November 2010

Trying to Put a Price on Bank Errors

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Big Banks Fixing Foreclosure Processes

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Banks, Congress to Face Off on Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

How Banks Bought Their Own Mortgage Securities During The Housing Boom

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

3 Reasons to Sell a Home Soon

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Did the Rich Cause the Deficit?

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Raising Retirement Age Hurts The Poor, GAO Says

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Big Drop Seen In Number Of Startups Formed

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

A Stack of Bills, and No Paycheck or Savings

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

finding a home after landlord dispute

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Florida bankers and the FDIC probe

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Sheriff Who Refused To Evict Foreclosed Homeowners Forced To Resume

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Roubini Maps Out Nightmare Scenario of Domino Debt Collapse in Europe

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Prominent foreclosure defense attorney faces losing his own home

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Credit Score Requirements Stifling Borrowers

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

7 Trends That Will Drive the Future of Housing

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

When Unemployment Hits, and Lingers

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Foreclosure Fix Is Seen as Distant

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

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

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

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

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

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

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

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

The Fed will conduct new "stress tests" on major banks, reports Neil Irwin:

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

"The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it will use a 'conservative' approach, applied equally across the 19 largest and most complex U.S. banks, to determine whether they should be allowed to pay their shareholders dividends, repurchase shares or take other actions that would reduce their buffe...

'Winning' And 'Empathy' At Bank Of America Call Center, Despite Alleged Mortgage Flaws

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Even as concerns over the legitimacy of mortgage documents plague homeowners and investors nationwide, the office of a Bank of America mortgage modification call center tries to remain positive, the New York Times reports. Posters with words such as "Empathy," "Winning" and "Leadership" can be seen...

Great Florida Bank finds more losses as deadline looms

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Only two weeks away from a regulatory deadline to raise capital, Great Florida Bank disclosed that its third quarter loss was worse than it originally reported. The Miami Lakes-based bank (Pink Sheets: GFLB) reported an $8.6 million loss to federal regulators on Nov. 1. Its Securities and Exchang...

Report: Foreclosure mess poses grim outlook for banks

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

A report released Tuesday by the Congressional Oversight Panel suggests allegations that banks may have bypassed legally required steps to foreclose on homes pose a grim outlook for financial institutions. Under a best-case scenario, the 127-page report suggests concerns about mortgage documentat...

NYC Pension Funds Want Bank Foreclosure Audits

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW YORK — The trustees of New York City's government pension funds asked the directors of four major banks Tuesday to play a bigger role in policing company foreclosure practices. City Comptroller John Liu said the retirement system owns about $1.77 billion worth of stock in Citigroup Inc., Well...

It's Securitization Stupid: One Big Fix Needed in our Banking System

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

I remember it like yesterday, it was the Autumn of 2006. I was on the Lehman Brothers trading floor where I traded distressed debt, bonds of companies in trouble. One of the brightest analysts in the firm came up to me with an interesting piece of data. He showed me a chart of "shadow banks" going o...

Woman Sues Debt Collectors Over Alleged Facebook Harassment

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

A Florida woman who fell behind on her car payments is suing the company she claims has been using Facebook to contact her family members in a campaign to embarrass and intimidate her into paying the debt. When Melanie Beacham of St. Petersburg had to take a medical leave of absence from her job th...

Grip of Financial Distress Tightens Again in Third Quarter: Report

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The overall financial health of consumers showed incremental improvements in the first half of 2010, but that progress was wiped out during a span of three months due to weaker household budgets, renewed strains on housing costs, and high levels of unemployment, according to the nonprofit credit co...

After Cracking Down on Debt Collectors, New York State Is Now Set to Hire Them

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

In these hard times, New York’s future governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, has made a point of standing alongside consumers who are down on their luck. As attorney general, he conducted a statewide crackdown on debt collectors who ran afoul of consumer protection laws, and his office encouraged consumers wit...

We have the tools to end childhood hunger. Let's use them.

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving bounty, it's hard to believe that there might be a kid on our block who doesn't know when her next meal will come. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that nearly one in four children struggles with hunger. For most Americans with enough ...

CBO: Unemployment Benefits Prevented Record Poverty Rate In 2009

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Extended unemployment insurance put in place to fight the recession prevented the poverty rate from rising to 15.4 percent in 2009, a level unseen since the 1960s, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The government announced in September that that the 2009 poverty rate had ri...

Move to Cut NPR Funding Is Defeated in House

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

House Democrats on Thursday shot down a G.O.P. attempt to roll back federal funding to NPR, a move that many Republicans have called for since the public radio network fired the analyst Juan Williams last month. Republicans in the House tried to advance the defunding measure as part of thei...

Congressional Members' Personal Wealth Expands Despite Sour National Economy

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are enjoying their own financial stimulus. Despite a stubbornly sour national economy congressional members’ personal wealth collectively increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a new study by the Center for Responsive Politics of feder...

Arizona Budget Cuts Kill Money For Organ Transplants

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

For some Arizona residents, the massive fiscal crisis gripping their state and others has put their lives at risk, NPR reports. Thanks to a $1.5-billion budget deficit, Arizona has had to make some tough choices, including cuts to certain liver and heart transplants paid for by the state, accordi...

Mourning in America: Death of the Middle Class

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The deficit commission report issued last week is another Saturday Night Special pressed to the temple of the American middle class. "Turn over your money and your benefits or your country will die," the report screams at workers. "You want your country to go bankrupt? No? Then you gotta delay reti...

Community Associations Hit Hard by Housing, Economic Slump

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

More than half of the estimated 310,000 homeowner and condominium associations in the United States are struggling with financial issues stemming from the nation’s mortgage foreclosure crisis and related economic downturn, according to the Community Associations Institute (CAI). The organization re...

FDIC Conducting 50 Criminal Investigations Into Failed Banks

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) is conducting about 50 criminal investigations at U.S. banks that have failed since the start of the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal said. The FDIC, which is responsible for dealing with bank failures, is probing former executives, directors and e...

The trap of the Federal Reserve's dual mandate

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

This lame-duck Congress - its mandate exhausted, many of its members repudiated - should merely fund the government for a few months at current spending levels with a "continuing resolution," then apologize for almost everything else it has done and depart. If, however, the 111th Congress wants to m...

The Fed's New Foreclosure Predator Bailout

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Despite escalating outrage over rampant foreclosure fraud, the Federal Reserve now appears ready to eviscerate a key mortgage regulation in an effort to spare banks the losses from their own wrongdoing. Even as bank executives preposterously claim to have wronged nobody in the foreclosure process, t...

LPS: More Than 7M Mortgages Are Delinquent or in Foreclosure

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

There are 7,043,000 mortgages in the United States that are at least 30 days past due or in the process of foreclosure, according to Lender Processing Services (LPS). The company provided the media with a sneak peek at its October month-end mortgage performance data this week. The numbers show the ...

The Debt Problems Of The European Periphery

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The Baseline Scenario Last week’s renewed anxiety over bond market collapse in Europe’s periphery should come as no surprise. Greece’s EU/IMF program heaps more public debt onto a nation that is already insolvent, and Ireland is now on the same track. Despite massive fiscal cuts and several years ...

Ireland Debt Crisis: Contagion Fears Loom Over EU Meeting

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

BRUSSELS — An anxiously awaited meeting of European finance ministers ended Tuesday without an agreement to bail out Ireland's debt-stricken government, though both Irish and EU officials vowed to stabilize the banks at the center of the crisis and keep it from spreading to other fragile economies c...

O.E.C.D. Sees Global Recovery Slowing

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

PARIS — Global growth prospects have clouded recently as a result of regional imbalances, persistently high unemployment and the failure of private consumption to pick up the slack created by the withdrawal of government stimulus, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursd...

FHA's Year-End Report Shows Cash Reserves Remain Below Legal Limit

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) says it has sustained significant losses from home loans insured prior to 2009 and as a result, its capital reserve ratio remains below the threshold mandated by law. FHA released its annual report to Congress on Monday for fiscal year 2010, which for the ag...

Fannie Mae Launches REO Pilot Program

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Fannie Mae is testing the waters for a new program that allows real estate agents to submit offers for the company’s REO properties on behalf of their clients and track the status of the offers online. The program is called HomePath Online Offers and is being piloted in Orlando, Florida; San Diego...

Judge's order forcing return of condo deposits is reversed

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

A state appeals court on Wednesday reversed a trial court order forcing a developer to fork over a portion of deposits by 15 condo purchasers who sued when their luxury lofts on Sunny Isles Beach weren’t completed on time. The 3rd District Court of Appeal found Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Peter Adrien...

Jury: BankAtlantic misled investors

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

BankAtlantic Bancorp misled investors about its banking subsidiary’s financial health as South Florida’s commercial real estate market headed downhill in the recession, a Miami federal jury found today in a shareholder class action. The verdict could be a harbinger for financial institutions around...

David Stern's offices lays off 155 more employees

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Another 155 employees received pink slips Thursday from the Law Offices of David J. Stern and DJSP Enterprises, which processes home foreclosure cases for the Plantation-based law firm. The layoffs came as Fannie Mae, which withdrew it business from the Stern firm after becoming one of its biggest ...

Banks Are Escaping Big Foreclosure Class Action Lawsuits

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (By Dan Levine) - Lenders snarled in the legal thicket over shoddy U.S. foreclosure procedures have so far avoided national class action lawsuits from homeowners, largely because borrowers cannot demonstrate economic harm, according to plaintiff lawyers. Several large plaintiff fir...

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Robo-Signing

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The industry’s foreclosure paperwork problems were the focus on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) called a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee to discuss the so-called robo-signing issue, which he called just the tip of the iceberg. Executives from several major banks – i...

David J. Stern's Florida Foreclosure Firm May Default On Loan

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW YORK (By Jonathan Stempel) - A mortgage business run by a Florida lawyer whose foreclosure practices are under investigation may be forced to close if it fails to resolve a default with its lender, a regulatory filing shows. DJSP Enterprises Inc, run by the lawyer David Stern, on Monday said it...

BankAtlantic Loses Class Action Trial

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

A jury has ruled that BankAtlantic Bancorp and its officials violated federal securities laws. After more than a week of deliberations, the jury came back with a verdict Thursday, finding that the price of the bank’s stock was inflated during parts of 2007 because of misstatements by the company. ...

Jury: BankAtlantic misled investors

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic Bancorp intentionally misled investors about problems with loans to commercial developers, a Miami federal jury found Thursday in a rare securities fraud class action trial. The bank holding company made a series of eight false statements in financial filings with...

States, mortgage lenders in talks over fund for borrowers in foreclosure mess

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

State attorneys general and the country's biggest lenders are negotiating to create a nationwide fund to compensate borrowers who can prove they lost their home in an improper foreclosure, state and industry officials said. The fund would present a solution for both sides, helping banks avoid leng...

Mortgage Apps Suffer Largest Drop of the Year as Rates Jump

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Consumer demand for home loans plummeted last week as mortgage interest rates shot up against the backdrop of the Federal Reserve’s announcement to pump more money into the economy – an initiative that’s fundamental design is to keep interest rates low in hopes of buoying economic growth. The tota...

Private Sector to Lead CRE Recovery, Jones Lang LaSalle Predicts

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

According to Jones Lang LaSalle’s 2011 National Commercial Real Estate Outlook, the majority of the commercial real estate (CRE) industry can expect a commercial comeback in 2011. The Chicago-based financial and professional services firm announced its findings at a yearly media Webcast event this...

Lost Your Job? Get Lost!

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

Here's a blunt message for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and had no success finding a new one: You don't have a problem; you are the problem. This lie has been promoted for years by far-right pundits and you can be sure it will get a huge popularity boost from the wave of Republican...

Bernanke: Fed Program Could Help Create 1 Million Jobs

Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010

The Federal Reserve's efforts to stimulate the economy could lead to the creation of as many as 1 million jobs, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said, according to Senator Richard Shelby (R - Alabama), Bloomberg reports. The quantitative easing program, in which the Fed will buy up to $600 billion of U.S....

Home ownership gets tougher as lenders restrict FHA mortgages

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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

S. Fla. business bankruptcies up in October

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

South Florida bankruptcy filings rose in October, although new case filings slowed slightly from September. In the three-county area, personal bankruptcy filings rose 31 percent, to 3,244 from 2,473 in October 2009, but were down 2.6 percent from the previous month. The number of business bankrupt...

Bankruptcies Soar -- But Not For Businesses

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WILMINGTON, Delaware - Bankruptcies rose 13.8 percent in the year to September 30 but business filings fell for the first time since the start of the most recent recession, according to government data on Monday. Business filings fell 0.7 percent as the economy strengthened and lending picked up,...

Losses triple for Gibraltar Private Bank

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust’s losses more than tripled in the third quarter as it paid the price for reducing its amount of problem loans. Federal regulators issued a cease and desist order against the Coral Gables-based bank in October for having an excessive level of problem assets and inade...

Ties to Insurers Could Land Mortgage Servicers in More Trouble

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Bank of America did not comment for the record. The bank's comment is now included. When banks buy insurance on the homes of borrowers whose policies have lapsed, they get a great deal. Just not for the homeowners and investors ...

NAR Survey Finds Half of Homebuyers to be First-Time Purchasers

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First-time homebuyers purchased half of all homes that were sold from July 2009 to June 2010, according to an annual survey of buyers and sellers conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s up from 47 percent in the previous 12-month period, and the highest share of first-time...

Why Are Academics Among the Few Americans Who Can Afford to Retire?

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As an advocate for 401(k) participants, I've found that the only thing more frustrating that the media's cluelessness about America's retirement crisis are the academics who not only don't understand we have one, but who happen to be among the few Americans who can afford to retire. For example, ...

States Where Food Stamp Usage Is Soaring

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's an unfortunate fact of the recession -- as unemployment remains high and foreclosures mount, states have noticed a striking increase in the usage of Food Stamps. A record 42 million Americans used food stamps in August, up 17 percent from the same period last year, according to the U.S. Departm...

USDA: 17 million families struggled to get enough food in 2009

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nearly 17 million families in America - about 15 percent of all households - had trouble putting enough food on the table at some point last year, a federal report released Monday morning shows. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also found that 5.6 million of these households had problems throu...

Lennar shifts strategies to keep income flowing

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Since the collapse of the housing market most home-builders have had to implement survival strategies, but none has been more aggressive and successful than Lennar. Judging by recent deals and Lennar's plans to raise large amounts of capital for its investment unit, the company is focusing on dist...

FDIC prepares to crack down on officials of failed banks

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For former insiders at some of the several hundred banks that collapsed during the financial crisis and in its aftermath, a day of reckoning has arrived. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has told dozens of former bank officers and directors that it has drawn up lawsuits accusing them of misd...

FDIC Proposes New Fee Structure Based on Banks' Assets

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The FDIC has approved a proposal that would change the way it determines how much banks pay for the agency’s deposit insurance coverage. Since 1935, individual institutions’ premiums have been based on the amount of their domestic deposits. The FDIC wants to amend the assessment scheme so that ...

Foreclosure Filings Down 4% in October: RealtyTrac

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Foreclosure filings – including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions – were reported on 332,172 properties during the month of October, according to data released by RealtyTrac Thursday. That tally represents a 4 percent decrease from the previous month and is almost exact...

October Foreclosure Rate 2010: Foreclosures DROP Due To Mishandled Paperwork

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES — The number of U.S. homes repossessed by lenders last month fell by the sharpest margin this year, as several major lenders temporarily halted most or all of their foreclosures amid allegations thousands of foreclosures were handled improperly. Home repossessions dropped 9 percent fr...

Five plead guilty to mortgage fraud

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Five South Floridians face up to 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme. Yvette Gonzalez Valdes; her daughter, Jeannine Valdes-Perez; her brother, Joseph Gonzalez; her son-in-law, Victor Perez; and Catherine Maiz are alleged to have submitted false lo...

Joseph Stiglitz To Obama: The Fed's Dollar Policy Is Hurting Other Nation's

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, dismissing the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing as a “beggar-thy-neighbor” strategy of currency devaluation, called on America to learn the art of stimulus from China. President Barack Obama has defended the Fed’s controversial program, tellin...

Capital Failure

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Group of 20 summit for heads of government this weekend will apparently “hail bank reform,” particularly as manifest in the Basel III process that has resulted in higher capital requirements for banks. According to leading authorities on the issue, however, the Basel process is closer to a disas...

Obama: Strong US Economy Key To Global Recovery

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea — Celebrating America's Veterans Day, President Barack Obama on Thursday saluted the bravery of U.S. troops who defended South Korea during its war with North Korea and condemned the communist north for continuing on a course that he says deepens its isolation from the rest of t...

Analysts See 7% Drop in Home Prices over Next Year

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Despite a bounce in home prices during the first half of 2010, Fiserv Inc. says it expects property values nationally to fall another 7.1 percent over the next 12 months before beginning to stabilize. The Wisconsin-based financial services technology company sees double-dip territory ahead for ma...

Florida chief justice says foreclosures must be open

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady issued a memorandum Wednesday directing chief judges of the state's trial courts to make sure foreclosure proceedings are open to the public. Canady's memo also emphasized that the Trial Court Budget Commission's goal of resolving 62 percent of f...

Bank of America Brings Suit Against Old Republic

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bank of America says Old Republic International Corp. is “wrongfully withholding payment” on hundreds of millions of dollars in mortgage insurance claims on home equity loans that have defaulted. BofA has filed a lawsuit against the mortgage insurer with a federal court in Charlotte, North Carol...

Foreclosure attorney Stern struggling to pay his bills

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Law Offices of David J. Stern, which has helped banks seize thousands of homes from homeowners who missed mortgage payments, is now having trouble paying its own bills. One of its subsidiaries is seeking bank forbearance for defaulting loans, and the shrinking company has fallen behind on rent...

Question: What Do Wells Fargo Bank and Class Action Lawyers Have in Common?

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Answer: An Insatiable Appetite for Fees. We comment regularly about the misdeeds of plaintiff's class action lawyers and the dysfunctional class action system in which they operate. But we want to make it clear that by no means do we whitewash the misdeeds of corporate America. Indeed, could any...

At issue: Can homeowners reopen cases?

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pressing for a Lake Worth homeowner's right to expose alleged fraud by a bank, a foreclosure defense attorney argued before a state appeals court that Bank of New York Mellon cannot stop a trial judge from reopening a case that had been dismissed. Oral arguments heard Wednesday looked at the caus...

Plaintiff attorney says BankAtlantic loans were like 'time bomb'

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Loans to real estate developers ticked like a "time bomb" ready to sink BankAtlantic Bancorp’s stock, but investors were purposefully kept in the dark, a shareholder attorney argued Wednesday as a securities fraud class action trial neared its conclusion in Miami. Company attorney Eugene Stearns ex...

Bank Of America Wants Judge To Throw Out Racketeering Lawsuit Over 'Robo-Signers,' Foreclosures

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NEW YORK (by Jonathan Stempel) - Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) has urged a federal judge to throw out a racketeering lawsuit over its alleged use of "robo-signers" in foreclosures. The largest U.S. bank said the Indiana plaintiffs, who lost their home to foreclosure in 2009, failed to show they were...

Suits over foreclosure 'robo-signing' are piling up

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The expected litigation frenzy against mortgage lenders that used "robo-signing" tactics — mass signing and approval of foreclosure documents without verification — has launched, with class actions in Florida and Maine and a lawsuit by Ohio’s attorney general filed this month, all against GMAC Mortg...

Stern-led companies may have to shut down

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Companies led by foreclosure defense attorney David J. Stern face a shutdown if a subsidiary is unable to repay a credit line worth about $12 million, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Bank of America gave DAL Group, a unit of Plantation-based DJSP Enterprises, a Nov. ...

Stern-led companies may have to shut down

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Companies led by foreclosure defense attorney David J. Stern face a shutdown if a subsidiary is unable to repay a credit line worth about $12 million, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Bank of America gave DAL Group, a unit of Plantation-based DJSP Enterprises, a Nov...

Matt Taibbi: Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The following is an article from the November 25, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone. This issue is available Friday on newsstands, as well online in Rolling Stone’s digital archive. The foreclosure lawyers down in Jacksonville had warned me, but I was skeptical. They told me the state of Florida had cr...

More Homeowners Opt for Fixed-Rate Mortgage Products

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fixed-rate mortgages have become the dominant choice among borrowers looking to refinance their home loans, with more and more applicants gravitating toward shorter loan terms. Freddie Mac released the results of its quarterly study on loan transition trends Monday. The GSE’s analysts found that...

States And Cities Pay Wall Street $4 Billion To Exit Bad Deals

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cities and states have had to pay Wall Street firms $4 billion since 2008 to get out of complicated interest rate deals that went sour, Bloomberg reports. After more than a decade of selling deals that were supposed to help local governments fund public projects, banks and insurance companies are...

Wells Fargo 'Nightmare' For Homeowner Applying For Help Under Administration's Anti-Foreclosure Prog

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Wells Fargo put an Illinois woman though a "nightmare of harassment, frustration, and relentless stress" when she tried to apply for a mortgage modification under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court this week. ...

Banks Prepare to Shed Nonperformers as Year-End Nears

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

With the dawning of a new year comes the sense of starting fresh and leaving the previous year’s baggage behind. A number of mortgage lenders are applying this same adage to their loan portfolios as the closeof 2010 nears, and selling off blocks of nonperforming mortgage assets to clean up their b...

Finding a Niche in the Mortgage Mess

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In the spring of 2007, as the financial markets roared, David J. Grais, a journeyman New York trial lawyer, was searching for new cases to bring. “I wanted to find something very complex that could face big losses,” said Mr. Grais, who had just left a large corporate law firm to hang out his own ...

Economist: Home values main recovery risk

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Economist Tony Villamil foresees a slow but ongoing recovery of the South Florida economy, barring an unexpectedly dramatic decline in government employment. "The economy is improving but very slowly," said Villamil, dean of the business school at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens. "Usually wh...

S. Fla. existing home, condo prices fall in Q3

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sales of existing single-family homes fell in the third quarter in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, but were up slightly in West Palm Beach, according to figures from Florida Realtors. Existing condo sales, meanwhile, soared in Miami and West Palm Beach, but fell in Fort Lauderdale. Prices for homes...

Inventories of For-Sale Homes Drop in Most Major

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inventories of homes listed for sale are dwindling across the country, in some markets, significantly, according to Altos Research. The California-based real estate data and analytics firm released a new market update this week. The Altos 10-city composite of homes listed for sale fell 4.64 percen...

More Homeowners Underwater as Depression-Era Depreciation Nears

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nearly one-quarter, or 23.2 percent of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, were underwater on the loan in the third quarter, meaning they owe more on the home than it is worth, according to figures released Wednesday by the real estate data provider Zillow. The third-quarter underwater number rose fro...

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Members of the commission created by President Obama to shrink the federal budget deficit published a proposal this week that would significantly scale back the mortgage interest tax deduction. The co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Alan Simpson, a former Repu...

Dear Mr. President, Please Don't Extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Americans

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There have been (admittedly unclear) indications from your administration that you may accede to the Republicans’ demand to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone. I urge you not to do this. The question is: Is it better to extend the tax cuts for everyone or for no one? The answer is to extend them...

Don't underestimate foreclosure crisis, watchdog to warn

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A congressional oversight panel is set to warn on Tuesday that a widespread problem of flawed and fraudulent foreclosure paperwork could upend the housing market and undermine the nation's financial stability, just as the issue is coming under greater scrutiny this week in Washington. The report...

Debt Commission Report Targets Social Security, Medicare

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's upcoming report by the White House's fiscal commission is expected to include recommendations to raise the retirement age for Social Security and cut Medicare benefits -- two policy prescriptions that will be met with deep opposition from Democrats and some Republicans -- according to a sour...

Don't underestimate foreclosure crisis, watchdog to warn

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A congressional oversight panel is set to warn on Tuesday that a widespread problem of flawed and fraudulent foreclosure paperwork could upend the housing market and undermine the nation's financial stability, just as the issue is coming under greater scrutiny this week in Washington. The report...

Volcker Rule: Wall Street Reportedly Already Finding Loopholes

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NEW YORK - U.S. banks have found a way to continue betting their own money on some investments, despite a new law's restrictions on proprietary trading, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing Wall Street executives. The "Volcker rule" provision of the U.S. Dodd-Frank financial reform limi...

Economist: Home values main recovery risk

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Economist Tony Villamil foresees a slow but ongoing recovery of the South Florida economy, barring an unexpectedly dramatic decline in government employment. "The economy is improving but very slowly," said Villamil, dean of the business school at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens. "Usually wh...

Don't underestimate foreclosure crisis, watchdog to warn

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A congressional oversight panel is set to warn on Tuesday that a widespread problem of flawed and fraudulent foreclosure paperwork could upend the housing market and undermine the nation's financial stability, just as the issue is coming under greater scrutiny this week in Washington. The report...

Elizabeth Warren: We Need More Women On Wall Street

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Elizabeth Warren, the new consumer czar of the White House, has her work cut out for her: build a brand new federal agency charged with protecting American consumers, stave off Republican attempts to kill that agency before it even gets off the ground, and go head to head with the financial services...

Psychology of Foreclosure Victims -- Financial Stress and Money Problems

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

Most financial hardships are especially troublesome from the perspective of the homeowners' psychological stability. Couple the initial event like a job loss or medical disability with all of the potential effects like foreclosure or repossession, and it is no surprise that money troubles are at t...

recourse v non recourse, deficiency v. anti deficiency statutes

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

The following is a list of non-recourse and recourse states. Recourse basically means that the lender can come after you (has recourse against you) if your house sold at auction or through a short sale for less than the amount owed the lender. If you borrowed $350,000 to buy your home and it sold at...

The Anatomy and Psychology of The Foreclosure Process

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

Of course, you know the ax is going to fall sooner or later. You have fallen behind in your mortgage payments for whatever reason. You have been getting a lot of calls from your lender. Probably, you don’t even bother answering those calls anymore. You have nothing new to tell them that you hav...

Recourse v. Non-Recourse States

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

The following article provides a summary of non-recourse mortgage states and anti-deficiency statutes. In a non-recourse mortgage state, borrowers are not held personally liable for more than the home’s value at the time that the loan is repaid. The lender may recoup some of its loss...

Recourse verses nonrecourse states

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

These are all the mortgage walkaway trustee sale states, meaning they are non-judicial foreclosure states. In those states, generally, when they foreclose on you, they cannot pursue you for their financial losses. Many, such as California, do in theory allow a lender to choose judicial foreclo...

Due Process Protections in Nonjudicial Foreclosure States

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

In states that allow a nonjudicial foreclosure through a power of sale clause in a deed of trust, homeowners find that their properties are sold out from under them without a hearing or chance to defend themselves. In fact, it is up to the borrowers to bring a lawsuit into court against the lender a...

Judicial and Non-Judicial Foreclosures

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

Each state in the U.S. handles it's real estate foreclosures differently, it's important to understand those differences and know your specific state's procedures. The terms used and time frames vary greatly from state to state, but the following information provides a general overview of the diff...

US homes lost to foreclosure drops 9 pct in Oct.

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- The number of U.S. homes repossessed by lenders last month fell by the sharpest margin this year, as several major lenders temporarily halted most or all of their foreclosures amid allegations thousands of foreclosures were handled improperly. Home repossessions dropped 9 percent ...

Largest Bank Will Resume Foreclosure Push in 23 States

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

Bank of America announced on Monday that it would resume home foreclosures in nearly two dozen states, despite the running controversy over how banks handled tens of thousands of cases of homeowners facing eviction. Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank and the servicer of roughly one in fi...

Taxas Ag on Non Judical Process

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

After GMAC, Ally, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America publicly admit they have a credibility gap (to put it nicely), they only agreed to stop foreclosures in the minority of states where foreclosures require judicial approval. As long as they can hide their problems, they don’t exist? More like th...

A tale of two housing busts: Why is California recovering and Florida still struggling?

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010

Many experts say the difference is California's simpler foreclosure process, which doesn't involve the courts. By Alejandro Lazo and E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times November 5, 2010 Advertisement California and Florida had a lot in common during the housing industry's last boom-and-b...

MBA and Others Send Letter to Fed Regarding Consumer Disclosures

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

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

Personal bankruptcies up 31% in October

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

South Florida continued to see upward movement in the number of bankruptcy filings in October, although new case filings slowed slightly from September. In the three-county area, personal bankruptcy filings rose 31 percent, to 3,244 from 2,473 in October 2009, but were down 2.6 percent from the p...

What In The World Is Going On Inside Bank Of America?

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

WASHINGTON -- You could do a lot worse things with your time than read every word of what William K. Black and L. Randall Wray have written for the Huffington Post in the last two weeks -- even though it would take a while. Black and Wray both teach economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas Ci...

Bonanza of Riches for Bank Rescuers

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who wants to be an American community banker? It doesn’t seem to be an especially appealing profession these days. After all, scores of local lenders are failing every week. More than 143 have failed so far this year, including four last week. Regulatory red tape is on the rise. And all those “too b...

The Haggling Begins for Troubled Assets

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

It is the biggest rummage sale in Wall Street history — what one investment company calls “the Great Liquidation.” Two years after Washington rescued Wall Street, hundreds of billions of dollars of bad investments — in many cases, the same ones that poisoned banks and then the economy — are going u...

Some Fiscal Reality

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

The draft proposal by the chairmen of President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission was a welcome antidote to the low-minded debate that dominated the midterm elections, in which politicians all vowed to reduce the deficit but offered no credible plans. The proposal, released Wednesday, comes fro...

At Legal Fringe, Empty Houses Go to the Needy

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Save Florida Homes Inc. and its owner, Mark Guerette, have found foreclosed homes for several needy families here in Broward County, and his tenants could not be more pleased. Fabian Ferguson, his wife and two children now live a two-bedroom home they have transformed from d...

Nonprofits struggle to survive and maintain services

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

When job losses and foreclosures began to mount in the recession, leaders of many local charities knew it was time to push their organizations to provide more -- more beds to the homeless, more opportunities for the unemployed, more meals to the growing number of hungry families showing up on their ...

DEFICIT solutions

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Proposed Domestic Cuts and Savings, in billions Reduce Congressional & White House budgets by 15%0.8 Freeze federal salaries, bonuses, and other compensation at non-Defense agencies for three years 15.1 Cut the federal workforce by 10% (2-for-3 replacement rate) 13.2 Eliminate 250,000 non-d...

Grandparents’ Role Grows as the Economy Struggles

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

WASHINGTON — The recession continued to batter families this year, with the number of stay-at-home mothers declining and a sharp rise in the number of children living with their grandparents, according to a new Census Bureau report. The number of children living in their grandparents’ home increas...

Simpson/Bowles: A Predawn Raid on the Middle Class

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today the Presidential Deficit Commission's co-chairs released a radically right-wing budget proposal. They acted without any prior announcement, just three weeks before the entire Commission was scheduled to deliver its collective report. Consider it as a sneak attack on the middle class, a pre-daw...

Economic Crisis Sidelines Fate of the World’s Poorest

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

WASHINGTON — Last year, after a personal appeal from President Obama in which he cited his own family’s experiences in Kenya, world leaders gathered at the Italian hill town of L’Aquila pledged $20 billion over three years to help millions of the world’s poorest farmers grow enough food to feed them...

Fannie Mae Release of Stern Robo Signers

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Servicing Notice: Termination of Relationship with the Stern Law Firm 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 t...

Some judges chastise banks over foreclosure paperwork

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

EAST PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - A year ago, Long Island Judge Jeffrey Spinner concluded that a mortgage company's paperwork in a foreclosure case was so flawed and its behavior in negotiations with the borrower so "repugnant" that he erased the family's $292,500 debt and gave the house back for free. The j...

Subpoena discrepancy will go to 4th DCA, experts say

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

When the Shapiro & Fishman foreclosure law firm moved to quash a subpoena from the Florida attorney general’s office, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jack Cox agreed, calling the subpoena overbroad, invasive and beyond its scope of authority. But when another foreclosure firm, the Law Offices of David J. ...

Despite Warnings From States, Federal Regulators Failed to Act on Foreclosure Problems

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

While they may be conducting their own investigations, federal prosecutors and national bank regulators for the most part aren’t the ones leading the investigation [1] into the foreclosure mess. At least that's the perception—one that's reinforced when Elizabeth Warren, Obama's head of consumer fina...

Due Process

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Last October, attorney Josh Bleil was being threatened with fines by a Miami-Dade circuit judge for presenting general defense motions on behalf of a client going through foreclosure. Judge Ronald Friedman struck all defense motions, handed the house back to the lender and told Bleil, "Tell your cl...

Rocket Docket Breakdown: Will borrowers get due process

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Last October, attorney Josh Bleil was being threatened with fines by a Miami-Dade circuit judge for presenting general defense motions on behalf of a client going through foreclosure. Judge Ronald Friedman struck all defense motions, handed the house back to the lender and told Bleil, "Tell your cl...

Foreclosure roundup: More problems for developer Pugliese

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

The rough couple of months for Delray Beach developer Anthony Pugliese III got worse on Nov. 4, when Great Florida Bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit over his planned Coconut Creek apartment project. The Miami Lakes-based bank (Pink Sheets: GFLB) named Pugliese and his St. Lucie Industrial Properties ...

Homeowners Say Loan Modifications Led Them To Foreclose

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Grocery store owners William and Esperanza Casco were making enough money to stay current on their mortgage, but when JPMorgan Chase & Co. offered a plan that reduced their payments, they figured they could use the extra cash and signed up. The Cascos say they never missed a subsequen...

Deadlines loom, but a gridlocked government may not be able to act

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

WALL STREET wisdom holds that political gridlock is good for the economy. When Democrats and Republicans are busy quarrelling, the theory goes, they have less time to tie up business in red tape or to bust the budget. That wisdom is about to be tested. On October 29th the government reported that ...

RealtyTrac numbers questioned

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller’s office is disputing county foreclosure data provided by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. According to RealtyTrac figures, the number of initial foreclosure filings in October rose to 1,958 from 1,175 a month earlier. However, the Palm Beach County ...

FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY DECREASES 4 PERCENT IN OCTOBER

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nine percent drop in bank repossessions may be due to "foreclosure freeze" IRVINE, Calif. – Nov. 11, 2010 — RealtyTrac? (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for October 2010, which shows foreclosure ...

Slide in Home Prices Signals Trouble Ahead: IAS

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Residential property values fell 0.2 percent at the national level during the third quarter of this year, according to Integrated Asset Services (IAS). In front of a seasonal slow-down in home sales, IAS says the data foreshadow “particularly difficult times ahead” for the country’s housing markets...

Current Mortgages Turning Delinquent Rises for First Time in a Year

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

During the third quarter of this year, 2.7 percent of current mortgage balances transitioned into delinquency, according to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That’s up from 2.6 percent that became newly delinquent in the second quarter. Fed officials called the quarterly increase ...

NAR's Pending Home Sales Gauge Slips 1.8%

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

The number of contracts signed for purchases of previously owned homes unexpectedly dropped in September. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Friday that its pending home sales index slipped 1.8 percent – the first decline reported since June. Economists polled by Reuters were anticipa...

S. Fla. home values continue to plunge

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Forty-two percent of homes in South Florida were under water in the third quarter, down from 43.2 percent in the previous quarter and 45.1 percent a year ago, according to Seattle-based Zillow. Still, that’s nearly double the national negative equity rate of 23.2 percent. Home values in Miami...

Paul Volcker: Unemployment Has No Short-Term Solution

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Huffington Post BEIJNG (AP) -- A top economic adviser to President Barack Obama said Tuesday he sees no short-term way to reduce high U.S. unemployment and expects slow growth for the near future. The comments from Paul Volcker come after the Federal Reserve announced last week that it would purch...

There Aren't Enough Jobs For 4 Out Of 5 Unemployed Americans

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

There simply aren't enough jobs to employ four out of five unemployed Americans, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of available jobs in September was 2.9 million, according to a BLS report released Tuesday. It's a decline of 163,000 job openings from the...

Mary Schapiro, SEC Chief: New Congress Won't Slow Reform

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

CHICAGO () - The top securities regulator said on Tuesday she doubts her agency's overhaul of the country's financial rules will be affected by the recent U.S. election, where pro-business Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives and made gains in the Senate. Mary Schapiro said th...

Where the Bubbles Are

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jesse Eisinger is a reporter for ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. This is his first column for DealBook. Across the world, there are booms. Chinese Internet companies are flourishing. Energy companies are finding new s...

Fitch Says Outlook for Entire Residential Servicing Sector is 'Negative'

Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fitch Ratings has assigned a negative outlook to the entire U.S. residential mortgage servicer sector, citing increased concerns surrounding alleged procedural defects in the judicial foreclosure process. A negative outlook from the agency signals that any rating change over the next two years will...

The best stimulus: Confidence

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

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

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

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

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

What the Fed did and why: supporting the recovery and sustaining price stability

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

Two years have passed since the worst financial crisis since the 1930s dealt a body blow to the world economy. Working with policymakers at home and abroad, the Federal Reserve responded with strong and creative measures to help stabilize the financial system and the economy. Among the Fed's respo...

Stern law firm, DJSP lay off 200 employees

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

The troubled Plantation foreclosure firm the Law Offices of David J. Stern and affiliate DJSP Enterprises laid off about 200 employees Thursday on the heels of word it lost major clients Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Stern attorney Jeffrey Tew of Tew Cardenas in Miami said he didn’t know how many a...

Taking On a Second Mortgage to Pay the Foreclosure Lawyer

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

For some Florida residents, the price of getting out of foreclosure will include taking on a second mortgage — payable this time to their lawyers. The new mortgage, which takes effect only if the foreclosure is dismissed and the homeowner’s debt to the bank is reduced, is controversial among defen...

Ally CEO: We 'Screwed Up' and We're 'Embarrassed' over Robo-Signers

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

I Ally Financial’s GMAC Mortgage subsidiary was the first major servicer to admit to problems in its foreclosure procedures that led to errors in legal affidavits. The findings led the company to freeze foreclosures and REO sales in certain states and cast a shadow of doubt over the integrity of ...

Pictures of MERS, Part 1: Corporate Documents Illustrate the Mortgage Shell Game

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

At the center of the foreclosure fraud crisis lies something called "MERS," which is usually described in news reports as a computer system and database. But a thorough review of the company's publicly available documents show it's much more than that. We reviewed hundreds of pages of bulletins, new...

The Republican Recipe for an Anemic Economy Through Election Day 2012

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

The real message from voters was "Fix this stinking economy." But Republicans have no intention of doing so. With Republicans in control of the House, forget spending increases or tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Republicans don't believe in stimulating economies. They think markets eventually c...

Republicans map out their agenda of less

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

Republicans are mapping an agenda for the new Congress that calls for a radical reduction in government spending, a hard-line stance against new taxes and a "sustained" battle against federal regulators - all aimed at easing the concerns of voters desperate for jobs and anxious about the soaring nat...

LPS Report Shows Foreclosure Timelines Continue to Stretch

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

Market data collected by Lender Processing Services (LPS) during the month of September reveals that foreclosure timelines continue to increase, with borrowers in the latest stages of delinquency or in foreclosure languishing without having made a mortgage payment for up to 16 months. The company’s...

Extended Unemployment Could Outlast Extended Unemployment Insurance

Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The government announced Friday morning that the unemployment situation barely changed in October. The unemployment rate has been stuck above nine percent for a year and a half as nearly 15 million people are out of work. They will remain so for the foreseeable future, according to mos...

Top Fed Official On Government's Foreclosure Prevention Efforts:

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

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

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

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

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

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

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

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

Silver Lining in F.D.I.C. Deal

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

At first blush, the anticipated initial public offering of BankUnited looks like a deal that could leave Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, red in the face. After all, she sold the bank, with $13 billion of assets, to a group of private equity heavy-hitter...

How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

IN Congressional hearings last week, Obama administration officials acknowledged that uncertainty over foreclosures could delay the recovery of the housing market. The implications for the economy are serious. For instance, the International Monetary Fund found that the persistently high unemploym...

Proprietary Trading Goes Under Cover: Michael Lewis

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

A few weeks ago we asked a simple question: Why are the same Wall Street banks that lobbied so hard to dilute the passages in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill banning proprietary trading now jettisoning their proprietary trading groups, without so much as a whimper? The law directs regulator...

5 Traits of Today's Home Buyers

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

A survey by American Lives, a consumer research firm in California, conducted a study for the trade magazine Builder to answer that question. Here are their conclusions: • They are young. Most are under 45. Half said they had annual household incomes of $75,000 or less. Two-thirds are married. •...

What It Takes to Buy a House in Foreclosure

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

ATLANTA — As in any economic downturn, the wave of home foreclosures has attracted voracious opportunists — investors among them who are buying, fixing and then renting the places out. In their wake are aspiring owner-occupants. How hard could it be, they ask, to pick up one of these houses on the...

A muddled manifesto for America

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Seeds of Destruction: Why the Path to Economic Ruin Runs Through Washington, And How to Reclaim American Prosperity, by Glenn Hubbard and Peter Navarro, FT Press RRP£18.99, $26.99 Just now optimists about the course of US economic policy are hard to find. The imminent prospect of divided government...

Taking America back

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Mary Rakovich cannot pinpoint the moment she realised she was losing her country. But she started to get that feeling in early 2008 during a very heated phase of the Democratic primary contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The TV networks had picked up tapes of the Reverend Jeremiah Wrig...

Poverty in the suburbs: Mortgage or food

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

FOR more than half a century, Americans have fled the cities in their millions, heading away from crime and poverty towards better schools and safer neighbourhoods in the suburbs. Now poverty is catching up with them. According to two new reports from the Brookings Institution, over the past decad...

Foreclosure Problems Could Be 'Very Damaging' To Housing Market, FDIC Chief Says

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

ARLINGTON, Virginia (Reuters) - Litigation arising from foreclosure paperwork problems could be "very damaging" to the housing market, a top U.S. banking regulator said on Monday. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair said she did not believe legislation would be needed to address con...

Miami foreclosure activity up 25 percent in Q3

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Florida was one of four states whose cities accounted for all top ten foreclosure rates in the third quarter among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more, while cities outside those states accounted for most of the biggest increases in metro foreclosure activity, according to the la...

Justice Watch: U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer seeks extra help against three prevalent frauds

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Just outside U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer’s office sits a nervous young attorney waiting for a job interview. When he was finally summoned, another fresh-faced lawyer walked through the door at the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building and took his place on the love seat. There is no recessi...

Cost of the Fannie, Freddie Bailout

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

The government estimated last week that the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is likely to cost U.S. taxpayers $154 billion. This is more than originally estimated, but less than what the government called a worse-case scenario. Fannie and Freddie have already withdrawn $135 billion. They...

Wells Fargo Owns Up to Finding Errors in 55,000 Foreclosure Affidavits

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

For weeks, Wells Fargo has insisted that it’s not a part of the robo-signing debacle that’s given the industry another black eye, adamantly professing that its foreclosure affidavits are legitimate. That tune has changed with an announcement from the company late Wednesday that it will submit new af...

The “Mortgagegate” Scandal: Congratulations America, You’re Now in the Title-Insurance Business

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

U.S. taxpayers already own pieces of such problem-plagued companies as General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC, American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), Fannie Mae (OTC: FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC). Now the increasingly problematic "Mortgagegate" saga could land American taxpayers in the trou...

A Government-Mandated Foreclosure Moratorium Is a Popular (and Bad) Idea

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

A new poll released by the Washington Post shows that just over half of Americans, and two-thirds of Democrats, believe that the government should impose a temporary moratorium on foreclosures. On the eve of an important election, the White House is definitely caught in a bad spot. Someone needs to...

The States Take on Foreclosures

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Have you noticed that the lead dogs investigating the mortgage foreclosure mess are not any federal prosecutors or national bank regulators, but rather the state attorneys general? I sure have. I can’t think of a more encouraging development. Yeah, yeah, a handful of federal investigations have al...

Amid mortgage mess, owners blindsided

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

After Valarie Stovall fell behind on the mortgage on her home near Hagerstown, her lender agreed in April to slash her monthly payment by $300, and she immediately started paying the reduced amount. That's why, Stovall said, she thought nothing of the yellow flier she ripped off her screen door as...

3 New Anti-Foreclosure Strategies

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Here are three programs that are considered promising replacements for the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which has failed to stop foreclosures. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be encouraged to refinance loans for some 30 million borrowers with high-interest rate mor...

Treasury Department Says HAMP Doesn't Put People Into Default

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

A federal watchdog reported Monday that the Obama administration's signature anti-foreclosure program sometimes causes people to lose their homes to foreclosure -- a conclusion that had already been reached by some homeowners and their advocates. The Treasury Department, which administers the Home...

With Millions of Foreclosures on Horizon, Should States Mandate Mods?

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

The foreclosure crisis is far from over. According to figures released by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), since the crisis took hold, 2.5 million homeowners have already lost their homes and another 5.7 million are at imminent risk of foreclosure. Looking ahead, the nonprofit research gro...

10% Jump in September Existing-Home Sales

Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010

Existing-home sales rose again in September, affirming that a sales recovery has begun, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 10 percent to a seasonally a...

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

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

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

Fed to Spend $600 Billion to Speed Up Recovery

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

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

The White House Needs Elizabeth Warren, Now More Than Ever

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

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

Bank Failures in Slow Motion, Part II

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

[Speech given at The Economic Recovery: Washington's Big Lie, the Supporters Summit for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, October 8, 2010 ( Sheila Bair, the Chairman of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), has said many times that the peak in bank failures would not occur until the ...

Homeownership Stays At Lowest Level In A Decade

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — The nation's homeownership rate remained at its lowest in more than a decade, hampered by a rise in foreclosures and weak demand for housing. The percentage of households that owned their homes was unchanged at 66.9 percent in the July-September quarter, the Census Bureau said Tuesda...

How the Fed’s Move Could Trickle Down to Consumers

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — In its latest move to help the economy, the Federal Reserve is about to restart its monetary printing press — or rather, the electronic equivalent. The Fed announced Wednesday that it intended to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities through June. It also signaled that it could make...

Freddie Mac Posts HUGE Loss In 3Q, Wants $100 Million In Aid

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — Government-controlled mortgage buyer Freddie Mac managed a narrower loss of $4.1 billion for the third quarter and asked for an additional $100 million in federal aid – far less than the $1.8 billion it sought in the second quarter. But while the slimmer loss, and recent glimmerings ...

Fannie and Freddie Face Uncertain Future

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

House Republicans have made punching bags of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, criticizing the federal bailout of the mortgage giants and promising to end the government’s longstanding use of the companies to reduce the cost of mortgage loans. But the Republican takeover of the House could make that goa...

Robo Signer Update

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

The expanding investigation into Florida's foreclosure crisis has turned up a new problem that may involve a number of cases: Individuals hired by law firms to notify struggling homeowners when their foreclosure cases are to be heard in court may have filed faulty or false documents. Foreclosure ...

Lenders Told to Disclose Likely Losses from Paperwork Errors, Buybacks

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is putting mortgage lenders on alert regarding disclosures about potential losses from foreclosure paperwork defects and loans they may be forced to buy back from investors. In a letter sent to the CFOs of publicly traded banking companies, the federal ...

Pending Sales of Government-Owned REOs May Experience Delays

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

Buyers of REO homes owned by HUD may have their closing dates pushed back after this Friday, but the federal agency says any delays will be brief. Rumors have circulated from various corners of the industry that HUD is planning a moratorium on REO sales expected to close after the end of this week,...

Attorney says transcript shows BankAtlantic CEO Alan Levan hid problems

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

An attorney for BankAtlantic Bancorp shareholders bombarded the company’s chairman and chief executive officer with questions Wednesday, contending Alan Levan did not publicly express his true concerns about the quality of bank loans hurt by the real estate collapse. During cross-examination by sh...

Foreclosure Investigation by States to Stay on Track

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

Though some of the players will change, the coordinated effort by attorneys general across the country to investigate — and ultimately reshape — foreclosure procedures is not expected to lose momentum because of Tuesday’s election. Tom Miller, Iowa’s attorney general, who is leading the effort, ...

Geithner Meets With Homeowner Advocates, Homeowners Bogged Down In HAMP

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met Wednesday with homeowner advocates and people who have struggled to get mortgage modifications from banks participating in the administration's anti-foreclosure program. Ken Kelly of Antioch, Calif. said he told Geithner he asked Bank of America fo...

How The Midterm Election Could Affect Business

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

Depending on whom you ask, tonight's election will or will not affect the stock market. And depending on whom you ask, it will or will not help business. The consensus seems to be that it will dampen, rather than boost, markets. But some think that even if markets don't perform well, the anticipate...

What Exactly Can Fix The Economy? Pundits Offer Few Solutions

Posted on Thursday, November 04, 2010

Pundits seem to agree that the anticipated Congressional deadlock won't help the economy. And yet they insist on proposing legislative solutions to the country's economic woes. Reuter's Felix Salmon and the New York Times' Paul Krugman both take issue with a new column by Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of P...

Fed Is Poised to Aid Economy, but Impact Is Cloudy

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

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

Bank Failures in Slow Motion

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

[Speech given at The Economic Recovery: Washington's Big Lie, the Supporters Summit for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, October 8, 2010.] Every Friday evening a few more banks are closed - seized by the various state banking regulators and handed over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (F...

Survey: CRE Down Payments Shut Out 1 in 5 Small Business Owners

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Many a pundit has argued that the key to economic recovery can be found in small businesses. Distressed conditions in the commercial real estate market combined with historically low interest rates present an opportunity for small business owners looking to grow their businesses, but many are findin...

Mortgage Crisis Delivers 'Stealth Stimulus'

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The silver lining to the foreclosure crisis cloud, which has stalled foreclosures nationwide, may just be the economic boost that comes from a temporary free ride. The Wall Street Journal puts a number on that "stealth stimulus" -- $2.6 billion a month. The money saved as debters don't pay their mo...

US Debt Crisis: What NOT to Do When Your Country is Broke

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bill Bonner Another month gone by. Another month closer to bankruptcy. Not you, dear reader. We're talking about the US government. But hold that thought... Let's turn to the markets. Hmmm... Not much action. The Dow rose a piddly 4 points on Friday. Gold went up $15. Not much to tal...

Selected Features of Social Benefits of Homeownership Urbanism

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Financial gain Stability Health benefits Benefits the children Social Benefits ________________________________________ Community Benefits Personal and Social Stability Increase with Homeownership, (Epoch Times, Aug. 18, 2010). The impact of housing on community: A review of scholarly theo...

The Long-Term Value of Home Ownership in the U.S.

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Introduction A home is shelter first and foremost, but under normal circumstances it also is a proven, sound long-term investment. Abnormal economic swings in recent years have distorted those perceptions and, for many people, the reality as well. But a closer examination of the underlying fundam...

Measuring the Benefits of Homeowning:

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

March 5, 1996 In this paper we examine whether homeowning benefits children by testing whether children of homeowners stay in school longer than children of renters and whether daughters of homeowners are less likely to have children as teenagers than daughters of renters. We use both probit mod...

Americans Still Believe Buying a Home Is a Good Financial Decision

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NAR's eighth annual Housing Opportunity Pulse Survey reveals that nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home is a good financial decision, despite ongoing challenges with the economy and housing market. The survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also fou...

Homeownership and Kids

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

October 20, 2010 By Selma Hepp, Research Economist The impact of home ownership on children has been documented in numerous academic studies, many of which have found that home ownership has a wide range of positive effects. The positive outcomes include: better health; fewer behavioral problems; ...

Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Introduction Research has consistently shown the importance of the housing sector on the economy and the long-term social and financial benefits to individual homeowners. The economic benefits of the housing market and homeownership are immense and well documented. The housing sector directly ac...

NAR Reports

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Below are links to the most recent and relevant research from NAR’s economists and other experts about the social and economic benefits of home ownership. 10/20/2010 - Home Ownership and Parenting Owning a home and financial stability may create unique opportunities for parents to engage with thei...

Government Support of Homeownership in

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Critics have said that governments in countries with homeownership rates similar to those of the U.S. don't subsidize homeownership, so why should the U.S.? In many cases, that’s just not true. Here are some examples of how other governments support to encourage homeownership. Canada Homeowners...

GSEs Instruct Servicers to Help Unemployed Through State Programs

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both issued notices to servicers that they must work closely with state housing finance agencies to provide mortgage assistance to homeowners who’ve lost their jobs. The Treasury Department has awarded $7.6 billion for housing agencies in certain states to develop...

NAR

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

On September 7, 2008, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) into conservatorship. FHFA explained it took this action “to help restore confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, enhance their capacity to fulfill their [h...

Debt Collectors Face a Hazard: Writer’s Cramp

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

When Michael Gazzarato took a job that required him to sign hundreds of affidavits in a single day, he had one demand for his employer: a much better pen. “They tried to get me to do it with a Bic, and I wasn’t going — I wasn’t having it,” he said. “It was bad when I had to use the plastic Paper...

Report on NAR’s Meetings with Large Lenders

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

SUMMARY NAR is meeting with several of the largest national mortgage lenders in an effort to communicate REALTOR® concerns and discuss how we can work together to make significant improvements to both the origination and short sale processes. These meetings mark a new phase of the relationship b...

Title Insurers Forego Guarantees on Foreclosure Paperwork Accuracy

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Title insurers are voicing their confidence in mortgage servicers’ ability to correct foreclosure paperwork problems. They’ve decided not to require banks to consent to agreements vouching for the validity of foreclosure documentation, after talks between the two industry groups reportedly fell thr...

The States Take on Foreclosures

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have made it clear that they are more concerned about keeping the foreclosure mill going full speed than they are about determining whether the banks broke the law. Somehow throwing people out of their homes quickly is supposed to help the economy. Or ...

Segregation: The Invisible Elephant in the Foreclosure Debate

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The foreclosure mess just will not go away. Neither will incomplete if not misleading explanations for the crisis, or partial if not ineffective policy proposals. More than 10 million families will lose their homes to foreclosure before the housing market "clears" according to Credit Suisse. Meanwhi...

NAR on Short Sales

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Homeowners who are underwater with their mortgage may find that relief is on the way from a bill strongly supported by the National Association of Realtors® that would impose a deadline on lenders to respond to short-sale requests. The legislation, H.R. 6133, “Prompt Decision for Qualification of S...

SHORT SAL:ES UPDATES AND BASICS

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Due to current economic conditions, the number of short sale properties on the market is rising. The increasing number of short sales on the market presents challenges for REALTORS®. Below you'll find more information on: short sales and their challenges, the government's efforts to address these ch...

Testimony of Julia Gordon, Center for Responsible Lending

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

October 27, 2010 Good morning Chairman Kaufman and members of the panel. Thank you for the invitation to discuss the Making Home Affordable program and other efforts to respond to the millions of foreclosures that have devastated families, destroyed neighborhoods, and triggered a global financia...

Financial Leaders Expect Shift of Power After Elections

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The most powerful executives in the banking industry didn’t go to the government. The government came to them. Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve; Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary; and regulators like Mary L. Schapiro of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Gar...

Fitch Says 7M Homes in the Shadows Will Take 40 Months to Clear

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

New figures released by Fitch Ratings put the industry’s shadow inventory at 7 million homes. The agency defines the shadow supply of properties as loans that aredelinquent, in foreclosure, or real-estate-owned (REO) by the servicer, and Fitch says based on recent liquidation trends, it will take mo...

Capital Economics Warns of Another Dip Ahead

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The analysts at Capital Economics say that dreaded double-dip is already underway, in both housing activity and residential property prices. “It is becoming clear that the housing market cannot stand on its own two feet,” said Paul Dales, U.S. economist for the international research firm. Dales...

Consumer Spending weak

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

WASHINGTON — A mixed picture of the economy emerged one day before key midterm elections that have focused on the nation's financial health. Spending by Americans slowed in September and their incomes fell for the first time in more than a year. At the same time, manufacturing activity grew by the ...

Women and Recovery

Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

After the crash, the downturn was dubbed a "mancession." As the meme continues to circulate, the Roosevelt Institute's New Deal 2.0 blog asked leading thinkers to help sort fact from fiction. Are men suffering more than women in a weak economy? Is Washington doing enough to address female unemployme...

GOP Pledge

Posted on Monday, November 01, 2010

A PLEDGE TO AMERICA We as Republicans offer the following: A PLAN TO CREATE JOBS, END ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY & MAKE AMERICA MORE COMPETITIVE • We will end the uncertainty and create incentives for job growth with a plan to: o Permanently stop all job-killing tax hikes o Give small businesses a...

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