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Inside Washington (09/16/2011)
* WASHINGTON (9/19/11)--Only four of the 11 largest U.S mortgage servicers are on track to achieve an “at least median performance” for the first half of the year, according to a new ranking system from Fannie Mae (American Banker Sept. 16). Fannie’s Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards (STAR) Program measures the performance of servicers in helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. Fannie did not identify the underperforming servicers. It provided a list of “peer groups,” listing the servicers it assessed in each category. “The STAR program helps us evaluate and hold servicers accountable for measurable, consistent results in preventing foreclosure,” said Leslie Peeler, Fannie Mae’s vice president for servicer portfolio management. “Servicers who achieve the highest ratings are leading the way in providing assistance to homeowners who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments” … * WASHINGTON (9/19/11)--The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be fair but tough-minded in assessing practices harmful to consumers, an agency spokesman said Thursday (American Banker Sept. 16). The agency will take the necessary action to end unjustified practices, Raj Date, the special adviser to the secretary of the treasury for the CFPB told a group of bankers and consumer advocates in Philadelphia. The CFPB organized the event to mark the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of the financial crisis. Date discussed the lessons learned from the mortgage market meltdown and how those lessons can be applied to the consumer bureau’s work moving forward. Date specifically cited financial products that are outside the traditional banking sector and are targeted at consumers who have a short-term need for cash. The CFPB will ensure that such short-term credit is “fair, transparent and competitive,” Date said … * WASHINGTON (9/19/11)--The Federal Reserve would not stop a proposed merger only because it presents an increased risk to the financial system, Fed Gov. Dan Tarullo said Thursday (American Banker Sept. 16). “It is important to note that, while Congress instructed us to consider the extent to which a proposed acquisition would pose a greater risk to financial stability, it clearly did not instruct us to reject an acquisition simply because there would be any increase in such risks,” Tarullo said in a speech at a Fed conference on systemic risk. Tuesday the Fed will hold first of three hearings on Capital One Financial Corp.’s proposed $9 billion acquisition of ING Direct USA. The proposed deal, under review by the Fed, has been criticized by community groups and affordable housing advocates, who argue that it would create another too-big-to-fail financial institution … * WASHINGTON (9/19/11)--More than a dozen credit union advocates from North Carolina made their fall Hike the Hill trip to Washington, D.C., recently. The trip featured meetings with staff at the newly opened Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), followed by visits with elected representatives. After brief welcoming remarks from Elizabeth Vale, who heads up the bureau’s Office of Community Banks and Credit Unions, the North Carolina visitors met with three CFPB staffers. “The CFPB representatives expressed sensitivity to the challenges of the regulatory process for financial institutions,” said Dan Schile, North Carolina Credit Union League senior vice president of association services. “One of their key objectives is to make forms and disclosures as simple as possible for credit unions to fill out and for their members to understand.” The trip concluded Thursday with meetings on the Hill. The focal point of the meetings was the ongoing member business lending (MBL) efforts, which may get a boost from President Obama’s recently announced job creation package. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions’ MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said. (Photo provided by North Carolina Credit Union League) …


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