February 2011

Plam Beach County, More on Mediation

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

PALM BEACH COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE MEDIATION PROGRAM SUITE 304 EAST 1601 BELVEDERE ROAD WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33406 (877) 822-4084 www.palmbeachbar.org PATIENCE A. BURNS, CAE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MEREDITH TRIM DIRECTOR OF MEDIATION REPLY TO: MICHAEL J. NAPOLEO...

Plam Beach County, Florida Info for Homeowners

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is foreclosure? Foreclosure is a legal process by which the mortgage holder causes the judicial sale of the secured real estate to pay a defaulted loan. The mortgage on real estate acts as collateral for the repayment of the loan so when this loan is in default, the mortgage holder exercises i...

Palm Beach County, Florida

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

TIMELINE for Mediation Program Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Palm Beach County Suit is filed: - Form “A” must be completed and filed with the Complaint in all residential mortgage foreclosures - The “Notice to Borrower” is served on the De...

You Gotta Show Up

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

About 40 percent of Palm Beach County homeowners eligible for foreclosure mediation are unreachable, unresponsive, or choose not to participate in the new program. Run by the Palm Beach County Bar Association and free to homeowners, the arbitration program began in July with the intent to help av...

Plam Beach Success...Not

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

Florida homeowners have had scant success in the state's required foreclosure mediation program with just 6 percent leaving the negotiating table with a resolution. The first statewide measure of the program, which the Florida Supreme Court made mandatory one year ago, was released Wednesday with...

Florida Overview

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

How does Florida foreclosure mediation work? Florida passed a law requiring banks to allow homeowners the chance to meet with them to try to resolve their delinquent mortgages without having to go through the already overcrowded courts. Homeowners meet with their lender and a third party, the media...

Begins in Palm Beach

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beginning Monday, Palm Beach County homeowners facing foreclosure will be guaranteed a chance to negotiate a different ending with their lenders as the courts try to reduce a foreclosure overload. All foreclosures filed on or after Monday are subject to a new state Supreme Court order requiring m...

Nationwide Look

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

A detailed report on foreclosure mediation programs nationwide from the Center for American Progress (CAP) states that the number of jurisdictions with foreclosure mediation programs has increased from 11 to 21 in a year. Pending legislation in additional states will boost the number further....

How to Have a Successful Mediation

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

On July 12, 2010, the 15th Circuit in and for Palm Beach County implemented a managed mediation program for all homesteaded residential foreclosures filed after July 12th. The following are some helpful tips to ensure you have access to the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (RMFM) a...

Simple Tips For Buying Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011

Here are some bulltes points from a segment I recently did for WPTV in West Palm Beach , Florida: Background: Opportunity in all prices ranges, property types and areas. Three Foreclosure Strategies • Distressed or Default- buy from owner. • Foreclosure Sale – buy on ‘courthouse steps’ ...

A RESPONSE: America is missing its 2011 window of opportunity

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

Ocean Bank to pay millions for federal violations

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Miami-based Ocean Bank would pay between $10 million and $15 million in the next month under a pending agreement with the U.S. government for Bank Secrecy Act violations, an online financial newsletter reported late Tuesday citing sources familiar with the matter. Moneylaundering.com, which als...

Banks Turn To Public Borrowers

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Banks are setting aside billions of dollars to do something that until now was rarely heard of: making big loans to cities, states, schools and other public borrowers that otherwise might have turned to the bond market. When Riverside, Calif., was ironing out a bond offering recently to expand it...

Home Depot to hire 60,000 workers as consumer confidence climbs

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

February brings new evidence, that for the first time since the economy tanked there is reason to believe a turnaround is happening. A recent Siena College poll shows plans to buy cars, furniture, and homes are all about at the highest level in more than three years. And people who already own t...

Discover® U.S. Spending MonitorSM Consumer Confidence Jumps 5.6 Points in January to Three-Year High

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Economic Confidence among Middle-Income Consumers Drives Record Increase in Monitor’s Index, but Consumer Spending Intentions Remain Flat RIVERWOODS, Ill.-Consumers’ confidence sharply rebounded in January, fueled by a surge in the number of middle-income consumers who see improvement in the U.S...

Consumer spending now driving construction recovery

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

While the January confidence reading is the highest in thirty four months, it still remains in the recession range. The index averages 100 plus when economic growth has been better than average for more than a year and the unemployment rate has been below average for more than a year. The consumer ...

Remodeling Set to Surge as Consumers Feel Better about Spending Again

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

(MCT)—With the economy starting to recover, consumers feel better about spending again—and that spare cash is going back into their homes. Home remodeling is on an upswing after the industry’s worst slump since at least the early 1960s. Scores of foreclosed properties need a ton of TLC, prompting b...

Consumer Confidence Rises in January

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Anticipation of improved conditions in business and the job market caused consumer confidence to inch up in January. Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, reports that “consumers have begun the year in better spirits. As a result, the Index is now near levels no...

After Credit Card Reform, What You See is MUCH Closer to What You Get

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

New credit card rules in the Credit CARD Act of 2009 are making credit card pricing significantly clearer, a new CRL research report finds. This means lower costs for consumers, by spurring competition and making it harder for issuers to manipulate or arbitrarily raise prices. The report, “Credit ...

Why Credit Card Rates Are Higher In 2011

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

NEW YORK — Credit card interest rates are climbing. It's just not clear exactly why. A study released Tuesday suggests that today's higher rates are mainly a reflection of the struggling economy. That's contrary to the credit card industry's refrain that tighter regulations have forced banks to p...

A RESPONSE: America is bankrupt

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

THE US has a fiscal gap—the present value of all its future spending (including servicing its official debt) less all its future taxes of $202 trillion—almost 14 times GDP. Greece, by comparison, has a fiscal gap of about 11 times GDP. To close the US fiscal gap would require raising all federal ...

A RESPONSE: There is no fundamental deficit crisis

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

HOW close is America to fiscal crisis, The London Economist asks: "The Congressional Budget Office projects that America's 2011 deficit will be $15 trillion, or 9.8% of GDP, and debt held by the public in the 2011 fiscal year will approach 70% of GDP...". John Makin laments that "a a fiscal crisis—...

The question is: How close is America to fiscal crisis?

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Congressional Budget Office projects that America's 2011 deficit will be $1.5 trillion, or 9.8% of GDP, and debt held by the public in the 2011 fiscal year will approach 70% of GDP. How close is America to facing a bond market crisis? Should drastic cuts to the budget be made now? Over what hori...

A RESPONSE: Deficit reduction should include tax reform

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

THE US fiscal position has deteriorated significantly over the past few years. Fiscal policymakers have so far opted to postpone fiscal consolidation with a view to getting the economy back on a firmer footing. But the US is walking a fine line. The costs of delaying consolidation in terms of risks...

GOP Budget Plan Would Cut CFPB Funding Nearly In Half

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

A RESPONSE: It isn't enough to trust government promises

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

BRAD DELONG clearly has faith in official projections to a much greater degree than I do. Perhaps I have a jaundiced UK perspective and don't fully understand what happens in the US. By way of example, however, I offer exhibit A, which shows medium term projections for the UK's fiscal position made ...

Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Are Changing Business for States and Cities

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

News media have been contemplating implications of the oldest Baby Boomers turning 65 this year. This is a symbolic passage but nevertheless thought worthy. Around 10,000 will reach the milestone daily for the next nineteen years. Never has the nation dealt with population aging of this magnitude. ...

Where Are You Startup America?

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

During the State of the Union address, I was lying on the living room floor listening to the president talk about the entrepreneurial spirit and the future of the United States of America. I got chills down my spine thinking about how important that statement is to our future. Our future is now. ...

KB Home to lure buyers with energy bill savings

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homebuilders say one of the biggest advantages of buying a newly built home is energy efficiency. However, some of the ways that builders make homes burn less cash might not be as recognizable to buyers as say, kitchen appliances, generous closets and bathroom amenities. So now some builders are b...

Homebuilders have grim view of housing market

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homebuilders are not seeing a turnaround in the housing market after the worst year for new-home sales in a half-century. The National Association of Home Builders says its index of builder sentiment for February remained unchanged for the fourth straight month at 16. Any reading below 50 indicat...

Fed Official Calls For Major Foreclosure Reforms

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON -- A top federal regulator told bankers on Friday that a major investigation into Wall Street's foreclosure system has revealed a "broken" process that takes advantage of homeowners, further intensifying the debate over regulatory remedies to potential foreclosure fraud. Mortgage compa...

Facing Foreclosure Without Missing A Payment: One Couple's Housing Nightmare

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

For the past 30 days, Kendra and Todd Parker have been trying to figure out what to tell their four children, fearing that they, like millions of other Americans facing foreclosure, could be tossed out of their home. But unlike the vast majority of homeowners in their predicament, Kendra Parker ...

West Coast Foreclosure Sales Climb to Pre-Robo-Signing Levels

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Foreclosure auction sales in states along the West Coast have bounced back to levels not seen since robo-signing moratoriums went into effect last fall, the California-based tracking firm ForeclosureRadar reported Tuesday. The company’s coverage area includes the states of Arizona, California, Neva...

JPMorgan Accused Of Fraud by Allstate

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

JPMorgan Chase is being sued by Allstate insurance company for fraud, in the latest example of a big bank being accused of knowingly selling a poor-quality product. In a lawsuit dated Wednesday, the insurance company accuses the bank of knowing that the bundles of loans it was selling were very l...

SEC Files Fraud Lawsuit Against Former IndyMac Executives

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged three former executives at IndyMac Bancorp with securities fraud for misleading investors about the lender’s failing financial condition. The executives, former CEO Michael Perry, and former CFOs A. Scott Keys and S. Blair Abernathy, alleged...

Bernie Madoff: Banks "Had To Know" Of Fraud

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

More than two years have passed since Bernard Madoff was arrested for a massive Ponzi scheme which spanned 16 years and consumed roughly $20 billion in lost cash and nearly $65 billion in paper wealth, and the search for who was complicit is still heating up. Now, in his first interview for publ...

