NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced recently that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have entered into cooperation agreements requiring them to only buy loans from banks that meet new standards designed to ensure independent and reliable appraisals. The agreements, among the New York Attorney General, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their federal regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), also create an independent organization to implement and monitor the new appraisal standards. Senator Charles Schumer, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee's Housing Subcommittee, praised the agreement and the reforms, which he has supported.

"With this agreement, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become leaders in transforming the mortgage industry," said Cuomo. "Now national banks have a clear choice: immediately adopt the new code and clean up appraisal fraud in the mortgage industry or stop doing business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–it is that simple."

In Washington, members of the House and Senate Banking Committees are close to an agreement on a bill to reform the Federal Housing Administration. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, (D-Mass.) sad he was "optimistic" that work would be completed soon. A provision to require the FHA to contribute excess revenue to an affordable housing trust fund was dropped.

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