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Inside Washington (03/06/2008)
* WASHINGTON (3/7/08)—House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is planning to introduce a second economic stimulus package that would attempt to steady the troubled credit and housing markets. One challenge posed by the bill would be whether or not the lending industry is willing to cooperate (American Banker March 6). When questioned if he was planning to ask lenders to take a “haircut” on mortgages in trouble, Frank replied that a lobotomy was in order instead. Under Frank’s proposal, the government could buy mortgages written down by lenders, which appears to contradict any prior notions of a bailout. President George W. Bush has already stated his opposition to a lender bailout … * WASHINGTON (3/7/08)—Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair is urging Congress to move forward on legislation that would forbid commercial ownership of industrial loan companies (ILCs). A moratorium on ILCs expired in January, leaving the agency without guidelines on how to tackle pending ILC applications. A bill that would restrict commercial ILC ownership is currently stalled in the Senate … * WASHINGTON (3/7/08)—The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Chicago values itself at $800 million, and if the FHLB Dallas accepts that, a merger proposal could be created within a couple of weeks. The merger must be approved by the Federal Housing Finance Board, and FHLB Chicago’s value could change, depending on the markets. A spokesman for Chicago FHLB said terms still need to be finalized … * WASHINGTON (3/7/08)—The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) yesterday released the maximum conforming loan limits that will be in effect throughout 2008 as a result of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. The maximum for temporary jumbo conforming loan limits, which apply to loans originated in the period between July 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008, are as high as $729,750 for one-unit homes in the U.S. …


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