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Inside Washington (05/08/2008)
* WASHINGTON (5/9/08)--Lenders need to expand their loan modification efforts, Treasury Department officials said during a private meeting with top lenders Tuesday. Attendees of the meeting talked about how to broaden loan modification criteria to include more borrowers. One proposal was to drop FICO scores. However, no proposal was finalized (American Banker May 8). One suggestion involved giving borrowers temporary approval for the modifications, with the opportunity for loan servicers to revise the approval later. Tuesday’s meeting was called by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as a follow-up to a meeting he held earlier with top mortgage lenders in April ... * NEW YORK (5/9/08)--The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of New York and Magyar Bank are providing $6 million to fund an initiative that aims to help homeowners in New Jersey facing foreclosure. The initiative, the Housing Assistance and Recovery Program (HARP), will purchase homes in foreclosure and lease them back to homeowners for a defined period of time. Homeowners will stay in the homes, pay rent, and have an opportunity to improve credit and re-purchase the property. Magyar Bank will provide 70% of the funding with FHLB funds. HARP was launched May 1 and will be used to immediately assist 15 families. Homeowners are eligible for the program if they complete a financial planning and education program ... * WASHINGTON (5/9/08)--The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will begin requiring that investment banks on Wall Street disclose their liquidity and capital levels (Reuters May 8). The increased scrutiny comes after Bear Stearns Cos. nearly collapsed when its liquidity dropped in March. At a conference Wednesday, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said the agency will not wait on new, internationally accepted standards for liquidity and capital ...


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