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Inside Washington (05/23/2008)
* WASHINGTON (5/27/08)--At a House Financial Services Committee hearing Thursday, lawmakers questioned why the temporary increase in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s conforming loan limits haven’t done much to help the mortgage market. Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) noted his disappointment in the minimal impact (American Banker May 23). The increase in the limits to $729,750 was made three months ago and will expire at the end of this year. Vince Malta, chairman of the National Association of Realtors public policy coordinating committee, said there hasn’t been enough time to see an impact ... * WASHINGTON (5/27/08)--Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) John Dugan said Thursday that home equity loans should be tightened. He encouraged lenders to improve the measures they use to verify income and analyze collateral (American Banker May 27). Loose underwriting and dropping home values triggered big losses--$2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the first quarter of 2007, he said. Lenders also should avoid interest-only loans, because they shift larger levels of debt to borrowers and hamper their ability to make payments, he added ... * WASHINGTON (5/27/08)--Steven Preston, the Bush administration’s pick for head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was briefed on the difficulty of the housing job at his confirmation hearing last week before the Senate Banking Committee. Preston would be expected to implement a mortgage rescue program. Senators at the hearing also pushed Preston to approve a bill that would let the Federal Housing Administration back mortgages for more than the homes' value. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (D-Ala.) both said Preston would need to implement the plan, though the Bush administration has not yet approved it ... * WASHINGTON (5/27/08)--National Credit Union Administration Vice Chairman Rodney Hood spoke to 55 Connecticut credit union leaders at a luncheon May 14 in Berlin, Conn. He reviewed mortgage relief, risk-based capital and member business-lending legislation. He also talked about his new initiative, “Blueprint for 2020: A Plan to Strengthen the Future of Credit Unions,” which addresses succession planning and the challenges credit unions face in recruiting candidates from Generations X and Y. In development is an internship program that would involve colleges and universities working with credit unions. Pictured are (from left): Anthony L. Emerson, Credit Union League of Connecticut president/CEO; Kelly R. Fuhlbrigge, league vice president, government relations; and Hood. (Photo provided by the Connecticut Credit Union League) ... * WASHINGTON (5/27/08)--Members United Corporate FCU, Warrenville, Ill., sponsored its first annual cooperative “Hike the Hill” in Washington, D.C. May 13-14. Over 30 visits were made with legislators and their staff to better acquaint lawmakers about Members United, the credit union network and its functionality, and current legislation of special interest to all credit unions. Members United representatives were joined by leaders from the New York State Credit Union League, New Jersey Credit Union League, Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, Indiana Credit Union League, Mid-America Credit Union Association, Illinois Credit Union League, Association of Corporate Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association. “This was a great opportunity to walk the halls of our lawmakers with our league and association partners as it clearly demonstrated the cooperative spirit of credit unions,” said Joseph P. Herbst, CEO, Members United, who noted "we were pleased with the very positive reception we received from the legislators and their staff as we discussed the foundations of the Credit Union Network and the vital role it plays with regard to serving American consumers.” Pictured are: (from left) John Fenton, president/CEO, Affinity FCU; Herbst; Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.); Paul Gentile, president/CEO, New Jersey league; and Brad Miller, executive director, Association of Corporate Credit Unions. (Photo provided by Members United Corporate FCU) ...


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