Attempts at Relief and Reform

Is Dodd-Frank reviving the Shadow Banks?

Posted on Monday, July 04, 2011

They're back. In the past few months, it appears, shadow banks, financial firms that make loans but aren't actual banks, seem to be making a come back. In case you have forgotten about these things already, shadow banks are financial firms, like hedge funds or money market funds or even insurance ...

QRM

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

The National Association of Realtors® is urging regulators to go back to the drawing board on the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule. At a news conference on Capitol Hill today, the original sponsors of the QRM provision in the Dodd-Frank Act – Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Kay Hagan (...

Industry, Lawmakers Faceoff with Regulators on QRM's Default Impact

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

The debate over what constitutes a “Qualified Residential Mortgage” (QRM) is heating up, with a pivotal argument centered around whether or not the proposed QRM stipulations will actually lower the risk of default. In one corner you have the handful of regulators charged with putting the definition...

whether state banking regulators will be undercut by their federal counterparts when it comes to con

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

One of the most classic American political debates — state versus federal law — is surfacing again in the banking sector, as regulators work to put in place the financial reforms passed a year ago in Washington. At issue is whether state banking regulators will be undercut by their fe...

HUD, NeighborWorks Roll Out Emergency Program for Unemployed

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lost income from unemployment has left many homeowners unable to make their mortgage payments and pushed them to the brink of default, some into foreclosure. Housing analysts and economists have become especially vocal about the effect of extended periods of joblessness on mortgage performance. Th...

PMI Program Rewards Servicers for Foreclosure Prevention

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mortgage insurer PMI has announced the launch of its new MODEL Servicer Program to identify mortgage servicers who score high marks for keeping borrowers in their homes. These companies will benefit from certain advantages when doing business with PMI. “Since the beginning of the housing crisis, P...

Don’t Mandate Large Down Payments on Home Loans

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recent proposals call for requiring prospective homeowners to make a 10-20 percent down payment when purchasing a home. This is seen—mistakenly—as “getting back to the way mortgages used to be made.” In fact, low down payment home loans1 have been a significant and safe part of the mortgage finance ...

NeighborWorks Sends $67M to Agencies for Foreclosure Counseling

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

NeighborWorks America announced this week that $67.7 million has been awarded to 37 state housing finance agencies, 17 HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries, and 84 community-based organizations to provide counseling to homeowners facing foreclosure. The grant money was awarded through the...

The National Association of Realtors® supports comprehensive reform of America’s housing finance mar

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

The National Association of Realtors® supports comprehensive reform of America’s housing finance market that protects taxpayers and ensures the availability of affordable mortgage credit today and into the future. “As the leading advocate for home ownership and housing issues, NAR believes that a m...

Fed's Next Step Uncertain As QE2 Stimulus Ends

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

NEW YORK -- When Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke holds his first-ever press conference on Wednesday, he will have some explaining to do. Two months from the scheduled end of the Fed's stimulus program, the economic recovery remains weak. Since the Fed's asset-purchase strategy began last fall...

Regulators Propose Rule to Link Executive Pay to Risk

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

Federal regulators proposed a new rule Wednesday that would require certain financial institutions, including large mortgage lenders, to account for risk as they structure incentive compensation packages for executives and employees. New rules for risk-based pay are a mandate of the Dodd-Frank Ref...

Three States Move to Ban Foreclosure Sales From Appraisal Values

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

With foreclosure sales steadily rising, four states are concerned that the use of the foreclosure sale prices in appraisals of neighboring homes is distorting the market. Legislators in Illinois, Nevada, and Missouri have all proposed separate bills that would exclude or restrict foreclosure sales ...

Federal regulators propose 20% down payment for best home mortgages

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

If you want to buy a $300,000 house, you’ll need $60,000 as a down payment to get the best interest rate on your home loan, according to a proposal released Tuesday by federal regulators. A group of federal agencies announced a high standard for home buyers to get the best mortgage rates: Only thos...

Regulators Set To Vote On Stricter Mortgage Rules

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

Banks will be forced to keep some risk when they securitize all but the most conservatively written mortgages under rules that regulators are expected to vote on Tuesday, the New York Times reported on Monday. But the banks are likely to be given broad leeway determining what risks they keep, the T...

Who Will Rescue Financial Reform?

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

In what passes for self-restraint these days, House Republicans have been insisting that they do not intend to repeal last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Not in one fell swoop, anyway. A direct assault on Dodd-Frank would be so blatantly biased toward banks that it would be sure to prov...

Contexts: The More Challenging and Troubling Missing Pieces of the Financial Reform Debate

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

"I made a mistake." ~ Alan Greenspan 2008 Throughout the various policy, scholarly, and media debates over the financial crisis the focus has been on a handful of bad actors. Among the culprits are greedy homeowners, lazy underwriters, asleep-at-the-wheel regulators, irresponsible investors, fraud...

It's Elizabeth Warren Vs. Jamie Dimon On Financial Reform

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

WASHINGTON - Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration's defender of financial consumers, will venture into the corporate lion's den this week, along with Jamie Dimon, CEO of banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. The two will be speakers at an event set for Wednesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ...

Treasury Hopes to Sell Securities Portfolio Within One Year

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

On Monday the Treasury announced that it will wind down the remaining $142 billion mortgage-backed securities (MBS) portfolio it carries. This news comes just as the federal government is making plans to drastically reduce its role in the mortgage marketplace. The announcement is prompting many to ...

Ben Bernanke: Dodd-Frank Should 'Level Playing Field' For Small Banks

Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011

SAN DIEGO - New financial regulatory reforms should help reduce the edge that large banks have over smaller ones because of their implicit support from government, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday. Bernanke argued the Dodd-Frank reform legislation will address the issue of fi...

Frank Wants Tax on Banks, Hedge Funds to Subsidize Housing Programs

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

House Republicans may have succeeded in passing legislation to end federal housing programs that provide assistance to unemployed homeowners and fund efforts to clean up vacant foreclosed homes, but their Democratic counterparts aren’t going to take it lying down. Rep. Barney Frank, the top-rankin...

Distressed Sales in Southern California Remain High

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Southern California’s distressed home sales – the combination of foreclosed home sales and short sales – made up more than half of February’s resale market. Foreclosure resales accounted for 37.1 percent of resales last month, up from 36.8 percent in January but down from 42.4 percent a year earli...

JOINT LETTER TO REGULATORS AGAINST HIGH-DOWNPAYMENT REQUIREMENTS

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CRL, the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the Consumer Federation of America sent a joint letter to federal regulators, urging them to avoid arbitrary high down payment requirements on mortgage loans. We argue that this would make buying a home more c...

House Votes to Rescind $1B in Neighborhood Stabilization Grants

Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pull the plug on HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and rescind $1 billion in grant money that was appropriated under the Dodd-Frank Act but has not yet been awarded. NSP provides funding to local governments and nonprofits for the ac...

