October 2010

Potential AIG Bailout Loss Was Concealed By Treasury, Federal Auditor Says

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

The U.S. Treasury concealed $40 billion in likely taxpayer losses on the bailout of American International Group (AIG.N), the New York Times said, citing a report by Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. "In our view, this is a significant failure in th...

Top 6 Rebuilding Questions

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

This educational e-mail series answers the six, most-asked questions from our clients about strategies to help stay on track with financial goals. Question 1: Am I saving enough for retirement? If market conditions have impacted your retirement savings goals, it's important to know where you stan...

Most Americans worry about ability to pay mortgage or rent, poll finds

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

A majority of Americans now say they are worried about making their mortgage or rent payments, underscoring the extent of economic anxiety in the country heading into midterm elections. A new Washington Post poll shows that concerns about housing payments have spiked since 2008 despite some improv...

The 40-Year Food Outlook

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

The short-term (1-3 year) outlook for agricultural commodities is bullish enough. When you start looking out decades, the picture becomes one of an epic bull market. Feast on the following highlights from an August report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, working with the O...

Refinancing surge gives lift to banks amid foreclosure scrutiny

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

A rush by U.S. homeowners to refinance at near record-low interest rates marks a rare bright spot for the mortgage industry, under attack for choking the economy with shoddy loans and botched foreclosures. Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, received $194 billion of loan applicati...

China banks

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

Scattered throughout Wednesday’s third-quarter numbers from Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, the first of the country’s big lenders to report, are homilies about “promoting [the bank’s] healthy development” and “managing risks and sharpening competitiveness.” This isn’t just the stand...

Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Demand Recourse

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

Ricky Rought paid cash to the Deutsche Bank National Trust Company for a four-room cabin in Michigan with the intention of fixing it up for his daughter. Instead, the bank tried to foreclose on the property and the locks were changed, court records show. Sonya Robison is facing a foreclosure suit ...

Foreclosure lawyers go to North Carolina farm for edge on lenders

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

Bloomberg News Consumer lawyers have been traveling to a remote 160-acre farm in the mountains of western North Carolina since 2006 to network, drink Scotch and prepare for legal combat in foreclosure and bankruptcy cases. They arrive in groups of a dozen or so for a four-day boot camp where they...

Treasury's Incredible Shrinking Mortgage Mod Program

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

The U.S. government's effort to help struggling homeowners is approaching a standstill, and the number of homeowners in ongoing mortgage modifications could start shrinking in several months if current trends continue, according to a ProPublica analysis of Treasury Department data. A year and a ha...

Election Looms Large for Real Estate Industry

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

COSTA MESA, CA-Like the national midterm elections that GlobeSt.com reported on recently for their potential impact on the commercial real estate industry, California’s statewide election Nov. 2 could have far-reaching effects on the industry. From the governor’s race to ballot propositions, the ele...

Federal Auditor Says Obama's Anti-Foreclosure Effort Risks 'Generating Public Anger And Mistrust'

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

The Obama administration's signature anti-foreclosure effort, unveiled in 2009 with the promise of helping three to four million homeowners modify their mortgages, is such a failure that it now risks "generating public anger and mistrust," according to a federal audit released Monday. Far from help...

Case-Shiller Index: Home Prices Fall In August As Market Shows Signs Of Trouble

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP, BY ALAN ZIBEL) -- Home prices are weakening around the country, even in metro areas that were showing strength earlier in the year. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday fell 0.2 percent in August from July. Fifteen of the cities showed monthly...

Foreclosures Pushing Home Prices Down Even Further

Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — Home prices are falling further, suggesting a bottom hasn't been reached in many metro areas. Millions of foreclosures are expected to pour onto the market in the coming years. That's likely to force prices down and hurt even cities that had begun to rebound. Investigations into banks'...

Steering clear of systemic risk

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Systemic risk is the threat that the failure of one financial institution causes significant disruption to, or even the collapse of, the broader financial system. The keystone of systemic risk is banking for two main reasons: banks are highly interconnected by thousands of loans and other contr...

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

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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

Learning the lessons of AIG’s fall

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Paul J Davies, Insurance Correspondent Published: October 26 2010 22:27 | Last updated: October 26 2010 22:27 Financial Times AIG was the world’s biggest insurer before the financial crisis but became the world’s biggest bail-out, casting a long shadow over the sector. The bitter irony for t...

FDIC Recovery in Bank United deal

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BUSINESS DAY Reuters BreakingViews: Silver Lining in F.D.I.C. Deal By ROB COX and WEI GU 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. Aft...

Basel rules risk punishing the wrong banks

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Jacques de Larosière Published: October 25 2010 22:38 | Last updated: October 26 2010 15:32 Financial Times Politicians are determined to strengthen the financial system in order to avoid a repeat of the current crisis, which has resulted in such enormous costs in terms of growth, employment a...

Food Prices

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By AddisonWiggin The Daily Reckoning Every month, JP Morgan Chase dispatches a researcher to several supermarkets in Virginia. The task - to comparison shop for 31 items. In July, the firm's personal shopper came back with a stunning report: Wal-Mart had raised its prices 5.8% during the prev...

Women and the Recession

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New information is emerging about the economic importance of unmarried women and the vital contributions they make to our economy. Almost half (47 percent) of all women in America today are unmarried—divorced, separated, widowed, or never married. Unmarried women now make up nearly a quarter (24 per...

Nonprofit Group Reports Jump in Calls from Distressed Homeowners

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay 10/26/2010 DSNews.com The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) says calls coming into its hotline from distressed homeowners looking for help to stave off foreclosure increased 7.4 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter. HPF administers ...

Public Housing Repairs Can’t Keep Pace With Need

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By CARA BUCKLEY NYTimes.com Public housing is falling apart around the country, as federal money has been unable to keep up with the repair needs of buildings more than half a century old. Over the last 15 years, 150,000 of the nation’s public housing units have been lost, officials said, as a...

Think this economy is bad? Wait for 2012.

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Greg Ip Sunday, October 24, 2010 Washington Post We're barely two years past the banking crisis, still weathering the mortgage crisis and nervously watching Europe struggle with its sovereign debt crisis. Yet every economic seer has a favorite prediction about what part of the economy the n...

Problems May Delay Recovery

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reporting by Dave Clarke; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tim Dobbyn Huffington Post 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 Cha...

Nation's Biggest Banks Each Hold over $20B in Foreclosures: Report

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay DSNews.com New data released this week shows that the nation’s largest banks are holding monstrous volumes of soured home loans. Not only has the housing crisis left major lenders knee-deep in an ocean of non-performers, but added exposure to early delinquencies means they could sink...

Crimes that Contributed to Historic Default Levels May be Creeping Back

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay DSNews.com Trends are emerging that indicate “fraud for property,” i.e. fraud to attain homeownership, which was once considered to be less dangerous than “fraud for profit,” is returning to the industry. The analysts at Interthinx reached this conclusion after witnessing steep i...

Property: Housing at risk of going out of control

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Geoff Dyer Published: October 27 2010 Financial Times If the Chinese economy were to suffer a nasty accident over the next few years, it is likely that housing will be at the bottom of it. Given the underlying demand for housing, it might seem surprising even to entertain the prospect of a ...

Economy: Move from investment to consumption

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Geoff Dyer Published: October 27 2010 Financial Times China’s economy is running into headwinds. Most governments in the developed world would love to have its problems, yet all the same, the country’s growth outlook is becoming more uncertain. The authorities themselves were probably surp...

Scramble to adjust to a new reality

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Geoff Dyer Published: October 27 2010 Financial Times If a global financial meltdown can be said to have a winner, then that would be China. Its economy has rebounded rapidly after the government responded to the crisis quickly and in size. While many developed countries are still wilting,...

US can afford to take greater risks

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Published: October 27 2010 01:35 | Last updated: October 27 2010 01:35 From Mr John Bishop. Financial Times Sir, Martin Wolf does well to contrast the fiscal policy approaches adopted by the US and the UK when both have ballooning budget deficits to manage (“Britain and America seek different p...

Title insurers seek to insulate themselves from foreclosure losses

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Elizabeth Razzi Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, October 22, 2010; 10:31 PM The title insurance industry is maneuvering to protect itself from losses if courts rule that banks have played fast and loose with the foreclosure process. But people who buy foreclosed properties from banks may...

Bank of America hit with foreclosure fraud class action suit

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Charles Toutant Daily Business Review October 27, 2010 Bank of America has been hit with a class action on behalf of homeowners seeking damages for alleged disregard of foreclosure process rules. The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, accuses Bank of America and two s...

One Mess That Can’t Be Papered Over

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON NYTimes.com LAWYERS representing delinquent homeowners have been shouting for years about documentation problems in residential mortgages. Now that their complaints have gained traction with investors, attorneys general and some state court officials, the question of conseque...

Title Insurer Guidelines

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To: All Florida Offices and Agents of: Chicago Title Insurance Company Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company Fidelity National Title Insurance Company From: FNTG Florida Underwriting Department Date: October 27, 2010 Re: CLARIFICATION OF PORTIONS OF UNDERWRITING BULLETIN 2010-23 (INSURING ...

