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  • Wed, Feb 27 2013
  • 8:34 PM » Fed Report: Measuring the Role of Finance Companies in the U.S. Economy
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 8:34 PM by Federal Reserve
    Lisa Chen, Kathleen W. Johnson, and Arthur B. Kennickell. Credit to consumers and business is critical to the efficient functioning of the U.S. economy, and finance companies are a key source of such credit. Every five years, the Federal Reserve conducts a two-part survey: the Census of Finance Companies (CFC) to identify the universe of such firms and the Survey of Finance Companies (SFC) to obtain balance-sheet data from firms identified in the CFC. In 2010, this survey underwent a major revision that addressed both the absence of a comprehensive list frame and low response rates. A follow-up study of nonrespondents to the CFC was conducted to obtain information on the operating status of the unobserved firms, and their status as a finance company under the definitions of the CFC. An important complication was the presence of complicated tangles of firms within a corporate hierarchy, whereas the CFC intended to include the consolidated assets of the highest-level parent finance company in such a hierarchy; the follow-up was designed to provide information to estimate the extent of such relationships in the initial sample data. This paper describes the way the CFC and the follow-up were used to construct an estimate of the universe of finance companies.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 8:30 PM » Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Jack Lew as Secretary of Treasury
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 8:30 PM by
    I am pleased that the Senate took bipartisan action today to confirm Jack Lew as our nation’s next Treasury Secretary.  At this critical time for our economy and our country, there is no one more qualified for this position than Jack.  As my Chief of Staff, Jack was by my side as we confronted our nation’s toughest challenges. His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington.  And I will continue to rely on his advice and sound judgment as we work to create good, middle-class jobs, provide more people with the skills those jobs require, and ensure every hardworking American can earn a decent living.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:10 PM » What Bernanke Didn't Say About Housing
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 4:10 PM by Bloomberg
    What Bernanke Didn't Say About Housing Bloomberg One of the more interesting exchanges at Ben Bernanke's testimony to the Financial Services Committee today was the one between the Federal Reserve chairman and Representative Scott Garrett, a Republican from New Jersey. Citing Bernanke's assertion ...
  • 2:33 PM » What the sequester means for housing in your state
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 2:33 PM by National Housing Conference
    by Blake Warenik, National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy We at NHC have been raising the hue and cry on the impending sequester for quite a while now . As recently as October, the Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies to operate normally , as if a deal was expected (though Ethan Handelman said even then that this development may have been more hope than expectation). And still the cuts loom; if a decision is not reached Friday, the cuts begin automatically. Though we can't know all of the consequences of the sequester, the folks over at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) have released data on how much housing programs in each state stand to lose without a deal by Friday. It's helpfully broken down into two tables showing how much each state will lose right now; one table shows cuts to housing (including HOME and Native American housing grants) and Community Development Block Grants, and the other shows cuts to rental assistance. It's an interesting and frightening read. While the sequestration cuts to my home territory of the District of Columbia appear as just a blip-primarily due to its small population-there is one statistic that really drives the message home for me. CBPP estimates that 541 D.C. families will lose their Housing Choice Vouchers if Congress does not reach an agreement to avoid the sequester by Friday. In an environment where more than three-quarters of families who qualify for assistance actually receive it ( see page 16 of this CHP report ), we should be expanding assistance to more families in need, not cutting it. Improving housing affordability for low-income families isn't even a very controversial issue. This week's report from the Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission demonstrates rare agreement from both parties that housing resources should be targeted to those at 30 percent of area median income and below. It seems a shame to squander such important room for...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 2:33 PM » Wells Fargo Boosts Estimate of Possible Mortgage Costs
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 2:33 PM by Business Week
    Wells Fargo Boosts Estimate of Possible Mortgage Costs Businessweek Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the largest U.S. home lender, said faulty mortgages could cost the company as much as $2.4 billion beyond its reserves, an increase of $300 million from a year earlier. The bank also trimmed its estimate of possible legal costs. and more »
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 2:31 PM » SEC to Hold Fixed Income Roundtable
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 2:31 PM by SEC
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2013-29 Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2013 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it will hold a roundtable on April 16 to discuss potential ways to improve the transparency and efficiency of fixed income markets. The roundtable will focus on the corporate bond market and the municipal securities market, which was the subject of a July 2012 Commission report. The roundtable will be held at the SEC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, and will be open to the public and webcast live on the SEC’s website. Information on the agenda and participants will be issued shortly. “As regulators, we must continually work to enhance the quality of the fixed income markets, which are critical to the U.S. economy,” said SEC Chairman Elisse Walter. “We’ve already taken a step in that direction by issuing a report last summer on the municipal securities market and this roundtable will be another step forward.” The U.S. fixed income markets help finance the nation’s public infrastructure and private businesses. Fixed income securities also are important components of the investment portfolios of the American public, with retail investors directly or indirectly holding more than 75 percent of the outstanding principal amount of municipal securities and 28 percent of the outstanding principal amount of corporate bonds. The Commission’s 2012 Report on the Municipal Securities Market made a variety of recommendations to improve pre-trade and post-trade price transparency and to strengthen brokers’ existing obligations to provide investors with best execution and fair pricing. The roundtable will provide a forum for in-depth discussion of these and other ideas to enhance the municipal securities market as well as the extent to which those recommendations could be applied to the corporate bond market. “I look forward to hearing the views...
