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Inside Washington (10/21/2008)
* WASHINGTON (10/22/08)--Reps.. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have sent a letter to President Bush urging him to put Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair in charge of a government initiative for mitigation of foreclosures (American Banker Oct. 21). The federal lawmakers said Bair's work at the FDIC to reduce the number of mortgages that meet with foreclouser shows that she has the experience needed to lead a governmentwide effort. Also, placing one official--Bair--in charge of the initiative will improve the effectiveness of the federal government’s efforts, Frank and Waters wrote ... * WASHINGTON (10/22/08)--Brian Montgomery, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) commissioner, acknowledged some shortcomings with the FHA’s Hope for Homeowners program during a speech Monday (American Banker Oct. 21). He encouraged lenders to take part in the program, but noted that some homeowners would face a reduction in equity when the market turns around. Lenders in the audience also told Montgomery that they were having trouble qualifying borrowers for the program because their FICO scores were under 580. FHA plans to raise its minimum net worth requirements for FHA-Approved lenders to $1 million from $250,000 and to $75,500 for brokers from $63,000 by Jan. 20, Montgomery said. Hope for Homeowners was created in July and helps delinquent borrowers refinance ... * WASHINGTON (10/22/08)--Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke voiced support for another economic stimulus package Monday and said lawmakers should consider more steps to improve credit markets--such as guaranteeing loans or directly lending to borrowers. Bernanke said a second stimulus should be temporary and the government could consider paying the guarantee fees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He didn’t offer any specifics, but said easing credit access would promote economic growth and create jobs (American Banker Oct. 21) ...

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