Legislative Issues

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Legislative Issues.

July 20, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Appropriators Reject Administration’s Proposed FHA Lender Fee. A $135 Million Set Aside for IT Upgrades

The House Appropriations Committee this week approved a fiscal year 2018 funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development with a $135 million allocation for systems enhancements, quality control and risk management improvements in lieu of a proposed lender fee. Approved by a vote of 31 to 20, the bill provides HUD with $38.3 billion in discretionary funding for FY 2018, down $487 million from the current level. The House measure authorizes...


July 14, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Industry Seeks More Tangible Activities in GSE DTS Proposals

Industry groups lauded the GSEs’ efforts to increase funding for underserved markets but recommend they add more specific activities focused on increasing loan purchases and speeding up the process. In May, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released draft proposals on ways to grow financing for specific underserved markets under the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s duty-to-serve requirements. Those markets include manufactured housing, rural housing and preserving affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. The National Low Income Housing Coalition said while the plans demonstrate the GSEs’ commitment to increase their impact in underserved markets, they focus largely on scoring and technical compliance.


July 14, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Fed Governor Wants GSE Reform Progress Now Before it’s Too Late

With GSE reform moving up the priority list in the minds of lawmakers and industry executives, Federal Reserve Governor Jay Powell joined the conversation last week and said it’s time to act now before it’s too late. Following the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on GSE reform, Powell spoke at the American Enterprise Institute and urged lawmakers to come up with a solution while the economy is healthy. He worries that if reform doesn’t happen soon, the status quo will become comfortable. Moreover, Powell said any change would be more challenging to enact during difficult economic times.


July 14, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Small Lenders Clamor for a Voice In Housing-Finance Reform Debate

As talks intensify on how to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of limbo, smaller lenders are clamoring to make sure they have a say in how housing-finance reform plays out. Nearly all sides agree that small lenders should continue to have access to the secondary market; how that’s accomplished is a different matter. The Main Street GSE Reform Coalition – an umbrella group made up of small-lender and community-advocacy groups – wants the government-sponsored enterprises to begin rebuilding capital buffers by suspending their dividend payments to the Treasury Department. It also wants...


July 14, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBS Trading Volume Increased in June, But Concerns Remain About Supply and What the Fed Might Do

The average daily trading volume of agency MBS reached $209.9 billion in June, the second highest reading of the year and a sign that liquidity is picking up, according to figures compiled by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. The increase in trading comes despite the fact that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae issued a total of $317.7 billion of new MBS in the second quarter, a 6.1 percent decline from the first quarter. For the six-month period, 2017 holds the edge with volume up 3.5 percent. But it hasn’t been...


July 14, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Yellen Affirms Fed Balance Sheet Reduction to Start This Year, Analysts Try to Anticipate Market Impact

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee is moving closer to beginning what is likely to be a long and drawn-out process to gradually and predictably unwind the U.S. central bank’s huge portfolio of agency MBS and debt – the sooner, the better, according to Fed chief Janet Yellen. “The FOMC intends to gradually reduce the Federal Reserve’s securities holdings by decreasing its reinvestment of the principal payments it receives from the securities held in the System Open Market Account,” she said this week in her semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony on monetary policy to members of Congress. “Specifically, such payments will be reinvested...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Penny Raises Funding Capacity by Altering Repo Pact Terms with CS

PennyMac has revised master mortgage repurchase agreements with Credit Suisse to increase its funding capacity for new loan originations and acquisition of mortgage servicing rights, the company disclosed in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The increase is temporary – effective from June 23 through Sept. 29 – but it will boost PennyMac’s funding capacity by $486 million. On June 23, 2017, PennyMac agreed to revised terms of its Third Amended and Restated Master Purchase Agreement (CS Repurchase Amendment), which would increase temporarily its maximum committed purchase price to $943 million from $700 million. Entered into on April 28, 2017, the amended repurchase agreement would allow PennyMac to sell to Credit Suisse and later repurchase certain newly originated residential and small-balance multifamily mortgages. The agreement also includes ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Senator Sees Consensus on Government Guarantee

Efforts in the Senate to reform the government-sponsored enterprises appear likely to include a government guarantee for whatever replaces the current system involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “It seems to me that the consolidation is coming around the fact that we do need to have an explicit [catastrophic] guarantee,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN. “We need to acknowledge that it’s going to be there.” He made the statement last week at a hearing on housing-finance reform by the ...