Food Prices Push 44 Million Into Poverty: World Bank

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Rising global food prices has pushed an estimated 44 million more people into extreme poverty in developing countries over the past eight months, the World Bank said Tuesday. The poverty-fighting institution said its food price index increased by 15 per cent between October, 2010, and...

RESPONSE: A "stealthy default" may punish foreign creditors

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

IT'S abundantly clear that America's fiscal arithmetic simply does not add up. The implication is a continued increase in its government debt-to-GDP ratio over the medium term. But will this lead to crisis? And, if so, what kind of crisis? One option is to "do a Japan" which, despite all its diffic...

After Fannie and Freddie Go, What's Next for the Housing Finance System?

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Great Recession has functioned like a large wrecking ball. One object of destruction has been the housing market. Price declines, loan defaults, and an unprecedented level of foreclosures have created a mess and left the housing finance system in shambles. This past Friday, the Obama Administr...

Fannie, Freddie Legal Fees Defended By Regulator

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON — The federal regulator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stood by his approval of millions of taxpayer dollars for legal fees defending the housing giants and their executives after accounting scandals, telling angry House committee members on Tuesday that his agency was obligated ...

FHA Raises Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is wasting no time putting at least one of the Obama administration’s housing finance reforms into place. The agency announced this week that it is implementing a new premium structure for FHA-insured mortgage loans. FHA is increasing its annual mortgage i...

New Premiums

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

"As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the FHA capital reserves," and to help > push private money back into mortgages, the FHA came out with a new premium structure > for FHA-insured mortgage loans increasing its annual mortgage insurance premium > (MIP) by a quarter of a percentage point (....

FHFA Defends Paying $162M Legal Bill for Former GSE Execs

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

In late January it was revealed that taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives in court, with $132 million of that money going to defend Fannie Mae executives. This week at a congressional analysis hearing, members of several government agen...

Bye-Bye Fannie, Freddie? What It Could Mean

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Obama administration announced on Friday plans to reform the housing finance market, including winding down government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turning most of the market over to the private sector, as well as requiring larger down payments. The White House pro...

Ex-Freddie Mac C.F.O. May Face Civil Charges

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

A former chief financial officer of Freddie Mac has been notified by securities regulators that they may soon file civil charges against him, stemming from his tenure at the mortgage finance company, according to a public filing. Anthony Piszel, known as Buddy, who was Freddie Mac’s chief financial...

An End to Fannie and Freddie?

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

When Congress considers the Obama administration’s proposals to phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it needs to keep several goals clearly in mind. It must keep the jittery housing market going and reduce taxpayer risk while enticing private companies back into the mortgage business. And it must k...

Legal Fees at Fannie Are Called Avoidable

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON — When the government took over Fannie Mae, it could have voided the contracts that have since left taxpayers liable for more than $100 million in legal bills defending the mortgage company and its former executives, according to statements at a Congressional hearing on Tuesday. The leg...

Obama GSE Report Favors Public-Private Hybrid

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Obama administration puts the emphasis on privatization with a federal backstop as it outlines alternatives for replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. NAR wants to be sure affordable 30-year, fixed-rate and other safe mortgages remain available. It also expresses concern over a part of the repo...

Will Rising Rates Jeopardize Housing Recovery?

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 30-year conforming mortgage, a popular choice among borrowers, has been on the rise the last few weeks and inched above 5 percent last week for the first time in a year. Experts predict it will go even higher in the coming weeks too. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage most recently stands at ...

30-Year Rates Return to 5% Levels

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched above 5 percent this week, rising to its highest level since the last week in April 2010, and continuing its steady climb upward the last few weeks. The 30-year rate averaged 5.05 percent this week, up from 4.81 percent the week prior, according to Freddi...

New York Courts Vow Legal Aid in Housing

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

New York court officials outlined procedures Tuesday aimed at assuring that all homeowners facing foreclosure were represented by a lawyer, a shift that could give tens of thousands of families a better chance at saving their homes. Criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, but New York will ...

State and Local Finances: Where We’re Going

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Try a little party game in which you ask your friends and neighbors where their tax dollars come from and where they go. Most will probably know their federal tax bite. They may also be able to tick off major federal spending programs like Social Security, Medicare, and national defense. It is likel...

Banks Push Home Buyers to Put Down More Cash

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The down payments demanded by banks to buy homes have ballooned since the housing bust, forcing many people to rethink what they can afford and potentially shrinking the pool of eligible buyers. WSJ's Mitra Kalita reports banks are requiring prospective new home buyers to come up more cash for dow...

Banks Push Home Buyers To Put Down More Cash

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The down payments demanded by banks to buy homes have ballooned since the housing bust, forcing many people to rethink what they can afford and potentially shrinking the pool of eligible buyers. Last week, the Obama administration called for gradually raising down payments to a minimum of 10% on...

New York's U.S. Bankruptcy Court Rules MERS's Business Model Is Illegal

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert Grossman has ruled that MERS's business practices are unlawful. He explicitly acknowledged that this ruling sets a precedent that has far-reaching implications for half of the mortgages in this country. MERS is dead. The banks are in big trouble. And all forec...

Metropolitan Area Existing-Home Prices and State Existing-Home Sales

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Quarterly Reports NAR releases statistics on state-by-state existing-home sales and metropolitan area median home prices each quarter. The state existing-home sales report includes single-family houses, condos and co-ops. The price report reflects sales prices of existing single-family homes by...

American Dream of Home Ownership Still Strong

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three out of four home owners — or 78 percent — say their homes are the best investment they ever made, according to Trulia.com’s biannual American Dream survey, which has tracked attitudes toward home ownership since 2009. Despite foreclosures and underwater homes continuing to batter the real...

6 Real Estate Markets Poised for Recovery

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

While home prices continue to fall in many markets across the country, CNNMoney.com has compiled a list of cities that are expected to defy that trend. Here are six metro areas expected to record some of the largest price gains in real estate by 2012: 1. Tacoma, Wash. Median home price: ...

Promoting Economic Recovery and Job Creation: The Road Forward

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

On January 26, Donald Kohn testified before the House Committee on Financial Services on promoting economic recovery and job creation, offering monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy recommendations for the U.S. economy as it slowly recovers from a period of high unemployment. Mr. Chairman and Mem...

Employment Won't Recover To Pre-Crisis Level, SF Fed Says

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The national employment situation has slowly been improving, but fundamental shifts in the economy may prevent a full recovery, a new Federal Reserve report concludes. The "normal" unemployment rate, or the baseline level to which the economy is progressing, will be worse than it was before the rec...

The Next Bubble Won't Be Tech Stocks Or Real Estate

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

The prime example of a bubble that really hurt was the parabolic ascent of the NASDAQ Composite Index from a rational level of 2200 in early 1999 to the ridiculously irrational 5000 15 months later. That was vertical mania by investors out of their mind. By the end of 2002 the value of these mostly...

A RESPONSE: No crisis is imminent, but fiscal reform is necessary

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

THE US does not face an imminent fiscal crisis. The US government will not default on its debts, and it’s even unlikely that the Fed will be forced to monetise federal debts. However our fiscal regime is becoming increasingly dysfunctional, thus radical reform would be quite helpful. I’ll sketch o...

A RESPONSE: The ingredients are in place for a crisis

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

IT'S a good thing the cacophony surrounding Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the Congressional budget committee last week passed largely unheard in the financial community. Congresswoman Schwartz, in a litany of “what-ifs”, asked Mr Bernanke if he thought it was morally correct for Congress to require Am...

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

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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

Obama and Housing -- Is Anybody Home?

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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

Bankrupt Reasoning: The Facts of State Bankruptcy

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On February 9, the House Committee on Oversight and Government heard testimony about whether states, like corporations and some municipalities, should be allowed to declare bankruptcy. A proposal from University of Pennsylvania Professor David Skeel has been making the rounds and gained traction r...

Home Improvement Sector

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Check out the clip on CNBC today! This months numbers reflect the highest confidence since November 2009. Biggest gains are seen in middle income resopndants earning $40 to $75K. The lion's share say they have extra money now after paying their bills and will save it. But 17% say they'll spend...

Obama's Small Business Plan To Come Up Short, White House Concedes

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW YORK -- After spending much of last year relentlessly touting the benefits of a proposed $30 billion fund that would jumpstart bank lending to small businesses, the Obama administration forecasts the initiative will fall far short, spending just a little over half of the intended allotment, acco...

Budget Proposal

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Budget Reax Lori Montgomery summarizes: "President Obama submitted a budget blueprint for fiscal 2012 on Monday full of surgical cuts and cautious trade-offs to lawmakers clamoring for bold action to reduce government spending and control a budget deficit expected to rise to a record $1.6 trillio...

Obama Proposing Record Budget Deficits; Is America Doomed to Follow Greece?

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As the United States national debt reaches parity with total annual GDP, President Barack Obama continues to preside over a record level of deficit spending by the federal government. He has just sent to Congress a proposed $3.73 trillion budget for FY 2012, while forecasting a record $1.65 trillion...

Investing in Homebuilders

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Investors looking to invest in the homebuilder group will usually go with the SPDR S&P Homebuilder ETF (XHB). Interestingly, as shown below, XHB has significantly outperformed the S&P 1500 Homebuilder index over the last six months. The XHB ETF is up 16.73%, while the S&P 1500 Homebuilder index is...

Top homebuilder CEO: Worst is over for U.S. housing

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The worst is over for the U.S. housing market and a rebound will gain momentum in 2012, according to Douglas Yearley, chief executive officer of Toll Brothers Inc. "The recovery is here to stay," Yearley, whose company is the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, said in an interview yesterday at ...

Homebuilders undermined by cost of construction boom's flaws

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seattle city planner Alan Justad is reviewing a project that will bring back the cranes, dust and noise absent since the real estate bust. This one will subtract from the skyline rather than add to it. The owners of McGuire Apartments opted to tear the 10-year- old tower down after discovering c...

