Heitman News

News Date Title Text1 Text2 Text3 Title
16 Dec 2010
Solid Economic Data to end 2010 <p>Positive ecomomic data from both the Labor and Commerce Departments to close out 2010. It has been a difficult few years for the mortgage industry but it looks like we will welcome in a much stronger housing and mortgage market in 2011.<br />As reported by the WSJ.com:<br />&#8220;The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits continued to fall last week, in another sign that the weak labor market is slowly improving. Separately, home construction in the U.S. rose in November on the strength of the single-family market, a faint sign of hope for the beleaguered industry. Meanwhile, the U.S. current account deficit widened in the third quarter, reflecting rising imports of consumer goods. Initial unemployment claims fell by 3,000 to 420,000 in the week ended Dec. 11, the Labor Department said in its weekly report. The previous week&#8217;s figures were revised slightly upward to 423,000 from 421,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected claims would rise by 4,000.The four-week moving average, which aims to smooth out volatility in the data, continued to fall for the sixth consecutive week. The average declined by 5,250 to 422,750 from the prior week&#8217;s revised average of 428,000 to its lowest level since Aug. 2, 2008. The gradual decline in initial claims is a welcome sign after the Labor Department released a disappointing November unemployment report.&#8221;</p><p>Housing starts rose 3.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 from an upwardly revised 534,000 a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Thursday. However, building permits, a gauge of future construction, decreased 4.0% to 530,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected overall housing starts to rise by 6.0% in November to a rate of 550,000 from the government&#8217;s original estimate of 519,000 in October. The results were driven by a 6.9% gain in single-family home construction to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 465,000. Multifamily construction, a volatile part of the market, fell by 9.1% last month.&#8221;<br />Strong employment is the key to turning around the housing market and the recent data seems to support the fact that our economy is heading in the right direction.</p><p>Our best wishes to our clients and friends for a healthy and prosperous 2011!<br />- Heitman Analytics-
Solid Economic Data to end 2010

Positive ecomomic data from both the Labor and Commerce Departments to close out 2010. It has been a difficult few years f...
01 Dec 2010
U.S. Regulators to be pressed on foreclosure lapses <p>No real suprise here, but this could at the very least boost CSPAN&#8217;s cable ratings :<br />&#8220;U.S. regulators will be under pressure to show lawmakers they are better at policing foreclosures amid widespread evidence that lenders used shoddy paperwork to evict delinquent borrowers.&#8221;<br />The Senate Banking Committee is currently holding a hearing on problems in the mortgage servicing industry and whether they pose a broader risk to the economy or amount to an isolated if nettlesome problem. The issues facing the still-struggling housing market have been exacerbated by allegations that banks have used &#8220;robo-signers&#8221; to sign hundreds of foreclosure documents a day without proper legal review.</p><p>Regulators have been criticized for not catching the widespread flaws, which have reignited public anger with banks that received billions of dollars in taxpayer aid during the financial crisis.Federal bank regulators and all 50 state attorneys general are probing Bank of America (BAC.N), JPMorgan (JPM.N), and other major mortgage servicers, many of whom temporarily halted foreclosures to examine their practices, only to then resume them.</p><p>These regulators, including Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman Sheila Bair and Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo, are expected to provide an update on the probe and how big a threat the documentation problems could pose to the banks and housing market recovery. Representatives from mortgages finance companies Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) have also been summoned to appear.</p><p>For the complete story check out: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101201/bs_nm/us_usa_foreclosures_hearing<br />and don&#8217;t forget to set your TIVO
U.S. Regulators to be pressed on foreclosure lapses

No real suprise here, but this could at the very least boost CSPAN’s cable ratings : “U.S. regulators will be under pressu...
17 Nov 2010
Republicans want to change Fed madate to “focus solely on inflation.!” <p>As reported by Reuters, &#8220;two U.S. Republican lawmakers said the Federal Reserve should focus solely on inflation and ditch its &#8220;dual mandate&#8221; so as &#8220;to promote both price stability and full employment&#8221;.</p><p>So the real question is with no inflation in the economy and none to speak of on the horizon; What are the Federal reseve members suppose to do with all their free time?<br />Perhaps a trip to Alaska where the Tea Party&#8217;s official cheerleader can teach them how to shoot straight and just stay out of the belt way for awhile.</p><p>&#8220;The pressure from Senator Bob Corker and Representative Mike Pence adds to the pile of international criticism over the central bank&#8217;s plan to buy an additional $600 billion in government bonds to try to speed up a sluggish economic recovery.</p><p>Opponents worry the program will weaken the dollar and sow the seeds of inflation at home and abroad without doing much to lift U.S. economic growth.</p><p>Pence said in a statement that the Fed&#8217;s dual mandate policy had &#8220;failed&#8221; and he would introduce legislation on Tuesday to strike that provision from the Federal Reserve Act of 1977.</p><p>&#8220;With no explicit plan for when or how this quantitative easing will be withdrawn, the Federal Reserve could do more for the American economy by focusing singularly on maintaining the value of the dollar and protecting the purchasing power of Americans,&#8221; Pence wrote.</p> <p>The European Central Bank is among central banks with a single mandate to focus on inflation. The Bank of England must write an explanatory letter when it misses its inflation target by too wide of a margin, and did so earlier on Tuesday.</p><p>&#8220;Providing our central bank with a clear and explicit focus on keeping inflation low will serve America better than the broader mandate approach we have today,&#8221; Corker said in a statement.</p> <p>Republican lawmakers, fresh off of midterm election victories that gave them control of the House of Representatives, have sharpened their criticism of the Fed in recent weeks. Some members of the Republican-heavy &#8220;Tea Party&#8221; movement have pushed for abolishing the central bank.</p> <p>It was not clear whether either the House or Senate would actually move ahead with a bill to do away with the dual mandate. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said voting on the mandate was &#8220;just one of many issues we&#8217;ll be working with and thinking about in the coming weeks.&#8221;
Republicans want to change Fed madate to “focus solely on inflation.!”

As reported by Reuters, “two U.S. Republican lawmakers said the Federal Reserve should focus solely on inflation and ditc...
08 Nov 2010
Small banks failing as larger banks regain health <p>As of today&#8217;s date 143 small banks have collapsed, a significant increase from all of the bank failures last year. A recent AP report published on 10/8/2010 points out the major reasons for the increase in small bank failures sees to be:</p><p>&#8220;• Small banks made the riskiest commercial real estate loans &#8211; those used to develop apartment buildings, malls and industrial sites. Many such loans soured this year. About 13 percent of all bank assets consist of these high-risk loans. But for banks with $10 billion or less in assets, the figure is 28 percent, according to government data.</p><p>• Smaller banks didn&#8217;t receive the taxpayer aid given to Wall Street banks. The big banks recovered in 2009 with help from federal bailout money and fees on bank services. And unlike small institutions, large banks have profited from their investments in the resurgent financial markets even as they&#8217;ve reduced lending in distressed areas.</p><p>• The smaller banks haven&#8217;t had to bolster their financial health as much as larger banks have. Regulators forced big institutions to boost their capital cushions and write off bad loans early in the financial crisis. Not so for smaller banks. And unlike larger ones, many smaller banks are supervised by state banking departments that lack the resources or expertise to monitor them closely.</p><p>• Banks must write off bad loans as more borrowers fail to pay. And they must set aside money for other loans that might sour. That drain can endanger small banks with little extra cash. They hold a smaller proportion of safer loans than larger banks do. In the April-June quarter this year, banks with $10 billion or less in assets gave up on $13.6 billion in real estate loans that went bad. They had to reserve more capital for the next wave of souring loans. That reduced their earnings.&#8221;</p><p>For additional information read the full story at:</p><p>http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101107/ap_on_bi_ge/us_small_bank_failures</p>
Small banks failing as larger banks regain health

As of today’s date 143 small banks have collapsed, a significant increase from all of the bank failures last year. A rece...
25 Oct 2010
Underwater Mortgages: Market Value vs. Book Value <p>It seems clear that if housing prices can stablize over the next year the ever increasing level of defaults will be greatly reduced. The bottom line is even if a home owner is currently under water on their mortage, most of them would rather pay their mortgage off and simply wait the down market out; as long as there is some hope of recovery. The exact point at which the borrower gives up hope is likely to be far below the current market value of the property.</p> <p><strong>&#8220;Market values versus book values</strong>:</p> <p>At what point does it serve a borrower’s rational interest to default? A handy rule of thumb is to use the underwater threshold at which the outstanding loan balance equals the house’s market value as the location of the default point. However, that underwater point is not consistent with rational behavior on the part of the borrower To understand why, consider a homeowner who is at the underwater point, with the house value exactly equal to the outstanding balance of the mortgage. Should this borrower strategically default? We argue that the borrower still has incentive to stay in the house. Going forward, the borrower is in a “heads-I-win, tails you-lose” position vis-à-vis the lender. If house prices fall further, then the borrower can default immediately, so that declines in house prices translate into losses for the lender.<br />On the other hand, if house prices rise, then the gain accrues to the borrower. With no downside risk, the borrower will not actually be indifferent as to whether to default. Contrary to what many might assume, the borrower will actively prefer not to default. With both upside potential and downside protection against future losses, the borrower rationally should wait before defaulting. The observation that homeowners will not rationally default as soon as they fall underwater on their mortgages has some powerful implications. First, even though the borrower apparently has no equity in the house because house value is equal to the amount owed on the mortgage, the borrower behaves as though equity were positive by not defaulting. The borrower does not default because the decision to do so is not based on the book, or accounting, value of the homeowner equity, which is zero. Instead, it is based on the economic or “market value” of the equity, which remains positive.</p> <p>Second, the fact that homeowners distinguish between market and book values of their homeowner equity implies that they also distinguish between the market and book values of their mortgages. This is a simple relationship based on household balance sheet identity. The value of a homeowner’s assets (in this case the house) must equal the sum of liabilities (in this case the mortgage) plus the homeowner’s equity.The big difference between the market and book value concepts for mortgage valuation is that the market value depends on house prices while the book value of the mortgage does not. Based on market value, the default point is the house price at which the benefits and costs of staying are exactly matched by the benefits and costs of leaving. Put another way, the homeowner defaults when the market, not the book, value of equity is equal to zero or, equivalently, when the market value of the house is equal to the market value of the mortgage liability. The default point calculated this way is always lower than that based on book value, sometimes by a wide margin.<br /> This analysis makes clear that, for rational borrowers, the default decision depends on the market value of equity. The market value of equity in turn will depend on borrower expectations about whether the price of the house will recover, restoring positive equity in a book value sense. It will also depend on the perceived cost of defaulting. The possibility of price appreciation and the costs of default move the rational default point well below the underwater mark. Moreover, the market value of equity hinges on the value of housing services relative to current mortgage payments.</p><p>For example, suppose that current mortgage payments are low but are scheduled to increase sharply in the future, as with an adjustablerate mortgage. Equity value will be low if price recovery of the house prior to the mortgage reset date is only a remote possibility. In such a case, default is a high probability. However, the low current payments mean that the cost of maintaining the option by not defaulting is also low. In such situations,borrowers might rationally decide not to default prior to the reset date. If so, equity value, though low, will be positive. Such an analysis assumes that, when homeowners default, they turn over the keys to the lender with no further obligation or cost. In fact, default brings with it a variety of transaction costs, including moving expenses and the cost of a lower credit rating. Borrowers will factor these costs into their default decisions. Such costs further lower the optimal default point, sometimes by a wide margin. Finally, we are not taking into account life event triggers. If life events impair the ability of borrowers to keep up loan payments, they may have no choice but to default, even though, according to this analysis, it is in their benefit to hold on to their houses.&#8221; For more information on this topic see:<br />FRBSF Econimic Letter 2010-31 10/18/2010 BY JOHN KRAINER AND STEPHEN LEROY
Underwater Mortgages: Market Value vs. Book Value

