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Tag Archives: Treasury Department

Dodd-Frank Comes Under Fire at Congressional Hearing

The Dodd-Frank Act fell under scrutiny at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, with lawmakers from the right charging that the reform law will impose arbitrary rules that limit consumer choice and prevent an economic recovery. Much of the light fell on interagency efforts to finalize the controversial Volcker Rule, a rulemaking requirement under Dodd-Frank that bans short-term proprietary trading by systemically important financial institutions like Chase. Witnesses included Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray.

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In Housing Finance Proposals, Treasury Finds Questions, Not Answers

More than a year after releasing a white paper that set forth three options for housing finance reform, Treasury and HUD struggle to determine the best path forward for America's housing finance system. Speaking before an audience at a meeting of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, Counselor to the Treasury Secretary for Housing Finance Michael Stegman explained that rather than answering the broader question of what the future of housing should look like, each proposal seems to ignite a slew of additional critical questions.

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Refi Boom Set to Fuel $200B More Originations in 2012

A surge in refinance applications could propel mortgage originations by more than $200 billion in 2012, increasing to $1.28 trillion, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group attributed estimates ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô upwardly revised from $1.26 trillion in 2011 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô to account for a refinance boom sparked by the crises in debt-saddled Europe. The MBA said that it expected refinance originations would amount to $870 billion this year, an amount nearly identical to forecasts from last year, when HARP led the way in estimates.

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Mortgage Applications Ride 9.2% Increase on Low Interest Rates

A rash of new concerns in debt-saddled Europe drove investors to U.S. Treasury debt, keeping mortgage rates at all-time lows and leading mortgage application volume to tick up 9.2 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association recorded an 8.7 percent increase in applications for the Market Composite Index on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Analysts credit an upset in Greek elections last week with the rush by investors to U.S. Treasury debt, with policymakers in the Mediterranean country likely seeing elections next week.

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Bank Shares Fall as Greek Turmoil Undermines Confidence

A fresh round of concerns that Greece may leave the euro zone sent U.S. stock markets into a dizzying tumble Monday. After some lift in recent weeks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 125.25 points to close by end of day at 12,695, along with shares for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós four largest lenders. The deal reportedly involves a Syriza, a leftwing bloc opposed to further austerity measures that may parlay slashes to Greek social services for $170 billion in bailout funds under a package jointly agreed-to by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

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ResCap Files Chapter 11, With Nationstar Set to Acquire

Residential Capital LLC, the embattled mortgage subsidiary of Ally Financial, filed Chapter 11 Monday, with Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. set to acquire it. The Detroit-based company framed the move as a way to shave losses, repay taxpayers, and preserve its position as an auto lender. Lewisville, Texas-based Nationstar said in a separate announcement that it would acquire ResCap, with the purchase including $374 billion in mortgage servicing assets and $201 billion in primary residential mortgage servicing rights.

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Fannie Mae Fields Net Income, Evading Treasury Draw

Fannie Mae revealed that it produced $2.7 billion in net income for the first quarter this year, enough to prevent another draw from the Treasury, a first for the mortgage giant since it entered federal conservatorship in 2008. The favorable results offer a significant difference to a net loss of $6.5 billion from the same quarter last year, along with a net loss of $2.4 billion by the fourth quarter. Despite net income for the first quarter, Fannie Mae sustains a debt for more than $180 billion in taxpayer funds it has received with Freddie Mac since 2008.

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GOP Lawmakers Slam CFPB for Withholding Budget Plans

House Republicans recently called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to release financial plans and performance targets for the next year. In a letter obtained by MReport, Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick, Randy Neugebauer, and James Renacci slammed the agency by calling it unresponsive to their requests for budget details. The House members frequently made mention of the national debt, tying perceptions of government excess and waste to their demands for congressional oversight of the bureau. The Fed-funded bureau remains at the center of a political storm.

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Freddie Mac Sees $577M in First-Quarter Net Income

Freddie

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac saw $577 in net income over the first quarter, less than $619 million for the same by the fourth quarter last year. The GSE said that its net worth deficit would require a Treasury draw of $19 million, adding that it offset comprehensive income over the first quarter by senior preferred dividends worth $1.81 billion. The company laid claim to more than $114 billion of liquidity in the mortgage market over the first quarter, including $89 billion single-family refinance loans that resulted in an estimated $1.4 billion in aggregate annual interest savings.

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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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