Conflict in state law at center of foreclosure case appeal

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sandra Castillo-Rivera is fighting the foreclosure on her Doral townhouse, but first she's got to figure out who has the right to take her on. Castillo-Rivera obtained a $220,000 mortgage loan in 2006 from WMC Mortgage, but Deutsche Bank, is foreclosing on her home on behalf of investors in a pool ...

How to Avoid Home Loan Modification Scams

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So, here's the good news: The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), created in early 2009 from the TARP funds by the Obama Administration, uses federal funds to reduce borrowers' monthly mortgage payments to about a third of the borrower's (pretax) monthly income. The program's website says t...

Former IndyMac Execs Charged With Fraud By SEC

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators filed civil fraud charges Friday against three former executives of the parent of IndyMac Bank, accusing them of misleading investors about the mortgage lender's finances before it collapsed in July 2008. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the charges...

How We're Doing Compared to the Rest of the World

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In the past month, President Obama has pressed the autocratic president of our most important Arab ally to heed the demands of his people and step down, established a workman-like relationship with China's president, and delivered a State of the Union address that sought to "win the future." Taken t...

The Boom, the Bubble, and the Bust Abroad

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The housing crisis this country has experienced over the past four years has been the worst since the Great Depression. That comes as no surprise to most Americans; as home prices fell, the country saw a vigorous debate about the crisis, and about the laws and regulations that have emerged to help p...

George Washington University Study Says FHA Carrying Too Much Risk

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A study by George Washington University suggests the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is carrying too much risk in insuring such a large percentage of large loans. The study says in 2007 the FHA share of the home purchase market was at 6 percent. In 2009 that number came in at more than 56 perc...

Housing Finance ... Seven Years Down the Road

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On top of the more imminent reform measures laid out Friday to shore up the nation’s housing finance system and begin the process of winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Obama administration’s proposal outlines three options for long-term reform and structuring the government’s future role i...

Toward A Three-Tiered Market For U.S. Home Mortgages

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1. Home ownership has both positive and negative externalities, so we need to be careful in designing governmental subsidies for home ownership. Unfortunately, most of the current US subsidies for home ownership are not very effective, and some of these subsidies increase the d...

Administration Lays Out Plan for Winding Down Fannie and Freddie

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Treasury Department released the Obama administration’s plan Friday for reforming the nation’s housing finance system and winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Officials say the reform measures will shrink the government’s footprint in the mortgage market, fix “fundamental flaws” in the sys...

Fannie, Freddie Could Cost $169 Billion to 2012

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taxpayer aid to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will reach $224 billion by the end of 2012, of which $55 billion will be returned in dividends to the U.S. Treasury, according to President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget. By 2013, the government-owned mortgage companies will be profitable enough to “pay pa...

Restructuring the U.S. Residential Mortgage Market

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

There is wide bipartisan agreement that government housing policies, past and present, need to be re-evaluated given their role in the financial crisis. While the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was not included in financial reform legislation last year, the Obama administration and congression...

Ziebach County, South Dakota: America's Poorest County

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ZIEBACH COUNTY, S.D. — In the barren grasslands of Ziebach County, there's almost nothing harder to find in winter than a job. This is America's poorest county, where more than 60 percent of people live at or below the poverty line. At a time when the weak economy is squeezing communities across th...

ARMs helped sink the economy - now they're back!

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW YORK - Adjustable rate mortgages are back! After accounting for nearly 70% of all mortgages issued during the boom, ARMs vanished during the bust, totaling just 3% of the market in 2009. Now they make up 5% of all mortgages issued, and Freddie Mac predicts 10% by December. Behind the comeba...

States Aim Ax at Health Cost of Retirement

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Governors and mayors facing large deficits have set their sights on a relatively new target — the soaring expense of health benefits for millions of retired state and local workers. As they contend with growing budget deficits and higher pension costs, some mayors are complaining that their ou...

Why Aren't You Saving Money?

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ed Nacional For a short time, Americans seemed to be born-again savers. In the second quarter of 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, households put away 7 percent of disposable income, compared with under 2 percent in the third quarter of 2007. Yet the savings rate is falling again, down t...

Clothing Prices To Rise 10 Percent Starting In Spring

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NEW YORK — Shoppers looking to update their wardrobes may find their money won't stretch as far. As the world economy recovers and demand for goods rises, a surge in raw material and labor costs is squeezing retailers and manufacturers who have run out of ways to pare expenses. Clothing prices had...

NEW HOME STARTS AND PERMITS

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

check out the clip on CNBC today! Today’s Release: Covers January 2011 Real news is in multi-family Permits: 562K. Down 10.4% MOM (from December 2010 @627K). Down 10.7% YOY (from January 2010 @ 629K). SF 421K Down 4.8% MOM (from December 2010 @ 442K). MF January 2011 @ 125K. Expected after la...

Economists see rough year for housing starts

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ORLANDO, FLA. (Feb. 15, 11:50 a.m. ET) — The forecast for housing starts for 2011 is sobering, no matter what economist you ask, or in what context you place those forecasts. So it’s likely to be a rough year ahead for many companies that supply the building and construction industry, particularly ...

Worst Housing Markets For 2011: Clear Capital Markets

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Property prices could fall back to crash levels in some cities. Despite signs of recovery, house prices are expected to fall by as much as 13 percent in some areas, thanks to a combination of high unemployment, and the large number of bank-owned homes, which often sell at much lower prices. Clear ...

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION IN JANUARY 2011

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2011 AT 8:30 A.M. EST CB11-29 Erica Filipek or Stephen Cooper Manufacturing and Construction Division (301) 763-5160 NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION IN JANUARY 2011 The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly ann...

Home Sales Increased in Q4, Expected to Continue Throughout 2011

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Thursday the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that home sales increased in 49 states during the fourth quarter of 2010, with 78 markets experiencing price gains from the fourth quarter of 2009. Despite sale price declines in 71 metropolitan areas, the national average of home sal...

Boards Propose New Accounting Model for 'Expected' Loan Losses

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Two entities charged with setting accounting standards for financial instruments have released a proposal that would require lenders to account for anticipated losses on loans earlier, in what is being described as a fundamental shift from current practices. The International Accounting Standards ...

Warren Buffett: 'Too Big To Fail' Will Never Be Resolved

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

No matter what the government does, taxpayer bailouts of the financial sector will sometimes be necessary, according to the nation's second richest man. As markets crashed in the fall of 2008, government officials feared that if certain financial institutions failed, the entire financial system -- ...

Resolving the Mortgage Mess

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

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

Bernanke’s 2009 Interview Withheld by Crisis Panel

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

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

The Truth About the Financial Crisis, Part II

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Jennifer S. Taub [1] is a Lecturer and Coordinator of the Business Law Program at the Isenberg School of Management [1], University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research interests include corporate governance, financial regulation, investor protection, mutual fund governance, shareholders rights a...

New York Fed Economists Say Bush-Era Bankruptcy Law Fueled Over 200,000 Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Economists at the New York Federal Reserve have concluded that a controversial 2005 law backed by banks and credit card companies pushed more than 200,000 people into foreclosure and exacerbated the subprime mortgage crisis. Consumer advocates fought hard against the law, which made ...

Big banks hustle to open branches in South Florida

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Big banks are not holding back when it comes to acquiring or leasing branch locations in South Florida. Several major banks, including TD Bank, PNC Bank, Chase and BankUnited, have made expanding in the region their mission for 2011. They are willing to pay premium to lease or buy prime locations, ...

The Big Banks' Battle Against Consumers and Homeowners

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

There is a battle going on -- a big one -- and big battles have a lot of fronts. The big banks are doing whatever they can to fight back against consumers and homeowners who are desperately trying to curb the bankers' abuses. The number of different fronts that have been opened up keeps growing. Her...

Foreclosure Sale -- Buyer Beware!

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Buyers of property at foreclosure are looking for a bargain, but that risk now must include the possibility that the title will be defective. One unsuspecting family purchased a home at foreclosure, intending to sell it to their daughter, only to have a title company question whether they acquired...

Industry Reports Point to Renewal in Commercial Real Estate Financing

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Mortgage bankers originated $110 billion of commercial and multifamily mortgages during 2010 – an increase of 36 percent from 2009, according to preliminary estimates released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Monday. The bulk of that increase came in the fourth quarter of last year. Life insur...

Consumer Credit Card Debt Increased For First Time Since 2008

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

In December, consumer credit card debt increased for the first time since 2008, according to the Federal Reserve, another strong indication that the American economy is in full recovery mode. The Federal Reserve's latest snapshot of consumer credit statistics also showed Americans accumulating more...

Small Businesses Still Having Trouble Getting Loans

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

In a sign that the economic recovery still faces challenges, small businesses continue to report difficulty getting loans. More than 10 percent of small business owners said credit was harder to get in January than it was three months ago, according to a new survey from the National Federation of I...

TransUnion Reports Credit Risk and Demand Down

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Data released Wednesday by TransUnion says U.S. consumers are less of a credit risk than they have been in nearly two years. The Chicago-based company’s proprietary Credit Risk Index (CRI) decreased by 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, from 126.79 to 125.61. On a year-over-year basis the...

The Saver's Credit: Are You Eligible?

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

If you could reduce your taxes in three ways with one simple tactic, would you pass it up? Believe it or not, that's exactly what many hard-working Americans are unknowingly doing. Only 12% of Americans who reported an annual household income of less than $50,000 and may therefore be eligible for t...

Fed's Lockhart: U.S. Can't Grow Out Of Debt Problems

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus plan can play a role in bringing down unemployment, even if the country's jobless rate is unlikely to fall below pre-crisis levels, a top Fed official said. The Fed in November announced a controversial plan to purchase an additional $600 billion in bonds to ...