It seems clear that if housing prices can stablize over the next year the ever increasing level of defaults will be greatl...
19 Oct 2010
Where is the Housing Recovery? <p>A few thoughts from John Mauldin&#8217;s Weekly E-Letter&#8230;John is one of our favorite econimic analysts and his most recent articles can be found at: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.frontlinethoughts.com">www.frontlinethoughts.com</a></p><p>&#8220;I wrote three years ago that it could be well into 2011 before we get to a &#8220;bottom.&#8221; That may have been optimistic, given what we will cover in this letter. First, existing and new single-family home sales continue to slide, in the wake of the tax rebate that ended earlier this year. We have declined back to the down-sloping trend line. If you are a seller, this is not a pretty picture. The homebuilding industry, which was the source of so many jobs last decade (aka the good old days), is on its back. This country needs a healthy housing construction market to get back to lower unemployment, and until the overhang in the foreclosure market is cleared out, that is unlikely to happen. Lending is tighter, as is reasonable. Banks actually expect you to have the ability to pay back the mortgage you take out (solid FICO scores) and want reasonable down payments. Only 47% of applicants have the FICO score to get the best mortgage rates. (Sidebar: Gary writes, &#8220;Furthermore, false appraisals rose 50% in 2009 from 2008. The tax credit for first-time homebuyers cost taxpayers about $15 billion, twice the official forecast, in part due to fraud. Over 19,000 tax filers claimed the credit but didn&#8217;t buy houses, while 74,000 who claimed $500 million in refunds already owned homes.&#8221; Where are the regulators?) Shilling thinks prices are likely to fall another 20%. Given what I am writing about in the next section, that is a possibility. There is certainly no demand pressure to push up housing prices. Finally, two charts on foreclosures. Residential mortgages in foreclosure are near all-time highs, close to 1 in 21 of all mortgages, up from 1 in 100 just four years ago. That&#8217;s got to be bad for your profit models. Anyone who tells you the housing problem is &#8220;bottoming&#8221; either has an agenda or simply does not pay attention to the data. I really want to see housing bottom and then turn around and the home builders come back; the nation desperately needs the jobs.&#8221;</p> <p>Our recent volume data supports all of the aforementioned comments made my Mr. Mauldin. Morevoer, it is important to point out that no matter how low rates fall if we don&#8217;t add meaningful jobs to this ecomomy a falling dollar and increasing foreclosures are going to be the very least of our problems. John also has a way of just getting right to his point:</p><p>&#8220;If you pay your mortgage, you get to have the American Dream. We CANNOT allow this debacle to continue. It will bring the system down. Who will want to buy a mortgage that is in a securitized package with no clear title? Who will get title insurance? Some judge somewhere is going to make a ruling that is going to petrify every title company, and the whole thing grinds to a halt. Let&#8217;s be very clear. If we cannot securitize mortgages, there is no mortgage market. We cannot go back to where lenders warehoused the notes. It would take a decade to build that infrastructure. In the meantime, housing prices are devastated. Whatever wealth effect remains from housing gets worse, and the economy rolls over. This is beyond my pay grade, but there have to be some adults who can make everyone play nice in the sandbox. Ideally, someone in authority at the Treasury, with bipartisan support steps in and says everyone follow these rules, whatever these rules need to be. I had a very spirited conversation with good friend Barry Ritholtz today (of The Big Picture). Barry runs money but is also a lawyer and has a somewhat different perspective. He thinks we do not need any legislation and there is a legal cure. He says that real trained people (lawyers and paralegals) need to look at each mortgage and figure it out, and that it can get resolved. It is expensive to the banks; but I agree, if it is just dollars I don&#8217;t care. Fix it. But that is a maybe. Other people I talk to disagree. Some think we need some regulatory fixes. Some think we will need a legislative cure. But if we need to, there need be no finger pointing, no partisan BS. This needs to get solved. Someone took out a mortgage. Some entity thinks they are owed money. Fix the damn paper trail so that happens, whether in a legal if time-consuming manner, in a regulatory fix, or with legislation. Now, that is not to say the people who did this stuff did not commit felonies and such. We can sort that out over time. The longer we wait the worse it will get. Fix the problem and then go round up the bad guys.&#8221;</p><p>Right on John its time we all figure this foreclosure mess out and get this country moving in the right direction&#8230;or any direction for that matter.
Where is the Housing Recovery?

A few thoughts from John Mauldin’s Weekly E-Letter…John is one of our favorite econimic analysts and his most recent artic...
15 Oct 2010
JPMorgan CEO: Foreclosure probes may hurt housing <p>Jamie Dimon said on Thursday he worries a widening probe into foreclosure practices could be a drag on the housing recovery. It may slow it down,&#8221; he said. &#8220;But we&#8217;re hoping it won&#8217;t kill it.&#8221; Dimon made the comments after a press conference at the Chicago meeting of The Business Council, a group of 150 top U.S. CEOs that convenes several times a year to discuss issues facing the U.S. economy. Dimon is one of the group&#8217;s leaders.</p><p>Dimon at first declined to comment on the possibility the probe by 50 state attorneys general, one of the biggest investigations of the mortgage industry ever, might exacerbate the country&#8217;s three-year-old housing crisis. He initially told the press conference, &#8220;That&#8217;s not really pertinent to this meeting here.&#8221;</p><p>But he went on to talk about the state of the U.S. housing market, sketching a picture that was far from bleak.</p><p>&#8220;You can make a long list of negatives and positives about the economy,&#8221; he said. &#8220;Housing is obviously on the negative side. But prices have stabilized in a lot of markets around the country. Homes are being sold. Financing is being done. &#8230; There&#8217;s no wave of foreclosures coming. It&#8217;s a little tick up from where it is. &#8230; So it&#8217;s not good. But it&#8217;s actually modestly improving from a terrible state.&#8221;</p><p>At the conclusion of the press conference, Dimon approached Reuters and amplified on his initial response, saying he hoped the widening probe into foreclosure practices, which has thwarted some lender efforts to reclaim homes from delinquent borrowers, would only be a temporary blip that would not have a long-lasting effect on the housing market&#8230;..(http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101014/bs_nm/us_usa_foreclosures_dimonReporting by James B. Kelleher; Additional reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Leslie Adler)
JPMorgan CEO: Foreclosure probes may hurt housing

Jamie Dimon said on Thursday he worries a widening probe into foreclosure practices could be a drag on the housing recover...
13 Oct 2010
Not Just Big Banks Facing Big Problems … <p>This recent article from the N.Y. Post points out that major lenders are going to suffer as bad loans may be put back onto their books. Didn&#8217;t the goverment offer to buy these bad loans back in the first place? Anyway, the problem is not just confined to large banks there are hundreds of small lender across this country that also face the unpleasant prospect of taking back faulty debt . So for what it is worth, our take on this forclosure fiasco is simple (and we do business with community banks to money center banks) the current problem is not isolated to large banks; it may hurt the large banks near-term earning, but it&#8217;s not put any of them our of business. As we all know these banks are still too big to fail &#8230;&#8230;</p><p>With plenty of bad loans already on their books, the big banks are facing the unpleasant prospect of having to take back even more faulty loans stemming from the foreclosure fiasco.</p><p>The nation&#8217;s biggest lenders, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, may be forced to shell out as much as $50 billion a piece to repurchase problem loans, estimates Chris Whalen, co-founder of Institutional Risk Analytics and a former Federal Reserve official.</p><p>&#8220;These mortgage repurchases are going to put a lot of pressure on [bank] income statements,&#8221; Whalen said.</p><p>Banks are facing the prospect of repurchasing billions in problem loans because mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee or purchase 90 percent of all the mortgages in the US, are legally allowed to force mortgage originators to repurchase loans that are found to be defective or fraudulent.</p><p>Richard Bove, analyst at Rochdale Securities, said that Fannie and Freddie already have been trying to put back bad loans to banks in greater numbers.</p><p>mark.decambre@nypost.com</p><p>Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/pain_in_banks_fannie_uFAz69OL2kcV3SOnTFUbyJ#ixzz12GhPZHI4
Not Just Big Banks Facing Big Problems …

This recent article from the N.Y. Post points out that major lenders are going to suffer as bad loans may be put back onto...
04 Oct 2010
First Horizon pulling plug on mortgage operation <p>Volume surpassed $1 billion in 2007</p><div><a target="_blank" href="http://profiles.portfolio.com/company/us/tn/memphis/first_horizon_national_corporation/1999960/"><strong>First Horizon National Corp.</strong></a> will shutter the last vestiges of its mortgage operation at the end of 2010 and lay off about 40 mortgage bankers across the state, the company announced internally last week to employees in a conference call.</div><div> </div><div><div><p>“Everything is going to operate as it does today through the end of the year,” says Charles Burkett, First Tennessee’s president of banking. “After that we’ll be a good employer and make sure to work with displaced employees, help them get all their commissions and help them any way we can.”</p><p>The news comes two years after the company sold its national mortgage business to <a target="_blank" href="http://profiles.portfolio.com/company/us/ny/long_island_city/metlife__inc_/117755/"><strong>MetLife Inc.</strong></a>, a division of <a target="_blank" href="http://profiles.portfolio.com/company/us/nj/bridgewater/metlife_bank/1344166/"><strong>MetLife Bank N.A.</strong></a> At the same time, First Horizon entered into a third-party arrangement with <a target="_blank" href="http://profiles.portfolio.com/company/us/nj/mount_laurel/phh_corporation/1324701/"><strong>PHH Corp.</strong></a> subsidiary PHH Mortgage to handle all the back office operations and underwriting, for which First Horizon garnered some fee income.</p><p>However, Burkett says, the small revenue stream — which he declined to disclose — wasn’t enough to make the model work long-term.</p><p>The approach of having to fund mortgages on the front end and then recoup that expense over a period of years is hard to justify.</p></div><div><p>“That’s an expensive process to deliver a product,” he says. “All of what this model is about is to make sure we continue for the next 146 years.”</p><p>Joel Graybeal, senior vice president, mortgage production manager for First Tennessee Home Loans, says it’s important to note that First Tennessee will continue to offer mortgage products, but not with a traditional broker model and mortgage bankers.</p><p>“This change is simply a move to reduce the cost of origination,” he says.</p><p>The increased cost of regulation, and concerns about what the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act could do to costs, has all banks and financial firms looking at cost-cutting alternatives.</p><p>Starting Jan. 1, customers who come into retail branches interested in mortgage products will be referred to a First Tennessee call center in Memphis where those employees will work with the customer. They can also contact PHH directly, but Graybeal says obviously the preferred method is through a First Tennessee call center representative.</p><p>That call center, which two years ago had 50 employees, currently has a staff of six but could expand “to meet the needs.”</p><p>“We haven’t figured out how many that will be,” Graybeal says.</p><p>Burkett also says the bank hasn’t determined what sort of cost savings will be realized from the new call center model.</p><p>Morgan Keegan &amp; Co. bank analyst Bob Patten is pleased to see First Horizon continue to distance itself from the expensive and risky mortgage business. It’s taken several years under current CEO Bryan Jordan, but it’s all been part of a long, thorough strategy.</p><p>“It’s a business that over time is difficult to track the returns on equity,” he says. “Bryan has said (First Horizon has) better uses for capital.”</p><p>The national residential lending model First Horizon tackled under former CEO Ken Glass “almost bankrupted the company,” Patten says.</p><p>Not only was it doing residential lending but the company was trying to build a national construction business outside its core market and sphere of knowledge, he says.</p><p>“Brian got rid of the national footprint exposures and cut expenses,” Patten says.</p><p>Now armed with plenty of capital, and expenses continually being cut, Patten says the bank is positioning itself for the right expansion opportunities and it doesn’t need a residential mortgage business to do that.</p><p>“They’ll get their share of growth,” he says.</p></div></div><p>Memphis Business Journal &#8211; by <a id="byline" href="http://www.bizjournals.com/search/results.html?Ntt=%22Christopher%20Sheffield%22&amp;Ntk=All&amp;Ntx=mode matchallpartial">Christopher Sheffield</a></p> <p>Read more: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2010/10/04/story1.html?b=1286164800%5E4024571&amp;s=industry&amp;i=banking_financial_services#ixzz11PilUafN">First Horizon pulling plug on mortgage operation &#8211; </a></p><p>Friday, October 1, 2010
First Horizon pulling plug on mortgage operation

