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BUSINESS
July 22, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- UBS said Monday it agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators alleging the Swiss banking giant misrepresented mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the years leading up to the subprime-loan meltdown. UBS did not specify the size of the settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie and Freddie. But in a statement the bank said its second-quarter earnings would include a $746 million pretax charge for litigation matters related to its previous housing market activity.
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BUSINESS
May 29, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Citigroup Inc. has become the second financial giant to settle a regulator's lawsuits over questionable mortgage bonds sold to taxpayer-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing bubble. The agreement, disclosed Tuesday, is the second reached by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has 16 similar actions pending. It underscores how the fallout continues from Wall Street's boom-era love affair with such subprime lending kings as Angelo Mozilo and the late Roland Arnall.
BUSINESS
May 1, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Wednesday nominated new heads of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, saying they would both help expand the economy. Obama tapped venture capitalist Thomas Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman. And,  responding to criticism of FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco, Obama nominated Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the agency that regulates seized housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The housing market is recovering, but more needs to be done to help struggling homeowners, Obama said at a White House ceremony.
BUSINESS
April 15, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Economist Mark Zandi reportedly is being considered by the Obama administration to head the federal agency that oversees taxpayer-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the White House seeks a candidate who could avoid Republican opposition in the Senate. Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics and a former economic advisor to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, is being looked at as a nominee for director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
BUSINESS
August 1, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — A key federal regulator has rejected a push by the Obama administration to reduce the mortgage debt of millions of distressed homeowners. It's a setback for the White House, which wants to reduce foreclosures to help the economic recovery. Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said Tuesday that allowing up to 2.6 million borrowers who owe more than their houses are worth to have their mortgage principal reduced would end up costing taxpayers money and could encourage additional defaults.
BUSINESS
July 8, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON — Two federal agencies with far-reaching influence over the mortgage market are working on a problem that could affect the ability of many consumers to obtain a home loan: How to encourage private lenders to ease up on their underwriting restrictions that go beyond what the agencies themselves require for mortgage approvals. Both the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees giant investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration, which runs the low-down-payment FHA program, are considering steps they might take to persuade lenders to open the mortgage spigots a little wider.
BUSINESS
May 1, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Pressure is mounting on a key federal regulator to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce loan principal amounts for struggling homeowners, after disclosures that a plan to do that was scuttled even though it was aimed at saving taxpayer money and helping to heal the housing market. Fannie Mae officials in 2009 supported principal reductions in some cases and crafted a pilot program that would have cost only $1.7 million to implement but could have provided more than $410 million worth of benefits to homeowners, according to internal company documents cited by two House Democrats.
BUSINESS
April 29, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON — If you're one of the estimated 11 million homeowners burdened with an underwater mortgage, a new federal policy change could be good news: Starting in June, when you want to do a short sale to shed your mortgage and avoid foreclosure, you may not have to wait for months to hear back from your bank when you submit an offer from a potential purchaser. Instead, if your loan is owned or securitized by either of the dominant conventional mortgage market players — Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — you can expect a response within 30 business days, with a final decision taking no more than 60 days.
BUSINESS
April 11, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could save $1.7 billion by reducing the amount that some underwater homeowners owe on their mortgages, according to a preliminary analysis by the regulator for the seized housing finance giants. But a principal reduction program by the government-owned companies, which many economists, lawmakers and state officials have called for, would not solve the housing market's problems, the head of the regulating agency said Tuesday. In addition, it could encourage homeowners who are making their monthly payments to fall behind in order to reduce the principal on their loans, adding to the $188 billion in taxpayer money already pumped into the companies to keep them afloat, said Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
BUSINESS
March 22, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Of the more than $600,000 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac spent sending 90 employees to a convention in October, nearly half was of “questionable value,” according to a government watchdog group. The inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency released a report Thursday that casts a suspicious eye on how Fannie and Freddie used their money for the Mortgage Bankers Assn.'s annual convention in Chicago. In addition to covering employees' costs, the taxpayer-funded housing finance giants shelled out $140,000 on business meals and hosted dinners and another $140,000 to become high-level sponsors (whose benefits include advertisement space, exhibitor plots and admission to luncheons and parties)
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