Millennials Optimistic About Housing Market (INFOGRAPHIC)

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Despite signs of continued housing market distress, most homeowners and perspective buyers are optimistic about the housing market, according to a survey by real estate website Trulia. (Scroll down for a graphic.) In the biannual American Dream Survey, 78 percent of homeowners said their property w...

Boomers Are Driving A New Entrepreneurship Boom

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Contrary to what most of you might guess, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity over the last few years is not Gen-Y young upstarts, but Baby Boomers in the 55-64 year age group. In fact, according to a study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, these Boomers are actually driving a new en...

Homeownership: American Dream or American Nightmare?

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The real estate listing and search site Trulia.com released the results of its biannual American Dream survey this week. The survey has tracked American attitudes toward homeownership since 2009. Although foreclosures and underwater homes continue to plague today’s housing market, the survey found...

Can America Afford Democracy?

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

While most of us would agree that, almost by definition, democracy as a form of government is very expensive over the long run, I think we are all shocked at how it has so rapidly become unaffordable in recent years. Our cherished system of a government for, by and of the people that has helped to c...

EXCLUSIVE: White House to Cut Energy Assistance for the Poor

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Budget proposal would cut billions from aid program. The White House is targeting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget will cut several billion dollars from the government’s energy assistance fund for poor people, officials briefed on the subject ...

January foreclosures lowest level in three years

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Fewer U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process in January than in any month in more than three years, the latest sign lenders are taking longer to move against homeowners who have fallen behind on mortgage payments. The number of homes that received an initial default notice fell 1 percent la...

Foreclosure filings drop as officials raise questions over process

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The uproar over faulty paperwork in mortgages is putting the brakes on the nation's foreclosure system. The number of foreclosure filings nationwide fell to about 260,000 last month, 17 percent lower than in January 2010. In areas where judges, law enforcement and other officials have taken aggr...

January Foreclosure Activity Inches Up From Dec - RealtyTrac

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The number of properties in the U.S. that received foreclosure filings grew 1% in January from December, but was down 17% from a year earlier, according to market researcher RealtyTrac. RealtyTrac said 261,333 properties got a filing in January, meaning one in every 497 housing units received a fo...

Stiglitz Expects 2 Million U.S. Foreclosures This Year

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said another 2 million foreclosures are expected in the U.S. this year, adding to the 7 million that have occurred since the economic crisis of 2008. “U.S. foreclosures are continuing apace,” Stiglitz told a conference near Port Louis, the capital of M...

Foreclosure Activity Increases 1 Percent in January

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

IRVINE, Calif. – RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for January 2011, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 261,333 U.S...

Foreclosure Activity Down 17% from a Year Ago: RealtyTrac

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

RealtyTrac has released its January foreclosure market report. The tracking company’s analysis shows that foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions – were reported on 261,333 U.S. properties in January. That equates to one in every 497 housing units ...

Scheduled home foreclosure auctions fall to new low in New York City

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Newly scheduled residential foreclosure auctions in New York City hit another low in January, continuing the downward trajectory that began in the aftermath of the so-called "robo-signing" controversy late last year. According to new data from PropertyShark.com, which tracks the number of fore...

Victims Who Deserve Their Fate

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The securities laws of the United States “substitute a philosophy of disclosure for the philosophy of caveat emptor,” Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote in a Supreme Court decision nearly half a century ago. These days “caveat emptor” — let the buyer beware — is staging a comeback. The trustee in the B...

The Next Economic Crisis

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Mumbai, India -- Like stock indexes around the world, India's Sensex plunged with the news of the unrest in Egypt, largely over fear about oil prices. But unlike other exchanges, the Sensex has not bounded back. It fell for four straight days, rebounded for one, and then on Friday fell by 2.9 perc...

Imagining Life Without Fannie and Freddie

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

KUDOS to Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for some straight talk about the nation’s broken mortgage system. A report to Congress from those departments, published on Friday, provided some long-awaited analysis by the Obama administration about what went wrong in housi...

GARRETT CALLS TO ORDER FIRST HEARING TO EXAMINE GSE REFORM -

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, delivered the following opening statement today at a hearing to examine GSE reform and the steps that can be taken to end the bailout and protect taxpayers: ...

Hearing On GSE Reform Sets Stage For More Political Posturing

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON (MNI) - In a preview of the kind of political back-and-forth that can be expected as the reform of the highly politicized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac begins, former House Financial Services Committee Chairman, now ranking member, Barney Frank took aim the house majority during a hearing We...

Zandi: Here’s How To Revamp Fannie, Freddie

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, is out with a paper that tries to quantify the impact of various overhaul proposals for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the housing market. In it, he outlines his own plan, which calls for five to 10 privately owned but federally c...

Garrett Discusses Ways to Prevent Taxpayer Exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

In a speech at the American Securitization Forum’s (ASF) conference in Orlando, FL, Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, delivered the following remarks on ways to prevent taxpayer exposure ...

Obama Admin. Sued to Obtain Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Records | The Moral Liberal

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in its lawsuit against the Obama Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) seeking records rel...

Arithmetic and the Fannie/Freddie Fix

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Arithmetic is a skill that is in short supply among economists in policymaking positions. The Obama administration is about to come out with its plans for replacing Fannie and Freddie. The word in the media is that the administration will propose a range of options, with one option maintaining a Fan...

TACKLING FANNIE AND FREDDIE REFORM

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Congressman Garrett discusses his goals for privatizing the mortgage market on CNBC's "The Kudlow Report." Housing finance reform continues to be a top priority of mine this Congress. To date, the government’s intervention to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has cost the American taxpayers $150...

Arithmetic and the Fannie/Freddie Fix

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Arithmetic is a skill that is in short supply among economists in policymaking positions. The Obama administration is about to come out with its plans for replacing Fannie and Freddie. The word in the media is that the administration will propose a range of options, with one option maintaining a Fan...

Arithmetic and the Fannie/Freddie Fix

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Arithmetic is a skill that is in short supply among economists in policymaking positions. The Obama administration is about to come out with its plans for replacing Fannie and Freddie. The word in the media is that the administration will propose a range of options, with one option maintaining a Fan...

Administration Proposal to Recommend Eliminating Fannie and Freddie, Curbing Government Role in Hous

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

More than two years after the government seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Obama administration will recommend phasing out the housing-finance giants and gradually reducing the government's footprint in the mortgage market, according to people familiar with the matter. The administration is ex...

Fannie, Freddie Could Be Phased Out Under Treasury Housing Plan

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will present Congress with three options for reducing the government’s role in the nation’s decades-old housing finance system and shrinking the footprint of mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the plan. G...

Fannie, Freddie Reform Will 'Turn Us Into A Nation Of Renters,' Group Says

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Republicans and Democrats both agree that the government's mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can't continue in their current form, but various influential interest groups are decidedly not on board with proposals to dismantle the companies. Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the governm...

White House Plans to Revamp Mortgage Market

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

More than two years after the government seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Obama administration will recommend phasing out the housing-finance giants and gradually reducing the government's footprint in the mortgage market, according to people familiar with the matter. The administration is ex...

Obama Calls For End Of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

NEW YORK -- The Obama administration outlined three options Friday to change the way home loans are financed, calling for the slow death of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and jumpstarting the debate over the future role of government in helping borrowers secure mortgages. If implement...

GSE REFORM

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Administration Unveils Plan to Restructure GSEs, Federal Role in Housing Finance; Debate Now Moves to Congress As required under last year’s “Dodd-Frank” financial reform law, the Obama Administration today unveiled its long-awaited framework for winding down the government-sponsored enterprises...

Administration Expected to Propose Controlled End to Fannie, Freddie

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The industry is abuzz with news that the federal government could unveil its proposal for overhauling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as early as Friday. The Wall Street Journal’s Nick Timiraos, citing “people familiar with the matter,” says the Obama administration will recommend phasing out the natio...

A Blueprint for Mortgage Finance Reform

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Special Report: The Future of the Mortgage Finance System • The federal government has effectively become the nation's mortgage lender—a role no one thinks is sustainable or desirable. • Options for reforming the mortgage finance system include full nationalization and full privatization. • A hy...

Freddie Mac

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Freddie Mac: Tone Deaf at the Top Freddie Mac made a terse announcement Wednesday in a securities filing about the resignation of its chief operating officer, Bruce Witherell. Freddie said that Witherell resigned "for personal reasons." His departure was effective immediately and he received no te...

Plans Near for Freddie and Fannie

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and House Republicans are settling into a game of chicken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with each side daring the other to advance a plan for replacing the two housing finance companies. The White House missed a deadline at the end of January for telling ...

Counsel for Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

To the Editor: Re “For the Foreclosed, Themselves” (Business Day): A Brennan Center report found that homeowners around the country face foreclosure overwhelmingly without counsel. In Stark County, Ohio, for example, data suggest that 86 percent of foreclosure defendants did so in 2008. Thes...

Obama Administration Plan Provides Path Forward for Reforming America’s Housing Finance Market, Wind

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Reforms Will Shrink the Government’s Footprint in Housing Finance on a Responsible Timeline, Help Protect Taxpayers Plan Includes Critical Measures to Help Fix the Fundamental Flaws in the Mortgage Market, Better Target Government’s Support for Affordable Housing WASHINGTON – Today, the ...

Two things that likely will be missing from the Treasury's GSE report

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

As the American Securitization Forum comes to a close, the private-label side of the secondary market reached a clear consensus that mortgage servicing is, in fact, really important. The other consensus is that mortgages are going to cost more. More for borrowers, more for originators, more for ser...

Servicing Notice: Termination of Relationship with the Ben-Ezra & Katz Law Firm

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Fannie Mae has issued the following Notice (the entire text of the Notice is included in this e-mail): This Notice affects existing and future mediation, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and litigation referrals of mortgage loans in the State of Florida. Fannie Mae has terminated its relationship with Ben-...

Mortgage finance overhaul begins to take shape

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The Obama administration is pushing ahead with a vast rewrite of the rules of the nation's mortgage market separately from the delicate task of devising options to abolish mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a long-awaited report Friday on the future of home loans, the administr...

