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Jan. 13 is new TARP hearing date

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WASHINGTON (1/8/09)—The new date for the House Financial Services Committee's postponed hearing on the use of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Repurchase Program (TAPR) funds is Jan. 13. The hearing is titled “Priorities for the Next Administration: Use of TARP Funds under EESA” and was first scheduled for Jan. 7. EESA refers to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act approved by Congress last year to help shore up the nation’s economy and which created TARP. A witness list has not yet been made public.

HUD to testify on loan origination oversight

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WASHINGTON (1/8/08)—The House Financial Services Committee Wednesday announced its four witnesses scheduled to testify at Friday’s hearing on oversight of loan originators: two U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials, a mortgage broker and a mortgage banker representative. The hearing will take a look at HUD’s Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the role it plays in overseeing mortgage originators. Scheduled witnesses are:
* Phillip Murray, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing. HUD; * James A. Heist, Assistant Inspector General for Audit, Office of Inspector General, HUD; * George Hanzimanolis, CRMS, Bankers First Mortgage Inc. and past president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers; and * John A. Courson, recently named president/CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Mica Obamas K St. change--transparency

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WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--With Congress back in session, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica's monthly “K Street Insiders” column resumes in The Hill newspaper. His first topic of the year, fittingly, is “change.” “Since the campaign, we have heard so much about ‘change,’” Mica wrote, referring to the contest leading up to the 2008 federal election, which resulted in the election of Barack Obama as 44th president. What ‘change’ means in practice, Mica wrote, is to be determined. But, he added, his recent meeting representing CUNA before President-elect Obama’s transition team made it apparent that change has already come to lobbying efforts. Obama’s team said it wanted to post to the Internet the documents CUNA and other’s presented to transiton officials so that others can see what was presented. “Some on K Street may bristle at this new emphasis on transparency. I, for one, feel it is welcome and overdue. “It is about time that we have a level playing field, so that consumers and advocacy organizations can truly understand the facts — or, sadly, the distortion of facts — that are being presented to the administration,” Mica wrote. According to Mica, the organizations that face a difficult future are those claiming falsely to represent wide interests, while really representing a narrow few. “These are the same lobbying organizations that use questionable, in fact sketchy, data to make their distorted points. The public will now be able to see how they conduct a campaign of downright misinformation.” Mica assessed. Read more by accessing the resource link below.

Mortgage bankruptcy bills spring early in 09

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WASHINGTON (1/8/09)—Lawmakers in both houses of the U.S. Congress reintroduced legislation this week that would let judges modify mortgage terms in bankruptcy proceedings. After falling short in completing the legislative process in 2008, the bill was reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and in the House by Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) Tuesday. Ryan Donovan, vice president of legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), said he believes that the lawmakers will try to get the bill attached to a much-anticipated, second economic stimulus package. Durbin tried a similar strategy at the end of 2008 when he attempted to get mortgage “cramdown” provisions—that would have granted bankruptcy judges the power to rewrite the terms of loans—included in The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008.

Inside Washington (01/07/2009)

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* WASHINGTON (1/8/09)—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has posted on its website new guidance on how it will interpret states' compliance with the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act). States are required to have a system for licensing and registering loan originators if they want to participate in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. HUD’s review of the model legislation developed by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR) determined that it meets the requirements of the SAFE Act. The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) compliance team notes that HUD's guidance does not address the registration aspects of the law that affect credit unions. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the federal banking agencies are currently developing a system for registering credit union and bank employees on the nationwide licensing system and registry. Credit union and bank loan originators will not be required to comply with the state licensing requirements. The NCUA and the banking agencies have until August 2009 to develop their system, and credit unions are not required to do anything until the system is up an running. Additional agency announcements are expected in the next several months… * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--Lenders seeking licenses to originate Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages will have to wait while the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works overtime and on weekends to process the applications (American Banker Jan. 7). Brokers are hurrying to submit their applications so they don’t go out of business, said Scott Dodson, president, Federal Mortgage Licensing Inc. HUD recently cleared a backlog of applications that took five months to process. A typical application can be completed in two months. The slowdown in application processing is partly due to incomplete or poorly completed packages submitted by brokers. There are many ways to erroneously put together an application, and HUD does not have clear guidelines, Dodson said. The agency also is looking at large lenders for loan performance, added Brian Chapelle, former HUD official. HUD usually signs off on 90% of applications. For the year ending Sept. 30, HUD approved 3,297 applications, which is three times the number approved in 2007. About 70% of the applications were submitted by brokers ... * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--The Federal Reserve Board, Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released interagency questions and answers regarding the Community Reinvestment Act on Tuesday. The revised questions and answers encourage financial institutions to participate in foreclosure prevention programs. They also address activities that a majority-owned financial institution can take with a minority-owned institution or low-income credit union ... * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--Ronald Rosenfeld, chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, has resigned effective Dec. 31. “Under his leadership, the Federal Housing Finance board took steps to strengthen the oversight of the Federal Home Loan Banks and encouraged the banks to adopt policies that are in the best interests of the public,” said Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director James Lockhart. The FHFA announced Rosenfeld’s resignation Tuesday. Rosenfeld was appointed Dec. 14, 2004, to position ... * WASHINGTON (1/8/09)--Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Tuesday that he has made an agreement “in principle” with President-elect Barack Obama to release the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion rescue fund if banks agree to restrict executive compensation and help homeowners avoid foreclosure (Bloomberg Jan. 7). Frank and other members of Congress have criticized the Bush administration for not setting conditions on the first half of the bailout package. The Treasury also is working with Obama aides on releasing the remaining funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The department must notify lawmakers before accessing the funds, and lawmakers have about two weeks after being notified to block the money ...