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Inside Washington (02/09/2009)
* WASHINGTON (2/10/09)--Last week, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced broad credit card reforms (American Banker Feb. 9). His bill would take up some consumers’ complaints about card solicitations to young adults and require consumers under the age of 21 to opt in for card solicitations. The bill, like similar legislation in the House, would ban universal default and retroactive interest rate increases. The Menendez bill also would ban card companies from changing terms of card agreements. Along with capping penalty interest rates to an increase of seven percentage points, the bill also would require "pre-approved" offers to be legitimate, firm offers of credit with details on the interest rate, fees, and amount of credit ... * WASHINGTON (2/10/09)--The Obama administration is developing guidance for a loan modification program for loans that already are delinquent or are in danger of defaulting (American Banker Feb. 9). The guidance would serve as a national standard for modifications. Under the guidance, regulators would provide best practices guidance to servicers conducting the modifications. Specifics of the program--such as eligibility and a launch date--have not been determined. The administration has debated how a loan modification program would be shaped. One idea involves servicers partnering with the government to reduce the cost of troubled mortgages. Another would allow servicers to collect a fee from the government if they modify a loan ... * WASHINGTON (2/10/09)--The Federal Reserve Board Friday released loan rates and collateral haircuts for the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). The new terms also include a revised definition of eligible borrowers and additional specifications regarding eligible asset-backed securities (ABS) collateral. The board authorized TALF on Nov. 24 and provided terms and conditions for the program on Dec. 19. TALF aims to increase credit availability and support economic activity by facilitating the issuance of ABS collateralized by certain consumer and small business loans. Under TALF, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will lend up to $200 billion to eligible owners of certain AAA-rated ABS backed by new and recent originated auto loans, credit card loans, student loans and Small Business Association-guaranteed small business loans ... * WASHINGTON (2/10/09)--The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Patriot Express Pilot Loan initiative has approved more than $250 million in loan guarantees to 2,900 veterans and their spouses. More than 20% of the loan applications have come in the first quarter of this year. Loan amounts average $88,000. About 15% of the loans have gone to military spouses, the SBA said. Patriot Express, launched June 28, 2007, builds on the more than $1 billion in loans SBA guarantees annually for veteran-owned businesses. More than 14% of businesses in the U.S. are veteran-owned ...


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