July 6, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Affordability Still a Key Issue in Housing-Finance Reform As Senate Banking Panel Weighs Legislative Options

Progressive Democrats helped derail housing-finance reform legislation in the last Congress because they thought affordable housing provisions weren’t rigorous enough. It’s clear that issue will be key in the renewed reform effort taking shape in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, along with another matter that was mostly overlooked in 2014: mortgage servicing. Late in the panel’s hearing on reform last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, made clear that affordable housing will be an issue. “There’s an affordable housing crisis in this country pushing homeownership below 64 percent,” she said, adding that it’s also put a strain on rental units. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, the ranking minority member of the panel, said...


July 6, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Will Rep. Hensarling Go Along With Evolving Housing-Finance Reform Effort in the Senate?

Late last month the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee showed a new willingness to tackle housing-finance reform legislation and the fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the wild card remains how its bipartisan solution will go over in the House. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is no friend of the two government-sponsored enterprises and has leaned toward minimizing the government’s role in the market. Based on his past legislative efforts regarding GSE reform, the conservative from Texas would love...


July 3, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Might New Residential Get Sucked into Ocwen’s Struggle with CFPB? In a recent interview with IMFnews, an affiliated publication, New Residential Investment Corp. CEO Michael Nierenberg said the company’s servicing-related deal with Ocwen Financial is coming along and will be completed in the “near future,” though he declined to be specific.... Lawmakers Seeks to Exempt More Lenders From CFPB Exam Oversight. Last week, one member of the U.S. Senate and another from the House of Representative each separately introduced legislation that would increase from $10 billion to $50 billion the threshold figure at which regulated depository institutions are subject to direct examination and reporting requirements of the CFPB....


July 3, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

New Legislation Would Exempt More Small Lenders From HMDA

Legislation is afoot in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that would significantly expand the scope of lenders exempt from the record keeping and reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. In late June, Rep. Tom Emmer, R-MN, introduced H.R. 2954, which would amend HMDA to expand the exemption thresholds that determine which depository institutions are subject to the act’s record maintenance and disclosure requirements. However, the triggers are based on the number of loans originated, not the asset size of the institution. Specifically, the bill would exempt depository institutions that originated fewer than 1,000 closed-end mortgages in each of the two preceding calendar years, and depositories that originated fewer than 2,000 open-end lines of credit ...


June 30, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

New Bill Would Let Some Captive Insurers Remain in FHLBanks

Reps. Randy Hultgren, R-IL, and Gwen Moore, D-WI, introduced a bill in favor of captive insurers maintaining their Federal Home Loan Bank membership. Captive insurance lenders that joined the system prior to January 2016 currently have five years to terminate their FHLBank membership. Those that came into the system after that date have one year to exit the system. H.R. 289, the Housing Opportunity Mortgage Expansion (HOME) Act, would allow the five-year captives to maintain their membership, as long as they can demonstrate a commitment to residential mortgage activities. The bill’s sponsors explained that the legislation supports the notion that companies with a history and mission of supporting residential housing should be able to continue to serve their communities.


June 30, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Support for Reforming Fannie, Freddie Evident at Senate Hearing

During a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing late this week housing finance reform options, there appeared to be a consensus about preserving the parts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that work and providing better access to credit for small lenders. There was also more confidence that GSE reform could be addressed sooner rather than later. Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-ID, said the committee is “actively exploring a number of options.” He said recapitalizing and releasing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac without significant reform is not a solution and added that it’s important to have affordable access to the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.


June 30, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Policymakers Fault Fed’s QE Efforts, Mull Over Best Ways to Shrink Its Huge Portfolio Holdings

The Federal Reserve took some pointed criticism on Capitol Hill this week over its handling of monetary policy since the end of the Great Recession, including its support of the housing and mortgage markets through its unprecedented quantitative easing programs. “I don’t think the added gross domestic product growth we’ve had over the last 90 months will be proven to have been worth ballooning the balance sheet from $900 billion to $4.5 trillion,” Rep. French Hill, R-AR, said during a hearing this week by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade. He also said...