23 Sep 2010
Obama administration promises to simplify home mortgage process <p>WASHINGTON &#8212; The Obama administration is promising to move quickly to simplify the paperwork consumers receive when taking out a home mortgage.</p><p>Obama adviser Elizabeth Warren and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday that the administration was committed to implementing, as soon as possible, several consumer protections that are part of the sweeping overhaul of the financial system that Congress passed in the summer.</p><p>Geithner and Warren made the comments as part of a forum they held at the Treasury Department with a number of consumer advocacy groups, financial literacy counselors and representatives of the mortgage industry to receive input on ways to simplify mortgage disclosure forms.</p><p>&#8220;Whenever possible, we are committed to expediting completion of the law&#8217;s requirements ahead of statutory deadlines,&#8221; Geithner said. &#8220;Moving quickly to improve mortgage disclosures is one in a series of concrete steps we&#8217;re taking.&#8221;</p><p>One of the requirements of the new Dodd-Frank law is to combine and simplify two overlapping mortgage disclosure forms, one required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the other by the Federal Reserve.</p><p>Despite a decade of efforts, the government has yet to combine the two overlapping forms.</p><p>Warren said that streamlining the disclosure process would give families better tools to make better choices when choosing financial products.</p><p>&#8220;This is particularly true in the mortgage market, where borrowers receive stacks of incomprehensible paperwork when they&#8217;re looking for a loan,&#8221; she said. &#8220;Fine print obscures the cost of credit and makes it impossible for families to compare products.&#8221;</p><p>The Treasury forum was the first event Warren has held since being selected by President Barack Obama last Friday to serve as the overseer of the effort to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by the new law.</p><p>Facing the prospect of a likely Senate filibuster, Obama decided against nominating Warren, a Harvard law professor, to head the new agency. Instead, he chose to name her as a special adviser to the White House and to Treasury in charge of leading the effort to set up the new bureau. In that job, she will not require Senate confirmation.</p><p>Geithner and Warren had some tense exchanges in Warren&#8217;s previous role as head of the Congressional Oversight Panel that served as a watchdog for the government&#8217;s financial bailout efforts. But participants at Tuesday&#8217;s session said the two officials, who sat side-by-side during the discussions, demonstrated a good working relationship.</p><p>&#8220;It was a very productive meeting. I felt there was a clear effort to build consensus and work collaboratively on the part of Secretary Geithner and Elizabeth Warren,&#8221; said David Berenbaum, chief program officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, who participated in the afternoon discussions. &#8220;They demonstrated they wanted to work with representatives of the financial industry and consumer activists.&#8221;</p><p>In an appearance earlier Tuesday on CBS&#8217;s &#8220;The Early Show,&#8221; Warren said that she would not back down in the face of business resistance to her selection as the bureau&#8217;s first director.</p><p>Warren said that Obama told her not to worry about job titles, but to &#8220;start pushing back&#8221; against companies fighting new regulations aimed at protecting borrowers.</p><p>She said, &#8220;That&#8217;s exactly what I intend to do, and I intend to do it as hard as I can.&#8221;</p> <p>Associated Press</p><p>Originally published: Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 6:22 PM</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/09/warren_and_geithner_tackle_mor.html">http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/09/warren_and_geithner_tackle_mor.html</a>
Obama administration promises to simplify home mortgage process

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is promising to move quickly to simplify the paperwork consumers receive when taking...
20 Sep 2010
FHA may slash upfront costs of some reverse mortgages <p>The Federal Housing Administration isn&#8217;t talking publicly about it, but the agency may be getting ready to cut the upfront costs of reverse mortgages for some borrowers.</p><p>The agency also, however, may be reducing the amount seniors can borrow against their homes.</p><p>In a recent conference call with industry participants, FHA officials said they were finalizing plans to offer a home-equity conversion mortgage requiring almost no upfront mortgage insurance premium, according to the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Assn. The FHA also may tinker with the traditional product in a way that increases the overall borrowing costs.</p><p>&#8220;HUD is looking at options to provide a lower-priced [home-equity conversion mortgage] option,&#8221; said Lemar Wooley, a spokesman for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. &#8220;We are still working out the details. Our basic plan is to make the product more attractive, while limiting FHA&#8217;s exposure to risk.&#8221;</p><p>A home-equity conversion mortgage is a federally guaranteed reverse mortgage designed to let homeowners 62 or older tap the equity in their homes. The loans and accrued interest don&#8217;t have to be repaid until the owner sells the home, dies or fails to live there for one year, but the loans have traditionally carried significant upfront and annual expenses.</p> <p>According to participants on the conference call, there would be two types of home-equity conversion mortgages beginning this fall: a &#8220;standard&#8221; loan and a &#8220;saver&#8221; loan.</p><p>The saver loan would have an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 0.01% of a home&#8217;s value, but the amount that could be borrowed, known as the principal limit, would be reduced by at least 10%. That would lower the risk to the FHA, which guarantees the loans. Because a smaller amount could be borrowed, the saver loan could be marketed as an alternative to a home-equity line of credit to seniors on fixed incomes who can&#8217;t make the monthly minimum interest payments required on such lines of credit.</p><p>Under the standard loan, the upfront mortgage insurance premium charged by the FHA would remain 2% of the property value (or a maximum of 2% of the FHA maximum loan limit of $625,500), and the principal limit would be cut 1% to 5% of a home&#8217;s value, depending on the borrower&#8217;s age.</p><p>For both loans, the monthly mortgage insurance premium, which is 0.5% of the mortgage balance for a traditional home-equity conversion mortgage, would increase to 1.25%.</p><p>&#8220;For someone who needs a chunk of money, but not a huge chunk, we believe this will significantly broaden the appeal,&#8221; said Peter Bell, president of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Assn. &#8220;They&#8217;re very smart changes.&#8221;</p><p>In the last few months, several reverse mortgage lenders decreased origination fees and closing costs, partly to increase demand for the product and partly to pass along some of the profit they&#8217;ve made as investors scooped up the loans on the secondary market. The saver product would further reduce the upfront borrowing costs.</p><p>The National Council on Aging, which has advocated a more flexible reverse mortgage product for some time, views the changes as a sign that the industry is moving past the one-size-fits-all mentality.</p><p>However, the advocacy group also sees potential pitfalls.</p><p>&#8220;The more flexibility there is, the more chance there is to be talked into [something] that doesn&#8217;t make sense,&#8221; said Barbara Stucki, vice president of home-equity initiatives for the National Council on Aging.</p><p>By Mary Ellen Podmolik</p><p>Story posted 2010.09.19 at 12:01 AM PDT
FHA may slash upfront costs of some reverse mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration isn’t talking publicly about it, but the agency may be getting ready to cut the upfront...
14 Sep 2010
Obama’s FHA Short Refinance Program: Roy Oppenheim Says Too Little Too Late <h2>Air Supply for Underwater Homeowners? Oppenheim Reviews What Short Refi Means to Florida Homeowners</h2> <p>FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ &#8212; First loan modifications, then short sales &#8230; now it&#8217;s the short refi. Officially known as the FHA Short Refinance Program, it&#8217;s the latest band-aid in Obama&#8217;s bailout plans aimed at resuscitating Florida&#8217;s underwater homeowners facing foreclosure. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oppenheimlaw.com/" target="_blank">Oppenheim Law</a> helps homeowners understand the &#8220;short refi&#8221; pros and cons.</p><p>The FHA Short Refinance Plan now offers aid to people who owe more than their mortgage is worth. Will it bring life back to the real estate market and stimulate the economy? This is the question market analysts and legal bloggers like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oppenheimlaw.com/firm-profile.html" target="_blank">Florida Attorney Roy Oppenheim</a> are debating.</p><p>One of the biggest dangers facing the housing market is the glut of underwater homeowners who could default if their financial situations or home prices worsen. About 11 million borrowers, or 23% of households with a mortgage, were underwater as of June 30, 2010, according to analysts. That number is expected to double next year.</p><p>&#8220;This is a much needed program, but just might be a case of too little, too late,&#8221; says Oppenheim, who continues to help Floridahomeowners navigate through the tides of the real estate market. &#8220;Servicers will not be highly motivated and sometimes inclined to steer towards foreclosure.&#8221; In addition, the Program, at best, is designed to help about four million homeowners according to the <a target="_blank" href="http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2010/HUDNo.10-173" target="_blank">U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Website</a>.</p><p><strong>Criteria for FHA Short Refi Program</strong></p><ul type="disc"> <li>Must occupy subject property as their primary residence</li> <li>Must be current in your mortgage loan</li> <li>Must be in a non-FHA loan</li> <li>Credit score must be at least 500</li> <li>Bank must agree to write off at least 10% of principal and</li> <li>Second mortgage must be willing to cooperate (if applicable)</li></ul> <p>For two years, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oppenheimlaw.com/index.php" target="_blank">Oppenheim Law</a> has advocated a much broader and bolder refi program pushing for an FDR-style program modeled after the Homeowner&#8217;s Loan Corporation that assisted underwater homeowners during the Depression.</p><p>&#8220;History proves it&#8217;s always the refinance market leading the country out of recession. This time, because the banks have absolutely no incentive to refi, they will not,&#8221; said Oppenheim. &#8220;A strong government program could easily and quickly pump $50 billion back into the economy.&#8221;</p><p>William H. Gross, managing director at Pimco, a giant manager of bond funds, has also proposed the government refinance millions of mortgages at lower rates.</p><p>&#8220;A more comprehensive short refi program would increase jobs and improve consumer sentiment,&#8221; noted Oppenheim. /p><p>Original article: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/obamas-fha-short-refinance-program-roy-oppenheim-says-too-little-too-late-102850449.html
Obama’s FHA Short Refinance Program: Roy Oppenheim Says Too Little Too Late

Air Supply for Underwater Homeowners? Oppenheim Reviews What Short Refi Means to Florida Homeowners FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla....
09 Sep 2010
FDIC’s Bair Warns of Government “Exposure” in Mortgages <p>WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A key U.S. banking regulator raised concern on Wednesday about the risk of &#8220;exposure&#8221; the government is taking on in the&nbsp;<a id="KonaLink0" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" mce_href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" target="undefined"><span style="color: #366388;" mce_style="color: #366388;">mortgage&nbsp;market</span></a> and urged more stringent standards for underwriting mortgages.</p> <p>&#8220;We should all be concerned about the type of exposure that the government is taking on through guaranteeing so many mortgages right now and make sure that we do have some prudent underwriting standards,&#8221; Federal Deposit Insurance Corp Chairman&nbsp;<a id="KonaLink1" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" mce_href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" target="undefined"><span style="color: #366388;" mce_style="color: #366388;">Sheila&nbsp;Bair</span></a> suggested in an interview on CNBC.</p><p>&#8220;The government is taking on a lot of exposure and guaranteeing most mortgages that are being originated these days,&#8221; she said. &#8220;And I think the policymakers here are trying to balance the need for prudent underwriting with a need to support&#8230; what is still a very distressed housing market.&#8221;</p><p>Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, under government control since September 2008, and the&nbsp;<a id="KonaLink2" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" mce_href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" target="undefined"><span style="color: #366388;" mce_style="color: #366388;">Federal&nbsp;Housing&nbsp;Administration</span></a>, currently back some 90 percent of new U.S. mortgages.</p><p>Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said last month the U.S. government&#8217;s role in housing finance should undergo &#8220;fundamental change,&#8221; but that it should still provide some guarantees in the $10.7 trillion mortgage market.</p><p>In the interview, Bair said the&nbsp;<a id="KonaLink3" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" mce_href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair#" target="undefined"><span style="color: #366388;" mce_style="color: #366388;">Federal&nbsp;Reserve&#8217;s</span></a> rules were more focused on higher-cost loans and that the sweeping regulatory reforms President Barack Obama signed into law incorporated some good standards.</p><p>&#8220;But I think we can do a better job of having consistent, strong lending standards across the board for both bank and nonbank mortgage originators,&#8221; Bair said.</p><p>She suggested tighter standards should include &#8220;very robust&#8221; income documentation, ability to repay standard loans and a significant down payment.</p><p>&#8220;Clearly there is a strong correlation between the amount of skin in the game a borrower puts in up front and how that loan performs,&#8221; Bair said. &#8220;Do you put 20 percent down? You&#8217;re committed to that house. You walk away from that house, you&#8217;re going to lose a lot of the money that you put in up front.&#8221;</p><p>Writing by Joanne Allen; Editing by Kim Coghill</p><p>Original article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100909/bs_nm/us_housing_mortgages_bair</p>
FDIC’s Bair Warns of Government “Exposure” in Mortgages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A key U.S. banking regulator raised concern on Wednesday about the risk of “exposure” the governmen...
07 Sep 2010
Regional Market For Single-Family Homes Showing Signs of Life <p>Thomas and Laura Fabricio, newlywed lawyers, say prices have sagged since they began looking for a starter home last year. As a result, they say, once-too-pricey neighborhoods opened up and descended right into their price bracket &#8212; $200,000, give or take.</p><p>And though they were originally looking at condos, they&#8217;ve now shifted their sights to a single-family home.</p><p>&#8220;We saw deals for $100,000 and $150,000 for condos, then the market started moving down, and we started looking at houses,&#8221; said Thomas.</p><p>Actually, when you put the numbers under a microscope, single-family home prices &#8212; on a price-per-square-foot basis &#8212; seem to have stabilized since July 2009 after a long, dizzying descent. (The tax notice you got in the mail recently probably indicates otherwise, but it reflects activity from the first half of 2009, when prices were still in free-fall, and condo prices, which are still in decline).</p><p>Since July 2009, median home sale prices have flattened or are even up a little, according to some measures. That&#8217;s an indication that people like the Fabricios are inching back into the market, at least those lucky enough to have the cash or financing to make a purchase.</p><p>&#8220;We&#8217;re selling more homes than we sold in the last five years,&#8221; said Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realty. &#8220;2010 is going to be the best year in our industry since 2005.&#8221;</p><p>There are a variety of reasons: Interest rates are at historic lows, choices are abundant (thanks to the many distressed properties glutting the market), and if the past 12 month are any indication, single-family home prices may have bottomed out.</p><p>Finally, there&#8217;s this: for $250,000, you can buy a heck of a house.</p><p>Currently, there are 6,779 single-family homes in Miami-Dade and Broward counties for sale at sub-$250,000 prices. That&#8217;s up from 687 in July 2005, according to Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell.</p><p><strong>`BUYERS ARE OUT THERE&#8217;</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p> <p>&#8220;There&#8217;s a lot of interest between $170,000 and $275,000,&#8221; said Prudential Florida Realtor Annie Diaz, who has a Coral Gables three-bedroom on the market for $250,000. &#8220;The buyers are out there. I have showings for this house two or three times a week.&#8221;</p><p>While statistics are published regularly covering home sales at the county and regional levels, each municipality and neighborhood is experiencing unique trends driven by a range of factors.</p> <p>Property tax notices recently mailed out confirm this. For example, values slipped 26.4 percent in North Bay Village in calendar year 2009 dragged down by the depressed first half of the year, and still-slumping condo prices, but just 5.5 in Pinecrest. Values dropped 20.7 percent in Lauderhill but only 5.3 percent in Cooper City.</p><p>The one constant across all local cities and towns is the negative sign. After three years of plunging prices, the median sale price is more than 40 percent below the market&#8217;s peak.</p><p>For buyers, it means an opportunity to take their pick from large inventories in nearly all of South Florida&#8217;s varied neighborhoods.</p><p>Trying to time the still-shifting market on a home purchase, however, is not advised as analysts warn regular buyers against treating the largest purchase of their lives like a futures commodity. For the Fabricios, buying a house is a long-term financial decision, so they are viewing their purchase a place to call home, not simply a liquid asset, Thomas Fabrico said.</p> <p>&#8220;We plan to live there for at least 10 to 15 years,&#8221; he said.</p><p>In Homestead, where the foreclosure crisis hit with especially brutal force, $250,000 can buy more square footage than almost anywhere else in South Florida. A five-bedroom home with two stories and a two-car garage is listed at $250,000, and that price will soon be slashed by 20 percent, listing agent Darosh Husband said. The 2,647-square-foot home at 3765 NE 13th St. was built in 2005, has a lakefront view and sold for $325,751 five years ago.</p><p><strong>DISTRESSED SALES</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>That kind of price slashing driven in part by nearby distressed sales that drag down a neighborhood&#8217;s property values is representative of the entire region.</p><p>In Broward County, where the average price per square foot is slightly lower than Miami-Dade, buyers have an opportunity to get even more house for their buck. Neighborhoods that once saw the average home sell for more than $400,000, have seen prices sink below $250,000.</p><p>In Davie, a 1,381-square-foot home in the Rolling Hills neighborhood is listed at $180,000, just over half of its 2006 sales price.</p><p>In Broward County, one of every three sales involved bank-owned properties in the second quarter of the year, analysis from EWM shows.</p><p>For buyers, low prices do come with a long list of caveats. Banks have adopted strict lending requirements, and even people with excellent credit are finding it difficult to qualify for traditional loans with modest down payments. Tales have become commonplace of banks requiring down payments upwards of 30 percent and rejecting applicants with stellar credit scores.</p><p>According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, nearly 83 percent of those applying for mortgages are refinancers and not purchasers.</p><p>&#8220;The banks are the ones that are looking at everything through a microscope, so you have to have everything documented,&#8221; said Carlos Garcia, a Realtor and vice chairman of the Master Brokers Forum. Compared to a few years ago when credit flowed freely, banks&#8217; current stance on lending is night and day, Garcia said.</p><p><strong>NOTE OF CAUTION</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Such lending standards mean cash is king. At EWM, one of South Florida&#8217;s largest real estate brokerages, 52 percent of all sales this year have been all cash, Shuffield said.</p><p>Buyers also must grapple with the possibility of home values falling further.</p><p>In one ominous sign, South Florida&#8217;s inventory of homes has started to rise again, a move that could push prices downward. A recent survey found that one in five home sellers in South Florida had cut prices in July, with an average reduction of 13 percent.</p><p>For the Fabricios, the pros of home-buying at today&#8217;s prices outweighed the potential cons. Even if the home does not appreciate, Thomas Fabricio said, they&#8217;ll be content with the amount of home they were able to get for $200,000.</p><p>&#8220;The way I look at it is, we saved up to do this,&#8221; he said.
Regional Market For Single-Family Homes Showing Signs of Life

Thomas and Laura Fabricio, newlywed lawyers, say prices have sagged since they began looking for a starter home last year....
01 Sep 2010
Loan picture improves but troubles remain: FDIC <div class="byline">WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. loan picture improved slightly during the second quarter, with the amount of loans 90 days or more past due declining for the first time in more than four years, bank regulators said on Tuesday.</div><div class="yn-story-content"> <p>The <a id="KonaLink0" class="kLink" style="position: static; border-bottom-style: dotted; border-bottom-color: #366388; text-decoration: none;" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100831/bs_nm/us_banks#" target="undefined"><span style="position: static; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;"><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">Federal </span><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">Deposit </span><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">Insurance </span><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">Corp</span></span></a> revealed some encouraging figures about the bank industry, saying the sector earned $21.6 billion during the quarter largely due to banks putting away less money to cover expected loan losses.</p><p>During the first quarter, the industry earned $17.8 billion.</p><p>In other signs of improvement, the total assets of banks characterized as &#8220;problem&#8221; institutions fell during the quarter to $403 billion from $431 billion, and the <a id="KonaLink1" class="kLink" style="position: static; text-decoration: none;" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100831/bs_nm/us_banks#" target="undefined"><span style="position: static; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;"><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">FDIC&#8217;s</span></span></a> insurance fund increased by $5.5 billion during the quarter.</p> <p>But there are still troubling indicators.</p><p>Loan balances continued to decline during the second quarter, with net loan and lease balances declining by 1.3 percent. Loans to small businesses and farms &#8212; a major focus of the Obama administration &#8212; fell by 1.8 percent during the quarter.</p><p>&#8220;Earnings remain low by historical standards, and the numbers of unprofitable institutions, <a id="KonaLink2" class="kLink" style="position: static; text-decoration: none;" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100831/bs_nm/us_banks#" target="undefined"><span style="position: static; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;"><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">problem </span><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">banks</span></span></a>, and failures remain high,&#8221; FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said.</p><p>While the assets at problem banks declined, the total number of such institutions bumped up to 829 from 775 last quarter.</p><p>The FDIC does not disclose the names of the institutions, which regulators have flagged for low capital levels, poorly performing assets and other troubles.</p><p>The agency has said the <a id="KonaLink3" class="kLink" style="position: static; text-decoration: none;" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100831/bs_nm/us_banks#" target="undefined"><span style="position: static; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;"><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">bank </span><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">failures</span></span></a> are expected to peak during the third quarter. So far this year, 118 banks have failed. Last year 140 bank collapsed.</p><p>Bair said the FDIC still anticipates that the number of failures this year will exceed last year, but that the total assets of this year&#8217;s failures will probably be lower.</p><p>That is because it is mostly smaller banks that have been failing.</p> <p>She said economic uncertainties mean banks should continue to exercise caution and maintain strong reserves.</p><p>But she also highlighted the industry&#8217;s gains.</p><p>&#8220;The <a id="KonaLink4" class="kLink" style="position: static; text-decoration: none;" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100831/bs_nm/us_banks#" target="undefined"><span style="position: static; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;"><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">banking </span><span class="kLink" style="position: static; font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; color: #366388 !important; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400;">sector</span></span></a> is gaining strength. Earnings have grown, and most asset quality indicators are moving in the right direction, putting banks in a stronger position to lend,&#8221; Bair said.</p><p>(Reporting by Karey Wutkowski and Dave Clarke; Editing by Andrea Ricci)</p> </div>
Loan picture improves but troubles remain: FDIC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. loan picture improved slightly during the second quarter, with the amount of loans 90 days...
30 Aug 2010
Ben Bernanke and Banking <h1>Jackson Hole dispute: does economy need more medicine?</h1><p><strong>Soft growth, but not another contraction, is expected. The U.S. economy is looking sick and the doctors are bickering about what, if anything, to do.</strong></p><p>That is the bottom-line conclusion from conversations at the Federal Reserve&#8217;s annual policy retreat in Jackson Hole.</p> <p>One year ago, there was relief here that the worst of the financial crisis appeared to be in the rear-view mirror. This year was characterized by renewed concern and caution.</p><p>News reports, recent Fed speeches, and discussions make clear that policy makers are divided over whether the economy needs more monetary medicine and what kind.</p><p>Some appear willing to try anything to avoid another downturn or an outbreak of deflation, a sustained drop in prices. But others wonder whether the Fed isn&#8217;t trying to do too much, and they say that the costs of further easing are not being considered.</p><p>Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, said the Fed is more divided than she has ever seen.</p><p>The debate has undertones of debates from the 1980s between &#8220;freshwater&#8221; and &#8220;saltwater&#8221; economic schools. Economists located at universities near the Great Lakes, or freshwater, tend to favor limited government intervention while economists along the East and West Coast are mostly Keynesians of some stripe who believe the government plays a role in piloting the economy.</p><p>&#8220;It is a debate about what is the proper role for the Fed,&#8221; said Mickey Levy, chief economist at Bank of America, who tends toward the less-government-intervention camp.</p><p>Some former Fed officials played down the tension between Fed policymakers</p><p>&#8220;Robust discussion is how the Fed operates. It is nothing new,&#8221; said Randall Krozner, a professor at the University of Chicago and a former Fed governor.</p> <h3>Unconventional tools</h3><p>The chief problem is that the Fed&#8217;s traditional remedy for a slowdown &#8211; reducing short-term interest rates &#8211; is unavailable because rates have been close to zero for 20 months.</p><p>This leaves the Fed only unconventional policy tools, which bring with them more debate about their relative value because they&#8217;ve never been tried.</p> <p>The Fed has already purchased $1.4 trillion of mortgage securities and $300 billion of Treasury securities in an effort to lower market interest rates.</p><p>Earlier this month, in response to a slew of weak economic data, the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee took a symbolic decision to buy more Treasurys using funds received from principal repayments of its mortgage securities to hold the size of its balance sheet constant.</p><p>In essence, analysts said the FOMC flipped to an easing bias from its prior stance that leaned toward slow tightening.</p><p>Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke spelled out in great detail Friday the easing options under consideration. These include buying more assets, most likely Treasurys, to lower market interest rates; promising to keep ultra-low rates for longer than expected; or cutting the interest paid to banks for their excess reserves to push them to lend.</p><p>But will any of these steps be necessary? How much would the economy have to weaken or inflation to decline before the Fed decides to act? Experts here said Bernanke gave no hints nor did other Fed officials in private conversations.</p><p>Participants at the Jackson Hole seminar see no agreement among the Fed leadership on these key questions.</p><p>&#8220;The consensus is nowhere,&#8221; Swonk said.</p><h3>Participants&#8217; views</h3><p>Participants at the conference were also divided. Those who say the economy will be weak expect the Fed to move. Others, who are more optimistic about the outlook, don&#8217;t think further easing is necessary.</p><p>Alan Blinder, a former Fed governor, predicted that the Fed would ease again.</p> <p>&#8220;I&#8217;ll make a prediction &#8230; that it won&#8217;t be the last such step,&#8221; Blinder said in a panel discussion at the conference.</p><p>In an interview, Blinder said Bernanke would likely persuade his colleagues that the economy needed help.</p><p>&#8220;Bernanke is pulling the committee behind him,&#8221; he said.</p><p>Levy from Bank of America said the key question was whether the Fed would be able to withstand pressure from the market and Washington for further easing, which he said was uncertain to work.</p> <p>&#8220;Would more quantitative easing stimulate demand? I am not so sure,&#8221; Levy said.</p><p>Some opponents of more easing are worried it could lead to future instability and asset bubbles.</p><p>Others doubted its effectiveness.</p><p>Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein said he was not too impressed by the list of options presented by the Fed chairman.</p><p>&#8220;It doesn&#8217;t sound much can be gained from any one of them,&#8221; he said.</p><p>Michael Mussa, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, said he would be reluctant to go further on quantitative easing unless there was clear evidence the economy was moving back into recession.</p> <h3>Economic outlook</h3> <p>Few economists at Jackson Hole said the U.S.
Ben Bernanke and Banking

Jackson Hole dispute: does economy need more medicine?Soft growth, but not another contraction, is expected. The U.S. eco...
27 Aug 2010
U.S. Banks May Face Less Pressure for Mortgage Refunds, Oppenheimer Says <p><em><br /> </em></p><p><em></p><blockquote><p>&#8220;Costs may be curtailed because mortgages are going bad at a slower rate, Oppenheimer analyst <a target="_blank" href="http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Chris%20Kotowski&amp;site=wnews&amp;client=wnews&amp;proxystylesheet=wnews&amp;output=xml_no_dtd&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;filter=p&amp;getfields=wnnis&amp;sort=date:D:S:d1&amp;partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&amp;lr=-lang_ja">Chris Kotowski</a> wrote in a report today. Fewer defaults will reduce the flow of new demands for refunds from mortgage-buyers such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=FNM:US">Fannie Mae</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=FMCC:US">Freddie Mac</a> to banks that made the loans, he wrote.&#8221;</p></blockquote> <p></em></p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=BAC:US">Bank of America Corp</a>., <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=JPM:US">JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co.</a> and four more of the largest U.S. home lenders face $7.4 billion of losses over the next year tied to mortgage repurchases, less than some analysts have predicted, according to Oppenheimer &amp; Co.</p><p>Costs may be curtailed because mortgages are going bad at a slower rate, Oppenheimer analyst <a target="_blank" href="http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Chris%20Kotowski&amp;site=wnews&amp;client=wnews&amp;proxystylesheet=wnews&amp;output=xml_no_dtd&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;filter=p&amp;getfields=wnnis&amp;sort=date:D:S:d1&amp;partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&amp;lr=-lang_ja">Chris Kotowski</a> wrote in a report today. Fewer defaults will reduce the flow of new demands for refunds from mortgage-buyers such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=FNM:US">Fannie Mae</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=FMCC:US">Freddie Mac</a> to banks that made the loans, he wrote.</p><p>“We don’t expect this problem to spiral out of control,” said <a target="_blank" href="http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Kaimon%20Chung&amp;site=wnews&amp;client=wnews&amp;proxystylesheet=wnews&amp;output=xml_no_dtd&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;filter=p&amp;getfields=wnnis&amp;sort=date:D:S:d1&amp;partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&amp;lr=-lang_ja">Kaimon Chung</a>, an Oppenheimer analyst who works with Kotowski. “The repurchase requests have been tracking what we estimated in February.”</p><p>Investors are focusing on mortgage repurchases as lawmakers and regulators prepare for debates on how to salvage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were saved from collapse by government bailouts. Pressure is growing on Fannie and Freddie to return <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=DLQTDLQT:IND">bad loans</a> to their originators, with analysts estimating that banks could be forced to absorb losses approaching $200 billion.</p> <p>Compass Point Research and Trading LLC predicted earlier this month that 11 large U.S. lenders could incur losses ranging from $55.3 billion to $179.2 billion over the next three years. Fitch Ratings on Aug. 18 said claims from Fannie and Freddie may cost the four largest U.S. banks $17 billion.</p> <p><strong>Estimates Differ</strong></p> <p>The scope of the studies differed over which banks they included, the time spans examined and the source of claims, which can also include <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=MBI:US">insurers</a> and private investors.</p><p>They also differed on how much banks can recover from delinquent borrowers if the loans wind up back with the lenders. Kotowski assumed a 35 percent “severity” or loss rate.</p><p>“While there is a large pool of delinquent loans to be worked through, one can for the first time see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the size of the pool,” Kotowski wrote in the report. “It is important to recognize that while the problem is massive, it is becoming more finite and bounded.”</p> <p>Oppenheimer focused on Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc., <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=WFC:US">Wells Fargo</a> &amp; Co., <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=STI:US">SunTrust Banks Inc</a>. and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=PNC:US">PNC</a> Financial Services Group Inc. The six lenders will receive $27 billion in repurchase claims over the next year from mortgage buyers and insurers who say banks sold housing debt to investors based on false or misleading data, Kotowski estimated.</p><p><strong>Bank Tally</strong></p><p>Bank of America, the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=BKX:IND">largest</a> U.S. lender by assets, may report $3.2 billion in losses over the next year from repurchase requests, Oppenheimer said. JPMorgan, the second-largest U.S. bank, and No. 3 Wells Fargo, each may lose $1.6 billion, he said. Citigroup’s loss could be $690 million. Bank of America is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and JPMorgan and Citigroup are based in New York. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo was 2009’s biggest home lender.</p><p>Tom Kelly of JPMorgan, Rick Simon of Bank of America and Mary Eshet of Wells Fargo had no immediate comment. Jon Diat of Citigroup didn’t immediately return a telephone call.</p><p>Banks typically keep reserves to cover buyback losses. Bank of America earmarked $3.9 billion as of June 30, JPMorgan had $2.3 billion and Wells Fargo had $1.4 billion, according to regulatory filings.</p><p><strong>Loan Guarantees</strong></p><p>Banks make home loans and then typically sell them to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with a promise to buy them back if it’s later discovered that the mortgages were made improperly. Defects can include missing or inaccurate documents about the property and its value, or bad data about the borrowers.</p> <p>Known as “representations and warranties,” the promises can be enforced over the life of the loan. Most demands for repurchase come within the first few years, according to Bank of America.</p><p>Bond insurers including <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=MBI:US">MBIA Inc</a>. and investors including three of the government-chartered Federal Home Loan Banks have sued securities underwriters and issuers, citing inaccurate claims over property values and quality of underlying assets.</p> <p>While mortgage insurers are filing more lawsuits related to soured loans, “we view this as a protracted legal battle in which some middle ground will ultimately be found and in which the lawyers will be the only winners,” Kotowski said.</p> <p>Ref: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-26/u-s-banks-may-face-less-pressure-for-mortgage-refunds-oppenheimer-says.html</p><p>By David Mildenberg &#8211; Aug 26, 2010 9:19 AM PT
U.S. Banks May Face Less Pressure for Mortgage Refunds, Oppenheimer Says

26 Aug 2010
Are Prospective Borrowers Shrinking for Lenders, While the Housing Market Floods? <p>According to the Wall Street Journal, &#8220;Existing-home sales plunged 27% in July, while new homes fell 12% to a new all-time record low, which led to some market concerns that the housing market may slow the economic recovery,&#8221; said Amy Crews Cutts, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, in a news release. &#8220;As a result, long-term bond yields fell to the lowest levels since January 2009, allowing fixed mortgage rates to ease to new record lows this week.&#8221;</p><p>Inventories of unsold homes rose 2.5% to 3.98 million, representing a 12.5-month supply, the highest level since at least 1999, the trade group said. And the supply of unsold single-family homes reached its highest rate since 1982.</p><p>A drop in home-sales was to be expected after the temporary tax credit ended in April. However, unemployment and the threat of foreclosures appear to correlate. Although unemployment claims dropped last week by 31,000 to 473,000, ended Aug. 21st, the job market still appears bleak. The four-week moving average for unemployment, which aims to smooth volatility in the data, rose by 3,250 to 486,750, the highest level since Nov. 28, 2009. The reality of anyone facing foreclosure is whether or not they have a job and if that job pays enough to cover mortgage and expenses, including one&#8217;s internet bill&#8230;</p><p>The question then becomes: Are lenders breached with a &#8220;glass-half-full&#8221; of promising borrowers? A steady income was once one of many qualifying questions, but has now become much more heavily weighted. Conversely, the supply of houses for-sale far outreaches the demand or ability to buy. What are lenders to do? The uncertainty appears to have caused a overall slowdown, as people are waiting to see what happens next.
Are Prospective Borrowers Shrinking for Lenders, While the Housing Market Floods?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Existing-home sales plunged 27% in July, while new homes fell 12% to a new all-time...
24 Aug 2010
A New Horizon Over The Fee Frontier <p style="text-align: left;">Many housing analysts attribute stronger-than-expected annual price growth in many California housing markets over the last 18 months to the FHA, which backs loans as large as $729,750, more than double the limit three years ago. However, the Federal Mortgage Backer appear set to Raise Fees. The FHA is set to raise fees to borrowers in a bid to avoid burning through its dwindling reserves as home prices come under renewed pressure. Beginning in October, the FHA will raise the annual fees it charges new borrowers, adding about $300 million a month to its reserves. </p><p style="text-align: left;"><em>(Click on post to view graph)</em></p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.heitmananalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/FHA-Shrinking-Reserves.gif"></a><a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.heitmananalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/FHA-Shrinking-Reserves.gif"></a><a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.heitmananalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/FHA-Shrinking-Reserves.gif"><img class="size-full wp-image-168 alignnone" title="FHA Shrinking Reserves" src="http://wordpress.heitmananalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/FHA-Shrinking-Reserves.gif" alt="" width="580" height="360" /></a><a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.heitmananalytics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/FHA-Shrinking-Reserves.gif"></a></p><p>Read more: <a target="_blank" href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704340504575447673683601094.html">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704340504575447673683601094.html</a>
A New Horizon Over The Fee Frontier

Many housing analysts attribute stronger-than-expected annual price growth in many California housing markets over the las...
23 Aug 2010
Apples to Apples <p><strong>Can one compare markets equivalently, by state?</strong></p><p><em>In short, yes</em>. To qualify that statement; The data collected by Heitman Analytics allows for an apple-to-apple comparison of lenders in each individual market. Daily quotes are gathered by multiple lenders in each market. They are then normalized to zero-point standards to offer a common denominator and account for point differentials. This proprietary daily rate thermometer for the mortgage market is known as the Heitman Analytics National Index (HANI)TM. For the national index, the individual market values are put through a Heitman Weighted Moving Average Index by state to account for the volume of mortgages closed throughout the nation. The process provides the most accurate representation of what each product&#8217;s rate is on a national scale.
Apples to Apples

Can one compare markets equivalently, by state?In short, yes. To qualify that statement; The data collected by Heitman An...
05 Aug 2010
FHA approaches Congress with Positive News <p>Congress received a breath of fresh air as the recent FHA insurance audit shows improvement from its September figures. Bad loan filings are down significantly over the past 8 months, leading to a positive cash flow, which relives woes of dwindling excess cash. The decrease in claims has come from better than expected home prices, and improved borrower quality.</p><p>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/03/AR2010080306749.html</p>
FHA approaches Congress with Positive News

Congress received a breath of fresh air as the recent FHA insurance audit shows improvement from its September figures. Ba...
16 Jul 2010
Mortgage Analytics News and Views – A Roundup <p>Finance forecasts and projections abound with financial reform now right around the corner. It&#8217;s all white noise, of course, until the chips begin to fall. But one thing is for sure: it&#8217;s bound to shake up the way we all approach mortgage analytics. And this industry has certainly seen its share of changes in the last couple years. But while we&#8217;re not putting too much stock in all the prognoses circulating the web, we do think it&#8217;s important to stay tuned in. Here are a couple we&#8217;ve been paying attention to lately.</p><p>This week <em>The Atlantic </em>gave us <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/7-reasons-to-be-skeptical-about-financial-reform/59846/" target="_blank">7 Reasons To Be Skeptical About Financial Reform</a>. Sounds like a good place to start. Here are a few excerpts:</p><blockquote><p><strong>2. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/05/3-huge-problems-financial-reform-ignores/39830/">The Bill Doesn&#8217;t Deal With Fannie, Freddie, Credit Runs, or Leverage</a></strong>. Fannie and Freddie played a huge role in helping to overheat the U.S. mortgage market. Until those agencies experience some fundamental change in policy and procedures, it&#8217;s hard to see how another housing disaster won&#8217;t occur again in the future. There&#8217;s no attempt at any reform for these companies in either of Congress&#8217; financial regulation proposals.</p><p><strong>4. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/06/will-financial-reform-protect-taxpayers/58145/">Financial Reform Won&#8217;t Protect Taxpayers From a Future Bailout</a></strong>. If financial reform accomplishes anything, it should minimize the cost to taxpayers of future financial crises. But looking at the bailouts that Americans will be on the hook for, it fails that very basic test. And this isn&#8217;t really a controversial point, since it <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/05/effort-to-rein-in-fannie-and-freddie-fails-in-the-senate/56571/" target="_blank">does nothing</a> to reform the government-sponsored entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [Via Bloomberg:] &#8220;The White House&#8217;s Office of Management and Budget estimated in February that aid could total as little as $160 billion if the economy strengthens.&#8221;</p><p><strong>7. </strong><a target="_blank" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/how-financial-reform-creates-too-big-to-fail-firms/59692/"><strong>We Failed to Kill &#8216;Too Big to Fail.&#8217; In Fact, We Might Have Made It Stronger</strong>.</a> What happens when lots of banks start to fail together? The liquidation process will be so onerous and ugly that in future severe crises where we&#8217;ve got widespread problems in the industry with multiple systemically crucial banks &#8212; the once-every-three-generations kind of catastrophes &#8212; the government might not have the stomach for widespread liquidation. &#8220;Think about it this time around,&#8221; says Brookings&#8217; Doug Elliott. &#8220;If they had to take down Citi and Bank of America and the law required them to liquidate these guys, it would have been a disaster. And we would have created TARP.&#8221;</p></blockquote><p>&#8230;and <em>The Huffington Post</em> has these thoughts about how the impending bill will <a target="_blank" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-glaser/financial-reform-safer-mo_b_649260.html" target="_blank">impact the mortgage industry in particular</a>:</p><blockquote><p><strong>The Bill is Jet Fuel for Concentration of Mortgage Risk</strong>: One of the likely outcomes of the bill is that the largest financial institutions will increase their already bloated share of the mortgage market. Five banks today control in excess of 65% of the mortgage market &#8212; the financial bill will accelerate this trend by favoring banks over independent lenders. This was a deliberate decision pushed by Chairman Frank and the administration on the theory that large banks were easier to regulate than myriad independent lenders. Thus risk retention requirements, compensation rules, and licensing standards are all tilted toward large banks. The result is that the big will get bigger &#8212; and the level of mortgage risk will concentrate further &#8212; though the administration argues that more competent regulators and safer mortgage products alleviate the concern about &#8220;too bigger to fail&#8221;.</p><p><strong>Indefinite and Increased Government Support for Mortgage Market</strong>: The bill further increases the dependence of the mortgage and housing market on federal support. Private capital is already scarce in housing &#8212; over 95% of mortgages today are guaranteed directly or indirectly by FHA and other government agencies. Private securitizations will be helped by new rules that create transparency and requirements that rating agencies do their homework before rating a mortgage security. But other parts of the bill impose new liability on securitizers for the underlying mortgages originated by third parties, and requirements to retain capital when transferring risk. The full contours of these rules won&#8217;t be issued by regulators for 2-3 years &#8212; extending a period of uncertainty that has dissuaded private investors from restarting the flow of mortgage capital. Meanwhile, the federal footprint in mortgages will become deeper and deeper in order to keep the housing market from the dreaded double dip &#8212; and making the unwinding of federal intervention that much more difficult.</p><p><strong>A Smaller Mortgage Market With Fewer Qualified Borrowers</strong>: The new law places significant hurdles to offering any mortgage products outside the &#8220;plain vanilla&#8221; category. Regulators must define what is inside or outside the plain-vanilla box. Clearly, firm regulation of mortgage products is necessary in light of the subprime meltdown. But exactly where regulators draw the line will have a substantial impact on what kind of mortgages are available and which borrowers will qualify for a mortgage. Already we have seen that non-traditional borrowers have virtually fallen out of the home-buying market, other than thru government guaranteed FHA loans. Last year, rejection rates for African American and Latino borrowers skyrocketed for non-FHA loans. Will new mortgage standards be flexible enough to allow for reasonable credit risk determinations &#8212; or will plain vanilla mortgages mean plain vanilla homeowners?</p></blockquote>
Mortgage Analytics News and Views – A Roundup

Finance forecasts and projections abound with financial reform now right around the corner. It’s all white noise, of cours...
13 Jul 2010
Mortgage Analytics News — Gap Narrows For Mortgage-Bond Yield <p>As today&#8217;s <a title="Mortgage Analytics" href="http://bit.ly/anMB3H" target="_blank">Washington Post piece explains</a>, housing supply isn&#8217;t likely to catch up to demand any time soon. Not that it should shock any of us.</p><blockquote><p><a target="_blank" href="http://projects.washingtonpost.com/post200/2007/FNM/">Fannie Mae</a>&#8216;s current-coupon 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bonds narrowed 0.04 percentage point to about 0.64 percentage point more than 10-year Treasuries as of 12:15 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gap reached 0.59 percentage point on March 29, two days before the Federal Reserve ended its buying of $1.25 trillion of home-loan debt.</p><p>Foreign investors such as central banks have been flocking to so-called agency mortgage bonds and debt as a haven, boosting holdings by more than $50 billion this year, according to Fed data. Mortgage rates may be rising off record lows and bond prepayments reports released July 7 show limited refinancing, suggesting there will be less new supply to meet demand as borrowers move from loans within bonds on the Fed&#8217;s balance sheet.</p><p>&#8230;</p><p>Yields on the Fannie Mae bonds have advanced to 3.75 percent from a record low of 3.63 percent reached July 6, down from 4.67 percent on April 5, Bloomberg data show. The gain has been slower than benchmark Treasuries, whose yields have begun rising as stocks rally, damping demand for the safest assets.</p><p>Spreads on the securities, which have fallen from 0.82 percentage point on June 30, today reached the lowest level since April 15.</p></blockquote> <p>?
Mortgage Analytics News — Gap Narrows For Mortgage-Bond Yield

12 Jul 2010
Behind The Term: Lock Loan Volume <p>And today&#8217;s Behind The Term mortgage analytics definition is&#8230;</p><p><em><strong>Lock Loan Volume</strong> — </em></p><p><em>Bank and mortgage lender data which tracks the overall volume of loans originated by that bank or lending institution. Lock data is explicitly captured and recorded once a borrower decides to lock a rate with the lender.</em>
Behind The Term: Lock Loan Volume

And today’s Behind The Term mortgage analytics definition is…Lock Loan Volume — Bank and mortgage lender data which tracks...
09 Jul 2010
Behind The Term: Lender-Based Loan Fees <p>We in the mortgage world like to throw around cryptic terms. Actually, they&#8217;re really not all that mysterious to those of us who use them day in and day out, but why would an outsider have any interest in the meanings of, say, lock loan volume, lender-based loan fees and volume analytics? They probably wouldn&#8217;t. But the Internet is a crazy place, and we figure there may be a thirst out there for some fun mortgage definitions. So we&#8217;ll aim to start rolling them out for you here. Look for a glossary page soon. Today&#8217;s definition:</p> <p><em><strong>Lender-Based Loan Fees</strong> — </em></p><p><em>Fees collected by banks and lending institutions to cover lender’s costs associated with originating the loan for the borrower. Unlike some loan fees over which a lender has no control, banks can set this fee at whatever they please, and thus compete to offer the best deal for potential borrowers.</em>
Behind The Term: Lender-Based Loan Fees

We in the mortgage world like to throw around cryptic terms. Actually, they’re really not all that mysterious to those of ...
08 Jul 2010
Ritholtz: Home Prices Will Keep Moving Backward <p>We recently came across this eye-opening piece from John Mauldin&#8217;s Outside The Box, which relays some perspective from Fusion IQ CEO Barry Ritholtz on the next stages of the mortgage crisis. The piece makes use of some great visuals, so do yourself a favor and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2010/06/28/a-closer-look-at-the-second-leg-down-in-housing.aspx" target="_blank">visit the site for the full piece</a>. Here are some Ritholtz excerpts to whet your appetite, though:</p><blockquote><p>In my analysis, price stands out as being the prime mover of the next leg down. High unemployment, and a decade of flat wages aren&#8217;t helping to create any new housing demand. And the millions in homes they cannot afford will eventually add more pressure to inventory and prices. Indeed, we are still working</p> <p>But the bottom line is <strong>Home prices remain too high</strong>: There can be no doubt that home prices have moved way down from the 2005-06 peaks. How did I reach the conclusion that, even after a 33% decrease in prices, home prices are high?</p><p>By using traditional metrics: Whether we are looking at US housing stock as a percentage of GDP or Median income versus home prices or even ownership versus renting costs, prices remain elevated. Indeed, we see prices remain above historic means.</p><p>Consider price relative to income. From 1977 to 2010, the median US home price was 4.1 times median household income. But as the chart below shows, Home prices are still above that mean. Oh, and that mean is artificially elevated due to the 2002-07 boom. It&#8217;s the same with home prices relative to rentals, or housing value as percentage of GDP.</p> <p>&#8230;</p> <p>Yes, government policies temporarily stopped prices from finding their natural levels. Now that the tax credit has ended, and most mortgage modifications are failing, the prior downtrend in price is likely to now resume.</p><p>Neither the Bush nor the Obama White House understood this. The assumption has been that if we can modify mortgages or voluntarily refrain from foreclosures, the residential RE market will stabilize. Through a combination of mortgage mods and buyers tax credits, the government has managed to create artificial demand and keep more supply off of the markets for a short time. But as we have seen, that fix was at best temporary.</p><p>One of the things that Markets are best at is price discovery &#8211; the determination of a price for a specific item through basic supply and demand factors. Without the heavy hand of the government intervening, the residential real estate market is about to experience what price discovery is all about&#8230;</p></blockquote>
Ritholtz: Home Prices Will Keep Moving Backward

