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Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Obama to Name Warren to Start Up Consumer Protection Bureau

The big news coming out of Washington today -- President Obama will hold a special press briefing Friday to name Elizabeth Warren to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She won't be nominated to fill the role of the bureau's chief, as has been widely expected, at least not yet. Instead, she'll be appointed assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury. She'll head a steering committee responsible for getting the new agency, which will oversee mortgage lending, up and running.

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Industry Reports Show Mixed Results for Mortgage Rates

Two closely-watched industry studies that track weekly mortgage interest rates were sending mixed signals on Thursday. The good news for homebuyers and borrowers looking to refinance is that rates are still hovering near 50-year lows. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year rate edged up to 4.37 percent this week, while the 15-year rate dropped to 3.82 percent. Bankrate reported declines across the board.

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Beige Book Shows Slowdown in Recovery, Trouble Spots in Real Estate

Economic growth is still grinding along, but has slowed considerably since earlier in the year, according to the Federal Reserve's popular Beige Book report released Wednesday. Reports from the 12 Fed districts on their local economies painted a picture of ""widespread signs of a deceleration."" Real estate remains a drag on economic growth in regions across the country, with major trouble spots identified in poor home sales and weak demand for commercial space.

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Moody’s Expects New Originator Compensation Rules to Lower Defaults

The Federal Reserve has issued new rules intended to protect consumers from deceptive mortgage lending, including explicit restrictions on how mortgage brokers and loan officers can be compensated. Specifically, the impending payment requirements, which go into effect next April, prohibit loan originators from double-charging for origination fees and from steering borrowers into less-than-optimal loan products in return for higher compensation. Moody's says these changes will translate into a lower probability of default on mortgage loans.

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REOs the Topic du Jour in Washington

Neighborhoods across the country are riddled with empty bank-owned homes and unoccupied foreclosures that erode neighboring property values and open the door for blight and criminal activity. The nation's glut of vacant REOs took center stage in Washington Wednesday. HUD announced a new nationwide REO ""First Look"" program, in partnership with the nation's largest mortgage lenders, and it was the first of a two-day Federal Reserve summit to examine the community impacts of foreclosed and vacant properties.

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Bernanke Promises Action at Meeting of World’s Central Bankers

All eyes were on Jackson Hole, Wyoming Friday, as leaders of the world's central banks convened for an annual retreat in the small, quiet town along the Teton mountain range. The most anticipated attraction - Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, as market analysts, economists, and Wall Street looked for some semblance of the Fed's plan to deal with the nation's lukewarm economic recovery. Bernanke insisted that he doesn't believe the U.S. will revert into another recession, but he promised to react swiftly if the recovery doesn't pick up.

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Fed Issues New Mortgage Disclosure and Compensation Rules

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Monday published a long list of rules outlining new requirements that will govern compensation to mortgage professionals and disclosures to borrowers regarding their home loans. Among the new regulations are a ban on controversial yield spread premiums, and a stipulation that requires lenders to provide borrowers with a payment table, which includes a ""worst case"" scenario showing the maximum interest rate and mortgage payment they might see over the life of the loan.

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Fed to Use Mortgage Bond Proceeds to Reinvigorate Stalled Economy

The Federal Reserve's Tuesday policy meeting signaled a clear shift from earlier in the year, when officials professed stability and the central bank was crafting its exit strategy for stimulus programs. With economic growth in the United States slowing and the threat of a double-dip recession spreading, the Federal Reserve board has decided to take the proceeds from its investments in mortgage bonds and pump new capital into the system. The move is an indication of the Fed's heightened concerns over the current state of the economy.

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Bear Stearns Portfolio Puts New York Fed in Foreclosure Quandary

The U.S. Federal Reserve is in the same boat as the banks now, dealing with a mortgage portfolio that's riddled with deficiencies and delinquencies. The central bank's New York branch has been saddled with a heap of souring loans from the assets it picked up to support the 2008 bailout of Bear Stearns. And now, as more and more of these loans - both residential and commercial - fall into default, the New York Fed is faced with a dilemma: to foreclose or not to foreclose.

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Fed Raises Fee Amount for TILA and HOEPA Disclosures

The Federal Reserve has decided to raise the dollar amount of mortgage fees that trigger additional regulatory disclosure requirements under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 (HOEPA). On Friday, the central bank's board of governors issued an adjustment to the rule, bumping the amount of the fee-based trigger up 2 percent to $592, effective January 1, 2011. Currently that threshold is set at $579.

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