Fannie, Freddie Reform Will 'Turn Us Into A Nation Of Renters,' Group Says

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Republicans and Democrats both agree that the government's mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can't continue in their current form, but various influential interest groups are decidedly not on board with proposals to dismantle the companies. Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the gover...

Mark Zandi's 'New GSEs' Would Look a Lot Like the Old GSEs

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

To reform the GSEs, Mark Zandi says the government should create A hybrid system that is part private and part public. To replace Fannie and Freddie, Mr. Zandi recommends creating between five and 10 privately owned, but government-chartered "mortgage bond insurance companies" that buy eligible loa...

Moody's Zandi: Replace Fannie, Freddie With Public-Private Hybrid

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Mortgage rates could be one percentage point higher and house prices 10% lower if the U.S. mortgage market were fully privatized, according to a paper to be released Tuesday by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The calculations help build Mr. Zandi's case for replacing Fannie Mae a...

HuffPost Meetups: Homeowners Across The Country Talk Underwater Mortgages

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON -- In cities and towns across the country on Tuesday evening, underwater homeowners gathered at bars, restaurants and coffee shops to help each other answer a question that banks would rather they not ask: Should I walk away from my mortgage? The meetups grew out of HuffPost's feature o...

Dip in Home Values, Robo-Signing Push More Borrowers Underwater

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Home values in the United States fell 2.6 percent during the last three months of 2010, posting their largest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 2009, according to a fourth-quarter market report issued by Zillow this week. Zillow’s national home value index declined 5.9 percent year-over...

30-Year Mortgage Rates Top 5 %

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

NEW YORK — The days of the absurdly low mortgage rate are over. The average rate for a 30-year home loan rose above 5 percent this week for the first time since last April – just as Americans are feeling more secure in their jobs and confident about the economy, and just before the big spring home-...

Mortgage Rates Soar to Highest Mark Since Last April

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Mortgage interest rates rocketed higher this week. Reports from Freddie Mac and Bankrate recorded significant jumps across all types of home loan products. Both companies’ analysis showed that the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has hit its highest level since April 2010. Data released by...

California Appeals Court Rules Oral Promises Are Binding

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

A California appeals court ruling could have far reaching effects for servicers who believe oral promises do not carry weight. Last month, the three judges hearing the case of Aceves v. U.S. Bank found that the bank had promised to negotiate a loan modification for a customer while intending to pr...

Before the recession, black-owned businesses boomed

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The number of black-owned businesses grew much faster than the national rate during the five years before the recession began, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ranks of black firms shot up more than 60 percent from 2002 to 2007, compared with the overall national i...

Mortgage Modifications Failing, Sparking More Economic Stress

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Despite signs of economic improvement, the foreclosure crisis is far from over. According to a piece of fresh data released on Monday, low levels of mortgage modifications are likely to lead to more foreclosures, and more foreclosures will weigh heavily on the still fragile U.S. economy. Only 36,50...

Barclays Capital Suggests Overhaul of Remittance Reporting

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Barclays Capital says that as servicers perform complicated modifications and other actions, remittance reporting has been found wanting. A recent study by the research firm examines typical remittance reports and points out flaws in the reporting process, aiming to make a case for overhauling the ...

Fitch: Subpar Loan Mod Results Making U.S. Foreclosures a Reality

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

With loan modifications on a steady decline, the analysts at Fitch Ratings say the common thread running through the industry has become when will the servicer foreclose as opposed to how can a distressed borrower stay in their home. Fitch’s latest analysis of loan modification trends in non-agenc...

Spike in Mortgage Rates Dampens Consumer Demand

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Fewer consumers filed applications for a new mortgage last week as interest rates on home loans jumped to a 10-month high. Based on data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage spiked more than 30 basis points in one week’s time. MBA said Wednesd...

The Florida Tax Deed Sale Process: An Overview

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Tax certificates and tax deed sales are governed by the Florida Statutes, Title XIV, Chapter 197, “Tax Collections, Sales, and Liens.” I. Tax Certificates Generally Property taxes become due on November 1 in Florida, and are delinquent if not paid by April 1 of the following year. In March, ...

End Of Credit Rating Agencies? SEC Wants To Wean Market Off

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON: Securities regulators on Wednesday will move to scale back markets' reliance on credit rating agencies, after the financial crisis laid bare the industry's shortcomings. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to propose that one of its key documents for securities offerings ...

3.9 Million Americans Ran Out Of Unemployment Benefits In 2010: Report

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

Last year, 3.9 million Americans ran out of unemployment insurance benefits, according to a new analysis provided to HuffPost by the National Employment Law Project. Those 3.9 million are not necessarily still unemployed, and not all of them are necessarily "99ers" -- people who exhausted the maxi...

The 10 States Running Out Of Smart People: 24/7 Wall Street

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

There are several states in the U.S. that are losing the education race to most of the others. In the past decade, these states have declining math and reading scores, lower numbers of people with bachelor's degrees, and comparatively fewer residents who hold white collar jobs. Colorado, Michigan, a...

Kauffman Foundation: The Rules For Growth

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

The U.S. economy is struggling to emerge from a recession that led to the destruction of eight million jobs. At the same time, the federal budget deficit remains stuck above $1 trillion. Having already allocated more than $1.6 trillion toward economic stimulus (the 2009 stimulus package and the De...

Gender gap on Wall Street, but to top women bankers care?

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011

For a company that sets the bar for management, training, and all things associated with corporate excellence, I'm shocked at how badly Goldman Sachs's chief strategist, Abby Joseph Cohen (pictured below), handled her interview with Deborah Solomon of The New York Times last Sunday. Cohen was ...

Banks Reach Out to Small Firms

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Natalie Smith, the manager of a U.S. Bancorp branch in an Albertsons supermarket in Milwaukie, Ore., is going to unusual lengths to make small-business loans. Last year, she cornered an eye doctor near the entrance, following him around until she learned he needed a commercial real-estate loan and...

Big Banks to Pay More to Insure Deposits

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Big financial institutions will pick up a greater portion of the cost to protect deposits when banks fail, under a plan adopted Monday by federal regulators. The new fee structure, which takes effect in April, will result in about 110 large banks covering about 80 percent of the premiums paid in...

Mortgage Rule Could Exacerbate Housing Slump

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

WASHINGTON - U.S. regulators are gearing up for a landmark decision that could be pivotal in the recovery of the housing market -- how much risk can mortgage lenders sell to investors without having to hold on to some of it themselves? The new standard will determine what loans are deemed safe enou...

Banks Hold On To Toxic Assets

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Despite healthy earnings reports, banks still hold the many of the same so-called "toxic" assets that sparked worry during the financial crisis. The hard-to value assets, including mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and other risky instruments are a growing concern, accor...

Moody's Zandi: Replace Fannie, Freddie With Public-Private Hybrid

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Mortgage rates could be one percentage point higher and house prices 10% lower if the U.S. mortgage market were fully privatized, according to a paper to be released Tuesday by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. The calculations help build Mr. Zandi's case for replacing Fannie M...

U.S. should step back from mortgage business, industry leaders say

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ORLANDO - A group of Wall Street professionals meeting here Monday posed a central question facing the Obama administration: How do taxpayers get off the hook for supporting new home loans without doing damage to the struggling housing market? It is a multi-trillion-dollar question. And it's gaini...

Cash Buyers Lift Housing

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bargain Hunting Boosts Prices in Depressed Cities; Broader Asset Rebound Spreads Buyers in markets around the U.S. are snapping up homes in all-cash deals, betting that prices are at or near bottom and breathing life into some of the nation's most battered housing markets. Cash buyers represent...

With Detroit in dire straits, mayor invites big thinking

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

DETROIT - On a recent Tuesday afternoon, city hall was quiet and dim. The front desk was unattended. The receptionist, and most other city workers, had been furloughed again. If he had wanted to, Mayor Dave Bing could have looked out his 11th-story window at the Detroit River and the final vestige...

Did Obama Break His Pledge to Force Banks to Help Homeowners?

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Has Obama broken his pledge to help struggling homeowners facing the threat of foreclosure? ProPublica has a lengthy article out examining the ways that the Obama administration has failed to come through when it came to changing bankruptcy laws and forcing banks to modify mortgages. On the ca...

AP Analysis: Foreclosures Raise US Economic Stress

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The nation's economic stress inched up in December because higher foreclosures outweighed lower unemployment, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis. Bankruptcy levels remained largely unchanged from November. But the depressed housing market took a toll. Foreclosure rates...

S. Fla. jobless rate grows in 2010

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Nearly two-thirds of the nation’s 372 metropolitan areas finished 2010 with lower unemployment rates than they posted a year earlier. However, South Florida was not among them. A total of 238 metro areas registered improvements in their jobless rates last year, according to a Business First analysi...

House Dems To Reintroduce Longshot Bill For Long-Term Unemployed

Posted on Tuesday, February 08, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) are reintroducing legislation this week to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for "99ers," the long-term jobless who have exhausted their benefits and still haven't found work. "The bill that I am in...

Republicans Attack Financial Reform Bill

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

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

Federal Reserve Steps Back on New Mortgage Disclosure Rules

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

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

Inquiries Into a Financial Crisis, Then and Now

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

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

Federal Reserve Steps Back on New Mortgage Disclosure Rules

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

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

Businesses' Hit List: The Regulations They Hate The Most

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

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

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

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

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

Bank of America Establishes New Unit to Handle Defaulted Loans

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Bank of America announced Friday that it has set up a new operational division to deal with problem loans and resolve investors’ mortgage repurchase claims. The newly formed unit, which the company has labeled Legacy Asset Servicing, will service all defaulted loans and discontinued residential mo...

Bank of America Creates New Unit For Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. on Thursday said it is splitting its mortgage business into two units, with a new division created specifically to handle foreclosures and discontinued loan products. The bank said the new Legacy Asset Servicing unit will be responsible for resolving issues involv...

