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  • Wed, May 5 2010
  • 4:52 PM » 5/5/10--Positioning, Sen. Gregg on Financial Regulation
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 4:52 PM by
    *Remember when subprime mortgages first started blowing up and everyone said, "don't worry, its contained. It is just a subprime problem." Then it spread to other residential mortgages, but even markets as closely connected as CMBS thought that it was a contained problem. And then we quickly found out that the global financial system is very very intertwined. I mention this because as we watch VIX spike, stocks slide, european sovereign CDS blow wider our structured mortgage product seems to have shrugged off all of these issues. I just fear that we are now the ones with our head in the sand.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:52 PM » Did You Know: Subprime Mortgage Delinquency and Financial Literacy
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 4:52 PM by Google News
    Did you know that subprime borrowers with limited financial literacy are more likely to default on their mortgages?
  • 4:52 PM » Disorganization at Banks Causing Mistaken Foreclosures
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 4:52 PM by
    by , ProPublica - May 5, 2010 2:30 pm EDT Millions of people face losing their homes in the continuing foreclosure crisis, but homeowners often have more than the struggling economy and slumping house prices to worry about: Disorganization within the big banks that service mortgages has made a bad problem worse. Sometimes the communication breakdown within the banks is so complete that it leads to premature or mistaken foreclosures. Some homeowners, with the help of an attorney or housing counselor, have eventually been able to reverse a foreclosure. Others have lost their homes. “We believe in many cases people are losing their homes when they should not have,” said Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, which counts dozens of nonprofits that work with homeowners among its members.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:43 AM » ADP: Private Employment increased in April
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 11:43 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    ADP : Nonfarm private employment increased 32,000 from March to April 2010 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the ADP National Employment Report. The estimated change in employment from February to March 2010 was revised up, from a decline of 23,000 to an increase of 19,000. In addition, the revised estimate of the monthly change in employment from January to February 2010 shows a modest increase of 3,000. Thus, employment has increased for three straight months, albeit only modestly. The slow pace of improvement from February through April is consistent with the pause in the decline of initial unemployment claims that occurred during the winter months. ... April’s ADP Report estimates nonfarm private employment in the service-providing sector rose by 50,000, the third consecutive monthly increase. Employment in the goods-producing sector declined 18,000 during April. However, while construction employment dropped 49,000, manufacturing employment, in an encouraging sign, rose 29,000, the third consecutive monthly increase. Note: ADP is private nonfarm employment only (no government jobs). This is close to the consensus forecast of an increase of 28,000 private sector jobs in April. The BLS reports on Friday, and the consensus is for an increase of 200,000 payroll jobs in April, on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis, with about 100,000 temporary Census 2010 jobs.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 11:42 AM » Jumbo Loans Get Cheaper, But It’s Still Tough to Qualify
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 11:42 AM by Google News
    The high-end of the housing market has suffered from a lack of buyers for million-dollar-and-up homes in the last year. One big reason is that it's harder to get a mortgage that isn't backed by a government-related entity, and the loan limits on loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration top out at anywhere from $417,000 in much of the country to $729,750 in the most expensive housing markets. A glimmer of hope came recently when the first issue of securities backed by jumbo loans in more than two years. No one expects that deal to immediately turn things around, but there are also signs that as credit standards have become tighter and home prices begin to stop falling, more banks may begin offering on jumbo loans. The average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate jumbo loan reached 5.76% at the end of April, according to, a financial publisher. That's near the previous record low of 5.55% from 2003. Mortgage bankers say that ...
  • 11:41 AM » Obama Administration Names Adolfo Carrion as HUD's New York and New Jersey Regional Director
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 11:41 AM by HUD
    WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today named Adolfo Carrion to serve as the Regional Director for New York and New Jersey.
