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Tag Archives: The Cato Institute

The Unintended Consequences of Housing

Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the Cato Institute, Mark A. Calabria, sat down with MReport and explained some of the hot-button issues affecting the mortgage space including the economy, regulation, compliance, homeownership, and the upcoming election.

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Huntsman’s Departure Highlights Politics of Housing Finance

And then there were five. Republican presidential hopeful and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman threw his support Monday behind frontrunner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Not unlike his fellow candidates ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô or the incumbent himself ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô Huntsman left out any mention of housing finance reform and homeowners as issues for voters in the 2012 general election. Recent polls suggest that the political will exists to make housing finance policy a platform issue. MReport speaks with the experts to better understand housing finance policy and politics.

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Frank Retires, Leaving Namesake Law With Uncertain Future

Rep. Barney Frank, a liberal icon on Capitol Hill and co-author of the financial reform law that bears his name, announced that he will not seek reelection Monday. A newly redistricted area of Massachusetts ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô which he represented for 40 years ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô adds less than half a million new constituents and straddles an area with which he is unfamiliar, according to Frank. He pledged to continue his public advocacy efforts from outside the Beltway and finish his term in office. Analysts say his departure makes repeal more likely for the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Obama Officials Up the Ante to Get CFPB Director

Officials with the White House and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continue to press critics of the bureau to confirm Richard Cordray as director, notably fronting the wife of Central Intelligence Agency Director Ret. Gen. David Petraeus Thursday. Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, CFPB Assistant Director Holly Petraeus addressed concerns about the housing market and the effects on service members and their families, ascribing increased hardship to declining home values and difficulties in home sales.

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Obama Refi Proposal Takes Shape in HARP Changes

Federal regulators announced their intentions Monday to expand the Home Affordable Refinance Program available via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Among other modifications, the FHFA said it plans to eliminate a number of risk-based fees for short-term mortgage borrowers, take off the 125-percent loan-to-value ratio for loans guaranteed by the GSEs, and void requirements for new property appraisals in lieu of automated estimates. Market watchers around the industry offered reactions that ranged from skepticism to optimism.

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Obama Picks Galante for FHA Chief Amid Partisanship

President Barack Obama fielded HUD official Carol Galante as a new nominee to head up the Federal Housing Administration, even as the future for other federal nominees remains unclear. The White House announced the decision in a statement in which the president offered new names for other posts. It remains uncertain whether any of the current partisan wrangling over other nominees will impact the confirmation process for Galante. Also in line for his confirmation: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director-nominee Richard Cordray.

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Reports: Expect Obama’s Housing Finance Plan Soon

A declaration by President Barack Obama to end the war in Iraq helped drown other news Friday, including apparent moves by the White House to float a housing finance stimulus plan in the next few weeks. Some of the initiatives currently under wraps include an expansion of the Home Affordable Refinance Program and a selloff in mortgage-backed bonds by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to invite private-sector investment back into the housing finance system. The Federal Housing Finance Agency plays a major role for either proposal.

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Lawmaker Questions the 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Lawmakers called into doubt the role of the historic 30-year fixed-rate mortgage Thursday, with Senate committee witnesses alternately arguing for and against it. At issue: whether the benchmark loan, available since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, stabilizes the housing finance system or weakens it. Witnesses alternately upheld and criticized the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, with the former characterizing it a buttress of wealth for homeowners and the latter calling for more consumer choice and clarifying its role in the crisis.

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