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  • Tue, May 5 2009
  • 8:50 AM » WaMu Defrauded by JPMorgan?
    Published Tue, May 05 2009 8:50 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Washington Mutual Inc (WAMUQ.PK) has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) seeking the return of more than $4 billion in cash deposits which it lost access to when its bank was sold last year. Washington Mutual Bank was closed by the U.S. government in September, in the largest bank failure in U.S. history. Its banking assets were sold the same day to JPMorgan for $1.9 billion, and the parent holding company filed for bankruptcy protection a day later in what seems to clearly be an underhanded deal to bolster the JPMorgan balance sheet while the company reorganizes.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:49 AM » About 10 U.S. stress test banks to need more capital
    Published Tue, May 05 2009 8:49 AM by Reuters
    About 10 of the 19 largest U.S. banks being stress tested will be instructed by regulators to raise more capital, according to a source familiar with official talks.
  • 8:28 AM » Business.view: Assuming the worst
    Published Tue, May 05 2009 8:28 AM by
    How firms' disaster plans may fail in a pandemic THE parallels are eerie. A few people in a poor country start showing symptoms of a strange disease. Then clusters start popping up around the world, each connected to the starting point by a long, thin line traced through the air at 30,000 feet. Soon more clusters of disease start appearing, suggesting it is spreading easily from person to person. The World Health Organisation sounds the alert. Switch swine flu for bird flu and Mexico for Thailand and events of the past week or so will be familiar to the 3,500 people who played an extraordinary “game” in 2006 to test the resilience of Britain’s banking system to a pandemic. Thankfully, swine flu shows every sign of being mild and susceptible to antiviral medicines. But the results of the British planning exercise provided a foretaste of what businesses may face in a second wave of infection if the flu mutated to become drug resistant or more virulent. ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:28 AM » S&P futures lower on profit taking, stress tests eyed
    Published Tue, May 05 2009 8:28 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - S&P stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Tuesday with investors set to take profits after a recent runup while the results of government stress tests on the financial sector remained a focus.
  • Mon, May 4 2009
  • 6:58 PM » NewsWatch: 'Smart money' starts to bail on stocks' rally
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 6:58 PM by Market Watch
    Market behavior is close to exuberance, say 'smart-money' strategists, who see such signs such as rising participation and positive reactions to most news as a tell-tale sign that it’s time to take money off of the table.
  • 6:58 PM » Bernanke to Face Tension on the Hill
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 6:58 PM by Washington Post
    The last time Ben S. Bernanke testified on Capitol Hill, it was immediately after the furor that erupted over bonuses paid to American International Group executives. When the Federal Reserve chairman goes before the Joint Economic Committee tomorrow, the atmosphere could be just as testy.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 6:58 PM » Oil Settles at 2009 High as Economic Optimism Grows
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 6:58 PM by CNBC
  • 3:56 PM » Bankers see more losses ahead
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 3:56 PM by CNN
    Bankers are bracing for additional losses this year across a wide variety of loan categories, according to a report published Monday by the Federal Reserve, as the nation continues to suffer under the weight of a painful recession.
  • 3:50 PM » JPMorgan CEO sees more bank consolidation ahead
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 3:50 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co may be called on by regulators for more acquisitions, as the U.S. banking sector is likely to see further consolidation, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on a webcast call on Monday.
  • 2:11 PM » The April 2009 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 2:11 PM by Federal Reserve
    The April 2009 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices addressed changes in the supply of, and demand for, loans to businesses and households over the previous three months. The survey also included two sets of special questions: The first set asked banks about their expectations for delinquencies and charge-offs on existing loans to business and households; the second set queried banks about international trade finance. This article is based on responses from 53 domestic banks and 23 U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 2:06 PM » Bill Gross: 2+2=4
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 2:06 PM by
    A photograph of Bernard Baruch looms ominously on the far corner of my PIMCO office wall. Vested, with pocket watch and protruding chin thrust prominently toward the observer, this well-known financier of the early 20 th century at times appears almost alive. It was Baruch who almost schizophrenically cautioned investors during the stock market’s speculative blow-off in the late 20s that “two plus two equals four and no one has ever invented a way of getting something for nothing.”
