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Inside Washington (09/22/2010)
* WASHINGTON (9/23/10)--House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), center, recently met with New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile, left, and Director of Governmental Affairs Chris Abeel at a recent reception at Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. Frank said that a new bill aimed at making Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements more rigid will not include credit unions. Frank also said he would work to address credit unions’ concerns with interchange regulations (The Daily Exchange Sept. 22). Frank said he opposed the interchange language and that he worked to make changes that should benefit credit unions, such as the addition of language to prohibit discrimination against credit unions and other smaller card issuers that are not covered by the interchange provisions. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League) ... * WASHINGTON (9/23/10)--Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee are looking to expand the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). However, the potential changes will not affect credit unions, according to a recent message Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) gave credit unions at a Hike the Hill event. The bill will likely target investment banks, mortgage brokers and insurers (American Banker Sept. 22). Consumer groups are encouraging stricter oversight on CRA requirements for banks, including more detailed ratings and more penalties for failure. Financial observers said it’s unlikely the bill will be approved this year. With upcoming elections in November, Republicans--who are favored to win more seats in the Senate--may try and scale back the CRA law next year, said Mark Calabria, former Senate aide and director of the Cato Institute ... * WASHINGTON (9/23/10)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Wednesday reported that U.S. home prices fell 0.5% between June and July. The FHFA recorded a 3.3% home sale price decline from July 2009 until July 2010, with the total U.S. home price index falling to 13.8% below the April 2007 index ... * WASHINGTON (9/23/10)--The Federal Housing Administration’s David H. Stevens, who is assistant secretary of housing, testified Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee on progress the housing agency has made toward strengthening its financial condition. Noting that last year the FHA informed the U.S. Congress of an independent actuary’s findings that FHA’s secondary reserves had fallen below the required level, Stevens said that now, 10 months later, the FHA is on a path “that will put the agency in a stronger financial position for the future.” In written testimony Stevens said, “Of course, we remain cautious, and the job is not yet done. With home prices uncertain, our continued vigilance in strengthening both loan quality and performance for future loans is particularly important" ...


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