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Inside Washington (09/09/2011)
* WASHINGTON (9/12/11)--Elizabeth Warren, who organized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for the Obama administration and is now exploring a run for the U.S. Senate, is asking supporters to sign a petition that calls for the confirmation of the CFPB’s first director. President Barack Obama has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the bureau (American Banker Sept. 9). The petition appears on Warren’s website and is linked with her Facebook page. The website and Facebook page include the message, “Call on the Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee to protect the interests of middle class families, to confirm a director for the CFPB, and to let the agency do its work.” Republicans have threatened to block the confirmation of any director unless changes to CFPB’s structure are made … * WASHINGTON (9/12/11)--President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act speech Thursday included two proposals that could influence the financial services industry. First, the legislation will include a national infrastructure bank (American Banker Sept. 9). Though Obama called for a national infrastructure bank, the idea has not been supported by Republicans in Congress. Banks oppose the idea, arguing that it would either subsidize projects that would otherwise be financed with private funds, or pay for economically unsound projects. Obama also vowed to take steps that would allow more Americans to refinance their mortgages. Although the speech included no specifics about the refinancing plan, Obama said it “could put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket” … * WASHINGTON (9/12/11)--Freddie Mac said in a letter to investors it will not significantly discount its backlog of foreclosed homes in a letter to investors. Although steep discounts could help the government-sponsored enterprise relieve its backlog of foreclosed homes, they could also damage the housing market (American Banker Sept. 9). “We are extremely mindful of the impact in our approaches to pricing and how it affects the values of neighborhoods should a discounted sale occur,” Freddie stated in a letter sent to investors who are interested in acquiring properties in bulk through its real-estate owned sales unit HomeSteps. Freddie said it is selling above 90% of market value in most of its volume markets …


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