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  • Tue, Feb 3 2009
  • 10:04 AM » Citigroup comes clean on TARP spending
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 10:04 AM by CNN
    Citigroup offered its first glimpse Tuesday into how it is spending the $45 billion in government bailout money that the ailing bank has received in recent months.
  • 9:48 AM » Beyond the age of leverage: new banks must arise
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 9:48 AM by www.ft.com
    Call it the Great Repression. The reality being repressed is that the western world is suffering a crisis of excessive indebtedness. Many governments are too highly leveraged, as are many corporations. More importantly, households are groaning under unprecedented debt burdens. Worst of all are the banks. The best evidence that we are in denial about this is the widespread belief that the crisis can be overcome by creating yet more debt.
  • 9:32 AM » Bank Lending Declines Just 1.4% in Q4: Was the TARP Instrumental?
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 9:32 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Here is a graphic depicting the change in lending volume for the largest banks receiving TARP funds:
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 9:31 AM » FDIC seeks to triple Treasury Dept borrowing power
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 9:31 AM by Reuters
    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is seeking to more than triple its credit line with the U.S. Treasury Department to $100 billion, a move to give it more financial power to handle U.S. bank failures, the agency said on Monday.
  • 9:28 AM » U.S. Property Owners Lost $3.3 Trillion in Home Value Last Year
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 9:28 AM by Bloomberg
    The U.S. housing market lost $3.3 trillion in value last year and almost one in six owners with mortgages owed more than their homes were worth as the economy went into recession, Zillow.com said.
  • 9:27 AM » Why Be a Nation of Mortgage Slaves?
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 9:27 AM by WSJ
    Preventing foreclosures has become a top priority of politicians, economists and regulators. In fact, allowing foreclosures to happen has merit as a free-market solution to the crisis. If the intent is to help homeowners, then foreclosure is undoubtedly the best solution. Household balance sheets have been destroyed by taking on too much debt via the purchase of inflated assets. With so little savings, a household with negative equity almost implies negative net worth. Walking away from the mortgage immediately repairs the balance sheet.
  • 9:25 AM » Option ARM Defaults as high as 61%
    Published Tue, Feb 03 2009 9:25 AM by p9.hostingprod.com
    Here is a look at the wave of rising defaults of Option Arm Mortgages: (From the WSJ): "Defaults on a popular form of mortgage that gave home buyers a choice of how much to pay each month are rising and could rival those on subprime loans, potentially causing more trouble for investors and banks.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: p9.hostingprod.com
  • Mon, Feb 2 2009
  • 7:45 PM » Banks: Federal government gives mixed message
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 7:45 PM by Washington Post
    NEW YORK -- Banks that are being scolded by the government for not lending are blaming a new obstacle: The government itself.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 7:44 PM » Obama: Banks need more help; some may fail
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 7:44 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- In a sobering appraisal of the nation's banking system, President Barack Obama signaled Monday that he will need more money to bail out the battered financial industry. Even so, he said, "some banks won't make it."
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 7:43 PM » Citigroup to deploy $36.5 billion to boost lending
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 7:43 PM by Washington Post
    NEW YORK -- Citigroup, under pressure to increase its lending, says it will spend $36.5 billion to issue mortgages, make credit card loans and buy mortgage-backed securities in the tight credit markets in the coming months.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 7:43 PM » Dodd refinancing 2 personal Countrywide loans
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 7:43 PM by Washington Post
    HARTFORD, Conn. -- Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said Monday he will refinance two personal home mortgages from a troubled national lender that are being investigated by a Senate ethics panel.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 7:43 PM » Update: Citi Residential Lending - The End Has Come
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 7:43 PM by ml-implode.com
    The memo said "the latter part of 1Q 2009," and that time it seems is apparently here. We were tipped off that the Citi Residential office in Rancho Cucamonga, CA would be closed on March 1st, 2009.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: ml-implode.com
  • 2:30 PM » Wells Fargo's Balance Sheet: Scaring the Horses
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 2:30 PM by feeds.feedburner.com
