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Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Reports: Fitch May Downgrade Fannie, Freddie

A failure by lawmakers to slash $1.2 trillion from the national debt spurred Fitch Ratings to place U.S. debt on negative outlook Monday, a move that immediately hit GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by association. The ratings agency revised a stable outlook for debt held by Fannie and Freddie to negative, even while it reaffirmed AAA-ratings in place for the GSEs. Multiple news reports suggest that Fitch will likely downgrade credit ratings for the U.S. federal government, along with Fannie and Freddie.

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Obama, Congress Raise Conforming Loan Limits for FHA

After several weeks of intense deliberation, with backers and supporters on both sides, Congress again raised limits for Federal Housing Administration conforming loans to $729,750, which President Barack Obama signed off on Friday. House lawmakers included an amendment to raise the limits in a stopgap spending measure cobbled together by both houses to keep the government running through December this year. The House voted for the bill by a 298-121 margin, which the Senate followed with 70 yeas and 30 nays. Trade groups rushed to extol the raised limits.

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Senators Grill Obama Administration Nominees

The Senate Banking Committee pressed nominees for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós major financial services and housing agencies over a myriad of recent issues Thursday, with insolvency for the Federal Housing Administration and an increasing number of bank failures prevailing in discussions. The nomination hearing for the three Obama administration prospects ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô FHA commissioner-nominee Carol Galante, FDIC vice-chairman nominee Thomas Hoenig, and HUD deputy secretary-nominee Maurice Jones ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô quickly transitioned from congratulatory to tense and at times awkward.

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Fannie, Freddie Release New HARP 2.0 Guidelines

Freddie

The same day that lawmakers deluged the GSEs and their regulator with criticism, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac finally released guidelines Tuesday for lenders and servicers about modifications to the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The Obama administration ended weeks of speculation when it announced the modifications ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô specific to HARP 2.0, as dubbed by the media ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô in October. New guidelines effectively took lenders and servicers off the hook by nixing their legal culpability for original loans before homeowners refinance with the GSEs.

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Lawmakers Target Fannie, Freddie Over ‘Questionable’ Practices

A minibus bill cobbled together by House lawmakers would slash spending from several federal agencies, including HUD, and limit a hike in conforming loan limits to the Federal Housing Administration. House lawmakers drafted the stopgap bill to resolve funding needs for the federal government and avoid a shutdown for the remainder of the fiscal year a step in the direction of an agreement reached by White House officials and member of Congress earlier this year.

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HUD Scorecard Delivers Mixed Results for Housing

An October scorecard released Thursday by the Obama administration portrayed the housing market as one beset by mixed circumstances over September and the months before. A still-heavy foreclosure glut matched with declining home values and prices left the market slightly worse for the wear in some areas. The report measured up home prices, home sales, and refinance originations, finding declines for some and stabilization for others. A positive portrayal of efforts by the Obama administration also met with less favorable consumer sentiment.

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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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Debate Still Rages Over CFPB After First 100 Days

The feud between lawmakers over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dragged on Wednesday, as de facto acting director Raj Date defended the struggling agency to Republican House members and the role of the Dodd-Frank Act in financial regulation. Republicans advanced their critiques by highlighting the apparent power of the CFPB director and more compliance workload for financial institutions. Democratic lawmakers played their part by praising the bureau. At other times lawmakers ratcheted up the rhetoric.

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CoreLogic: HARP 2.0 Will Help GSEs, Homeowners

Modifications in line for the Home Affordable Refinance Program from the Obama administration will buoy homeowners with negative equity and origination markets, but field few other benefits for investors in mortgage-backed securities, according to a new outlook. Analytics provider CoreLogic released a statement Monday demarcating HARP├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós benefits and problem areas, skewering assertions that the program will alleviate a chronic lack of demand and showing that economic troubles may persist despite government assistance.

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Nation’s Big Four Banks Sign Up for HARP Expansion

The nation's four biggest mortgage lenders recently signed up for modifications to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, adding credibility to a mass refinance opportunity that met with cheers and criticism this week. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced this week that it would lift the 125-percent loan-to-value ratio for mortgages, do away with risk-based fees for borrowers with short-term loans, and extend the lifetime of the program until 2013. B of A, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo all came forward.

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