Elizabeth Warren Says Consumer Bureau to Serve as a "Cop on a Beat"

Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2011

In a testimony before the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and the Consumer Credit Committee on Financial Services, Elizabeth Warren explained the role the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will have regulating mortgage lenders and servicers. Warren, whose role is the spec...

Has Dodd-Frank Slayed the Mortgage Monster?

Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2011

There's that scene in Young Frankenstein, when Gene Wilder's character, pronounced "Fronkensteen," cries out, "Give my creation life!" And so, on April 1, just ahead of us, additional provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will come into existence and originating...

Root Causes of Financial Crisis Remain Unaddressed

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011

Crises are like stories; they have a beginning, middle and an end, and on occasion, we learn something along the way. In times of crisis, choices must be made. In the most recent global economic crisis policymakers moved quickly to stabilize the system, providing massive financial support, which is...

Mortgage Industry To Face Massive Changes Under Regulators' Plan; Homeowners, Investors Better Prote

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011

Federal regulators and the top law enforcement officers in all fifty states are eyeing big changes to the dysfunctional home loan industry. If these officials have their way, borrowers who take out home loans and the investors who buy them will work closer together and find common ground to minimize...

This is Far From Over...

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life Underwater Some areas of the nation seem to have stabilized for now, but falling home prices in other areas pushed more borrowers into a negative equity position. CoreLogic's recent study showed that in the 4th quarter of 2010 23% of borrowers nationwide, or 11.1 million, were holding "unde...

Geithner Concedes Government Incentives Distorted Housing Market

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011

In a speech given Tuesday before the House Committee on Financial Services, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the government played a role in bringing down the housing market. Geithner also blamed the government for creating moral hazard and leaving taxpayers responsible for cleaning up the ...

House Votes to End Emergency Homeowner Relief Program

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Friday the U.S. House voted to end the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP), a program that helps homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments because of unemployment. The fund was established under the Dodd-Frank Act to provide interest-free loans to homeowners for up to 24 mont...

Crisis Is Over, but Where’s the Fix?

Posted on Thursday, March 17, 2011

When the financial system began to crumble more than three years ago, the world rushed to rescue it. Country after country went deeply into debt to keep banks afloat and prevent a deep recession from turning into something worse. It worked. This week was the second anniversary of the nadir of the ...

GOP Oversight Report: Excessive Regulation Could Hinder U.S. Hopes of “Winning the Future”

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A preliminary report issued Feb. 10 by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) — based on nearly 2,000 pages of letters from business groups — asserts that federal regulations are harming U.S. competitiveness and contributing to unemployment, especially in the manufacturing sector (Da...

Servicers Face New Rules, Penalties for Foreclosure Processing Mistakes

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When evidence surfaced last fall of flawed foreclosure documentation and robo-signers within some of the nation’s largest servicing shops, federal regulators launched an investigation into the foreclosure and servicing practices of 14 companies, including Bank of America, Citigroup, GMAC Mortgage, J...

Investors Say Transparency is Necessary for a Recovery

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Association of Mortgage Investors (AMI) said on Wednesday they consider the Obama administration’s GSE reform white paper a good start, but the organization says the plan is missing a key ingredient: transparency. At the House Financial Services subcommittee hearing this week, the issue of brin...

House Hearing Outlines Government Barriers to Housing Recovery

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Wednesday a House subcommittee held a hearing to examine private sector involvement in the housing market, in order to determine if the high amount of government participation is a hindrance to the sector’s recovery. Rep. Judy Biggert, chair of the subcommittee, said, “Government intervention i...

'Flash Crash' Panel Calls For U.S. Market Overhaul

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - U.S. regulators should stem the growing tide of anonymous stock-trading and consider charging high-frequency traders for their disproportionate amount of buy and sell orders, said a panel of experts advising how to avoid another "flash crash." The panel's 14 recommendations fo...

GOP Budget Plan Would Cut CFPB Funding Nearly In Half

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON -- A new federal budget proposal from House Republicans would dramatically restrict the budget of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during its first year of operation. No House Republicans voted for the Wall Street reform bill that created the CFPB, which is currently being se...

Bank Regulator Pushing For Modest Settlement With Industry Over Improper Mortgage Practices

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The federal bank regulator overseeing the nation's largest lenders is pushing for a quick and modest settlement to the months-long federal and state probes into abusive mortgage practices, frustrating other federal agencies and state regulators and raising questions over President Barack Obama's del...

DODD-FRANK IMPLEMENTATION / DERIVATIVES

Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lawmakers, End-Users Press for Greater Clarity on Pending Derivatives Regulations; Jobs, Capital Could be Hurt by Overly Broad Application of New Margin Requirements, Survey Shows Regulatory implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act’s derivatives provisions was again under scrutiny this week, as two...

A RESPONSE: America has time, but isn't using it wisely

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

I THINK the US will face a financial market backlash against its fiscal outlook when most but not necessarily all of these conditions are present. First, there has to be more progress on deleveraging. Until private sector borrowing returns to more normal levels, there won't be anything for federal d...

A RESPONSE: America has time, but isn't using it wisely

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

I THINK the US will face a financial market backlash against its fiscal outlook when most but not necessarily all of these conditions are present. First, there has to be more progress on deleveraging. Until private sector borrowing returns to more normal levels, there won't be anything for federal d...

A RESPONSE: America is missing its 2011 window of opportunity

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

AMERICA is missing the chance in 2011—with firmer growth and no election pending—to move proactively toward a credible, multi-year plan for deficit reduction along the lines suggested by the President’s Fiscal Commission report last December. The President’s own 2012 budget abuses baseline methodolo...

The Goldilocks Solution: Getting Systemically Important Financial Institution Regulation Just Right

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One of the most important decisions regulators will make in the coming months is to define “systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs),” as required under the Dodd-Frank comprehensive financial reform law, named after its lead sponsors, Senator Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank. This des...

Obama and Housing -- Is Anybody Home?

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You may not know it, if you watch only Washington beltway politics, but we are currently in the midst of a housing crisis of monumental proportions. It is a housing crisis initially caused by the inadequate regulation of private sector mortgage lending when George W. Bush was president. It is a hous...

Bernanke’s 2009 Interview Withheld by Crisis Panel

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, created by Congress to investigate and report on the causes of the market meltdown late last decade, won’t publicly release its full 2009 interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, a commission spokesman said. The FCIC is withholding recor...

Resolving the Mortgage Mess

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) announced last Friday that they were creating a new subsidiary, Legacy Asset Servicing, to handle their 1.3 million troubled mortgages. They hoped that their announcement would get buried under the snow -- and news about Egypt and the Super Bowl. Their wish seems to hav...

Federal Reserve Steps Back on New Mortgage Disclosure Rules

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The Federal Reserve said this week that it “does not expect” to finalize three pending rule changes under Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) that would have mandated new consumer disclosure requirements for closed-end mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and reverse mor...

Federal Reserve Steps Back on New Mortgage Disclosure Rules

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The Federal Reserve said this week that it “does not expect” to finalize three pending rule changes under Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) that would have mandated new consumer disclosure requirements for closed-end mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and reverse mor...