  • 11:41 AM » Minutes of the Meeting of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee Of the Securities Industry and F
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 11:41 AM by US Treasury
    May 5, 2010 tg681 Minutes of the Meeting of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee Of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association May 4, 2010 The Committee convened in closed session at the Hay-Adams Hotel at 11:15 a.m. All Committee members were present except for Paul McCulley. Assistant Secretary Mary Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Federal Finance Matthew Rutherford and Acting Director of the Office of Debt Management Colin Kim welcomed the Committee. The Chairman of the committee introduced one new member, Paul Tudor Jones. DAS Rutherford opened the discussion with a presentation to the Committee that highlighted current fiscal conditions and financing needs. The presentation began with a review of the budget outlook and projections for the upcoming year. DAS Rutherford noted that the economy grew for the third consecutive quarter. He also stated that tax receipts were showing some improvement, although April non-withheld figures remain negative on a year-over-year basis. TARP repayments also contributed to the improved fiscal situation. The government-owned shares of Citibank will be sold over the coming year, and the losses on some of the other TARP programs do not seem likely to be as large as had been initially anticipated. Rutherford also noted that private sector economists anticipate a smaller budget deficit for FY 2010 than the figures given by the Administration in February. The average deficit forecast from the primary dealers for FY 2010 is $1.380 trillion, $180 billion below OMB's forecast. Rutherford then discussed auction dynamics and portfolio issues. He noted that, despite the size increases in coupon offerings over the past two years, the coverage ratios (on a weighted average basis) have actually risen steadily from less than 2.0 in FY 2003 to more than 2.8 in FY 2010. Rutherford also noted the steady return of bills as a share of the total outstanding portfolio to their pre-crisis average level of 24%. As bills...
  • 11:41 AM » May 2010 Quarterly Refunding Statement
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 11:41 AM by US Treasury
    May 5, 2010 tg679 May 2010 Quarterly Refunding Statement For Immediate Release: May 5, 2010 Contact: Office of Public Affairs, (202) 622-2960 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury is offering $78 billion of Treasury securities to refund approximately $30.9 billion of privately held securities maturing on May 15, 2010. This will raise approximately $47.1 billion. The securities are: - A 3-year note in the amount of $38 billion, maturing May 15, 2013; - A 10-year note in the amount of $24 billion, maturing May 15, 2020; and - A 30-year bond in the amount of $16 billion, maturing May 15, 2040. The 3-year note will be auctioned on a yield basis at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. The 10-year note will be auctioned on a yield basis at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, and the 30-year bond will be auctioned on a yield basis at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 13, 2010. All of these auctions will settle on Monday, May 17, 2010. The balance of Treasury financing requirements will be met with 4-, 13-, 26- and 52-week bills; monthly 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, and 7-year notes; the June and July 10-year note and 30-year bond reopenings; and the July 10-year TIPS. Treasury may also issue cash management bills during the quarter. Treasury Inflation-Indexed Securities (TIPS) TIPS are an important component of Treasury's debt management strategy. As part of an ongoing effort to improve liquidity in the TIPS program, Treasury has decided to increase the frequency of TIPS auctions. To this end, Treasury will be adding a second reopening to 10-year TIPS offerings. This will result in a total of six 10-year TIPS auctions per year. This change will begin with the July 2010 new-issue 10-year TIPS offering. The security will subsequently be reopened in September and November 2010. Similarly, the January 2011 new-issue 10-year TIPS offering will be reopened in March and May 2011. Treasury will continue to consider other changes to the TIPS auction calendar. Any changes...
  • 8:04 AM » Mortgage Bond Spreads at Widest in Five Months: Credit Markets
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 8:04 AM by Business Week
    Yields on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage securities that guide home-loan rates climbed to the highest in five months relative to Treasuries as Europe’s worsening government finances led investors to shun all but the safest assets.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 8:04 AM » The Importance of Watching Home Equity
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 8:04 AM by
    As home equity shrinks, refinancing may not be a viable option for many homeowners.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:04 AM » Generating Business After the Tax Credit
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 8:04 AM by Realtor.Org
    Real estate professionals and sellers are reducing prices or including appliances to lure buyers now that the home buyer tax credit has expired.
  • 8:04 AM » Drowning in home debt
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 8:04 AM by CNN
    A transfer in 2005 landed Air Force major Richard Hallbeck, his wife, and two kids in Southern California smack in the middle of the real estate bubble. Home prices in the area had doubled in the past five years and were still climbing. So the Hallbecks swallowed hard and bought an $845,000 four-bedroom in a suburb of Long Beach.
