NEW YORK (Associated Press) – A regulator whose agency would disappear under a Bush administration plan to revamp financial oversight says his agency should instead be given expanded power over the U.S. home loan market.
John Reich, director of the federal Office of Thrift Supervision, said Tuesday that his agency should be given broad powers over mortgage bankers and brokers, many of whom operate outside federal regulation.
"There needs to be a federal supervisor of the entire mortgage industry," Reich said at a briefing with reporters.
The agency, which oversees 831 savings and loans, regulates major lenders, including Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc. and Sovereign Bancorp Inc. of Philadelphia.
Under the administration’s more than 200-page plan to overhaul financial regulation, the Office of Thrift Supervision would be closed and its role would be absorbed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates banks. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson released the so-called regulatory blueprint in March.
Reich called that idea, "counterintuitive and contrary to how we ought to be responding to the current housing market correction."
While the Paulson plan asks Congress to establish a federal commission to set recommended minimum licensing standards for mortgage brokers, Reich said his agency would be better equipped to do so, as it has expertise with lending and staff around the country.
MADRID (Reuters) – An unemployed Spanish real estate agent is selling raffle tickets in a bid to get rid of his 320,000-euro (255-pound) apartment near Madrid because he is unable to keep up with his mortgage payments and cannot sell it.
Miguel Marina said he hopes to be able to pay off his mortgage, worth 80 percent of the value of his property, by selling 64,000 tickets at 5 euros each, promising his home as the single prize to the winner of a draw.
His website, elpisodeloscincoeuros.com, which means "thefiveeuroflat.com" in Spanish, provides a contract detailing conditions for handing over the property in the dormitory town of Ciempozuelos.
"I’m going to raffle off my flat," Marina wrote, describing how he suffered sleepless nights trying to work out how to pay off his debts on the property he bought in 2005 before losing his job selling houses as Spain’s real estate market went into a tailspin.
"I’ve tried to sell it, but no buyers call," he said.