Foreclosure Freezes Come on Heels of Rise in Distressed Sales: Report

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay 10/26/2010 DSNews.com The proportion of foreclosure and other distressed property sales continued to climb in September, according to a report released this week by Campbell Surveys. The company says the new data suggests that any significant delay in foreclosures resulting from t...

Attorney general's subpoena was a 'constitutional absurdity'

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Commentary by Andrew Berman Daily Business Review Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jack Cox ignited consternation Oct. 4 when he quashed a subpoena Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum issued against a law firm, effectively blocking an investigation into its foreclosure practices. In doing so, he call...

Foreclosures Had Errors, Bank Finds

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ NYTimes.com Even as Bank of America begins to restart foreclosure proceedings in 23 states on Monday, the bank confirmed that it had discovered errors, including incorrect data and misspelled names, in the paperwork it has reviewed. For weeks, Bank of America has insisted i...

The real foreclosure mess: Lack of accountability for banks

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Allan Sloan Fortune Wednesday, October 27, 2010; 12:27 AM The biggest danger to the U.S. capitalist system doesn't come from communists or community activists or left-wing academics. It comes from some of the nation's biggest financial institutions. These companies, which helped create the f...

Fannie Mae asks Stern firm to put foreclosure cases on hold

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paola Iuspa-Abbott Daily Business Review Fannie Mae has asked a Plantation-based law firm under investigation by state officials to put on hold all cases involving the government-sponsored mortgage buyer. Fannie Mae late Monday also told the Law Offices of David Stern, which the Florida attorney...

Big Problem for Banks: Due Process

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 22, 2010 By JOE NOCERA NYTimes.com Earlier this week, Bank of America, the nation’s largest consumer bank, reported its third-quarter earnings. It was a very good quarter; putting aside an accounting charge — a very large, $10.4 billion accounting charge, admittedly — the bank reported...

Mortgage lenders say 'enough is enough' as buybacks curb loans

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bloomberg News October 25, 2010 Home lenders are making it tougher to get loans as investors step up demands for refunds on defective mortgages, damaging the housing market, executives said today at an industry conference. Already beset by billions of dollars in forced buybacks, originators ha...

Mortgage Modifications Slow in September

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By DAVID STREITFELD and BINYAMIN APPELBAUM NYTimes.com Even as banks, borrowers and regulators battle over how much faulty documentation by lenders should impede foreclosures, fresh evidence came Monday that the housing market remained very wobbly. Only 28,000 defaulting borrowers received per...

New HAMP Mods Decline by 16% in September: Report

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay DSNews.com The Treasury Department released its monthly progress report on the administration’s flagship foreclosure-prevention program Monday, and the results show that the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is continuing to lose steam. Servicers completed just 28,000 per...

Homeowners Protest HAMP: 'It's Just A Scam And The Banks Are Getting Everything'

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Arthur Delaney 10-26-10 Huffington Post WASHINGTON -- Judy Stratton said she and her husband Harry have tried since January 2009 to modify the mortgage on their home in Stayton, Ore. after a drop-off in demand for Harry's floor maintenance services. In August, Stratton said, they received a reje...

Short Sales Resisted as Foreclosures Are Revived

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By MICHAEL POWELL NYTimes.com PHOENIX — Bank of America and GMAC are firing up their formidable foreclosure machines again today, after a brief pause. But hard-pressed homeowners like Lydia Sweetland are asking why lenders often balk at a less disruptive solution: short sales, which allow owne...

HAMP-Bashing Persists from Watchdogs and Regulators

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay 10/26/2010 DSNews.com Treasury’s latest report on the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) showed a 16 percent drop-off in permanent modifications completed during September, with over half of the 1.36 million trial plans started already canceled from the pr...

CoreLogic Home Price Index Falls for First Time This Year

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay DSNews.com Home prices in the U.S. declined 1.5 percent in August compared to a year earlier, CoreLogic reported Monday. It’s the first time this year the company’s index has recorded an annual drop. Mark Fleming, chief economist for California-based CoreLogic, warned that price dec...

Home prices up, sales down in Broward; in Palm Beach County, prices are down but sales are up

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Paul Owers and Harriet Johnson Brackey, Sun Sentinel Broward County home prices rose in September, but a long-term recovery hinges on the depth and duration of foreclosure freezes by several big lenders. The county's median price of existing homes sold last month was $214,200, a 7 percent inc...

Sales of Existing Homes Post 10% Gain in September: NAR

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CARRIE BAY DSNews.com Sales of previously owned homes rose in September for the second straight month. Data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Monday revealed a 10 percent jump in existing-home sales last month. The month-to-month gain was more than analysts were expecting,...

US house prices fall in August

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By Alan Rappeport in New York Published: October 26 2010 14:24 | Last updated: October 26 2010 18:03 Financial Times US house prices tumbled in August, raising fears that uncertainty surrounding foreclosure moratoriums could send the fragile real estate market into an end-of-year swoon. Home ...

S&P Case-Shiller Index Records Widespread Declines in Home Prices

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

By: Carrie Bay 10/26/2010 DSNews.com Home prices across the country slipped in August, according to data released by Standard & Poor’s Tuesday. The agency’s closely-watched gauge of residential propertyvalues recorded a 0.1 percent drop in the composite reading of 10 cities tracked, while the 20-...

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Huffington Post One out of every 34 Americans who earned wages in 2008 earned absolutely nothing -- not one cent -- in 2009. The stunning figure was released earlier this month by the Social Security Administration, but apparently went unreported until it appeared today on Tax.com in a column by P...

5 Credit Card Traps That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beverly Blair Harzog Contributing editor, CardRatings.com Your golden years should be filled with things you've always dreamed about. Maybe it's a cruise to the Mediterranean with your significant other. Or maybe you're just looking forward to having the time to attend your grandson's baseball gam...

Retired and broke: Why retirees are declaring bankruptcy

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Huffington Post For more and more seniors, retirement doesn’t mean a debt-free life of leisure. An increasing number of Americans aged 65 and older are declaring bankruptcy, according to a recent study by John Pottow, professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School. Those aged 65 and old...

Title insurers seek to insulate themselves from foreclosure losses

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

By Elizabeth Razzi Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, October 22, 2010; 10:31 PM The title insurance industry is maneuvering to protect itself from losses if courts rule that banks have played fast and loose with the foreclosure process. But people who buy foreclosed properties from banks may...

Iowa attorney general launches foreclosure probe amid fierce public outrage

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

By Brady Dennis Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, October 22, 2010; 11:45 PM DES MOINES - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, the man heading up a 50-state investigation into practices that generated mountains of flawed and possibly fraudulent foreclosure filings, understands the wave of anger...

Title Guidelines for Robo Signer Cases

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-23 To: All Florida Offices and Agents of: Chicago Title Insurance Company Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company Fidelity National Title Insurance Company From: FNTG Florida Underwriting Department Date: October 26, 2010 Re: INSURING FORECLOSED PROPERTIES In the current environment o...

Title Implications of FDIC Take Over

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-22 To: All Florida Offices and Agents of: Chicago Title Insurance Company Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company Fidelity National Title Insurance Company From: FNTG Florida Underwriting Department Date: October 26, 2010 Re: FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF JACKSONVILLE (Jacksonville, FL) – FDI...

Ben Bernanke: Regulators Looking Into Foreclosure Mess

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Huffington Post JEANNINE AVERSA | WASHINGTON — Federal banking regulators are examining whether mortgage companies cut corners on their own procedures when they moved to foreclose on people's homes, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday. Preliminary results of the in-depth review in...

Big Problem for Banks: Due Process

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

By JOE NOCERA Earlier this week, Bank of America, the nation’s largest consumer bank, reported its third-quarter earnings. It was a very good quarter; putting aside an accounting charge — a very large, $10.4 billion accounting charge, admittedly — the bank reported $3.1 billion in profits. It was t...

Home Sales Up In September, But More Troubles Ahead

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Huffington Post ALAN ZIBEL and JEANNINE AVERSA |WASHINGTON — Sales of previously occupied homes rose last month after the worst summer for the housing market in more than a decade. And fears over flawed foreclosure documents could keep buyers on the sidelines in the final months of the year. Sale...

Foreclosure crisis puts Wall Street reform legislation to the test

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

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

MERS

Posted on Friday, October 22, 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...

Value

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

It's the most compelling, preoccupying question we measure ourselves by every day, and it has very little to do with money. I'm talking about "worth" as in self-worth and "value," as in the degree to which we feel valued by others and valuable in the world. Nothing more powerfully influences our beh...

How to Restore the American Dream

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

By Fareed Zakaria The American dream for me, growing up in India in the 1970s, looked something like the opening credits of Dallas. The blockbuster TV series began with a kaleidoscope of big, brassy, sexy images — tracts of open land, shiny skyscrapers, fancy cars, cowboy businessmen and the very...