We recently came across this eye-opening piece from John Mauldin’s Outside The Box, which relays some perspective from Fus...
30 Jun 2010
Weighing In on Mortgage Analytics Trends; The Latest on Mortgage Rates <p>The impending overhaul of our financial system still waits impatiently in the wings, and with each idle day comes a fresh opportunity for analysts to weigh in on the fine print for industries x, y and z. The housing industry is the obvious focal point of most conjecture, as real estate experts around the web give their Magic 8 Balls a daily shake for fresh prognoses on mortgage analytics, volume and rates.</p><p>We&#8217;re doing our best to keep you in the loop, but the echo chamber grows louder as the approval process drags on. Now, with the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd shaking things up on the hill this week, a July 4th Obama signature suddenly seems a bit ambitious.</p><p>So it looks like the analysts will have the long weekend to drum up some more forecasts for mortgage volume and analytics, and we&#8217;ll continue to follow the fluctuation of broker loan fees, lender-based loan fees, lock loan volume reports and mortgage pricing.</p><p>In the meantime, let&#8217;s get caught up on the latest news and analysis.</p> <p>According to the AP, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iIvqFRg66XEuDVbUOooZbk-FI9lgD9GLKU0O1" target="_blank">mortgage applications are on the rise</a> amid rock-bottom rates:</p><blockquote><p>Applications for mortgages rose last week as consumers refinanced their loans at the lowest rates in more than 50 years.</p><p>Overall applications increased nearly 9 percent from a week earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. But the growth in borrowing came from applications to refinance home loans and not to make new purchases.</p> <p>Refinancings were up 13 percent, the highest level since May 2009. But they remain about half the level of early 2009, partly because many people who wanted and were able to refinance have already done so. Refinancing costs can total several thousand dollars.</p><p>New mortgages taken out to purchase homes fell 4 percent. They were 36 percent below last year&#8217;s levels.</p> <p>The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan sank to 4.69 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. That was the lowest since the since the mortgage company began keeping records in 1971.</p><p>Refinances made up nearly 77 percent of all mortgage activity last week. That&#8217;s up from 74 percent a week earlier.</p><p>Mortgage rates have fallen over the past two months. Investors, nervous about Europe&#8217;s debt crisis and the global economy, have shifted money into safe Treasury bonds. That has caused Treasury yields to fall and mortgage rates track those yields.</p></blockquote><p>Meanwhile, the WSJ points out that <a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2010/06/29/mansion-foreclosures-surge/" target="_blank">nobody is immune to the housing crisis</a>, as evidenced by a recent spike in $1 million-plus mansion foreclosures:</p><blockquote><p>For those who think all is well again in the world of Richistan, consider the following statistic.</p> <p>The percentage of $1 million-plus loans more than 90 days delinquent rose to 13.3% in February, half again as high as the 8.6% overall delinquency rate, according to First American CoreLogic, which tracks U.S. real estate and mortgages.The statistic, from this <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/37926564" target="_blank">Reuters article</a>, points to a sobering reality amid the happy talk of newly minted millionaires. Many affluent and wealthy can’t keep up with their mortgage payments.</p> <p>Last month, there were 205 foreclosure filings for mortgages of $5 million or more, the third straight month such filings rose, according to RealtyTrac. The 205 foreclosures totaled $813 million.</p><p>“Early on in the crash, the weakness was in the lower-price tiers. In the past year, most of the biggest price declines have been in the upper tiers,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told Reuters. “That suggests high-end households are coming under increasing pressure.”</p><p>Lenders to the wealthy are taking a hit. Bank of America’s U.S. Trust unit reported a nearly sixfold increase in its loan-loss provision in the first quarter, to $184 million from $31 million a year earlier. Net charge-offs at Northern Trust rose to $31 million from $2.7 million a year earlier, though they were down from the 2009 fourth quarter, according to Reuters.</p><p>While some say the weakness at the top is part of every economic cycle, real-estate experts say the mansion market has rarely if ever been hit so hard. “This recession is unlike prior recessions. It hit the high end just as much as the low end,” said Sam Khater, senior economist at CoreLogic.</p><p>Of course, the foreclosures could be the result of over-leveraged speculators and developers as opposed to once-wealthy families. Or it could be the result of a poor stock market in 2010, along with higher taxes.</p></blockquote> <p>And finally, the NYT reports on <a target="_blank" href="http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/banks-return-to-commercial-mortgage-bonds/" target="_blank">recent activity surrounding commercial real estate mortgage bonds</a>, as that sector finally looks to be coming out of hibernation:</p><blockquote><p>Once dominant, and then dormant, commercial real estate loans are beginning to show signs of life on the trading floor after a two-year slump, Jotham Sederstrom reports in The New York Times.</p><p>Attracted by more conservative underwriting and the perceived bottoming-out of property values, banks like <strong>J. P. Morgan Chase</strong> and the <strong>Royal Bank of Scotland</strong> are returning to the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, albeit cautiously.</p><p>“Compared to a year or two ago we’ve come a long, long way,” said Ross Moore, an executive vice president of the real estate services firm <strong>Colliers International</strong>. “The fact there’s even discussions taking place — that’s a big step forward. Are we making progress toward restarting the C.M.B.S. market? Yes, I think absolutely.”</p><p>Before the bubble burst, nearly half of all commercial real estate deals were financed by loans related to mortgage-backed securities. As a lending instrument, they allow banks to remove loans from their balance sheets by bundling them into a diversified pool, which is then issued as a bond. The payments collected from the sales are put toward future real estate loans.</p><p>At the peak in 2007, more than $230 billion in commercial mortgage-backed securities were originated in the United States, according to data provided by Colliers International. But with eroding property values and an inactive real estate market, new issues plunged to $12 billion the following year and to just $3 billion in 2009.</p><p>Since the beginning of June, there have been eight issues of commercial mortgage-backed securities, amounting to an estimated $5 billion in loans, real estate analysts said.
Weighing In on Mortgage Analytics Trends; The Latest on Mortgage Rates

The impending overhaul of our financial system still waits impatiently in the wings, and with each idle day comes a fresh ...
25 Jun 2010
News & Views on Financial Reform’s Mortgage Industry Implications <p>Congress finally approved the most <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-25/lawmakers-reach-compromise-on-financial-regulation.html" target="_blank">sweeping overhaul of U.S. financial regulation</a> since the Great Depression this morning.</p><p>These past few months we&#8217;ve been helping you track of all the latest financial reform happenings from the House and Senate floors. It&#8217;s been an eventful exchange, to say the least, as our representatives continue to massage the future of the banking industry. And there&#8217;s no shortage of analysis on the web pertaining to the impending bill&#8217;s implications for the mortgage industry&#8217;s future. With that, we give you some of the most recent housing banter.</p><p>First, for perspective, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-25/lawmakers-reach-compromise-on-financial-regulation.html" target="_blank">Bloomberg has a good breakdown</a> of the ins and outs for mortgage lenders:</p><blockquote><p>Mortgage lenders, including <a title="Get Quote" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=BAC:US">Bank of America Corp.</a>, may be subject to tougher rules including more upfront disclosures to borrowers about loan terms&#8230;The idea for a new agency grew out of criticism from lawmakers and consumer groups that bank regulators, including the Fed, failed to properly exercise their consumer-protection authority during the housing boom. The consumer bureau will assume much of that oversight. The bureau’s rules could be overridden by the new Financial Stability Oversight Council if the panel decided that they threatened the safety, soundness or stability of the U.S. financial system.</p><p>The financial-services industry lobbied against the new bureau, saying it would raise costs, limit choice, and improperly separate oversight of consumer issues and safety and soundness. &#8211;Alison Vekshin</p></blockquote> <p>Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups <a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/06/25/economists-and-others-react-to-financial-overhaul/" target="_blank">weighs in on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Without a doubt, the centerpiece of reform is the establishment of the new, independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with only one job: protecting consumers who buy financial products at banks and non-bank lenders, from mortgage companies to payday lenders. While the bureau will not regulate predatory car dealer practices, a last minute compromise gives the Federal Trade Commission new authority over car dealers who initiate loans.<em> </em></p></blockquote><p>Bankrate&#8217;s Holden Lewis <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bankrate.com/financing/mortgages/will-financial-regulation-help-mortgage-borrowers/" target="_blank">wonders whether regulation will help the nation&#8217;s borrowers</a>:</p><blockquote><p>I&#8217;m not so sure the financial regulation overhaul will help mortgage borrowers.</p><p>As I await details from the upcoming House-Senate conference report, these are my impressions of what we know so far:</p><p>It&#8217;s simply wrong to call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau &#8220;independent&#8221; when it resides inside the Federal Reserve. Proponents tout the independence of the bureau, whose chairman will be appointed by the president. But you&#8217;re naïve if you believe the bureau&#8217;s head won&#8217;t be outmaneuvered bureaucratically by the chairman of the Fed and the president of the New York Fed.</p><p>Also, calling it a &#8220;bureau&#8221; is a savvy way of marginalizing it. People laugh when I tell them this, but I&#8217;m dead serious. &#8220;Bureau&#8221; is an old-timey word that conjures images of men wearing fedoras while listening to children playing the harpsichord in the parlor. Calling a new agency a bureau is like naming a newborn girl Buttercup. She ain&#8217;t gonna be elected president with that name.</p><p>The bureau will write mortgage regulations, which the skilled bureaucratic warriors in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bankrate.com/financing/federal-reserve/" target="_self">Fed</a> will summarily gut.</p><p>From what I understand, the law will limit mortgage origination fees to 3 percent of the loan amount. This might make it unprofitable for lenders to underwrite smaller loans. I would guess that it&#8217;ll be hard to borrow less than $80,000 under the 3 percent rule; the National Association of Mortgage Brokers says loans under $150,000 might become scarce.</p><p>Consumers could be affected by the law&#8217;s treatment of compensation of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/home-mortgage-a-matter-of-trust-for-wife.aspx" target="_self">loan</a> originators. I need to get up to speed on the details. If I understand correctly, mortgage brokers won&#8217;t be able to collect origination fees from borrowers if they also collect commissions from lenders for increasing the rate. On the surface, that sounds good. But it could take away flexibility.</p></blockquote>
News & Views on Financial Reform’s Mortgage Industry Implications

23 Jun 2010
Forbes on Frannie, HuffPo on Obamaclosure, and Another Plunge for New Home Sales <p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/cfkdyT" target="_blank">The Bottomless Pit Of Fannie And Freddie</a> (Forbes)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/23/less-than-one-percent-of_n_622586.html" target="_blank">Less Than One Percent Of Modified Mortgages In Obama Foreclosure Plan Involve Principal Cuts (Huffington Post)</a></p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/dgF7WX" target="_blank">Bank stocks sag as Fed downgrades economic view</a> (MarketWatch)
Forbes on Frannie, HuffPo on Obamaclosure, and Another Plunge for New Home Sales

17 Jun 2010
The Latest from the Floor of the Congress Reform Conference <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38646.html" target="_blank">Hard times for financial reform</a> (Politico)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704198004575310851924122716.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop" target="_blank">At Last, Financial Reform</a> (WSJ)
The Latest from the Floor of the Congress Reform Conference

15 Jun 2010
Latest Reform Proposals, Post-Tax Credit Rates, and The Week Ahead <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65D4EL20100614" target="_blank">Factbox: Major financial regulation reform proposals</a> (Reuters)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/06142010_week_ahead_housing_starts.asp" target="_blank">The Week Ahead: Post-Tax Credit Housing Data Plus Inflation Indicators</a> (Mortgage News Daily)
Latest Reform Proposals, Post-Tax Credit Rates, and The Week Ahead

11 Jun 2010
Everyday Banks on Main Street, Previewing The New Financial Landscape, and BofA’s Early Adaptations <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/11/business/economy/11main.html?ref=business" target="_blank">In Louisville, View of Banks’ Role in the Everyday</a> (NY Times)</p> <p><a onmousedown="UntrustedLink.bootstrap($(this), &quot;c7e01&quot;, event);" rel="nofollow" href="http://bit.ly/cbKPT7" target="_blank">New financial landscape emerges ahead U.S. reforms</a> (Reuters)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/cSeTB2" target="_blank">BofA gets a head start on Fed&#8217;s Home Affordable Modification Plan, looks for ways to cut borrowers a break</a> (CNBC)
Everyday Banks on Main Street, Previewing The New Financial Landscape, and BofA’s Early Adaptations

02 Jun 2010
New-Purchase Apps Fall With Rates, a Head Start for the Mortgage Bond Rush, and Consumer Advocates v <p><a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2010/05/26/mortgage-rates-fall-to-48-home-buyers-still-scarce/" target="_blank">Mortgage Rates Fall to 4.8%, Home Buyers Still Scarce</a> (WSJ)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/92M5wh" target="_blank">US mortgage bond rush on, ahead of regulations</a> (Reuters)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/financial-reform-bill-pits-consumer-advocates-vs-small-business/?src=busln" target="_blank">Financial Reform Bill Pits Consumer Advocates vs. Small Business</a> (NY Times Blog)
New-Purchase Apps Fall With Rates, a Head Start for the Mortgage Bond Rush, and Consumer Advocates v

27 May 2010
Unearthing the Reform Bill’s Mortgage Provisions; Financial Stocks Take a Hit <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/26/AR2010052604995.html" target="_blank">Senate, House financial overhaul targets lending practices of mortgage crisis</a> (Washington Post)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/financial-stocks-make-late-tumble-as-euro-sinks-2010-05-26" target="_blank">Financial stocks lose grip on gains as euro tumbles</a> (MarketWatch)
Unearthing the Reform Bill’s Mortgage Provisions; Financial Stocks Take a Hit

26 May 2010
Reactions To Senate Bill, FHFA Standardizes Data, and The Covered Bonds Act <p>On The Financial Reform Bill:</p><p><a target="_blank" href=" http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/another-view-reining-in-the-rating-agencies/?src=busln" target="_blank">The Credit Raters: How We Got Here</a> (Wall Street Journal)<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704792104575264892598594682.html?mod=WSJ_Deals_RIGHTTopCarousel" target="_blank">Another View: Reining In the Rating Agencies</a> (New York Times)</p><p>And in other news&#8230;</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/05252010_fhfa_gses.asp" target="_blank">FHFA To Implement Uniform Standards For Loan and Appraisal Data</a> (Mortgage News Daily)<br /> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/37334644" target="_blank">Covered Bonds May Play Role In Mortgage-Financing Fix</a> (CNBC)
Reactions To Senate Bill, FHFA Standardizes Data, and The Covered Bonds Act

