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Inside Washington (07/30/2009)
* WASHINGTON (7/31/09)--The District of Columbia and 46 states have complied with legislation Congress passed last year requiring states to create a national registry for mortgage originators. Three other states also could comply soon (American Banker July 30). The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System established a standard process for all state-license originators to increase accountability and transparency. Twenty-six states are active in the registry. Seven more will participate this year and 13 will come online by January. California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have bills pending ... * WASHINGTON (7/31/09)--Legislation to allow cramdown--in which bankruptcy court judges are allowed to rework mortgages--could be revived if lenders don’t increase their mortgage modifications, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “People in the servicing industry and in the broader financial industry must understand that if this last effort to produce significant modifications fails, the argument for reviving the bankruptcy option will be extremely strong, and I think there is a substantial chance that the outcome will be different.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) earlier this year proposed legislation that would allow judges to modify mortgages. The legislation failed, but Durbin has said he would be ready to bring a similar measure to the Senate floor. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) opposes cramdown, saying that it could lead to borrowers’ gaming of the system ... * WASHINGTON (7/31/09)--The Small Business Administration (SBA) should look at its preferred lenders to see if they are fulfilling SBA’s mission, said William Shear, director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), at a House Small Business Committee hearing this week. He pointed to a February GAO report indicating that SBA lenders may not be detailing their examinations regarding potential borrowers’ credit. Also at the hearing, SBA Administrator Karen Mills said the agency had streamlined the 7(a) loan application process in response to criticisms that the 7(a) program’s paperwork burdened lenders. She also faced questions about the SBA’s disaster loan program--which has not been improved to handle another Hurricane Katrina, Shear said ... * WASHINGTON (7/31/09)--A recently released Government Accountability (GAO) report indicates that even the federal government is a bit behind in planning for a possible pandemic influenza occurrence. The July 29 report notes that the current H1N1 outbreak is a “powerful reminder” underscores that an influenza pandemic remains a real threat to the nation. GAO says a number of actions have been taken over the past three years to better prepare the country and its federal workforce for such and event, but there are still many gaps. Specifically, the GAO said, while federal agencies have taken action on 13 of GAO's 24 recommendations, 11 of the recommendations that GAO has made over the past three years have not been fully implemented …

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