Businesses' Hit List: The Regulations They Hate The Most

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

NEW YORK -- Here is the hit list so far of America's most-hated federal regulations and rules, according to leading industry groups and conservative think tanks. Ever since new House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent letters in December to 150 groups requesting their suggest...

Republicans Attack Financial Reform Bill

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Republicans are taking aim at the "unintended consequences" of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, including the rule that limits bank's abilities to make trades with their own money. The House Financial Services Committee plans to overhaul any rules in the bill that may seek to regulate propri...

Startup America: Will Obama's New Initiative Live Up To Its Name?

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WASHINGTON -- "This is our generation's Sputnik moment," declared President Obama in his State of the Union Address last week. As a result, we need to fund "a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the space race," with particularly strong investments in biomedicine,...

Inquiries Into a Financial Crisis, Then and Now

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Frank Partnoy is correct when he argues that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has proved to be a pale imitation of the original Depression-era Pecora hearings (“Washington’s Financial Disaster,” Op-Ed, Jan. 30). Those hearings captivated the country and created the political climate necessa...

A Bank Crisis Whodunit, With Laughs and Tears

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

TRULY startling revelations were few in the voluminous report, published last Thursday by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on the origins of the financial panic. This is hardly a shock, given the flood-the-zone coverage and analysis of the crisis since it erupted four years ago. Yet the rep...

Federal Inquiry Concludes "Crisis Was Avoidable"

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In May 2009, Congress established the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the causes of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The 10-member commission released the results of its findings in a scathing report published Thursday. Their conclusion? The housing collaps...

Economic Collapse Was Foreseen

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The Republican minority on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission asserts that the Commission Report's conclusion that "the crisis was the result of human action and inaction" and so was "avoidable" is mistaken because it indicates that the collapse was foreseeable. The minority report claims tha...

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's 10 Major Findings

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In a report released today, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission found that "reckless" Wall Street firms, an abundance of cheap credit and "weak" federal regulators caused the crisis. "This financial crisis could have been avoided. Let us be clear," chairman Phil Angelides said at the Washingto...

Report Details Wall Street Crisis

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Twelve of the 13 largest U.S. financial institutions "were at risk of failure" at the depth of the 2008 financial crisis, while at least 50 hedge funds tried to capitalize on it, according to a report released Thursday by a U.S. panel investigating how the financial system unraveled. The report q...

Obama Spending Freeze Would Save $200 Billion: Report

Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011

President Barack Obama proposed a five-year freeze in government spending in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, but the actual significance of that freeze will depend upon how it's implemented. The size of the savings from such a freeze is unclear, just as the permanence of such a policy ...

TARP Special Inspector General's Report Says HAMP is Failing

Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011

In his report to Congress published this week, Neil Barofsky described the drawbacks and potential problems the bank bailout had created in regard to companies deemed “too-big-to-fail.” His report also covered controversial issues surrounding the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), designed...

THE FEDERAL RESERVE - Fed Backs Down From Plan To Gut Mortgage Regulation

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Following a public outcry from consumer advocates, the Federal Reserve is quietly backing down from a plan to gut the most significant federal remedy for predatory lending. The central bank has informed several consumer agencies that it will table its proposal to eliminate "rescissi...

ATTEMPTS AT RELIEF AND REFORM - Vampire Squid? Big Government? U.S. Crisis Reports Murky

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

WASHINGTON Three competing, politically recognizable tales of the financial crisis will emerge this week when a U.S. congressional panel finally concludes its 20-month investigation. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has failed to produce a consensus explanation of the 2007-2009 banking deba...

With Issa Leading, Oversight Panel Eagerly Begins Its Work

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

WASHINGTON — If Representative Darrell E. Issa, Republican of California, gets his wish, he will have only two years to serve as a chief tormenter of the Obama administration. So he was understandably eager to get started on Wednesday with his first hearing as chairman of the House Committee on Ov...

The state fiscal crisis has a number of causes, writes David Wessel:

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011

"The deep and long recession devastated tax revenue. At the worst point, in early 2009, state and local tax revenue combined were down 11% from year-earlier levels... In the good times, governments enjoyed and spent a tax windfall; state and local tax revenue rose 36% in the five years before the b...

Fannie Mae OKs Foreclosure Delays for Hardest Hit Fund Assistance

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fannie Mae has issued a notice to its servicers, instructing them to postpone foreclosure proceedings for unemployed homeowners who are receiving financial help through Hardest-Hit Fund programs run by state housing finance agencies. According to the GSE’s newly released directive, if a housing fi...

Vampire Squid? Big Government? U.S. Crisis Reports Murky

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WASHINGTON Three competing, politically recognizable tales of the financial crisis will emerge this week when a U.S. congressional panel finally concludes its 20-month investigation. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has failed to produce a consensus explanation of the 2007-2009 banking deba...

U.S. for sale - Uncle Sam's real estate play

Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As Washington deficit hawks scour the federal budget for ways to trim the size of government, they are arriving at one idea with increasing frequency: Put government property on the auction block. It's an opportunity rooted in the scale of federal holdings. The government own...

FHFA to Develop New Mortgage Servicing Compensation Plan

Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Tuesday said it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to work in coordination with FHFA and HUD to consider alternatives for future mortgage servicing structures and fees for single-family mortgage loans. The current compensation plan is typically base...

VA Authorizes Relocation Help for Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu

Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has instructed mortgage servicers to pay relocation assistance to borrowers completing short sales or deeds-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure on VA loans. “VA has a longstanding policy of encouraging servicers to work with veteran borrowers to explore all reasonab...

Treasury Launches Debit Cards For Tax Refunds

Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011

Americans without bank accounts may soon be able to carry debit cards. The Treasury Department is rolling out a new program to let people collect tax refunds on government-issued debit cards, rather than via checks sent in the mail, the government announced Tuesday. By allowing consumers to collect...

The Housing Slump Has Salem On a Witch Hunt Again

Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011

Buyers Worried About Bad Vibes From Foreclosed Homes Seek a Cleansing SALEM, Mass.—There's a certain look and feel to a foreclosed home, and 31 Arbella St. has it: fraying carpet, missing appliances, foam insulation poking through cracked walls. That doesn't faze buyer Tony Barletta since he pl...

Industry Responds to Massachusetts Foreclosure Ruling

Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Friday ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that invalidated two foreclosures by Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank has prompted an outpouring of responses from the industry, and many are wondering if the ruling will have far reaching effects on other foreclosure sales. U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo f...

Philadelphia Sheriff Announces 50-Day Moratorium on Foreclosure Sales

Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Philadelphia Sheriff John Green resigned on Friday, his replacement instituted some major changes almost immediately. Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley announced a move to dismiss several top members of the staff and hired a new chief deputy. Deeley also announced that a 50-day moratorium on she...

Renewing Economically Distressed American Communities

Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Deep recessions can put some places in a tailspin for decades. Some modest policies can help speed the recovery. All communities do not fare equally well after recessions and other economic shocks. Some bounce back fairly quickly. Others suffer more and take longer to recover—sometimes decades long...

