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Inside Washington (10/13/2011)
* WASHINGTON (10/14/11)--The Obama administration will introduce a plan to revise the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) within the next two weeks, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told mortgage bankers Wednesday at their annual convention in Chicago. HARP is part of the administration’s strategy to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stabilize the country’s housing market, and improve the nation’s economy. But it has helped fewer than a million homeowners refinance. “We need to pick up the pace,” Donovan said. The Obama administration is engaged in “intensive discussions” with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, lenders, mortgage insurers, regulators and investors to lower barriers to refinancing and increase the program’s reach, Donovan said … * WASHINGTON (10/14/11)--Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) representatives and community bankers urged lawmakers Wednesday to omit FHLBs from any overhaul of the housing finance system (American Banker Oct. 13). The banks maintain they have survived the financial crisis and remain a critical source of liquidity for other financial institutions. The home loan bank system works and its structure does not need to be changed, said Lee Gibson, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. As much as 50% of short-term agricultural production loans are funded through the Federal Home Loan Banks, added Timothy Zimmerman, president of Standard Bank in Monroeville, Pa., who said the loss of such low-cost funding would present a challenge for community banks. The Obama administration has not offered a detailed proposal for the future of the housing government-sponsored enterprises, but it has suggested the Home Loan Banks should be part of any revision …


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