December 2010

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...

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 ...

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 ...

HUD Awards $73 Million to Housing Counseling Organizations

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

The Obama Administration announced on Thursday a round of grants totaling nearly $73 million to more than 500 national, regional, and local organizations to provide housing counseling services. The funding, provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will allo...

Business brace for change in 2011

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Economists reported in September that the recession officially ended in June 2009 and the American economy was growing again. Not only did the Washington area fare better than many others during the hardest times, but 18 months later the region's economy is one of the strongest in the country, ahead...

GOP plans spending cuts 'lock box'

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

House Republicans have unveiled a proposed change in House rules that would create a “spending reduction” account to accompany each appropriations bill, the latest move by the GOP to show it’s serious about actually cutting spending next year. The new mechanism would set aside in a “lock box” any s...

Virginia puts homeowners on fast track to foreclosure

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Since the meltdown in the housing market began more than three years ago, Maryland and the District have changed their foreclosure laws to give borrowers greater protection. Virginia has moved in the opposite direction. Last year, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law making it eas...

Moody's Predicts Another Rocky Year for Servicers in 2011

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

The 2011 Mortgage Servicers Outlook published mid-December by Moody’s predicts more troubles ahead for servicers regarding irregularities in foreclosure practices and documentation. More scrutiny of the irregularities banks have recently been under fire for could allow for definition of just how...

Mortgage Defaults Rose in December

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

A Standard & Poor's/Experian Consumer Credit Default report for December released Tuesday show an increase in monthly mortgage default rates for the first time since December 2009, although the year-over-year decline is 38.84 percent. Of the five major metropolitan areas tracked in the report, ...

CoreLogic Estimates $11B Lost to Mortgage Fraud in 2010

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

The research firm CoreLogic has released its official assessment of the monetary toll mortgage fraud has had on the industry in 2010. According to the CoreLogic Fraud Index, fraud losses for this year are estimated to be $11 billion. That figure is actually down from $14 billion in fraud losses...

GSE Future?

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Obama administration officials are struggling to reach consensus on a future path for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, unable to agree on whether the government should provide a guarantee for new mortgages when the market stabilizes, according to people familiar with the discussions. The...

Falling...

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The decline in home prices is accelerating across the nation, according to a new report, and a record number of foreclosures is expected to push prices down further through next year. But a second report released on Tuesday indicated that consumer confidence in the ec...

Economists Predict Flat Home Prices

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Twenty-three economists surveyed this month by CNNMoney.com expect home prices to be flat in 2011. Five of the economists expect prices to fall in 2011 and then climb only 2.2 percent in 2012. The problem is unemployment. John Ryding, chief economist of RDQ Economics, says the working-age popul...

America's house prices are falling again

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

THERE was further gloomy news for America's homeowners as national house prices dipped in the three months to September. The S&P/Case-Shiller index, released on November 30th, fell by 1.5% from the same period in 2009 and by 2% from the previous quarter. The end of the government's t...

U.S. Marshals Mishandled Forfeitures, Suit Says

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

An arm of the United States Marshals Service undervalued what could amount to untold millions of dollars in assets forfeited by white-collar criminals — including some from the family of Bernard L. Madoff — and sold them for far less than they were worth, according to a lawsuit filed in federal...

local governments are slapping residents with an array of new fees

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Facing budget gaps and an aversion to new debt and taxes, states and local governments are slapping residents with an array of new fees—and some are applying them to nonprofits. That marks a sharp departure from long-standing tax exemptions mandated by state law or adopted on the theory that chu...

Alabama Town Stops Paying Retirees'

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Pensions, Some Residents Destitute A small town in Alabama, which has stopped paying its retirees' pensions, could be an early casualty in a coming pension disaster, the New York Times reports. As public pension funds across the nation suffer from years of underfunding, and from assets that lost ...

Obama's War on Inequality

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Wasn't reversing the decades-long trend toward income inequality supposed to be the big theme of the Obama administration? The new president sounded it strongly in his inaugural address, stating that "a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." He followed up with a 2010 budget...

A Mortgage Nightmare’s Happy Ending

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

TWO and a half years ago, Robert and Amy Ahleman, a construction contractor and a financial services employee, were mired in a mortgage nightmare. After missing just one loan payment on their modest, well-kept bungalow in Bensalem, Pa., the couple began receiving notices from their lender. Default...

NAR: Existing-Home Sales Rise 5.6%

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Existing-home sales got back on an upward path in November, resuming a growth trend since bottoming in July, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 5.6 percent...

Tax Deal Has Home Owner Benefits

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Home owners were among those who benefited from the tax compromise that President Obama signed last week. Among the most home owner-friendly provisions are: Deductions for private mortgage insurance: The agreement extends through 2011 a provision allowing home owners to deduct mortgage insuranc...

The Descent of Money

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

The first modern competition between gold and paper money ended like the pre-modern ones. Gold won. Herewith, a short summary: A rogue, John Law, was the protagonist of the story. He killed Beau Wilson in a duel. Then, he went on the lam...first to Scotland...then to Amsterdam...and finally to Pa...

Stimulus, Without More Debt

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

THE $858 billion tax package signed into law this month provides some stimulus for our ailing economy. With the unemployment rate at 9.8 percent, more will certainly be needed, yet further deficit spending may not be a politically viable option. Instead, we are likely to see a big fight over rai...

Economic Outlook: 5 Things that Could Happen in 2011

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

Nothing comes from nothing. But what comes from something? Did you see what happened? The Fed's holdings topped $2 trillion for the first time ever. It took 95 years to get the Fed's holdings to $600 billion. In the space of 3 years, it has added $1.4 trillion more. That's something. Extraordi...

Surge Of Money From Bonds Could Stifle Lending

Posted on Monday, December 27, 2010

NEW YORK (AP, Matthew Craft) -- Americans are leaving bond mutual funds at the fastest rate in more than two years. U.S. investors pulled $8.6 billion out of bond funds in the week ended Dec. 15, the largest withdrawal since October 2008 when financial markets were in free-fall. They pulled an aver...

How the Fed let small banks take on too much debt, then fail

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks. In early 2005, at a time when the housing market was overheate...

The GOP and the Banks: Cutting the Garlic Budget as the Vampires Attack

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Van Helsing: "The strength of the vampire is that nobody will believe in him." America's debt to Wall Street has soared since 1945 -- and although the banks were rescued at the public's expense, the public's been left holding the bag for the recent drop in housing prices: Hmm... How many t...

Banks Best Basel as Global Regulators Dilute or Postpone New Capital Rules

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

More than 500 representatives from 27 nations, including top regulators and central bankers, met dozens of times this year to hammer out 440 pages of new rules to govern the world’s banks. What’s not in the documents published by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and the escape hatches t...

How the Fed let small banks take on too much debt, then fail

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks. In early 2005, at a time when the housing market was overheate...

How the Fed let small banks take on too much debt, then fail

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks. In early 2005, at a time when the housing market was overheate...

How the Fed let small banks take on too much debt, then fail

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks. In early 2005, at a time when the housing market was overheate...

How the Fed let small banks take on too much debt, then fail

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks. In early 2005, at a time when the housing market was overheate...

How the Fed let small banks take on too much debt, then fail

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board, chastised for regulatory inaction that contributed to the subprime mortgage meltdown, also missed a chance to prevent much of the financial chaos ravaging hundreds of small- and mid-sized banks. In early 2005, at a time when the housing market was overheate...

Buy vs. Rent: An Update

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Below is an updated list of rent ratios — the price of a typical home divided by the annual cost of renting that home — for 55 metropolitan areas across the country. We last covered this subject about eight months ago, and you’ll notice that most ratios have not changed much since then. A good ru...

House Democrats Push For New Foreclosure Regulations

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Several key House Democrats are circulating a letter urging support for new regulations that would crack down on what critics say are rampant foreclosure abuses in the nation's banking system. The letter, authored by Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) encourages federal banking regulators to rein in practic...

Pitch for National Mortgage Servicing Rules Gains Momentum

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

The call for federal officials to establish industry-wide mortgage servicing and foreclosure standards is getting louder. A group of more than 50 senior economists, academic leaders, and influential investors sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the heads of five federal regu...

Florida attorney general investigating companies that serve foreclosure papers

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

The first step in foreclosure process is that the homeowner is supposed to informed that the foreclosure is beginning. But as millions of Americans face foreclosure, even the process of alerting the homeowner with the serving of a summons has been filled with errors. The Times-Union wrote abou...

Rush to foreclose by Fannie, Freddie helped feed problems with legal paperwork

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

As the housing market came crashing down in 2008, the giant mortgage company Fannie Mae took an unprecedented step to help tackle the rising tide of foreclosures. It named an exclusive group of law firms that would help rapidly carry out the unsavory task of filing legal paperwork to remove homeowne...

GSEs' Foreclosures Outnumber Modifications More than 2 to 1 in Q3

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

For every home loan held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that was modified during the third quarter, 2.3 loans were foreclosed on during the same period. The GSEs’ regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), released its quarterly foreclosure-prevention report to Congress on Tuesday. The...

banks and lenders must alert borrowers to the risk of payment increases before they

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rates are still decent, and ARM loans don't immediately jump to mind in this kind > of environment for loan agents when a borrower saunters through the door. (In fact, > ARM loans have accounted for about 5% of production in recent months.) The Federal > Reserve, however, approved an interim rule...

Wells Fargo sent out word to its broker clients ...

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wells Fargo sent out word to its broker clients that, per the existing schedule, > on April fool's Day 2011 the new comp rules go into place. Wells expects to put > out its plan in February, but reminds us "The rules prohibit a loan originator > from: Receiving compensation based on the interest...

Gene Sperling, Leading NEC Director Candidate, Made Millions On Wall Street As Economy Tanked

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gene Sperling, a leading contender for a top economic post in the White House, made millions on Wall Street even as the economy faltered. The adviser to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is near the top of President Barack Obama's list of candidates to replace Larry Summers as director of the Nationa...

Sales of Existing Homes Gain Ground in November

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Existing-home sales got back on an upward path in November, resuming a growth trend since bottoming in July, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Wednesday. Sales of previously owned homes rose 5.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million, according...

Existing Home Sales rose 5.6%

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yesterday we learned that according to the NAR, Existing Home Sales rose 5.6% to > a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in November from October, but > are about 28% below late 2009's levels. MBS prices finished the day roughly unchanged, > and the 10-yr closed at 3.35%, but it was a...

Home Sales Edge Higher but Fall Short of Forecast

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sales of existing homes rose in November, but analysts said increased employment and better access to credit were needed before the housing market could achieve a sustained recovery. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that existing-home sales rose 5.6 percent to a seasonally adj...

FHFA Home Price Index Records 0.7% Increase in October

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home prices in the United States bounced back slightly during the month of October, according to data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Wednesday. FHFA’s house price index is calculated using purchase prices of homes backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fan...

RE/MAX Reports Steady Housing Prices, Declining Sales

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

The monthly RE/MAX National Housing Report, released Friday, shows housing prices remaining relatively stable, with sales still experiencing some declines. The survey of 54 metropolitan areas shows that November sales were 4.9 percent below October sales, and 25.9 percent below sales for November ...

The tax

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

> "The Mortgage Insurance Cos. of America, a trade group, estimates the deduction > saves borrowers who pay mortgage insurance $300 to $350 a year. To qualify for the > full deduction, you must have adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less. Taxpayers > with AGI of between $100,000 and $109,00...

Blaming the Economy's Victims for Economic Crimes

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF Blame the unions, blame the unemployed, blame loans to the poor, blame the government. As income and wealth increasingly go to a few at the top, public anger is directed at the e...

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...

Inside AIG's Tortuous Turnaround

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (By Paritosh Bansal, Kristina Cooke and David Lawder) - During a rainstorm in Washington in early 2009, amid the furor over Wall Street's post-bailout bonuses, an American International Group employee pulled out an umbrella that had the insurer's name on it. "Somebody came by...

Capital Sources: South Florida banks have hard time finding buyers

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

As many as a dozen well-capitalized banks and investment groups are swimming around South Florida's financial waters, looking for banks they can acquire to expand their footprints in the region. At least as many banks are looking for buyers, or at least investors. Talks and due diligence are w...

Capital Sources: South Florida banks have hard time finding buyers

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

As many as a dozen well-capitalized banks and investment groups are swimming around South Florida's financial waters, looking for banks they can acquire to expand their footprints in the region. At least as many banks are looking for buyers, or at least investors. Talks and due diligence are well ...

How can I be better prepared for the next market downturn?

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Market volatility is a natural part of investing, but a downward swing can be difficult to get through. Make sure you've taken steps to prepare your savings and investment portfolio, so it's ready for unpredictable market conditions. First: Find out how the market impacts your long-term plans • ...

Teenage Birth Rate Falls 6 Percent

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The country’s teenage birth rate hit an all-time low in 2009, a decline that experts say is partly because of the economy. The rate fell to 39 births per 1,000 girls, ages 15 through 19, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was a 6 percent de...

Foreclosures in Most U.S. States Bypass Judges, Easing Way for Evictions

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two years before dementia forced her to move into a nursing care facility, Dorothy Halstien obtained a $73,000 loan from Washington Mutual Inc. secured by her house on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle. In 2007, a year after she moved, the bank hired a trustee, Quality Loan Service Corp. of Was...

In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TRUCKEE, Calif. — When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks. When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clot...

In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TRUCKEE, Calif. — When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks. When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter cl...

Deutsche Bank Fraud Probe Leads To $550 Million Settlement

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NEW YORK (AP, By LARRY NEUMEISTER) - Federal authorities say Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay more than $550 million to resolve a federal tax shelter fraud investigation. Authorities announced Tuesday that the bank also admitted criminal wrongdoing in connection with its participation in financial t...

E.E.O.C. Sues Kaplan Over Hiring

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sending a sharp warning to employers nationwide, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Kaplan Higher Education Corporation on Tuesday, accusing it of discriminating against black job applicants through the way it uses credit histories in its hiring process. The lawsuit, an unusual...

Defense lawyers raise new issue: 'Robo-verifiers'

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I. Lenders and their law firms are violating new procedures implemented by the Florida Supreme Court intended to address a controversy over botched foreclosure cases, according to attorneys for homeowners. After a national foreclosure scandal that resulted in a moratorium, new procedures implemen...

Ernst & Young Sued For Fraud Over Lehman

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

| NEW YORK — New York's attorney general is suing accounting giant Ernst & Young, accusing it of helping defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers hide billions of dollars in debt from investors even as it teetered on the brink of financial collapse. The civil lawsuit, filed by Attorney General ...

A New Workers' Manifesto

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Union and non-union blue-collar workers alike walked into voting booths in 1932 and pulled the lever for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Twenty-eight years later, their sons and daughters -- union and non-union, organized and non-organized -- pulled the lever for JFK. Yet in the 2010 elections just held,...

