U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has unveiled new guidelines to ease the credit crisis that has dragged the U.S. economy toward recession.
The guidelines, developed by a presidential working group, recommend more oversight of mortgage lenders and more stringent lending standards.
Paulson Thursday said poor judgment and poor market practices have led to mistakes in all sectors of the credit market. In recent years, lenders have relaxed credit standards for home loans, and in the tightening economy, many homeowners have found themselves unable to make their payments.
A California-based company that sells information on home foreclosures, RealtyTrac Incorporated, issued a report today saying the number of foreclosure filings in February was up 60 percent compared to February of last year. It said the states of Nevada, California, and Florida had the highest foreclosure rates. Some experts say the situation is likely to worsen before it improves.
In other economic news, the U.S. Commerce Department released figures showing monthly retail sales dropped six-tenths of a percent in February, far more than the expected drop of two-tenths of a percent.
The White House today urged Americans to spend more and to have confidence in the U.S. economy.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.