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Skelton says Senate banking bill will help strengthen housing market
Skelton says Senate banking bill will help strengthen housing market

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2009) — Today, Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) submitted the following statement in the U.S. House of Representatives during debate on S. 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. Congressman Skelton’s prepared remarks are set forth below:

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Madam Speaker: Throughout this tough recession, Congress has been working to reduce the length and severity of the economic downturn and its impact on the American people. While we have approved a number of important bills in this area, let me share my support today for S. 896, a bipartisan bill known as the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act.

S. 896 is a balanced bill that will provide tools and incentives to help reduce foreclosures, will strengthen federal protections against predatory lending, will establish the right of homeowners to know who owns their mortgage, and will give the Federal Housing Administration and USDA’s Rural Housing Service legal flexibility to undertake loan modifications. Reducing foreclosures and stabilizing the housing market are key to turning around America’s economy, which is why I am pleased that S. 896 has been written with the support of both congressional Democrats and Republicans.

While S. 896 will help to mend the ailing housing market, the bill is also good for small-town banks and for all Americans who keep their savings in a bank or credit union.

As some banks gambled and made risky loans to subprime borrowers, most small-town financial institutions played by the rules and did not get caught up in the hazardous lending behavior that is at the heart of our recession. But, as larger banks have faltered, community banks have been replenishing the deposit insurance fund that protects investments throughout the financial system. To strengthen the financial stability of community banks and credit unions, S. 896 increases the borrowing authority for FDIC and for the federal credit union regulator. These increases will help level the playing field so community financial institutions are not stuck picking up the tab for their larger competitors.

And, to better protect deposits, S. 896 increases FDIC insurance protection for accounts holding up to $250,000. This action is not only beneficial to depositors but also to small town financial institutions that derive their funding and lending ability from deposits.

I urge my colleagues to support S. 896 and hope the legislation, if passed, can be swiftly signed into law by the President.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at http://www.house.gov/skelton.

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