2010 Census: New Data Reveal Richest Counties In America

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It seems this year the rich got even richer. Though census results are only beginning to be released, last week the results of the American Community Survey were unveiled. The ACS details data such as languages spoken in a home and income levels. The data comes from surveys mailed to three million ...

In Obama Anti-Foreclosure Program, Thousands Of Homeowners Strung Along For A Year

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More than 29,000 troubled American homeowners have been stuck in mortgage modification purgatory for at least a year, with no end in sight, under the Obama administration's anti-foreclosure program, according to a recently released report from a watchdog panel appointed by Congress. These homeowner...

Hope For Homeowners: The Squeaky Wheel Gets the HAMP

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meet Wadet. Wadet is a single mother of 3 beautiful girls. When Wadet purchased her home during the housing boom she was full of pride and joy for becoming a first time homebuyer. She didn't buy more than she could afford at the time. Wadet knew about being a wife, being a mother and working h...

Regulators Urged To Adopt National Mortgage Standards

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Citing an urgent need to address questionable mortgage and foreclosure practices that have helped stall the broader economic recovery, a group of economists, analysts and financiers has signed a letter to Federal regulators, calling on them to develop national standards governing the mortgage proces...

Merkets React to Home Sales, etc

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NEW YORK—U.S. stocks wavered after U.S. third-quarter economic growth missed economists' estimates while existing-home sales for November rose less than expected, although home prices showed signs of stabilization. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 3 points to 11535, drifting in and out...

Bank of America Embroiled in Another Fraud Suit

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A second state has filed a lawsuit against Bank of America (BofA) for alleged deceptive loan modification and foreclosure practices. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced Friday that her office had also opened a lawsuit against the company and its affiliates regarding its residen...

Strategy Number One: Shift Money From the Big Banks

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One of the most discouraging things about the last two years was seeing swing voters in focus groups, when asked what President Obama's economic strategy was, repeat different versions of "Well, I know he said we needed to save the banks. Beyond that, I'm not sure." When Obama in his first State of ...

Holiday Sales 2010: It's Beginning To Look Like A 'Pre-Recession' Christmas

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NEW YORK — Packed malls? Healthy gains in holiday spending? It's beginning to look at least a little like a pre-recession Christmas. Americans spent more on clothing, luxury goods and even furniture, delivering healthy gains across the board, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, whic...

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regarding the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

August 20, 2009 United States Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Re: RIN 1506-AB02 Docket Number TREAS-FinCEn-2009-0002 [Electronically submitted: https://www.regulations.gov] Ladies and Gentlemen: On behalf of 1.2 million members of the National Association of REALTORS®...

U.S. Expects Foreclosure Probe Results Next Month

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Obama administration task force examining allegations of fraud in the mortgage foreclosure process will deliver its findings next month, two top officials said on Monday. "We expect the results of the investigations will be presented to us next month," Treasury Secretary T...

Recession forces rise in low-wage families, report says

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Great Recession, responsible for boosting unemployment to its highest levels in a generation, has sharply increased the percentage of working people who earn wages so paltry that they are struggling to survive, according to a new report. The share of working families earning less than doub...

Employed But Struggling: Report Finds 1 in 3 Working Families Near Poverty

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Michelle Feliz, a single mother living in Boston, can't afford day care for her one-year-old son. She can't afford new clothes for her teenage daughter. Late last year, she applied for food stamps. Unlike many Americans increasingly seeking public assistance, Feliz, 35, is employed. Yet what she...

Homes at Risk, and No Help From Lawyers

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In California, where foreclosures are more abundant than in any other state, homeowners trying to win a loan modification have always had a tough time. Now they face yet another obstacle: hiring a lawyer. Sharon Bell, a retiree who lives in Laguna Niguel, southeast of Los Angeles, needs a modifi...

Wells Fargo To Modify 15K Option-ARM Loans In CA

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to modify some 14,900 adjustable-rate loans made by banks it acquired, according to filings released Monday by state prosecutors who said the mortgages were harmful to borrowers. The agreement with the state attorney general's office will result in mo...

Counseling Improves Mod Success, Nearly Doubles Payment Reductions

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Data released by NeighborWorks America Monday illustrates the value of foreclosure prevention counseling for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. The organization has found that a homeownerwho works with a housing counselor is nearly two times more likely to avoid foreclosure than...

Banks Keep Tweaking Requirements

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flagstar unleashed a spate of changes for its clients which, in my opinion, are > unusual since they represent a definite loosening of guidelines. The changes are > several pages long, so reproducing all of them here is impractical. But here are > some highlights. "We are pleased to announce we ...

D.C. area's renters are caught in squeeze

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rents in the Washington area have soared to the highest level measured in at least 20 years as an array of economic and psychological forces thrust people into the rental market after the housing sector tanked in the last half of the decade. In this region, rental prices surged 22 percent in 200...

WHETHER OR NOT NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY INTO 'HOT' AREAS PEGGED TO ZILLOW REPORT

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I always say don't be fooled by the broad national real estate stats or by the micro MOM version that don't reflect broader more important trends. Real estate is specific to area, price range, property type and features. And there are plenty of opportunities. Zillow’s hot zip code report re...

Dood Frank is Great But Wheres the Money

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Senate Republicans last week successfully defeated an omnibus spending bill that would have funded the government through the end of the current fiscal year (October 2011). To avoid a government shutdown, the new plan is to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government at the current level ...

DEBATE ON REVERSE-MORTGAGE RISKS HEATS UP

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Consumers Union and other advocacy groups have issued a report that has sparked debate about whether reverse mortgages are too risky for house-rich, cash-poor seniors. The controversy arrives just as the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is starting to look at the loans, which ca...

Survey: Rising Rates, First-Time Homebuyers Drive Market in November

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rising mortgage rates helped push first-time homebuyers to buy properties in November, while investors lost some of their enthusiasm for distressed properties last month. These are two of the major findings of the latest HousingPulse Tracking Survey released by the market research firm Campbell Surv...

Housing Predictions for 2011

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Imagine sitting on a four-legged stool and one of its legs suddenly collapses. Or, put another way, let's say one of the key organs in your body stops functioning. Obviously, you're in trouble in either case. You can say the same thing about the economic ravages from the ongoing hell in housing, wh...

Financial Capability Survey Shows District of Columbia Residents Are Second in Nation in Comparison

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WASHINGTON – America’s first State-by-State Financial Capability Survey revealed that while Washingtonians are second in the nation in comparison shopping for credit cards, they are less financially literate than the national average. The findings are part of the National Financial Capability Study,...

Survey Shows New York Tops Nearly Every Other State in Financial Capability

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WASHINGTON – America’s first State-by-State Financial Capability Survey revealed that New Yorkers ranked in the top five among all states in at least three of five measures of financial capability. The findings are part of the National Financial Capability Study, conducted by the FINRA Investor Ed...

Financial Capability Survey Shows Californians Rank Fifth in Nation in Saving, Avoiding High-Cost, N

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WASHINGTON – America’s first State-by-State Financial Capability Survey revealed that Californians are fifth in the nation in saving and in avoiding high-cost, non-bank loans. The findings are part of the National Financial Capability Study, conducted by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, whic...

Financial Capability Survey Shows Floridians Are More Financially Literate Than National Average, bu

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For Release: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Contact: George Smaragdis (202) 728-8988 Nancy Condon (202) 728-8379 Financial Capability Survey Shows Floridians Are More Financially Literate Than National Average, but More Likely to Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck WASHINGTON – America’s first State-by-S...

FINRA Foundation Releases Nation's First State-by-State Financial Capability Survey

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For Release: Contact: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 George Smaragdis (202) 728-8988 Nancy Condon (202) 728-8379 I. II. III. FINRA Foundation Releases Nation's First State-by-State Financial Capability Survey IV. New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire Most Financially Capable, Kentucky and...

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...

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...

Debit Card Fee Cap Could Mean Higher Prices For Consumers

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Transactions would substantially reduce the cost for businesses. But it's started a death watch for debit card rewards and renewed predictions that free checking is done for. At issue is who will ultimately benefit from the savings? The Federal Reserve's proposal to cap these fees, officially kn...

FDIC Lowers Budget as Bank Failures Slow

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The number of bank closings has slowed in recent months, and that’s given the FDIC reason to believe that the worst phase of institutional collapses is behind us and the agency won’t need as much money next year to cover bank seizures. The FDIC’s board of directors has approved a $3.96 billion oper...

Foreclosure auctions canceled for the rest of the year

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Broward Circuit Judge Michael Gates, head of the foreclosure division, issued an order Friday canceling all foreclosure sales between today and Dec. 31. Chief Circuit Judge Victor Tobin said the order was issued for humanitarian reasons and because the sales docket had thinned significantly. T...

ENRST AND YOUNG CHARGED CIVIL FRAUD LEHMANS

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Prosecutors in New York are set to file civil fraud charges against accounting firm Ernst & Young over the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. The suit, led by Andrew Cuomo, could come as early as this week and may seek to impose fines ...

Congressman Seeks Disclosure From FHFA Regarding Write-Downs

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), House Financial Services Oversight subcommittee chairman, released a letter this week expressing concern about reports that the Obama administration is pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to write down principal mortgages for borrowers. Earlier this month,...

Rising Interest Rates Signal a Bullish Recovery

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

There has been much hand-wringing in the business press lately about the recent rise in interest rates. The fear is often expressed that this will choke off the economic recovery and decimate further the still-weak housing industry. But in fact, rising interest rates are an extremely bullish sign; t...

Loan Servicers: Opening the Bag of Mortgage Tricks

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

ALL the revelations this year about dubious practices in the mortgage servicing arena — think robo-signers and forged signatures — have rightly raised borrowers’ fears that companies handling their loans may not be operating on the up and up. But borrowers aren’t the only ones concerned about...

Arizona Sues Bank Of America, Alleges Loan Modification Fraud

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

PHOENIX — Attorneys general in Arizona and Nevada filed civil lawsuits Friday against Bank of America Corp., alleging that the lender is misleading and deceiving homeowners who have tried to modify mortgages in two of the nation's most foreclosure-damaged states. Bank of America violated Arizona's ...

SEC Subpoenas Big Banks' Mortgage Securitization Documents

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly investigating lenders’ procedures for packaging home mortgages into securities bonds for sale to investors. Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the probe, says the SEC sent subpoenas last week to Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorga...

SEC mortgage probe big banks targeted reuters

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

U.S. regulators have opened a new line of inquiry in their mortgage foreclosure probe and are asking big Wall Street banks about the beginning stages of mortgage securitization, two sources familiar with the probe said. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched the new phase of its investigat...

Arizona Attorney General Files Fraud Suit Against BofA

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard announced Friday that his office has filed a lawsuit against North Carolina-based Bank of America (BofA) and its affiliated companies for alleged fraudulent acts committed after a March 2009 lawsuit. In March 2009, a judgment was entered into in order to resol...

State Budget Crisis 'Largest Threat To The U.S. Economy'

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The future looks bleak for state and local government budgets. Even as states struggle to cut services, many could soon be in the position of New Jersey, California and Illinois, facing billion-dollar deficits that, unlike the Federal deficit, must be filled. And there's no easy way to repair the b...

Economic Boom in Washington Leaves Gaping Income Disparities

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — As incomes fell across America over the past decade, new census data show that one place registered a remarkable rise: the nation’s capital. Washington, long a symbol of the country’s urban ills, is now among the national leaders in income growth. It ranks first among states with ga...

In Third World America, You Can't Buy a Ream of Paper on Minimum Wage

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

In 2010, every one of my work-related conversations turned to personal wealth management. The money-class wants to preserve and increase their considerable wealth, and they are terrified of losing it. Elsewhere in America, those that don't have money are terrified of the rising cost of necessities l...

Wall Street Whitewash

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

When the financial crisis struck, many people — myself included — considered it a teachable moment. Above all, we expected the crisis to remind everyone why banks need to be effectively regulated. How naïve we were. We should have realized that the modern Republican Party is utterly dedicated to t...

When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The tax deal is reasonable policy, supported by majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents - an easy sell by presidential standards. And still President Obama managed to blow the politics of the thing. Rather than explaining the economic benefits of the bill and taking quiet credit for ...

The Impulse to Buy Can Start Anywhere

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

WITH Christmas just days away, Madison Avenue is working hard to influence what consumers buy. But efforts aimed at turning browsers into spenders, known as shopper marketing or retail marketing, are becoming increasingly important the other 51 weeks of the year. Shopper marketing once mostly t...

Retiree benefits are cheating our children

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Except for those on Social Security and Medicare, government for most middle-class Americans consists mainly of schools, police, fire protection, roads and ambulance service. It's states and localities. How are they faring in the present economy? Conventional wisdom holds that they've been crush...

Borrowers as Prey, Again

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The Federal Reserve has been rightly criticized for not protecting borrowers — and the economy — in the years before the financial crisis. Under the law, it had the power and the obligation to curb bad lending. It was warned, by Fed insiders and by consumer advocates, of lender recklessness. It s...

SPECIAL SERVICERS GETTING CREATIVE

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The real-estate firms managing the swelling volume of distressed commercial mortgages that were sliced and diced on Wall Street are blazing new trails as they pick up the pace of working through bad loans. The firms, known as special servicers, are dealing with an influx of souring loans backed b...

Economic Signs Improve, But Housing and Unemployment Expected To Stay Weak

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

While signs show the economic recovery is strengthening, palpable change is still a long way off. Falling home prices and high unemployment aren't expected to significantly improve any time soon. Looking forward about six months, the economic forecast is slightly rosier than it has been, as the Lea...

Obama Signs Tax-Cut-and-Stimulus Package into Law; Measure Includes Real Estate-Backed Provisions on

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

With just 14 days before the Bush tax cuts were due to expire, President Obama this afternoon signed the $859 billion tax-cut-and-stimulus package that cleared the House late last night and the Senate earlier in the week. Before the final House vote of 277-148 clearing the measure to go to the Whi...

Tax Cuts For The Rich, Scraps For The Jobless

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

The grotesque deal to extend the grotesque tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy has rendered unmistakable something that should already have been plenty clear: Republicans will spend money like drunken sailors bearing home equity lines of credit when that seems politically expedient. When the ...

Weighing Costs, Companies Favor Temporary Help

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

Temporary workers are starting to look, well, not so temporary. Despite a surge this year in short-term hiring, many American businesses are still skittish about making those jobs permanent, raising concerns among workers and some labor experts that temporary employees will become a larger, more...

As reported in GlobeSt.com, the tax characterization of carried interest is not changed by the legis

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010

“Job creation is what the economy needs and, as we have been saying for some time, the proposed carried interest tax hike was a job killer,” Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeff DeBoer told GlobeSt.com. “We are pleased it has been set aside.” Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO ...

