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Inside Washington (12/18/2008)
* WASHINGTON (12/19/08)--Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Steve Preston said he blames Congress for the federal government’s failure to help homeowners nearing foreclosure (The Washington Post Dec. 17). The three-year program created to help homeowners has only garnered 312 applications since launching in October because it’s too expensive for borrowers and lenders, Preston told the newspaper. Congress “dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s for us” but made the program hard to use, he said. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) helped push the HUD program through Congress and recognized that it has some problems, which he blamed partly on the Bush administration. The program is intended to help borrowers who owe more on their homes than the homes’ value refinance ... * WASHINGTON (12/19/08)--Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Sheila Bair said data released by other regulators doesn’t accurately reflect the agency’s loan modifications successes (American Banker Dec. 18). Last week, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan previewed modification data and noted that half of borrowers with loan modifications were late on their payments six months later. The data Dugan saw defined modifications broadly and didn’t include loans refinanced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last month, Bair said. She also noted that the report defines a borrower who misses one payment as delinquent--when the common standard is 60 days after the due date ... * WASHINGTON (12/19/08)--Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) will replace Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) on a panel to oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Sununu was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (American Banker Dec. 18). Sununu formerly served on the Senate Banking Committee and the Finance and Joint Economic Committees. The panel Sununu will serve on also will recommend regulatory reform on financial services to Congress ...


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