Press Under reporting Fraud

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

If it wasn't already blindingly obvious that pervasive fraud was at the heart of the financial crisis and the ensuing foreclosure catastrophe, you would think that the latest news -- that banks have routinely been lying their heads off in the rush to kick homeowners off the properties they fraudulen...

Fannie and Freddie May Need Infusion

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

BINYAMIN APPELBAUM WASHINGTON — The federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be winding down with relatively little additional cost to taxpayers so long as the economy continues to recover. But if the economy tips back into recession, the bailout could nearly double in size, according to n...

Summary Judgement Cases

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

35 Fla. L. Weekly D2254a Mortgages -- Foreclosure -- Error to grant summary judgment of foreclosure where mortgagors had asserted affirmative defenses which were not denied by mortgagee, dealt with during hearing on motion for summary judgment, or addressed in final judgment JUDITH ALEJANDRE and ...

Fidelity Response to Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

All Florida Offices and Agents of: Chicago Title Insurance Company Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company Fidelity National Title Insurance Company From: FNTG Florida Underwriting Department Date: October 22, 2010 Re: INSURING FORECLOSED PROPERTIES Company guidelines require a complete and...

New Law Allows Homeowners to Recoup Legal Fees in Foreclosure Cases

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

A new state law signed in Albany this week will allow homeowners who win foreclosure proceedings to have the lender pay their lawyers’ fees. Supporters say the law balances what they see as the long unfair practice of lenders writing provisions in mortgage contracts that allow them to collect lawy...

LawSuits Over HAMP

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

A federal judicial panel recently consolidated class-action lawsuits from across the country alleging that Bank of America treated homeowners with bad faith when they applied for mortgage modifications under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. "What this demonstrates i...

Developers

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

Lenders, creditors battle over home-builder Tousa's loans A group of big lenders will face off against creditors of home-builder Tousa today in a legal tug of war over more than $500 million. The case involves a loan issued to Tousa in the months leading up to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in J...

Foreclosure Freeze HUD Review

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said Wednesday that the Obama administration will attempt to protect homeowners and police the kind of paperwork fraud that led the nation's largest banks to temporarily halt foreclosures this month, but added that the administration had yet...

Why Banks Wont Give HAMP Mods

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

Lawyers for homeowners who have been denied mortgage modifications under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program make a straightforward argument when they sue banks. As a class-action complaint in Massachusetts puts it, "when a large financial institution promises to modify ...

Lobbying

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

The 10 biggest banks in the U.S. spent almost $11 million lobbying the government on financial reform legislation and other issues during the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest disclosure reports. And though the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was signed into law by President Obama on ...

Buy American

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010

Buy American" -- it's one of the most common suggestions I get from readers emailing me with job-creation ideas. The federal government could certainly do more of that directly, by expanding domestic-content requirements on government contracts. As businessman/activist Leo Hindery and four co-aut...

An Economic Strategy To Renew American Communities

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

HUD awards $4.25 million grant to several Florida counties

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

of A 3Q losses tied to debit card reforms

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

EW YORK (AP) -- Bank of America Corp. said Tuesday it lost $7.65 billion during the third quarter due to a charge related to credit and debit card reform legislation passed over the summer. In a dramatic shift, the bank also said it will change its consumer banking strategy to focus on providing cu...

Moody's: U.S. Commercial Real Estate Prices Fall to New Cycle Low

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

BY: CARRIE BAY Hearing declarations that recovery has taken hold in the commercial real estate sector, with property values and fundamentals on the upswing? Hold up – not just yet. Commercial real estate prices have slipped again and are now the lowest they’ve been since the beginning of...

Happy hour offers support to mortgage 'deadbeats'

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lisa Epstein flutters about the happy hour at E.R. Bradley's Saloon with a big smile and a small vodka and soda. She's a mother of a 3-year-old girl, a nurse to cancer patients and a deadbeat. Oh, she knows that's what people call her since she stopped being able to afford her mortgage payment ...

As foreclosure freeze spreads, more could stop making payments, economists warn

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

FORT MYERS, FLA. - In his spacious cookie-cutter townhouse on a tidy street near downtown Fort Myers, Joshua Bartlett has waited nearly three years for the knock on the door that never comes. T He hasn't made a mortgage payment since late 2007 and doesn't plan on starting now. He could benefit fr...

Seeking loan modifications shouldn't make homeowners target of scorn

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brett Radosta is not a deadbeat. And yet to hear many people tell it, Radosta - whose home in metro Atlanta is scheduled for foreclosure by Bank of America - is making out like a bandit because there's a possibility he might get a loan modification. The criticism I get isn't about Radosta person...

Ways to Save

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's been a rough few years. Unemployment woes, foreclosure fears and economic uncertainty rule the headlines. It's a time where being frugal has become chic and "tightening our belts" de rigueur. With this in mind, and inspired by reader submissions to our Biggest Money Wasters message board,...

Helping Fragile Families

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

On October 27, The Future of Children, a joint project between Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, will host an event and release a new issue of the journal. The issue reports that unwed parents face a host of problems that complicate their ability to get good jobs, form stable fam...

Federal retirees' groups press for onetime boost to benefits

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gary Faley, a retired freight yard clerk in Flint, Mich., paid attention the other day when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she will schedule a vote in November on a plan to give an extra $250 to retirees who will not receive a cost-of-living increase in their benefit checks next year. ...

1 in 5 Americans Have Close Ties Elsewhere

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nearly one in five Americans are either immigrants or were born in the United States to at least one parent from abroad, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. The second generation was more likely to be better educated and earn more and less likely to be living in poverty. “This suggests that the children...

Hard Times, Solid Policies to Renew American Communities, with Gov. Jennifer Granholm

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM Washington, DC On October 13, Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) joined former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, New York City Deputy Mayor Steve Goldsmith and other experts in a Hamilton Project forum focuse...

A Gray Market in Real Estate

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

ORDOS, China — As the real estate action in Kangbashi New Area reached a fevered pitch last year, banks that are controlled by the national government, concerned about overbuilding, began restricting loans to property developers here. Many builders barely broke stride. They turned to undergrou...

Bernanke lectured Japanese officials for mishandling their economy.

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

By JON HILSENRATH As a Princeton professor in the 1990s, Ben Bernanke lectured Japanese officials for mishandling their economy. Jon Hilsenrath discusses Bernanke's criticism of Japan's central bank a decade ago, saying it offers hints of what the Fed's next steps might be. Today, Tokyo's econ...

A Comparison of EU and U.S. Financial Regulatory Reforms

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

On October 7, the International Centre for Financial Regulation and Brookings held a joint meeting to improve understanding of the European financial regulatory agenda and the similarities and differences in priorities and legislation with U.S. regulatory initiatives. At the meeting, participants co...

Questions Rising Over Fannie’s and Freddie’s Oversight of Foreclosures

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Employees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac descended on the law offices of David J. Stern seven or eight times during 2008 to scrutinize the Florida firm’s processing of foreclosures. They made one major demand, according to a former employee. “Pick up the speed.” Fannie and Freddie, the wards of W...

Major title insurer insists lenders vouch for foreclosure paperwork

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The country's largest title insurer said Wednesday that banks and other lenders must vouch for the accuracy of their mortgage documents before the firm will write insurance for a foreclosure Fidelity National Financial announced the policy change - the strongest move yet by a title insurer to protec...

First witness called in BankAtlantic trial

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

1The attorney representing shareholders suing BankAtlantic Bancorp told jurors Tuesday he would prove executives lied to investors about a deteriorating loan portfolio. As the shareholder class action suit opened in U.S. District Court in Miami, plaintiffs' attorney Mark Arisohn pointed to internal...

GMAC Mortgage to Move Forward with Foreclosures

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

BY: CARRIE BAY GMAC Mortgage was the first company to halt foreclosures in 23 states where a judge’s approval is required because of concerns that the legal paperwork was not validated and processed correctly. After two months of reviewing individual case files, the company says it will restar...

N.Y. Fed joins investors demanding Bank of America buy back mortgages

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has joined a group of investors demanding that Bank of America buy back billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities that are plagued with shoddy documentation and lending standards, according to people familiar with the matter. Some of the most powerful in...

Broward judge denies firm's bid to stop state investigation

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Broward County judge's ruling on Friday gives Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum the right to continue his investigation into a Plantation foreclosure law firm. Circuit Judge Eileen O'Connor denied a request from the law offices of David J. Stern to quash the state's subpoena for documents ...

Lawsuits over mortgage mods

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

A federal judicial panel recently consolidated class-action lawsuits from across the country alleging that Bank of America treated homeowners with bad faith when they applied for mortgage modifications under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. "What this demonstrates i...

Fraud Task Force Pursues Criminal Investigation of Mortgage Servicers

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

BY: CARRIE BAY Allegations that some of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers cut corners in processing foreclosures and filed unsubstantiated paperwork could turn criminal. The Washington Post, citing people “familiar with the matter,” reports that President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enfo...

Battle Lines Forming in Clash Over Foreclosure

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

About a month after Washington Mutual Bank made a multimillion-dollar mortgage loan on a mountain home near Santa Barbara, Calif., a crucial piece of paperwork disappeared. But bank officials were unperturbed. After conducting a “due and diligent search,” an assistant vice president simply drew up...

FDIC faces challenge in going after banks

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Local banking attorneys say federal regulators will face plenty of challenges if they pursue plans to seek civil penalties against the directors and officers of failed banks. Wayne Tompkins View the full article here: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/PubArticleDBR.jsp?id=1202473595680 ...

Pimco, NY Fed Said to Seek BofA Repurchase of Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pacific Investment Management Co., BlackRock Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are seeking to force Bank of America Corp. to repurchase soured mortgages packaged into $47 billion of bonds by its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit, people familiar with the matter said. Oct. 19 (Bloombe...

Bank of America and Fidelity National Reach Agreement for REOs

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

BY: JOY LEOPOLD Bank of America and Fidelity National Financial have come to an agreement regarding the foreclosure paperwork issues that have plagued several of the largest lenders in the past weeks. Under the agreement, Jacksonville, Florida-based Fidelity agreed to continue to provide title...

Center For Responsible Lending Chimes in on Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

What’s a State to Do? Highlight: State-by-State Data This new report includes the latest foreclosure figures, state-by-state, including projected foreclosures through 2012, the rate at which foreclosures are increasing (or, in very rare cases, declining), and the amount of home equity wealth that ...

Attorney general's subpoena was a 'constitutional absurdity'

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jack Cox ignited consternation Oct. 4 when he quashed a subpoena Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum issued against a law firm, effectively blocking an investigation into its foreclosure practices. In doing so, he called this effort to usurp the Florida Supreme Court's ex...

Settlement Offered in Suit Over Farm Loans

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The government is offering a $680 million settlement to American Indians who say they were denied Agriculture Department farm loans. The two sides met on Tuesday to present the settlement to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court. The agreement also includes $80 million in debt forgivenes...

Banks face two-front war on bad mortgages, flawed foreclosures

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bloomberg News Daily Business Review OShoddy mortgage lending has led bankers into a two-front war, pitting them against U.S. homeowners challenging the right to foreclose and mortgage-bond investors demanding refunds that could approach $200 billion. While federal regulators and state attorneys ...

U.S. Tries to Ease Wider Worries Over Foreclosures

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

WASHINGTON — Administration officials renewed efforts on Wednesday to ease concerns about the integrity of the foreclosure process, saying that no evidence had emerged so far of any problems that threatened the health of the financial system. Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban developme...

Task force probing whether banks broke federal laws during home seizures

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Federal investigators are exploring whether banks and other financial firms broke U.S. law when using fraudulent court documents to foreclose on people's homes, according to sources familiar with the effort. The criminal investigation, still in its early days, is focused on whether companies misle...

Stern leaves chairman post of DJSP Enterprises

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Attorney David Stern stepped down as chairman of DJSP Enterprises. The company also accepted the voluntary resignations of three top executives who had been hired earlier this year to plot a growth strategy for the company. Paola Iuspa-Abbott View the full article here: http://www.dailybusi...

Wells Fargo Posts Q3 Report, Explains Lack of Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

BY: JOY LEOPOLD Enter your email to receive Daily Email Updates: Wells Fargo & Co. released its third quarter profits on Wednesday, with earnings per share of 60 cents, an increase of seven percent from the 55 cents earned in Q3 2009 and an increase of nine percent from the 56 cents reported ...

Donovan Interview

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

JIM LEHRER: A federal task force met today in Washington to sort through the housing foreclosure mess, much of it caused by reports of major paperwork problems. More than 2.5 million American homes are currently in foreclosure. The secretary for housing and urban development, Shaun Donovan, briefe...

Florida activists read between the lines on foreclosure paperwork

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Nearly a year before the national furor over foreclosures began, Lisa Epstein, a nurse, ran into three other amateur sleuths who separately were investigating shoddy practices at mortgage companies. While meeting for the first time in November at an old one-story law office...

Citi and the Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Top Citigroup executives sought to assure investors and the public Monday that the firm's foreclosure process and its handling of key documents in securitizing home mortgages is "sound," despite growing concerns over how lenders may have skirted the law when bundling home mortgages, selling them and...

New York Courts First to Institute New Foreclosure Filing Requirement

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The New York state court system has instituted a new filing requirement in residential foreclosure cases that officials say will “protect the integrity of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures.” Lenders’ counsel are now required to file an affirmation with the court certifying...

More on Countrywide Settlement

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

It is hard to see how the Mozilo settlement -- coming on the heels of another weak SEC settlement with financier Steve Rattner -- will deter future wrongdoing. . . . Indeed, it could have the contrary effect. If you can make a great fortune behaving badly, get busted, and still end up with most of t...

Fed Wants Banks to Buy Back Some Bad Mortgages

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two years after the Fed bought billions of dollars in mortgage securities as part of the financial bailout, its New York arm is questioning the paperwork — and pressing banks to buy some of the investments back. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and several giant investment companies, includi...

House Committee to Investigate Mortgage Servicing Problems

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

BY: CARRIE BAY The House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity will hold a hearing on the industry’s foreclosure paperwork errors when Congress reconvenes next month. The hearing, scheduled for Thursday, November 18th, will investigate the problems that have recently surfaced in...

Foreclosure Freeze Started With Small Firms

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer's gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment. Lillian and Robert Jackson stopped paying on their home in Jacksonville,...

Pugliese shocked by foreclosure

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anthony Pugliese III, who has proposed building the 41,300-acre Destiny in Central Florida, said hes shocked that a bank filed to foreclose on a storage facility he built in Coconut Creek. Branch Banking & Trust Co. filed a lawsuit Oct. 4 against Coconut Creek Johnson Road. Pugliese is not named in...

Countrywide Settlement

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

In the end, Angelo Mozilo settled for pennies on the dollar. The former Countrywide Financial Corp. chief agreed Friday to a settlement that requires him to pay 16 cents out of his own pocket for every dollar federal authorities claimed he had taken out of the company in ill-gotten personal gains....

Intermission, at Best, in Battle Over Foreclosures

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bank of America may be trying to bring down the curtain on the foreclosure furor, but there were numerous indications Tuesday that the problems would not move off-stage so quickly. A day after the bank said it would once again pursue defaulting borrowers in the 23 states where foreclosures were ...

Foreclosure freeze puts dent in S. Fla. inventory

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

The freeze in foreclosures by some of the nation’s biggest lenders has taken a chunk out of the number of homes for resale in South Florida, according to a report from CondoVultures.com The report finds that lenders have pulled 2.9 percent of the bank-owned properties from the market in the last we...

No End in Sight

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

With no end in sight to the nation’s high unemployment, the government program to help the jobless is heading for a crash. And with Democrats and Republicans now divided over what used to be routine extensions of unemployment insurance benefits, there’s little prospect anytime soon for the sort of...

New Challenges for a Nationwide Recovery

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Michael Greenstone, Director, The Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Adam Looney, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, and Policy Director, The Hamilton Project The Brookings Institution Today’s release of September’s jobs numbers confirms what we all know – too many American work...

The Next Economy and the Growth Challenge for the United States

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Martin Neil Baily, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies The Brookings Institution SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 — In 1999-2000, the administration of President Clinton was celebrating an era of unusually strong economic growth with both strong productivity gains and employment gains. The unemployment rate was ...

How Bad can foreclosure freeze get for wall street?

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foreclosure fraud is ruffling a lot of feathers on Wall Street, and while the full scope of losses remains unclear, even major banks are now acknowledging that this is a multibillion-dollar disaster, not just a set of minor paperwork headaches. So how bad will it get for Wall Street? There are seve...

Foreclosures Profit Some Equity Firms

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010

With a surge in lawsuits against law firms specializing in foreclosures, a case in Mississippi is casting light on another aspect of the mortgage mess — the connection between Wall Street private equity firms and those law firms, often known as foreclosure mills. The lawsuit on behalf of homeowner...

Moral Hazard?

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jamie Dimon and the other mega-bankers who derailed the economy have a new PR campaign to sell you. They're saying that families who can't pay their mortgages must bear the blame -- all the blame -- for the foreclosure crisis. That means the public should just ignore banks' widespread lawbreaking in...

Bank New Tactic Blame the Borrowers

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Once again, as another harebrained scheme unravels, the swinging dicks of Wall Street manage to appear impervious to reality and completely immune to the truth. Nearly every Attorney General in the country is now investigating what was not just simply serial fraud but a no-holds-barred crime spree ...

Americans New Challenge stealing from the poor

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Redistribution of wealth during the 1920's was devastating for America in the 30's In the Golden Age a small portion of American businessmen controlled a great portion of America's wealth. That disproportionate balance of ownership led to high unemployment, tremendous loss of personal property, fa...

Breaking into to Your Own Home?

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nancy Jacobini had applied for a mortgage modification when JPMorgan Chase broke into her house and attempted to change the locks on Sept. 28. "I'm locked in my bathroom," said Jacobini during a 911 call. "Somebody broke into my house!" It turned out the bank wanted to secure the property even th...

