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Inside Washington (06/18/2012)
WASHINGTON (6/19/12)--The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday released a revised, more user-friendly version of its electronic application for disaster recovery assistance loans. Under the new online loan application process, users will be provided with simple, electronic versions of home and business loan applications. Under the previous process, users were guided through the application process based on their answers to a series of questions. "Our goal is to provide support for those rebuilding after a disaster, and we wanted to make the process more user-friendly," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. The application revisions will make the first steps toward disaster recovery "more convenient," she added. Homeowners and renters who suffered damages to their homes and personal property following a declared disaster can apply for help from the SBA…

WASHINGTON (6/19/12)—The FHFA in a release said it has directed government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to avoid purchasing mortgages where Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program financing, with priority liens, have been attached to the underlying property. "Such financing moves ahead of the pre-existing first mortgage in lien priority, and thereby subordinates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac security interests in the property," the release said. The PACE Program allows local governments to fund energy efficiency initiatives through bond initiatives. The bonds are then paid off by the local homeowners and landowners that benefit from the energy efficiency upgrade, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. PACE programs can, however, pose unusual and difficult risk management challenges for lenders, servicers and mortgage securities investors, the FHFA has previously said. The National Credit Union Administration in recent years has encouraged credit union lenders to understand the implications of PACE loan programs which could potentially usurp a lenders senior lien position on a mortgage, undermine the underwriting decisions made by the lender at the time of mortgage origination, and bypass consumer protections required prior to the extension of credit…

WASHINGTON (6/19/12)—As a vote on agricultural policy legislation approaches, bankers have stepped into the debate, encouraging lawmakers not to weaken the federal crop insurance program (American Banker June 18). A number of legislators have proposed bills that would reduce or limit government subsidies paid to farmers, which can total a combined $7 billion in government spending per year. Bankers have claimed many farmers would not be able to afford their crop insurance premiums without government-provided payment assistance. A lack of adequate insurance could result in unpaid loans, if crops are damaged before they can be harvested…


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