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Federal Foreclosure Review Findings Due Next Month, Bernanke Says

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Federal banking agencies have been reviewing foreclosure procedures at mortgage servicers across the country and will present the findings next month, Ben Bernanke said Monday.

Speaking about the ongoing foreclosure fiasco, the Federal Reserve chairman said he was concerned about the growing number of reported irregularities in mortgage practices at a number of large financial institutions, CNNMoney reported.

"We are looking intensively at the firms' policies, procedures and internal controls related to foreclosures and seeking to determine whether systematic weaknesses are leading to improper foreclosures," Bernanke said at the kickoff of a joint conference in Arlington, Virginia, with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

In recent months Wall Street has been plagued with reports of faulty paperwork, foreclosures being pushed through without examination, computerized registration systems that lost track of ownership documents, and various other problems.

"We take violations of proper procedures seriously," Bernanke said.

The Fed chairman said the conference will look at the potential effects of the problems on the foundering real estate market as a whole, Bloomberg reported.

"Now, more than 20 percent of borrowers owe more than their home is worth and an additional 33 percent have equity cushions of 10 percent or less, putting them at risk should house prices decline much further," he said. "With housing markets still weak, high levels of mortgage distress may well persist for some time to come."

Bloomberg said housing markets were "weak" in September and early October, with "sluggish or declining" sales in many regions, according to the Fed's Beige Book business survey last week. There were "scattered reports of some improvement."

Filed Under: Economy

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Interest rates are at all time lows. The Fed should simply step in and offer direct refinancing to those for whom the rate adjustment will help save their homes. And they should err on the side of being a LITTLE bit too lax. At worst a small percentage of those homeowners will eventually end in foreclosure, but many others will keep their homes. This will A)Keep many good, honest, hardworking Americans in their homes by virtue of the reduced monthly housing expense, B) allow many others to find employment and again afford their homes, C) have the effect of spreading the remaining foreclosures over a longer time period easing the current flood of foreclosed homes. This was already done, quite effectively during the depression. I believe the government bought over 1 million loans back then. And then, having solved th foreclosure crisis, we should remove all Wall Street connected regulators from Washington, and lock up all the crooks who caused this mess.

October 25 2010 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder why the Feds feel empowered to interfere in an issue that is controlled by state laws. They seem pretty determined to keep the states from insisting that the Feds enforce the laws the Feds DO have responsibility to enforce, such as immigration laws.

October 25 2010 at 8:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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