Involuntary Bankruptcy Requirements

Posted on Sunday, December 19, 2010

Requirements of an Involuntary Petition The legal requirements for filing an involuntary bankruptcy petition are straight-forward and outlined in Section 303(b) of U.S. Title 11: 1. The creditors filing the petition must have total outstanding, unsecured debt of at least $13,475. Wh...

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...

Bailout Makes Government Biggest, Not Best, Distressed-Debt Investor Ever

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

As the U.S. government poured billions of dollars into companies during the financial crisis, it earned an unusual honor: biggest distressed-debt investor in history, the Wall Street Journalnotes. With about $388 billion invested in troubled companies over the last two years, the government becam...

Move Your Money! The Truth About the Banks and You

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

I was initially going to title this blog "F*ck The Banks" because of all the havoc they've wrought in peoples' lives, and how, even after the bailouts and the recession, the foreclosures and congressional hearings, they still don't get the American middle class. Then I reflected on the fact that the...

8 Best Banking Trends of 2010

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

It seems like the words "good news" and "banking" haven't gone in the same sentence since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Although there's no doubt that bank customers got a raw deal in the recession, there were many positive developments in banking during 2010. Here were the eight bes...

Bank Regulators To Tackle Capital Standards

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON (By Dave Clarke) - U.S. banking regulators meet on Tuesday to take the first steps toward implementing higher capital requirements set out in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp board will consider a proposal on how to set minimum capital require...

Crashing the Economy Shouldn't Pay

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Imagine your foreclosure problems began the month after you paid off your mortgage. That despite multiple calls and visits to branches of JP Morgan Chase, you couldn't get the bank to acknowledge they had already received all the money you owed them. You called the bank month after month, multiple...

The F Word: Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

There's a new blockbuster out just in time for the holidays: Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks. Here's a synopsis: While students in London spend hours in the cold protesting tuition fees that may soon triple, RBS, a bank that took a huge government bailout, throws a party commemorating on...

Capital Sources: Company buying failed banks to become regional leader

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

When it acquired two failed Miami community banks on July 16, North American Financial Holdings didn't arrive on the South Florida banking scene with the splash of the private equity group that acquired BankUnited last year. But it showed up with just as much capital — $900 million — as well a...

The Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Focus on Sellers

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The National Association of REALTORS® surveys home buyers and sellers annually to gather detailed information about the home buying and selling process. These surveys provide information on buyer and seller demographics, housing characteristics and the experience of consumers in the housing m...

The Commercial Real Estate Sector: An Overview

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Commercial real estate in the U.S. encompasses a wide diversity of building types and sizes. Recent problems with declining commercial space sales and prices, stagnant and declining rents, troubled assets, and financing illiquidity began with the onset of the Great Recession. The market performan...

Credit Card Delinquencies Rates Fall, as Does Usage

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Credit card delinquency rates fell at major U.S. lenders in November as fewer consumers fell behind on their bill payments, signaling that they are recovering from the stress of the financial crisis. But consumers are also avoiding racking up more debt on their credit cards, even during the ho...

Wary Consumers Cautious Of Increased Credit Card Offers

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Though banks are again offering credit cards to risky borrowers, not everyone is biting. "I will never, ever have another credit card," Carole Carroll, a New Yorker in her fifties working in finance, said. "It's either I have the cash in my hand or I'm moving back in with my mother." Carole, and ...

Household Deleveraging and the Economic Recovery

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Karen Dynan, Vice President and Co-Director, Economic Studies The Brookings Institution Statistics on household borrowing released today showed another decline in the third quarter. The ratio of household debt to after-tax income is now 1.22, down from a peak of 1.35 at the end of 2007, though ...

Five Money Myths That May Be Fouling Up Your Finances

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Certain money myths may be getting in the way of how you handle your personal finances. Does your financial belief system include any of these? 1. Procrastination. What 24-year-old hasn't thought, "Ewwww, retirement planning? BO-ring! I'm young -- I'll have plenty of time to get around to that." ...

To Buy or Not to Buy, More

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The holiday season is now in full throttle, which can mean only thing: Let's consume. And let's consume as much as is humanly possible in a very short period of time. Most of this consumption will take place in shopping centers, malls, and retail outlets, as well online. We are encouraged to purchas...

Just-Released IRS Data Show Effects of Our Radical New Greed-Is-Good Culture

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

As the House considers a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%, slash corporate taxes and potentially make the Estate Tax more generous to billionaires than ever before, it's instructive to put the move into a larger cultural/historical context. And thanks to newly released IRS documents, ...

Fannie Mae Study Finds Americans Still Aspire to Homeownership

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

According to a study released by Fannie Mae, most Americans strongly desire to own homes and maintain homeownership, but a number of factors, including financial caution and shrinking households, continue to contribute to a willingness to rent. “Despite Americans’ strong desire to own their home...

Federal Reserve Cautious On Recovery, Sticks To $600 Billion Bond Plan

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve on Tuesday offered only a cautious nod to the economy's improving prospects as it put a spotlight on lofty unemployment and reaffirmed its commitment to buy $600 billion in bonds. In a statement that emphasized job market weakness and low inflation, the Fed cha...

Rising Interest Rates and the Fed’s Red Ink

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

If Ben Bernanke were an investor, he’d be disappointed . The first chunk of the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion Treasury bond purchase program is in the red, thanks to rising yields. The central bank’s cheap financing makes outright losses unlikely, but Mr. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, could still fac...

Foreclosures Fall To Lowest Level In 18 Months

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES — The number of U.S. homes taken back by lenders dropped to the lowest level in 18 months in November, the result of foreclosure freezes enacted by several banks following allegations that evictions were handled improperly. Home repossessions dropped 28 percent from October and 12 perce...

I. RealtyTrac: Robo-signers take bite out of foreclosures

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

I. Allegations over robo-signing that led to temporary lender moratoriums to inspect paperwork and procedures trampled down foreclosure rates in Florida and across the nation in November, according to RealtyTrac. Despite a 42 percent drop in foreclosure activity from the previous month, Florida pos...

Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2008 on Robo-Signing Delays

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

New data from RealtyTrac shows that foreclosure activity last month fell to a level not seen since November 2008, after problems with paperwork prompted case reviews, foreclosure suspensions, and re-filings of affidavits by mortgage servicers. Foreclosure filings nationwide in November dropped 21 p...

Increase in Foreclosures Leaves Fewer Borrowers Underwater: CoreLogic

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The research firm CoreLogic says the share of mortgage borrowers who were underwater – meaning they owed more on the loan than their home was worth – shrankduring the third quarter. But analysts say the news is hardly encouraging since the decline is being attributed to a rise in foreclosures rat...

I. Insider Trading Crackdown Leads to Four More Arrests

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW YORK (AP, By Tom Hays) -- Three employees at public companies and an executive of an expert-networking firm on Thursday became the latest to be charged in a wide-ranging Wall Street insider trading probe. James Fleishman, 41, of Santa Clara, Calif., the networking executive, was charged with wi...

FinCEN Announces 7 Percent Rise in Mortgage Fraud Related Reports

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said this week that suspicious activity reports (SARs) indicating mortgage loan fraud (MLF) increased seven percent in the first half of 2010. Banks and thrifts filed 35,135 mortgage-related SARs from January to June 2010, up from 32,926 in 2009 dur...

Fraud Charges in New York’s Payroll Overhaul

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Of all the city programs that have ever gone wrong in New York, few could compare to CityTime, an automated system meant to streamline employee timekeeping. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has called the project a “disaster,” and perhaps with good reason: the project’s cost has exceeded $600 million,...

SEC Bracing To Lose Funds, Scaling Back Investigations

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

UPDATE: Reuters reports that U.S. financial regulators could be getting some budget soon under a spending bill released on Tuesday. Here's Reuters: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission would get a budget increase of 69 percent, while the Securities and Exchange Commission would get an increa...

EU Debt Crisis Is 'Systemic,' According To Official's Warning

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (By Jan Strupczewski and Erik Kirschbaum): European Union leaders will be warned on Thursday that a rolling debt crisis poses a systemic threat to the euro zone as they seek to paper over divisions at a summit on how to restore confidence. European Commission President Jose Manuel B...

FHFA Nominee Vows Commitment to Housing Finance System

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Thursday the Senate held a hearing regarding the nomination of Joseph A. Smith, Jr., to the position of director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Smith gave testimony at the hearing, pledging his commitment to public service and strengthening the nation’s housing finance system. Smi...

Bank of America Starts Talks on Soured Mortgages

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

In a bid to turn down the temperature in what promises to be an extended legal battle, Bank of America has opened a dialogue with investors who want the bank to buy back tens of billions in soured mortgages. But bank officials insisted on Wednesday the talks did not represent a shift in strategy ...

Lenders, servicers scramble to shift cases to new firms

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

As the one-time largest plaintiff foreclosure law firm in Florida, the Law Offices of David J. Stern at its peak handled 20 percent of all foreclosures in the state, processing more than 70,000 foreclosure cases on behalf of major lenders like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America and JPMorgan Ch...

Hamtramck's Budget Nightmare: Michigan Town Left With Nothing Else To Cut

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Bill Cooper, the city manager of Hamtramck, Mich., surveyed the possible solutions to his looming budgetary catastrophe, all of them various flavors of bad. He could lay off firefighters or police officers, whose services comprise nearly two-thirds of the city's $18 million annual expenditures. The...

Hamtramck's Budget Nightmare: Michigan Town Left With Nothing Else To Cut

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Bill Cooper, the city manager of Hamtramck, Mich., surveyed the possible solutions to his looming budgetary catastrophe, all of them various flavors of bad. He could lay off firefighters or police officers, whose services comprise nearly two-thirds of the city's $18 million annual expenditures. T...

State and Local Pension Funding Deficits: A Primer

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The financial health of state and local pension funds has been transformed from a yawn-inducing topic to a frightening one in a few short years. By some measurements, the shortfall across the nation adds up to over $3 trillion or more than two years' worth of state and local tax revenues. In a few...

Gap between rich and poor in U.S. drawn on geographic lines

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Bloomberg News The gap between the haves and have- nots in the U.S. is being drawn along geographic lines, Census Bureau data showed yesterday. The number of counties where median household income decreased is almost 10 times the number that saw an increase, according to a Bloomberg analysis of...

Middle Class Strife Left Out of Conversation

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, to live in Washington, where the annoyances of external reality are so conveniently ignored and The Conversation can be changed like an un-liked song on the national iPod. Was it not just a couple of weeks ago that The Conversation was all about the supposed five-alarm emergency of the federal ...

FWhy America's Two Economies Continue to Drift Apart, and What Washington Isn't Doing About It

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

America's two economies are getting wider apart. The Big Money economy is booming. According to a new Commerce Department report, third-quarter profits of American businesses rose at an annual record-breaking $1.659 trillion -- besting even the boom year of 2006 (in nominal dollars). Profits have s...

Household Wealth Increases Despite Heavy Real Estate Losses

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

average American’s financial situation improved during the third quarter, according to data released by the Federal Reserve. The news is seen as a positive sign for the nation’s mortgage markets, which have been stressed by an elevated number of borrowers who’ve been struggling to fulfill their mor...

HAMP Will Fall Short of Goal with Only 700K Helped: Report

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

he Obama administration’s signature foreclosure prevention program will help only 700,000 Americans save their homes, according to a scathing report released Tuesday by the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP). The group’s assessment falls far short of the 3 to 4 million homeowners that the presi...

Geithner Blocking Legal Help For Foreclosure Victims

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has authorized big payouts to banks in an effort to encourage mortgage modifications, but is preventing borrowers in danger of losing their homes from accessing legal assistance under the Obama administration's foreclosure relief plan -- even when ba...

Obama's Foreclosure Program Will Reach Less Than One Quarter Of Administration's Target

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The Obama administration's signature anti-foreclosure program will ultimately aid less than a quarter of the nearly four million distressed homeowners it was originally supposed to help, according to a Congressional report released Tuesday. President Obama initially portrayed the $50 billion init...

Half Of Bank Pay Could Modify Every Underwater Mortgage

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Wall Street banks are on pace to pay out some $143 billion in compensation for 2010, just shy of their record year of 2007. But given the widespread layoffs of mid-level employees as a result of the financial crisis, average compensation set a record. At the top six banks, compensation rose 10 per...

I. Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud, Part III: MERS'S Role in Facilitating the Mother of All Frauds

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

In the previous two parts of this series I have recounted the multiple frauds perpetrated by MERS: it defrauded counties out of billions of dollars of reporting fees, it defrauded homeowners by destroying documents that provide a clear chain of title -- facilitating its foreclosure frauds, and it de...

Mortgage Banker Profits Rise with Secondary Market, Refinancing Gains

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Independent mortgage banks and their subsidiaries made an average profit of $1,423 on each loan they originated in the third quarter, thanks to a surge in refinance activity and growing demand for mortgage-backed securities (MBS), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Tuesday. The third ...

The Real Estate Collapse? It’ll Be in the Final

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

In 2008, when most Americans were fleeing the real estate market, David Mann was charging toward it. After selling a clothing manufacturing company in Manhattan that he had helped run, Mr. Mann, 32, decided to pursue a master’s degree in real estate development. Last May he graduated from the Sc...

Financial Crisis Panel In Turmoil As Republicans Defect; Plan To Blame Government For Crisis

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

The four Republicans appointed to the commission investigating the root causes of the financial crisis plan to bypass the bipartisan panel and release their own report Wednesday, according to people familiar with the commission's work. The Republicans, led by the commission's vice chairman, former ...

G.O.P. Panelists Dissent on Cause of Crisis

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Republican members of the commission appointed by Congress to investigate the causes of the financial crisis plan to release on Wednesday a document that assigns government housing policies substantial blame for the origins of the 2008 financial crisis. The release of the 13-pag...

Republican Split, Democratic Opportunity

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the co-author of “13 Bankers.” An informative and potentially productive political debate has broken out over fiscal policy. But it is not between Democrats and Republicans — the leadership on both sides of the aisle...

The Deal on Taxes

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Adam Looney, Brookings The downtrend in debt is an important part of households' efforts to shore up their financial conditions in the wake of the excesses of the credit boom that precipitated the financial crisis. As I discussed in a presentation on household deleveraging (PDF), the reduction in...

Congress Sends $801 Billion Tax Cut Bill to Obama

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — Congress at midnight Thursday approved an $801 billion package of tax cuts and $57 billion for extended unemployment insurance. The vote sealed the first major deal between President Obama and Congressional Republicans as Democrats put aside their objections and bowed to the realignme...

TAXES

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

House passage of a bipartisan tax bill resolves many urgent questions weighing on individuals and businesses—but also creates vast groups of winners and losers among them. Because the deal left in place many tax rates that otherwise could have jumped significantly, and lowers the payroll tax for al...