Trepp: CMBS Delinquency Rate Hits Highest Level in History

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The delinquency rate on loans held in U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) rose again in January to hit its highest reading in history, despite new issuance and falling spreads, according to Trepp, LLC. The New York-based firm closely tracks the CMBS and commercial mortgage market, and...

Commercial Real Estate Still A Strain: Fed Official

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WASHINGTON -- A top government financial regulator said on Friday banks have taken only about half the hit they will experience from commercial real estate losses, and that while banks will remain under strain from commercial properties, no systemically important firms appear at risk. "While we exp...

Commercial Real Estate Coming Back, but Unevenly

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Commercial property took less of a drubbing than residential real estate in the recession but still faces a long and painful recovery. Banks have already taken $80 billion in commercial real-estate losses—about half of what they are expected to take as a result of the recession, according to the Fe...

Banks Ease Credit To Big Companies, But Leave Out Small Business

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

In a sign that life may be getting easier for big U.S. corporations, large banks are beginning to make loans more available. Citing increased competition as an important factor in their decision, banks are starting to ease their standards for lending to big companies, a new survey from the Federa...

U.S. Will Hit Debt Limit In April/May, Treasury Says

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WASHINGTON - The United States will hit a $14.3 trillion statutory limit on its debt slightly later than previously estimated, the Treasury said on Wednesday as it unveiled a still-hefty debt auction schedule. Treasury officials said the limit would now be hit between April 5 and May 31, versus a p...

Learning To Walk: Fear, Shame And Your Underwater Mortgage

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Nearly 1 in every 4 U.S. homeowners with mortgages owe more on their home than it's worth. Once a month, those 10.8 million are faced with a question that cuts to the core of the American Dream and offers a confusing collision between a deep-seated sense of personal obligation and a co...

Don't Believe Goldman Sachs, The U.S. Economy Has Endured 3 'Lost Decades'

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Step back from the ledge, America. Scotch the gloomy talk of a Japan-style Lost Decade in which we sink into decline and marinate morosely there for years. We're back, baby! So says a cheery depiction of these times from the wizards at Goldman Sachs (a firm that, come to think of it, played a starri...

3 More Small Banks Shuttered, 14 Failures Already In 2011

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WASHINGTON — Regulators on Friday shut down three small banks in Georgia and Illinois, bringing to 14 the number of bank failures in 2011 following last year's tally of 157 amid the sagging economy and mounting bad loans. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized American Trust Bank, based in Ro...

Bernanke Says Growth, Inflation Still Missing Fed Goals

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WASHINGTON - The U.S. economic recovery still needs help from the Federal Reserve despite signs of improvement, Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Thursday. The Fed chairman provided a modestly more rosy outlook for the world's largest economy than he has done in previous speeches, citing gains in house...

Florida Foreclosure Backlog Diminishing Slower Than Hoped

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Last year the Florida State Courts Administration asked its legislators for $9.6 million to try to clear its massive backlog of foreclosures. Since the courts received the money and began working through the backlog in July 2010, the state has cleared more than 110,000 foreclosures from its system...

S&P Study Finds HFA Delinquencies Exceed State Averages for First Time

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Although the nation is in the midst of an economic recovery, albeit a slow one, unemployment levels remain extremely elevated, and that – along with lower housing prices, diminished demand from homebuyers, and a large inventory of houses in foreclosure – is leading to an increase in defaults on hous...

City to Battle Mortgage Fraud With Computer Alert

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Despite the bright spotlight that the housing crisis shined on mortgage fraud, officials say New Yorkers continue to be duped. Now, the city is taking aim at the perpetuators of mortgage fraud through a program that it hopes will root out questionable property transactions and alert officials and ...

The Next Global Banking Crisis Is 3 Years Away

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

We're sowing the seeds of the next global banking crisis and the crash could be just a few years away, according to a new paper from international consulting firm Oliver Wyman. Here is The Atlantic's summary to what could be the next worldwide recession. The one-sentence description of Oliver Wym...

Afghanistan's "Too Big to Fail" Bank Is Failing --

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Guess Our System Doesn't Work There, Either The collapse of Afghanistan's largest bank will seem familiar to Americans, and so will the upcoming reports of its bailout. We've heard the story before: Unheeded warnings. Lax (or nonexistent) law enforcement. An American auditor who said nothing as th...

Averting another mortgage crisis

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

THE DODD-FRANK financial overhaul law required the Obama administration to produce a plan by no later than Jan. 31 for reforming the nation's mortgage finance system, which is dominated by the crippled government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie and Freddie, c...

In overhauling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it's better to be late than sorry

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

To hear congressional Republicans tell it, the Obama administration is much like the harried white rabbit that mutters, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." It is true that the administration will be late in delivering its plan for overhau...

Five Beloved Myths of the Mortgage Market

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

America’s mortgage market almost sank the world economy. But rather than rushing to fix it, the government has blown two deadlines for proposals. The ideas are finally due as early as this week from the Treasury, and those recommendations will frame the debate. But the danger is they will be based...

Ten Housing Markets Where Prices Rose During The Recession

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The average value of a home declined by 25% to 30% from the period from the third quarter of 2005 to the third quarter of last year. The end of 2005 and beginning of 2006 were the peak of the housing boom. S&P argued that home prices could fall another 7% to 10% this year. Many markets have already ...

Clear Capital Sees Signs of Upturn in U.S. Home Prices

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Clear Capital has released new home price data, with an encouraging, albeit cautious, analysis to boot. The California-based real estate valuation company reports that through the end of January, national home prices are down 1.6 percent on a rolling quarter-over-quarter basis. But despite the neg...

10 Cities Where Home Prices Will Rise in 2011

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

While home prices are expected to continue to fall in most metro areas, Clear Capital’s Home Data Index report says a few cities are already on the rebound and showing some gains in home values. “There really is this segmentation of these markets occurring where the one-size-fits-all national ...

Ohio Judges Halt Foreclosure Proceedings In Fraud Search

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Three Ohio judges are forcing lawyers to double-check foreclosure documents. Judges in Franklin County, Ohio, are making lawyers verify documents for residential foreclosures, and asking lawyers to sign certifications that verify that clients said the documents were accurate. The Columbus Dispatch ...

California AG to Use $6.5M Settlement to Help Foreclosed Homeowners

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Friday that the $6.5 million settlement from two former Countrywide Financial Corp. executives will be used to establish a fund to help foreclosed homeowners. The settlement comes from a litigation that began more than two years ago against Angelo...

4th DCA gives Bank of New York Mellon a reprieve

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of a lender Wednesday in a foreclosure case examining the question of fraudulent court filings but asked the Florida Supreme Court to review the issue. Bank of New York Mellon rightly escaped a claim that it committed a fraud on the court by voluntari...

Lawyers' Carelessness Was Key to the Mortgage Mess

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Two of my biggest concerns about the mortgage mess involve the conduct of lawyers at every stage, from creating the toxic securities to foreclosing on homes, and that so far the major players haven't been held accountable for their actions in creating the crisis. Both concerns are neatly encapsula...

California Court Gives Hope to Homeowners Lied to by Banks

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

On Jan. 27, a California appeals court ruled that U.S. Bank conned Claudia Aceves out of her home. Specifically, the court found that U.S. Bank (USB) told Aceves that if she gave up bankruptcy court protection on her home, it would negotiate a loan modification with her. But, the court found, the ba...

Foreclosed Homeowners Go to Court on Their Own

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE — Saving your home from foreclosure is increasingly a do-it-yourself project. Lawyers are scarce and free legal assistance is overwhelmed in New Mexico, so a community center here is offering an hourlong class in how to download the correct forms, decipher the lingo and mount a defen...

Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It's time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy ...

Q&A With Newark Mayor Cory Booker: 'We Couldn't Cut Enough'

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Since he became mayor of Newark in 2006, Cory Booker has had to make cuts that previously seemed unthinkable. Under his watch, the city closed libraries, imposed furloughs on employees and, late last year, laid off about 13 percent of its police force. While the police department says there are n...

How Income Inequality Helped Spark the Great Recession

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Thirteen years ago, the economists Sara Solnick and David Hemenway conducted a study that revealed a great deal about how Americans define happiness. Subjects, all of whom were middle class or lower, were asked which they wanted more: to earn $50,000 while everyone else got only half as much, or to ...

Winning the Future Means Closing the Skills Gap

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a plan for the United States to win the future through better education, smarter innovation and broader investment. He would have done well to invoke another favorite phrase--"the fierce urgency of now", itself borrowed from Dr. Martin Lu...

Three Congressmen Call for HAMP's End

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

In more bad news for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), three congressmen, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Patrick T. McHenry (R- North Carolina), and Darrell Issa (R-California) have proposed a bill to end the program. Issa is the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee...

Is Inexperience Hampering the Short Sale Process?

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Inexperienced real estate professionals are to blame for hampering the short sale process, according to two real estate professionals who specialize in distressed sales. "The banks know who's experienced and who's not," said real estate pro Travis Waller at a recent conference in New York. "If yo...

Moody's Takes a Closer Look at the Dynamics of Mortgage Re-Defaults

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

New statistics from Moody’s Investors Service might lead one to think that mortgage modifications are merely a temporary fix in most cases, serving to simply defer an eventual resolution of foreclosure, or in a best case scenario, another foreclosure alternative in which the homeowner relinquishes t...

Servicers Completed 1.24 Million Non-HAMP Loan Mods in 2010

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Though servicers seem to be having minimal success with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), final 2010 data released by HOPE NOW shows that its members completed about 1.24 million proprietary loan modifications last year. That number is more than double the 512,712 HAMP modifications...

Servicers Completed 1.24 Million Non-HAMP Loan Mods in 2010

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Though servicers seem to be having minimal success with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), final 2010 data released by HOPE NOW shows that its members completed about 1.24 million proprietary loan modifications last year. That number is more than double the 512,712 HAMP modifications...

