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Politics clouds proposed overhaul of U.S. housing finance system

By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee appears likely to back a bill to wind down government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to sources familiar with talks on the legislation. The committee's leaders have secured a bare majority of the votes needed to push the bill forward, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not keen for it to come up for a vote on the Senate floor ahead of congressional elections in November, these industry and Capitol Hill sources say.

U..S consumer bureau to test electronic mortgage closings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Borrowers seeking to buy a new home say they often do not have time to read final mortgage documents and sometimes find mistakes in their paperwork, the U.S. consumer watchdog said in a report on Wednesday. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it plans to help alleviate this confusion by testing electronic mortgage closing techniques that would give consumers more time to look over documents and make it easier to spot errors.

U.S. mortgage applications fell last week: MBA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week as both purchase and refinancing applications slipped, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, declined 3.3 percent in the week ended April 18.

Bank of America reports loss on huge legal charges

The legal legacy of the housing bust weighed on Bank of America earnings Wednesday, resulting in a quarterly loss even as some operating units posted solid results. The US banking giant lost $276 million for the first quarter, with the biggest drag coming from $6 billion to settle a pile of lawsuits dealing mostly with BofA's sale of mortgage-backed securities. The loss was its first since the second quarter of 2011. "The cost of resolving more of our mortgage issues hurt our earnings this quarter," said chief executive Brian Moynihan.

Bank of America reports loss on huge legal charges

The legal legacy of the housing bust weighed on Bank of America earnings Wednesday, resulting in a quarterly loss even as some operating units posted solid results. The US banking giant lost $276 million for the first quarter, with the biggest drag coming from $6 billion to settle a pile of lawsuits dealing mostly with BofA's sale of mortgage-backed securities. The loss was its first since the second quarter of 2011. "The cost of resolving more of our mortgage issues hurt our earnings this quarter," said chief executive Brian Moynihan.

Bank of America reports $276 mn loss on huge legal costs

Bank of America reported Wednesday a quarterly loss of $276 million due to $6 billion in legal expenses that included a huge settlement with the US on mortgage-backed securities. The bank had revenues of $22.8 billion, compared with earnings of $1.5 billion on revenues of $23.4 billion in the period a year ago. Operating results were mixed and included weaker mortgage banking profits but higher investment and brokerage income. "The cost of resolving more of our mortgage issues hurt our earnings this quarter," said chief executive Brian Moynihan.

OSFI issues proposed new rules to govern conduct of mortgage insurers

OTTAWA - Canada's financial regulator is looking to issue new guidelines governing high-risk mortgages in the country's housing market. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has asked for comments on the guidelines that would compel mortgage insurers to do due diligence on the ability of borrowers to service their debts and also require them to tighten monitoring procedures.

Housing industry asks $5 trillion question: what does Watt want?

By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. housing industry has waited three months to find out how Mel Watt will govern taxpayer-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae <FNMA.OB> and Freddie Mac <FMCC.OB>, and have been frustrated by his silence. The former 11-term congressman from North Carolina, who took over the agency that oversees the two enterprises in January, has not delivered an annual strategic plan, which would usually be public by now.

Deutsche Bank wins dismissal of FHFA case

By Karen Freifeld NEW YORK (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG has won dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to have it cover government-sponsored Freddie Mac's losses on defective mortgage securities purchased from a more than $1.4 billion trust. The German bank was accused by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Freddie Mac, of misrepresenting the underwriting and quality of home loans backing the securities in the trust, which dated from 2006.

Fannie, Freddie shareholders lobby against U.S. housing reform bill

By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A coalition of investors in Fannie Mae <FNMA.OB> and Freddie Mac <FMCC.OB> on Wednesday launched an effort to stop Congress from moving ahead with a U.S. housing finance reform bill, arguing it would deny them a fair share in any remaining value in the two companies.
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