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  • Mon, Dec 19 2011
  • 1:43 PM » Tighter bank rules give fillip to shadow banks
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 1:43 PM by Reuters
    FRANKFURT, Dec 19 (Reuters) - International regulators' efforts to strengthen the financial system by tightening bank rules may inadvertently serve to boost opportunities for unregulated or "shadow"...
  • 1:24 PM » Q3 2011: Mortgage Equity Withdrawal strongly negative
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 1:24 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Special Note: Dr. James Kennedy has a new method for calculating equity extraction: "". I still haven't evaluated his method yet (here is a companion ), so the following is using my old "simple" method. Note 2: This is not Mortgage Equity Withdrawal (MEW) data from the Fed. The last MEW data from Fed economist Dr. Kennedy was for Q4 2008. The following data is calculated from the Fed's Flow of Funds data and the BEA supplement data on single family structure investment. This is an aggregate number, and is a combination of homeowners extracting equity (hence the name "MEW", but there is little MEW right now!), normal principal payments and debt cancellation. Click on graph for larger image in new window. For Q3 2011, the Net Equity Extraction was minus $75 billion, or a negative 2.6% of Disposable Personal Income (DPI). This is not seasonally adjusted. This graph shows the net equity extraction, or mortgage equity withdrawal (MEW), results, using the Flow of Funds (and BEA data) compared to the Kennedy-Greenspan method. The Fed's Flow of Funds report showed that the amount of mortgage debt outstanding declined sharply in Q3. Mortgage debt has declined by $730 billion over the last fourteen quarters. This decline is mostly because of debt cancellation per foreclosures and short sales, and some from modifications. There has also been some reduction in mortgage debt as homeowners paid down their mortgages so they could refinance. Note: most homeowners pay down their principal a little each month unless they have an IO or Neg AM loan, so with no new borrowing, equity extraction would always be slightly negative.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:28 AM » Payroll tax: Congress on vexing path
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:28 AM by CNN
    What a mess. Once again, Congress is going down to the wire on a "must-pass" bill that lawmakers have been debating for months. The centerpiece of this one -- the soon-to-expire payroll tax cut -- affects more than . And it looks like lawmakers' hyper-politicized grudge match will continue for at least several more days. So much for Silent Night. To review: Last week, House Republicans passed a one-year extension of the tax cut as well as long-term emergency federal unemployment benefits and the "doc fix," which would prevent a scheduled pay cut to Medicare physicians. This weekend, unable to negotiate a more palatable deal, the Senate passed a mere two-month extension of all three measures, and in large part by requiring that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge mortgage lenders higher fees, a measure with bipartisan support.
  • 9:21 AM » ECB President Draghi Warns on Euro Zone Break-Up
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:21 AM by CNBC
    Mario Draghi has warned of the costs of a eurozone break-up, breaching a taboo for a president of the European Central Bank, even as he sought to play down market expectations about the ECB's role in combating the sovereign debt crisis. Mr Draghi's willingness to discuss a scenario for Europe's 13-year old monetary union that his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, simply described as "absurd," highlights the high stakes in the eurozone debt crisis, which has rattled global financial markets. In his first interview since becoming ECB president on November 1, Mr Draghi said struggling eurozone countries that quit the currency bloc would face still greater economic pain. For remaining members, European Union law would have been broken and "you never know how it ends really," he said.
  • 9:20 AM » Residential Remodeling Index at new high in October
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:20 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    The BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index increased for the twenty-fourth straight month in October to 147.6, a new high for the index. This was up from 141.4 in September, and up 39% year-over-year from 105.8 in October 2010. This is based on the number of properties pulling residential construction permits in a given month. In October 2011, all four regions - West, Midwest, Northeast and South - had gains. The West is at a new all time high, and is up 52% year-over-year. The Midwest is near an all time high, and is up 20% year-over-year. The South is up 11% year-over-year and the Northeast was up from September but is still down 4% year-over-year. Click on graph for larger image. This graph shows the NSA index by region. Most of the recent increase is in the West and Midwest. The South is also starting to increase. Note: Permits are not adjusted by value, so this doesn't mean there is more money being spent, just more permit activity. Also some smaller remodeling projects are done without permits and the index will miss that activity. Since there is a strong seasonal pattern for remodeling, the second graph shows the year-over-year change from the same month of the previous year. Even though new home construction is still moving sideways, two other components of residential investment are doing better: multi-family construction and home improvement. Data Source: BuildFax, Courtesy of
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:19 AM » FDIC Bank Closures
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:19 AM by The Big Picture
    Hey, its been a while since we showed our favorite Bank Charts, via Ron Griess of : > click for larger charts ~~~
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 9:18 AM » Investigators Say 4 Reps Got Discounted Loans
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:18 AM by CNBC
    WASHINGTON - Congressional investigators said Monday that four House members received VIP discounted loans from the former Countrywide Financial Corp., the lender whose subprime mortgages was largely responsible for the nation's foreclosure crisis. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, declined to name the four but wrote the House Ethics Committee that it should investigate the lawmakers. Issa, in a letter dated Friday and released Monday, said there could be additional lawmakers who received discounted loans. The most favored customers of Countrywide were known as "Friends of Angelo," who were given discounts in a VIP section under control of the company's CEO Angelo Mozilo. However, Issa said his investigators discovered that other sections of Countrywide also processed VIP loans to public officials and others in position to help the company.
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