House, homeowner caught in a mortgage meltdown

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Liberty City woman is fighting foreclosure, claiming forgery, fraud and bank negligence in a drama that has her family home at stake.Ten people spanning three generations share a single bathroom in what's left of Annie Edwards' crumbling home in Liberty City. There are holes in the wood floors and...

The Eleven Reasons People Can’t Sell Their Home

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The environment for home sales becomes more difficult with each passing month. Some estimates put 11 million mortgages, about 20% of the US total, underwater, meaning that homeowners owe their banks more than the underlying properties are worth. Home repossessions reached more than 100,000 for the f...

Ex-clerk: Foreclosure lawyer Stern hid files

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Foreclosure attorney David Stern, who is being investigated for fabricating legal documents, purposefully hid files from inspectors with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a former employee said in recently released deposition. Stern had a tight-knit relationship with the two mortgage giants, and referr...

Robo Signer Perks

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

At a large Florida "foreclosure mill," a manager signed up to 1,000 documents a day without reading them and employees were given gifts to speed up foreclosure paperwork, according to depositions released today by the Florida Attorney General's Office. The news, also reported by Tampa Online, come...

How not to help homeowners

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

THERE WOULD NEVER be a good time to find out that vast numbers of home foreclosures have been tainted by flawed or phony documentation. Now is an especially bad moment: In September, lenders foreclosed on 102,000 houses, a record for a single month. More are in the pipeline. Of course, it's election...

Countrywide...who are cul;prits in foreclosure crisis?

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I read that Angelo R.Mozilo of Countrywide Financial fame is paying a $67.5 million fine of which Countrywide is paying $20 million. It reminds me of the old story that lawyers are wont to tell. A petty thief is charged with stealing a watch. He vehemently denies it. He is convicted and sentenced to...

Bank of America to restart foreclosures in 23 states

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ust 10 days after announcing a nationwide halt to foreclosure sales, Bank of America, the nation's largest bank, said Monday that it would begin resubmitting paperwork on Oct. 25 to restart foreclosures on borrowers who missed their payments in 23 states. If judges approve the new filings, the bank ...

Banks Said Move Forward, Will Judges Stop Them Now?

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"If judges approve the new filings, the bank expects that the sales of foreclosed properties will start up once again in the states where a court order is needed to foreclose on a home. The bank said it will continue to freeze foreclosure sales and review files in the District of Columbia and the ot...

Politics of Robo Signers

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Asking the banks to figure this out on their own won't strike voters as terribly credible because the base of the problem here was that the banks -- and their procedures -- have not proven credible. Letting the courts decide on a case-by-case basis doesn't make for great policy. By and large, the Wh...

Foreclosure freeze leads to uneasy politics for Democrats

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The calculus is clear for most Democratic incumbents, especially those in tight races like Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid: Nothing could be worse on the eve of elections than images of people being booted out of their homes by big banks that have relied on sloppy, if not fraudulent, paperwork....

Politics Chimes in on Robo Signers

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How long will President Barack Obama and Congress be able to avoid wading into the foreclosure mess? “I think the [federal government] is going to need to act pretty soon,” said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, who predicts Democrats will introduce bills to ...

Largest Bank Will Resume Foreclosure Push in 23 States

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 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 five A...

Banks Borrow But Wont Lend?

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Let's be honest: the banking system is now fully dysfunctional. It has failed in its primary purpose: to act as a machine for lending into the real economy. Instead the banking system has been turned on its head, and become a borrowing machine. Readers, I know, are smart and on the button when it ...

Recovry Policy

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Higher prices, one top Federal Reserve official believes, could lead us out of the economic slump. The current problem, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said... Will the recession just go on and on and on? In the absence of far more vigorous government action, it certainly looks that way. A...

Inflation v Deflation

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Higher prices, one top Federal Reserve official believes, could lead us out of the economic slump. The current problem, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in a speech Saturday, is that even though interest rates are near rock-bottom, people are tending to save money rather than spend it. The ...

Banks Stocks and Foreclosure Freeze-Robo Signers

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WASHINGTON — The pace of U.S. home foreclosures may not slow much after all. Bank of America said Monday that it plans to resume seizing more than 100,000 homes in 23 states next week. It said it has a legal right to foreclose despite accusations that documents used in the process were flawed. All...

How We Can Really Help Families

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

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

Congressional Panel Sees Conflicts of Interest from TARP Contractors

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

The Congressional Oversight Panel, charged with keeping a watch over Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, says “significant concerns” persist about accountability and potential conflicts of interest because of the Treasury’s “extensive use” of private contractors to carry out functions relate...

One Mans Version - excuse the profanity

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Homeowners can only be foreclosed and evicted from their homes by the person or institution who actually has the loan paper—only the note-holder has legal standing to ask a court to foreclose and evict. Not the mortgage—the note, which is the actual IOU that people sign, promising to pay back the mo...

Inspections

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

THE INSPECTION Let’s say you do manage to get a loan, resist the auctions and take the straight sale approach, shopping through a real estate agent. You’ll want to make any bid for a home contingent on a thorough inspection from someone familiar with foreclosed properties. Mold may be your first c...

Avoid Foreclosure Market Until the Dust Settles

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Todd Phelps and Paul Whitehead didn’t think they were last month when they were the winning bidders in a foreclosure auction on the steps of the main Riverside, Calif., county courthouse. They thought they had won the lottery. For years, they had been living in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa...

The Mortgage Morass

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

OP-ED COLUMNIST NYT By PAUL KRUGMAN American officials used to lecture other countries about their economic failings and tell them that they needed to emulate the U.S. model. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, in particular, led to a lot of self-satisfied moralizing. Thus, in 2000, Lawre...

Income Inequality: Too Big to Ignore

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

PEOPLE often remember the past with exaggerated fondness. Sometimes, however, important aspects of life really were better in the old days. Enlarge This Image I. David G. Klein During the three decades after World War II, for example, incomes in the United States rose rapidly and at about the...

ocial Benefits of Homeownership

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

by NAR Research Staff Recently, homeownership has been under attack. Media reports and pundits have questioned the wisdom of social policies – such as the mortgage interest deduction or the recent homebuyer tax credit -- that encourage and support homeownership. Given one “popular” view that housin...

Charitable Contributions

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — A new ranking of the nation's 400 biggest charities shows donations dropped by 11 percent overall last year as the Great Recession ended – the worst decline in 20 years since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began keeping a tally. The Philanthropy 400 report to be released Monday shows su...

Fraud

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

There are plenty of reasons why the foreclosure fraud crisis sweeping the nation's housing market is an economic disaster. Banks are charging borrowers illegal fees, kicking the wrong people out of their homes and even hiring thugs to illegally break into houses. But the fundamental scam is much wor...

FDIC’s Bair Discusses GSE Reform, Safe Harbor Rule

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Securitization (of residential mortgages) and proposed reforms of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also discussed at ULI this week by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair, who said the end goal of all the confusion and uphea...

Bankers Ignored Signs of Trouble on Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

At JPMorgan Chase & Company, they were derided as “Burger King kids” — walk-in hires who were so inexperienced they barely knew what a mortgage was.At Citigroup and GMAC, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on home foreclosures was outsourced to frazzled workers who sometimes tossed the paperwork i...

Need a Lawyer? Good Luck

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Across the country, programs that provide legal representation in civil cases to low-income Americans are so cash-strapped that they are turning away numbers of people. Hard-pressed Americans fighting foreclosure or seeking protection from domestic violence or access to medical care or unemployment ...

All 50 States Start Inquiry Into Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

The regulatory body, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, made it clear that the foreclosure process should “proceed without delay” if no problems were found, even though some Democratic lawmakers have called for a nationwide moratorium. “The country’s housing finance system remains fragile, and I ...

AG Gear Up

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Attorneys general in all 50 states have pledged a coordinated investigation into chaotic foreclosure practices by some of the nation’s largest banks. The Department of Justice is also looking into what happened, while some lawmakers are now calling for a nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures unt...

FHFA Chimes In

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

On October 12, 2010, NAR wrote to Treasury Secretary Geithner, HUD Secretary Donovan, and Acting Director DeMarco of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to convey REALTOR® concerns about the confusion and uncertainty that questions about the validity of foreclosures are causing in local commun...

Stewart Evaluating Title Insurance for Foreclosures Case-by-Case

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Stewart Title Guaranty Co. is taking a guarded stance when it comes to repossessed properties that may be the subject of foreclosure paperwork reviews. The Associated Press, citing an internal memo obtained by the news agency, reports that the Houston-based title insurer has issued new guidelin...

Foreclosure Freeze/How Title Insurance Helps

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

To the Editor: Re “After Foreclosure, a Focus on Title Insurance,” by Ron Lieber (Your Money column, Oct. 9): Americans need assurance that the economy will rebound, yet this column simply incited fear by suggesting that homeowners who purchase foreclosed properties could lose their homes. Whe...

Judge clears AG subpoena of Stern firm

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Adolfo Pesquera and Julie Kay Daily Business Review Broward Circuit Judge Eileen O'Connor cleared the way Thursday for a state attorney general's office subpoena to obtain foreclosure records from the Law Offices of David J. Stern in Plantation, which has filed foreclosures with the courts by the ...