June 30, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Housing-Finance Reform Gets Started in Senate Banking Committee, Push to Finish Bill in 2017

Leading Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee this week launched an ambitious effort to draft a bipartisan housing-finance reform bill, and possibly approve it by year end. Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle cited a growing consensus about how that reform should be undertaken, with most agreeing on the preservation of the to-be-announced market and the need for an explicit government guarantee for MBS backed by conventional mortgages. Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-ID, listed...


June 29, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Flood Insurance Bills Advance in House, Other Mortgage Reforms Introduced

The U.S. House of Representatives was a relatively busy place last week, with a handful of measures related to flood insurance passing the House Financial Services Committee, and a few other, small-scale, individual mortgage reforms being introduced. Among the bills passed by the committee was H.R. 2875, the “National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act of 2017,” introduced by Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-NY. It would make certain administrative reforms to the NFIP to increase fairness and accuracy and to protect the taxpayer from program fraud and abuse. The legislation passed on a 58-0 vote. Also favorably voted on was...


June 29, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Panel May Take Up Housing-Finance Reform This Fall, But Challenges Are Plentiful

The House Financial Services Committee may take up housing-finance reform after Congress returns from its August recess, according to a key GOP member of the panel. But Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-MO, who chairs the subcommittee on financial services and consumer credit, told a recent meeting of the Financial Services Roundtable that he doesn’t expect any real movement on housing reform this year. “I wouldn’t expect...


June 29, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

MBA Argues for Class-Action Waivers and Arbitration Clauses in Employment Agreements

The Mortgage Bankers Association recently submitted a brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in a pending case regarding class-action waivers and arbitration clauses in employment agreements. The MBA and eight state-affiliated MBAs argued that class action waivers are critical for smaller employers such as independent mortgage companies. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis as part of its term that begins in October. Epic Systems, a health care software company, required certain groups of employees to agree to bring any wage-and-hour claims against the company only through individual arbitration. Circuit courts have issued...


June 29, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

State Regulators Say CFPB Mortgage Rules Impede Community Banks’ Mortgage Lending, Relief Needed

The Conference of State Bank Supervisors has called for granting community banks relief from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability-to-repay rule as well as the reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Testifying before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee last week, Charles Cooper, commissioner of the Texas Banking Department and immediate past chairman of CSBS, said the rules limit the ability of smaller financial institutions to engage in residential lending. “Smaller and less complex institutions have reported...


June 23, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

House Financial Services Committee Approves Flood Insurance Reform Measures.The House Financial Services Committee this week reported out several bills to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on Sept. 20, 2017. The bills that passed included H.R. 2875, the National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act of 2017, which would protect taxpayers from program fraud and abuse; H.R. 1588, the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act, which would ensure community accountability for areas frequently damaged by floods; and H.R. 1422, the Flood Insurance Market parity and Modernization Act, which would increase the availability of private flood insurance. The committee also approved H.R. 2246, the Taxpayer Exposure Mitigation Act of 2017, which would shift flood insurance risk for commercial and multifamily properties in ...


June 23, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Trump Admin Seeks to Boost Non-Agency Lending

The Treasury Department last week released a report that called for regulatory reforms aimed to help boost non-agency originations and market share. Many of the reforms relating to the non-agency market could be completed without action from Congress. However, most of them are overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Treasury’s recommendations appear unlikely to be enacted as long as Richard Cordray is director of the CFPB. Treasury sought input ...


June 23, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Warner Expects GSE Reform Before Overhaul Of Dodd-Frank Act, Discusses Lessons Learned

Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA, suggested the widespread view that Congress won’t get around to resolving the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be too pessimistic. Speaking at a Mortgage Bankers Association conference in Washington, DC, this week, Warner said, “This may surprise some folks, but I think the stars may align where you could actually see housing-finance reform happen in front of some of the Dodd-Frank reform.” Warner, who co-authored a reform bill four years ago, said...


June 22, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Looks into Return of Settlement Monies Paid to Third Parties

Weeks after the Trump administration banned the practice, the Senate Judiciary Committee is looking into whether the Obama administration used mortgage-related settlement funds to funnel money to political organizations that Congress deliberately defunded. In a recent letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, revived a standing request to the Department of Justice for a list of all settlement agreements reached during the previous administration that involved alleged payments to partisan community organizations. He gave the agency until June 28 to respond to his request. Specifically, Grassley asked...


