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Tag Archives: House Financial Services Committee

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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Senators Introduce Bill to Pay GSE Execs Federal Salaries

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle introduced legislation Thursday to curb multibillion-dollar bonuses for senior-level executives with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sens. Mark Begich and John Thune sponsored the bill, colorfully titled the Stop the Outrageous Pay at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Act. The bill would assign federal pay scale to employees with either of the GSEs, capping the highest salaries at $275,000. It would also repurpose any such funds so designated this year to pay down the politically important national debt.

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Witnesses Criticize, Call for Repeal of Volcker Rule

Witnesses testifying before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday warned lawmakers that the controversial Volcker Rule could tighten bank liquidity and make U.S. financial institutions less competitive with banks overseas. Once finalized by regulators, the rule ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô unless modified or repealed by lawmakers ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô will enact a provision under the Dodd-Frank Act that prohibits U.S. banks from engaging in short-term proprietary trading practices. Douglas Elliott, a fellow with the Brookings Institution, called for an outright repeal of the Volcker Rule.

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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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Justice Department Memo Defends Cordray Appointment

The Justice Department issued a legal opinion Thursday in which it backed President Barack Obama's decision to recess appoint Richard Cordray director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week. The agency wrote that three-day pro forma sessions fail to constitute an actual session for the Senate. Obama riled the industry when he appointed Cordray and several others despite three-day sessions in which several lawmakers would meet without filing motions to consider nominees or legislation. Critics charge that the decision breaks with years of legal precedent under the agency.

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Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams Announces Resignation

Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams announced Tuesday that he will resign once the mortgage giant selects his successor. A 21-year veteran with Fannie Mae, he accepted an appointment to head up the mortgage company just as the FHFA placed it into conservatorship during the financial crisis. The announcement follows Ed Haldeman├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós decision last fall to step down as CEO of Freddie Mac, just after the two executives saw themselves and eight others in senior leadership positions embroiled in scandal over multimillion-dollar bonuses.

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Issa: Countrywide Gave Lawmakers Discounted Loans

A congressional investigation turned up evidence that Countrywide Financial Corp. lavished four members of Congress and an unknown number of GSE executives with discounted mortgages between 1996 and 2008, Rep. Darrell Issa said Friday. Issa addressed members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which he chairs, by releasing an open letter to the public. He did not disclose the names of any members of Congress implicated by evidence in the investigation.

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Frank Criticizes Efforts to Weaken Reform Law

Following his announced resignation two weeks ago, Rep. Barney Frank showed few signs of slowing by denouncing provisions that made it into a proposal that recently cleared the House Financial Services Committee. He referred prominently to a provision from the Private Mortgage Investment Act ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô drafted by Rep. Scott Garrett and passed by the House Financial Services Committee 18-15 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô that aims to repeal the risk-retention rule from the Dodd-Frank Act and do away with the GSEs.

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Garrett Proposal Clears House Committee

Reform may be on the way for the housing finance system in the United States if a bill cleared by the House Financial Services Committee makes its way to the Senate. Rep. Scott Garrett hailed the passage of his legislation ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the Private Mortgage Market Investment Act ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô which cleared the committee by an 18-15 margin. The move by Garrett follows a similar push by Sen. Bob Corker, who advanced legislation to consolidate assets from the GSEs and create a Mortgage Finance Agency over the next 10 years.

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