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House Republicans Propose Kneecapping CFPB

Firing another salvo at the new Dodd-Frank regulatory regime, House Republicans submitted an appropriations bill last week that proposes slashing $350 million from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's budget for 2012. Released by the House Committee on Appropriations, the bill offers to cap funding for the CFPB at $200 million, keeping to a minimum the sweeping powers that Dodd-Frank invested in the new regulatory agency. Provisions also threatened to kneecap the Obama administration's 2011 fiscal year budget.

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Six-Month Delay for Dodd-Frank

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued a six-month delay for the finalization of rules and regulations in sync with the Dodd-Frank Act, temporarily checking a host of new requirements that analysts fear will distress the derivatives, financial, and mortgage banking markets. The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency fell behind schedule in the lead-up to Dodd-Frank's implementation phase, which goes into effect on July 16 despite that over half of the required 387 provisions need writing.

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Barclays: New Compensation Rules Threaten Brokers

More hard times may be in store for brokers in the loan origination sector, which the Federal Reserve's new compensation rules already shrank by causing a wholesale market pullback in April, according to Barclays Capital. A weekly economic forecast by the firm offered a section entitled "Bye, bye broker" that predicts a flight by brokers to high-balance loans over the next several years. The analysts note that the barred yield-spread premiums (YSP) provided brokers with as much as 90 percent of their compensation in the past.

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Fed Raises Fee Trigger for TILA and HOEPA Disclosures

The Federal Reserve is raising the dollar amount of mortgage fees that triggers additional disclosure requirements under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA). On Monday, the central bank's board of governors published its annual adjustment to the rule, bumping the amount of the fee-based trigger up 3 percent to $611, effective January 1, 2012. Currently that threshold is set at $592.

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Obama May Tap FDIC Official for Comptroller

As officials consider a new candidate to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Obama administration may soon nominate a state and federal banking regulator to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). It's being reported that the administration may put forward Thomas Curry, a current member of the board of directors of the FDIC and a past bank commissioner for Massachusetts, to fill the role of comptroller of the currency.

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Obama Mulls Warren Substitute

Elizabeth Warren has hit another hurdle on the path to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, after a string of news reports revealed the administration is considering a former banker for the role. The buzz is that President Barack Obama and his advisers have begun to openly float Raj Date as a replacement nominee to fill the top position at the bureau. Date currently serves as a deputy under Warren and has ties to Capital One Financial and Deutsche Bank.

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Regulators Want Stress Tests for Banks

The top three U.S. banking regulators have issued guidelines that would require comprehensive stress tests every year for lending institutions with assets totaling $10 billion or more. The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed guidance material that would test a bank's capital preparedness and lending ability under national economic duress. The evaluation would also appraise the integrity of the banks' payout plans for shareholders.

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Government Scorecard: Housing Markets Still Fragile

The Department of Treasury and HUD jointly released the Housing Scorecard for May on Thursday, finding that housing markets remain fragile with a seven-month stretch of declining home prices. The scorecard tracks monthly housing and economic data. The May edition called housing prices weak, noting only a minor boost for sales in April. Other industry reports echo the assessment with mortgage applications still falling, eroding home equity, and weak job growth -- all impacting the mortgage market.

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FDIC Goes After Mortgage Broker for Fraud

The FDIC has filed a complaint with a California federal court against the owner of mortgage broker Amerifund Financial, Inc., seeking $1 million in damages based on civil fraud allegations. The suit alleges that the defendant, Eric Matthew Anderson, and several others submitted $2.4 million in fraudulent loans to the Downey Savings and Loan Association. The FDIC says Downey S&L later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after incurring $1.2 million in losses directly related to the Amerifund loans.

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Fed: Real Estate Markets Show Widespread Weakness

Fed

The Federal Reserve released a report on Wednesday that suggests a "steady pace" of economic growth throughout most of the country, with intermittent spots of economic activity slowing in four of its 12 regional districts, namely Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago. The central bank's regularly published Beige Book indicated that construction and real estate markets continued to show widespread weakness. No district seemed to see an increase in home prices.

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