Senate approves tax cut deal; House Dems weigh amending estate tax

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

A sweeping tax package negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders sailed through the Senate on a 81-19 vote and now awaits action by the House as early as Thursday. The Senate vote represented a rare moment of bipartisanship and underscored the depth of concern among lawmakers in both pa...

IRS Audits Jump By 11 Percent; Wealthiest Targeted

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is making it a bit riskier to cheat on your taxes. The tax agency increased the number of returns it audited by nearly 11 percent this year, statistics released Wednesday show. Wealthy taxpayers and big businesses were most likely to be targeted. The IRS a...

Mortgage Interest Deduction - Issue Summary

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

What is the fundamental issue? Individuals are permitted to deduct mortgage interest paid on mortgage debt of up to $1 million. The deduction is available for interest on mortgages for a principal residence and one additional residence. The $1 million limitation represents the combined allowable...

Wall Street Gives Uncle Sam Too Much Credit

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Despite the fact that the S&P is up over 80% in the last 21 months, US financial firms are currently tripping over each other in their zeal to raise their S&P 500 and GDP targets for 2011. JPMorgan's chief US equities strategist, Thomas Lee, came out on December 3rd with a target of 1425 on the S&P ...

21 Companies That Have Excluded Women From Leadership:

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

24/7 Wall Street By 24/7 Wall Street: More than half of the American workforce is comprised of women. It is well-known that they are paid less than their male counterparts. Several studies show that female workers make about 77% of the compensation paid to their male peers. The numbers are worse f...

The Problem with Men: A Look at Long-term Employment Trends

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010

Jobs and the Economy, U.S. Economy, Unemployment Michael Greenstone, Director, The Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Adam Looney, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, and Policy Director, The Hamilton Project The Brookings Institution The November employment numbers, released ...

The Great American Do Over

Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We can safely assume that everyone knows something about the trouble with real estate, housing and foreclosures today. In fact most folks who are not in default or foreclosure or underwater on their own homes personally know someone else who is. And yet, as I learned at a South Florida university pr...

B of A Toxic Assets For Sale

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BANGALORE (Reuters): Bank of America Corp has put up for sale at least $1 billion worth of toxic mortgage assets, the New York Post said on Monday, citing sources. Bids are due by the end of December for the assets, which includes already written-off loans and mortgage-servicing rights, the paper s...

How So-Called Deficit Experts Would Destroy Our Already Broken Pension System

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In yet another example of "innumeracy" when it comes to retirement adequacy, the Bipartisan Policy Center has proposed tackling the deficit by halving the amount that employers and employees can contribute to 401(k) accounts because they insist that affluent people will retire rich and we should sto...

Ben Franklin’s Nation

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

After you read this column, go to YouTube and search “Hans Rosling and 200 countries.” You’ll see a Swedish professor describe the growth of global wealth and well-being over the past 200 years. He presents an animated time-lapse chart. It starts in 1810, when the nations of the world were clum...

Fed’s Contrarian Has a Wary Eye on the Past

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All year, Thomas M. Hoenig has been saying no. As the lone dissenter on the Federal Reserve committee that sets interest rates, Mr. Hoenig, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has been a persistent skeptic of just about everything the Fed’s chairman, Ben...

Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud, Part II: The Mother of All Frauds

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In part one of this series I showed that MERS recommended that mortgage servicers retain the "wet ink" notes that borrowers signed. These notes are required in 45 states to foreclose on a home. Not only does the foreclosing party need to physically hold the note, but the note must be properly endo...

The Difficulty of Proving Financial Crimes

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recent columns on DealBook by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Jesse Eisinger asked why federal prosecutors have not brought any significant cases against senior corporate executives related to the financial meltdown. A partial answer to the question can be found in a decision issued on Friday by the United S...

Feds go after financial criminals in creative ways

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joshua Konigsberg and Louis Fischler dreamed of pennies from heaven in what prosecutors say was a classic pump-and-dump stock scheme. Their timing couldn’t have been worse. The U.S. attorney’s office last week used the duo from Palm Beach County as one example of its beefed-up war on financial frau...

Standard & Poor's Announces Servicers Must Prove Compliance

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says mortgage servicers must provide documentation that their foreclosure processes are in compliance with foreclosure laws, or risk receiving a revised outlook or rating from the company. Many mortgage servicers have been under scrutiny recently because of report...

Detroit Budget Woes Could Leave Areas Of City Without Police, Fire Services, Garbage Pickup

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In yet another sign of growing fiscal problems for states and municipalities, Detroit may be cutting key services in certain portions of the city, the WSJ reports. This could mean that city officials will be faced with the tough decision whether to repurpose or outright abandon certain sections of...

Does Economic Inequality Cause Crises?

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Edward L. Glaeser is an economics professor at Harvard and the author of the forthcoming book “Triumph of the City.” Did inequality cause the recent housing and financial crisis? For decades, a growing literature has tried to establish links between inequality and adverse outcomes, such as low e...

Bank of America Gets Low Marks for Delinquency Resolution

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The time mortgage loan servicers take to resolve delinquent loans through modification or foreclosure varies widely. According to an analysis by Moody’s Investors Service, Bank of America has demonstrated the weakest performance measured both by its speed in resolving the status of delinquent loa...

U.S. foreclosure-prevention program fell short, Congressional Oversight Panel says

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Treasury Department's primary foreclosure-prevention program has failed to live up to expectations and has suffered from a lack of "meaningful goals," according to a report from a congressional watchdog panel due out Tuesday. The government's Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, is...

Obama's mortgage mod plan is still lacking

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Treasury Department's foreclosure prevention efforts have been found lacking -- again. Last April, the Congressional Oversight Panel found the program to be struggling to get off the ground despite having been in action for a year and a half. The latest evaluation of...

Los Angeles Homeowners Take to the Streets to Protest Foreclosure Abuses

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

As the economy continues to hurt working families, and Congress takes its orders from corporate America, many people are asking: where's the progressive protest movement that will galvanize public attention, challenge the undue influence of the Tea Party, and focus public anger on big business? T...

University Study Advocates Home Price Decline Protection

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DSNews By: Joy Leopold 12/10/2010 The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland released a report in November detailing the urgent need for measures to stabilize the housing market. The 13 page report, titled, A Way Forward on the Housing Crisis, says that “to allow the ho...

Underwater homes Shrink

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The number of U.S. homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth fell in the third quarter, but the decline stemmed from banks getting more aggressive on foreclosures, not from home values going up, according to trade-industry data released Monday. In Deep: Underwater Borr...

Tax-cut package clears procedural hurdle in Senate

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Republicans and Democrats joined forces in the Senate on Monday to deliver the most significant bipartisan vote since President Obama took office, advancing a plan to extend tax cuts for virtually every American and to boost the economic recovery. The procedural vote could be followed by final Sen...

Tax-Cut Plan Eases Pressure On Bernanke And Fed

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve last month absorbed a wave of criticism for announcing it will buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds to try to revitalize the economy. It won't help, critics said. So when Fed officials meet Tuesday, they're likely to feel a weight has been lifted: The White House an...

Moody's: U.S. Credit Rating Outlook Could Be Affected By Tax Package

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEW YORK - Moody's warned on Monday that it could move a step closer to cutting the U.S. Aaa rating if President Barack Obama's tax and unemployment benefit package becomes law. The plan agreed to by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders last week could push up debt levels, increasing the l...

Tax-Cut Package Passes Crucial Senate Test

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WASHINGTON — With robust bipartisan support, the Senate on Monday advanced the tax-cut package negotiated by President Obama and Congressional Republicans, increasing pressure on House Democrats to set aside their opposition. The vote, to cut off debate and end any filibuster, assured that the...

Tax Breaks Bring Hope for Hiring

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To many manufacturing companies, the tax cut proposal now being considered in Washington may be just enough to spur additional spending and hiring. At Yushin America, a Rhode Island company that makes and maintains robotic manufacturing equipment, executives say that the business tax breaks would...

Japan Will Cut Corporate Income Tax Rate

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TOKYO — Japan will cut its corporate income tax rate by 5 percentage points in a bid to shore up its sluggish economy, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said here Monday evening. Companies have urged the government to lower the country’s effective corporate tax rate — which now stands at 40 percent, around...

Washington Post-ABC News poll finds broad bipartisan support for tax package

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

About seven in 10 Americans back the tax deal negotiated last week by President Obama and congressional Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The high bipartisan support for the package masks more tepid public approval for some of the main components of the agreement that ...

'Temporary' Tax Code Puts Nation in a Lasting Bind

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WASHINGTON—Welcome to the world of the temporary tax code. In the late 1990s, there were typically fewer than a dozen tax provisions that had just a limited lease on life and needed to be renewed every year or so. Today there are 141. Now Congress, taking up a deal worked out between the Obama a...

Huge Senate majority votes to advance $858B tax package

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

President Obama's $858 billion tax package won a huge bipartisan majority in the Senate Monday evening, setting it up for a contentious debate in the House. In a 83-15 vote, the Senate quashed a filibuster by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Va.). Fifteen lawmakers voted against it, including five Repub...

What’s Wrong With Cutting Taxes?

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the co-author of “13 Bankers.” President Obama and Congressional Republicans have reached a deal that would cut taxes “for all Americans.” Their argument is that this package will stimulate the economy, create jobs a...

Tax Deal With a Side of Bacon

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Since House Democrats rejected the tax deal, partisans on both sides are festooning the bill with provisions that look suspiciously like earmarks. Since House Democrats rejected the tax compromise that President Obama and GOP leaders negotiated last week, there has been a mad scramble to renegotiate...

House Dems tinkering with estate tax

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

House Democratic efforts to change the tax deal struck by President Obama and congressional Republicans are focusing on an amendment to the estate tax provision, according to senior party sources familiar with a Monday leadership meeting. But it's not clear that the proposed amendment, which...

Tax-cut package clears procedural hurdle in Senate

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Republicans and Democrats joined forces in the Senate on Monday to deliver the most significant bipartisan vote since President Obama took office, advancing a plan to extend tax cuts for virtually every American and to boost the economic recovery. The procedural vote could be followed by final Sen...

A Decline in Self-Employment

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The share of Americans working for themselves has fallen since the recovery began, according to the Labor Department. The following chart, from Steven F. Hipple, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the quarterly rates of self-employment over the last decade. The figure for th...

College, Jobs and Inequality

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Searching for solace in bleak unemployment numbers, policy makers and commentators often cite the relatively low joblessness among college graduates, which is currently 5.1 percent compared with 10 percent for high school graduates and an overall jobless rate of 9.8 percent. Ben Bernanke, the chairm...

The economic debate we should be having

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Passing the tax compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans would be a notable achievement - but mainly a negative one. It would avoid a contraction of the economy in January, when tax rates are scheduled to broadly rise. Deficit hawks are unhappy with another round of borro...

Wall Street Set For Best Two Years Ever, Thanks To Bailout

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two agonizing years for the U.S. economy have been some of the best years on record for Wall Street. After first receiving billions in taxpayer aid, and now ultracheap funding from the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks are on track to wrap up two of their best years ever. Even if the current quar...

The Declining Demand for Men

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nancy Folbre is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bureau of Labor Statistics The Great Recession has sometimes been dubbed the Mancession because it drove unemployment among men higher than unemployment among women. Because men tend to work in more cyclical indu...

Two Bank Failures Bring 2010 Total to 151

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Regulators on Friday shut down small banks in Michigan and Pennsylvania, raising the number of banks that have failed this year to 151. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took over the Paramount Bank, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., with $252.7 million in assets and $213.6 million in depo...

Bank of America Will Move Origination Jobs to Modification Department

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

In order to deal with the influx of loan modifications that many banks are dealing with, Bank of America Home Loans (BofA) has made the decision to move some of its mortgage loan originators and other staff to the loan modification department. The company plans on moving around 2,500 employees to...

Batting Cleanup at Bank of America

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Charlotte, N.C. BRIAN MOYNIHAN isn’t one to look back. And as the chief executive of Bank of America, he has plenty of reasons not to. His company is staggering under the weight of his predecessors’ decisions, and each day seems to bring more bad news. More than 1.3 million of the bank’s custome...

Top 5 Issues Affecting Commercial Recovery

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Here are the top five issues facing commercial real estate in 2011, according to consultant Deloitte LLP. 1. The market remains uncertain. The recovery isn’t following previous trends. While there is some indication that the worst may be over, some markets continue to decline. 2. Impact of "am...

Risky Borrowers Find Credit Available Again, at a Price

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Credit card offers are surging again after a three-year slowdown, as banks seek to revive a business that brought them huge profits before the financial crisis wrecked the credit scores of so many Americans. The rise is striking because it includes offers to riskier borrowers who were shunned as r...

Priest impersonator sentenced in $2.7M real estate scheme

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

A northern Indiana man who defrauded real estate developers and churches of more than $2.7 million while presenting himself as a priest associated with the University of Notre Dame has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Sixty-two-year-old Byron "Father Barney" Canada of Berrien Springs was sente...

The Nerve to Say No

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

DECIDING what to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage giants that helped set the financial crisis in motion, will be a huge job for Congress next year. The man in the middle of that melee is likely to be Joseph A. Smith Jr., the commissioner of banks for North Carolina s...

Discounts on Distressed Homes Deepen

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Homes in foreclosure sold at a 32 percent discount compared to non-distressed properties in the third quarter, up from 29 percent a year ago, says RealtyTrac. Foreclosure sales fell 31 percent due to expiration of the home buyer tax credits, but RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio says the foreclosure...

National Home Prices Down 5.8%, Major Metros See Double Dip: Report

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

The November home market report from Clear Capital shows that prices nationally fell another 5.8 percent over the previous three months. The company says although the pace of decline has slowed, home prices show no signs of bottoming out yet. Compared to a year ago, Clear Capital’s national home...

Home Prices Falling Fast, Eroding American Wealth And Threatening Recovery

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Plunging home prices hammered household finances in the third quarter, eroding homeowners' wealth and making them more vulnerable to foreclosure. As prices are expected to continue falling, the economic recovery could face a major stall. Millions of homeowners saw their most valuable asset decay be...

Interesting..Article from 2003 Title Insurance Guidelines on how to deal with missing mortgage assig

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

LandAmerica Adopts New Underwriting Position: Assignments of Mortgages Suppose you’ve just sold your investment or income producing property and have a signed contract of sale. Is it too late to do a 1031 Exchange? Certainly not. As long as the relinquished property transaction has not closed, you...

From big breaks for buyers in 2010 to brakes on foreclosures 2010 in review

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

FORECLOSURE MESS How The Mighty Have Fallen It was a hard fall for one of South Florida’s wealthiest law firm heads, who started the year with 1,200 employees and sold his back-office processing company to a publicly traded company for more than $100 million. But David Stern of the Plantation-bas...