EU Wants Bondholders To Share Bank Bailout Costs

Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BRUSSELS — The European Union is moving ahead with plans to shield taxpayers from having to bail out big banks in the future, but there are substantial obstacles to making bondholders share losses. The EU's executive Commission on Thursday presented plans that could give national regulators the pow...

Introducing WaysHome

Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 6, Fannie Mae launched WaysHomeTM, a new interactive video to educate homeowners about their options to avoid foreclosure, motivate them to make the right decisions, and encourage them to seek help. WaysHome is part of Fannie Mae's Know Your OptionsTM consumer initiative to help today's st...

Fannie Launches Interactive Video to Help Borrowers Avoid Foreclosure

Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011

The Air Force uses visual flight simulators to train its pilots on proper procedures and prepare them for the actual experience. Virtual reality simulation models are used as therapeutic techniques to help people overcome their fears or uneasiness about certain real-life situations. By personally ...

Consumer Protection Bureau Inks Deal with State Regulators

Posted on Friday, January 07, 2011

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established under the Dodd-Frank Act will be working closely with state regulators to supervise mortgage lenders and servicers. The Bureau’s implementation team and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday th...

Consumer Protection Bureau Inks Deal with State Regulators

Posted on Friday, January 07, 2011

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established under the Dodd-Frank Act will be working closely with state regulators to supervise mortgage lenders and servicers. The Bureau’s implementation team and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday ...

Dodd-Frank and the Return of the Loan Shark

Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The least surprising event of 2010 was that, in the wake of new federal limits on how credit-card issuers can price risk and adjust interest rates, more Americans had to go to payday lenders, pawn shops and local loan sharks in order to get credit. It's simply the latest installment in the old...

Lenders Shift Some Loan Costs to Big Borrowers

Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Banks feeling squeezed by rising regulatory costs are trying to pass along the pain to big corporate borrowers. In the past several weeks, lenders such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. have begun including in loan documents language that will help banks shift to their large borr...

Ending Federal Subsidies for Mortgages

Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Could the government stop subsidizing mortgages altogether? Probably not in real life. But that is where the debate over reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as righting the public-private sector balance in housing, should begin. This unlikely dream imagines the government out of the bu...

How Can Anyone Keep Up?

Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going." That sentiment > seems to sum up how many compliance-focused folks in mortgage banking feel right > now, as it seems the regulations present an ever-changing landscape. > > Starting next Monday, for states that have transition...

The Mortgages Mess is Worse Than You Think -- But There are Promising Solutions

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

As 2010 is getting ready to wrap up, I remain pretty worried about the prospects for 2011. I just don't see evidence that a strong economic recovery is ready to take hold. Job growth still looks anemic and waves of foreclosures continue to sweep across large swaths of the country. Currently, one in ...

How to Derail Financial Reform

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Ever since the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was signed in July, the question has been whether it would actually lead to a stable financial system. If the Republicans who will control the House next year get their way, the answer will surely be “no.” The legislation requires regulators to write ...

Federal Reserve Blocks New Foreclosure Regulations

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Top policymakers at the Federal Reserve are fighting efforts to rein in widely reported bank abuses, sparking an inter-agency feud with the FDIC and the Treasury Department. The Fed, along with the more bank-friendly Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is resisting moves to craf...

Our Dodd-Frank Implementation Timeline updates include:

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

*6 rulemaking actions, including 4 actions released by the CFTC at its meeting on December 9, 2010; *1 request for comment from the SEC and CFTC for a joint study mandated by Section 719(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act on the feasibil ity of requiring the adoption of standardized, algorithmic descr iption...

Frank Dodd Mortgage Broker Comp

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

There is enough confusion and uncertainty out there about compensation that the > Mortgage Bankers Association has written to Federal Reserve Board of Governors asking > for written guidance to assist the mortgage industry's compliance with the Board's > final rule on loan originator compensatio...

New Regulatory Rule to Support Foreclosure-Ridden Neighborhoods

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies on Wednesday announced changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) parameters in support of stabilizing communities affected by high foreclosure levels. The final rule was issued by the Federal Reserve, FDIC, Office of the Comptroller of the Cu...

CEN Proposes New Regulation for Non-Bank Lenders and Originators

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A proposal released Monday by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) would require non-bank residential mortgage lenders and originators to establish anti-money-laundering (AML) programs and to file reports when suspicious activity is suspected. Under current regulations only banks and i...

Fed wants to strip a key protection for homeowners

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WASHINGTON — As Americans continue to lose their homes in record numbers, the Federal Reserve is considering making it much harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures and escape predatory home loans with onerous terms. The Fed's proposal to amend a 42-year-old provision of the federal Truth in Le...

New Approach to America's Mortgage Crisis: Innovation and Collaboration

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

Dancing with the Stars and WikiLeaks may be dominating the headlines these days, but the mortgage crisis persists as one of the biggest challenges plaguing America. The implosion of the residential mortgage market has caused millions of second mortgage liens to enter default status, placing homeow...

Elizabeth Warren: Consumer Bureau Must Fight For Survival

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

WASHINGTON - Elizabeth Warren pressed consumer advocates to fight on behalf of the newly created consumer protection bureaus she's heading up, warning that it is not yet established like popular cousins such as the Federal Aviation Administration, Food and Drug Administration or Consumer Product Saf...

Real Foreclosure Relief Can't Wait

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

No less an expert than Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist and president-elect of the International Economic Association, has concluded that that there is a real answer to the foreclosure crisis: Principal reduction. Forcing banks to write down the principal of troubled loans is, as Sti...

Elizabeth Warren Helped Shoot Down Bill That Would Have Sped Foreclosures, Calendar Shows

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Elizabeth Warren was the first senior Obama administration official to recognize the potentially incendiary impact of a bill that would have made it significantly easier for mortgage companies to foreclose on homes, and her subsequent warnings played a crucial role in persuading the President to vet...

The Fed and Foreclosures TILA

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

There are two sides to every delinquent loan — a lender who made a bad lending decision and a borrower who cannot repay. Yet, banks have never acted as if they bear responsibility for the mortgage mess. They have pursued foreclosures in violation of borrowers’ rights to due process, as revealed by...

Bernanke Admits QE2 May Fail, Requests Fiscal Stimulus Now

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Robert Lenzer Posted: November 22, 2010 05:22 PM Forbes Kudos to Dr. Sherry Cooper, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group. She read Ben Bernanke's ECB address in Germany on Friday and discovered that the inventor of Quantitative Easing I and II admitted that his mon...

D.C. Mayor Signs Emergency Act to Slow Foreclosures

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In another attempt to save struggling homeowners from avoidable evictions, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed on Thursday an act called “Saving DC Homes From Foreclosure Emergency Act of 2010.” This act amends several sections of the District of Columbia Official Code. Most prominent i...

New FTC Rule Aims to Protect Homeowners from Mortgage Relief Scams

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule bans providers of foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they decide is acceptable. According to the FTC, the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS...