June 22, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

New House Legislation Would Allow REITs With Captive Insurers to Stay in the FHLBank System

Reps. Randy Hultgren, R-IL, and Gwen Moore, D-WI, want to restore Federal Home Loan Bank membership for captive insurance lenders that joined the system prior to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s rulemaking that restricted membership of firms that would otherwise be ineligible. H.R. 289, the Housing Opportunity Mortgage Expansion (HOME) Act, would allow FHLBank members that were booted from the system to rejoin it, as well as the retention of those whose departure is pending, if they can demonstrate a commitment to residential mortgage activities. Most of the affected companies are real estate investment trusts. The sponsors explained...


June 22, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Is It Too Late to Delay New HMDA Requirements? Industry May Only Have Weeks to Make its Case

The month of July may very well be do-or-die time for policymakers to decide whether they should delay implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. “Regulators, and particularly members of Congress, don’t understand that if you’re going to delay the rule based on the technology implications of it, you really have to make a decision fairly far out before the rule becomes effective,” said Richard Andreano, a partner with the Ballard Spahr law firm in Washington, DC. He gave his remarks during a panel discussion at the American Bankers Association’s annual regulatory compliance conference, held in Orlando last week. In his judgement, July is...


June 19, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

House Fires Shot Across CFPB’s Bow, Passes Financial CHOICE Act. The GOP-controlled House of Representatives followed through on the majority’s often expressed intention to largely eviscerate the CFPB, passing H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, the Republican alternative to the Dodd-Frank Act. The measure passed on a vote of 233-186. All eyes now turn to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, where Mike Crapo, R-ID, will play a pivotal role in Republican efforts to roll back the bureau. “Today’s passage of the Financial CHOICE Act is a significant and thoughtful effort to improve our financial regulatory system,” Crapo said after the vote. “Many of the provisions in this legislation are responses to the failures and consequences of Dodd-...


June 19, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Should CFPB Delay New HMDA Requirements? Experts are Torn

Industry compliance officers, trade group representatives and legal experts at the American Bankers Association’s regulatory compliance conference, held in Orlando last week, expressed mixed sentiments about whether the CFPB ought to delay the effective date of the new requirements it is ushering in under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. They were responding to the suggestion of such a delay made by the Treasury Department in its recent report as per President Trump’s Executive Order 13772. “Obviously, a delay has to be for at least a year because the nature of HMDA is such that you can’t delay for six months,” Rodrigo Alba, the ABA’s senior vice president and senior regulatory counsel for mortgage finance, told an audience during a working ...


June 19, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Treasury Report Blames CFPB Rules for Tight Mortgage Credit

The Treasury Department’s report on reforming financial regulation in the U.S. blames rules ushered in under the Dodd-Frank Act – and promulgated by the CFPB – for tight credit conditions in the mortgage market. “While Dodd-Frank and the ATR/QM [ability to repay/qualified mortgage] rule were not intended to eliminate markets for loans that did not meet the QM standards, the reality is that the vast majority of lenders remain unwilling to make loans that do not meet those standards, eliminating access to mortgages for many creditworthy borrowers,” Treasury wrote in the 142-page report. (At best, $3 billion to $4 billion in nonprime/non-QM mortgages might be originated this year out of total industrywide originations of $1.5 trillion.) The administration took aim at Appendix ...


June 19, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

The Trump Treasury Report: Treasury Takes Aim at the CFPB, Calls for Structural Changes

In a new report mandated by the Trump administration, per Executive Order 13772, the Treasury Department slammed the CFPB on multiple counts and called for an overhaul on how the bureau is managed. The Treasury’s perspective was summed up succinctly: “The CFPB was created to pursue an important mission, but its unaccountable structure and unduly broad regulatory powers have led to regulatory abuses and excesses. The CFPB’s approach to enforcement and rulemaking has hindered consumer choice and access to credit, limited innovation, and imposed undue compliance burdens, particularly on small institutions.” The report then detailed a number of more specific criticisms, as follows. “The bureau’s structure renders it unaccountable to the American people,” it began. Also, the CFPB’s substantive authority ...


