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Inside Washington (04/06/2011)
* WASHINGTON (4/7/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has issued a Letter to Federal Credit Unions (11-FCU-04) that reiterates the agency’s recent decision to extend the current interest-rate ceiling on loans originated by federal credit unions through Sept. 10, 2012. The decision means the allowable annual percentage rate is 18% for most loans and 28% for loans made under NCUA’s recently approved Short-Term Small Loan program, which is intended to help credit unions battle predatory payday lending. In its letter, the NCUA notes that due to potential volatility in interest rates over the next 18 months, the agency will closely monitor credit markets and will reconsider the interest-rate ceiling before September 2012 should conditions warrant … * WASHINGTON (4/7/11)—Eight bills passed by the House Financial Services capital markets that aim to speed up the reform of the government-sponsored enterprises have the mortgage market worried (American Banker April 6). Democrats oppose the measures, citing a nervous mortgage market, while advocating a more comprehensive solution for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bills include a proposal by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) to suspend the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employee compensation systems; a bill by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) to end the GSEs’ affordable housing goals; a measure by Rep. Judy Biggert (R.-Ill.) to establish an inspector general within the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and a measure by oversight subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) to increase Fannie and Freddie’s guarantee fees over two years. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also introduced a bill to set annual limits on the size of each GSE’s retained portfolio, increasing the limits over five years … * WASHINGTON (4/7/11)--Former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for statements he made to Congress in 2007 regarding the government-sponsored enterprise’s financial health prior to its seizure by federal regulators (Bloomberg News April 6). At the time, Mudd told lawmakers Fannie Mae’s exposure to subprime loans was “minimal.” Within 18 months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under conservatorship as a result of massive loan losses. Regulators may be trying to determine the extent of Mudd’s knowledge about the loans when he testified before Congress. The SEC’s investigation includes several individuals who were executives at Fannie Mae during the crisis and centers on how the firm represented its exposure to subprime mortgages to investors. The SEC has notified Mudd and at least three other former executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that it intends to purse civil action enforcement against them. Among those served notices is Richard Syron, former CEO of Freddie Mac. Syron, testifying during the same congressional hearing as Mudd, said that Freddie Mac was not heavily invested in subprime loans … * WASHINGTON (4/7/11)--Although the bills are seen by some observers as having a long, perilous road before them, a House subcommittee Wednesday approved eight bills intended to reform the oversight and operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets and government-sponsored enterprises, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), said the passage of the bills “represents an important milestone in our ongoing effort to end the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, protect taxpayers from further losses and level the playing field so that the private sector can re-enter the marketplace.” The bills would next be considered by the full committee…


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