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Inside Washington (07/11/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (7/12/12)--The White House yesterday announced executive orders that will relaunch the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small Loan Advantage Program and increase the maximum loan amount available under that program to $350,000. The cap was previously set at $250,000. Paperwork for disaster loans and other SBA loans would also be reduced under another executive order …
  • WASHINGTON (7/12/12)--Freddie Mac is exploring ways to reduce the amount it pays for force-placed insurance, according to an executive with the second-largest insurance carrier in the market. The government-sponsored enterprise is in discussion with a trade group to develop a lender-placed insurance cost solution to lower the cost to the investor program, John Dickson, a vice president of QBE First Insurance Services, at a hearing held by Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation last week (American Banker July 11). Under standard mortgage terms, borrowers are contractually obligated to maintain hazard insurance. In the event that homeowners fail to maintain such coverage, mortgage servicers are entitled to buy force-placed coverage on their behalf and bill the homeowners. Consumer advocates and insurance regulators in New York and California have criticized banks for reinsuring or collecting commissions on the policies they buy, saying the policies amount to kickbacks and inflate the price of coverage …
  • WASHINGTON (7/12/12)--Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) Tuesday outlined the committee's plan for looking into allegations of potential widespread manipulation of the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) and other rates. LIBOR is used by financial institutions to set interest rates on a variety of financial products including mortgages, student loans and credit cards. LIBOR for the U.S. dollar is set based on information provided by 18 global financial institutions, including several U.S. banks. "At my direction, the committee staff has begun to schedule bipartisan briefings with relevant parties to learn more about these allegations and related enforcement actions," Johnson said. "It is important that we understand how any manipulation may impact American consumers and the U.S. financial system." The Banking Committee will hold hearings in July with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke, Johnson said
  • WASHINGTON (7/12/12)--The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is now officially extended until Sept. 30, 2017, after President Barack Obama signed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 into law on July 6. The NFIP bill calls for flood insurance reforms, including the phasing out of subsidies for many properties, raising the cap on annual premium increases, allowing multifamily properties to purchase NFIP policies, imposing minimum deductibles for flood claims, requiring the NFIP administrator to develop a plan for repaying the debt incurred from Hurricane Katrina, and establishing a technical mapping advisory council to deal with map modernization issues…
  • WASHINGTON (7/12/12)--The Federal Reserve on July 16 is scheduled to auction off $3 billion in 28-day term deposits through its Term Deposit Facility. The minimum bid will be $10,000, and the maximum bid amount, per institution, will be $1.25 billion. The awarded deposits will settle on July 19, and will mature on Aug. 16…


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