States and banks discussing federal fund to help wrongful-foreclosure victims

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The establishment of a general compensation fund for victims of wrongful foreclosure may be part of possible settlements, according to a spokesman for the leader of the 50-state investigation of the foreclosure crisis and mortgage lender practices. The coordinated inquiry, led by Iowa Attorney Ge...

Foreclosure Fix Is Seen as Distant

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Changing the face of foreclosure in America will take some time, several state attorneys general said Wednesday, cautioning that an agreement with major lenders over revamped foreclosure practices was not imminent. “We want to move as quickly as possibly but it has to be done right,” said Roy Coop...

Bernanke's `Cheap Money' Stimulus Spurs Corporate Investment Outside U.S.

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Southern Copper Corp., a Phoenix- based mining company that boasts some of the industry’s largest copper reserves, plans to invest $800 million this year in projects such as a new smelter and a more efficient natural-gas furnace. Such spending sounds like just what the Federal Reserve had in min...

Home ownership gets tougher as lenders restrict FHA mortgages

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home ownership may be falling out of reach for more Americans as lenders toughen their standards for Federal Housing Administration-insured loans beyond what the agency itself requires. Mortgage lenders including Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., the two largest, have raised the minimum...

MBA and Others Send Letter to Fed Regarding Consumer Disclosures

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter along with six other industry trade groups to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday. Washington, D.C.-based MBA and the other groups are concerned that the Fed, which has jurisdiction over the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and HUD, which overs...

Federal Reserve Rains Money On Corporate America -- But Main Street Left High And Dry

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

Bill Gross will be one of the few to benefit from the Federal Reserve's announcement this afternoon. The legendary money manager, who oversees more than $1.2 trillion at Pacific Investment Management Co., stands to profit off the plan hatched by the nation's central bank. The Fed announced that it ...

The best stimulus: Confidence

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

How could several trillion dollars of fiscal and monetary stimulus barely move the needle of gross domestic product growth? That's the question President Obama needs to answer in the wake of the midterm elections. Why was his policy so ineffective at multiplying its stimulative effects throughout th...

Why the Federal Reserve's Contribution to Unemployment and Price Discrimination Continues

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

As I described earlier, the Fed began paying banks interest on their reserves one month after the September 2008 financial crisis struck the United States economy and spread throughout the world. The Fed (actually taxpayers) paid the banks more than $2 billion in 2009 at a small, but risk free, rate...

Shiller: Dodd-Frank Does Not Solve Too Big To Fail

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

The Dodd-Frank financial reform law does not solve the problem of "too big to fail," the implicit government protection of large financial institutions, prominent Yale economist Robert Shiller said Tuesday. Speaking on a panel at the Buttonwood Gathering in New York City, Shiller said that while Do...

Top Fed Official On Government's Foreclosure Prevention Efforts:

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

One of the Federal Reserve's top economists denounced the Obama administration's approach to stemming the growing foreclosure crisis, saying it's part of "three years of failed policies" intended to help homeowners avoid losing their homes. "We can't prevent millions of foreclosures using the tools...

The White House Needs Elizabeth Warren, Now More Than Ever

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

The White House today is under pressure, with insiders asking: After the strong showing of the Republicans in the midterm elections, should the president move to the right or to the left? This is entirely the wrong way to think about the problem - the administration needs to get beyond its mental f...

Face-to-Face With Elizabeth Warren: Envisioning a 21st Century Consumer Agency for All Americans

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

Last week, professor Elizabeth Warren, who has been tasked by President Obama with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, met face-to-face with some 30 community leaders in San Francisco, in a meeting that included myself and our executive director, Orson Aguilar. To say we were ...

Fed to Spend $600 Billion to Speed Up Recovery

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve, getting ahead of the battles that will dominate national politics over the next two years, moved Wednesday to jolt the economy into recovery with a bold but risky plan to pump $600 billion into the banking system. A day earlier, Republicans swept to a majority i...

Fed Is Poised to Aid Economy, but Impact Is Cloudy

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is all but certain to move to spur the nation’s sputtering recovery this Wednesday, but most economists say it is unlikely to have a big impact on employment and growth. Overruling objections from a handful of inflation-fearing dissidents, the Fed’s policy-setting ...

Top Fed Official On Government's Foreclosure Prevention Efforts: 'Three Years Of Failed Policies'

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Shahien Nasiripour Huffington Post One of the Federal Reserve's top economists denounced the Obama administration's approach to stemming the growing foreclosure crisis, saying it's part of "three years of failed policies" intended to help homeowners avoid losing their homes. "We can't prevent ...

Foreclosure crisis puts Wall Street reform legislation to the test

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

Washington Post Staff Writer The foreclosure problems that have unfolded in recent weeks present a test of whether financial regulators can respond more cohesively and aggressively to an emerging problem than they did to the subprime crisis three years ago. The Wall Street reform legislat...

HUD awards $4.25 million grant to several Florida counties

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a $4.25 million grant to a coalition of Florida counties including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach to promote economic growth. Monroe, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties will also receive funds as part of a partnership cre...

An Economic Strategy To Renew American Communities

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Michael Greenstone, Director, The Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Adam Looney, Policy Director, The Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Hamilton Project Strategy Paper When hit by recessions or other economic shocks, some communities have persistently low r...

How We Can Really Help Families

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

The recent revelations about foreclosure processing -- that some banks may be repossessing the homes of families improperly -- has rightly outraged the American people. The notion that many of the very same institutions that helped cause this housing crisis may well be making it worse is not only fr...

From the FDIC

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WASHINGTON — Federal bank regulators took a first step on Tuesday to spell out how they would use a new law to seize and dismantle large, failing financial institutions so that taxpayers are not on the hook, as they were in the 2008 financial crisis. Sheila C. Bair, F.D.I.C. chairwoman, said sh...

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tackles five myths about TARP

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

By Timothy F. Geithner Huffington Post Born at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, the Troubled Asset Relief Program expired last week, ending what was perhaps the most maligned yet most effective government program in recent memory. Despite new evidence about the low ultimate cost and po...

Bill on Press Desk Makes Protecting Against Robo Singer Type Issues Harder?

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Obama Must Reject The Foreclosure Fraud Bailout Unbelievably, the U.S. Senate has approved legislation making it easier for banks to get away with foreclosure fraud. The bill would make it much harder for consumer advocates to show that banks are engaging in fraud, bailing out megaban...

TARP - a wrod from Herb Allison Himself

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

TARP has become a dirty word in our nation's political discourse. Few terms elicit such anger from voters and politicians. In many ways, that's understandable. No one wanted to bail out Wall Street. No one wanted to use taxpayer dollars to rescue an industry that helped cause the worst economic c...

TARP Winds Down

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

A mere half-hour after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised the "necessary" and "very substantial" actions of the Bush and Obama administrations to "break the back of the financial crisis," one of the world's leading financial minds said Thursday that the United States is in the same economic...

New From Federal Reserve

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Federal Reserve Board Publishes Proposed Rule under TILA to Enhance Consumer Disclosures On September 24, 2010, the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) published a proposed rule under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) designed to enhance consumer protections and disclosures. The deadline for comment...

