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Inside Washington (12/30/2009)
* WASHINGTON (12/31/09)--Credit unions offering qualified tuition savings program accounts--529 accounts--are eligible to insure them through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), the National Credit Union Administration said in a letter. The accounts can be insured through NCUSIF as public units or on a pass-through basis if membership and traceability requirements are met. Several states have established qualified tuition savings programs under the Internal Revenue Code and are placing the funds in federally insured credit unions. One requirement for qualified programs under the code is that participants acquire an interest in a state trust instead of depositing the funds directly with a financial institution ... * WASHINGTON (12/31/09)--Analysts are debating the impact of easing the limits on securities holdings at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Last year, Fannie and Freddie were required by the Treasury to shrink their mortgage portfolios when they were placed in conservatorship. The idea was to make the companies’ size and growth more manageable (The Wall Street Journal Dec. 30). Last week, Treasury eased the requirement, which means Fannie and Freddie won’t have to sell mortgages next year and could even buy mortgages. Treasury also suspended a $400 billion cap on the bailout subsidy the government will offer through the next three years. Fannie and Freddie can now purchase delinquent loans, and new accounting rules that take effect next year will make it more cost effective for the companies to buy bad loans, said Mahesh Swaminathan, Credit Suisse senior mortgage analyst. A Treasury official said the eased limits weren’t intended for Fannie and Freddie to be active mortgage buyers, but the government may not object to their presence in the market. Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, said the moves make sense in the short-term because they avoid market volatility, but limitless aid could make it harder for Fannie and Freddie to separate themselves from the government ...


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