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Inside Washington (09/30/2011)
* WASHINGTON (10/3/11)--The U.S. Department of Homeland Security pledged to keep stakeholders informed of the status of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization. The NFIP authority to issue new policies, more coverage on existing policies, or renewal policies was to expire at midnight on Friday. The department said that as interested parties await congressional reauthorization of NFIP, they should refer to this new guidance. NFIP is administered by the department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency--known as FEMA. The NFIP could be temporarily extended to Tuesday under a temporary measure that was up for vote late Friday. Under a continuing resolution set to be taken up in Congress this week, the program could be given a reprieve until Oct. 18 … * WASHINGTON (10/3/11)--Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren last week called for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to bolster existing refinance programs to alleviate housing market problems. The market’s slow recovery is in part due to the uncharacteristically muted response by consumers to historically low interest rates, Rosengren said at an economic outlook seminar in Sweden. “Not only has residential investment been unusually weak, but to add insult to injury, consumption, business formation and employment have also been affected by problems in the housing sector,” Rosengren said. He called for the FHFA to enhance the Home Affordable Refinancing Program by making it available to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage holders who owe more on their loans than the value of their homes. He suggested that the FHFA reduce or eliminate loan-level price adjustments on mortgages from the government-sponsored enterprises. The adjustments raise interest rates for many borrowers and reduce the benefit of refinancing, Rosengren said … * WASHINGTON (10/3/11)--The performance of first-lien mortgages serviced by large national banks and federal savings associations declined slightly during the second quarter. About 88% of the 32.7 million loans were current and performing at the end of the second quarter, down from 88.6% at the end of the first quarter, but up from 87.3% a year earlier, according to the quarterly Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC) Mortgage Metrics Report. The OCC attributed the drop to an increase in early stage delinquencies--mortgages 30 to 59 days delinquent--which increased 0.4% from the previous quarter to represent 3% of the servicing portfolio. Mortgages in the process of foreclosure remained steady at 4%. Although completed foreclosures decreased by more than 30% from a year earlier and increased only 1.2% from the previous quarter, completed foreclosures may continue to increase in future quarters as a more foreclosures work through the process and alternatives to modification are exhausted, the OCC said … * WASHINGTON (10/3/11)--The domestic monetary policy and technology subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), will hold a hearing on auditing the Federal Reserve and the need for transparency at the central bank. The subcommittee will hear testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on its procedural audit and report, issued in July, of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending facilities. The hearing also will examine the history of Federal Reserve audit legislation and the adequacy of existing Fed audit and data disclosure requirements. Paul has re-introduced the “Federal Reserve Transparency Act,” which calls for a full and complete audit of the Federal Reserve by the GAO …


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