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  • Thu, Apr 16 2009
  • 3:55 PM » Lenders Kept Appraiser Blacklists for Those Who Refused to Inflate Values
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 3:55 PM by
    Banks and mortgage lenders kept appraiser blacklists for those who refused to falsely inflate home values, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity. These lists apparently contained thousands of names of appraisers who weren’t willing to play ball, or simply couldn’t come up with the values needed to get deals closed. One lender, Amerisave, [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:40 PM » Loan Modifications Stalling the Foreclosure Recovery Effort?
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 3:40 PM by
    By Moe Bedard It’s getting to be rather old news indicating that notices of default have hit record highs. Most everyone is aware of the fact that we are in a housing crisis. However, few people claim that lenders offering loan modifications are to blame for elongating the housing crisis. President Obama has sponsored loan modification [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:25 PM » Board announces availability of new video "Lessons from a Storm"
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 3:25 PM by Federal Reserve
    Board announces availability of new video "Lessons from a Storm"
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 3:25 PM » Lockhart Describes Views of Postcrisis Financial Environment
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 3:25 PM by
    Atlanta Fed President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Lockhart speaks about the future financial and regulatory environment at a Levy Economics Institute conference in New York.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:25 PM » U.S. to unveil bank test results May 4
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 3:25 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The results of tests to gauge how the top 19 U.S. banks would fare should the deep U.S. recession worsen will be publicly disclosed on May 4, a regulatory official said on Thursday.
  • 1:09 PM » New York Fed iIssues Tentative Outright Treasury Operation Schedule
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 1:09 PM by NY Fed
    Tentative Outright Treasury Operation Schedule
  • 10:05 AM » Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 10:05 AM by US Treasury
    To view or print the PDF content on this page, download the free . April 15, 2009 TG-90 Statement by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Release of Semi-Annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies Washington, D.C .– Today I am sending to Congress the semi-annual Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies. The Report is required under Sections 3004 and 3005 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. The period examined is the second half of 2008, but where appropriate information up to the end of March 2009 is included. The Report focuses on the economic, financial and exchange rate impacts of the ongoing financial crisis on the U.S. economy, and more broadly the global economy. The Report also examines what policy actions twenty-one economies – that make up more than 80 percent of U.S. international trade – are taking to restore growth and achieve financial stability. This Report was written recognizing that the global economic and financial backdrop has changed dramatically. The global economy is in recession; the first decline in global output in more than sixty years. Credit market conditions remain strained and financial market volatility continues to be elevated. Since the start of the recession there have been more than 5 million job losses in the United States. Job losses globally are much larger. The financial shocks of the past 20 months have caused transformational changes to the environment in which the U.S. economy operates. In the aftermath of the emerging market crises of the late 1990s, many economies put in place sound policies and institutions, and attracted considerable capital inflow. Many also grew increasingly dependent on exports for their economic growth and job creation and accumulated large stockpiles of foreign exchange reserves, often as a form of self-insurance. Reserve accumulation by emerging market economies in the two years ending March 2008 averaged nearly ...
  • 10:04 AM » Subprime Mortgage Pricing: The Impact of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender on the Cost of Borrowing.
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 10:04 AM by NY Fed
    Andrew F. Haughwout, Christopher Mayer, and Joseph Tracy. Subprime Mortgage Pricing: The Impact of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender on the Cost of Borrowing. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports Staff Report Number 368, April 2009.
  • 10:04 AM » 10 Mistakes First-Time Home Buyers Make
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 10:04 AM by
    Standard & Poor's latest Case-Shiller index, which tracks home prices across 20 major U.S. cities, reported that values dropped 19% in January from a year earlier.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:04 AM » Goldman's Offering and the Recent Rally: Coincidence?
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 10:04 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: This past Tuesday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc . (GS) announced its sales of $5 billion in new stock in an effort to repay U.S. government bailout loans. Goldman is upset with the restrictions these loans place on Goldman’s business operations, and the company is very focused on repaying the government and getting out of these restrictions as soon as possible. Their solution: raise money from the capital markets. On March 4th, Goldman’s shares hit a low of $73.95 . On April 13th , Goldman’s shares, in the midst and on the back of this current rally, had risen to $130 , a massive gain of 75% in just five weeks !