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 12:06 PM » Fed Supports Mortgage Rates with Purchase of $8.5 billion in Treasury Coupons
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 12:06 PM by NY Fed
    The purchase or sale of Treasury securities on an outright basis adds or drains reserves available in the banking system. Such transactions are arranged on a routine basis to offset other changes in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet in conjunction with efforts to maintain conditions in the market for reserves consistent with the federal funds target rate set by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).
  • 10:28 AM » Let Warren Buffett Buy Wells Fargo
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 10:28 AM by Google News
    Warren Buffet is the largest shareholder in Wells Fargo. He claims it is a "Fabulous Bank" and would like to buy it all. Is he serious or is he just talking up his shares? Let's investigate staring with a look at . Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest shareholder in Wells Fargo & Co., said the lender is a “fabulous” company. “All banks aren’t alike by a long shot, and in our view Wells Fargo, among the large banks, has some advantages the others do not,” Buffett said today at Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffett, who has said he values lenders partly on their ability to acquire funds from depositors, told shareholders today that he’d “love” to buy the entire bank and is unable to do so because Berkshire wouldn’t get permission from regulators. Buffett Dismisses Stress Tests for Assessing Banks Bloomberg is reporting . Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett dismissed the importance of the government’s stress tests of major U.S. financial institutions in helping him assess banks he invested in. “I think I know their future, frankly, better than somebody that comes in to take a look,” Buffett said before the start of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting today. “They may be using more of a checklist type approach.” If Buffet knew the future he sure would not have been shorting PUTS on the S&P when he did. He would have done it in March. OK, so Buffett admits he is not concerned about the short term, nor is he particularly adept at timing it. However, shorting puts headed into a consumer led recession was an ill-conceived idea at best, regardless of how that bet eventually pans out. In regards to Wells Fargo, it remains to be seen how their takeover of Wachovia turns out. Here is a quick recap of the chain of events that led to the demise of Wachovia. On May 7, 2006 Wachovia purchased of Golden West Financial for a cash offer of $25 billion. Under the weight of Golden...
  • 10:28 AM » The Great Housing Bust Of 2009
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 10:28 AM by
    Everyone knows how loose mortgage underwriting led to the go-go days of multitrillion-dollar subprime lending. What isn’t well known is that a parallel subprime market has emerged over the past year — all made possible by the Federal Housing Administration. This also won’t end happily for taxpayers or the housing market. Last year banks issued $180 billion of new mortgages insured by the FHA, which means they carry a 100% taxpayer guarantee. Many of these have the same characteristics as subprime loans: low downpayment requirements, high-risk borrowers, and in many cases shady mortgage originators. FHA now insures nearly one of every three new mortgages, up from 2% in 2006. The financial results so far are not as dire as those created by the subprime frenzy of 2004-2007, but taxpayer losses are mounting on its $562 billion portfolio. According to Mortgage Bankers Association data, more than one in eight FHA loans is now delinquent — nearly triple the rate on conventional, nonsubprime loan portfolios. Another 7.5% of recent FHA loans are in "serious delinquency," which means at least three months overdue. The FHA is almost certainly going to need a taxpayer bailout in the months ahead. The only debate is how much it will cost. By law FHA must carry a 2% reserve (or a 50 to 1 leverage rate), and it is now 3% and falling. Some experts see bailout costs from $50 billion to $100 billion or more, depending on how long the recession lasts. Taxpayers can’t really dig any deeper in their pockets. They will just have to watch their little paper dollars shrink a little more instead.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 7:42 AM » How Lehman Brothers Got Its Real Estate Fix
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 7:42 AM by
    Back when he was a major Wall Street deal maker, Mark A. Walsh, the former head of the global real estate group at Lehman Brothers, had a running joke with Carmine Visone, one of his managing directors. Mr. Visone, 10 years older than his boss, would lecture Mr. Walsh about the importance of fundamentals: land [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 7:42 AM » E.U. Says Europe Faces Deep Recession
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 7:42 AM by NY Times
    The European Union sharply lowered its forecast for both the union and the countries that use the euro, saying the economy will shrink 4 percent this year.