  • 2:30 PM » Chairman Hensarling's Opening Statement at Today's Hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 2:30 PM by House Financial Services
    House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today's full committee hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. "We are clearly in the midst of the slowest and weakest recovery in the post-war era, notwithstanding what we have observed to be the largest fiscal and monetary stimulus in our nation's history. Although one quarter a trend does not make, having negative economic growth in the last quarter was not good news. Otherwise we appear to by mired in 1 ½ to 2 percent economic growth when 3 percent is the norm and clearly 4 percent is the potential. This translates into millions of lost jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars of lost revenue to the Treasury.  "But beyond the numbers, we have to look at the people. I look at my constituents, I listen to them. They are concerned about how they are going to fill up their pickup trucks? How are they going to afford groceries? Their health care premiums have gone up. They are insecure in their paychecks. They are not getting ahead.  So as we welcome Chairman Bernanke back for his semiannual Humphrey Hawkins testimony before our committee, many wonder where do we find the road forward? After quadrupling its balance sheet and engaging in unprecedented mortgage backed security asset purchases and creating an extended negative real interest rate environment, there is a growing consensus among economists that the Federal Reserve's road has led us to the monetary "outer limits." And if one remembers that classic science fiction television program, typically the episodes did not end well. They did not have happy endings, and I fear this may prove true for the current Federal Reserve policy. "For diminishing marginal benefits the Federal Reserve's unconventional strategy creates considerable risks. If the balance sheet is not unwound at the right time and at the right pace, we could be looking...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: House Financial Services
  • 2:29 PM » Housing Market May Not Be as Healthy as It Appears
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 2:29 PM by CNBC
    Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the housing market is "not going to gain momentum" this year, the chief economist for the National Association of Homebuilders told CNBC.
  • 11:52 AM » Bernanke Says Housing Market Is Recovering After Hitting Bottom
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 11:52 AM by Bloomberg
    Bernanke Says Housing Market Is Recovering After Hitting Bottom Bloomberg Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. housing market is on the road to recovery. "The evidence thus far is that the housing market has hit the bottom," Bernanke said in Washington today in response to questions from members of the ...
  • 11:11 AM » Barclays to cut pay by $890 million over scandals: source
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 11:11 AM by Reuters
    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Barclays plans to cut or claw back about 450 million pounds ($680 million) of pay from its staff over a rate-rigging scandal that last year forced out its chief executive and chairman, a person close to the matter said on Wednesday.
  • 11:10 AM » CRL Comment to CFPB on Ability to Repay Standards under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z)
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 11:10 AM by CRL
    CRL and allies comment on CFPB proposal that addresses two issues critical to the future of safe, sustainable, and affordable access to mortgage credit. First, it considers how to define compensation for the purpose of calculating the points and fees cap contained in the qualified mortgage definition. Second, it proposes a series of exemptions for specialized lending programs and financial institutions.
  • 10:21 AM » Obama meets with congressional leaders on spending cuts Friday
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:21 AM by Reuters
    President Barack Obama will meet with top congressional leaders on Friday to discuss the deep, automatic U.S. government spending cuts slated to go into effect that day, congressional aides said. Obama is set to meet with Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.
  • 10:12 AM » Sequester Won't Spur US AAA Rating Downgrade, Fitch Says
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:12 AM by Bloomberg
    Sequester Won't Spur US AAA Rating Downgrade, Fitch Says Bloomberg While triggering the U.S. spending cuts known as the sequester and a government shutdown won't prompt a ratings downgrade, those outcomes "erode confidence" of achieving deficit reduction needed to sustain the nation's top credit grade, according to ...
  • 10:11 AM » Six Questions on the Latest Fannie, Freddie Overhaul Proposal
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:11 AM by WSJ
    A bipartisan group is pushing a proposal to wind down the mortgage giants, but what would it mean for future home buyers?
  • 10:07 AM » Comptroller Speaks to Members of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:07 AM by OCC
    Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry today discussed the benefits and strength of public welfare investment authority during a speech before the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders.
  • 10:07 AM » Pending Home Sales Soar Despite Rough Winter
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:07 AM by CNBC
    Rough winter weather across much of the nation at the start of this year apparently did not keep home buyers away. Contracts to buy existing homes in January rose to the highest reading since April 2010.
  • 10:07 AM » NAR: January Pending Home Sales Up in All Regions
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 10:07 AM by Google News
    WASHINGTON (February 27, 2013) - Pending home sales rose in January, and have been above year-ago levels for the past 21 months, according to the National Association of Realtors®. There were healthy monthly gains in all regions but the West, which is constrained by limited inventory but was slightly improved. The Pending Home Sales Index , * a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 4.5 percent to 105.9 in January from a downwardly revised 101.3 in December and is 9.5 percent... Read More
  • 8:04 AM » Despite Drop in Rates, Mortgage Applications Sag
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 8:04 AM by CNBC
    Applications for U.S. home mortgages sagged for a third straight week last week, even as mortgage rates eased slightly, an industry group survey showed on Wednesday.
  • 7:59 AM » US Stocks Seen Down on Italy Fears
    Published Wed, Feb 27 2013 7:59 AM by CNBC
    U.S. stock index futures signaled a lower open on Wednesday, pulling back from gains seen on Tuesday and pressured further by concerns that political deadlock in Italy could reignite the euro zone crisis. In a morning note on Wednesday, Tobias Blattner, a euro zone economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, saw little grounds for optimism regarding Italy.
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More From MND

Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 3.52%
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  • 15 Yr FRM 3.48%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 4.63%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 107-23 (-0-08)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 108-08 (-0-04)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 109-14 (-0-09)
Recent Housing Data:
  • Mortgage Apps 15.13%
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  • Refinance Index 25.99%
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  • Purchase Index -2.67%