Attorney general's subpoena was a 'constitutional absurdity'

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Commentary by Andrew Berman Daily Business Review When he quashed a subpoena Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum issued against a law firm, effectively blocking an investigation into its foreclosure practices. In doing so, he called this effort to usurp the Florida Supreme Court's exclusive fun...

McCollum subpoenas Lender Processinig

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Attorney General Bill McCollum has supoenaed foreclosure-related records from Lender Processing Services and four law firms, according to a report by Bloomberg News. Bloomberg News Service Lender Processing Services Inc., which provides foreclosure services, was subpoenaed by the Florida attorne...

More Law Makers Call For Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

The number of lawmakers calling for investigations or a freeze on foreclosures is growing, in the wake of an increasing amount of evidence pointing to faulty proceedings. Nearly all of these public officials, however, are Democrats; most Republicans have either stayed silent or opposed a moratorium....

Foreclosure Armageddon’ looms

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

1. Stays on foreclosure proceedings involving four major lenders create such a state of legal flux that one real estate lawyer refers to it as “foreclosure Armageddon.” The lenders, including Bank of America and GMAC, recently suspended foreclosures while they conduct internal investigations int...

Wells Fargo Says All is Well

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — Wells Fargo & Co. does not plan to halt foreclosures despite an employee's testimony that she signed up to 500 foreclosure documents daily without reading them. The employee of the San Francisco-based bank said in a deposition taken last March that she signed between 300 and 500 forecl...

Foreclosure fiasco trail leads to Washington

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

What were banking regulators doing while some of the biggest U.S. lenders routinely filed false foreclosure documents in local courthouses around the country? In the case of IndyMac Federal Bank, it turns out the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was running the joint. This may help explain why the ...

I. White House Urges Calm on Foreclosures

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Amid a rising uproar over slipshod bank foreclosure practices, members of the Obama administration on Sunday expressed anger about the revelations, but urged caution as multiple investigations into the crisis unfold. In a piece posted on the Huffington Post Web site, Shaun Donovan, the secretary o...

FHFA Orders Paperwork Fixes but Insists Foreclosures Should Proceed

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees the nation’s two largest mortgage financiers, has issued a directive outlining specific steps servicers should take to identify and correct potential deficiencies in foreclosure paperwork. Recent widespread reports of so-called robo-signe...

Housing Recovery Predicted for Late 2012

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

In its new housing outlook report, The Concord Group—a real estate strategy firm based in Newport Beach, Calif.— predicts that national home sales will recover by the fourth quarter of 2010, with some well positioned markets improving by late 2011 or early 2012. "The Concord Group estimates sales ...

Interpreting NAR's Existing-Home Sales Data Series

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

by Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research NAR’s Existing Home Sales (EHS) numbers estimate the size of the residential market—providing the annual rate of sales each month. The data are based on the level of sales in a specific month, seasonally adjusted to an annual rate. In July the...

Home Glut Blamed on Fewer New Households

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

here were 357,000 new households created between March 2009 and March 2010, down from about 1.3 million per year between 2002 and 2007, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. With household formation at a 63-year low, the supply of homes on the market is nearing a record high. "When people are af...

Mortgage Mess May Cost Big Banks Billions

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

One billion dollars? Six billion? Ten billion? More? A foreclosed home in Miami. The halt in foreclosures may lead to billions in costs for banks. After scratching their heads for weeks over how much the foreclosure mess will hurt banks’ bottom lines, investors got out their calculators Thursd...

Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

Pension funds and other investors who have suffered losses on mortgage-backed securities could have a "strong legal basis" to call into question the very securitized mortgages they purchased stakes in, increasing the pressure facing large Wall Street firms that packaged these securities during the h...

Worries over fast-tracked foreclosures send bank stocks plummeting

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010

By David S. Hilzenrath Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, October 14, 2010; 8:13 PM Stocks of major banks declined sharply Thursday amid concern that widespread corner-cutting in the foreclosure process could saddle the financial system with a costly and paralyzing mess. The sell-off was ...

From the FDIC

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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

Strategic Defaults

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

At first blush it sounds better than winning the lottery: You get the cash up front and you don’t even have to buy a ticket to play! But strategically defaulting. In fact there are sound financial, legal, and ethical reasons to stay put. For example, paying rent years before being able to buy ...

Across the U.S., Long Recovery Looks Like Recession

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

By MICHAEL POWELL and MOTOKO RICH This is not what a recovery is supposed to look like. In Atlanta, the Bank of America tower, the tallest in the Southeast, is nearly a fifth vacant, and bank officials just wrestled a rent cut from the developer. In Cherry Hill, N.J., 10 percent of the houses on ...

Marriage and Recession

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

THE recession has taken a toll on the institution of marriage, we keep hearing. Last month, for instance, when it was reported that the proportion of Americans aged 25 to 34 who are married fell below the proportion who have never married, it was quickly attributed to the economic downturn. Young ad...

Possible Costs to Tax Payers

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WASHINGTON — A government watchdog is investigating government-owned GMAC Mortgage after a company employee admitted to approving thousands of foreclosures without reading the paperwork. The special inspector general for the $700 billion financial bailout is looking into the improper foreclosures, ...

Foreclosure investigation growing, state official says. Plantation firm asks judge to toss subpoena

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A lawyer with the Florida Attorney General's Office urged a Broward County judge Tuesday to allow the state to continue its investigation of a giant South Florida foreclosure law firm, saying regulators were uncovering "substantial, egregious activity." Jeffrey Tew, representing the law offices o...

Owner and Holder Status

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A coalition of groups led by the SEIU is launching a campaign to help homeowners capitalize on a growing foreclosure fraud scandal that has forced banks to halt foreclosures across the country. The campaign suggests a question for borrowers to ask when fighting foreclosure in court: "Where's the n...

First witness called in BankAtlantic trial

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The attorney representing shareholders suing BankAtlantic Bancorp told jurors Tuesday he would prove executives lied to investors about a deteriorating loan portfolio. As the shareholder class action suit opened in U.S. District Court in Miami, plaintiffs' attorney Mark Arisohn pointed to internal ...

Unprecedented

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The current foreclosure crisis is unprecedented in American history, Barry Ritholtz said on Monday. The Fusion IQ CEO told CNBC's Larry Kudlow and Diana Olick that the flaws in the foreclosure system are not simply "a matter of paperwork." At stake are U.S. property rights, which are "being dramatic...

Big Efin Deal Per Biden

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The foreclosure fraud scandal is a big deal (or a big "effin'" deal, as Joe Biden might say). But its real significance is an even bigger deal. Foreclosure fraud is one domino, and if it falls others will follow. The result could be an end to the "invisible bailout" -- the one you never hear about, ...

NAr Chimes in on Robo Signers

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 12, 2010 The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner Secretary U.S. Department of the Treasury 1500 New York Ave., NW Washington, DC 20220 The Honorable Shaun Donovan Secretary U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Washington, DC 20410 Mr. Edward J. DeMarco Acting Director Feder...

GMAC Finds "No Evidence" of Improper Foreclosures, Expands Reviews

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

GMAC Mortgage says although reviews of foreclosure affidavits involving homes in 23 judicial states are ongoing, the company “has found no evidence to date of any inappropriate foreclosures.” GMAC suspended foreclosure actions and REO sales in states where courts oversee homeowner evictions and pro...

LA Lenders

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Two big mortgage lenders are reviewing foreclosures as public officials heighten pressure on the industry over allegations that they made errors in documents used to evict homeowners. GMAC Mortgage, a unit of Ally Financial Inc., said Tuesday that it has enlisted legal and accounting ...

California might join probe of lenders that seized homes

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

California officials are considering joining a multistate investigation of whether lenders have violated foreclosure laws when seizing houses from delinquent borrowers. The investigation, which is expected to be publicly announced Wednesday, is spearheaded by Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller. Under his l...

NAR Meets with Major Lenders on Short Sales and REO Disposition

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is holding meetings with the nation’s four largest lenders to address growing concerns about their processes for short sales and selling REO homes. The trade group’s leadership team has already met with representatives from Bank of America and Wells Fargo...

Economists Say Home Prices Have Already Hit Bottom

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home prices in the United States found their floor during the early part of 2010 and are expected to begin trending upward next year, according to a panel of elite economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) for its October 2010 Outlook. “The housing recovery is in...

Rent v. Own?

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

With top lenders like Bank of America and PNC issuing far-reaching moratoriums on foreclosures, now may just be a better time to rent than buy. A simple calculation called the price-to-rent ratio can give you an indication of whether it's a better move to rent or buy a home. Trulia, the online real...

11.5 Million Jobs Short

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Even though the unemployment rate remained flat at 9.6 percent in September, the labor market would now need to add a total of about 11.5 million jobs to restore the pre-recession rate, according to analysis from Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute. The economy lost abo...