Dodd Frank May Reduce Choices?

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

(MBA) has released a report regarding the results of research examining international mortgage products and comparing them with the mortgage products in the United States. The study found that features and products that are restricted in the Dodd-Frank Bill are widespread in other countries and ...

Underwater Mortgages

Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010

RECENT calls for another federal stimulus package raise an important question: Before considering costly short-term measures to raise overall consumer demand, have we done enough to ensure that financial markets will work properly and lead us to recovery? For housing — the sector at the cente...

HomeBuyer First Look Over Investors at Freddie

Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Freddie Mac First Look Initiative Gives Homebuyers 15 Days to Buy Homesteps® Homes Without Investor Competition For Immediate Release September 15, 2010 Contact: corprel@freddiemac.com or (703) 903-3933 McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today announced it is expanding the Freddie M...

Ideas Needed

Posted on Monday, September 13, 2010

Housing Doesn’t Need a Crash. It Needs Bold Ideas. By GRETCHEN MORGENSON WE all know that most of us don’t tackle problems until they’ve morphed into full-blown crises. Think of all those intersections that get stop signs only after a bunch of accidents have occurred. Better yet, think about t...

Can No Down Payment Loans Ever Make Sense?

Posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Affordable Advantage, available to first-time home buyers in four states and created in conjunction with the states’ housing finance agencies is aiming to prove they can. But according to FNMA, the program is expected to stay small. The loans are 30-year fixed mortgages, with mandatory home...

Fed Restricts Yield Spread Premiums

Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010

Press Release Release Date: August 16, 2010 For immediate release The Federal Reserve Board on Monday announced final rules to protect mortgage borrowers from unfair, abusive, or deceptive lending practices that can arise from loan originator compensation practices. The new rules apply to mo...

House Financial Services Hearings

Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010

July 29, 2010 Washington DC—House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Paul E. Kanjorski today announced that the committee will continue its series of hearings on the future of housing finance...

N.Y. Mortgage Servicing Rules

Posted on Monday, August 23, 2010

New regulations go into effect in NY October 1, implementing the 2008 Mortgage Lending Reform Law consumer protections for subprime and high-cost home loans. "Servicers handling New York-based mortgages must abide by these new regulations, which include a duty to avoid preventable foreclosures by...

HAMP

Posted on Saturday, August 21, 2010

Of 1.3 million trills only 422k permanent mods have been made. Wonder what the actual cost per mod when you factor in what the govt and banks have spent that turns out to be. Betting you could've paid off those loans in full and had money left to spare instead. July was the lowest month in recent ...

Section Heading of Dodd Frank Act

Posted on Thursday, August 19, 2010

Title I Financial Stability; oversight counsel, financial research Title II Orderly Liquidation Authority Title III Transfers Powers to Comptroller, FDIC, Fed Title IV Regulation of Advisors to Hedge Funds Title V Insurance Title VI Improvements to Regulations Title VII Wall Street Transpar...

Principal Write Downs Under New FHA Programs

Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Starting September 7, the federal agency will offer new FHA-insured mortgages to certain underwater, non-FHA borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments and whose lenders agree to write off at least 10 percent of the unpaid principal balance.it could set a precedent that a loan contract is ...

Update on Pending Mortgage Reforms

Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

he House Financial Services Committee released a statement bullet pointing the steps that they’ve approved so far. The report is 2000 pages long. It outlaws many common mortgage industry practices. It requires lender to make sure loans benefit the borrower (net tangible benefit underwriting standa...

Update on Pending Mortgage Reforms

Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

he House Financial Services Committee released a statement bullet pointing the steps that they’ve approved so far. The report is 2000 pages long. It outlaws many common mortgage industry practices. It requires lender to make sure loans benefit the borrower (net tangible benefit underwriting standa...

Update on Pending Mortgage Reforms

Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

he House Financial Services Committee released a statement bullet pointing the steps that they’ve approved so far. The report is 2000 pages long. It outlaws many common mortgage industry practices. It requires lender to make sure loans benefit the borrower (net tangible benefit underwriting standa...

Penalty for Strategic Defaulters

Posted on Wednesday, June 23, 2010

25% of homes are underwater. The stigma of defaulting is all but gone. Last week the US House of Representatives passed the FHA Reform Act replenishing FHA resveres. They also tacked on a penalty which will make homeoenwers who stratgically default ineligible for an FHA loan. Rep. Chris Lee of NY ...

Help for the Unemployed

Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When the Senate passed the Wall Street reform package last week, it included a provision that uses $3 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to reduce mortgage payments for those homeowners who have lost their job as a result of the nation’s recession. The same measure already...

Suggested Strategies

Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Bureau of Justice Assistance recently brought together experts from around the country to examine possible solutions to the crisis challenges. The outcome, a report title A Full Response to an Empty House: Public Safety Strategies for Addressing Mortgage Fraud and the Foreclosure Crisis, is ...

Right to Rent?

Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Two House Democrats have introduced a bill to create a “right to rent” for homeowners facing foreclosure. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), would allow a family receiving a foreclosure notice to petition a judge to stay in their home as renters ...

SIGTARP Chimes in on MHA and Other Attempts

Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP) report expresses concern over voluntary portions of government programs, the fact that servicers may have interest not in line with investors and borrowers – in particular they can deny a work out even if it meets the NPV test -, the fact that simila...

Association of Mortgage Investors Input on Solutions for Distressed homeowners...

Posted on Monday, April 19, 2010

• All modifications should include the requirement for income verification. • Second liens and other loans should be aggressively modified. • Servicer conflicts must be addressed. • Debt to income ratios must be examined and adjusted for all borrowers. • AIM supports reducing principal for under...

Congressional Oversight Panel Chimes in on Treasury Programs

Posted on Monday, April 19, 2010

The COP has noted 3 concerns; 1. The pattern of providing increasingly generous incentives may backfire as lenders and servicers delay inhopes of the Feds sweeting the deal even more. 2. That many borrowers will eventually redefault. 3. That the total of announced funding for Treasury prog...

Principal Write Downs

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2010

This weeks House Financial Services Committee hearing only reinforced what our guts already to us; principal write downs could have dire impacts on the future of housing finance and consumer access to credit. Even bringing underwtaer homeowners to 100% LTV would cost banks $700 to $900 billion an...

LATEST FORECLOSURE NUMBERS MAY BE SCARY, BUT NEW HAFA PROGRAM IS “FORECLOSURE IN DISGUISE”

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2010

Foreclosures are up 35% from last year and 19% from last month, the biggest increase ever. These latest numbers are said to indicate we're on pace for over 1 million in 2010. But, the really scary news will be about short sales and deeds in lieu of foreclosure under the Administration’s Home ...

Freddie Mac Initiative to Help Florida Condos - Targeted Ideas Like This Are Good

Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2010

INTRODUCTION The Florida Condominium market has been among the hardest hit by the current housing crisis. To increase the availability of financing for Condominium Units in Florida, we are announcing the Florida Condominium Effort in this Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (“Guide”) Bulletin. We ...

