Inflation Threatens and Evictions Loom

Two major issues dominated the news in late July: Inflation – whether it is, is not a problem or is likely to be one; and the prospect that millions of renters would be evicted from their homes as a federal moratorium barring evictions for nonpayment of rent expired. 

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Legislators on both sides of the aisle have assured credit unions that they will not support any proposal that would eliminate the industry or marginalize its role in the financial services sector.

“Wherever you look, things look bleak.” We could begin and end this month’s update with economist Robert Shiller’s grim but accurate description of the housing landscape. Current statistics certainly don’t provide any reason to dispute his assessment or to predict that conditions will improve any time soon.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson hasn’t managed to end the subprime lending crisis, but he did succeed in driving it briefly from the front pages last week, by unveiling a sweeping plan for reconfiguring the regulatory framework for the nation’s financial system. Paulson’s proposal certainly attracted the attention of credit union executives, who were stunned – and not in a good way – by the plan to consolidate regulatory oversight and establish a single federal bank charter, effectively eliminating separate charters for savings and loan institutions and credit unions. 

Twice in the past six years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has floated a plan to overhaul the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA),  a statute that nearly everyone views as dysfunctional at best and counter-productive at worst, only to see the proposed reforms shot down by industry opposition.