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:37 AM » Changing the jumbo mortgage game
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 8:37 AM by Google News
    Americans are spending less on luxuries these days. That includes luxury houses. The number of jumbo mortgage originations declined an estimated 70 percent nationwide during 2008. The most recent Affluent Market Tracking Study conducted semi-annually by the , reveals that among luxury consumers, plans to purchase a primary residence of a vacation home have declined to record lows and home remodeling plans are only one-half of what they were a year ago. The affluent are the primary consumers of jumbo and super jumbo mortgage products. Although the jumbo mortgage market has not been as widely discussed as the conforming mortgage market in the current crisis, it is undergoing significant changes. April alone has seen one established player leaving the jumbo mortgage field while another joins it. A jumbo mortgage is one that exceeds the loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The limit changes annually for mortgages on single-family homes. Interest rates on jumbo mortgages are generally higher than on conforming (those within the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac limits) but vary in similar ways. Historically, jumbo mortgage rates exceeded conforming loan rates by 20 basis points, according to First Internet Bank of Indiana (First IB). Recently, that gap has widened to as much as 200 basis points or 2 percentage points. Leaving the jumbo mortgage game is Thornburg Mortgage Inc., which announced earlier this month that the company planned to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Santa Fe-based Thornburg was the second-largest independent mortgage company in the U.S. at one time. The reports that Thornburg’s financial problems stem from the collapse of the market for mortgage-backed securities rather than more familiar collapse of sub-prime mortgages. The company’s assets, other than mortgage servicing rights, will be sold or liquidated. The mortgage servicing rights, which were granted as security for various financing agreements with lenders including JPMorgan Chase Funding...
  • 8:36 AM » Top Mortgage Servicers to Receive up to $10 Billion for Loan Mods
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 8:36 AM by
    A handful of the biggest home loan servicers stand to reap up to $10 billion from the Treasury Department for modifying at-risk mortgages, the WSJ reported today. The incentive payments are part of a $75 billion “Homeowner Stability Initiative” plan unveiled by President Obama in February. Participating loan servicers will receive an upfront fee of $1,000 for [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:35 AM » General Growth files for bankruptcy protection
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 8:35 AM by
    The second largest US mall owner filed for bankruptcy protection making it one of the biggest real estate bankruptcies in US history
  • 8:35 AM » JPMorgan profit beats forecasts
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 8:35 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit on Thursday, as improved investment banking performance offset an increase in losses from credit cards and other consumer debt.
  • 8:35 AM » Foreclosure filings jump 24%
    Published Thu, Apr 16 2009 8:35 AM by CNN
    Foreclosures skyrocketed in March and the first quarter of 2008 to their highest levels on record as banks lifted moratoria on filings.
  • Wed, Apr 15 2009
  • 9:07 PM » Readers Want Bernanke to Stay
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 9:07 PM by WSJ
    Wall Street Journal readers think Ben Bernanke deserves another term as Federal Reserve chairman by a two to one margin. Granted, it’s a completely unscientific and non-random poll, but of the 1,734 readers who voted by this afternoon, 1,118 supported the current Fed chief while 616 are happy to bid him farewell when his term ends January 31, 2010. Meantime Lawrence Summers , one of the White House economic advisers who’s viewed as a possible successor to Bernanke, has . Want to cast your vote?
  • 8:52 PM » Say Hello to “Frannie”
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 8:52 PM by The Big Picture
    A merger of incompetents: “U.S. regulators seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September amid a rise in mortgage delinquencies that led to a combined loss of $108.8 billion last year. The U.S. Treasury has injected $59.8 billion in emergency funds into the companies. Executives at Washington-based Fannie, the larger of the two, have discussed internally the possibility of taking over McLean, Virginia-based Freddie’s operations, according to people familiar with the matter. A formal approach isn’t imminent, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. A merger would be the quickest way for regulators to cut costs by reducing Fannie and Freddie’s combined 11,000-person workforce, shedding underperforming mortgage assets and reducing the bureaucracy of running two companies with identical functions, said Christopher Whalen, co-founder of Institutional Risk Analytics in Torrance, California . . .” “It’s got to happen; we’re not going to put them back the way they were,” Whalen said of a merger. “The only way we’re going to be able to manage them is if we squeeze every last ounce of savings out of the administrative side and just focus on trying to keep the loss number under control.” Great! I can just hear the new TV commercials: “Say Good-Bye to Fannie, Freddie — and say hello to Frannie!” Look for it sometime in mid-2010… > Source: Dawn Kopecki Bloomberg, April 15 2009
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 4:29 PM » TARP Recipients Boost Mortgage Lending, But Nothing Else
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:29 PM by
    The 21 largest banks that received TARP funds saw minimal increases in overall lending in February compared to a month earlier, according to data released today by the Treasury. The median growth in total lending was actually negative two percent in February, with nine banks posting increases and 12 experiencing declines. “Against a difficult economic backdrop, banks [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:28 PM » White House: US to release bank stress data in May
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:28 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Reuters: ... "Early in May, you will see in a systematic and coordinated way the transparency of determining and showing to all involved some of the results of these stress tests," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. The tests will assess how much of a "capital cushion" the banks are likely to need to stay healthy, given the current economic environment, he said. "Our hope is that banks that are not healthy, or need help, will first and foremost seek that help privately, and then we'll take steps from there to assist them," Gibbs said. ... U.S. regulators are preparing a guide to explain to the public the bank stress tests and how to interpret the results, sources have told Reuters. "[T]he transparency of determining and showing"? What does that mean? " Some of the results"? And a guide on how to interpret the results? We don't need no ! Just show us the data.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 4:27 PM » Nevada Attorney General Announces Mortgage Fraud Strike Force
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:27 PM by
    From the Nevada Attorney General, Press Release April 7, 2009 Carson City Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto warns as the mortgage crisis continues to unfold, record-breaking home foreclosures will be experienced and many homeowners will be forced to make tough choices. Nevada is number one in the nation for foreclosures, with one filing for every 70 households. [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:26 PM » Reverse Mortgage Volume Hits a New High
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:26 PM by
    Sign of the times…reverse mortgage volume hit a new record high last month, according to data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. So-called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), which allow homeowners aged 62 and older to pull equity out of their homes without making mortgage payments, increased 24 percent from February, setting a new [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:26 PM » Latest Dallas Beige Book
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:26 PM by
    The Federal Reserve System's latest Beige Book survey has been released. The Dallas Beige Book, along with a link to the national summary and reports from other Federal Reserve Districts, is available online.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:26 PM » Capital One card loss rates hits 9.3%
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 4:26 PM by
    Concerns over the leading US credit card companies grew as Capital One Financial, a leading issuer, reported that its credit card loss rates were exceeding the unemployment rate
  • 10:02 AM » Obama Stakes His Fortunes on Failed Banksters
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 10:02 AM by Bloomberg
    Now that we have a rough idea how President Barack Obama and his lieutenants plan to prop up insolvent financial institutions using taxpayers’ money, we’re left with a more difficult question: Why?
  • 9:54 AM » Conditions for New York manufacturers continued to deteriorate in April
    Published Wed, Apr 15 2009 9:54 AM by NY Fed
    The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers deteriorated significantly in March. The general business conditions index fell to a fresh low of -38.2. The new orders and shipments indexes also dropped sharply to new record lows, and the inventories index declined to its lowest level since 2001. The indexes for both prices paid and prices received remained negative for a fourth consecutive month. Employment indexes remained close to their recent lows. Future indexes were somewhat higher than in February, but the six-month outlook continued to be very subdued, with capital spending and technology spending indexes falling to record lows.
  • Tue, Apr 14 2009
  • 5:26 PM » Minutes of Board discount rate meetings, February 9 through March 16, 2009
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 5:26 PM by Federal Reserve
    Minutes of Board discount rate meetings, February 9 through March 16, 2009
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 5:26 PM » New York Fed purchases $7.300 billion in Treasury coupons
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 5:26 PM by NY Fed
    New York Fed purchases $7.300 billion in Treasury coupons
  • 3:21 PM » Landlords Overlooking Foreclosure Blemishes
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 3:21 PM by
    Good news, if you recently got foreclosed on and are back in the rental market… Apartment owners and other landlords are beginning to overlook foreclosure-blemished credit reports when considering a new tenant, according to the Wall Street Journal. Instead of denying potential renters because of a recent foreclosure record, some landlords are apparently targeting these types of [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 1:31 PM » Excerpt's from the President's Remarks
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 1:31 PM by
    Today, I want to step back for a moment and explain our strategy as clearly as I can. I want to talk about what we’ve done, why we’ve done it, and what we have left to do.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:34 AM » Moody's cuts Ambac's bond insurance rating to junk
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 11:34 AM by Reuters
    Moody's Investors Service on Monday cut its ratings on Ambac Financial Group's bond insurance arm into junk territory, after the rating agency increased its expectation of losses in residential mortgage-backed securities.
  • 11:26 AM » Bernanke, Four Questions about the Financial Crisis
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 11:26 AM by Federal Reserve
    Speech at the Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 11:10 AM » Mortgage Fraud in 2008: Part II
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 11:10 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Here is the 2nd part of the VoiceofSanDiego article: In 2008, when the loans were made to McConville's buyers, some of the only companies still willing to buy these bundles of mortgages were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even though the mortgage mess had affected them, too. At the tail end of McConville's deals, last September, the federal government took over Fannie and Freddie, assuming more direct control of the companies' day-to-day operation and pumped in funding to absorb their losses. Now the taxpayers own 79.9 percent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "You and I are getting stuck with these inflated loans, via Fannie and Freddie," [Real estate appraiser Todd Lackner] said. There is a way out, as long as the smaller lenders who made the loans to McConville's buyers still exist. On any loans Fannie and Freddie bought, if they discover fraud or faults in underwriting in the loans, they'll send them down the chain, requiring the investor that sold the loans to the giants to buy them back. Ultimately, the original lenders might face those buybacks, said Michael Lea, a former chief economist for Freddie Mac. But the small lenders who made these mortgages might not be in business anymore -- like Nazari's All American Finance. Ask Wall Street what happens when they push back loans to the small lenders - they just close up shop. Here was Part I: And a related article:
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 11:10 AM » “Liberating” REOs For The Homeless
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 11:10 AM by
    , and an ever growing number of homeless people. : [Thanks L!] MIAMI — When the woman who calls herself Queen Omega moved into a three-bedroom house here last December, she introduced herself to the neighbors, signed contracts for electricity and water and ordered an Internet connection. What she did not tell anyone was that she had no legal right to be in the home. Ms. Omega, 48, is one of the beneficiaries of the foreclosure crisis. Through a small advocacy group of local volunteers called Take Back the Land, she moved from a friend’s couch into a newly empty house that sold just a few years ago for more than $400,000. While squatting is not legal, Take Back the Land operates in the open and works to have "responsible squatters": Take Back the Land has had to compete with less organized squatters, said Max Rameau, the group’s director. “We had a move-in that we were going to do one day at noon,” he said. “At 10 o’clock in the morning, I went over to the house just to make sure everything was O.K., and squatters took over our squat. Then we went to another place nearby, and squatters were in that place also.” Mr. Rameau said his group differed from ad hoc squatters by operating openly, screening potential residents for mental illness and drug addiction, and requiring that they earn “sweat equity” by cleaning or doing repairs around the house and that they keep up with the utility bills. “We change the locks,” he said. “We pull up with a truck and move in through the front door. The families get a key to the front door.” Most of the houses are in poor neighborhoods, where the neighbors are less likely to object. This is a video interview on CNN with Rameau of last December: It seems like there should be a better way. , and folks who could really use a roof over their heads. It would be nice if there were a legal way to bring them both together.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:10 AM » It's the lost jobs, not the mortgage payments
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 11:10 AM by
    Filed under the category "no easy solutions to the foreclosure crisis" comes a at CNN/Money about how the recent White House plan to rescue homeowners by lowering their mortgage payments may be a bit wide of the mark given all the recent job losses. Unemployment is a bigger reason for missed mortgage payments than high interest rates, according to a study from the Boston Federal Reserve that raises questions about President Obama's plan to stem foreclosures by modifying loans. Borrowers are more likely to default on their payments because they have lost their jobs or because the price of their homes has plummeted than because of tough terms on their mortgages, the study found. Normally, foreclosures are an after-effect of recessions - people lose their jobs, then they lose their homes because they can't make their mortgage payments. It seems as though we're now just entering that phase after the loss of 3.7 million jobs over just the last six months. What's the solution? Naturally, it's the same solution that has been offered for nearly every phase of the financial crisis - more money from the government. Since the government owns or guarantees most of the mortgages in the U.S. these days, it's more than a little funny that one agency in Washington D.C. would be lending you money so you can make a payment that winds up in another Washington D.C. office. The economists suggest that the government could instead replace part of an individual homeowner's lost income from a job loss through loans and grants and help those whose predicament is more permanent become renters.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:34 AM » Bernanke: ‘Fundamentally Optimistic’ About Economy
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 8:34 AM by WSJ
    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that he sees “tentative signs” that the steep contraction in U.S. economic activity may be waning, and that he is confident in the economy’s long term prospects. In remarks prepared for delivery later today in Atlanta, Bernanke cited recent figures on housing, consumer spending and new vehicle sales as some of those signs that the recession is slowing. Here’s the full text: Four Questions about the Financial Crisis I am pleased to have the privilege of speaking today to the students and faculty of Morehouse College, the only all-male historically black institution of higher learning in the United States. It is sufficient to note that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a graduate of Morehouse. Yet a roster of distinguished alumni that also includes former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, and filmmaker Spike Lee testifies to the success of your stated mission of “producing academically superior, morally conscious leaders for the conditions and issues of today.” My remarks today will focus on the ongoing turmoil in financial markets and its consequence, the global economic recession. The financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression, has severely affected the cost and availability of credit to both households and businesses. Credit is the lifeblood of market economies, and the damage to our economy resulting from the constraints on the flow of credit has already been extensive. With recent job losses exceeding half a million per month, this year’s college graduates are facing the toughest labor market in 25 years. In the communities in which you and I grew up, many families are trying to cope with lost employment and depleted savings or are facing foreclosure on their homes. Firms have shut factories and cancelled construction projects. States and municipalities are scrambling to find the funding to provide critical services. And although we naturally tend to be most aware of...
  • 8:34 AM » Report: Fannie Mae CEO Allison to head TARP (AP)
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 8:34 AM by
    Fannie Mae CEO Herb Allison is expected to be named by the Obama administration to head the government's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, a published report said.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:34 AM » SEC Reviewing if BofA Broke Law: Report (at
    Published Tue, Apr 14 2009 8:34 AM by
    SEC Reviewing if BofA Broke Law: Report (at
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Mon, Apr 13 2009
  • 4:32 PM » Wells Fargo May Need $50 Billion in Capital, KBW Says
    Published Mon, Apr 13 2009 4:32 PM by Bloomberg
    Wells Fargo & Co., the second- biggest U.S. home lender, may need $50 billion to pay back the federal government and cover loan losses as the economic slump deepens, according to KBW Inc.’s Frederick Cannon.
  • 4:23 PM » Bailed-out banks face probe: WSJ
    Published Mon, Apr 13 2009 4:23 PM by Market Watch
    The committee that oversees the government’s bailout programs is looking into whether banks that took taxpayer money to improve their balance sheets have since been raising interest rates and fees, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • 3:13 PM » Fed purchases $5.153 billion in GSE Agency Coupons
    Published Mon, Apr 13 2009 3:13 PM 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.
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Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 2.86%
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  • 15 Yr FRM 2.47%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 3.70%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 107-12 (-0-06)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 109-12 (0-01)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 110-12 (0-02)
Recent Housing Data:
  • Mortgage Apps -0.81%
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  • Refinance Index -0.44%
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  • Purchase Index -1.54%