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Inside Washington (01/15/2009)
* WASHINGTON (1/16/09)--A Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 program that will help cities and states purchase foreclosed real estate is moving forward. Consumer advocates have formed a trust company to act as a liaison between lenders and the municipalities who received $4 billion in grants from the government under the program. The company’s first program started in Minneapolis late last year. The city has used $5.6 million to buy 20 foreclosed properties. JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup, Fannie Mae and Wells Fargo are participating. The Minneapolis program is a “success,” Wells Fargo said in a statement. The group is asking Congress for another $5 billion, which would be used to stabilize home prices ... * WASHINGTON (1/16/09)--The Federal Reserve Board needs to create an exit strategy from the various lending programs it is using to cope with the economic crisis, Charles Plosser, president/CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, said in a speech Wednesday. The Fed’s lending programs to reduce interest rate spreads and revive credit markets were “created for extraordinary times and involve significant intervention in the credit markets. They are not part of the normal operation of a central bank and should not be expected to continue,” he said. Simply terminating the programs will not work, so the Fed should develop objectives and boundaries for lending that it can use in the future, he suggested. “Clarifying the criteria under which we will intervene in markets or extend credit, including defining what constitutes the ‘unusual and exigent’ circumstances that form the legal basis for the Fed’s nontraditional lending, will be essential if we are to mitigate the moral hazard we have created,” Plosser concluded ...


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