Proposed Mortgage Servicing Conflict of Interest Elimination Act

Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A good idea, but expect idiocyncratic challanges. 2/3 of distressed mortgages are serviced by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Citibank, who also happen to own almost $500 million in second mortgages, creating a potential conflict in their ability to do what's best for the investors of the ...

Freddie Mac Multi Family Financing - more targeted ideas

Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2010

McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) announces mezzanine financing arrangement where it will allow mezzanine debt on qualifying senior multifamily mortgages (first mortgages) it purchases. Freddie Mac is partnering with experienced multifamily players to help bridge the capital gap for borrowers who ...

The Administrations Own Recap of What They've Done So Far to Help Homeowners...

Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010

Background on Housing Program Initiatives to Date The Administration has taken a broad set of actions to stabilize the housing market and help American homeowners. These efforts are having an impact on our housing markets – we are seeing signs of stabilization. Looking back to over a year ago - st...

More Paper...proposed "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010"

Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here is a link to a PDF of Sen. Dodd new 1,336-page version of the proposed "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010," announced this afternoon. http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/ChairmansMark31510AYO10306_xmlFinancialReformLegislationBill.pdf ...

Dodd's Bill

Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The long-awaited reform bill calls for the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a watchdog group that Dodd calls “new” and “independent,” although it will be housed within and funded by the Federal Reserve. This agency would have the sole responsibility of protecting American consume...

FHA Reforms

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010

Best guesstimates are FHA would insure 300,000 fewer home loans per year if the mandatory down payment was raised from 3.5% to 5% as is being suggested. But the real question is how many of THOSE loans would default anyway? In other words, how many GOOD loans would not be done, how many QUALIFIED b...

Requiring Banks to Write Down or Write off Second Mortgages

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010

This alone could be enouhg to push many lenders over the edge. Accounting rules allow them to carry seconds at original face value, obviously high compared to our current reality. Writing them down could wreck havoc on lender balance sheets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or other investors in mortg...

FHA Reforms/Increasing Down Payment Requirements

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010

The policy changes already proposed by the agency include raising minimum downpayments to 10% or borrowers with FICO scores below 580, but the increase would affect only those homebuyers that the agency has found are a greater default risk. Borrowers with FICO scores above 580 would still be eligibl...

Raising the Borrowing Bar; FHA and FNMA Requirements

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010

The big tug of war now is between easing standards to get more folks in the market and absorb inventory verses raising the standards to where we all know they should be to reduce the chnace that we're only creating new loans that will default. I'm all for what's best for our country and each of us ...

Thoughts on HAFA Short Sale and Deed in Lieu Program

Posted on Monday, March 08, 2010

This is the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative program (HAFA) Actually part of the original Making Home Affordable program Obama announced last February (3 parts to that program – HAMP modifications, HARP refinances, HAFA short sales and deeds in lieu). 2010 will be the year of the short sale ...

National Community Stabilization Trust

Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2010

About the National Community Stabilization Trust The National Community Stabilization Trust has established a framework to manage, rehabilitate and deliver Real Estate Owned (REO) properties to new owners and renters. At the heart of this framework is collaboration. The Stabilization Trust works...

RESPA

Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Here's an interesting dual standard. Washington spent the last two years revising the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act to, among other things, require mortgage brokers and title companies/closing agents, to disclose some additional information, but mostly disclose the same old stuff differently...

Ideas from the front line servicers

Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paul A. Koches, EVP, general counsel, and secretary of Ocwen Financial Corporation recently issued an interesting letter. Koches' bottom line was that at many servicing shops the overriding financial incentive comes from "adhering to contractual obligations to service the loans, and resolve deli...

The State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group was formed in the summer of 2007 with the goal to reduce the number of foreclosures by encouraging loan modifications and other sustainable, long-term solutions. The Group currently consists of representatives of the Attorneys General of 12 states (Ari...

HAMP Report Card

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mortgage servicers have significantly stepped up efforts to convert trial modifications to permanent status under the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), nearly doubling the number in just one month’s time. The U.S. Treasury released its January report card Wednesday and it...

NARs Take on Pending HUD Rules

Posted on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On HUD's proposed rule to implement the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (the SAFE Act); The SAFE Act requires states to establish loan originator licensing requirements that meet minimum standards. The rule establishes minimum requirements for state licensing, the procedur...

FNMA Deed for Lease

Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2010

News Release November 5, 2009 Fannie Mae Announces Deed for Lease™ Program WASHINGTON, DC -- Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) is implementing the Deed for Lease™ Program under which qualifying homeowners facing foreclosure will be able to remain in their homes by signing a lease...

Making Home Affordable HAMP Modification Program

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chari Ed Towns (D-NY)wrote, “… it is my understanding that Treasury has thus far refused to reveal in detail how it defines ‘net present value’, one of the key criteria for homeowner participation ...

GSEs HAMP Mods

Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Under the administration’s HAMP, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) initiated more than 485,000 mortgage loan modifications through December 2009. Of these, 43,000 were HAMP permanent modifications, and 442,500 were active trials. Completed loan modifications declined to approximately 7,0...

FHFA

Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was created on July 30, 2008, when the President signed into law the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The Act created a world-class, empowered regulator with all of the authorities necessary to oversee vital components of our country’s secondary m...

Freddie Trying To Reach Borrowers

Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010

Freddie Mac and 13 national and local nonprofit organizations have launched a pilot effort aimed at convincing discouraged delinquent borrowers to pursue mortgage workouts to save their homes from foreclosure. ...

Less Paperwork?

Posted on Monday, February 01, 2010

The Treasury Department is announcing a plan Thursday to reduce the burdensome paperwork surrounding the foreclosure relief plan. Two changes expected to make a big difference are: Lenders will be required to collect two pay stubs at the start of the process. Borrowers will be required to g...

President's State of the Union Ingores MHA Failure

Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010

What can you say about our President’s State of the Union address last night? As a real estate professional trying so hard to help so many grappling with the biggest real estate and financial crisis since the Great Depression (and in many ways far bigger than that) its sure is easy to feel left ou...

MHA Refinance

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This program ends June 2010....

More on HAFA

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Borrowers who default under a MHA HAMP mod are still eligible for a HAFA short sale or deed in lieu. Supplemental Directive 09 09 provides guidelines for lenders. Servicers can't require a cash contrib, note, or any other contingency for the deficiency. Again, this is only a guidance, but for b...

Making Home Affordable Q&A

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Feedback from the Frontline; Why Obama's Making Home Affordable plan is not working" As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator I've been mediating foreclosure cases at “crisis ground zero,” Miami, Florida (you'll recall first Miami-Dade and now all judicial circuits in Florida will require l...

Generally Speaking

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010

If a prposal does not meet this litmus test it will cause more problmes than it solves in the long run; 1. Encourage folks who cant realistically afford their home comfortably to move on and give them the tools - within reason - to do just that. 2. Reward people for living within their means i...

