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Tag Archives: Senate Banking Committee

Senate Proposal to Revise HARP 2.0 Nets Industry Backing

The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2012, introduced this month by Sens. Robert Menendez and Barbara Boxer, received backing from witnesses at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. The bill aims to address what the senators say are barriers impeding the success of the recently revised Home Affordable Refinance Program, commonly referred to as HARP 2.0. The bill aims to eliminate all upfront fees and appraisal costs for refinances, prohibit second-lien holders from unreasonably hindering refinances, and more.

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Donovan: Servicer Competition Prevents More Refinancing

Solvency issues re-emerged for the Federal Housing Administration in a hearing convened Tuesday by the Senate Banking Committee, with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan calling for lower loan-to-value thresholds and more servicer competition to expand refinance opportunities. The hearing follows a bill by Sens. Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez to roll back refinancing barriers for homeowners with GSE-held mortgages and featured the legislation as lawmakers discussed solutions to the housing crisis. The hearing quickly turned to servicer competition.

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Budget Hearing Spotlights Concerns With FHA, GSEs

Talk of reform for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration featured prominently at a hearing convened by the Senate Banking Committee Thursday to address HUD├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós budget for the next fiscal year. The FHA has fallen under scrutiny in recent years over an inability to meet the 2 percent capital ratio buffer required by law. GSE also reform remains a dead issue this election year, despite numerous proposals for reform from lawmakers and public outcry over more than $180 billion in taxpayer funds sunken into conservatorship.

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Senate Hearing Fields Praise, Criticisms About New HARP

Lawmakers seated on the Senate Banking Committee convened a hearing Wednesday to determine just how radically draft legislation should lift barriers to refinance opportunities for homeowners and lenders. The message from those testifying: More refinance modifications would help, but beware of the impact for investors and lenders. The Obama administration moved on expansions to HARP last fall by working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to sign off on lower loan-to-value ratio requirements and remove obstacles for lenders and servicers.

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FHFA Proposes Remaking Secondary Mortgage Market

The federal agency responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released a proposal Tuesday that calls for lawmakers to gradually wean the GSEs off taxpayer funds and stand up a new secondary market, replete with new institutions, securitization measures, and servicing standards. The proposal outlines steps for ways to shift risk and responsibility from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a new market that lawmakers would need to establish without destabilizing a cornerstone of the economy.

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Cordray Fends Off Continuing Concerns, Criticism at Hearing

Newly appointed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray fended off another round of concern and criticism at a congressional hearing Tuesday even as he portrayed Congress as an important check on the bureau├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós power. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle stayed true to their parties├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó positions by alternately casting Cordray├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós recess appointment as a potentially dangerous abuse of presidential power and as a needed solution to congressional gridlock.

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FHFA IG Addresses Senate Banking Committee

Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday, the inspector-general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency portrayed the agency as one beset by failures to adequately monitor and validate controls for executive compensation, examinations, and more. IG Steve Linick referenced a recent report from his office that found the FHFA needs to improve by taking measures to independently validate executive compensation packages. Compensation approval methods proved controversial last month.

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Senate Committee Approves FHA, Fed Nominees

Members of the Senate Banking Committee voted Tuesday to send nominees for top posts at the Federal Housing Administration and Federal Reserve Board to the full Senate floor. Lawmakers approved FHA Acting Commissioner and former BRIDGE Housing CEO Carole Galante 13 to 9 on a largely party-line vote, with only Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) breaking ranks with GOP faithful to cast in favor of the nominee. Thomas Hoenig meanwhile moved to the Senate floor on a unanimous vote.

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Senate Republicans Block CFPB Nominee Cordray

Senate Republicans stood by their 44-member pledge Thursday by blocking a vote scheduled for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director-nominee Richard Cordray. Fifty-three votes fell below the 60-vote threshold needed to move the full Senate toward a vote to either confirm or reject the former Ohio attorney general, without whom the CFPB is unable to exert the array of powers granted it to supervise nonbank financial institutions. Forty-four Republicans pledged earlier to deny a director.

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New Bill Aims to Create Appeals Process for Bank Complaints

If a new bill becomes law, it would establish a central appeals hub for financial institutions with concerns about actions taken by bank examiners, corralling the activities of several regulatory agencies for review. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and Carolyn Maloney recently co-sponsored the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, or H.R. 3461, which aims to create an Office of Examination Ombudsman responsible for any complaints from financial institutions about examiners.

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