January 11, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 1
USDA TO CLOSE 43 LOCAL RD OFFICES UNDER NEW “BLUEPRINT.” On January 9, USDA announced a “Blueprint for Stronger Service” to reduce costs while, the department says, providing better results for its customers. A total of 259 facilities will be closed, including 43 RD offices in 17 states. Visit http://www.ruralhome.org.
RD ADDS SQUARE FOOTAGE TO “MODEST HOUSING” DETERMINATION. Because declining market values have allowed larger homes to fit under area loan limits, an Unnumbered Letter dated November 30, 2011 establishes square footage guidelines for Section 502 houses. State offices may not impose additional requirements. The UL is posted at http://www.ruralhome.org. Contact an RD office.
FOOD ASSISTANCE CAN BE INCLUDED IN SECTION 502 REPAYMENT INCOME. In September RD excluded special-purpose payments from the calculation of income a borrower can use to repay a Section 502 direct loan. A December 14, 2011 Unnumbered Letter allows Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (Food Stamps) income as up to 20% of total repayment income. The UL is posted at http://www.ruralhome.org. Contact an RD office.
GUIDANCE ON UNLIQUIDATED MULTIFAMILY HOUSING OBLIGATIONS ISSUED BY RD. An Unnumbered Letter dated December 7, 2011 says that Section 515 and off-farm 514/516 loans and grants must be fully liquidated within three years after obligation. The requirement for on-farm loans is two years. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/uldecember11.pdf. Contact an RD office.
COMMENTS INVITED ON HMDA, SAFE, AND RESPA RULES. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is republishing, without substantive changes, regulations implementing laws previously overseen by other agencies. These include the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act, and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. For HMDA and SAFE, comments are due February 17 and the contact is Mitchell E. Hochberg, CFPB, 202-435-7700. For RESPA, comments are due February 21 and the contact is Joseph Devlin, CFPB, 202-435-7700. See Federal Register, 12/19/11 and 12/20/11, or http://www.regulations.gov.
HUD GUIDEBOOK ADDRESSES COMBINING HOME AND NSP. HOME and NSP: A Guide for Successfully and Effectively Combining Funding Sources explains how to comply with both the HOME and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs when using both, and is posted at http://hudnsphelp.info/media/resources/HOMEandNSP.pdf.
PROPOSALS TO ALIGN FEDERAL RENTAL PROGRAMS RELEASED. A working group of HUD, USDA, and others issued Federal Rental Alignment: Administrative Proposals, describing 10 initiatives to streamline requirements and processes across funding agencies. Visit http://www.huduser.org/portal/aff_rental_hsg/home.html.
FEDERAL RESERVE RECOMMENDS GSES HELP STABILIZE HOUSING MARKET. In a January 4 paper sent to congressional leaders, the Fed outlines directions policymakers might take, while cautioning that economic losses are inevitable. Visit http://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/other-reports/files/housing-white-paper-20120104.pdf.