    This look at Wells Fargo (WFC) strangely begins with an investigation into 3.875% mortgage loans - fixed for 30 years - offered by near Portland Oregon. 3.875% is rather interesting given that current mortgage rates are much higher as the following from Bloomberg shows. The Lending Partner for Arbor Homes is Wells Fargo. How can Wells offer a fixed rate of 3.875% for 30 years given the current rate term structure and conditions in the MBS/CDO markets? The only answer I can come up with is Wells Fargo is going to promptly bundle and dump those securities straight into the insolvent arms of Freddie Mae (FNM) and Fannie Mac (FRE). Who else would take them? Furthermore, the Portland area is saturated with homes already (see the section Happy Valley Foreclosed in for more details). Leading the Way Home Wells Fargo claims to be to Stabilize Hard-Hit Communities. Wells Fargo Merger Gives 478,000 Wachovia Customers Access to New Wells Fargo Solutions if Their Mortgage Payments Become At-Risk. Through active calling and letter-writing campaigns, workshops, regional outreach events and door-to-door contact, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has reached 94 percent of its customers who are two or more payments past due. For every 10 of these customers, it has worked with seven on a solution, two declined the help, and the remainder cannot be reached or a solution simply cannot be found. Of the customers who received a loan modification, one year after the loan was modified approximately seven of every 10 of these customers were either current on their loans or less than 90-days past due. That is a rather self serving way of looking at things. Notice the grouping of current with less than 90-days past due. Here is a more accurate way of phrasing things: 30% of Wells Fargo's reworked mortgage loans are 90 days past due or longer, one year after loan modification. That does not sound so good does it? Moreover, hidden in the 70% grouping is an undisclosed percentage of customers who are...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: feeds.feedburner.com
  • 2:29 PM » Mortgage Insurance Defaults Top 100,000 in December
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 2:29 PM by www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com
    Mortgage insurance defaults increased for the sixth consecutive month to top 100,000 in December, Mortgage Insurance Companies of America (MICA) reported. A total of 105,110 borrowers with private mortgage insurance fell behind on their loans during the month, considerably higher than the 82,878 seen a month earlier. Primary insurance cures, where delinquent borrowers become current, increased to [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com
  • 2:28 PM » The Rise & Fall of WaMu
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 2:28 PM by The Big Picture
    Fascinating story last week in the (Seattle), depicting the rise and fall of WaMu: Here’s a quick excerpt: “By 2001 — long before the housing bubble stretched dangerously, before most Americans had heard the term “subprime loan” — Killinger had created the fractures that would cause Washington Mutual to collapse in the largest bank failure in U.S. history. The cracks, according to executives who were there at the time, would spread over the next 10 years, eventually rendering the 119-year-old bank that Killinger painstakingly built into the nation’s largest thrift too weak to withstand the greatest economic downturn of his career. “By the time you got to the last couple of years, pretty much the destiny of the company had been locked in,” said one former executive. Killinger declined repeated requests to be interviewed . . . That changed in 1999. As WaMu neared the height of its growth, Killinger, in awe of the management at companies like General Electric, shifted WaMu’s structure so his executive team no longer reported directly to him, executives said. Instead, he divided the bank into two autonomous units: consumer banking, headed by Oppenheimer; and mortgage banking, headed by Craig Davis, who had joined as part of the 1996 American Savings Bank acquisition, and was the first new blood to enter WaMu’s top executive ranks in years. Davis could not be reached for comment. The management shift disrupted the system that had worked so well, and it inadvertently eliminated the checks and balances that existed when the executive team and Killinger had their hands in all operations at the bank, according to numerous executives. The change in structure was disclosed in a brief paragraph as an apparent afterthought in another stellar earnings report during the second quarter of 1999. But for many company insiders, it was the beginning of the end. “It turned out to be far, far bigger than we anticipated,” said Lannoye. Management shake-ups happen all the time at companies...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 2:28 PM » Adjustable Rate Mortgages All But Gone
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 2:28 PM by www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com
    Adjustable-rate mortgages fell further out of fashion this year, according to Freddie Mac’s 25th Annual ARM Survey. The precipitous decline in adjustable-rate lending was driven by low fixed interest rates and costly premiums for initial interest rates on Treasury-indexed ARMs. In fact, Freddie’s survey found that starting rates on conforming one-year ARMs priced 1.76 percent higher than [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com
  • 2:28 PM » Wells Fargo paying $371.5 million to government
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 2:28 PM by CNN
    Wells Fargo wants taxpayers to know their investment is already paying dividends...literally.
