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In the Shade: U.S. Regulators Crack Down on Bank Instructed ‘Forced’ Insurance

Is there no end to the shadiness of banks and making money?

“WASHINGTON—A U.S. housing regulator is cracking down on a little-known practice that has hit millions of struggling borrowers with high-price homeowners’ insurance policies arranged by banks that benefit from the costly coverage.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie MaeFNMA +4.67% and Freddie MacFMCC +3.96% plans to file a notice Tuesday to ban lucrative fees and commissions paid by insurers to banks on so-called force-placed insurance.

Such “forced” policies are imposed on homeowners whose standard property coverage lapses, typically because the borrower stops making payments. Critics say the fee system has given banks a financial incentive to arrange more expensive homeowners’ policies than necessary.

Banning the fees and commissions could help lower the price of the insurance policies. The housing agency’s move would apply nationwide to all mortgages guaranteed or owned by Fannie and Freddie—about half of the housing market”

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