Changes at FHA

Posted on Saturday, January 23, 2010

Once again we're faced with a choice; make easily available mortgage money easily the top priority so folks will borrow, buy homes, absorb excess inventory and help stabilize housing prices. Or make prudent lending standards the top priority at the risk of knowing less folks with qualify. In an ...

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Making Home Affordable Release March 2009

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Washington March 4, 2009 Making Home Affordable Summary of Guidelines Making Home Affordable will offer assistance to as many as 7 to 9 million homeowners, making their mortgages more affordable and helping to prevent the destructive impact of foreclosures on fam...

Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines March 4, 2009 Trial loan modifications consistent with these Guidelines may be offered to homeowners beginning on this date, March 4, 2009, and may be considered for acceptance into the Home Affordable Modification Program upon completion of the tria...

December 8, 2009 Treasury Statement on HAMP

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

December 8, 2009 TG-430 Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Herbert Allison Written Testimony before the House Financial Services Committee “The Private Sector and Government Response to the Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis” Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and members of...

NPA for HAMP clarified

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

HOME AFFORDABLE MODIFICATION PROGRAM BASE NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV)MODEL SPECIFICATIONS UPDATED: JUNE 11, 2009 Overview As a part of the Making Home Affordable Program, we are providing standardized guidance and a base net present value (NPV) model described herein that any servicer who participat...

Making Home Affordable Q&A

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

HOUSING COUNSELOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 1. What is the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program? The Making Home Affordable Program is part of the Obama Administration’s broad, comprehensive strategy to get the economy and the housing market back on track. The key components of the Making Home...

Freddie Mac Guidelines to Servicers for HAMP

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2010

TO: All Freddie Mac Servicers April 21, 2009 SUBJECTS With this Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (“Guide”) Bulletin, we are announcing the following changes to the Home Affordable Modification Program (“Program”) requirements: ¦ Providing criteria for determining whether a Borrower, who is cur...

Possible FNMA Guarantee to Help Retail Sector Get Loans

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010

Fannie Mae ran an apartment financing program for 20 years. This new idea is along those lines. A developer would go to a FNMA designated underwriter (usually a bank). The bank would then recommend a loan to FNMA. FNMA would guarantee the loan in return for an annual premium paid by the developer...

Legislation Likely for 2010-Appraisers

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010

Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC). Also incorporate appraisal provisions from the Mortgage Reform and Anti Predatory Lending Act to protect appraiser independence. ...

Pending Legislation to Recover Deficit Increase

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010

The statute creating TARP requires that by 2013 the president proposed a plan that “recoups from the financial industry an amount equal to the shortfall in order to ensure that the TARP doesn’t add to the deficit or national debt.” President Obama recently proposed a “Bank Tax” essentially becau...

Pending FDIC Fee Hike

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010

The proposed fee hike would tie the amount financial institutions pay the FDIC in deposit insurance premiums to the way they design their employee compensation structure. Those paying large bonuses to compensate short term profits will pay the most. ...

Some Other Ideas Floating Around

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010

We’re hearing murmurs of (a) dismantling financial institutions that are too big to fail by imposing a simple asset cap of say $50 or $100 billion in assets under management (or a percentage based on GDP fo some other threshold). And (b) reinstating some form of Glass Steagall to limit proprietary ...

New FNMA Program Helps Florida Condos

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010

FNMA will be making an effort to allow additional condo projects in Florida to become FNMA eligible. The “Special Approval” designation may allow more units to qualify for loans and be sold, reducing Floridas huge condo inventory which keeps driving prices down. ...

RESPA Revisions Take Effect Jan 1

Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) was enacted in 1974 primarily as a consumer protection measure to keep costs down including by avoiding kick backs and mandate the accurate disclosure of certain information. Though some benefits are acknowledged, RESPA has been long know in the i...

Predictions for 2010

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009

PREDICTIONS FOR 2010 The bad news is things will get worse before they get better. The good news is they WILL get better and we'll see the beginning of that turn around in. RESIDENTIAL Defaults and F...

Still Trouble With Derivatives

Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2009

The challenge of controlling the derivative products that contributed to our current economic crisis are still with us. At issue is balancing systemic risk but still maintaining access to reasonably priced products needed by so many, and in particular now in the commercial real estate industry, to ...

New Ideas for Florida: Proposed Legislation

Posted on Friday, September 25, 2009

Proposals pending in Florida, one of the hardest hit states, reflect the problem at the foundation of our crisis, who should be responsible for bad buying and lending decisions? How should we allocate the risk of bad decisions? The first proposal addresses deficiency judgements and essentailly w...

Proposed Florida Legislation

Posted on Friday, September 25, 2009

Proposals pending in Florida, one of the hardest hit states, reflect the problem at the foundation of our crisis; who should be responsible for bad buying and lending decisions? How should we allocate the risk of bad decisions? The second proposal, titled the "Foreclosure Bill of Rights," would ...

Pending Legislation in Florida

Posted on Friday, September 25, 2009

Proposals pending in Florida, one of the hardest hit states, reflect the problem at the foundation of our crisis; Who should be responsible for bad buying and lending decisions? How should we allocate the risk of bad decisions? The third proposal relates to rental properties. This one would give...

Title insurance: More than just the price of a premium

Posted on Sunday, August 02, 2009

Once again our nation’s title insurance industry is coming under the regulatory microscope. And again all eyes are myopically focused on price. Continual re-scrutiny of title insurance in this same tired vacuum, and evaluation by politicos with little knowledge of the product and service, will no...

Changes to TILA

Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Revisions to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) will require lenders to comply with the following after July 30, 2009: The new requirements apply to all mortgages secured by a borrower's home, including primary and second homes and refinancings. Investor loans continue to be exempt. Lenders must g...

NAR Position on FHA

Posted on Monday, July 13, 2009

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)’s role in healthy housing markets has never been more critical than today. As private lenders fled the market, FHA is now one of the primary sources of safe affordable mortgage financing for American families. On behalf of the 1.2 million members of the Na...

Foreclosure Mortoriums

Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2009

Many servicers recently resumed foreclosure processes that were temporarily halted when Obama requested a voluntary foreclosure moratorium a few months backin anticipation of the Making Home Affordable program. Some, like J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup, already had internal moratoria in place a...

Thoughts on Reforming the Mortgage Industry

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FIX THE MORTGAGE BUSINESS Borrower/Broker Education Develop a true borrower/even broader financial education program that actually teaches and benefits originators to send customers to. Require objective financial teacher to approve loan too/provide incentive to borrower if this person approv...

The National Association of Realtors Ideas About Reform

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Corrective actions that NAR is advocating include: The Treasury Department should provide additional TARP funds to make added loans for housing, establish foreclosure prevention programs, modify more mortgage loans to prevent foreclosures to the maximum extent possible, establish an efficient and...

The Idea of Principal Write Downs

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010

Hate it. Would principal reductions solve the problem to residential strategic defaults? Yes. Clearly if borrowers are walking solely because they are upside down and you make it so that they are no longer upside down, they will no longer walk. But this would cause bigger problems than it s...

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