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Inside Washington (12/17/2007)
* WASHINGTON (12/18/07)--Financial services providers are hoping that the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), which is scheduled for release today, could eliminate the need for tougher mortgage reform legislation while ensuring that all lenders follow the same rules (American Banker Dec. 17). Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote a letter to Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) last week stating that the HOEPA proposal would eliminate most abusive lending, and that the central bank is working to improve disclosures. Fed officials have stated that the proposal will target low-documentation loans, lenders who don’t assess a borrower’s ability to pay, lenders who don’t offer escrow accounts for insurance and taxes, and pre-payment penalties. The Fed has been criticized for not doing enough to stop abusive lending, and industry observers expect that HOEPA will be similar to the subprime guidance that federal regulators released in June … * WASHINGTON (12/18/07)--Rep. Julia Carson (D-7), right, the first African-American and the first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress, died Saturday after battling lung cancer. She was first elected to Congress in 1996 and was a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “She was generous with her time on behalf of Indiana’s credit unions,” said Indiana League President John McKenzie (left). Carson served as the keynote speaker at the Indiana Credit Union League’s Legislative Affairs Forum in 2004. (Photo provided by the Indiana Credit Union League) …


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