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Study: Tax Reform Will Increase Homeownership Burden

A national study has suggested the current White House plan for tax reform will increase taxes for middle-class homeowners. Families with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 to $200,000 could see an average annual increase of $815 on their federal income taxes. As federal tax deductions are one of the main incentives for homeownership, it is imperative for organizations in the industry to remain vigilant in working with Congress to draft tax reform that promotes owning a home.

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Speculation Surrounds the Fed Balance Sheet

As the Federal Reserve begins to normalize their balance sheet, speculators believe that the final product may be up to three times larger than it was before the financial crisis, if not bigger. The balance sheet refers to the portfolio of securities, such as various types of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), that it has purchased. Rising interest rates are sure to drive up rates in the housing market, and the Fed’s decision to pullback from mortgage-backed securities will only add to the rising rates.

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Supreme Court: Late Bankruptcy Claims Not Subject to FDCPA Lawsuits

In a decision on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors that knowingly pursue stale debt in bankruptcy proceedings do not run the risk of facing potential consumer protection lawsuits, Law360 reports. The ruling came after the high court voted 5-3 to overturn an Eleventh Circuit decision which had found Midland Funding LLC, a purchaser of unpaid debt, potentially liable under the FDCPA.

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Financial CHOICE Faces Further Opposition

Following several heated hearings within the Financial Services Committee, the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) has faced further opposition from the Ranking Members of several House Committees. Financial Services Committee Chairman and H.R. 10 author Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has defended the CHOICE Act, stating that Dodd-Frank was a mistake and Wall Street and Washington must be held accountable. The Financial CHOICE Act "ends taxpayer-funded bank bailouts, and unleashes America’s economic potential," said Hensarling.

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Foreclosure Activity Down Across the Board

According to a new report, serious delinquencies, short sales, deeds-in-lieu, third-party sales, and foreclosure sales were all down for the month. Earlier-stage delinquencies were up in February, however, with loans 30 to 59 days delinquent rising from 377,000 to 404,000 for the month. Of February loan modifications, 19 percent had principal forbearance, while extend-term modifications accounted for 44 percent—something the report attributes to ever-climbing housing prices.

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Acting Comptroller Addresses Agency

Following the stepping down of Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry on Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appointed Keith Noreika as Acting Comptroller and designated him the First Deputy Comptroller of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). On Monday, Noreika held his first address to OCC employees, expressing his eagerness to learn the agency.

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GSEs Could be Granted FOIA Exemptions

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will now enjoy the nine standard exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act, thanks to a recent amendment to HR 1694. According to the amendment's sponsor, it will help ensure privacy and transparency at the entities. Passed in April, HR 1694 requires the GSEs to adhere to the FOIA for the first time since entering conservatorship.

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Keeping FinTechs Litigation-Free

With traditional lending systems such as banks not meeting the needs of consumers, fintechs and online lending platforms have become a much more valuable resource for investors and consumers. Fintechs can use non-traditional data to underwriting and lending techniques to assess the credit worthiness of loan applicants using online information gleaned from social media, etc., notably loan applicants that may appear as “credit invisible” to other institutions. However, this "alternative data" brings security risks.

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