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Daily Archives: July 16, 2013

FHFA’s Initiative to Reduce Enterprises’ Dominant Position in Housing Finance System

FHFA’s Initiative to Reduce the Enterprises’ Dominant Position in the Housing Finance System by Raising Gradually Their Guarantee Fees, Evaluation Report – EVL–2013–005 – July 16, 2013

“In 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) generated $12.5 billion in revenues from the single-family guarantee fees that they charge to protect investors in their mortgage-backed securities (MBS) against potential credit losses. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA or the Agency) has argued that federal financial support for the Enterprises over the years has permitted them to set their guarantee fees at artificially low levels, thereby increasing their risks and pricing potential competitors out of the market. As the Enterprises’ conservator, FHFA has directed them to increase guarantee fees as a means to encourage greater private sector investment in mortgage credit risk, reduce their dominant position in housing finance, and limit potential taxpayer losses. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an agency of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), insures mortgages originated by approved lenders against credit losses. FHA has raised its insurance premiums in recent years to, among other things, increase private sector investment in mortgage credit risk. In this respect, FHA’s initiative is aligned in concept with that of FHFA. However, in the spring of 2013, HUD announced that FHA was discontinuing further premium increases. We conducted this evaluation to (1) analyze FHFA’s initiative, and (2) assess FHFA’s communication and interactions with FHA on their pricing initiatives.”

The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools

The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools – by Kristen Purcell, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich. July 16, 2013 “A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and high school students finds that digital technologies are impacting student writing in myriad ways and there are significant advantages fromContinue Reading

National Insider Threat Policy

Steven Aftergood: The National Insider Threat Policy directs agencies to “leverag[e] counterintelligence (CI), security, information assurance, and other relevant functions and resources to identify and counter the insider threat.” “Agency heads shall ensure personnel assigned to the insider threat program are fully trained in… counterintelligence and security fundamentals….” Agency heads are directed to grant insiderContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – DHS, Patient Protection, Retirement Security

Department of Homeland Security Oversight and Coordination of Research and Development Efforts Could Be Strengthened, GAO-13-766T, Jul 17, 2013 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Status of CMS Efforts to Establish Federally Facilitated Health Care Exchanges and the Federal Data Services Hub, GAO-13-786T, Jul 17, 2013 Retirement Security, Challenges and Prospects for Employees of SmallContinue Reading

Executive Order – HIV Care Continuum Initiative

Executive Order – HIV Care Continuum Initiative: “Since the release of the Strategy, additional scientific discoveries have greatly enhanced our understanding of how to prevent and treat HIV. Accordingly, further Federal action is appropriate in response to these new developments. For example, a breakthrough research trial supported by the National Institutes of Health showed thatContinue Reading

CRS – The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization

The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Reauthorization – Jared T. Brown, Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy; Daniel H. Else – Specialist in National Defense. June 14, 2013 “The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. Appx § 2061 et seq.), as amended, confers upon the PresidentContinue Reading

Business Continuity Planning: Lessons from a Communications Exercise

The Payments Risk Committee (PRC) is a private sector group of senior managers from U.S. banks that is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Continuity Planning: Lessons from a Communications Exercise, July 9, 2013 “Today banking is more globally and systemically integrated than ever before. It is very difficult to find aContinue Reading

The Risk of Fire Sales in the Tri-Party Repo Market

The Risk of Fire Sales in the Tri-Party Repo Market – Brian Begalle, Antoine Martin, James McAndrews, and Susan McLaughlin “This paper studies the risk of “fire sales” in the tri-party repo market, a large and important market where securities dealers find short-term funding for a substantial portion of their own and their clients’ assets. We distinguish between fireContinue Reading

A Century of U.S. Central Banking: Goals, Frameworks, Accountability

A Century of U.S. Central Banking: Goals, Frameworks, Accountability – Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the “The First 100 Years of the Federal Reserve: The Policy Record, Lessons Learned, and Prospects for the Future,” a conference sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 2, 2013 “Today, I’ll discuss the evolution over theContinue Reading

Improving Access to Refinancing Opportunities for Underwater Mortgages

Improving Access to Refinancing Opportunities for Underwater Mortgages – Joshua Abel and Joseph Tracy “Since the onset of the housing crisis, a focus of policymakers has been to help underwater homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments by refinancing, principally through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). This enables households to commit more money to consumption,Continue Reading