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01/23/2020

House prices up in November

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has posted its November 2019 House Price Index, which indicates U.S. house prices were up 0.2 percent from October and rose 4.9 percent from November 2018 to November 2019. The previously reported 0.2 percent increase for October 2019 was revised upward to 0.4 percent. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from October 2019 to November 2019 ranged from -0.1 percent in the Mountain division to +0.8 percent in the East North Central division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +3.8 percent in the New England and the West South Central divisions to +6.3 percent in the Mountain division.

01/22/2020

FHFA adjusts cap on community financial institutions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has posted a notice [85 FR 3680] in today's Federal Register adjusting the cap on average total assets that is used in determining whether a Federal Home Loan Bank member qualifies as a “community financial institution” to $1,224,000,000. The change took effect on January 1, 2020.

01/22/2020

FEMA to suspend communities in 3 states today

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published a notice [85 FR 3548] in today's Federal Register announcing the suspension, effective today, of communities in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas from the National Flood Insurance Program for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program.

  • Kansas: Unincorporated areas of Butler County
  • Missouri: City of Maryville
  • Texas: Bee Cave, Creedmoor, Gonzales, Lakeway, Mustang Ridge, Point Venture, Rollingwood, San Leanna, The Hills, Volente, West Lake Hills, and unincorporated areas of Gonzales County

In the event that any of the named communities adopt and submit required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures prior to actual suspension, those communities will not be suspended.

01/22/2020

OCC levies $18 million Flood Act penalty

The OCC announced Tuesday it has assessed a $17,998,510 civil money penalty against Citibank, N.A., Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the OCC's implementing regulations.

The OCC found the bank engaged in a pattern or practice of violating 42 U.S.C. § 4012a(e) and 12 C.F.R. § 22.7(a). Specifically, the bank failed to purchase regulatory required flood insurance on behalf of borrowers with loans secured by buildings and mobile homes located in special flood hazard areas where flood insurance is available in a timely manner. The failure to purchase the required flood insurance in a timely manner resulted from Citibank’s deficient FDPA policies and procedures, which allowed the bank’s third-party service provider to extend the 45-day notification period after the initial borrower notification.

01/21/2020

Operators of credit repair scheme banned

The Federal Trade Commission has announced the operators of a bogus credit repair scheme have been banned from the credit repair business and are subject to a wide array of other requirements under settlement terms with the Commission. The settlements relate to an FTC complaint filed in June 2019 alleging that the defendants targeted consumers with false promises of substantially improving consumers’ credit scores by claiming to remove all negative items and “hard” credit inquiries (which can often change a consumer’s credit score) from consumers’ credit reports. In addition, the FTC alleged the defendants illegally charged upfront fees for their services and advised consumers to mislead credit bureaus and lenders, as well as threatening consumers with lawsuits when they complained or disputed charges.

01/21/2020

HUD proposes rule to encourage new housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced it is proposing a new rule that would recognize additional sets of standards and model building code editions that, when followed in the design and construction of new multifamily housing, will ensure compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Under the proposed rule, HUD will incorporate more recent editions of currently recognized safe harbor standards and model building codes. HUD will amend its regulations to include the 2009 edition standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as well as the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code, as safe harbors for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

01/17/2020

Disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico

HUD has announced an additional $8.2 billion available for Puerto Rico disaster recovery. Secretary Ben Carson said that HUD will soon publish a Federal Register notice to provide Puerto Rico with the guidelines for establishing its plan to use these long-term mitigation funds appropriated by Congress.

01/16/2020

FHFA announces Giancarlo as chairman of CSS

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced that J. Christopher “Chris" Giancarlo, former Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will serve as independent, non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Common Securitization Solutions LLC (CSS) and that CSS will amend the structure of its board of directors. This amended structure provides Anthony Renzi, appointed in December 2019 as CSS CEO, a seat on the board and also allows the FHFA to appoint up to three additional independent directors. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will each retain their two current board seats. There will be up to nine board members in total. CSS, a joint venture between the Enterprises, built and runs the technology platform that supports the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS). Both Enterprises began using the CSS Common Securitization Platform in June of 2019.

01/14/2020

HOME program online training available

HUD has announced the launch of its new Building HOME online training series for its HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, an interactive, self-paced online training which guides grantees through 12 modules, providing a foundation of the regulatory requirements of the program and practical advice for implementing all HOME activities at the state and local levels. The training presents real-world scenarios and includes challenge questions and exams. The launch includes 8 of the 12 training modules. Four additional modules will be launched in the next few months to complete the Building HOME online training series.

The HOME program provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use in partnership with local nonprofit groups to fund a wide range of affordable housing activities. This includes building, buying, or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership. HOME also provides direct rental assistance to low-income people. It’s the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.

01/13/2020

CFPB issues no-action letter to Bank of America

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) has issued a no-action letter to Bank of America, N.A. regarding the bank’s funding arrangements with housing counseling agencies certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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