The deterioration in the credit quality of subprime mortgages could result in losses ranging from $50 billion to $100 billion, Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress July 19.The chairman indicated that delinquencies and foreclosures are rising faster than the Fed anticipated only a few months ago. And these problems "likely will get worse before it gets better," he said. Mr. Bernanke also told the Senate Banking Committee that he expects the Fed to issue new Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act regulations to address certain subprime lending practices, such as prepayment penalties, later this year. When asked about Federal Housing Administration reform, the Fed chairman advised the Senate to act cautiously because FHA single-family loans have high delinquency and default rates. "I would suggest moving with some caution to ensure you don't create another source of problems," Mr. Bernanke testified.

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