  • 7:42 AM » Stock futures point to gains; eyes on house data
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 7:42 AM by Reuters
    (Reuters) - Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday ahead of key housing data.
  • 7:28 AM »  Lower Mortgage Payments Offer Spending Boost
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 7:28 AM by
    US homeowners could save close to $18bn on their mortgage repayments this year as record low interest rates allow millions of borrowers to switch to cheaper home loans.
  • 7:26 AM » Asian Stock Markets Rally on Optimism Over China
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 7:26 AM by
    Asian stock markets on Monday rallied to some of their highest levels since mid-October as investors focused on the latest signs of economic stabilization in China and shrugged off concerns about a global swine flu pandemic and the fallout of Chrysler's bankruptcy filing last week, The New York Times's Bettina Wassener reported. The Hang Seng index [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 7:26 AM » Treasurys flat ahead of debt sales
    Published Mon, May 04 2009 7:26 AM by CNN
    Treasurys were mixed Monday morning as investors remain concerned about more debt coming into the market and focused on signs the economy may be stabilizing.
  • Sun, May 3 2009
  • 5:13 PM » Housing 'becoming more affordable'
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 5:13 PM by
    Housing affordability for first-time buyers has trebled since house prices started falling 18 months ago, research shows.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 2:51 PM » Federal loan program set to kick off in June
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 2:51 PM by
    The Federal Reserve announced Friday that it will launch a much-awaited program in June to bolster commercial real-estate lending.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 2:51 PM » Mortgage Fraud: How the FBI Blew It
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 2:51 PM by The Big Picture
    > Source : Aaron Task Yahoo Tech TIcker Apr 06, 2009 08:00am
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 2:51 PM » HomeOwner’s Equity: Less than 15%
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 2:51 PM by The Big Picture
    Interesting discussion on negative equity in this week’s Barron’s. Citing Stephanie Pomboy’s recent missive, Alan Abelson takes a closer look at some of the negative details around corporate profitability and homeowner equity. When it comes to Homeowners Equity, the official data is misleading. Why? Pomboy notes the Fed data is accurate but misleading. It includes both the homes with mortgages and those owned free and clear. Why is this significant? About a third of homes have no mortgages whatsoever. The unencumbered properties improve the homeowners equity data from the Fed’s Flow of Funds report. Add in 33% of homes with 100% equity and it skews the data. The total looks better. before you say “So What?” co the following: We know that those homeowners that do not have mortgages — i.e., 100% equity — cannot default. So if we want to understand the potential further mischief real estate land can cause, it is the mortgaged properties we should be watching. Back out the third of home owners that have no mortgage — the 33% of homes with 100% equity — and the Fed’s measure of 43% net equity drops precipitously. Thus, Pomboy’s assertion that it would be more informative to say that those homes with a mortgage have homeonwers equity of less than 15%. Here’s the Barron’s excerpt: “The complacent reaction among the investment cognoscenti is that the credit markets are wildly oversold. More likely, she sniffs, it has something to do with the fact that “an overwhelming portion of some $8 trillion in mortgage debt (or 80% of the total) is teetering on the edge of, or in some state of, negative equity.” As to the Fed’s claim that the equity of homeowners as a group stands at 43%, she points out that what the Fed neglects to tell you is that roughly a third of them have their houses free and clear. Lo and behold, some basic arithmetic reveals that 67% of homeowners with mortgages have equity of less than 15%. That, Stephanie comments drily, suggests the “destruction priced into...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 10:15 AM » WSJ: Citi Needs "Up to $10 Billion" in Capital
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 10:15 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the WSJ: Citigroup Inc. may need to raise as much as $10 billion in new capital, according to people familiar with the matter ... The bank ... is negotiating with the Federal Reserve and may need less if regulators accept the bank's arguments about its financial health ... In a best-case scenario, Citigroup could wind up having a roughly $500 million cushion above what the government is requiring. If Citi isn't required to raise capital, I doubt there will be much confidence in the stress test results. I was expecting a much higher number than $10 billion. Also, from the NY Times: Citigroup said Friday that it would sell its Japanese brokerage and investment banking units for $5.56 billion, securing much-needed capital before results due this coming week from a U.S. government “stress test” of its financial health. ... Citigroup said it would realize a loss of $200 million on the transaction, which would generate $2.5 billion in tangible common equity, a measure of financial health.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 10:15 AM » Barney Frank in 2005: What housing bubble?