Nationwide Title goes on attack against vocal critics

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Nationwide Title Clearing, a Palm Harbor company at the center of the nation's robo-signing controversy, is going on the offensive against its critics. On Wednesday, the company sued a St. Petersburg foreclosure defense lawyer, Matthew Weidner, for alleged libel and slander. And it recently obta...

Number Of Adult Americans Living With Their Parents Has Exploded

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Empty nest parents, be warned: the number of adults aged 25 to 34 who are living with their parents has exploded, according to this rather shocking chart put together by economist Tom Lawler and posted on Calculated Risk. Earlier this year, a study published in the journal Transitions to Adulthood ...

Economic recovery leaving some behind this Christmas

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

A new division is emerging in America between those who have moved on from the recession and those still caught in its grip. This holiday season, those two worlds have been thrown into stark relief: At Tiffany's, executives report that sales of their most expensive merchandise have grown by double...

Housing Inventory Drops in November, Still Above 2009 Numbers

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

A new report from ZipRealty shows the supply of homes for sale in November declined by an average of 3.78 percent in 26 major metropolitan areas that the company researched. The Emeryville, California-based ZipRealty, Inc, measures inventory from month to month and also compiles quarterly results o...

5 Predictions for 2011

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Freddie Mac analysts point to five features that they believe will likely characterize the 2011 housing and mortgage markets: 1. Low mortgage rates. With Fed observers expecting the central bank to keep the federal funds rate at its current target range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent for most (or a...

Working-Family Tax Relief in Tax-Cut Deal Would Keep 2 Million People Above Poverty Line

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

Three major tax benefits for middle- and lower-income working Americans in the tax-cut deal between President Obama and Republican leaders (that go beyond extending the Bush tax cuts) would keep more than 2 million Americans above the poverty line and reduce the severity of poverty for 19 million mo...

In Tax Benefits to the Middle, Political Lift for Obama

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

WASHINGTON — With the Senate poised to hold a key vote on Monday on the tax cut deal between President Obama and Republicans, the political jousting has focused on what the agreement does for the wealthy by extending all of the Bush-era tax rates, and for the unemployed, by continuing jobless aid. ...

Unemployed, Out Of Benefits: 'If Anything Happens, I'm Really Screwed'

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Karen Good said she lost her job at a nonprofit in Florida almost exactly two years ago and just last month finished her 99th week of unemployment benefits. Job search: hopeless. "I'm strong and healthy but nobody wants to hire somebody my age," said Good, who will be 62 in two week...

Losing a Job, Mourning a Lifestyle

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

AS a therapist in private practice and a volunteer at a free mental health clinic in Los Angeles, I have become aware of a new group of severely depressed people: those who have lost their jobs in the entertainment industry. Their skills have become dispensable in this economy, and their sense of...

A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also ...

Wall Street Sees New Profits In Homeowner Distress

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

When Florida retiree Gladys Walker fell behind in paying taxes on her modest Pompano Beach home, she had no idea one of America's biggest banks and a major Wall Street hedge fund engaged in frenzied bidding for the right to collect her debt--all $768.25 of it. "I just couldn't come up with the m...

Anatomy of Mortgage Fraud: MERS's Smoking Gun

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

In two recent pieces I harped on the problems at MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System. ("Support Representative Kaptur's Bill: Time To Shut Down Mers And To Restore The Rule Of Law" and "Shut Down MERS"). Briefly, MERS purportedly offers an alternative to paperwork, maintaining an ele...

Google Maps Foreclosure Listings

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

Prepare yourself to be floored: Google Maps keeps evolving, expanding the ability to drill down into granular detail. The latest updated trick? Mapping foreclosures for sale. Google Maps Foreclosure Listings 1. Punch in any US address into Google Maps. 2. Your options are Earth, Satellit...

Revised Fed Data Raises Doubt on Foreign Appetite for Build America Bonds

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

Amid growing worries about state budget deficits and pension burdens, one bright spot in the municipal bond market has been data showing that foreign investment had climbed to record-setting levels. The surge was widely credited to foreign interest in the taxable bonds that dozens of states have...

MBA Releases Letter to FHA Criticizing Indemnification Proposal

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

The Washington, D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) sent a letter to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on Tuesday, expressing criticism of a proposal that would increase indemnification requirements on lender-issued loans. The proposed regulation would allow FHA to require lend...

Pressure Mounts for Fannie and Freddie to Write Down Mortgages

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

With property values still tumbling, it comes as no surprise that nearly a quarter of the nation’s mortgage borrowers owe more on their loan than the home is worth. Industry studies support the consensus that the farther a borrower sinks into negative equity, the more likely they are to throw in the...

Americans: Housing recovery two years away

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

More than half of Americans think the housing market will remain depressed for at least two more years, and 22 percent think it will be 2015 or later before home prices and sales rebound. “I would love to say we have taken a few steps forward, but the reality is we are stuck in the mud,” said Pe...

Fla. Woman’s 25-Year Mortgage Foreclosure Battle a Cautionary Tale for Lenders

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

During the 25 years that Patsy Campbell has been fighting a mortgage foreclosure case on her Florida home she has outlasted six lenders and seen seven great-grandchildren born. She last made a mortgage payment on her Okeechobee County home in 1985, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). ...

Housing agencies clash over mortgage-relief program

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010

The top federal agencies responsible for setting housing policy are clashing over a new program designed to help borrowers whose homes are worth less than they owe on their mortgages, according to industry and government sources. The Federal Housing Administration says the program could avert fore...

Citigroup 'Too Interwoven' to Fail,

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

Chairman Says Citigroup remains too "interwoven" to fail even after the government has plowed billions into rescuing the banking titan and Congress has passed laws taking aim at financial behemoths, Citi Chairman Richard Parsons told CNBC. "It's not a question of too big to fail," Parsons said ...

$1.3 TRILLION in Home Value Loss? Is Now A time To Buy; Lower Prices v. Higher Rates

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

One of the subjects Larry Kudlow and friends discussed on CNBC today was how rising mortgage loan interest rates, combined with anticipated further declines in home prices and, particularly in light of the recently announced $1.3 trillion home prices are said to have plummeted during 2010 alone, s...

To Test Housing Program, Some Are Denied Aid

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

It has long been the standard practice in medical testing: Give drug treatment to one group while another, the control group, goes without. Now, New York City is applying the same methodology to assess one of its programs to prevent homelessness. Half of the test subjects — people who are behind ...

Americans are actually plunging deeper into debt

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

NEW YORK -- Contrary to the perception that consumers are diligently paying what they owe, Americans are actually plunging deeper into debt, with the risk of soon wiping out this year's progress, according to a new study. In the years leading up to the financial crisis, many Americans spent beyond ...

The Federal Reserve's $3.3 Trillion Insider Loans Follow a History of Corrupt Practices

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

When the severe financial panic struck the United States in 2008, it was absolutely essential that the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve, preserve the nation's payment system. The payment system includes bank accounts, especially those guaranteed by the government such as commercial bank ac...

This year’s drop in home values is $1.7 trillion

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

This year’s drop in home values is $1.7 trillion. 63%, bigger than the $1 trillion 2009 drop. Total lost value since the 2006 peak is $9 trillion. Perhaps worse news is that almost $700 billion in value was lost in the first half of the year but even more, $1 trillion, was lost in the second h...

Homeowners Wrongfully Foreclosed Upon Go Through Legal Wringer

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christopher Marconi was in the shower when he heard a loud banging on his door. By the time he grabbed a towel and hustled to his front step, a U.S. marshal's sedan was peeling out of his driveway. Nailed to Marconi's front door was a foreclosure summons from Wells Fargo, naming him as a defendant. ...

Tax Cut Deal Not Most Effective Way Of Creating Jobs, Say Leading Economists

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

The new tax cut deal in Washington would curb unemployment at a far higher cost than if the government were to create jobs directly, according to an analysis of its potential effects. What's more, predictions about the program's benefit to the economy differ little from predictions made before the ...

Larry Summers: If Tax Deal Goes Down There's A 'Significant Risk' Of A Double Dip Recession

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010

Senior White House officials significantly raised the stakes on congressional Democrats in their efforts to get a deal passed on the Bush tax cuts, warning on Wednesday that inaction would "significantly increase the risk" of a double dip recession. It wasn't quite the metaphorical flare of mushro...

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...

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...

Treasury Reaches Deal To Sell Citigroup Stock At A $12 Billion Profit

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WASHINGTON — The government said late Monday it had reached a deal to sell its remaining holdings of Citigroup common stock and will end up turning a profit of $12 billion on its bailout of the giant bank. The Treasury Department said that a final offering of about 2.4 billion shares of Citigroup I...

Bank of America Promises to Meet Bailout Requirement, But Challenges Remain

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bank of America, mired in scandal and facing potential losses over its alleged mishandling of mortgages, now says it will be able to fully leave its taxpayer bailout behind. Whether the nation will soon escape its own bad experiences with Bank of America -- not least, a spate of allegedly unfair an...

Banks May Face Rating Cuts, Analyst Says

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

One of Wall Street’s most influential securities analysts is telling investors to brace themselves: some of the nation’s biggest banks could be on the cusp of a credit rating downgrade. In a new report, Glenn Schorr, who covers brokerage firms and banks at Nomura, says that while “it’s not a done ...

Trepp Reports a Jump in CMBS Delinquencies as Rate Nears 9% Again

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The recent optimism surrounding delinquencies on commercial real estate loans bundled into investment bonds has been hit with a blast of cold water. The rate of past due loans suddenly jumped in November after seeing a big decline the month before. According to data from the New York-based rese...

2 Major Indicators

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

There are two major, recognized price indices for commercial property. The Moodys/REAL Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) tracks price changes for commercial real estate properties1. The index methodology is based on the analysis of completed sales transactions through repeat-sales regression an...

Bank Risk Managers Say Credit Demand Will Rise Faster Than Supply

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The credit analytics firm FICO has released the results of its fourth-quarter survey of bank risk professionals. Theconsensus is that lending will remain tight well into next year and a greater number of banks will be labeled as “problem” by the FDIC, but fewer bankers believe delinquency rates on r...

All or Nothing = Nothing

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Two plans for reducing the federal deficit are now on the table. One of them, proposed by the chairmen of President Obama’s debt-reduction commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, was endorsed on Friday by 11 of the 18 panel members. The other comes from the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center. T...

Great American Pay Out

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

America is a nation of optimists. Just two years after declaring this the worst financial crisis since the age of Busby Berkeley and speakeasies, it now appears that we are starting to ante up again by releasing our cash. Maybe spending is part of what makes us American--our founding fathers, who ...

Hunger in the US

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

There are at least ten states in which 6% or more of population experiences very low food security. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “In households with very low food security, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrup...

Rekindling Growth and Innovation in America

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

As someone who has spent the vast majority of his career traveling to markets around the world for Coca-Cola, I have seen, first-hand, the correlation between the strength of a nation and the strength of its press. That's no more so true than right here in America. In fact, you could say I owe my ...

Ben Bernanke: Income Inequality Is 'Creating 2 Societies'

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke believes the growing income gap is "creating two societies" in America. The central bank chief weighed in on income inequality during an interview Sunday with "60 Minutes" reporter Scott Pelley: Pelley: The gap between rich and poor in this country has never b...

FDIC Launches Investigation of Officials of Failed Banks

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In a move reminiscent of the last time the United States was in such dire financial straits, the FDIC announced recently that it has begun an investigation of executives and other employees of failed banks. In the 1980s and 1990s, the savings and loan (S&L) crisis prompted the government to invest...

Fed Governor Urges Congress to Set National Foreclosure Standards

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Federal banking regulators have been conducting extensive reviews of foreclosure practices at the nation’s largest mortgage servicers. They say the robo-signing controversy has exposed what they describe as widespread and inexcusable breakdowns in the process, and some are pushing for Congress to e...

End of foreclosure moratorium won't mean flood of closings

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Although Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lifted a moratorium on the seizure and sale of tens of thousands of distressed homes, it doesn't mean that would-be buyers will be rushing to close their long-delayed contracts. More than a week after the government-sponsored mortgage companies said they would ...

Feds highlight successes against investment fraud

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In an effort to bring attention to the problem of investment fraud, federal authorities on Monday highlighted hundreds of cases inwhich defendants accused of financial wrongdoing had been arrested, charged criminally or sentenced to lengthy prison terms. At a news conference headlined by Attorney ...

Pulling Back the Curtain on Fraud Inquiries

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesAttorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said his new task force had brought cases involving more than $8 billion in estimated losses. To hear Eric H. Holder Jr. tell it, the Justice Department is aggressively cracking down on financial fraud. On Monday in Washington, M...

GSE considers reduced principal

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

NEW YORK: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in discussions with U.S. government officials to join government programs aimed at reducing mortgage balances where borrowers owe more than the values of their homes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday citing people familiar with the situation. Th...

Dr. Doom Predicts Another $1 Trillion in Housing Losses

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

As Nouriel Roubini heads to Athens to meet with investors and policymakers potentially about the debt crisis in Europe, the economist says he’s increasingly worried about a problem closer to home: America’s real estate mess. The country’s real estate problems are “underappreciated,” and banks coul...

Appeals court reverses another South Florida foreclosure

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A state appeals court reversed another foreclosure Wednesday, ruling that leaving notice of a lawsuit at a homeowner's front door is not sufficient notification. It's the latest in a string of foreclosure reversals based on flaws in documents or the legal process, as appellate courts closely scr...

B of A Unit to Pay 137 Million in Bond Payoff

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WASHINGTON — Bank of America has agreed to pay $137 million to resolve allegations that it paid for information that helped rig the bidding process and win business from cities and towns in 20 states. Federal and state officials announced the settlements Tuesday with the nation's largest bank. B...

Lender Processing Services, Foreclosure Giant, Faces Growing Legal Trouble

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - Lender Processing Services is riding the waves of foreclosures sweeping the United States, but in late October its CEO, Jeff Carbiener, found himself needing to reassure investors in the $2.8 billion company. Although profits were rolling in, LPS's stock had take...

What Are Servicers Doing With Borrowers Denied a HAMP Modification?

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about some new Treasury data that found that most borrowers whose HAMP modifications were canceled have not yet lost their homes. We decided to dig a little deeper into the data and look at what individual servicers are doing with borrowers they did not approve for a per...

Industry Completes over 1.5M Loan Mods in First 10 Months of 2010

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New data from HOPE NOW shows that the industry completed more than 1.5 million loan modifications for at-risk homeowners from January through October of this year. That translates to an average of 154,000 homeowners per month who have been able to remain in their homes with an affordable loan modif...

Thousands of Fla. mortgage brokers may lose jobs

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Thousands of Florida mortgage brokers will be out of work after Dec. 31. That's the deadline for seeking new loan originator licenses under the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. The state Office of Financial Regulation said Tuesday it had gotten only 10,308 applications as of ...

