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Listen Up Candidates

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Have you been following the Presidential Election? Most people have. Why? It’s outlandish. Earlier this year presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton an “unbelievably nasty, mean enabler” who “destroyed” the lives of her husband’s mistresses.

The comments, made during an evening rally in Eugene, Ore., marked the sharpest tone he’s taken against the Democratic frontrunner since becoming his party’s presumptive nominee, and the first time he’s been so direct in referencing Bill Clinton’s affairs in months.

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“She’s been the total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives,” Trump said. “She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler, and what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful.”

In exchange, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton condemned Donald Trump’s criticism of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing lawsuits involving Trump University, during a conversation with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

“This racist attack on the judge is just another example of how he is absolutely impervious to the values of America, to the progress that we have made over many, many decades,” Clinton said of Trump’s comments. “He’s trying to demean, and defame a federal judge who was a very accomplished federal prosecutor who was first appointed by a Republican governor in California.”

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Trump has said Curiel, who is presiding over two of the three cases against Trump’s now defunct for-profit school, cannot be fair in the ruling because Curiel is “a hater,” “very hostile,” and “Mexican,” and Trump wants to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Curiel was born in Indiana and is American.

I know, the level of discourse it’s unbelievable. With the presidential elections fast approaching, one in five Americans (21%) say a candidate’s housing and finance policies will influence their vote, according to new research conducted for loanDepot. Nearly two out of five (36%) also think the presidential candidates are doing a bad job of articulating their housing and finance policies, and 35 percent would like to hear more from the candidates on these topics. Among those interested in hearing more, 56 percent are Democrats, 39 percent are Republicans, and 29 percent are Millennials.

Americans also weighed in on their economic and housing priorities for the 45th president’s first 100 days, electing to keep housing more affordable and interest rates low. Making homeownership more affordable for middle and lower income families topped the list with 37 percent of Americans, including 32 percent who are Millennials, 64 percent who are Democrat and 32 percent who are Republican. Keeping interest rates low (34%) and making more credit available to small businesses (11%) are second and third priorities. There was bi-partisan agreement on keeping interest rates low during the next president’s first 100 days with Democrats and Republicans at 47 percent and 49 percent respectively.

“People across the nation told us they want to hear more from the presidential candidates about their housing and financial policies on issues like income, access to credit, interest rates and affordable housing,” said loanDepot Chairman and CEO, Anthony Hsieh. “The candidate who does a good job in communicating their policies moving forward has an opportunity to influence millions of potential voters.”

Same Old Same Old? Maybe Not ?

Most Americans expect their financial situations to stay the same or get worse as a result of the upcoming presidential election, which could be due to a lack of information from candidates about these key policies. While the majority of likely voters (66%) don’t expect the election will impact their personal finances, nearly one quarter (24%) think they’ll be worse off financially. Of those who expect be worse off, 56 percent say the candidates have done a bad job of articulating their housing and financial policies. More Democrats (50%) expect to be worse off financially as a result of the elections than Republicans (44%). Only six percent of all voters expect to be better off as a result of the general November election.

Millennials May Miss Out?

With Millennials now outnumbering baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation of consumers, their entrance into homeownership has been anticipated as a welcome boost to home sales, especially starter homes. However, while 38 percent of home loans closed by Millennials in April 2016 were FHA loans1, the survey revealed many are still discouraged about their incomes and the election’s impact on their access to credit. In fact, more than one third (36%) of Millennials say their primary financial concern is not making enough money, and 46 percent are concerned about how the elections will impact their ability to access credit. Two out of five (40%) Millennials said making homeownership more affordable to middle- and low-income Americans should be a priority for the next president’s first 100 days.

“As more Millennials enter the housing market, we expect to see a higher priority placed on better borrowing options for first-time homebuyers,” said Hsieh. “loanDepot is one of the five largest FHA lenders in the country and we remain focused on helping borrowers, including Millennials, access the credit they need to finance home purchases.”

Accessing Credit: Perception vs. Reality?