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tackles five myths about TARP

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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

Halting Foreclosures for Robo Sighers Would be a Disaster

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halting foreclosures across the nation would be "catastrophic" for the economy, a financial industry trade group said Monday. Tim Ryan, CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, released a statement in which he warned that stopping foreclosures nationwide would cause far mor...

FDIC v Failed Bank Directors

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is poised to sue over 50 executives from failed banks, Bloomberg News reports. The potential lawsuits would help the FDIC recover more than $1 billion it lost during the credit crisis, which has forced the FDIC to take over 294 lenders since 2008. So far th...

Stern Warning

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A former paralegal with Florida's largest foreclosure law practice has told state investigators that the firm routinely signed court paperwork without reading it, misdated records, forged signatures and passed around notary stamps in the rush to foreclose on homes. "This is just the beginning real...

Florida AG v. Robo Signers

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has joined top regulators from 39 other states in scrutinizng the banks, mortgage companies and loan servicers involved in the widening foreclosure crisis. But McCollum stopped short of calling for some or all lenders to temporarily halt to foreclosures, sho...

Robo Signers v The AGs

Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I. By ROBBIE WHELAN And RUTH SIMON A coalition of as many as 40 state attorneys general is expected Wednesday to announce an investigation into the mortgage-servicing industry, an effort some of them hope will pressure financial institutions to rewrite large numbers of troubled loans. The move co...

washington considers what to do about robo signer cases

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010

Government had been warned for months about troubles in mortgage servicer industry By Zachary A. Goldfarb Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, October 10, 2010; 12:45 AM Consumer advocates and lawyers warned federal officials in recent years that the U.S. foreclosure system was designed...

Robo Signer Cases May Delay Crisis

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010

NEW YORK (By MICHELLE CONLIN, AP) -- Karl Case, the co-creator of a widely watched housing market index, was upbeat three weeks ago. Mulling the economy while at a meeting at a resort near the Berkshires, Case thought the makings of a recovery were finally falling into place. "I'm a 60-40 optimis...

Robo Signers Part of Bigger Cultural Problem?

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010

Two seemingly unrelated stories from the past week illustrate a fundamental problem with today's financial system. While this problem may seem "philosophical" or abstract, it's very real, and we won't put our economy back on a sound footing until we get a handle on it. The problem is this: Banking i...

GMAC Cover Up?

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010

Is GMAC Mortgage, the company under siege by numerous state attorneys general and members of Congress for its use of dubious foreclosure legal filings, trying to silence the lawyer who exposed the bank's practices? So says Thomas Cox, the Maine attorney whose case is at the center of GMAC's ongoing ...

White House Says No Need for Foreclosure Moritorium

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010

White House Aide Doubts Need to Halt Foreclosures By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON (AP) — A top White House adviser questioned the need on Sunday for a blanket halt to home foreclosures, even as pressure grows on the Obama administration to do something about growing evidence that ba...

Home Prices Haven not Yet Bottomed

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010

Home value depreciation remained steady in August after improvement stalled in July, according to the Zillow Real Estate Market Report released Friday. The Seattle-based company’s market data shows that nationally, home values fell 0.3 percent between July and August (about the same as the chang...

Income Inequality

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010

Income inequality makes the poor more conservative -- more likely to support smaller government and actually to perpetuate income inequality, two academics argue in a report released earlier this year. The report, "Inequality and the Dynamics of Public Opinion: The Self-Reinforcing Link Between ...

One Perspective on Campaign Contributions

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010

Not only is income and wealth in America more concentrated in fewer hands than it's been in 80 years, but those hands are buying our democracy as never before -- and they're doing it behind closed doors. Hundreds of millions of secret dollars are pouring into congressional and state races in this...

Then and Now

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010

1718 viewsGet Business Alerts Email Comments 24 The news about the nation's foreclosure scandal has been coming fast and furious, fueled by tales of backdated documents, false affidavits and "rocket dockets" that push families into the street. A former employee with one of the nation's la...

China

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010

Having worked in financial news for more than 15 years I understand well why reporters and columnists regularly develop narrative arcs to explain complicated economic issues. After all, these storylines often are the easiest way to get people to comprehend esoteric topics like gyrations in the g...

Iowa AG Stops Robo Signers

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is calling on three large mortgage companies to halt foreclosure proceedings in the state while he investigates problems with documents filed with the courts. At a news conference Thursday, Miller said his office has contacted Ally Financial's G...

Top Guys Have Gloomy Predictions

Posted on Friday, October 08, 2010

Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and economist Nouriel Roubini seem equally pessimistic about a U.S. economic recovery. "This has not been an ordinary recession," Volcker, who chairs the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, said in a Toronto speech Thursday, according to Bloo...

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

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

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

Multi Family Renatls Looking Good

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

The best time to sign a lease may have just passed, as the apartment rental market has strengthened, Bloomberg reports. Good news for landlords, bad news for tenants. Vacancies in U.S. apartments declined in the third quarter, which ended last Thursday, for the first significant yearly drop since...

Middle Class

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Middle Class Slams Brakes on Spending BySARA MURRAY WSJ Middle-class Americans made their deepest spending cuts in more than two decades, slashing spending on such discretionary items as restaurant meals and alcohol during the recession. Households in the middle fifth of the population sliced ...

Modern Day Squatters

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Authorities have charged two people who they say illegally lived in homes former West Palm Beach police officer Carl Heflin doesn't own but is renting out. Heflin's ex-wife, Cheryl Heflin, 44, and her boyfriend, Anthony Glenn Wilson, 48, both of Riviera Beach, were booked on Tuesday on charges of...

Wells Paying the Price for World Savings Loans

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

More than 4,000 Florida homeowners will be eligible for loan modifications and mortgage-balance forgiveness totaling nearly $388 million under an agreement Wells Fargo Bank reached with eight states, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Wednesday. The pact settles allegations of deceptive ...

Robo Signers No Matter How Thin You Slice It You Can still Slice it Thinner

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Foreclosure Halt May Shift Bondholder Pain - Foreclosure halt may shift pain By ROBBIE WHELAN And RUTH SIMON WSJ The recent suspension of foreclosures by three of the largest mortgage-servicing companies in the U.S. is expected to result in more pain for some investors, and less pain for others, ...

Robo Signers No Matter How Thin You Slice It You Can still Slice it Thinner

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Foreclosure Halt May Shift Bondholder Pain - Foreclosure halt may shift pain By ROBBIE WHELAN And RUTH SIMON WSJ The recent suspension of foreclosures by three of the largest mortgage-servicing companies in the U.S. is expected to result in more pain for some investors, and less pain for others, ...

Investors and Robo Signers

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Two new posts today articulate where the battle lines are beginning to take shape in the Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud mess. Because few mortgages are held on bank balance sheets, having been sold into Mortgage Trusts which support Mortgage Backed securities (MBS), there are parties who may find themse...

Ohio Sues on Robo Signers

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

WASHINGTON — Ohio's attorney general is suing Ally Financial Inc. and its GMAC Mortgage division, alleging the company violated state fraud laws in handling foreclosure cases. The action could be the first in a wave of lawsuits by state regulators over what appear to be widespread problems in doc...

Golman Says Not Good

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the U.S. economy is likely to be “fairly bad” or “very bad” over the next six to nine months. “We see two main scenarios,” analysts led by Jan Hatzius, the New York-based chief U.S. economist at the company, wrote in an e-mail to clients. “A fairly bad one in which ...

Home Prices

Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2010

Clear Capital Sees Evidence of Early Winter Slowdown in Home Prices By: Carrie Bay 10/06/2010 DSNews Data released by Clear Capital Thursday shows that quarter-over-quarter home prices were down 0.2 percent in September compared to the previous month’s reading. It’s the first time in months nati...

11.5 Million at Risk?

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

If governmental policy on foreclosure prevention does not change, 11.5 million borrowers are in danger of losing their homes, according to the analysts at Amherst Securities Group LP. The staggering figure put forth by the mortgage investment brokerage equates to one out of every five borrowers ...

Pelosi Chimes in on Robo Signers

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other California Democrats are calling for an investigation into the foreclosure fraud scandal that has forced the nation's biggest banks to halt foreclosures in 23 states. "It just shows the irresponsibility of the banks, so eager were they to securitize those ...

Borrowers Counsel Chimes in on Robo Sigenrs

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The paperwork scandal that has prompted several banks to halt evictions and review their foreclosure procedures is reminiscent of the predatory lending scheme that inflated the housing bubble. "It's the same process, falsifying documents to make them look acceptable to someone," said Tom Domonosk...

Old Republic Takes firm stand on Robo Signers

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Even more questions about the legality of foreclosure proceedings have prompted Minneapolis-based Old Republic National Title Insurance to decide it will no longer insure titles to homes foreclosed by JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage. Chase and GMAC both halted foreclosure sales in 23 states a...

DC Heres Robo Signer Stories From CA

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation are petitioning federal regulators and the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a formal investigation into servicers’ foreclosure practices. Prompted by the recent reports of systemic mishandling of...

