Magazine article American Banker

Washington People

Magazine article American Banker

Washington People

Article excerpt

Tick Tock

Rep. Richard Baker is still hoping the House can act on a bill to create an agency that would facilitate the redevelopment of storm-affected areas of Louisiana.

In an interview last week the Louisiana Republican said time is running out because many banks granted a three-month window following Hurricane Katrina in which homeowners did not have to make mortgage payments.

"The 90-day forbearance on mortgage payments is rapidly drawing to a close, and December, January, and February are going to be very difficult months," he said. "Today, if you are a financial institution that has a large number of significantly impaired properties that didn't have flood insurance ... you have big problems. The landowner has big problems."

Rep. Baker's bill, introduced last month, would create Louisiana Recovery Corp., which would use debt backed by the federal government to buy and redevelop damaged property in the state before selling it back to the public.

He said he was optimistic the legislation will pass the House Financial Services Committee soon and go to the full floor before yearend.

Guru

Only six lawmakers attended Alan Greenspan's final appearance before Congress' Joint Economic Committee as the Federal Reserve chairman, but he still managed to attract a crowd.

Four rows of spectator seats were packed with mostly young Hill staff members and interns there to see one of the 79-year-old maestro's last performances.

The hearing last week turned out to be a humdrum affair, with Mr. Greenspan offering a relatively upbeat assessment of the economy and offering his usual elusive answers to questions posed by members of the committee.

Ten minutes after the hearing, though, Malgorzata Ubanjak and two fellow Hill interns from Poland were abuzz in the Rayburn office building hallway. …

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