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Inside Washington (05/30/2011)
* WASHINGTON (5/31/11)--Mortgage industry and real estate insiders last week acknowledged the need for market reforms, but also told Senate Banking Committee members that completely removing the government from the mortgage sector could harm the overall housing market. National Association of Realtors President Ron Phipps told the committee that "pure privatization of the secondary mortgage market is unacceptable," and warned that limiting the government’s role would “cause mortgage products to be more aligned with business goals than the nation's housing policy or the consumer" (American Banker May 27). Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) countered these claims, saying that Congress “cannot assume a government guarantee of mortgages can be achieved without risk to the taxpayer." Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said that his committee must find ways to bring private funds back to the mortgage market “while also ensuring that credit remains available." Several witnesses said some form of government backing would need to be maintained in order to draw private funds back into the market … * WASHINGTON (5/31/11)--Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair told members of the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit that she wants to prove that the FDIC’s new resolution powers would work as planned (American Banker May 27). While some members questioned the FDIC’s ability to deal with its new authority over larger institutions, Bair said that her group addressed the failure of $300 billion-asset Washington Mutual and also aided other large banks. Bair said that her agency understands these banks due to their work as an insurer, and added that she would match her staff’s experience “against anybody” in the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury, or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. “We have very smart people who do this for a living," Bair added. Bair also addressed the structure of the pending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying that she has “no reservations” about allowing the CFPB to maintain its single-leader structure. Some members of Congress have suggested that CFPB leadership be expanded to a five- member board, and legislation that would make that change, among others, is currently active …


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