Mortgage lenders: New regs could derail real estate recovery

Industry groups pushing for legal 'safe harbor'

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At a meeting attended by top economic and housing policymakers in the West Wing of the White House last Thursday, the Obama administration heard these grave warnings on housing:

If you force overly stringent home loan standards and legal liabilities down the throats of the mortgage and real estate industries this summer, many lenders will squeeze underwriting requirements on loans even tighter than they are today, cut back on originations and tack on additional "overlay" fees. All that, in turn, will suck the air out of the housing recovery, with punitive impacts on jobs, new home building and resales of existing homes.