* WASHINGTON (4/7/09)--The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Monday that it will crack down on foreclosure rescue scams and loan modification fraud, and will send lender “swat teams” to reduce fraud and risk among lenders working with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). During a hearing last week, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said he will dispatch teams of investigators to conduct on-site reviews of lenders, especially those whose refinance portfolios indicate distress or unusually high default rates. Donovan also asked Congress for additional funds next year for more FHA staff to handle the surge in loan activity. FHA’s role has grown to overseeing 30% of all lending activity, up from 3% in 2006. HUD, the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the Illinois state attorney general also discussed initiatives to coordinate information and resources across agencies to combat fraud ... * WASHINGTON (4/7/09)--Two Senate votes last week indicate that lawmakers do not strongly support the Federal Reserve Board as a top candidate to oversee systemically significant institutions (American Banker
April 6). The amendments would require the central bank to disclose more information about its liquidity facility and lending efforts, including recipients of funds through its discount window. The votes signal that Congress will not grant the Fed more power, according to Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), who co-sponsored one amendment the Senate approved. The Fed is not independent and is acting like an arm of the Treasury Department by helping Treasury to get around asking Congress for money, he said. The votes show that the Senate is going to demand more accountability from the Fed ... * WASHINGTON (4/7/09)--Last week, the Group of 20 met in London and agreed that rules governing executive compensation would be applied to foreign and domestic banks--even if they have not received government taxpayer assistance (American Banker
April 6). The group told companies to streamline their pay incentives to achieve long-term stability and told regulators to assess a company’s pay policies when determining its safety and soundness. The practices should promote principles of the Financial Stability Forum--which recommended that boards independently create pay policies and monitor their effectiveness. Bonuses should directly relate to company performance and should shrink if a company does poorly ... * WASHINGTON (4/7/09)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) has released its fourth quarter profiles
of state-by-state banking and economic conditions. The profiles are broken down by state and include Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands ... * WASHINGTON (4/7/09)--The Credit Union National Association will offer a vendor due diligence audio conference
April 14 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. CDT. The conference will provide information on recent National Credit Union Administration guidance on the evaluation of third-party relationships; effective planning for third-party arrangements; credit union-wide vendor risk assessments; basic contracting tips; and information on how to create solid staff oversight and quality control ...