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Nonbank Specialty Servicers: What’s the Big Deal?

August 31, 2014 Comments off

Nonbank Specialty Servicers: What’s the Big Deal?
Source: Urban Institute

Following the crisis, nonbank specialty servicers rapidly expanded their portfolios of distressed loans. This has contributed to a significant market change: in 2011, the 10 largest mortgage servicers were all banks; by 2013, only five of the top 10 were banks, and the other five were nonbank servicers. The rapid growth and lack of a federal regulator have contributed to significant, heated regulatory scrutiny. This commentary discusses major concerns raised about the largest nonbank servicers, focusing on the three fastest-growing large nonbank servicers. We explore the regulatory and market framework driving their striking growth, then address the major charges against them, in an effort to elevate the debate and inform sound policy.

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What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?

August 29, 2014 Comments off

What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?
Source: Urban Institute

In states not expanding Medicaid, 6.7 million residents will remain uninsured in 2016 as a result. These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, lessening economic activity and job growth. Their hospitals are also losing $167.8 billion in Medicaid revenue. Every comprehensive state-level fiscal analysis that we could find concluded that expansion helps state budgets, generating savings and revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs. Future federal cuts to ACA’s high federal match rate are unlikely. Of more than 100 federal Medicaid cuts since 1980, just one lowered the federal share of Medicaid spending.

Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2013

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2013
Source: Urban Institute

The Welfare Rules Databook provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2013, as well as longitudinal tables describing selected state policies from 1996 through 2013. The tables are based on the information in the Welfare Rules Database (WRD), a publicly available, online database tracking state cash assistance policies over time and across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Databook summarizes a subset of the information in the WRD. Users interested in a greater level of detail are encouraged to use the full database, available at http://anfdata.urban.org/wrd.

Corporate Inversions

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Corporate Inversions
Source: Urban Institute

Recently, there has been a spate of corporate inversions, where U.S. multinational corporations have combined with foreign companies, arranging their corporate structure to locate the residence of the resulting corporation in a foreign country with an attractive corporate tax climate. Several features of the U.S. tax system provide strong incentives for corporate inversion: a high statutory tax rate, a worldwide system of taxation, and limits on income shifting. Corporate inversions allow more flexible access to foreign cash stockpiles and easier shifting of income out of the U.S. tax base. The recent surge in inversions has likely resulted from the large accumulation of unrepatriated foreign cash together with pessimism about the prospect of policy changes that would reduce the U.S. tax burden associated with cash repatriations. If unfettered, corporate inversions are likely to undermine the U.S. tax base, so swift policy action is likely warranted. Inversions can be effectively addressed in a targeted fashion.

VA Loans Outperform FHA Loans. Why? And What Can We Learn?

August 22, 2014 Comments off

VA Loans Outperform FHA Loans. Why? And What Can We Learn?
Source: Urban Institute

Veterans Administration (VA) loans have consistently performed better than Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. In this commentary, we take a closer look at both programs to identify why VA loans perform better. We conclude that the residual income test may be a critical differentiating factor and suggest that regulators evaluate whether the test might be a good supplement to FHA’s current assessment of a borrower’s ability to pay.

Transforming Performance Measurement for the 21st Century

August 11, 2014 Comments off

Transforming Performance Measurement for the 21st Century (PDF)
Source: Urban Institute

During the latter part of the 20th century considerable progress was made in gaining widespread acceptance for performance measurement as an ongoing part of performance management—at all three levels of government and increasingly within private nonprofit organizations. This is a good thing. However, for the most part, the information provided by performance measurement systems has been both shallow and not always as timely as is needed to help managers operate throughout the year.

Major advancements have occurred in the first decade or so of the 21st century that show great potential for enhancing the value of the performance information provided by these management systems. The opportunities for public and private service organizations to provide more timely and substantive information for managers are exploding. Major advances have occurred, and continue to occur, in areas currently being labeled with terms such as “Data Analytics, “Data Visualization,” and “Big Data.” The availability of such tools presents government and private for profit organizations with tremendous opportunities to improve the information provided by their performance measurement systems.

This report provides a number of recommendations for making use of such tools to help speed up the development and use of modern technology. Technology-related problems exist, especially the need to provide user-friendly devices that can enable the manager of the 21st century to download at any time and in any location, from some form of electronic device, information that enables them to drill down into the latest available data. This is data that in the past would have required an excessive amount of time and resources to obtain. And, all of this achieved without requiring more than a basic knowledge of analytical methods.

We hope this report will encourage implementation and use of these great opportunities for performance measurement and performance management in the 21st century.

Implications for Changing the Child Tax Credit Refundability Threshold

August 11, 2014 Comments off

Implications for Changing the Child Tax Credit Refundability Threshold
Source: Urban Institute

This Tax Fact explores the child tax credit’s refundability thresholds since its inception. Currently, the CTC is a $1,000-per-child credit that is partially refundable for households earning more than $3,000. This Tax Fact explores the distribution of credits when the refundability threshold rises to $15,000 in 2018, and finds that families in the lowest income quintile would be affected the most.

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