Print Back to story Mortgage Applications in U.S. Fall as Refinancing Declines

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The number of mortgage applications in the U.S. fell last week as higher lending rates led to a fourth straight decline in refinancing. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index decreased 0.9 percent in the week ended Dec. 3, figures from the Washington- based group showed today. Refinancing fel...

Happy Ending to a Raw, but Common, Tale

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Lilla Roberts is a 73-year-old retired physical therapist, a pleasant, engaging woman who moved to this country from Jamaica 46 years ago. In 1988, she bought a small house in Jamaica, Queens, putting down $25,000, and taking out a mortgage for around $120,000. For many years, she religiously made...

U.S. Senate Hearing Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: "Small Business Access to Capi

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Introduction Chairwomen Landrieu, Ranking Member Snowe, and members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Dan Sight, and I have been a REALTOR® for 25 years. I am Vice President and Broker for Reece Commercial in K...

Research Firm Says Housing Currently Undervalued by 14% to 17%

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Based on the latest S&P Case-Shiller index, Capital Economics has concluded that house prices are now 17 percent undervalued relative to disposable income per capita. Housing has never before looked as undervalued, the firm pointed out in a research note released to DSNews.com. Looking at the data...

Consumers Don't Expect Housing Recovery Until 2013, Experts Agree

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Americans continue to grapple with uncertainty about the housing market, with 58 percent of U.S. adults expecting recovery to be at least another two years away, according to the results of a new survey conducted by Trulia and RealtyTrac, which tracks homebuyers’ attitudes toward foreclosed homes...

Peering into 2011: Five Features of Next Year’s Housing and Mortgage Markets

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

As in the past, key macroeconomic drivers of the economy – such as income growth, unemployment rate, and inflation – will affect the performance of the housing and mortgage markets in 2011. With fiscal policy supporting aggregate demand for goods and services and an accommodative monetary policy pro...

Radar Logic Says Home Prices Not as Stable as Thought

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Recently released information from Radar Logic Incorporated claims home prices experienced a much sharper decline than the decline shown in other companies’ reports. Radar Logic’s September 2010 RPX Monthly Housing Market Report released on Thursday shows the composite price experienced a 2.7 perc...

Mortgage Interest Tax Credt/NAR Letter

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ron Phipps ABR, CRS, GRI, GREEN, e-PRO President Dale A. Stinton CAE, CPA, CMA, RCE Chief Executive Officer GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIVISION Jerry Giovaniello, Senior Vice President Gary Weaver, Vice President Joe Ventrone, Vice President Jamie Gregory, Deputy Chief Lobbyist 500 New Jersey Ave...

The U.S. Cities Hit Hardest By The Recession:

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- An international study says Las Vegas has one of the worst economies in the world, and prospects for a rapid recovery appear dim. The Brookings Institution and London School of Economics study ranked Las Vegas fifth from the bottom in a ranking of 150 metropolitan areas, citing a ...

Creating 21st Century Jobs: Increasing Employment and Wages for American Workers in a Changing World

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The U.S. labor market has not delivered for many Americans since the early 1970s. Over the whole period, the real wage of the median worker is largely unchanged, and the real earnings for non-college educated workers have declined. At the same time, the wages of the highly skilled have increased dra...

Does Outsourcing Create Jobs?

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal declared: "The fact is that for every job outsourced to Bangalore, nearly two jobs are created in Buffalo and other American cities." This article, and others like it, asserts that while outsourcing may send some jobs overseas it simultaneously creates more ...

Obama, economy stuck in a ditch

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The White House had some cause to look forward to Friday’s jobs report: Even the most conservative estimates of November gains were north of 100,000, suggesting the mythical economic “pivot point” towards an accelerated recovery would finally arrive. But economists, who had collectively settle...

Unemployment Benefits Cutoff - Heartless Or Tough Love?

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

This week, Congress allowed federal unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans to expire to as it failed to pass an extension on those benefits for another year. The below was featured as one of a collection of opinions in POLITICO that discuss whether those benefits actually furthe...

A Frightening Look At The Labor Market Recovery

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

After Friday's grim jobs data, which showed that the U.S. added just 39,000 net jobs in November, it's worth noting again just how severely the recession has impacted the job market. This disturbing chart -- repeatedly referred to as "the scariest job chart ever" by Henry Blodget -- from Calcula...

The Problem with Men: A Look at Long-term Employment Trends

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The November employment numbers, released today by the Labor Department, show continued weakness in the labor market. The economy added only 39,000 jobs last month, not nearly enough to absorb new entrants let alone to make headway at reducing the pool of the unemployed. As a result, the unemploymen...

American Voices On Making The Economy Move

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WASHINGTON — It seems Washington is all ears these days. President Barack Obama says he'll take a great idea to fix the economy anywhere he hears it. The Republican leaders in Congress can't say enough how determined they are to "listen to the American people." OK. Here goes. We want less debt,...

Jaime Dimon

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I don't hate Jamie Dimon. He's smart and hard-working, and undoubtedly wants to believe that his work contributes to society. But his bank continues to harm millions of Americans, and his political activism is helping an entire industry pilfer and endanger the economy. Now he's started to publicly ...

Jamie Dimon Profile Misses The Point: Trusting Bankers Is Too Stupid To Try Again

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Poor, sad Jamie Dimon, the frustrated and--by his account--tragically misunderstood chief of megabank J.P. Morgan Chase. It's not enough that he gets to keep the tens of millions of dollars he netted turning an already enormous institution into a sprawling empire of finance that now controls $2 tri...

What Jamie Dimon Won't Tell You

Posted on Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The debate is raging about banks and their size, financial regulation, and the international capital standards known as "Basel". Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, in his New York Times magazine profile, expresses admiration for the Basel committee and says, "… they are asking the questions that, in...

8 Factors for Standing Out in Real Estate

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Reuters News offers these guidelines for anyone who is shopping for a home and a real estate professional to help them clinch the deal. How do you measure up? 1. Ethical. Enough said. 2. Likeable. The practitioner doesn’t have to be the buyer’s best friend, but she has to be someone the buyer ...

One In Seven Creditworthy Americans Can't Pay Bills, Study Shows

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

In the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression -- and a spike in the unemployment rate in November -- one in seven creditworthy Americans weren't able to pay their bills, a new study shows. As job losses and pay cuts took their toll, a staggering number of Americans who had ne...

Hidden Agendas Killed the Deficit Commission

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Deficit Commission") was charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the budget deficits and accumulated debt caused by tax cuts for the rich and military spending increases. It was supposed to come up with a bipartisan package that, tak...

Rekindling Growth and Innovation in America

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

As someone who has spent the vast majority of his career traveling to markets around the world for Coca-Cola, I have seen, first-hand, the correlation between the strength of a nation and the strength of its press. That's no more so true than right here in America. In fact, you could say I owe my ...

Cross Section of Rich Invested With the Fed

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WASHINGTON — One investor, Kenneth H. Dahlberg, is a World War II flying ace who, as a volunteer in President Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign, was a minor figure in the Watergate scandal. Another investor, Magalen O. Bryant, runs a horse farm in Virginia and is active in steeplechase racin...

Foreclosure Crisis Slowing Sales

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The foreclosure mess is making it harder for banks to sell properties. ForeclosureRadar, which tracks foreclosures in five Western states, says the number of properties coming to auction in Arizona, California, and Nevada has declined by more than 30 percent. Investors are backing away from sales...

Mortgage Regulator Defends Two-Track Process

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac top regulator Tuesday defended banks’ simultaneous efforts to rework loans and pursue foreclosures. "At times, simultaneous actions are necessary because of the long time frames of the foreclosure process and because borrowers are not always responsive to foreclosure ...

Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser reverses orders against Ice firm

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Palm Beach Circuit Judge has overruled fellow Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser and vacated orders accusing foreclosure defense firm Ice legal of filing "fraudulent" motions. Judge John Hoy reversed Sasser's orders directing the Royal Palm Beach firm to withdraw motions in three foreclosure cases becaus...

Buyers Show Growing Interest in Tiny Houses

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The tightly built, tiny home is one small segment — no pun intended — of real estate sales that is doing relatively well. For instance, the Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., which designs and builds homes that are less than 500 square feet, has gone from selling 10 blueprints to 50 blueprints a year. Th...

Why the Rich Cheat: A Primer on Upper Class Criminality

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A persistent puzzle about financial crimes is that they often involve fabulously rich executives or traders who risk everything to do even better. The rest of us can only wonder: Just what, exactly, are these people thinking? That question came up often during the insider trading scandals of the...

Strong Rebound in Pending Home Sales

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pending home sales jumped in October, showing a positive uptrend since bottoming in June, NAR says. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, rose 10.4 percent to 89.3 based on contracts signed in October from 80.9 in September. The index remains 20.5 percent below a surge to a ...

New-Home Sales Slide

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sales of new homes took another dip in October, sliding 8.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 283,000, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported last week. New-home sales are down 28.5 percent compared to October 2009. The pace was inconsistent across the country with sales in the So...

Unemployment Climbs, No Relief In Sight

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

NEW YORK -- The American unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November and the economy added a paltry 39,000 net jobs, the government reported this morning, dealing a substantial blow to hopes that better fortunes are taking shape. Many economists had been expecting to see the number of jobs ...

Employers Won't Hire The Jobless Because Of The 'Desperate Vibe'

Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Isang Inokon, a headhunter for Amherst Healthcare recruiting firm, posted a Craigslist job ad on November 18 for clinical pharmacists -- but only the kind who already have jobs. "Do yourself and favor and start looking now," he wrote in the ad. "When you lose your job, you will interv...

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...

Fed aid in financial crisis went beyond U.S. banks to industry, foreign firms

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The financial crisis stretched even farther across the economy than many had realized, as new disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to motorcycle makers, telecom firms and foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009. The Fed's e...

Too Big to Succeed

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

THE world has experienced a severe financial crisis and economic recession. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve took actions that saved businesses and jobs and may very well have saved the economy itself from ruin. Still, the public seems ungrateful, expressing anger at these institutions that save...

November S. Fla. bankruptcies climb

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

South Florida continued to see upward movement in the number of bankruptcy cases filed in November compared to the same period last year. However, those filings fell, month-over-month, especially in Miami-Dade County, where the rate of personal bankruptcies dropped 25 percent in November compared t...

Bank Of America Stock Takes Hit After WikiLeaks Rumors, Then Rebounds

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

UPDATE: Bank of America's stock rebounded in early trading Wednesday, rising .50 percent. ORIGINAL POST: Bank of America's stock took a hit on Tuesday, as rumors circulated that WikiLeaks could release a trove of the bank's secret -- and potentially "unethical" -- documents next year. As WikiLea...

SEC showed leniency to bailed-out Bank of America, watchdog report says

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The Securities and Exchange Commission showed leniency toward Bank of America in penalizing the firm for securities law violations last year because the financially weakened bank was on taxpayer-backed life support, according to a new watchdog report. The agency agreed to a settlement that was "fa...

BofA Drags Balance Sheet Confidence Backward

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The more we learn about the mortgage industry’s documentation snafus, the more troubling hints we get that the financial statements of some of our biggest banks may be less reliable than anyone imagined. Here’s the latest: Thanks to a Nov. 16 court ruling in Camden, New Jersey, we now know that a B...

Commission's final deficit report preserves controversial spending cuts

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The leaders of President Obama's fiscal commission released a final report Wednesday that is full of political dynamite, recommending sharp cuts in military spending, a higher retirement age and reforms that could cost the average taxpayer an extra $1,700 a year. But as commission co-chairmen Ersk...

Amid Economic Deluge, America's Future Struggles to Stay Afloat

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The recession may have officially ended but its lasting impact on American families is fueling an underlying and largely ignored crisis that threatens to flood our social service systems for years to come. According to the latest annual American Community Survey recently released by U.S. Census ...

Volcker Says U.S. Economic and Political Influence Globally Is Waning

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

There were disturbingly blunt and devastatingly negative thoughts about the current economic and political condition of the U.S. spoken by Paul Volcker, chairman of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, last night at a Common Cause dinner in New York. He singled out the danger facing ...

Freddie Mac Suspends Evictions From December 20 to January 3, 2011

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today announced it has ordered all evictions involving foreclosed occupied single family and 2-4 unit properties that had Freddie Mac mortgages to be suspended from December 20, 2010 to January 3, 2011. "If the property is occupied, our foreclosure attorneys wi...

Appeals court reverses another South Florida foreclosure

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

A state appeals court reversed another foreclosure Wednesday, ruling that leaving notice of a lawsuit at a homeowner's front door is not sufficient notification. It's the latest in a string of foreclosure reversals based on flaws in documents or the legal process, as appellate courts closely scrut...

BofA's 'sloppy' prime mortgages add to pressure for buybacks

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

Bank of America Corp., battling demands for almost $13 billion of refunds from mortgage investors, reported that the fastest-growing group of claims involves loans to people with the best credit scores. Claims for refunds on prime mortgages surged 150 percent to $3.6 billion in the first nine mont...

Attorney defends taking on mortgages as contingency fee

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

Foreclosure defense attorney Peter Ticktin has told the Florida Bar that he has not done anything wrong by signing agreements that give him the right to take on mortgages on his client’s houses if he wins their foreclosure cases. The Bar launched an investigation of Ticktin after the New York Times...

Wall Street Banks In Talks To Settle SEC Lawsuit Over CDOs

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

As the government hunts for conflicts of interest at Wall Street banks that peddled investments which contributed to the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, those banks are reportedly near settlement. The SEC is looking at banks such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanl...

Banks' legal right to foreclose is questioned in testimony before House panel

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The system of pooling and selling mortgages around the world has caused widespread confusion about who owns the loans and raises questions about whether banks in some cases have the legal standing to foreclose, a state judge and consumer attorneys testified before Congress on Thursday. New York ...

How The Municipal Bond Bust Could Do Big Damage

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

NEW YORK — It's the other U.S. debt problem. States are scrambling to close $114 billion in budget shortfalls over the next year and a half. For now, they can borrow at curiously low rates in the bond market – but they better hurry. Lenders are still throwing money at the federal government desp...

Calls to Homeownership HOPE Hotline Down 14 Percent

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) released on Tuesday reports of a 14.2 percent decrease in calls to its Homeowners’ HOPE Hotline. The hotline (1-888-995-HOPE) provides free, comprehensive homeownership education and foreclosure prevention counseling. In October the hotline receiv...

S. Fla. foreclosure sales up, U.S. down

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

Despite the national moratorium that brought foreclosures to a halt in October, the speed at which lenders were filing and courts were processing foreclosures in Florida was not enough to cut into the sales of foreclosed residences in the tri-county area. And, along with that increase in sales has ...