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 10:15 AM by
    Via .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:15 AM » ARMs Reset Crisis Revisited
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 10:15 AM by Google News
    Just over a year ago I took a . Inquiring minds may be asking "What's Changed?" The answer is: there has been much improvement across the board, but especially for 5-1 ARMs. In addition, those in ARMs tied to the Cost of Funds Index (COFI), will be pleased to note that on April 30, the COFI sank to an all time low. The shows the March 2009 index value at 1.627, a record low. A year ago index value was 3.280. Last month it was 2.003. COFI is the weighted average of the cost of funds (CDs, savings deposits, checking deposits, etc) for member banking institutions of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (the 11th District). COFI is a lagging index. The index value for a given month is typically reported on the last day of the following month. For Example: At or after 3 p.m. on the last business day in September, the bank announces the August COFI. The most common indices used to compute ARMs are COFI, 1-Year Constant Maturity Treasuries (CMT), 1-Year LIBOR, and 1-Month LIBOR. Rate Comparisons - COFI, 1-Yr CMT, 1-Yr LIBOR Those in interest only loans are frequently tied to 1-Month LIBOR. 1-Month LIBOR All charts courtesy of . Click on any chart to expand. ARM Index Rates COFI - 1.627% 1Yr CMT - .64% 1Yr LIBOR - 1.97% 1Mo LIBOR - .41% ARM rates consist of an index rate (typically one of the above), plus a margin component (e.g. 1 Month LIBOR + a spread). The amount of the spread is based on credit risk and other factors at the time the loan. Regardless of what index rate is, ARMs that are now resetting are likely to be coming in at lower rates, perhaps even much lower rates. 1 Year CMT Table One Month LIBOR Table One Year LIBOR Table COFI Table Across the board, those in 3-year ARM rates that have recently reset or are about to reset, will do so at a much lower rate unless there is a floor. Moreover, with the specific exception of 1-Year LIBOR based loans, there will also be a reduction in 5-Year ARM rates when those loans reset. Looking ahead just one...
  • 10:00 AM » Foreclosures: Banks Setting Opening Auction Bid Below Amount Owed
    Published Sun, May 03 2009 10:00 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Jillayne Schlicke at Rain City Guide: I attended a foreclosure auction in Bellevue, WA last week to discover if the rumor was true that banks are opening their bids below the amount owed. I received confirmation from three professional investors that yes, the banks have been doing that, it’s no secret, and there seems to be no discernable pattern. It’s not one particular bank or lender, it’s not particular types of property or in any specific area. It appears to be random. ... Only a few of the trustee sales attracted bidders, and the rest were deeded back to the bank. Out of the 92 active sales, 25 had opening bids below the amount owed to the bank. Jillayne offers some possible explanations why the banks are bidding below the amount they are owed. I've been hearing similar stories in California. Also, here is the monthly post: .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Fri, May 1 2009
  • 7:29 PM » Home Valuation Code of Conduct Effective May 1; Update on IVPI
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 7:29 PM by Freddie Mac
    We are reminding you that the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (Code) goes into effect today, May 1, 2009, and Freddie Mac will no longer purchase mortgages from Sellers who have not adopted the Code. Additionally, for all mortgages with application dates on or after today you must represent and warrant that all appraisal reports are obtained in a manner consistent with the Code.
