- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
- Fla. voters’ support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
- Keith Urban concert ends in ‘nutso’ chaos, with dozens arrested, injured
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Fist bump becoming all the rage for germ-wary handshakers
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Chinese police tear down church cross in religion crackdown
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: ‘Obama, Obama, where are you?’
- Maine police find wife, husband, 3 children dead in home
Fannie-Freddie regulator softens on resisting principal reductions
Question of the Day
The federal regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is softening his position against allowing the mortgage giants to reduce principal for U.S. borrowers at risk of foreclosure.
Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a speech Tuesday that the agency is considering whether to allow Fannie and Freddie to offer principal reductions. And he noted that mortgage-principal reductions would lower Fannie and Freddie losses and help stabilize home prices faster.
Yet Mr. DeMarco still says the agency must weigh the reductions against losses to taxpayers, who already have spent $170 billion to bail out the companies. Allowing reductions could lead to a rise in borrowers who strategically default on their loans, he warns. And fewer than 1 million homeowners would be eligible for principal reductions — a fraction of the estimated 11 million Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, he added.
The agency will make a final decision on principal reductions by the end of the month. A spokeswoman for the agency said that Mr. DeMarco's long-standing resistance to allowing principal write-downs hasn't changed.
Still, the subtle shift in his tone suggests he may be feeling pressure from lawmakers and officials in the Obama administration, who have pushed for principal reductions by Fannie and Freddie.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said he was "encouraged that Mr. DeMarco has now begun to move in this direction."
Mr. Cummings and others say Fannie and Freddie's efforts to help homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth have fallen short.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told a Senate subcommittee last month that he thought officials at Fannie and Freddie support the idea of principal write-downs, despite Mr. DeMarco's reservations.
Mr. Geithner called Mr. DeMarco a "little more conservative" on the issue.
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq