May 2011

Fed's Next Step Uncertain As QE2 Stimulus Ends

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

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

Mortgage Cram-Downs by Bankruptcy Judges Are Taking Place: DBRS

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

NOTE: Article has been updated to include jurisdictions where DBRS says most primary mortgage cram-downs are taking place: California, Texas, and Louisiana. The research firm and ratings agency DBRS has learned from various servicers that although Congress never authorized bankruptcy judges to modi...

Acquisitive Premier American turns profit

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Amid a flurry of acquisitions that pushed it past $3 billion in assets, Premier American Bank flipped to a profit in the first quarter. The Miami-based bank has acquired six failed Florida banks since it was formed in January 2010. The bank plans to be rebranded as Florida Community Bank, the name ...

Banks Should Pay for the Foreclosure Crisis

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The epidemic of foreclosures that began in 2008 has been devastating America's families, communities and economy. Nowhere is this more true than in California, where one in five U.S. foreclosures has taken place. Since 2008, more than 1.2 million Californians have lost their homes, and the number ...

Recovery for U.S. Bank Loan Delinquencies Stalls: Trepp

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The recovery in delinquency rates that began in the second quarter of 2010 appears to have stalled, according to the research firm Trepp LLC, with delinquency rates for the major real estate loan types declining only slightly in some categories and increasing in others during the first three months ...

Bank of America Brings in Industry 'Heavy-Hitters,' a DS News Exclusive

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Bank of America has assembled what you might call a “Dream Team” of default servicing executivese to head up critical areas within its Legacy Asset Servicing division. Collectively, this new team has more than 70 years experience working with distressed borrowers. John Berens joins the bank as ret...

US Bancorp Plans To Launch Unit Catering To Ultrawealthy Clients

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

US Bancorp plans to launch a new unit for the ultrawealthy in the fourth quarter from offices in Denver and its headquarters city of Minneapolis. The unit, to be known as Ascent Private Capital Management, will focus on clients with at least $25 million in investable assets. Ascent will compete in ...

Harvard finds dwindling housing supply abolishes affordable rentals

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Recent trends in rental housing are creating a dismal environment for many Americans and if public policy doesn't intervene, things will get worse, according to a study from one Ivy League university. The Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies released a report Tuesday, analyzing condi...

Where It's Better To Rent A Home Than Buy: Trulia

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Of the 50 most populated cities in the United States, New York remains the city where it's better to rent than buy. The Big Apple's competition? Fort Worth, Texas. That's according to the recently released Q2 2011 Rent vs. Buy Index by Trulia, an online real estate resource. The site compares rent...

Moody's Finds Credit Quality of Post-Recession CMBS to Be Strong

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

After two years of no issuance, the credit quality of commercial-mortgage backed securities (CMBS) issued post recession has been strong, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service. As the credit cycle continues, however, the New York-based ratings agency expects the leverage of the ...

Distress in Commercial Real Estate Sector Maintains Plateau

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The research firm Delta Associates says distress in the commercial sector is maintaining its plateau. The company’s analysts report that despite a $5 billion increase in the volume of commercial properties in foreclosure and lender REO over the last two months, the level of distress has remained i...

Credit Card Executives Optimistic In Face Of Looming Dodd-Frank Rules

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

MIAMI BEACH, Florida For the first time in years, credit card executives are looking beyond the losses of the financial crisis -- and they're even losing less sleep over the prospect of tighter government oversight. Losses from credit defaults keep falling, an explosion in smartphone payment syste...

Fixing the Game: The Unintended Consequences of an Economic Theory

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The past 70 years have seen three massive, value-destroying market crashes. After each, regulators have attempted to punish wrongdoers and implement fixes to prevent future meltdowns. It hasn't helped, because regulators have focused on symptoms instead of root causes. The only way we can avoid incr...

Housing Crisis Continues to Batter Nation's Homeownership Rate

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

With the housing crisis still taking its toll, the nation’s homeownership rate slipped further during the first three months of this year. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday that the homeownership rate dropped to 66.4 percent at the end of the first quarter. It’s fallen back to a level not ...