  • 7:23 PM » New Mortgage Loan Data Requirements; Independent Valuation Protection Institute
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 7:23 PM by
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    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 6:16 PM » Guest Post: Cracking Down on the Naked Short Selling of Treasuries
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 6:16 PM by Google News
    Plated by Jesse of The 'fails to deliver' statistics on debt instruments is almost as interesting, and a bit less opaque, than the naked short selling of equity instruments. A "fail to deliver" occurs when someone sells an asset such as a Treasury note to another party and then does not deliver it within a reasonable period of time. As you can see from the chart, this had become a pandemic fraud recently as investors flocked to Treasuries as a safe haven and the usual front running and hedges based on shorting the bonds started to fall apart. Let's see how this works, and if the 'financial charge' is more than a wristslap to the hedge funds and banks who engage in these practices. Now, if someone could kindly turn some attention to the obvious naked short selling in commodities and equities, other than when their banking friends are in trouble, we might see a return to markets based on some reasonable approximation of the fundamentals and price discovery of value, rather than blatant manipulation of nearly everything as facilitated by the demimondes of Wall Street. The banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, before there can be any sustained recovery in the real economy. New York Fed Applauds Implementation of the TMPG's Fails Charge Recommendation May 1, 2009 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York welcomes today’s implementation of the Treasury Market Practices Group’s (TMPG) recommendation that settlement fails in U.S. Treasury securities transactions be subject to a financial charge when short-term rates are low . The TMPG worked with both buy- and sell-side market participants to address a weakness in market practices that became apparent last fall when short-term market interest rates neared zero . The New York Fed has adopted this new trading practice in its own market operations and continues to encourage its adoption by all market participants. (The New York Fed was frontrunning Treasuries and selling them...
  • 4:27 PM » Fed to launch program bolstering commercial loans
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 4:27 PM by Market Watch
    The Federal Reserve will take a key consumer-lending program and expand it to help jump-start the commercial real-estate lending industry.
  • 3:40 PM » Home Valuation Code of Conduct: Fix or Fraud?
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 3:40 PM by CNBC
  • 2:53 PM » Quick Take: Commercial Mortgages, Sticky Property Tax, 10-Year Treasury, Manufacturing
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 2:53 PM by Google News
    More loans will become available for commercial real estate but residential mortgage rates could be creeping higher.
  • 12:31 PM » Fed's Bullard says jobless peak won't reach 1982 level
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 12:31 PM by Reuters
    HOT SPRINGS, Arkansas (Reuters) - The U.S. jobless rate will probably not rise to levels reached during the recession of the early 1980s and is likely to crest above 9 percent before declining, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Friday.
  • 12:31 PM » Personal Finance Daily: Houses getting more crowded with young and old
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 12:31 PM by Market Watch
    The key to congeniality in a multigenerational house? Communication. That, and maybe a well-planned bathroom schedule. Read about this and more, in personal finance.
  • 11:21 AM » Fed Purchases $3.316 billion in Agency Debt Coupons
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 11:21 AM by NY Fed
    The current program to purchase direct obligations from housing-related GSEs is intended to reduce the cost and increase the availability of credit for the purchase of homes.
  • 11:16 AM » Fannie Mae's Retained Portfolio Contracts 1.3% in March
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 11:16 AM by Fannie Mae
    Fannie Mae reported its retained portfolio contracted an annualized 1.3% in March to $783.9 billion, and follows -1.3% in February. YTD, the portfolio has contracted 1.7%.
  • 11:13 AM » Economic Report: Consumer sentiment rises on Obama's policies
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 11:13 AM by Market Watch
    Pumped up by faith in the current administration’s policies, U.S. consumer sentiment rises in April, but remains at relatively low levels, according to a survey by the University of Michigan and Reuters.
  • 11:13 AM » Economic Report: Manufacturing contraction slows in April, ISM says
    Published Fri, May 01 2009 11:13 AM by Market Watch
    The factory sector contracts again in April, but the pace of decline slows, according to the Institute for Supply Management index.
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