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Regulation

The mortgage interest tax deduction is supposed to encourage homeownership among low- and middle-income Americans. But it primarily benefits higher-income taxpayers, according to a new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Class action lawsuits have led to reforms to force-placed insurance practices, said Adam Moskowitz, a partner at Miami law firm Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency banned banks and mortgage servicers from accepting commissions on force-placed insurance policies issued by affiliated companies. At least one mortgage servicer, Ocwen Financial, has found a way around the ban.

One thing lenders often overlook is the manner in which potentially isolated compliance problems can in retrospect be weaved into an elaborate and intentional conspiracy.

The FHFA should move quickly to implement a plan to create a single security for the government-sponsored enterprises, said David Stevens, the head of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
While Fannie Mae should have a smooth transition to a new system, Freddie Mac might find the path more treacherous.

Hurricane season is underway and so far there have been only two serious storms. Image: iStock.
Weather-wise, we're having a relatively placid season. But legal and regulatory developments are a different story when it comes to lender-placed insurance.

"Plan for testing," advises Kris Stewart. "Don't wait. Lock it down by May 1 or June 1."
Though there is still a year for mortgage lenders to get in compliance with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's document changes, the perils of missing that deadline are considerable.
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