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Inside Washington (10/18/2011)
* WASHINGTON (10/19/11)--The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), in addition to its clear prohibition on lenders receiving kickbacks in exchange for “unearned” fees charged to borrowers, also prohibits lenders from charging borrowers fees that are defined as unearned in the first place (American Banker Oct. 18). The high court announced last week it will hear Freeman v. Quicken Loans Inc. That Fifth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals case alleges that Quicken Loans charged borrowers thousands of dollars in “loan discount fees” that were unearned because it failed to give borrowers loan discounts. The article notes that the case has major implications for other lenders and could affect everything from what lenders charge borrowers for credit reports, to fees charged for appraisals and other services … * WASHINGTON (10/19/11)--The Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund has made new enhancements to its monthly reports--Certified CDFIs; Certified Native CDFIs; Newly Certified CDFIs; and Newly Certified Native CDFIs. The monthly Certified CDFIs and Certified Native CDFIs reports have been combined into one report that will include all of the relevant certification data for CDFIs. The Newly Certified CDFIs and Newly Certified Native CDFIs will also now be one report, with the Native CDFIs highlighted for easy identification. The reports will be sent out in one monthly e-mail. A link to separate, static PDFs for certified CDFIs and Native CDFIs sorted by name, state, and type of organization will no longer be sent each month. Rather, starting with this month, the fund will send one link to a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet containing the previously released information and additional information requested by readers. This new report format will allow readers to sort the information in several different ways, said the fund’s announcement … * WASHINGTON (10/19/11)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) supervision and examination manual will employ some of the same methods that regulators have previously used to conduct exams, but examiners will look at the information they gather in new ways, Steve Antonakes, the bureau’s associate director for large bank supervision, said in an interview Monday (American Banker Oct. 18). Exams will reflect the primary focus of the bureau: risk to consumers and transparency of information, Antonakes said. The bureau is a member of Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, follows many of its procedures and enforces many of the same laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act … * WASHINGTON (10/19/11)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Tuesday that it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to transition away from current foreclosure attorney network programs and move to a system where mortgage servicers select qualified law firms that meet certain minimum, uniform criteria. The FHFA announcement noted that under current practices in certain states, Fannie and Freddie individually designate law firms eligible under each entity’s own criteria to undertake foreclosure work and mortgage servicers, then select and work with these firms. The new approach, which the FHFA believes will lead to greater transparency and benefit delinquent borrowers who become subject to the foreclosure process, supplants Freddie and Fannie’s individual criteria with the agency’s uniform criteria. The change will be implemented after a transition period, during which FHFA will seek comment from servicers, regulators, lawyers and other market participants …


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