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Uncertainty On How Congress Will Deal With Foreclosures

WASHINGTON-As questions have mounted about the legality of thousands of foreclosures across the country, uncertainty remains over what Congress might do about it. The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a Nov. 16 hearing on the matter, and the House Financial Services Committee is widely expected to follow suit. Beyond that, it is unclear how Congress will react until lawmakers have a better grip on the situation.

Lawmakers are pushing to do their own investigation even as all 50 states have launched foreclosure probes. While some Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), are pressing lenders for a blanket foreclosure moratorium, others like President Obama and Sen. Chris Dodd have warned such a move could damage the economy.

Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, who serves on the Banking Committee, said it would be a mistake for Congress to interfere, and that the paperwork controversy should be a lesson to investors of mortgage-backed securities about variance in foreclosure proceedings and a reminder that Congress needs to address the future of the housing finance system.

Other analysts have suggested that eventually Congress might need to set federal standards for transferring title electronically to prevent problems like this from recurring.

 

FDIC Chair Opposes Any Freeze On Foreclosures

WASHINGTON-FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said last week the growing robo-signing scandal was symptomatic of the poor incentives that marred the securitization market, but she opposed a universal freeze on foreclosures. While she continued to push for loan workouts, Bair said, "Across-the-board foreclosure moratoriums-I'm not sure that would help anyone. I think it would forestall a process that necessarily has to take place," Bair said.

 

Skip That Ghoulish Payment

ORLANDO, Fla.-FAIRWINDS CU is offering members the opportunity to skip their October loan payments and save money. Noting that traditionally such offers are made in December, FCU said it "recognizes that members are looking for payment relief throughout the year, not just the holidays. The $1.5-billion FAIRWINDS has been offering the skip-a-payment option for several years.

 

Three Dog (Opening) Night Act

WASHINGTON-CUNA has signed Three Dog Night to perform at its 2011 GAC. The band, which had hits such as "Joy to the World," "Eli's Coming" and "One," will play at an event sponsored by the CUNA Councils to kick off GAC.

 

NCUA: 'CUSO Can Broker Taxi Loans'

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA ruled that CUSOs may act as loan brokers for the purchase of New York City tax medallions. A CUSO, owned by one of the credit union taxi lenders, would screen loan applicants, do credit checks and submit information to a lender, but would not fund the loan. The loans would be offered to the numerous New York credit unions that make loans for the medallions, which are taxi licenses.

New York City issues a fixed number of 13,000 medallions, which are bought and sold on a regular basis. The value of taxicab medallion ranges from $500,000 to more than $700,000. In a new legal opinion letter, NCUA said brokering taxi medallions is a permissible activity for a CUSO, but the CUSO cannot originate or fund a loan for the licenses.

 

CUSO Files Suit Over Failure

DALLAS-Credit Union Liquidity Services, a wholly owned CUSO of Texans CU, filed suit in federal court over a failed commercial/residential development in nearby Rockwall that defaulted on a $30-million member business loan. The dispute is the latest involving the troubled MBL CUSO, which won a $40-million verdict last year over loans to a failed Chicago shopping mall project, helping to force the CUSO into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The CUSO's MBLs have been the main causes of major losses at the one-time $2 billion CU.

 

SECU Donates $2M To Center

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-Officials last week broke ground on a $5-million Hospice and Palliative Care Center that will be funded in part by a $2-million grant from State Employees' CU's foundation. The house will provide temporary lodging for adults who travel to Winston-Salem for medical treatments. Care-givers also will be welcomed to stay. The facility will have 45 guest rooms with private baths, common living, dining and kitchen areas as well as laundry facilities, a patio and a chapel.

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