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Inside Washington (09/21/2012)
  • WASHINGTON (9/24/12)--The Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA) has proposed to adjust the guarantee fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge for mortgages that finance properties with one to four units in certain states. The plan is intended to help the government-sponsored housing enterprises (GSEs), which are in conservatorship, to recover a portion of the "exceptionally high costs" they incur in cases of mortgage default in those states. The states affected are Illinois, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Also, the FHFA identified the principal drivers of differences across states in the average total carrying costs to the GSEs of a defaulted single-family mortgage, in order of importance, as:  the length of time needed to secure marketable title to the property; property taxes that must be paid until marketable title is secured; and legal and operational expenses during that period …
  • WASHINGTON (9/24/12)--Responding to recent criticism regarding the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) practice of embedding examiners at large banks, the head of that agency, Tom Curry, said in a speech last week to the Financial Services Roundtable that it was an important part of the agency's supervision program (American Banker Sept. 21). Curry said on-site examiners knew where weaknesses were and began putting capital and liquidity agreements in place at some institutions during the financial crisis--well before stress testing started. Curry told his audience that stress testing is an important supervisory tool but that it cannot replace supervisory "boots on the ground." He added that the OCC is improving its bank supervision by raising expectations for large banks; a step which he said includes raising standards for boards of directors, compensation and risk tolerance …
  • WASHINGTON (9/24/12)--Oklahoma, South Carolina and Michigan state attorneys general have joined a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. (American Banker, Sept. 21) The lawsuit, which was filed in June by the State National Bank of Big Spring in Texas and two nonprofits, claims that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray was illegally appointed to lead that agency, and states that the CFPB itself is unconstitutional. The lawsuit also named the U.S. Treasury and other agencies and directors as defendants, arguing that elements of Dodd-Frank that give federal authorities the ability to seize and wind-down financial institutions are unconstitutional. The attorneys general complaint focuses on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department ...


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