- Associated Press - Thursday, August 5, 2010


Lawmakers OK mortgage fees

Higher monthly fees are coming for consumers who take out home loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, the primary source of mortgages for first-time homebuyers.

The Senate late Wednesday unanimously approved legislation giving the FHA the power to increase monthly premiums it charges to consumers. The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

The new law would affect new loans and not ones that already have been made.

Officials say the agency needs the authority to stabilize its finances, which have deteriorated because of the foreclosure crisis. The fees are projected to bring in an extra $3.6 billion per year, according to the FHA.

The agency does not make loans, but offers insurance against default.

People who take out FHA-backed loans pay a smaller down payment, as low as 3.5 percent of the home price. But they are subject to two additional fees - one at the start of the loan and an annual fee. Both fees are typically spread out in monthly installments over the life of the loan.

Borrowers who take out loans through FHA pay an annual fee of 0.55 percent of the total loan. FHA officials expect to raise that to 0.9 percent, though the bill would give them the power to raise it as high as 1.55 percent.


Doctor charged with disobeying orders

An Army doctor has been charged with disobeying orders after failing to show up for duty in Afghanistan and questioning whether President Obama has the right to order him there.

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at Fort Belvoir, Va.

The Greeley, Colo., native did not report to Fort Campbell, Ky., in April to prepare for deployment.

Col. Lakin said in a YouTube video that he chose to disobey orders and was inviting his own court-martial. He says he wants to see Mr. Obama’s birth certificate as proof Mr. Obama was born in the U.S., as presidents must be, and thus that the deployment order for Afghanistan is legal.

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