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DS News Webcast: Thursday 2/5/2015

In a meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Mel Watt, former U.S. representative and chief of the Federal Housing Finance Agency since December 2013, discussed a number of key issues facing the GSEs and the agency, touching on topics ranging from recently introduced low down payment programs to the often debated subject of principal reduction for struggling homeowners. One thing Watt says he has no plans to change is the GSEs' current bailout agreement with the government, which has allowed Treasury to sweep nearly all of their profits since August 2012.

Despite protests and lawsuits from politicians, industry groups, and investors about the terms, Watt said he doesn't perceive it his responsibility to start the discussion about changing them. Fairholme Funds CEO Bruce Berkowitz, one of the GSEs largest investors, said he does not believe that Watt is powerless to act in this situation. Fairholme currently has a lawsuit pending against the government which claims the sweeping of GSE profits into Treasury is unconstitutional.

Atlanta-based default servicing law firm Morris Schneider & Wittstadt has transferred all of its default assets to Dallas, Texas-based mortgage banking industry law firm Butler & Hosch, according to a joint announcement from both firms. The agreement, which became effective on January 30, will create one of the nation's largest residential default servicing industry platforms. The agreement will allow Butler & Hosch to concentrate more on these areas and provide clients with stronger risk, audit, operational, and technology solutions.

About Author: Jordan Funderburk


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