More on Robo Signers

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Three major mortgage lenders have halted foreclosures in states where the process is handled through the court system after suspicions surfaced that employees did notfollow legal procedures in preparing the required documentation. GMAC Mortgage was the first to do so, followed by JPMorgan Chase and ...

Demoncratics Chime in on Robo Signers

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Foreclosure Furor Rises; Many Call for a Freeze By DAVID STREITFELD and GRETCHEN MORGENSON The uproar over bad conduct by mortgage lenders intensified Tuesday, as lawmakers in Washington requested a federal investigation and the attorney general in Texas joined a chorus of state law enforcement fi...

Recovery Credit

Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Credit for the Recovery By DANIEL GROSS NYT EVERY time the United States suffers a recession, trendspotters hasten to identify signs of frugality, extol the rediscovery of thrift and find evidence that Americans are finally (finally!) kicking their demon debt habit. We crack open hist...

he Next Generation

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

America's graduating youth are not only faced with more challenges than any generation since the Great Depression, we are also faced with more autonomy and more decisions with what to do with our time since so many of us are not employed at the normal 9-5. In the age of the internet there are more o...

Minorities Disproportionately Impacted

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

55 African Americans have suffered disproportionately from foreclosures due to racially discriminatory lending practices, a new study shows . The study authored by Douglas Massey and Jacob Rugh of Princeton, looks at racially segregated neighborhoods, where the percentage of minorities (particula...

and the US

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Just three years since America began dragging the world into its deepest recession in seven decades, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Credit Suisse Holdings USA Inc. and BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research are forecasting that this time will be different. Goldman Sachs predicts worldwide growth will slow 0....

Refinance Proposal to Help 30 Million?

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Legislation to stabilize the foreclosure crisis through the federal government’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday by Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-California). The Housing Opportunity and Mortgage Equity (HOME) Act would...

Judges Respond to Robo Signers

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010, 6:17pm EDT | Modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 8:51am McCollum foreclosure probe dealt setbackSouth Florida Business Journal - by Paul Brinkmann Attorney General Bill McCollum suffered a setback in his investigation of foreclosure law firms Monday when a Palm Beach C...

Analysts Respond to Robo Signers

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Last week, GMAC Mortgage’s parent company, Ally Financial, called for a halt on residential foreclosures and a suspension of REO sales in 23 judicial states that may have been impacted by what the company said was a glitch in its internal procedures. It soon came to light that the “glitch” t...

Shadow Inventory

Posted on Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It’s no secret that the volume of distressed residential properties is weighing heavy on U.S. housing markets and is prolonging any meaningful recovery. Of even greater concern is the industry’s growing backlog of homes thatneed to be liquidated and resold but have yet to make their way to the marke...

Dodd Frank May Reduce Choices?

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

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

New From Federal Reserve

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

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

TARP - a wrod from Herb Allison Himself

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

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

TARP Winds Down

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

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

Some Say Satabilizing, Banks selling CRE Assets

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Stabilizing operating conditions, firming values and strengthening recovery rates will inspire lenders to increase their disposition of distressed properties, though a flood of liquidations will not occur. Many lenders extended loans or warehoused reclaimed assets through the downturn, waiting for v...

Confidence Slips

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

September consumer confidence in the United States slipped to its lowest levels since February, driven by a deteriorating labor market and business conditions, according to a private report released Tuesday. The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to ...

Pessimism Despite End of Recession

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

The Recession Is Over, but Pessimism Still Reigns By FLOYD NORRIS NYT AMERICANS became more pessimistic about their chances for higher incomes during the Great Recession than at any time in the past 45 years. That pessimism has eased, but still remains high. Multimedia Graphic Cons...

Saving

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Savers are giving up $5 billion in annual income as concerns about the dampening recovery and increasing unemployment push the prudent to keep their money in cash and away from investments, new research shows. Over the past year, consumers moved $542 billion from certificates of deposit to money ma...

Rates Are Low But Most Cant Qualify

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Would-be homeowners with credit scores below 620 points were largely unable to take out 30-year mortgages in the first half of September, even if they offered down payments as high as 25 percent, Zillow found after analyzing more than 25,000 loan quotes and purchase requests on its website. A full...

Income Gap

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — The recession seems to be socking Americans in the heart as well as the wallet: Marriages have hit an all-time low while pleas for food stamps have reached a record high and the gap between rich and poor has grown to its widest ever. The long recession technically ended in mid-2009,...

What You Can Do

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

How Ordinary Folks Can Fix America By Rick Newman USA Today The Chinese outwork us, the Indians outsmart us, and the Germans outvacation us. Our biggest corporations have become computerized Potemkin shells that crank out profits without people. Our middle class is too obese to hustle down to th...

Poorest States

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

The Great Recession increased poverty in 31 of 50 U.S. states last year, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. These states, which all saw both the number and the percentage of residents living in poverty rise in 2009, were almost entirely concentrated in the South. In 2009, 14...

Rich get Richer

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine's annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this ye...

Fannie Mae Responds to Robo Signers

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Execution of Legal Documents On October 1, 2010, Fannie Mae issued the following Lender Letter: • Lender Letter LL-2010-11: Servicer Review of Procedures Relating to the Execution of Affidavits, Verifications, and Other Legal Documents. In LL-2010-11, Fannie Mae directs all of its servicers t...

Freddie Mac Reaction to Robo Signers

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Freddie Mac Statement on Foreclosure Processing Issues For Immediate Release October 01, 2010 Contact: corprel@freddiemac.com or (703) 903-3933 McLean, VA – The following statement was issued today by Bruce Witherell, Chief Operating Officer for Freddie Mac (OTC:FMCC). "Freddie Mac i...

Robo-Signers

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Flawed Paperwork Aggravates a Foreclosure Crisis By GRETCHEN MORGENSON NYT As some of the nation’s largest lenders have conceded that their foreclosure procedures might have been improperly handled, lawsuits have revealed myriad missteps in crucial documents. The flawed practices that GMAC ...

Bank of American Responds to Robo Signer

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Bank of America to Freeze Foreclosure Cases By DAVID STREITFELD NYT Bank of America, the country’s largest mortgage lender by assets, said on Friday that it was reviewing documents in all foreclosure cases now in court to evaluate if there were errors. Related Times Topic: Bank of Ameri...

OCC Responds to Robo Signers

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

The nation’s largest bank has halted foreclosures in certain states after evidence was disclosed that it too had ill-famed “robo-signers” rubber-stamping approvals of foreclosure cases without verifying their validity. Bank of America has placed foreclosure actions in 23 judicial states on hold ...

Bank of America Responds to Robo Signers

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

The nation’s largest bank has halted foreclosures in certain states after evidence was disclosed that it too had ill-famed “robo-signers” rubber-stamping approvals of foreclosure cases without verifying their validity. Bank of America has placed foreclosure actions in 23 judicial states on hold ...

Title Insurance Underwriters Respond to Robo Signer

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY Old Republic National Title Insurance, among the nation's largest title insurance companies, will no longer write new policies for homes foreclosed upon by J.P. Morgan Chase and Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage unit –– a sign that concerns about faulty foreclosure paper...

JP Morgan Chase Resopmds to Robo Signer

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Even as August saw more Americans lose their homes to foreclosure than in any other month on record, there are growing concerns over the legality of many of those proceedings. JPMorgan Chase has suspended legal proceedings on 50,000 foreclosures, due to concerns about the validity of the foreclo...

Foreclosures Slow Due to Robo Signer

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

David Streitfield NYT The foreclosure machinery that has forced millions of Americans out of their homes is beginning to seize up as some lenders and their lawyers are accused of cutting corners in their pursuit of rapid home repossessions. Evictions are expected to slow sharply, housing analysts...

AGs Respond to Robo Signers

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

U.S. State Officials Investigate After Ally's GMAC Unit Suspends Evictions By Joel Rosenblatt Bloomberg JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third- biggest U.S. mortgage servicer, must prove its home foreclosures are legal, and if it can’t, must stop the practice, California Attorney General Jerry Brown sa...

Bank of American "F" on HAMP

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Bank of America stands out among the biggest mortgage servicers for an exceptionally poor performance under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program, according to data recently released by the government. The eight largest servicers have offered an alternative mortgage mod...

Buyer and Borrower Beware...Still

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

In Mortgage Ad, Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right By RON LIEBER NYT One of the most important lessons of the mortgage collapse is that potential borrowers need clear explanations of exactly what kind of commitment they are making. So in the last couple of years, there has been a recurring national co...

Chnages to Be Aware of

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Changes on Reverse Mortgages Will Alter Fee Structure By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD NYT Reverse mortgages, which allow homeowners who are at least 62 years old to tap their home equity without making any mortgage payments, are typically used by borrowers who want to remain in their homes but need the m...

Pending Home Sales

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

Washington, October 04, 2010 Pending home sales have increased for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, rose 4.3 percent to 82.3 based on contracts signed in August from a downwardly revised 7...

Pending Home Sales (Contracts signed) Released Today (for the month of August)

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010

By: Associated The number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in August for the second straight month but remained far below last year's pace. The weak economy and fears that prices will fall are keeping many consumers away from the housing market. The National Association of Real...

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