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Waters to FHFA on GSE settlements: 'Best possible recovery?'

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco, asking for clarity on why it approved the recent reps and warranty settlements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bank of America (BAC) settled with the government-sponsored enterprises for $3 billion in repurchase and warranty claims on mortgages written by the acquired Countrywide Financial Corp. The settlement has drawn scrutiny because the unpaid principal balance on those loans is $127 billion. The FHFA, the conservator of Fannie and Freddie, cleared both this deal and a $462 million one with Ally Financial (GJM). Waters, the chairwoman of the subcommittee on housing and community opportunity, wants more information. In a letter sent to DeMarco, Waters asked if the deals "represent the real liability the enterprises bear as a result of the misrepresentations and breaches of warranty made by these institutions." "Specifically, we request detailed information on how FHFA determined that the combined $3.3 billion settlement represented the best possible recovery of funds available to taxpayers," Waters wrote. "Additionally, we request clarity on how the subpoenas for Ally Financial were resolved and whether Ally provided loan level or collateral file data to FHFA, and, if so, how this information was used to arrive at the $462 million settlement figure." The FHFA did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAPrior

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