  • 11:36 AM » Home Builders Rise After Construction Data
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 11:36 AM by feeds.foxbusiness.com
    Home Builders Rise After Construction Data
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: feeds.foxbusiness.com
  • 11:36 AM » Fed's Fisher says protectionism equals "economic death"
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 11:36 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher warned on Monday against "Buy America" provisions in a proposed fiscal stimulus law and said it could lead to devastating trade protectionism.
  • 9:31 AM » AP Investigation: Banks look overseas for workers
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:31 AM by Washington Post
    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Even as the economy collapsed last year and many financial workers found themselves unemployed, the dozen U.S. banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages requested visas for tens of thousands of foreign workers to fill high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 9:31 AM » Banker confesses to Wall Street mistakes
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:31 AM by www.ft.com
    Chris Davis, one of the largest holders of financial stock in the US, admits that his company's decision to buy into AIG 'was the biggest mistake we have made in years'
  • 9:16 AM » NY Times Example of a Toxic Asset
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:16 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    “To date, the banks have stuck their heads in the sand and demanded that they be paid the price of good apples for bad apples.” Lynn E. Turner, a former SEC chief accountant Vikas Bajaj and Stephen Labaton provide us with an example of the different values for a toxic assets in the NY Times: The wild variations on the value of many bad bank assets can be seen by looking at one mortgage-backed bond recently analyzed by a division of Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency. The financial institution that owns the bond calculates the value at 97 cents on the dollar, or a mere 3 percent loss. But S.& P. estimates it is worth 87 cents, based on the current loan-default rate, and could be worth 53 cents under a bleaker situation that contemplates a doubling of defaults. But even that might be optimistic, because the bond traded recently for just 38 cents on the dollar, reflecting the even gloomier outlook of investors. ... The bond is backed by 9,000 second mortgages used by borrowers who put down little or no money to buy homes. Nearly a quarter of the loans are delinquent, and losses on defaulted mortgages are averaging 40 percent. The security once had a top rating, triple-A. To be worth even 38 cents on the dollar, this must be a senior tranche. The lower tranches have absorbed most of the losses so far, and that is why S&P is currently valuing the bond at 87 cents on the dollar, but any higher default assumptions, and the value of this bond will plummet. I'm amazed, given that these are no money down 2nds that the loss severity is only 40 percent. But this illustrates the problem. If the bank marks the bond to market (38 cents), they will have to take huge losses. But if the government even pays the current S&P estimated value, the bank will have to write the bond down further, and the taxpayers will probably take huge losses too. Unless a bank has been very aggressive with their write downs, buying the toxic assets doesn't help - or is a gift...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:15 AM » NYC: Rents "Falling Fast"
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:15 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the NY Times: (hat tip Brian) IN this painful economic climate of layoffs and shrinking investments, there is a sliver of positive news: it’s a good time to be a renter in New York City. Prices are falling, primarily in Manhattan, and concessions like a month of free rent are widespread. ... The steepest drop was in one-bedrooms, down 5.7 percent in buildings with doormen and 6.53 percent in buildings without. The only category that rose: rents for two-bedroom apartments in doorman buildings, up just a bit, by 0.61 percent. But these numbers, like most available data, represent asking rents rather than the final price. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people are negotiating rents as much as 20 percent lower than the original prices asked by landlords. These figures also leave out incentives, like a month of free rent or a landlord’s paying the broker fee, which can add up to real savings. I live in a California beach community and there are usually very few rental units available. I went for a walk this morning, and I was amazed at all the "For Rent" and "For Lease" signs. The market is changing rapidly here too. On the rental market: Earlier this month I wrote about some of the supply and demand issues, see And not included in my was this from the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC): The stunning job losses and economic deterioration recorded over the past four months have eroded demand for apartments, putting the sector—like other real estate sectors and the economy itself—in a clearly "down" phase of the cycle, according to the National Multi Housing Council's (NMHC) latest Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the quarterly Apartment Tightness Index. " The Market Tightness Index, which measures changes in occupancy rates and/or rents, declined sharply this quarter to 11 from 24. This is the third-lowest result on record, and the sixth straight...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:15 AM » Ramsey Su: Allow Foreclosures to Happen
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:15 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    My friend Ramsey Su writes in the WSJ: Preventing foreclosures has become a top priority of politicians, economists and regulators. In fact, allowing foreclosures to happen has merit ... If the intent is to help homeowners, then foreclosure is undoubtedly the best solution. Household balance sheets have been destroyed by taking on too much debt via the purchase of inflated assets. With so little savings, a household with negative equity almost implies negative net worth. Walking away from the mortgage immediately repairs the balance sheet. Credit may be damaged, but homeowners can rebuild it. And by renting something they can afford, instead of the McMansion they cannot, homeowners are most likely to have some money left over each month that they can save toward a down payment on a house they can eventually afford. ... What is the market telling us? Dataquick recently released December sales data for Southern California, once the hotbed of speculative excesses supported by nontraditional financing. Foreclosures now dominate sales. Prices are down. Sales volume is up. New home construction is down. These are beautiful textbook illustrations of supply and demand driving price and market equilibrium. ... The media should interview those who had been foreclosed upon. Do they feel sorry or relieved? Are they rebuilding their credit, not to mention their lives? Do they miss the pressure of having to make payments they cannot afford on a McMansion that belongs to the lender? Ramsey makes some very valid points: If a loan modification leaves the homeowner hopelessly underwater, what is the point? That just delays the inevitable and creates what Ramsey calls a "mortgage slave". MEDIA: I'd like to see some interviews with homeowners who went through foreclosure a year ago or more. Usually we see interviews with people in the foreclosure process or who just lost their homes. Ramsey asks some interesting questions: Are they better off today? Do they feel depressed...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:11 AM » Jumbos are the new subprime
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:11 AM by housingdoom.com
    Rising defaults by affluent homeowners are raising the specter of another cloud over banks and investors, which could get stuck with thousands of expensive homes. About 6.9% of prime "jumbo" loans were at least 90 days delinquent in December, according to LPS Applied Analytics, a mortgage-data research firm. The rate was up sharply from 2.6% a year earlier. (hmm, I wonder what happens a year from now when unemployment rate is far higher and savings depleted?)
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: housingdoom.com
  • 9:09 AM » Banks Bypassing Mortgage Brokers
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:09 AM by www.nytimes.com
    MORTGAGE brokers have long served as an important loan source. Compared with the loan officer at a local bank, brokers typically offer a wider range of mortgage products from a variety of lending institutions. But now some brokers are concerned that they might become marginalized, as some of the nation’s largest lenders move to block them from offering their loans.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: www.nytimes.com
  • 9:02 AM » Housing bust hits hard in small NC factory town
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 9:02 AM by finance.yahoo.com
    When this Appalachian town's light-switch plant went dark, fortunes dimmed for Jeff and Amanda Ruegsegger, and hundreds of their neighbors.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: finance.yahoo.com
  • 8:59 AM » Derivatives Alert: Explosive Risk Is Still Unrecognized
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 8:59 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been pushing for greater transparency in the credit default swap market. But the total notional value of CDS contracts outstanding amounts to less than 5% of the entire derivatives spectrum. So what is the inherent risk from interest rate swaps, currency swaps, swap options, far-forward forex contracts and from derivates "embedded" in the billions of dollars worth of structured notes on the books on Wall Street's banks?
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:59 AM » Bank Nationalization - The Max Holmes Proposal
    Published Mon, Feb 02 2009 8:59 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: In Sunday’s New York Times, a variation on the “bad bank” and “bank nationalization” debate. Mr. Holmes is an adjunct professor at the Stern Graduate School of Business at New York University, chief investment officer of an asset management firm, and a former analyst at an investment bank. His proposal essentially involves a process of creating a “bad bank” spin-off for any insolvent bank. His proposal is based on two bank rescues in which he played a role in his investment banking days. He proposes: Instead of printing up money to create a huge, unwieldy “bad bank,” I would recommend creating separate bad banks for each of these four institutions (and perhaps some others), and financing them by having the government assume an amount of each good bank’s corporate debt equal to the value of the troubled assets put into the bad banks.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • Sun, Feb 1 2009
  • 11:05 AM » Obama wants tough conditions for banks
    Published Sun, Feb 01 2009 11:05 AM by www.ft.com
    Barack Obama said he was committed to "doing what it takes to maintain the flow of credit" but made clear that additional support for the financial sector would come with tough conditions
  • Fri, Jan 30 2009
  • 11:04 PM » Federal regulators shut 3 more banks; 6 this year
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 11:04 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators closed three banks on Friday _ one each in Utah, Florida and Maryland _ bringing to six the total number of failures this year.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 11:03 PM » Feds allege plot to destroy Fannie Mae data
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 11:03 PM by Washington Post
    HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- A fired Fannie Mae contract worker pleaded not guilty Friday to a federal charge he planted a virus designed to destroy all the data on the mortgage giant's 4,000 computer servers nationwide.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 11:02 PM » 5 Steps to Fix the Banks
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 11:02 PM by www.portfolio.com
    A s the liquidity crisis continues, the problem is clear—it's the solution that remains opaque. The problem with the U.S. banking system is simple: It's largely insolvent. Banks have far too little capital to supply the credit needed to finance recovery let alone growth. The insolvency problem is centered around so-called "toxic" or troubled assets that banks hold in great amount and which are today worth far less than cost—generally securitized residential home loans. But the problem of insolvency is centered around toxic assets only in the sense that the problem of a burning house is "centered" around the place the fire started. As Congressman said the last time we faced a severe depression, once a fire is raging, the most important issue is how to put it out—not to locate the point of origin. The United States must provide "rescue capital" to its banks and needs to do so now because private capital markets cannot. However, rescue capital should be provided only on terms that maximize the prospect of recovering it along with a full and fair return. Governmental capital must not be provided to subsidize current investors in these institutions or to relieve the institutions themselves from past errors. How then can we swiftly recapitalize the banking system? Here are five simple principles that should guide the effort: If a bank is nearing insolvency (or is already insolvent) and seeks rescue capital from the government, that capital should be provided only on terms at least as favorable to taxpayers as those that a stable and thriving private capital market would demand. In other words, we should insist on terms at least as favorable as those that private investors typically demand to refinance an imperiled business trying to avoid liquidation in normal economic circumstances. If new capital is not available to banks from private sources, including importantly rights offerings addressed to their incumbent shareholders, then the...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: www.portfolio.com
  • 11:02 PM » U.S. Must Attack Foreclosure Rates
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 11:02 PM by Washington Post
    The government's efforts to combat the worst financial crisis since the 1930s can be divided into three phases.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 11:02 PM » Banker warns of risk of political interference
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 11:02 PM by www.ft.com
    The bail-outs of Citigroup and Bank of America could distort the market if the US lenders succumb to political pressure when making lending decisions, a senior executive at JPMorgan Chase has warned
  • 3:29 PM » Meredith Whitney to banks: Deal with it
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 3:29 PM by CNN
    Banks are looking for a second chance to dump some toxic waste from their balance sheets on the hope that the Obama administration will set up a "bad bank" to buy massive amounts of their troubled assets.
  • 3:29 PM » Senator: Cap pay at $400K for Wall Street 'idiots'
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 3:29 PM by CNN
    One day after President Barack Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough.
  • 3:29 PM » Simon: New Mall Construction "Dead for a decade"
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 3:29 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Bloomberg: (hat tip Sam) David Simon [Chief Executive Officer, Simon Property Group Inc., the biggest U.S. shopping mall owner] ... said the company doesn’t plan to begin construction on new projects or major redevelopments in 2009 and there will be little new U.S. retail construction for years to come. “The new development business is dead for a decade,” Simon said on today’s call. “Maybe it’s eight years. Maybe it’s not completely dead. Maybe I’m over-dramatizing it for effect.” In Q3, investment in U.S. malls was at a $33 billion annual pace, but that includes renovations (there are always renovations). Still I'd expect mall investment to decline in half or more by the end of 2009. I'll have more on mall investment in a few days (when the supplemental GDP data is released).
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 2:44 PM » Geithner, Bernanke work on $700B bailout overhaul
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 2:44 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is meeting with top government officials to develop the administration's plan for overhauling the $700 billion bailout program and improve regulation of the financial system.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 2:43 PM » Banks Sitting On An Inventory Time Bomb: Your Emails
    Published Fri, Jan 30 2009 2:43 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: My last blog post Banks Sitting On An Inventory Time Bomb set off quite a stir among readers, and I think it bears more reporting. Topics: | | | Sectors: |
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Mortgage Rates:
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