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News Now

Washington
Senate Banking Committee OKs GSE reform bill
WASHINGTON (5/21/08)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) supports the intent of a bill passed yesterday to reform the oversight and operations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, but is concerned about several of its provisions. The Senate Banking Committee yesterday passed the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008, which also would create a new Federal Housing Administration program to refinance hundreds of billions of dollars in troubled mortgages. CUNA is still studying the details of the 68-page compromise bill, which was released to the public Monday, according to John Hildreth, CUNA senior legislative representative. The compromise bill is an amendment to a larger, 387-page bill. The bill would require the registration of financial institution employees that originate mortgages. “We have concerns that this provision may be overly burdensome on credit unions,” Hildreth said. “We will be following this issue closely as the bill proceeds through the legislative process. “We support congressional efforts to remove bad apples from the mortgage lending system, but the registration process will impost additional compliance responsibilities and costs on credit unions,” he added. CUNA is looking at the confidentiality provisions and issues involving public access to employee information. It also is concerned with provisions that provide for a regulatory comment period and approval process for new government-sponsored enterprise products and services. “Credit unions, especially smaller ones, rely heavily on access to these products and services to underwrite home mortgages for their members,” Hildreth said. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he hoped to have an agreement on the bill with the Senate within the next month. Last week, CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) regarding the bill, emphasizing the importance of the secondary mortgage market to credit union members.


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