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Inside Washington (01/20/2010)
* WASHINGTON (1/21/10)—The Federal Housing Administration was expected to release tighter standards yesterday for loans to qualify for its guarantee. (The New York Times Jan. 19). Included in the changes will be: a higher initial insurance premium, 2.25%, up from 1.75%; sellers will be banned from offering as much assistance to help buyers cover closing costs; and the ceiling for assistance will drop to 3% of a property’s value, down from 6%, among other things. The new standards are intended to bolster the FHA’s financial position, as well as to screen out unprepared borrowers. As of the end of 2009, the FHA was insuring more than a half million seriously delinquent loans, out of a reported total of 5.8 million single-family residences with a total loan balance of $750 billion... * WASHINGTON (1/21/10)—The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is seeking comment on ways its risk-based deposit insurance assessment system could be tweaked to reflect risks that might be posed by certain employee compensation programs. In a Jan. 19 Federal Register document, the FDIC indicated it does not seek “to limit the amount which employees are compensated, but rather is concerned with adjusting risk-based deposit insurance assessment rates to adequately compensate the (Deposit Insurance Fund) DIF for the risks inherent in the design of certain compensation programs.” By doing so, the FDIC intends to provide “incentives for institutions to adopt compensation programs that align employees' interests with the long-term interests of the firm and its stakeholders, including the FDIC.”... * WASHINGTON (1/21/10)) — In a recent speech in New York, a top Federal Reserve official kept up the drumbeat of Fed support for preserving, and even expanding, the central bank’s role in overseeing the country’s financial system. New York Fed President William Dudley, in remarks to the Partnership for New York City, said the Fed system has the experience and expertise needed to continuously monitor three areas that need it: large systemically important financial institutions, payments and settlements systems, and the capital markets. On Capitol Hill, the House has approved a bill that retains the Fed's supervision powers and gives it broad authority to rein in systemic risk. However, the Senate has yet to act on a bill and in that chamber there is bipartisan support to strip down the Fed’s role to setting monetary policy. (American Banker Jan. 20)…


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