  • 8:04 AM » Daily Forecast Update: Jumbo and Second Mortgage Lending
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 8:04 AM by Google News
    The economic problem in Greece could slow the recovery in jumbo and second home mortgage lending.
  • 7:49 AM » Nationwide Strike Tests Greece
    Published Wed, May 05 2010 7:49 AM by WSJ
    Greece was paralyzed by a nationwide general strike, in what is seen as a key test of the government's ability to shepherd through tough austerity measures.
  • Tue, May 4 2010
  • 6:29 PM » Loose Lending Didn't Create the Housing Bubble
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 6:29 PM by CNBC
    Yes, after years of bashing the mortgage industry for lax underwriting, bashing the Federal Government for negligently low interest rates and blaming investors for vacuuming up homes with no-money-down loans, three guys from Harvard say they're all off the hook.
  • 6:29 PM » Residential Investment Components Q1 2010
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 6:29 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    More from the Q1 2010 GDP underlying detail tables ... Note: Residential investment (RI), according to the (BEA), includes new single family structures, multifamily structures, home improvement, broker's commissions, and a few minor categories. Back in Q4 2008 - for the first time ever - investment in home improvements exceeded investment in new single family structures. This has continued through Q1 2010. Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the various components of RI as a percent of GDP for the last 50 years. The most important components are investment in single family structures followed by home improvement. Investment in home improvement was at a $152.9 billion Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in Q1, significantly above the level of investment in single family structures of $115.2 billion (SAAR). Home improvement spending, as a percent of GDP, is close to the long term median - although still declining. Brokers' commissions declined after the initial expiration of the tax credit - but will probably be boosted in Q2 by the extension of the homebuyer tax credit - and then will decline again in Q3. Investment in single family structures is above the record low set in Q2 2009, and far below the normal level. And investment in multifamily structures is still collapsing. These two categories will not increase significantly until the number of excess housing units is reduced.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 6:29 PM » Lessons For Euro Zone From Fed’s Aggressive Actions
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 6:29 PM by WSJ
    The emergency powers deployed by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis may be causing the central bank no shortage of grief, but similarly bold action by the European Central Bank could go some distance toward blunting the impact of the Greek debt crisis.
  • 3:38 PM » City Doesn’t Like the Looks of $11 Million House
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 3:38 PM by Google News
    For what seems to be purely aesthetic considerations, the owner of a Manhattan townhome now has to destroy the top floor of his house.
  • 12:31 PM » Fed Asks Court to Reconsider Discount-Window Ruling
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 12:31 PM by WSJ
    The Federal Reserve's Board of Governors asked a federal appeals court Monday to reconsider a ruling that ordered it to disclose documents related to individual borrowing from its discount window and other "last resort" lending programs.
  • 12:31 PM » 5/4/10--Ambac Update, CDI Bill, European Counterparty Risk
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 12:31 PM by
    *Thank you to our own John Kohler for highlighting this latest development with Ambac. Aurelius Capital Management, LP, Fir Tree Inc., King Street Capital, L.P., , Monarch Alternative Capital LP, and Stonehill Capital Management LLC have filed an objection to the Ambac Assurance rehabilitation plan and the "Segregated Account" that was created to ring fence the structured finance liabilities away from Ambac's municipal business.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:53 AM » Fitch, Moody’s to Maintain Spain’s Triple-A Rating
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by WSJ
    Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service moved to dispel market rumors of a possible downgrade for Spain saying they both maintain the maximum triple-A rating on Spain with stable outlooks.
  • 8:53 AM » Fed’s Bullard Sees Little Risk in Gradually Selling Mortgages
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by WSJ
    Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the central bank, if it were to start selling mortgage securities later this year, could start the process with "little impact" on markets by using a "reverse taper" approach to slowly unwind its balance sheet.
  • 8:53 AM » Car-Bomb Suspect to Appear in Court
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by WSJ
    Details emerged on an American man of Pakistani descent taken into custody in connection with the botched car bombing in Times Square. He is due to appear in court to face charges.
  • 8:53 AM » Taller Buildings, Cheaper Homes
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by NY Times
    Taking issue with Jane Jacobs, an economist says tall buildings and high population density can be a virtue in urban life.
  • 8:53 AM » Northern California Fair Housing Groups Awarded $2.2 Million to help fight Discrimination
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by HUD
    SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today presented over $2.2 million to several fair housing organizations to help fight housing discrimination in Northern California. John Trasvina, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, made the grant presentations to Bay Area Legal, California Rural Legal Assistance, Fair Housing of Marin, Greater Napa Fair Housing Center, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Project Sentinel, Pacific News Media and Fair Housing Council of Central California (see attached list below for project descriptions).
  • 8:53 AM » Runt Rants - A "Two Tier Pricing Structure" for Appraisal Services
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by Google News
    AUTHOR: Ken Verrett: The author is the owner of Acorn Appraisal Associates, a 24 year old firm offering a wide range of quality appraisal services to the Financial and Business Communities. Overview We've had a good discussion of the volatile...
  • 8:53 AM » Did Greenspan try to quash a housing-bubble debate?
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by Reuters
    The Huffington Post is running hard with about from 2004. “Greenspan Wanted Housing-Bubble Dissent Kept Secret” is the headline, and it’s running with a large and unflattering picture of Greenspan. The story’s being picked up all over the place: , , and have all repeated that Greenspan tried to quash debate over the housing bubble by saying this: We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand. Except, if you look at the actual document, he’s not talking about the housing bubble at all. He’s responding to Vincent Reinhart, who’s putting together the minutes of the previous meeting, and wondering how much of the discussion on the subject of transparency to include in those minutes. There was a draft which included four paragraphs “covering the Committee’s discussion of its communications policy”, and the question was whether those paragraphs should be included or not. Here’s Greenspan’s quote in fuller context: Let me first follow up on your transparency assessment. I think Cathy Minehan has raised an interesting point. I would say this: We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand. We have a ratchet in here where, if we were to move forward, we can’t go back. So the concept of transparency is a very important concept but one that should be approached with a recognition that we cannot move back and forth on it. I’m a little concerned here that by raising certain issues we may not be able to backtrack. Essentially, what Greenspan is saying is that once the Fed starts talking in great detail about its own transparency, it has to be more transparent — just talking about it has that effect. And so there are dangers to putting lots of talk about...
  • 8:53 AM » When Developer Folds, HOA Has Questions
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by Realtor.Org
    Here are a few answers to questions condo owners may face when a developer declares bankruptcy.
  • 8:53 AM » Did You Know: Home Equity and Household Wealth
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by Google News
    Did you know that among seniors home equity accounts for 26 percent of household wealth?
  • 8:53 AM » HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Visits Rhode Island
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by National Council of State Housing Agencies
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • 8:53 AM » Super Tuesday begins the 2010 primary season across the country
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by
    It’s the first Super Tuesday of 2010, and both parties are waiting to see if anti-incumbent fever hits their candidates.
  • 8:53 AM » Bank Failures
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by The Big Picture
    These two graphics, via , are quite compelling: > Click for larger graphics
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:53 AM » Fed Papers Give Favorable Reviews to Emergency-Lending Programs
    Published Tue, May 04 2010 8:53 AM by WSJ
    The Federal Reserve would like to congratulate, well, itself for the effective construction of its emergency liquidity facilities.