Phoenix Foreclosure Numbers Reveal a City on the Mend

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Home sales in the metro Phoenix area are heating up thanks to the popular foreclosure market, according to ForeclosureDeals.com. The site reports that there were more than 10,000 home sales in the Phoenix area in March with nearly 1,500 of those sales foreclosure homes. “Demand is starting to incr...

Fannie Mae's Delinquencies Continue Year-Long Decline

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fannie Mae has released new details on its book of business, which shows the share of mortgages it owns or guarantees that’s past due by three months or longer has been on a steady decline for a year now. The nation’s largest mortgage company reported that its seriously delinquent rate on single-f...

Fed Highlights Case Studies for Stabilizing Foreclosure-Ravaged Cities

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The foreclosure crisis and the economic downturn that followed have undoubtedly touched every corner of the nation. In cities that have been hit particularly hard, it’s not uncommon to see streets lined with foreclosure signs and vacant homes. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took to the podi...

Accused Mortgage Scammer Loses His Wacky Website After Court Order

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Accused mortgage-modification fraudster Howard Shmuckler has lost the website he used to call his accusers “the real scammers.” Even though Shmuckler had been indicted and repeatedly sued for charging homeowners for modifications he never delivered, he maintained his website until a court order wen...

Big Banks Face Criticism For Speculative Role In Global Food Crisis

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Today, rising food prices are wreaking havoc in the developing world. While some blame overpopulation, and others ethanol, another culprit has emerged of late: banks and the role of speculative commodity indexes. The primary danger of the indexes, according to a new article by Frederick Kaufman in ...

GSEs Issue New Servicing Guidelines for Delinquent Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new guidelines to servicers in order to align their procedures for handling past-due mortgages. The objective is to ensure consistent servicing requirements for loans handled on behalf of the GSEs across four key areas: borrower contact, delinquency managemen...

GSEs Issue New Servicing Guidelines for Delinquent Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new guidelines to servicers in order to align their procedures for handling past-due mortgages. The objective is to ensure consistent servicing requirements for loans handled on behalf of the GSEs across four key areas: borrower contact, delinquency managemen...

GSEs Issue New Servicing Guidelines for Delinquent Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new guidelines to servicers in order to align their procedures for handling past-due mortgages. The objective is to ensure consistent servicing requirements for loans handled on behalf of the GSEs across four key areas: borrower contact, delinquency managemen...

GSEs Issue New Servicing Guidelines for Delinquent Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new guidelines to servicers in order to align their procedures for handling past-due mortgages. The objective is to ensure consistent servicing requirements for loans handled on behalf of the GSEs across four key areas: borrower contact, delinquency managemen...

Real Estate Remains in Distress as U.S. Home Prices Fall Again

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Housing prices slid back in February to their lowest level of the downturn, fresh proof — as if any were needed — that real estate remains one of the most troubled sectors of the economy. The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for 20 metropolitan areas dropped 1.1 percent from January...

Fed's Securities Purchases to End in June; Mortgage Rates in Question

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Federal Reserve will end its second bond-buying spree – this time to the tune of $600 billion – by the end of the second quarter as planned. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says although the central bank’s second targeted initiative for pumping money into the economy will cease in June, its end is “...

FHLB Boston Sues to Rescind Purchases of $5.8B in Mortgage Bonds

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Superior Court to rescind investments it made in private-label mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by 115 securitization trusts totaling $5.8 billion. The suit alleges that the securities dealers, underwriters, i...

State sues mortgage modification firms

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced it filed a lawsuit on Friday against three South Florida companies that allegedly were charging upfront fees for loan modification services to homeowners facing foreclosure, which is illegal under state law. Home Owner Protection Economics,...

California Foreclosure Bills Fall Flat with Committees

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

California legislators put two bills aimed at addressing the state’s foreclosure problem to committee votes this week. Both failed to pass despite the fact that supporters of the proposed laws packed the hearing rooms at the state Capitol, but neither is completely dead. They have both been schedu...

