Will Congress bail out lenders? Borrowers?

U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: And they'll return to work in Congress this week, plunging into hearings on the crisis in the mortgage market. The House Financial Services Committee kicks things off on Wednesday. Steve Tripoli has a preview.


Steve Tripoli: A wide swath of the political spectrum now agrees that tighter standards are in order.

Desmond Lachman of the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute says Congressional action's a must.

Desmond Lachman: What I would think is really important is that one extends regulation to a lot of these mortgage originators who aren't subject to federal regulation.

That's about half of recent mortgage lenders. But Lachman fears the crisis will lead Congress to overreact.

Lachman: What I'm concerned about is that Congress is going to engage in a wholesale bailout, with taxpayers' money, of lenders and borrowers who've made very bad decisions.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank has made no secret of his belief that this crisis was caused by too little regulation.

But Frank also says you can't bail everyone out. The challenge will be in separating people who were duped into bad mortgages from those who knew they were gambling.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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