June 16, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA to Seek Authority to Examine Nonbank GSE Mortgage Servicers

In an unusual twist, the Federal Housing Finance Agency included legislative recommendations in its annual report to Congress submitted this week. First, the agency urged lawmakers to take up housing-finance reform legislation, a call FHFA Director Mel Watt has made numerous times, including in a recent hearing on Capitol Hill. The regulator declined to address any of the major policy issues that would arise from comprehensive reform, as it has in the past.The FHFA also reiterated suggestions that Congress address statutory provisions that inhibit the ability of certain investors, such as real estate investment trusts, from participating in credit-risk transfer transactions.


June 16, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

FHFA to Seek Authority from Congress to Examine Nonbank Servicers, Other Service Providers to GSEs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is backing recommendations for additional authority that would allow it to examine third parties that do business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In its 2016 Annual Report to Congress released this week, the FHFA said it concurs with recommendations made by both the Government Accountability Office and the Financial Stability Oversight Council that Congress grant the agency authority to oversee the entities that provide critical services to the government-sponsored enterprises. While counterparty oversight is critical to the safety and soundness of the GSEs, it is...


June 15, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House of Representatives Passes Financial CHOICE Act, But Chance of Approval in the Senate is Slim, Observers Say

The House of Representatives last week passed sweeping legislation that would repeal or modify consumer protection provisions of the Obama-era Dodd-Frank Act, including an overhaul of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure and authority as well as changes to the rulemaking process followed by the CFPB and federal banking agencies. The House approved H.R. 10, the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs (CHOICE) Act, on June 8 by a vote of 233-186, along party lines. The bill was sent to the Senate, where Republicans enjoy a narrow majority and would have to win over some Democrats to get the bill through. Under the Republican bill, the CFPB would be renamed...


June 9, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

House of Representatives Passes CHOICE Act But Legislation Likely Faces a Dead End in Senate

The House of Representatives late this week passed H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, which would undo a number of changes to the secondary market and to the regulatory landscape that were ushered in by the Dodd-Frank Act. As previously reported, among these are the elimination of the Dodd-Frank risk-retention requirements for ABS other than residential mortgages. Another provision would enable the president to remove the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency before the end of the director’s appointed term, with or without cause. It also would make...


June 8, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House of Representatives Begins Vote On GOP Alternative to Dodd-Frank Act

The House of Representatives this week began voting on H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, the Republican effort to replace significant portions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The legislation, introduced earlier this year by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, passed out of committee in early May on a party-line basis. The final vote was expected to be completed late this week. The House Rules Committee voted...


June 8, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

No Mortgage Reform This Year, Maybe No Bill Either, As Shareholders Hope Mnuchin Sees Things Their Way

The mortgage industry has come to the conclusion that meaningful housing-finance reform is so elusive that any legislation being introduced is a long shot, even in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which seems to be more involved in the topic than any other panel on Capitol Hill. Over the past month, rumors have circulated that some senators on the committee, including Bob Corker, R-TN, have been discussing with fellow members what an outline for housing-finance reform might look like, but with nothing committed to paper. A spokeswoman for the committee told...


June 8, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

OCC, Fed Take Action Against Flood-Insurance Violators; House Subcommittee Considers NFIP Reform Legislation

Federal banking regulators this week took action against two mortgage lenders for failing to enforce flood insurance requirements on properties in flood-prone areas. Separately, House lawmakers mulled over draft Republican legislation to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced it slapped Colonial Savings Bank with an $87,500 penalty for violation of the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973. The FDPA requires...


June 8, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Conforming-Jumbo Market Down Slightly in Early 2017 As Agencies See First Loan-Limit Increase in Years

Jumbo mortgage production declined 32.9 percent during the first quarter of 2017, along with virtually every other part of the home-loan market, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. An estimated $70.0 billion of non-agency jumbo mortgages were originated during the first quarter, a 30.0 percent decline from the previous three-month period. In addition, some $29.0 billion of conforming-jumbo mortgages were delivered into Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities in the first three months of the year. These are loans on one-unit properties that exceed the baseline agency loan limits and are eligible because they’re secured by homes in designated high-cost markets. The agency-jumbo market was...[Includes three data tables]


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