Crandall as Most Accurate Forecaster Says This Too Shall Pass

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

In 1980, the U.S. economy was in the middle of a severe downturn, and jobs weren’t easy to find. So Lou Crandall, after earning a bachelor’s degree with a focus on economics from Cornell University, scattered resumes far and wide. One went to an employment agency looking for bilingual workers. Cra...

Crandall as Most Accurate Forecaster Says This Too Shall Pass

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

In 1980, the U.S. economy was in the middle of a severe downturn, and jobs weren’t easy to find. So Lou Crandall, after earning a bachelor’s degree with a focus on economics from Cornell University, scattered resumes far and wide. One went to an employment agency looking for bilingual workers. Cra...

Crandall as Most Accurate Forecaster Says This Too Shall Pass

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

In 1980, the U.S. economy was in the middle of a severe downturn, and jobs weren’t easy to find. So Lou Crandall, after earning a bachelor’s degree with a focus on economics from Cornell University, scattered resumes far and wide. One went to an employment agency looking for bilingual workers. Cra...

Pending Home Sales Rose 10.4% in October

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in October, the third gain since contract signings hit a decade low. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 10.4 percent in October. Contr...

Distressed Homes 25% of Third-Quarter Sales: RealtyTrac

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

New data released by RealtyTrac Thursday shows that distressed homes – including those in default, scheduled for foreclosure auction, and REO – accounted for 25 percent of all U.S. residential sales in the third quarter. These properties sold at an average of 32 percent below the price of their no...

Fed's Beige Book Points to Housing as Recovery Stumbling Block

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The Federal Reserve released its latest rendition of the popular Beige Book Wednesday. Economic conditions across the country were described as “continuing to improve, on balance.” On the housing front, though, contacts in the field said markets remain “depressed” and have weakened further since the...

House Passes Tax Cuts For Middle Class 234-188

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has passed a bill to extend middle-class tax cuts while letting those for the wealthy expire, even as talks continue on extending the cuts for everyone. The bill is a political maneuver to satisfy Democratic supporters who oppose extending tax cuts for the wealthy. Ev...

Panel Unveils Proposal Suggesting Limits on Mortgage Tax Deductions

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

In early November, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released a draft of a proposal that suggested significantly reducing mortgage interest tax deductions. The final proposal was released Wednesday amid much controversy. The details of the draft have been ci...

The 10 States That Could Be The Hardest Hit By A Lapse In Unemployment Benefits

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

By 24/7 Wall Street: More than 2 million people receiving unemployment will lose coverage in December if Congress does not extend their benefits. In a report published in November, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) concluded that certain federal unemployment benefits "will still be a...

Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The longer people stay out of work, the more trouble they have finding new work. That is a fact of life that much of Europe, with its underclass of permanently idle workers, knows all too well. But it is a lesson that the United States seems to be just learning. This country has some of the high...

Bernanke: Long-Term Unemployment Has Severe 'Social Consequences'

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned on Tuesday that a long period of high unemployment could exact a steep social cost, as he and other Fed officials defended the central bank against criticism of its easy money policy. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said the Fed's cont...

Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

The longer people stay out of work, the more trouble they have finding new work. That is a fact of life that much of Europe, with its underclass of permanently idle workers, knows all too well. But it is a lesson that the United States seems to be just learning. This country has some of the high...

Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

That is a fact of life that much of Europe, with its underclass of permanently idle workers, knows all too well. But it is a lesson that the United States seems to be just learning. This country has some of the highest levels of long-term unemployment — out of work longer than six months — it...

S. Fla. loses 9,800 construction jobs in 12 months

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

South Florida lost nearly 10,000 construction jobs in the last year, according to an analysis of federal employment data by Associated General Contractors of America. The picture was a bit brighter in other parts of the country, where construction employment either increased or remained the same be...

Bailouts Are For Banks: Unemployed People Get Zilch

Posted on Friday, December 03, 2010

In Washington, the agenda has long since moved on from bailing out megabanks to figuring out how to stop paying for things that regular people need -- luxuries like health care, retirement benefits and unemployment insurance. In the suburbs of Denver, Anthony Roebuck and his family find themselves ...

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac tell Senate they're not to blame for foreclosure crisis

Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010

One of the country's top banking regulators testified Wednesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were partly responsible for the national breakdown in foreclosure practices because they created an unwieldy bureaucracy of loan servicers and lawyers, resulting in flawed practices and shoddy legal docum...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Obama Administration Will Spend Just $12 Billion Of The $50 Billion Promised To Help Homeowners Avoi

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Obama administration will spend less than a quarter of the $50 billion it promised to help homeowners facing foreclosure, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday. The CBO projection raises fresh questions about the success of the administration's foreclosure-preven...

Regulators tell SouthBank ‘cease and desist’

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Federal regulators hit Palm Beach Gardens-based SouthBank, its parent company and its sister institution with cease and desist orders. Issued on Nov. 19 and made public on Wednesday by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), the orders require the Florida bank and its larger Huntsville, Ala.-based ...

FDIC's List of "Problem" Banks Grows to 860

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The FDIC said Tuesday that it added 31 banks to its so-called “Problem List,” bringing the total number of institutions under the agency’s watchful eye to 860. The total assets of banks on the FDIC’s watch list declined, however, from $403 billion to $379 billion. The number of “problem” institut...

How Banks Bought Their Own Mortgage Securities During The Housing Boom

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

If you're in the market for a detailed, if byzantine, explanation of how banks ended up repackaging and buying their own own securities during the housing boom, we've got you covered. This infographic, courtesy of MortgageRates lays out some of the details unearthed in a sweeping ProPublica inv...

Banking recovery skips Florida in Q3

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The recovery enjoyed by most banks around the county in the third quarter, by and large, skipped Florida. Much like Florida’s unemployment and foreclosure rates, which have been stubbornly slow to improve, many local banks have been unable to shake out of the recession. It appears that their strugg...

F.D.I.C. Says Many Small Lenders Are Still at Risk

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Even as the nation’s biggest banks have rapidly recovered, hundreds of small lenders remain at risk, according to the government’s latest report card on the financial industry. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said on Tuesday that its list of “problem banks” — those with the highest risk ...

Trying to Put a Price on Bank Errors

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

KUDOS to the Congressional Oversight Panel for publishing a thoughtful and thorough report last week on the mortgage documentation mess. It argued that, yes, in fact, these paperwork problems may have significant implications for banks, investors and the stability of the financial system. Since mo...

Basel III Rules Will Leave Top U.S. Banks With A $100 Billion Shortfall

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

LONDON: The new Basel III banking rules will leave the biggest U.S. banks short of between $100 billion and $150 billion in equity capital, with 90 per cent of the shortfall concentrated in the top six banks, the Financial Times said, citing research from Barclays Capital. The newspaper said th...

Countrywide's Mortgage Document Errors May Doom Bank of America

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Testimony in a New Jersey foreclosure case decided last week may spell big trouble for Bank of America (BAC). If what one bank employee said on the stand proves to be accurate, paperwork problems it acquired when it purchased the failing mortgage provider Countrywide in 2008 could leave BofA on the ...

Banks, Congress to Face Off on Foreclosures

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Banks will appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday to explain sloppy mortgage paperwork, but observers aren’t expecting much Congressional harmony on the topic. Senators are likely to press lenders on the question of whether “robosigners” are evidence that modifying loans is bet...

Wells Fargo to Pay Citi $100M in Wachovia Settlement

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wells Fargo says it has agreed to pay Citigroup $100 million to settle claims related to a dispute over Wells’ 2008 acquisition of Wachovia Corp. Wells Fargo and Citi found themselves in a bitter tug-of-war over the troubled North Carolina lender when regulators stepped in to engineer a take-over o...

NAR Says HomeOwnership Matters

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

By Danielle Hale, Research Economist • In the past 12 years, the net worth of the typical home owner has ranged between 31 and 46 times that of the net worth of the typical renter. • Home owner equity is a substantial component of home owner wealth. The Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Fin...

7 Trends That Will Drive the Future of Housing

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hanley-Wood's ProSalesOnline.com identifies seven trends that the magazine’s editors believe will have the biggest impact on housing in 2011. 1. Big builders are wringing the extras out of construction costs and dropping the national average cost-to-build 36 percent to $52 per square foot. 2. ...

3 Reasons to Sell a Home Soon

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What do you tell a client who asks whether to sell a house now or wait? Steve McLinden, real estate adviser with Bankrate.com, offers these three good reasons not to wait, even though the holidays are approaching: 1. The market is improving. Most markets have either turned or are close to turning...

Fannie Mae Says Consumers Uncertain Housing Market Has Bottomed

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Americans are less certain that the housing market has found its floor, and continue to be wary of buying a home. Those are the findings of Fannie Mae’s most recent nationwide housing survey, which polled homeowners and renters between July and September. Findings were compared to similar surveys c...

Credit Score Requirements Stifling Borrowers

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Despite record-low interest rates, an increasing number of Americans can’t afford to buy a house. The nation’s two largest mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp., have raised the minimum required credit score on FHA-insured loans to 640 from 620. Requiring a 640 cr...

Deficit Commission Member Rep. Jan Schakowsky Offers a Better Plan

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), one of the 18 members of the Deficit Commission, has offered her own plan in response to the Commission's proposals, which she has rejected. Rep. Schakowsky's major concern is that the Commission's recommendations to raise the age of enrollment in Social Security and cu...

Washington Post Budget Hocus Pocus

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Possibly the most amazing aspect of the Commission on Fiscal Responsibity's drive to reduce the federal "deficit" are proposals by its chairs and others to cut benefits payable by Social Security, although the program pays its own way and has generated robust annual surpluses, now totaling $2.4 tril...

NAR on Deficit Reduction and Mortgage Interest Deduction

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

On Nov. 10, 2010 the chairmen of the bipartisan deficit-reduction commission, appointed by President Obama, introduced a preliminary draft proposal that included a suggestion to pare back the mortgage interest deduction. It is important to note that this initial report is thin on details and is expe...

Did the Rich Cause the Deficit?

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Washington is inundated with deficit commissions. The country has piled up a huge debt because we cut taxes for the wealthy and borrowed to make up the difference. But everyone says we can't fix the problem by raising taxes on the rich in a recession because taxes "take money out of the economy....

Debt-Panel Chairmen Work to Gain Support

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The chairmen of the White House's debt-reduction commission are making last-minute changes to their provocative early draft in an effort to broaden support before a crucial Wednesday vote, people familiar with the matter said. The co-chairmen, Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan...

David Cay Johnston: Ridiculous Corporate Subsidies Creating Middle Class 'Wealth Destruction'

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston says it's no accident that the middle class has been shrinking. In fact, in a recent conversation with Aaron Task and Daniel Gross on Yahoo's Tech Ticker, Johnston argues that the middle class is a direct result of a maze of subsidies and sweeth...

One family's plunge from the middle class into poverty

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Chrissanda Walker's bourbon-glazed chicken is just out of the oven. The bread pudding is finished. The collard greens worry her, though; she doesn't want to overcook them. Walker looks at the clock. It's 10 a.m. She's been on her feet since 6. Walker used to make $100,000 a y...

Hellish home refinancing nears bleak conclusion

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

All she wanted was $50,000 from the equity in her house to help pay the bills while looking for a job in nursing. What Imogene Hall got was a brutal lesson in the sometimes shady ways of the mortgage industry. It's a lesson learned by untold numbers of homeowners in Florida, epicenter of the forecl...

Raising Retirement Age Hurts The Poor, GAO Says

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WASHINGTON — Raising the retirement age for Social Security would disproportionately hurt low-income workers and minorities, and increase disability claims by older people unable to work, government auditors told Congress. The projected spike in disability claims could harm Social Security's fi...

Stack of Bills, and No Paycheck or Savings

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

For Carol Ann Fuoco, 58, things are not the way they used to be. Ms. Fuoco has lived in the same apartment in Maspeth, Queens, since she was 10. Once, the kitchen in her co-op apartment had brick-patterned wallpaper with ivy poking through the cracks. That was followed by wallpaper with a pattern ...

Family’s Fall From Affluence Is Swift and Hard

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WAMEGO, Kan. — Grateful to have found work in this tough economy, Nick Martin teaches grape growing and winemaking each Saturday to a class of seven students in a simple metal building here at a satellite campus of Highland Community College. Then he drives 14 miles in an 11-year-old Ford Explorer...

5 Myths about hunger in America

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

No one goes hungry in America. 1 Hunger is supposed to happen in other places - in distant countries where droughts or storms or famine compel us to donate money and oblige our government to send relief workers and food aid. In reality, hunger also hits much closer to home. According to a new rep...

Florida bankers and the FDIC probe

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

As The Wall Street Journal breaks the news that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is conducting 50 criminal investigations into former executives at failed banks, it’s only natural to wonder whether former banking executives in Florida will wind up in handcuffs. Florida suffered 41 bank failure...

Paperwork Problems Steer Buyers from Distressed Properties: Report

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The ongoing controversy surrounding deficiencies in foreclosure documentation is taking its toll on the housing market as a significant share of home shoppers refused to even look at distressed properties in October, according to an industry study conducted by Campbell Surveys. In addition, both th...

Sheriff Who Refused To Evict Foreclosed Homeowners Forced To Resume

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CHICAGO — An Illinois sheriff who halted foreclosure evictions last month because some bank employees weren't following the proper procedures said Friday he's been forced to order his deputies to carry them out, but he will continue investigating the matter and could charge banks and their employe...

Dormant foreclosure cases starting to trickle back into courts

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Some large law firms that handle the state's foreclosures are regrouping and re-filing court documents that were pulled earlier this fall, claiming that flaws have been fixed and hoping to move home repossessions forward. But foreclosure defense attorneys are crying foul. They say judges shouldn'...

Big Banks Fixing Foreclosure Processes

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that they were making changes in their foreclosure processes after reviews found areas that needed improvement. Barbara DeSoer, president of Bank of America's home loan business, said the company has set up a n...

Florida chief justice says foreclosure hearings must be open

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Reacting to reports of barriers to attending foreclosures hearings, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady issued a memorandum Wednesday directing all judicial circuit chief judges to ensure public access. The American Civil Liberties Union, news media groups and other parties complai...

Servicers with Widespread Paperwork Errors May Face Regulatory Fines

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Four federal banking regulators – the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), the FDIC, and the Federal Reserve – are in the process of conducting an in-depth review of foreclosure practices at the nation’s largest mortgage servicing operations, which...

Where fewer foreclosures are now bad for business

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Across the nation, troubled homeowners have cheered the news that some banks are slowing the foreclosure process to review questionable documents. Then there are places like Lee County, Fla., where not everyone is applauding. Foreclosures became so common here that they spawned a cottage industry. ...

ForeclosureRadar Sees Impact of Suspensions in West Coast States

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The headline foreclosure news for the past couple of months has been the suspension of foreclosures by a handful of lenders after robo-signers and procedural deficiencies were uncovered in their servicing shops. The foreclosure tracking firm ForeclosureRadar says while the announcements initially f...