The loanDepot research found perceptions on financial trends sometimes don’t match reality. For example, 38 percent of Americans said they think it’s harder to get home loan today than it was immediately after the financial crisis in 2008. In fact, while guidelines have tightened since 2008, applications for purchase mortgages were more likely to be denied in 2008 than in 2014, the most recent year for which Federal Reserve2 data is available. Denial rates for home purchase loan applications hit 18 percent in 2008, while denials in 2014 topped out at 13 percent. Denial rates for home refinance applications in 2008 were 38 percent and dropped to 31 percent in 2014.

About the Survey?

The survey was conducted by OMNIWEB using the KnowledgePanel in a national online omnibus service of GfK Custom Research North America. The KnowledgePanel is the only commercially available online probability panel in the marketplace making the sample truly projectable to the US population, which sets it apart from traditional “opt-in” or “convenience” panels. A total of approximately 1,000 interviews were completed, with 500 female adults and 500 male adults. The margin of error on weighted data is +/- 3 percent for the full sample.

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10 Questions For Hillary Clinton

In the past few weeks, it has been impossible to turn on the television without seeing Hillary Clinton in situations where she is supposedly being interviewed. I used the word “supposedly” because these interviews have a tiresome air of predictability – the questions being asked are stale and often silly, and her answers offer no meaningful insight into how she views the world around her.

Now, I can’t imagine that Clinton’s handlers would allow me within a mile of her. But if they did and I had a chance to pose some questions, this is what I would love to ask her.

1. Under your husband’s presidency, the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed. During the past year, a growing number of high-profile individuals – most notably Sen. Elizabeth Warren – have called for the reinstatement of this legislation. As president, would you bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, or would you follow your husband’s lead on the issue?

2. Also during your husband’s presidency, efforts to increase homeownership rates – particularly among minorities – was aggressively encouraged by weakening underwriting standards. Without making that same mistake again, how would you encourage the responsible expansion of minority homeownership?

3. In the aftermath of the 2008 crash, the Obama Administration has failed to bring forth a single indictment of any Wall Street executive involved in this economic catastrophe. As president, would you continue the Obama policy of aiming for settlements with major financial institutions while declining to press charges against the executives responsible for these institutions’ actions?

4. At no point during the Obama Administration has the White House taken the leadership position on ending the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As president, how would you bring about the federal conservatorship of these entities – or would you point to their profit-making abilities as the reason to keep them in indefinite conservatorship?

5. Also on the subject of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: the chief executives of both government-sponsored enterprises earn higher annual salaries than the president. Do you believe that the Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac leaders deserve to have higher salaries than the nation’s chief executive?

6. At no point during the Obama Administration has the White House called for the expansion of the Fair Housing Act to protect LGBT Americans from housing discrimination. As president, would you actively work with Congress to bring about this legislative protection?

7. During the past few years, a number of municipalities have flirted with the idea of using eminent domain laws to seize and repackage the mortgages of distressed homeowners. Are you supportive of this strategy – and, if so, would you actively encourage municipalities to pursue this as a means of strengthening their local housing markets?

8. In recent weeks, employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have brought forth charges of racism within the agency’s personnel policies. To date, no Democratic leader has publicly expressed outrage over the nature of the charges. As the de facto frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination for president, are you willing to publicly comment on the charges raised against the CFPB by its employees?

9. And one more CFPB-related question: CFPB Director Richard Cordray earns a higher salary than Vice President Joe Biden and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Do you believe it is fair for the CFPB director to have a salary higher than the nation’s second-highest leader and the head of the Judicial Branch?

10. At no time during your recent public appearances have you made any comments on housing. What are your thoughts on the state of the nation’s housing policy, and what level priority will your presidency devote to housing-related issues?

Yeah, they are not the sexiest or funniest questions – but if Hillary Clinton is going to get my vote, I would like to know where she stands on these issues. If she wants to answer me, she can drop me a line courtesy of this website. But if she doesn’t want to speak to me – well, it won’t be the first time that I’ve been ignored!

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