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Associated Press

The New York Times calls Quicken Loans "the new mortgage machine," citing the firm's rank as the second-largest originator of mortgages, which issues $96 billion per year in new mortgage debt.

But the lender is making less flattering headlines too, like those that reference the Justice Department's allegation that the firm misrepresented customers' credit scores or real estate appraisals in order to qualify for Federal Housing Administration insurance.

Why it matters: The Quicken Loans story is that of the modern housing market. Zealous oversight from Justice and the FHFA have scared big banks from the market, opening the door for small companies to enter and take advantage of government programs like FHA-insured loans.

We're seeing the government become an increasingly entrenched player in the housing market—it owns or insures 3 out of every 5 mortgages in the country—and continues to be a major insurer of new loans. FHA loans have also soared in popularity, to capture more than 30% of new mortgages.

Republicans are between a rock and a hard place: The GOP's ideological instinct is to extricate government from industry where it can, as Donald Trump's recent decision to make FHA loans more expensive shows. But making mortgages more expensive for people will not necessarily be popular. Meanwhile, there have been several government efforts in recent years to lure back private capital into housing finance, and their results have been uneven at best.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

Texas to end all coronavirus restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas will end its coronavirus restrictions next week with an upcoming executive order, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday during a press conference in Lubbock.

Why it matters: After Abbott signs the new order, which rescinds previous orders, all businesses can open to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be over, though large parts of the state will remain under mask local ordinances.

Senate confirms Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 on Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The agency promotes U.S. industry, oversees the Census Bureau, plays a key role in the government's study of climate change through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and evaluates emerging technology through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions — Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring.
  2. Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. World: China and Russia vaccinate the world, for now.
  5. Energy: Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels.
  6. Local: Florida gets more good vaccine newsMinnesota's hunger problem grows amid pandemic — Denver's fitness industry eyes a pandemic recovery.