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15-year fixed short term ARM rates stay low

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WASHINGTON (11/5/10)--Freddie Mac in its most recent mortgage rate report noted that the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages again increased slightly, while the rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped during the week ended Nov. 4. The 30-year rate averaged 4.24%, up from the 4.23% rate reported last week and down from the 4.98% rate reported one year ago. The 15-year rate fell to 3.63% during the week, down .03% from the previous average reported a week ago. The 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.4% at this time last year. Both five-year and one-year adjustable rate mortgages were low, with average rates of 3.39% and 3.26% reported. Freddie Mac Vice President/Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said that “with little sign of inflation to push up long-term interest rates, fixed mortgage rates held relatively steady this week, while ARM rates hit new all-time record lows.” For the full release, use the resource link.

New CUNA task force studies housing issues

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WASHINGTON (11/5/10)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has begun developing its response to the potential reform of government-sponsored entities (GSE) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by forming its new GSE Reform Task Force. “With the divided Congress, it is unclear how far reform of the GSEs will get," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said referring to the midterm election, which resulted in a Republican majority in the House and a Democratic majority in the Senate. "However, we recognize that having a secondary market available to credit unions that make and want to sell home mortgage loans is a critical issue and CUNA wants to be involved in that discussion.” Policymakers have asked CUNA to provide concrete recommendations regarding the future of the GSEs. The task force, which will be chaired by Idaho Credit Union League President Alan Cameron, should provide its preliminary views on GSE reform to the U.S. Treasury by the end of this month. The Obama administration should issue its own proposal in January. The group, which will report to CUNA's Governmental Affairs Committee, will be comprised of the following members:
* Roger Ballard - Kinecta Federal CU; * Brian Barkdull - American Southwest CU; * Jim Blake - HarborOne CU: * Joe Brancucci - GTE Federal CU; * Kirk Kodeleski - Bethpage FCU; * Paul Kundert - University of Wisconsin CU; * Nadar Moghaddam - Financial Partners CU; * Dennis Pierce - CommunityAmerica CU; * John Radebaugh - North Carolina CU League; * Mark Spenny - Citizens Equity First CU; and * Rod Staatz - State Employees CU of Maryland.
“This group of credit union leaders we have assembled, working with our staff, will ensure our responses are comprehensive and are designed to fully address the needs of credit unions and their members regarding home mortgage loans,” Cheney added. Jeff Bloch, CUNA senior assistant general counsel, said that the administration’s approach may range from a secondary mortgage market that is completely operated by the federal government to a private market system that would not include federal guarantees.

Three Small CU Workshops remain in 2010

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (11/5/10)-–There are still three 2010 sessions of the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA’s) Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives Workshops and Roundtables for which credit unions can register. The next one is slated for Nov. 6 in Los Angeles. The free workshops are geared toward credit unions with assets of $50 million or less, but are open to credit unions of all asset size groups. The 2010 workshop topics are:
* Issues facing credit unions; * Maximizing the bottom line; * Current regulatory hot topics; * Allowance for Loan Lease Losses (ALLL) ; and * Alternatives to predatory lending.
The remaining two workshops are scheduled for Nov. 13 in Silver Spring, Md.—just outside Washington, D.C.—and Nov. 19 in Jackson, Miss. The NCUA encourages credit unions with questions to contact the agency by phone at 703-518-6610 or email at OSCUITraining@NCUA.Gov . Use the resource link to register.

Inside Washington (11/04/2010)

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* WASHINGTON (11/5/10)—In a shout-out to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the U.S. Treasury Department noted the appearance of Treasury spokesperson Tepricka Morgan on CUNA’s Home & Family Finance Radio show. On the Oct. 24 show, Morgan highlighted the safety and reliability of direct deposit for federal benefit payments and mentioned the Treasury’s Direct Express card as an option for those without a banking relationship. The appearance was noted in the Treasury’s widely distributed “Go Direct” Partner Update, which publicizes the government’s campaign to increase direct deposit of federal benefits checks. CUNA is a national partner of the program and was among the 30 financial institution associations that were noted for including Go Direct information in their publications… * WASHINGTON (11/5/10)--Some GOP leaders pledged to use the House majority delivered by the midterm elections to dismantle most provisions of the Dodd-Frank law. In statements made following the election, some House Republicans said the Obama administration should abandon the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), while others wanted housing finance to be placed completely in the private sector. However, some GOP members suggested a modified approach, such as restructuring the CFPB and whittling back its budget. Democrats in leadership roles cautioned the GOP to act with restraint. In the Senate, where Democrats continue to hold a slim majority, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said it was unlikely that major changes would impact Dodd-Frank (American Banker Nov. 4). Johnson is expected to become chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Other issues that some Republicans hope to tackle include greater oversight of the administration’s foreclosure prevention program and reducing the regulatory burden on community financial institutions … * WASHINGTON (11/5/10)--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is expected to announce changes in the procedure for setting deposit insurance assessments next week. The changes include a new assessment method mandated by the Dodd-Frank law (American Banker Nov. 4). The revised approach would require the FDIC to multiple an institution’s risk-based rate by the institution’s total assets minus its tangible equity. In the past, the FDIC figured the price by multiplying an institution’s risk-based rate by its domestic deposits. The new approach is expected to set a price that better reflects large institutions funded by both deposits and other operations. The risk-based rate is based on multiple financial and supervisory factors, which vary based on the size of the institution. The agency is expected to reveal additional changes in risk factors used for large financial institutions in a separate proposal …