Michigan Family Says Obama Foreclosure-Prevention Program Cost Them Their Home

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

After nine months of dutifully making lowered mortgage payments under the Obama administration's foreclosure-prevention program, Bea and Terry Garwood of Pinckney, Mich., are all set to move out. Despite the promise of relief, they are losing to foreclosure the two-story house that has been their fa...

Preapproved: Well, It Sounded Good

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

MELISSA CALDERONE was ready for a fresh start when she made plans last year to move to Florida from New Jersey. Recently remarried, she signed a contract in mid-March on a house to be built in Windermere, Fla., by Pulte Homes, the nation’s largest homebuilder. The neighborhood had good schools for h...

Palm Beach REIT Chatham Lodging plans public offering

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Palm Beach-based hotel real estate investment trust Chatham Lodging Trust said Wednesday that it is preparing a public offering of 4 million shares. Chatham also said it expects to grant underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 600,000 additional common shares. Chatham said it intends to use...

Company acquires $62 million in distressed notes

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Easton Lynd Management in Miami acquired $62 million worth of distressed notes on 14 office, industrial and retail properties across the country. Easton Lynd, which is co-owned by industrial developer Ed Easton, obtained the notes at a 50 percent discount. The deal gives the company control of ...

B.E. Exclusive: Interview with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

When President Obama delivered his second State of the Union [2] address to the American people last week, he boldly proclaimed his plan to “win the future” by making investments in industrial innovation, education and infrastructure. As he charged the nation to “out-innovate, out-educate and out-b...

Recession leaves many without nest egg

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The Great Recession has taken a huge bite out of many Americans’ retirement savings. In fact, a new Harris Poll finds that 34 percent of all Americans have no retirement savings, and 27 percent have no personal savings. That’s worse than a year-and-a-half ago, when 30 percent had no retirement nest...

Housing Bubbles Are Few and Far Between

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

WHAT’S the outlook for home prices over the next decade? It’s not easy to tell. We need to confront the basic fact that near the beginning of the 21st century, the market for homes in much of the world suddenly became more speculative than ever. This enormous housing bubble and burst isn’t com...

5 States With Biggest Gain in New Home Closings

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

States that once topped charts for new home sales gains are absent from this year’s list, according to new research from Housing Intelligence. While California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida are handling a flood of distressed properties, states with strong employment growth are emerging as the stro...

Joblessness, Rising Prices Could Spark Social Unrest: IMF Chief

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

SINGAPORE - The world economy is beset by problems such as high unemployment and rising prices which could fuel trade protectionism and even lead to war within nations, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday. Rising food and fuel prices in recent months have already hit poore...

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution i...

American Manufacturing Expands At Fastest Rate In 7 Years -- But Recovery Still Uneven

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

American manufacturing continued its rapid growth last month, according to a new report released Tuesday, suggesting a broader economic recovery could take hold this year. January marked the eighteenth straight month of growth in the manufacturing sector the fastest rate of growth seen since May 2...

Hedge Funds Don't Pose Systemic Risk, Hedge Fund Group Asserts

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

Even as hedge fund assets grew at a record-breaking pace last quarter, no firm is so big that its failure would pose a threat to the financial system, a hedge fund trade group asserts. The comment comes after two regulators -- the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading...

Wall St. Talent Aims For Hedge Funds As Rules Bite

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

BOSTON - The usual flurry of brokerage firm traders seeking to join hedge funds after the payout of annual bonuses could be more of a blizzard this year, with compensation shrinking on Wall Street and a regulatory crackdown in the offing. Wall Street's leading banks cut bonuses by an average of 5 p...

Financial Crisis Prosecutions On Wall Street Slow To Develop Despite Cries For Justice

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

NEW YORK -- After the last major banking crisis, some two decades ago, roughly 3,800 bankers were prosecuted and sentenced to prison terms, by the Justice Department's count. Yet this time, some four years after the economy descended into the most punishing financial crisis since the Great Depressio...

Replace Corporate Ladders With Lattices

Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011

So it's a new year, a time for looking forward toward positive change, but I can't say I hold out a lot of hope that this change of the calendar will do much to increase the number of women in leadership. Why the grim outlook? Well, as the saying goes, history repeats itself. The history in this cas...

TOO BIG TO FAIL - Watchdog Says Bank Bailouts Made 'Too-Big-to-Fail' Even Bigger

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The passing of the Dodd-Frank Reform Act last summer was hailed as the end of “too-big-to-fail” and the end of corporate bailouts. But Neil Barofsky, head of the group charged with overseeing the government’s handling of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) says the “too-big-to-fail” problem has...

A Bank Crisis Whodunit, With Laughs and Tears

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

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

Economic Collapse Was Foreseen

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

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

Report Details Wall Street Crisis

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

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

Federal Inquiry Concludes "Crisis Was Avoidable"

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

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

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's 10 Major Findings

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

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

Goldman Sachs Got Billions From AIG For Its Own Account, Crisis Panel Finds

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Goldman Sachs collected $2.9 billion from the American International Group as payout on a speculative trade it placed for the benefit of its own account, receiving the bulk of those funds after AIG received an enormous taxpayer rescue, according to the final report of an investigative panel appointe...

Bernanke: All But One Major Firm Was At Risk In 2008

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

WASHINGTON - Twelve of the 13 most important U.S. financial firms were at the brink of failure at the height of the credit crisis in 2008, according to previously undisclosed remarks made by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in November 2009 to an investigative panel. The deeply divided Financi...

GM Drops U.S. Loan Application After Turnaround

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

WASHINGTON - General Motors Co has withdrawn its application for $14 billion in subsidized loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, saying it has the financial strength to fund investment in more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles on its own. The move could provide a public-relations boost to ...

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan CEO Lashes Out Against Bank Bashing

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

DAVOS, Switzerland - JP Morgan Chase's boss Jamie Dimon lashed out at persistent bank bashing nearly three years after the global credit crisis began, in particular the tendency to put all financial institutions in the same basket. Dimon, credited with being one of the few U.S. bankers who ably ste...

Bank Failures Climb To 11 This Year

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

WASHINGTON — Regulators on Friday closed banks in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, lifting to 11 the number of bank failures in 2011 following last year's toll of 157 taken down by the weak economy and piles of soured loans. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the banks: Fi...

Compensation

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Winston Churchill said, "The Americans will always do the right thing...after they > have exhausted all the alternatives." An article recently by Kate Berry in American > Banker points out that most banks are expected to switch to a flat compensation > model for loan officers and will have to pu...

Recently Trulia compared the median list price with the median rent

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Recently Trulia compared the median list price with the median rent on two-bedroomapartments, condominiums, townhouses, lofts and co-ops listed on its website, andcompared that to ownership costs including mortgage payments, property taxes andinsurance. It determined that buying a home is cheaper th...

BUY v. RENT / GOOD TIME TO BUY? - Buying Still More Affordable Than Renting in Most Cities: Report

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Data released Monday by real estate Web site Trulia says even with the current state of the housing and financial market, it is still more affordable to buy a home than rent one. Trulia’s latest Rent vs. Buy Index studied the 50 largest cities in the United States and found that it is more affordab...

2011 NATIONAL APARTMENT REPORT

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The recovery of the apartment market exceeded expectations both in timing and magnitude, laying the foundation for extraordinary improvements in operations in 2011. All 44 major U.S. apartment markets are forecast to register employment growth and extremely limited construction this year. As...

NATIONAL DEFICIT AND TRADE DEFICIT - CBO projects U.S. budget deficit to reach $1.5 trillion in 2011

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The still-fragile economy and fresh tax cuts approved by Congress last month will drive the federal deficit to nearly $1.5 trillion this year, the biggest budget gap in U.S. history, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday. The grim forecast from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ca...

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT - CBO projects U.S. budget deficit to reach $1.5 trillion in 2011, highest ever

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The still-fragile economy and fresh tax cuts approved by Congress last month will drive the federal deficit to nearly $1.5 trillion this year, the biggest budget gap in U.S. history, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday. The grim forecast from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ...

Three South Florida banks hit with FDIC consent orders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. hit one bank in each of South Florida's three counties with regulatory consent orders. It said Friday that Professional Bank, a Coral Gables start-up, TransCapital Bank in Hallandale Beach and First Bank of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach agreed to comply with...

Report: 23% of Nevadans Facing Foreclosure 'Walked Away'

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

According to a “Face of Foreclosure” report released this week by the Nevada Association of Realtors (NVAR), nearly one in four Nevada homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure admit to “walking away” as part of a strategic default. The report also revealed that most of the state’s homeo...

Fort Lauderdale developer Glenn Wright arrested, accused of stealing from homeowners association

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

FORT LAUDERDALE Controversial developer Glenn Wright was arrested Monday, accused of stealing $20,000 from a homeowners association and giving it to a rabbi to buy a new property for the Downtown Jewish Center, court records show. Wright, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, was charged with grand theft and ...

Struggling Economy Makes Environment Ripe For Job Scammers

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

If you are among the many Americans desperately looking for work, then you also might be among the growing number of victims who have fallen prey to job scams. Jobs that promise "easy money," "flexible work from home hours," or advertise "no experience necessary" are just some of the ways con artis...

End Of Cheap Food Era As Grain Prices Stay High

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

CHICAGO - U.S. grain prices should stay unrelentingly high this year, according to a Reuters poll, the latest sign that the era of cheap food has come to an end. U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat prices -- which surged by as much has 50 percent last year and hit their highest levels since mid-2008 -- ...

The 13 Countries That Control the World’s Gold

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Even if 2011 has gotten off to a rough start for gold, everyone knows that the value of gold is at historic highs. What is interesting is that there is rarely a discussion about which countries actually have a lock on the world’s gold. 24/7 Wall St has compiled a list of the top 13 nations which h...

Poll: Americans increasingly view global economy as a negative for U.S.

