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Inside Washington (05/09/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (5/10/12)--The Obama administration pressed Republicans to pass legislation to make refinancing easier for troubled homeowners. During a speech in Albany, N.Y., President Barack Obama introduced a job-creation to-do list for Congress, which included passing the legislation. "First, Congress needs to help the millions of Americans who have worked hard, made their mortgage payments on time, but still have been unable to refinance their mortgages with these historically low rates," Obama said. "This would make a huge difference for the economy." The president estimated homeowners who refinanced would save at least $3,000 a year. In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan described how three proposed refinancing bills would help troubled homeowners (American Banker April 9). None of the bills have been introduced yet. One proposal would allow homeowners whose mortgages are not owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance into a government-backed loan. Another measure would remove existing barriers to refinancing for homeowners whose loans are already backed by Fannie or Freddie. The third measure offers an incentive for borrowers to rebuild equity in their homes by taking loans of shorter duration when they refinance …
  • WASHINGTON (5/10/12)--Lawmakers on Tuesday argued about whether Congress or the Federal Reserve deserved more blame for the continuing high unemployment rate. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), said the Fed has assumed Congress' traditional role in managing fiscal policy (American Banker April 9). Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has introduced a bill that would limit the Fed's focus to inflation and allow Congress to manage unemployment. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) pushed a counterproposal under which Federal Reserve Bank presidents would not vote at Federal Open Market Committee meetings.  Frank argued that because Federal Reserve Bank presidents are not nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, they should not have a significant role in the country's fiscal policy. But Frank also said Congress had failed to "step up" in addressing unemployment …
  • WASHINGTON (5/10/12)--The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering free networking and educational forums and dialogue with leading business experts during National Small Business Week, May 20-22 in Washington, D.C. The forums include a town hall with SBA Administrator Karen Mills on why small businesses are good for the long-term health of any economy; a social media forum on best practices for putting new media tools to work for small businesses; and an exporting forum on how SBA can help businesses find customers abroad.  The schedule also includes sessions on federal contracting, selling to large companies, and business matchmaking with major corporations and government agencies. The town hall and forum events will be webcast live to allow business owners across the country to participate if they cannot attend in person. While registration is required to attend forums and sessions in person, the live online webcast will be available free at www.NationalSmallBusinessWeek.com. To register to attend, find more information on the live webcast, or for a detailed schedule of events and speakers, visit the National Small Business Week website. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase their MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%, to allow credit unions to make more loans. CUNA estimates that lifting the cap would infuse $13 billion into the economy through small business loans and help create 140,000 jobs.…
  • WASHINGTON (5/10/12)--The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) Wedesday released a study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which examined whether the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI) and the New Markets Tax Credits Program (NMTC) were meeting goals set for proportionally awarding organizations that serve rural areas. The "study found that the CDFI Fund has met or exceeded its rural proportionality goals," said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. "This is a testament to the CDFI Fund's commitment to providing financing to revitalize all struggling communities, urban and rural alike." U.S. House Report 112-136, referenced by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, requires that GAO conduct a study on the concentration of CDFIs and NMTCs in urban areas and comment on the extent that program design, administration, or history contributed to the early establishment of CDFIs in urban areas. The GAO study found that the CDFI Program has a successful review process and established goals of matching the proportion of awards to the proportion of qualified applicants that primarily serve nonmetropolitan areas. The full summary can be found here ...


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