  • Mon, May 3 2010
  • 7:25 PM » Private Construction Spending Declines in March
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 7:25 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Overall construction spending increased in March, with a boost from public spending, however private construction spending - both residential and non-residential - declined in March. From the Census Bureau: The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during March 2010 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $847.3billion, 0.2 percent (±1.3%)* above the revised February estimate of $845.5 billion. ... Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $550.8 billion, 0.9 percent (±1.4%)* below the revised February estimate of $555.7 billion. Click on graph for larger image in new window. The first graph shows private residential and nonresidential construction spending since 1993. Note: nominal dollars, not inflation adjusted. Private residential construction spending appears to have bottomed in early 2009, but has been mostly moving sideways since then. Residential spending is now 62.8% below the peak of early 2006. Private non-residential construction spending continues to decline as major projects are completed. Non-residential spending is now 29.9% below the peak of late 2008. The second graph shows the year-over-year change for private residential and nonresidential construction spending. Nonresidential spending is off 25.5% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis. Residential construction spending is now up slightly from a year ago. Private residential spending will probably exceed non-residential spending later this year - mostly because of continued declines in non-residential spending. Private consturction will be a weak sector for some time.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 7:25 PM » Personal Bankruptcies Dip, Still Outpace Last Year
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 7:25 PM by WSJ
    The number of consumer bankruptcies slipped in April compared to the prior month but remains far higher than a year ago.
  • 4:04 PM » CDOs for Dummies
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 4:04 PM by The Big Picture
    Good explanation of how CDO were constructed in today’s WSJ, and why the subprime mortgages were so problematic. Various CDOs, including Goldman’s, “magnified the impact of toxic mortgages by replicating mortgage securities in debt pools known as collateralized debt obligations as well as CDO derivatives, and also in an index that tracks subprime bonds .” A $38 million pool of subprime-mortgage bonds created circa June 2006 found their way into more than 30 debt pools. Total losses = $280 million. Here’s the WSJ: “The subprime mortgages that caused big losses generally were packaged into CDOs, in which dozens of mortgage-backed bonds were pooled together and slices of the CDOs were sold to investors. Another version of these CDOs didn’t contain actual mortgage bonds but were linked to them via derivatives called credit-default swaps. Through the use of derivatives, banks created many of these synthetic CDOs using the same mortgage securities, all of which would rise or fall in value depending on how the mortgages were performing. With synthetic CDOs, those who had bet that the loans would perform well were on the hook if their performance deteriorated. In effect, the documents said, Wall Street was “copying and pasting” what turned out to be the worst-performing securities of the mortgage boom. Such activity helped multiply opportunities for hedge funds and traders who wanted to short the housing market, but magnified the losses of those on the other side of the trades. To short a trade, in this instance, is to bet the housing market will turn down.” I am a sucker for a good graphic: > courtesy of WSJ > Source : CARRICK MOLLENKAMP And SERENA NG May 2, 2010
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 2:33 PM » 5/3/10--PrimeX, The Jumbo Loan Market
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 2:33 PM by
    *As I was out of the office on Thursday and Friday it is hard to comment on flows, however I can say that CNBC clearly missed a great story angle. The hoopla over the Goldman hearings had yet to subside and Wednesday just happened to be the first official trading day of PrimeX. Reports of north of $2.5bln of the new indices traded with significant price volatility, and fast money action. Maybe the members of congress that want to disparage and question the capital markets not to mention pat themselves on the back for changing the financial world would be well served to realize that these markets continue to flourish and their are big boys trading in this every day.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 2:32 PM » Luxury homeowners selling at auction
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 2:32 PM by CNN
    If all goes well Tuesday, Andrew Perlmutter will sell his 9,000-square-foot home in an exclusive gated community outside Atlanta in less than 15 minutes.
  • 2:31 PM » Borrower Equity and Defaults--The Harsh Reality
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 2:31 PM by
    This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Asset Securitization Report ( A number of recent studies have documented the correlation between negative home equity and the incidence of defaults. A report by CoreLogic released in February stated that when negative equity exceeds either 25% of a loan’s balance or $70,000, “homeowners begin to default with the same propensity as investors.”
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 2:30 PM » Data Show Low Inflation, but Deflation Redux Odds Low
    Published Mon, May 03 2010 2:30 PM by WSJ
    Data released over recent days underpins the Federal Reserve's confidence that inflation simply isn't a problem in this economy.
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Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 2.93%
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  • 15 Yr FRM 2.62%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 3.93%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 107-14 (0-04)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 109-05 (0-13)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 110-05 (0-04)
Recent Housing Data:
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  • Refinance Index 0.44%
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  • Purchase Index 5.34%