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

A growing number of Americans consider the accelerating trend toward globalization a bad thing for the United States. At the same time, a majority now sees being the world's No. 1 economic power as an important national goal. Just over one-third of all Americans see the increasing interconnection ...

Fannie & Freddie suggestions;

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

> Regarding Freddie & Fannie's mounting REO glut: "The critical issue here is that > the MBS Servicers interests are, at times, not fully aligned with either the homeowner > or government policy. This is because the servicers, who are mainly banks, do not > have the credit risk associated with th...

HUD Terminates FHA Approval of 15 Lenders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

UPDATED: changes have been made to reflect specific Homeownership Center terminations. HUD announced this week that it has terminated the Origination Approval Agreements of 15 mortgage lenders’ Homeownership Centers (HOC) due to poor performance and high default rates. The termination of the Ori...

For Housing, a Quick Fix 0r Less Risk

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

What can be done with Frannie? We love her and we need her. But we have to get along without her, or at least learn to live without relying on her so much. Frannie is an amalgam of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that became government-run operations after th...

FHA Extends 'Anti-Flipping Waiver' to Speed Sales of REO Homes

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced Friday that it is extending the suspension of its ‘anti-flipping rule’ through the remainder of 2011. FHA Commissioner David Stevens says the temporary waiver will accelerate the resale of foreclosed homes in neighborhoods that are overrun with ab...

Housing Double-Dip Looms After Round Of Weak Data

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

New housing market data suggest the housing market may be once again headed for trouble, making the recovery in the larger American economy even more tenous. The one bright spot for the housing market from this week -- sales of newly built homes were up 17.5% in December according to the Commerc...

Despite price rebound, many Washington area homeowners still face steep losses

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The Washington area is one of the few regions in the country where home values have been consistently climbing in recent months, with typical prices increasing 8 percent since hitting bottom two years ago. The rebound has given a lift to the local economy and begun to ease the pressure on many str...

Homeowners fight 'unjust' foreclosures by lenders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Although Teresa O'Neal and Marco Delgado are among the millions who have lost their homes to foreclosure, they're fighting back by claiming a giant lender used "false and insufficient" documents to seize their properties. The two Tampa-area residents are seeking class action status for a suit aga...

BANKS - Dispute over collateral ties up bulk condo deal

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Finding buyers for condos at the Ibis Villas at Doral has been almost impossible for developer Pablo Valdes. So, when investor Michael Lawrence agreed to pay cash for five units in the mostly unsold project, Valdes began counting the days to closing. Now, almost a month after the deal was to be...

Groups Say Iowa AG Retreats From Promise To Be Tough On Robo-Sign Banks

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The attorney general leading the investigation into "robo-signing" mortgage companies may be backtracking on promises to help Americans wrongly foreclosed on stay in their homes. Iowa Attorney General Tim Miller is no longer promising to press criminal charges against bank officials who fraudulen...

BANKS - Bank of America and Wells Fargo Most Sued Banks in 2010

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

A recent report by Institutional Risk Analytics (IRA) says Bank of America, and Wells Fargo are two of the most sued financial service firms in the United States. IRA says that mortgage exposure is what is causing these two banks and others in similar situations to be embroiled in so many federal l...

In search of an answer / Governors, with little in the coffers, start struggling to find money

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

IN 2010 37 states held elections for governor. It is a wonder anyone wanted the job—most states were submerged in fiscal chaos. Now the messy task of governing begins. Pat Quinn, the governor of Illinois, was one of the few candidates who advocated raising taxes. This month he more than fulfilled ...

States’ Troubles Are Not the Real Risk for Muni Bonds

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Huge state budget shortfalls make for easy headlines about the $3 trillion municipal bond market. But old woes like abysmal disclosure and more recent wounds like damage to the safety net should worry the sector’s tax-wary investors more. Muni bonds, which pay interest that is generally exempt fro...

A special report on global leaders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Taking stock of the world’s plutocrats MOST people would describe a dollar millionaire as rich, yet many millionaires would disagree. They do not compare themselves with teachers or shop assistants but with the other parents at their children’s private schools. To count the number of rich people i...

A special report on global leaders

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In the information age, brainy people are rewarded with wealth and influence, says Robert Guest. What does this mean for everyone else? TOMMY GALLAGHER was working across the street when the planes hit the Twin Towers. “As we evacuated, we could see people jumping out of windows,” he recalls. Then...

Defining poverty / Measure by measure

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

MOST people have an inherent sense of what it means to be poor. But choosing a definition is much trickier. Is poverty an absolute or relative condition? What is a decent standard of living? Such questions have dogged America’s social scientists for decades. This month the Census Bureau published a ...

The rich and the rest

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

What to do (and not do) about inequality APART from being famous and influential, Hu Jintao, David Cameron, Warren Buffett and Dominique Strauss-Kahn do not obviously have a lot in common. So it tells you something about the breadth of global concerns about inequality that China’s president, Brita...

Refinance Stats

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In the last quarter of 2010 Freddie Mac > reported that 46% of homeowners who refinanced lowered their principal by putting > in more money at closing, the highest cash-in percentage on record. Meanwhile, Freddie's > cash-out borrowers fell to 16% of all loans, the lowest percentage on record. Co...

Fed Publishes Guidance on Loan Officer Compensation

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Heeding pleas from industry players and trade groups across the country, the Federal Reserve issued additional guidance this week to help smaller mortgage lenders and loan brokers comply with the agency’s new loan officer compensation rules that take effect April 1, 2011. Amendments to Regulation Z...

Distressed Debt Investors Turning to Real Estate

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

A survey of 100 distressed debt investors found that this year many will increasingly devote their money to real estate. The survey, conducted by Debtwire and commissioned by Bingham McCutchen LLP and Macquarie Capital, polled investors from companies such as hedge funds, private equity firm, ba...

UNEMPLOYMENT - Job Creation Tops Obama’s State of the Union

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama made scant reference to housing and no mention of the mortgage interest deduction. That was probably a wise move on his part — not only because most Americans favor the deduction and there’s speculation (but no evidence that I...

2011 STATE OF THE INDUSTRY MEETING

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

U.S. Real Estate, Congressional Leaders Gather in Washington to Discuss Key Policy Challenges — and Prospects for Bipartisan Solutions; Accelerated Job Creation, Reduced Regulatory and Accounting Burdens are Key to Broader, Sustained Recovery in Real Estate Markets Coming on the heels of the Pre...

What Did they predict in 2005?

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Many well remember the problems helped by the rating agencies, given their sad predictive > performance from 2005-2008. Nonetheless, the agencies do exist, and produce interesting > information. Moody's projects some markets will have to wait decades for home prices > to return to pre-recession l...

STATISTICAL INDICATORS - PENDING HOME SALES CONTINUE UPTREND

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Pending home sales improved further in December, marking the fifth gain in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors® The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, increased 2.0 percent to 93.7 based on contracts signed in December from a downwardly revise...

Housing recovery may be delayed a year

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Robo-signing, fraud and other documentation concerns that prompted some lenders to turn off the spigot of foreclosures temporarily last fall will likely stall housing recovery for a year. That was the prediction Friday from well-known economist Mark Vitner, who was among the speakers at an econom...

December signed contracts for homes up 2 percent

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in December, marking the fifth increase in the past six months. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 2 percent last month. The index had posted a 3.1 ...

Pending Sales of Existing Homes Rise 2%: NAR

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The number of contracts signed for purchases of previously owned homes rose again in December, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Thursday. The trade group’s pending home sales index increased 2.0 percent compared to its November reading, which was revised down...

Filing for and epaying the Home Buyer Tax Credits

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

What is the first-time homebuyer tax credit? The Homebuyer Tax Credit deadlines have passed for most homebuyers. However, a special rule gives an extension to eligible members of the military and other federal employees who served outside the U.S. between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Homeb...

What are the 2008-2009-2010 housing tax credits?

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The 2008-2009-2010 housing tax credits are federal tax incentives to help revitalize the housing market, prevent foreclosures, and strengthen the economy. The credits are part of the: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ...

Repaying the Home Buyer Tax Credit

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

IRS Form 5405 First Time Home Buyer Credit The IRS has issued form 5405, which you will need to fill out if you're going to take the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit. But Form 5405's instructions include information on who can take the credit, how much can be taken and under what circumstanc...

Home Buyer Tax Credit 9/16/08

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Tax Credit to Aid First-Time Homebuyers; Must Be Repaid Over 15 Years NOTE: The 2009 Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act updated the first-time homebuyer tax credit. IR-2008-106, Sept. 16, 2008 WASHINGTON — First-time homebuy...

Y'Want Jobs? Small Business? Then Fund Education

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Everybody agrees that small business is good for an economy, that it promotes jobs, and so on. But what does anybody want the government to do about it? And what can governments really do about it, effectively? More small business loans, perhaps? Lower taxes? Cut regulations? Sure, all easy to say...

UNEMPLOYMENT - Job Growth Expected in Real Estate and Finance Sectors: Survey

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) released the results of its latest quarterly survey this week, which polls member firms to assess their upcoming hiring strategies and gauge expectations for economic growth. Fifty percent of the responding companies in the finance, insuranc...

Wall Street’s Collapse to Be Mystery Forever:

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

To get to the heart of what went wrong with the report released yesterday by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, check out its account on page 254 of how the largest investor in a cash fund managed by Bank of America suddenly pulled out $20 billion of its money in November 2007. The withdra...

Ten Ways Wall Street Crushes Retail Investors

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the number of individual investors surged thanks to the rise of the Internet. As information became instant and ubiquitous, and the fees associated with making trades decreased, people took advantage of their ability to do their own research and retail trading p...

Wall Street Appears To Have Violated Federal Securities Law, Crisis Panel Finds

Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011

Wall Street firms that sold mortgage-backed securities appear to have violated federal securities laws by misleading investors on the quality of the underlying mortgages, a bipartisan panel created by Congress to investigate the root causes of the financial crisis concluded. Banks that sold home lo...

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