Bank of America's corporate center in Charlotte, N.C.
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Bank of America announced this morning that it will pay the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) $3.6 billion in cash and will buy back $6.75 billion worth of mortgages to resolve claims related to mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae by the bank and Countrywide Financial Corp. (which BofA acquired in 2008.
In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.
Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 2:07 pm
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It's been four years since the U.S. launched a massive bailout of the financial system and the auto industry. While much of the bailout money has been paid back, the government still owns large shares in companies such as AIG and GM, and has yet to recoup some $200 billion in bailouts.
Many experts say reducing mortgage principal can help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. But the regulator who oversees two of the nation's largest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has rejected the idea.
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A federal regulator is blocking the government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from reducing the principal that homeowners owe on their mortgages in order to avoid foreclosures.
Tuesday's decision came from Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.