Accelerated Foreclosure Activity Keeps Delinquency Growth in Check

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Servicers have picked up the pace as they work through a backlog of home loans that have languished in late-stage delinquency status for months, and in some cases well over a year. Liquidation activity has accelerated, and as a result, Lender Processing Services (LPS) says lenders’ foreclosure i...

Distressed Sales, Federal Programs Drive 20% Jump in Mortgage Fraud

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mortgage fraud has increased by more than 20 percent since fraud rates reached their lowest point in early 2009, according to CoreLogic. The company says higher risk, high-volume loan programs, including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the government’s Home Affordabl...

Florida tops nation in mortgage fraud

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Florida may not lead the nation in job growth, high school graduation rate or even college football, but it is tops for one measure: mortgage fraud. MortgageDaily.com gave Florida the highest third quarter score on its Mortgage Fraud Index, which tracks criminal and civil cases across the country. ...

Ireland Bailout: European Union Agrees To $89 Billion Loan

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

BRUSSELS — European Union nations agreed to give euro67.5 billion ($89.4 billion) in bailout loans to Ireland on Sunday to help it weather the cost of its massive banking crisis, and sketched out new rules for future emergencies in an effort to restore faith in the euro currency. The rescue deal, a...

Debt crisis escalates in Europe; fears grow about Spain

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

LONDON -- The debt crisis in Europe escalated sharply Friday as investors dumped Spanish and Portuguese bonds in panicked selling, substantially heightening the prospect that one or both countries may need to join troubled Ireland and Greece in soliciting international bailouts. The draining confi...

How Germany got it right on the economy

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

BERLIN It may be turkey week in America, but it's goose month in Germany. In many restaurants, you can get goose in your salad and goose in your soup to go with your goose entrée. Diners fairly honk their way through November. But then, Germans have something to honk about. Germany's economy is...

The Spanish Prisoner

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The best thing about the Irish right now is that there are so few of them. By itself, Ireland can’t do all that much damage to Europe’s prospects. The same can be said of Greece and of Portugal, which is widely regarded as the next potential domino. But then there’s Spain. The others are tapas; Sp...

An Original Plan 'B for the Eurozone

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

So Ireland is the latest recipient of EU bailout money. It is now clear to everyone that the Eurozone is very much a two-tier affair. On the one hand are countries like Germany and France, who remain relatively resilient by European standards. On the other, there are those such as Portugal, Ireland,...

Europe’s Crisis of Liquidity

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Instead of long-term insolvency, running out of cash is what causes financial crises like the one slowly unfolding in Europe. Yet much of the effort by policy makers around the globe has been to shore up solvency, not stabilize sources of financing. Unless that changes, the world will lurch from cri...

Roubini Maps Out Nightmare Scenario of Domino Debt Collapse in Europe

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"We have too much private debt in the case of Ireland," according to Nouriel Roubini. But the nub of the crisis is this: "We have decided to socialize the private losses of the banking system. Now you have a huge increase in public debt—going from 7 percent to 100 percent of GDP. Soon it will be 12...

The Fannie Mae Accounting Scam Promoted by the Chairman of the S.E.C.: A Case Study

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

There are myriad accounting tricks to deceive the public, but Christopher Cox chose one of the simplest. The Chairman of the S.E.C. moved billions of dollars from one side of the ledger to the other side, but didn't mention how he had shifted the numbers. He then filed a lawsuit charging Fannie ...

Condo Rules

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

GSE and FHA Condo Rules (As of 11/2/2010) Issue Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHA Owner-Occupancy Requirements for Established Projects. FNMA No limit if the buyer will occupy the unit (as principal or secondary residence). If the buyer is an investor, the owner-occupancy requirement is 5...

Robo-Signer Problems May Be A Problme For EVERYONES TITLE

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The term ‘robo-signer’ has come to mean those individuals who signed their names to tens of thousands of flawed documents at a million miles an hour with complete disregard for the truth and accuracy of contents of those documents. This word may well wind up being the official Miriam Webster Dictio...

County Register of Deeds Picks Fight with MERS

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

About a week ago, John O'Brien, Register of Deeds in Essex County Massachusetts, sent a letter to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley asking that she look into whether MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.) failed to pay legally required recording fees in Massachusetts when ...

Foreclosure Firms Blamed For 'Inexcusable Breakdowns' By Obama Administration

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WASHINGTON (By Martin Crutsinger, AP) - An Obama administration official says a preliminary investigation into the foreclosure process has found inexcusable breakdowns in the basic controls mortgage lenders should have been using. Assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr said Tuesday that a for...

Greenberg in middle of suit over bad property deal

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Wall Street real estate firm and Greenberg Traurig are on the defensive in a lawsuit sparked by a $41.5 million land deal gone wrong. A 587-page lawsuit filed Monday by a Hollywood real estate company against the nation's eighth-largest law firm and its client, GFI Acquisitions, signals the table...

Greenberg in middle of suit of bad property deal

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Wall Street real estate firm and Greenberg Traurig are on the defensive in a lawsuit sparked by a $41.5 million land deal gone wrong. A 587-page lawsuit filed Monday by a Hollywood real estate company against the nation's eighth-largest law firm and its client, GFI Acquisitions, signals the table...

U.S. Preparing Sweeping Insider-Trading Charges: Report

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

NEW YORK: U.S. officials are preparing insider trading charges against a host of financial players, including investment bankers and hedge fund managers, The Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. The charges could surpass any previous investigations on Wall Street, a...

Judge won't dismiss suit against Trump, developers

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Donald Trump and the developers of Fort Lauderdale's Trump International Hotel have failed in their latest attempt to dodge a lawsuit by buyers seeking to recover more than $6 million in pre-construction deposits. Broward Circuit Judge Peter Weinstein on Friday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit ...

Does the Defense of Foreclosures by Lawyers Border on the Unethical?

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I am torn between my sympathy for those who are about to lose their homes through foreclosure and the injury I see to the rule of rule and the economy itself in the way foreclosure proceedings are being challenged and processed. People are angry with the banks and for good reason, but it is importan...

Justice Watch: BankAtlantic verdict to buoy suits against big banks

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

As part of their Contract with America, Republicans in Congress tried to shut the door on shareholder class actions against publicly traded companies in 1995. Many lawmakers at the time felt shareholders needed to learn to take losses when fickle markets dipped and not blame hard-working executive...

Wells Fargo To Pay Citi $100M To Settle Wachovia Lawsuit

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

NEW YORK — Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to pay $100 million to Citigroup Inc. to settle a dispute related to its acquisition of Wachovia Corp. in October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. Wachovia was teetering on the brink of collapse from bad real estate loans when it initially agre...

Judges blocking foreclosures when mortgage notes not in hand

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

State and federal judges in New Jersey are putting mortgage foreclosures under greater scrutiny, not letting them go forward without timely possession of the note in a pair of recent decisions. On Nov. 16, a bankruptcy judge in Camden disallowed a proof of claim on a mortgage because the part...

More Cities Look To Nonprofits For Cash

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

BOSTON — Financially strapped U.S. cities are increasingly turning to private universities, hospitals and other tax-exempt nonprofits for cash, but a new report finds methods of collecting payments in lieu of property taxes from these institutions often lack consistency and transparency. The report...

Wells Fargo Clarifies Short Sale Criteria for Foreclosure Postponement

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issued a notice this week explaining Wells Fargo’s new rules surrounding short sale transactions when a foreclosure is pending. Earlier this month, Wells Fargo advised NAR that it has modified its existing guidelines to allow the postponement of a sched...

Farm Loan Crisis of 1980s Demonstrates How "Stripdowns" Worked without Working

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The longer this foreclosure crisis drags on, the clearer it is that voluntary loan modification programs are inadequate to meet the needs of millions of borrowers with homes worth less than the mortgages. A recent commentary published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland shows how an old tool co...

HAMP's Progress Remains Sluggish, Officials See Other Gains in Housing

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fewer than 500,000 homeowners have received loan modifications through the federal government’s headline foreclosure prevention program and are current on their new mortgage payments since the initiative was launched in March 2009. Critics of the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Prog...

J.D. Power and Associates Survey Shows Borrower Satisfaction Declining

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A study released Thursday by J.D. Power and Associates shows that the time from submission of a mortgage application to approval time has increased by more than a week from the time for approval last year. In 2009 the average time for approval was 20 days. This year the average is 27.5 days. I...

Prominent foreclosure defense attorney faces losing his own home

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Peter Ticktin, the South Florida attorney who has received national attention as a foreclosure defense expert, has something in common with his clients: He is fighting the bank to keep his house. Deutsche Bank National began foreclosure proceedings on Ticktin's Boca Raton home in 2007 after the l...

Food stamp fraud sweep nets 62

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

More than 60 welfare recipients in Palm Beach County have been rounded up in what authorities dubbed Operation Easy Money. The arrests follow an 18-month investigation in which public assistance recipients are alleged to have obtained cash from government-issued electronic benefit transfer cards,...

Condo associations get creative in punishing delinquencies

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fed up with the increasing number of slow-paying homeowners, condominium and homeowners associations across South Florida have become aggressive — critics say too aggressive — in their attempts to collect late fees. Boards have unveiled a variety of strategies to pressure owners to pay up. Tactics ...

After a Landlord Dispute, Finding a New Home

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Last June, Zaida Paris-Mendez was at the beauty salon when a neighbor called to tell her that people were moving things out of her apartment. She knew immediately that the landlord was trying to evict her, her husband and their two children from their $700-a-month rent-controlled apartment in Wi...

When Finding an Apartment Is Only Half the Battle

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In New York City real estate, there are few titles more thankless than guarantor. But they are needed by many. People who do not make enough to afford their paycheck-devouring rents must find a wealthy relative, a benevolent family friend or perhaps a kidnapped and hypnotized multimillionaire to s...

Foreclosure Hearings Show Homeowners Who in Washington Cares

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I know that even as I write this, no amount of proof or testimony from experts will stop seemingly sanctimonious, self-righteous ignoramuses from making comments about deadbeat homeowners who caused the entire economic meltdown because they simply didn't want to pay their bills. I recently wrote a ...

The Economics and Politics of Elizabeth Warren

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Congressional Republicans are apparently intent on a big showdown with Elizabeth Warren, who is currently building up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This is very good news for the White House, if they use this opportunity wisely. Some Republicans seem to think that Ms. Warren...

National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Welcome to National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week. Today (Monday), Congress takes up a measure delaying by one month a scheduled 23 percent cut in federal reimbursements to doctors. The cut will automatically go into effect unless Congress acts. But of course Congress will act. Doctors threaten to drop Med...

New home sales fall in October

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

October wasn’t a good month for home builders. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that new home sales fell 8.1 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 283,000 units. In addition, the median home price fell to$194,900, the lowest level in seven years. At this sales pace, t...

CoreLogic: Shadow Inventory Jumps More Than 10% in One Year

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The industry’s ominous shadow inventory of REOs that have yet to hit the market and soon-to-be-REOs increased by more than 10 percent between August 2009 and August 2010, according to new figures released by CoreLogic Monday. CoreLogic defines shadow inventory as the number of properties that are ...

October New Home Sales, Prices Plunge

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WASHINGTON — New home sales tumbled in October while the median home price dropped to the lowest point in seven years. Sales of new single-family homes declined 8.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 283,000 units in October, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the fou...

NAR Reports Existing Home Sales Declined 2.2% in October

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In September, when existing home sales rose 10 percent, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a statement announcing the numbers meant a sales recovery had begun. One short month later, and after only two months of gains, sales have slumped 2.2 percent to a 4.43 million annual rate,...

FHFA Index Shows 1.6% Drop in Third-Quarter Home Prices

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Home prices in the United States continued to fall in the third quarter, with declines widespread in most parts of the country, according to data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Wednesday. FHFA’s purchase-only house price index (HPI) is calculated using sales data from mortg...

CoreLogic Home Price Index Shows Decline for Second Straight Month

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Home prices in the United States have declined for two months in a row, according to CoreLogic’s market index, after rising for the first seven months of the year. The latest CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) shows that national home prices, including distressed sales, declined 2.79 percent in Sept...

Obama: Not Extending Middle Class Tax Cuts Could Hurt Growth

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

KOKOMO, Indiana: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the United States must extend tax cuts for the middle class but could not afford to do so for the wealthy, laying out his position before next week's meeting on the issue with Republicans. Obama, who also told hard-hit Americans the U.S. econo...

Outsourcing And Age Discrimination Are Biggest Concerns Among Jobless, Says Monster.com Rep

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, November 8, Monster.com and the White House collaborated on a Facebook project that allowed unemployed people to communicate their biggest questions and concerns to the Obama administration. Over 200 questions were posted to the Monster Keep America Working Facebook page, ...

When Unemployment Hits, and Lingers

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Joblessness in New York is not a recent phenomenon. Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the city has been shedding jobs. But as recently as two years ago, the city’s jobless rate was 5.8 percent; it is now 9.3 percent, down from 10.6 percent in January. And unemployment affects New Yorkers dispro...

Unemployment Problem Will Not Clear Up in Time to Make President Obama Look Good

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Even though corporate profits are soaring, the economy isn't growing fast enough to lower the unemployment rate, which is still stuck at an unsightly 9.6 percent. In fact, the Federal Reserve projected yesterday that a stubbornly high unemployment rate is going to stick around long after overstaying...

Big Drop Seen In Number Of Startups Formed

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

As confidence in the economic recovery remains low, entrepreneurs are taking a hit. There were 100,000 fewer businesses with at least one employee created this year than last year, putting the pace at the second lowest in the last 18 years, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing Labor Department d...

Economists' Grail: A Post-Crash Model

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Physicist Doyne Farmer thinks we should analyze the economy the way we do epidemics and traffic. Psychoanalyst David Tuckett believes the key to markets' gyrations can be found in the works of Sigmund Freud. Economist Roman Frydman thinks we can never forecast the economy with any accuracy. Disp...

Criminal Probe Of Wall Street Currently Underway, Holder Confirms

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed that the U.S. attorney's office in the southern district of New York is conducting a criminal investigation of Wall Street. At a news conference, Holder declined to say whether the investigation involves hedge funds and allegations of inside...

The Market Is Rigged Against You

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Every day millions of shares of stocks and mutual funds are traded on the national exchanges. The system is premised on an equal playing field. Buyers and sellers are supposed to have access to the same information in order to make decisions about whether to buy or sell. Many have long suspected th...

Wall Street Shrinks From Credit Default Swaps Before Rules Hit

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Trading in credit-default swaps, Wall Street’s fastest-growing business before the credit crisis, has tumbled 40 to 60 percent from three years ago as banks prepare for new regulation of derivatives. The declines estimated by executives at four of the biggest dealers of swaps means lower profits...

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