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Inside Washington (08/17/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (8/20/12)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said it will pursue civil damage claims against lenders who sold "materially deficient" mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA auditors are in the process of identifying lenders who pose the highest risk to Fannie and Freddie, Health Wolfe, an assistant inspector general in FHFA's Office of the Inspector General, said. He spoke at the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators' annual conference (American Banker Aug. 17). Wolfe has met with the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Division. He said he expects DOJ to sue for $3 on every dollar Fannie Mae and Fredde Mac paid out against lenders who violated the government-sponsored enterprises' lending requirements …
  • WASHINGTON (8/20/12)--With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's recent strong financial results, the future of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) appears to hinge on the fees they charge lenders. A stabilization in housing prices has helped Fannie and Freddie avoid borrowing significant money from the Treasury, leaving their total bailout amount at around $190 million--far less than the best-case estimate of $202 million made by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in October (American Banker Aug. 17). Fannie and Freddie earn guarantee fees from lenders in exchange for assuming the credit risk on conforming loans. The cost is then passed through to borrowers. Rates are determined by the FHFA, the GSEs' conservator. A minor fee increase would suppress mortgage rates and keep the GSEs under the FHFA's conservatorship. Raising the rates high enough could help the private securitization market bounce back and shrink Fannie and Freddie. An in-between strategy could help Freddie and Fannie generate consistent income--barring another housing crash …
  • WASHINGTON (8/20/12)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the Federal Register said it is seeking public comment on the application of Maine and Tennessee unclaimed property laws to gift cards, and whether these laws provide greater consumer protections than federal laws. The CFPB has been asked to opine on whether provisions in the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E that address gift card expiration dates would pre-empt unclaimed property law provisions in those states. Public comments will be analyzed before the agency releases its final opinion…


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