Fed’s High Wire Inflation Fighting Effort Risks Triggering a Recessionary Fall

Imagine a high-wire act performed without a net.  That describes the Federal Reserve’s effort to curb inflation without crashing the economy.  Success will bring applause and relief; failure, a brief downturn, at best, with a prolonged recession the worst case outcome. 

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In a decision that surprised just about everyone, the U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed the Comptroller of the Currency’s expansive federal preemption claim, ruling that states have the authority to enforce their consumer protection laws against national banks.

If you’ve been following the “Thinking Out Loud” discussions posted periodically on this site, you have seen several in which Members Mortgage President Joe Zampitella has highlighted the dangers reverse mortgages pose for the seniors who obtain them and the credit unions that originate them. It appears that some federal bank regulators share his concerns about this fast-growing mortgage product.

Providing a welcome jolt of good news to financial institutions, which haven’t had much to cheer of late, the California Supreme court ruled recently that tapping public benefit payments to pay overdraft charges or other fees — a common banking industry practice — does not violate state law or public policy.

In a still lagging effort to get ahead of a rising foreclosure tide, Congress has approved the Help Families Save their Homes Act. The measure revises an existing program – Hope for Homeowners – which has fallen well short of predictions that it would help more than 300,000 struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by refinancing unaffordable, adjustable rate loans into lower-cost FHA-insured mortgages.