Municipal Debt: Police, Fire Department Merger Attempts Spark Union Fights

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

WASHINGTON -- David Micallef never thought he’d be involved in a labor dispute at age 25, much less assuming a lead role in one. But as president of his local fire union, Micallef has been leading his fellow firefighters in a long-running fight with the city of Harper Woods, Mich. Their beef? They s...

Mayors To Washington: Stop Fooling Around, Help Us Create Jobs

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

CHICAGO -- Near the end of a two-day summit here that brought together mayors and federal officials to talk about city design, the mood turned confrontational. It started when Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in the middle of a Friday discussion on the federal government's role in city developmen...

Ten States Where Pensions Are Running Out Of Money

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Corporate pensions, municipal pensions, state pensions — each category has funds that have run out of money and certainly many are running low. The fate of the UAW pensions was a critical part of the US bailout of the auto industry. Eventually, the unions received equity in Chrysler and GM, among ot...

America's Poor Twice As Likely To Say U.S. Is In A Depression: Gallup

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The recession might have officially ended last year. But to many of America's poorest citizens, the economy certainly feels like depression. According to a new poll by Gallup, 55 percent of Americans believe the United States is currently in either a recession or a depression. Specifically, 26 perc...

Servicers Modify 210K Loans Through Own Programs in Q1: Report

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

An estimated 210,000 homeowners received permanent, proprietary loan modifications from mortgage servicers during the first quarter of 2011, according to data released by HOPE NOW on Monday. That’s down nearly 20 percent from the 261,500 private-program mods reported during the fourth quarter of 20...

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SHORT SALES

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

WPTV April 28 2011 8 PM EST Short Sale Homeowner sells home for less than what is owed to bank for mortgage. Bank agrees to accept less than what is owed to satisfy the mortgage. Reasons for Doing: Bank avoids costly foreclosure, home maintenance and resale (usually for a lower price than borrow...

GSEs Issue New Servicing Guidelines for Delinquent Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing new guidelines to servicers in order to align their procedures for handling past-due mortgages. The objective is to ensure consistent servicing requirements for loans handled on behalf of the GSEs across four key areas: borrower contact, delinquency managemen...

Banks Easing Lending Standards In Order To Take Risks, Fed Finds

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

WASHINGTON: Small businesses and consumers were wary about taking advantage of easier credit in the first quarter, but loan demand among large firms grew, the Federal Reserve said in a report on Monday that showed credit markets thawing unevenly. The Fed's quarterly survey of senior bank loan offic...

Economic Recovery To Lose Steam As Inflation Arrives, Federal Reserve Says

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Federal Reserve said growth will lag this year as the central bank finally acknowledged Wednesday what most Americans have long since realized: “Inflation has picked up.” The Fed’s statement, a customary event at the conclusion of every policy meeting, is the status update traders, bankers, bus...

Precursor to Existing-Home Sales Heads Higher

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

Precursor to Existing-Home Sales Heads Higher Pending sales of existing homes rose again in March, according to data released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The trade group’s monthly reading of contract signings – which is a forward-looking indicator of where sales of prev...

The Wageless Recovery

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

This week's biggest economic show occurs tomorrow (Wednesday) when Fed chair Ben Bernanke steps in front of the cameras for the Fed's first-ever news conference. The question on everyone's mind: Will the Fed signal it's now more worried about inflation than recession? Much of Wall Street thinks inf...

Sleepwalking through America’s Unemployment Crisis

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

NEWPORT BEACH – It was relegated to the Q&A session, rather than featured prominently in the opening statement, at last week’s first-ever press conference of US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. It is an issue that too many in Washington, DC are willing to dismiss as “transitory,” despite...

Applications Flood Florida Program for Unemployed Homeowners

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

In just one week’s time, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation has received nearly 9,500 applications from unemployed homeowners seeking financial assistance through the state’s Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF) program. Following a successful six-month pilot run in Lee County, the state housing agency lau...

Teen Joblessness May Hit Record in Summer 2011

Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011

A record-low one in four U.S. teenagers will land a summer job in the coming months as a result of a still-poor job market and lost federal funding, according to a report issued on Monday. As a consequence, urban studies experts said cities like Chicago—where summer unemployment among African-Ameri...

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