress and government employees report certain investment transactions within 45 days after a trade mandates that the information in public financial disclosure reports be made available on agency websites through searchable, sortable databases. The bill also includes ethics requirements, including pension forfeiture for corrupt members; mortgage disclosure term requirements; bans on special access to initial public offerings; requirements to report on political intelligence in financial markets; job seeking disclosure requirements; and bans on bonuses for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives …
  • WASHINGTON (4/6/12)--The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) raised credit standards this month to eliminate borrowers who appear to be at risk of default and those who may be disguising bad debt (American Banker April 5). The FHA, which is experiencing financial difficulties, said the move was necessary to protect itself from default by borrowers who have taken on too much debt. Some lenders have said the new requirements will help stop abuses of disputed credit accounts. Because disputed accounts are not factored into a borrower's credit score, some prospective homebuyers' scores are artificially inflated, allowing them to qualify for mortgages while they have unresolved debts. Others lenders say the new requirements further reduce the availability of potential homebuyers at a time when the market is under pressure to grow …


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