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Inside Washington (12/13/2010)
* WASHINGTON (12/14/10)--In the wake of the recent mortgage crisis, support is growing for national service standards to govern the foreclosure process (American Banker Dec. 13. The greatest challenge regulators and lawmakers face is determining if or to what extent such standards would preempt state foreclosure laws. Federal Reserve Board Gov. Dan Tarullo suggested national standards were needed at a hearing on Dec. 1. Tarullo said servicers had trouble complying with numerous state regulations regulating foreclosures. Cliff Rossi, an executive in residence at the University of Maryland’s Center for Financial Policy, suggested that by standardizing loan platforms, documentation and modification procedures, lawmakers could lend more uniformity to the process and ensure a minimum level of performance by servicers … * WASHINGTON (12/14/10)--Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker said Friday he is happy some lawmakers failed in their efforts to strip the Federal Reserve Board of its bank regulatory responsibilities. The same can’t be said about retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). Volcker said he believes the Federal Reserve board doesn’t spend enough time on regulation because monetary policy should only take up a limited amount of the board’s time. Volcker’s comments were made at the American Enterprise Institute at a conference on the history of the Fed. Volcker lauded a clause in the Dodd-Frank Act that created a second vice chairman at the Fed to oversee the central bank’s regulatory work. Bunning, who served as a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said during his farewell address in the Senate last week that Dodd-Frank failed to stop the Federal Reserve’s flawed monetary policy, which he said was the largest single cause of the current financial crisis and past financial crises … * WASHINGTON (12/14/10)--The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Friday that it is investigating the practices of certain mortgage lenders to determine if their home loan policies illegally deny qualified African American and Latino borrowers access to credit. The investigations are in response to 22 complaints the National Community Reinvestment Coalition filed with HUD alleging that the loan activities of the mortgage originators showed that their home lending practices deny Federal Housing Administration-insured loans to African Americans and Latinos with credit scores as high as 640. FHA guidelines allow mortgages to borrowers with credit scores above 580, provided the borrowers have down payments equaling 3.5% of the loan amount, or above 500, provided the borrowers have down payments equaling 10% of the loan amount …

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