19 May 2010
Dodd Proposes Tweaks; Late Plunge for Banking Stocks <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-18/dodd-proposes-delaying-swaps-measure-in-rules-bill-update1-.html" target="_blank">Dodd Proposes Delaying Swaps Measure in Rules Bill</a> (Bloomberg)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100518-713940.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines" target="_blank">Banking Stocks Lead Late Sell-Off On Continued Uncertainty</a> (Wall Street Journal)
Dodd Proposes Tweaks; Late Plunge for Banking Stocks

12 May 2010
Dodd, Frank Push Regulation <p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/977NiE" target="_blank">Dodd Says Market Plunge Illustrates Need for Financial Overhaul</a> (BusinessWeek)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/9MNxO5" target="_blank">Barney Frank sees passage of financial overhaul package by July 4</a> (MinnPost)
Dodd, Frank Push Regulation

05 May 2010
Buffett on Goldman, Boston Banks Brace for New Rules, and the Senate Debates Financial Reform <p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/9wKj07" target="_blank">Buffett: &#8220;No Problem&#8221; with Goldman Moves</a> (CBS News)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/a5M7q2" target="_blank">A Case of Regulatory Jitters in Boston</a> (The Boston Globe)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://bit.ly/dzCGTQ" target="_blank">US Senate Debates Financial Reform</a> (Voice Of America)
Buffett on Goldman, Boston Banks Brace for New Rules, and the Senate Debates Financial Reform

28 Apr 2010
10-year Low for Homeownership Rate, An Anti-Reform GOP, and Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff on Mortgage Sho <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/04262010_census_homeownership.asp" target="_blank">Homeownership Rate Hits 10 Year Low</a> (Mortgage News Daily)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/premium/archive/?ts=1272470404" target="_blank">Purchase Applications Seen Rising As Refis Drop</a> (National Mortgage News)</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/premium/archive/?ts=1272297600" target="_blank">GOP Stands Firm Against Reform-For Now</a> (National Mortgage News)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/zillows-spencer-rascoff-talks-mortgage-shopping-on-cnbc/2010/04/30/" target="_blank">Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff Talks Mortgage Shopping on CNBC</a> (Zillow)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.robchrisman.com/a1272456000.htm" target="_blank">Hang on to those rate locks! News from Goldman, Wells, USDA, ING, Citi; Stratmor pull through numbers</a> (Rob Chrisman)
10-year Low for Homeownership Rate, An Anti-Reform GOP, and Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff on Mortgage Sho

21 Apr 2010
Foreclosure Prevention Alternatives, Bridge Loans, and Denver’s Resilient Housing Market <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/channels/community/147265.aspx" target="_blank">Fixing The Housing Market: A Foreclosure Prevention Alternative</a> (Mortgage News Daily)</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://ezinearticles.com/?What-is-a-Bridge-Loan?&amp;id=4147938" target="_blank">What Is A Bridge Loan?</a> (Ezine Articles)</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/denver-region-seeing-fewer-price-cuts-values-up-since-march-2009/2010/04/21/" target="_blank">Denver Region Seeing Fewer Price Cuts; Values Up Since March 2009</a> (Zillow)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Buy-Aged-Mortgage-Data-In-High-Volume/371999" target="_blank">Buy Aged Mortgage Data In High Volume</a> (Article Snatch)
Foreclosure Prevention Alternatives, Bridge Loans, and Denver’s Resilient Housing Market

14 Apr 2010
States Push Mortgage Broker Laws, 30-Year Fixed Rates On The Rise, and a Look at Obama’s Foreclosure <p><a target="_blank" href="http://lenderama.com/2010/04/19/states-scrambling-pass-mortgagebroker-laws/" target="_blank">Some States Scrambling To Pass Mortgage Broker Laws</a> (Lenderama)</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/30-year-mortgage-rates-rose-slightly-last-week-current-30-year-fixed-rate-is-490/2010/04/20/" target="_blank">30-Year Mortgage Rates Rose Slightly Last Week; Current 30-Year Fixed Rate is 4.90%</a> (Zillow)</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/report-obamas-foreclosure-mitigation-plan-not-keeping-up/2010/04/14/" target="_blank">Report: Obama’s Foreclosure Mitigation Plan Not Keeping Up</a> (Zillow)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/consumer_rates/146449.aspx" target="_blank">Mortgage Rates Recover From Bad Start to the Day</a> (Mortgage News Daily)
States Push Mortgage Broker Laws, 30-Year Fixed Rates On The Rise, and a Look at Obama’s Foreclosure

07 Apr 2010
Distressed Homes; Recovering Mortgage Rates <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/premium/archive/?ts=1270742402" target="_blank">Study: Every Three-in-10 Homes Sold in January Was Distressed</a> (National Mortgage News)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/consumer_rates/145398.aspx" target="_blank">Mortgage Rates Spend Week Recovering from 2010 Highs</a> (Mortgage News Daily)
Distressed Homes; Recovering Mortgage Rates

28 Mar 2010
A Push for Securitization Reform, The Future of Mortgage Analytics, and an Uptick in Mortgage Applications <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.toughtimesforlenders.com/2010/03/articles/market-trends/financial-reform-major-industry-groups-ask-senate-banking-committee-to-carefully-consider-securitization-reform/" target="_blank">Financial Reform: Major Industry Groups Ask Senate Banking Committee to Carefully Consider Securitization Reform</a> (Tough Times For Lenders)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5246/is_6_69/ai_n31442998/" target="_blank">The New Frontier of Mortgage Analytics: How Public-Record Real Estate Data, Credit Data and Collaborative Analytics Are Going to Change the Landscape of Mortgage Analytics</a> (Find Articles)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.housingwire.com/2010/03/31/mortgage-applications-inch-up-this-week/" target="_blank">Mortgage Applications Inch Up This Week</a> (Housing Wire)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://mortgagedataweb.blogspot.com/2010/03/fha-leading-originators-january-2010.html" target="_blank">FHA Leading Originators: January 2010 Versus Prior Year</a> (Mortgage Data Web)</p><p><a target="_blank" href=" http://www.housingwire.com/2010/03/30/tarp-cop-says-half-of-commercial-mortgages-to-be-underwater/" target="_blank">TARP COP Says Half of Commercial Mortgages to be Underwater</a> (Housing Wire)
A Push for Securitization Reform, The Future of Mortgage Analytics, and an Uptick in Mortgage Applications

21 Mar 2010
Texas Foreclosures Soaring; Quality of New Homes Improving <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/premium/archive/?ts=1269446405" target="_blank">Foreclosure Trends Continue with Texas Leading the Way</a> (National Mortgage News)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.housingchronicles.com/2010/03/new-home-quality-and-customer-service.html" target="_blank">New Home Quality and Customer Service Improving in Recession</a> (Housing Chronicles)
Texas Foreclosures Soaring; Quality of New Homes Improving

14 Mar 2010
Mortgage Rates Sink, Lender Pricing Gets Aggressive <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/consumer_rates/140820.aspx" target="_blank">Mortgage Rates Move Lower. Most Aggressive Lender Pricing Seen in Weeks</a> (Mortgage News Daily)
Mortgage Rates Sink, Lender Pricing Gets Aggressive

07 Mar 2010
Bank Consolidation, Syndicated vs. Participated Loans, and the Drag of Deficiencies <p><a target="_blank" href="http://ppcgroup.com/blog/2010/03/08/the-coming-bank-consolidation/" target="_blank">The Coming Bank Consolidation</a> (PPC Group)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.toughtimesforlenders.com/2010/03/articles/workout-issues/understanding-differences-between-a-syndicated-loan-participated-loan-is-crucial-when-it-turns-bad/" target="_blank">Understanding Differences Between a Syndicated Loan &amp; Participated Loan is Crucial When It Turns Bad</a> (Tough Times For Lenders)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://clickbroker.blogspot.com/2010/03/economic-drag-of-mortgage-deficiencies.html" target="_blank">Economic Drag Of Mortgage Deficiencies</a> (Click Broker)
Bank Consolidation, Syndicated vs. Participated Loans, and the Drag of Deficiencies

24 Feb 2010
All-Time Low For Jumbo Rates, Fixing The Foreclosure Issue, and Frozen Commercial Financing <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.mortgageindustrytrends.net/fixing_the_mortgage_problem" target="_blank">Fixing The Foreclosure Problem</a> (Mortgage Industry Trends)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.housingwire.com/2010/02/26/home-prices-will-not-go-up-anytime-soon-say-analysts/" target="_blank">Home Prices Will Not go up Anytime Soon, Say Analysts</a> (Housing Wire)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://blog.c-loans.com/public/item/252012" target="_blank">Commercial Financing Frozen Solid</a> (C-Loans)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.totalmortgage.com/blog/jumbo-mortgage/jumbo-mortgage-rates-hit-all-time-low/2154" target="_blank">Jumbo Mortgage Rates Hit All-Time Low</a> (Total Mortgage)
All-Time Low For Jumbo Rates, Fixing The Foreclosure Issue, and Frozen Commercial Financing

17 Feb 2010
Home Value Misperceptions <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/hey-you-pessimists-yes-you-homeowners-its-not-quite-that-bad/2010/02/17/" target="_blank">Hey You Pessimists (Yes You, Homeowners): It’s Not Quite That Bad…</a> (Zillow)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.housingwire.com/2010/02/19/some-homeowners-overly-cynical-on-home-property-values-zillow/" target="_blank">Some Homeowners Overly Cynical on Home Property Values</a> (HousingWire)
Home Value Misperceptions

10 Feb 2010
Rates Dip Below 5% Again; A Look Ahead at Real Estate Vaues <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.realestateweblog.org/when-will-real-estate-values-begin-to-appreciate-again.php#more-127" target="_blank">When Will Real Estate Values Begin to Appreciate Again?</a> (The Real Estate Blog)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.totalmortgage.com/blog/current-mortgage-rates/current-mortgage-rates-fall-back-below-5/1933" target="_blank">Current Mortgage Rates Fall Back Below 5%</a> (Total Mortgage)
Rates Dip Below 5% Again; A Look Ahead at Real Estate Vaues

03 Feb 2010
Commercial Loan Originations on the Rise, Shrinking Mortgage Volume, and the Commercial Real Estate Dilemma <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.commercialfinanceblog.com/commercial-loan/mba-reports-increases-in-commercial-loan-originations.html" target="_blank">MBA Reports Increases in Commercial Loan Originations</a> (Commercial Finance Blog)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://ppcgroup.com/blog/2010/02/08/don%E2%80%99t-forget-about-interest-rate-risk/" target="_blank">Don’t Forget About Interest Rate Risk</a> (PPC Group)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.totalmortgage.com/blog/fha/why-is-mortgage-volume-diminishing/1834" target="_blank">Why is Mortgage Volume Diminishing?</a> (Total Mortgage)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/04/news/companies/banks_commercial_real_estate/index.htm?section=money_realestate&amp;utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_realestate+%28Real+Estate%29" target="_blank">The Commercial Real Estate Dilemma</a> (CNN Money)
Commercial Loan Originations on the Rise, Shrinking Mortgage Volume, and the Commercial Real Estate Dilemma

21 Jan 2010
Tighter Restrictions for FHA-backed Loans on the Way <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/fha-loan-requirements-are-changing/2010/01/21/" target="_blank">FHA Loan Requirements Are Changing</a> (Zillow.com)
Tighter Restrictions for FHA-backed Loans on the Way

12 Jan 2010
Mortgage Rates Dip Back Below 5%; U.S. Mortgage Rates Since 1971 <p><a target="_blank" href="http://mortgageblog.com/historical-mortgage-rates/30-year-fixed-rate-mortgages-since-1971/" target="_blank">Historical Mortgage Rates for 30 Year Mortgage</a> (Mortgage Blog)</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.totalmortgage.com/blog/current-mortgage-rates/current-mortgage-rates-temporarily-fall-back-below-5/1811" target="_blank">Current Mortgage Rates Temporarily Fall Back Below 5%</a> (Total Mortgage)
Mortgage Rates Dip Back Below 5%; U.S. Mortgage Rates Since 1971

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