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Inside Washington (12/14/2007)
* WASHINGTON (12/17/07)--On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve board is scheduled to provide a first glance at proposed amendments to Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 implementation rules (American Banker Dec. 14). The amendments could require brokers and bankers to underwrite home loans at the fully indexed rate. The Fed is also looking for comment regarding low- or no-documentation loans, prepayment penalty restrictions and a rule requiring borrowers to pay insurance premiums and taxes in escrow … * WASHINGTON (12/17/07)--The Senate Friday approved a measure that would help homeowners delinquent on their loan payments because of climbing interest rates to refinance into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The legislation was approved 93-1 (Associated Press Dec. 14). The bill also allows the FHA to accept lower down payments on the loans and to improve counseling for homeowners nearing default. About 2 million to 2.5 million adjustable-rate mortgages will reset in 2008, jumping to interest rates that could force many borrowers into foreclosure … * WASHINGTON (12/17/07)--An internal report expected to be released next week indicated that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) does not empower “rank-and-file” workers enough (American Banker Dec. 14). The report, which also indicated that the agency’s bank examination and staff performance award system is flawed, was undertaken by a consultant to analyze FDIC employee morale issues. The survey was given to employees in October, and three-quarters of the 4,700 total FDIC employees responded. A spokesman stated that FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair is taking the report seriously but said it’s too early to “draw conclusions” … * WASHINGTON (12/17/07)--Next year, state legislatures likely will shift their focus to preventing foreclosures from predatory lenders. About 40 states created laws that cracked down on predatory lending, including stricter penalties for mortgage fraud and stronger licensing requirements. But because many borrowers’ mortgages will reset to high interest rates next year, the states are expected to look at how they can keep borrowers from foreclosure. California and Maryland legislators have proposed measures to prevent borrowers from losing their homes. The states will be involved with anti-foreclosure measures because the crisis keeps growing, and because the federal government has not provided adequate solutions, said Robert Gnaizda, general counsel of the Greenlining Institute … * WASHINGTON (12/17/07)--Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will travel to Orlando, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; Stockton, Calif.; and Los Angeles this week to discuss efforts to address mortgage market issues and help families avoid foreclosure. He will meet with local officials, community leaders and representatives from local businesses to discuss what has been proposed and what can be done to help more people. More details will be announced this week …


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