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Inside Washington (01/04/2013)
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Thursday was re-elected to a second term as House speaker. Boehner was re-elected despite the defections of 12 Republicans, as 10 GOP members voted for other conservatives and two abstained from voting. The final vote was 220 for Boehner to 192 for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) …
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--It was swearing-in day for the 113th U.S. Congress yesterday and as
    Rep. Jeb. Hensarling (R-Texas) became the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee he announced that the immediate past-chairman, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) will serve as the committee's chairman emeritus. As chairman emeritus, Bachus will continue to serve in a senior role on the panel where he has served as chairman for the past two years and as ranking minority member for the previous four years. Bachus completed his six-year leadership term at the end of the 112th Congress.  In the House Financial Services Committee photo to the right, Hensarling (left) receives the committee gavel, symbolizinig leadership, from Bachus (right) …
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--Nearly 500,000 borrowers requested formal reviews of their 2009 and 2010 foreclosures, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said Thursday. The OCC made an effort to increase awareness of lender mistakes during the fourth quarter, said Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman (Bloomberg Jan. 3). Applicants increased to 495,000 by the Dec. 31 deadline from 356,000 on Dec. 13. Under a national settlement, 14 of the largest mortgage servicers were ordered by the OCC and other banking regulators in 2011 to change their foreclosure practices and hire independent consultants to determine if they cheated customers. Regulators sent letters to 4.4 million borrowers inviting them to seek reviews …
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--The Dodd-Frank reform law and housing finance reform are among the top agenda items for Congress in 2013, the American Banker reported Thursday (Jan. 3). Regulators are expected to finalize the Volcker Rule, a ban on proprietary trading that was part of the Dodd-Frank Act, early this year. Reform of the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was also cited by lawmakers as an area of focus. New leadership on both the House and Senate banking committees also will determine the agenda. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) will serve as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, alongside ranking member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) will serve as the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee this year. Sen. Tim Johnson, (D-S.D.) will return as chairman of the Senate banking panel …
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--New legislation passed by Congress allows 401(k) savers to convert funds in their tax-deferred accounts to an employee-offered Roth 401(k) account, which can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement. The legislation will raise an estimated $12.2 billion in revenue in the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (Bloomberg Jan. 3). Conversions to Roth 401(k)s were previously limited to certain funds and to plans that allowed the switches. The change will benefit workers with significant balances and who can pay taxes early with funds outside their retirement account to provide years of tax-free earnings in the future …
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, signed into law on Wednesday, includes an extension of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program for 2012 and 2013. The NMTC program seeks to spur the investment of new private sector capital into low-income communities. To do so, it permits individual or corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making Qualified Equity Investments. Those investments must be made in designated Community Development Entities. The U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund allocates the tax credits annually through a competitive application process. The tax credit allocation authority is $3.5 billion for each year. The CDFI Fund is currently reviewing applications received under the 2012 round and plans to announce the awards in April
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed about 134,000 foreclosure prevention actions in the third quarter of 2012, the government-sponsored enterprises' federal regulator said in a report released Thursday. The Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) report noted that total foreclosure prevention actions have equaled more than 2.5 million since the start of Fannie's and Freddie's conservatorships in 2008. Nearly 1.3 million of those actions represent permanent loan modifications, according to the regulator. These actions, which have helped more than 2.1 million borrowers stay in their homes, are detailed in the FHFA's third quarter 2012 Foreclosure Prevention Report also known as the Federal Property Manager's Report. The quarterly report has information on state delinquencies and an updated, interactive Borrower Assistance Map for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, with information on delinquencies, foreclosure prevention activities and Real Estate Owned properties …
  • WASHINGTON (1/4/13)--U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is planning to leave his post at the end of this month, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. A Treasury spokesperson told that the secretary plans to continue his role with the Obama administration "until around the inauguration," which is scheduled for Jan. 21. The Treasury representative said the agency would not make any further comments regarding Geithner's schedule until a successor has been named. Geithner is an original member of the Obama cabinet, and first joined the Treasury in 1988 …


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