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  • Thu, Mar 19 2009
  • 9:05 AM » Bankers’ Convention Puts ‘Squeeze’ on Bernanke
    Published Thu, Mar 19 2009 9:05 AM by WSJ
    It didn’t take long for the mood to set in at the Independent Community Bankers of America annual convention in Phoenix, Ariz. on Wednesday. At a big cocktail party, vendors were handing out small, rubber Ben Bernanke figurines next to a sign that says “Stressed Out? Give Ben a squeeze.” An hour later, as hundreds of bankers filed into a dinner buffet, a band played a particularly melancholy version of a famous Green Day song, and the words seemed to almost hang in the air…”I hope you had the time of your life.” –Damian Paletta
  • Wed, Mar 18 2009
  • 8:17 PM » Bernanke: Buy a House
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 8:17 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: Well, the Federal Reserve chairman didn’t say that exactly. But the central bank’s announcement Wednesday sure seemed to imply it. Topics: | | | | | | Companies: | | | | | |
  • 3:55 PM » FOMC statement
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 3:55 PM by Federal Reserve
    FOMC statement
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 3:39 PM » Fed Commits to Buying Treasurys
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 3:39 PM by WSJ
    The Fed said it will buy up to $300 billion in longer-term Treasurys and raise the size of lending programs already aimed at reducing mortgage rates by another $750 billion. (Statement)
  • 3:39 PM » MarketWatch First Take: Fed acts boldly, won't be distracted by bonus circus
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 3:39 PM by Market Watch
    The grownups in Washington aren't about to let the latest political and media circus over ill-gotten bonuses distracted them from saving this economy. The Federal Open Market Committee acted very boldly Wednesday, promising to crank up the money supply until the economy starts breathing on its own again.
  • 3:39 PM » To TALF, or not to TALF
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 3:39 PM by CNN
    The government's efforts to tame the credit crisis faces one of its biggest tests yet as the Federal Reserve finally launches a $1 trillion program aimed at reviving lending for both consumers and business.
  • 2:14 PM » Embattled AIG puts headquarters on sales block
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 2:14 PM by Washington Post
    NEW YORK -- AIG said Wednesday it's putting its downtown Manhattan headquarters and a nearby office building on the sales block.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 2:14 PM » Fannie Mae: Refinancing Volume Tripled in February
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 2:14 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: Reuters Fannie Mae the government-controlled home funding company, on Wednesday said its February refinancing volume nearly tripled from January to more than $41 billion. Topics: | | | | Sectors: Companies: | MEDIA:
  • 11:07 AM » Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against You Walk Away
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 11:07 AM by loanworkout.org
    Distressed Homeowners Sue Carlsbad-based “Foreclosure Consultant” YOU WALK AWAY, LLC for Violations of California State Law - “$995 for foreclosure advice? Why not pay for actually doing something... I have a REAL spell caster that can cast a wicked protection spell on those evil bankers so they leave you alone. - Reader Comment The perfect storm for underwater real estate is reaching the tsunami boiling point and for companies that help homeowners ditch their homes and jump into a home saving raft like You Walk Away, business is absolutely BOOMING!
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: loanworkout.org
  • 10:21 AM » U.S. construction index ticks up in February: AIA
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 10:21 AM by 10.33.52.135
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - A leading indicator of U.S. nonresidential construction activity rose slightly in February from a record low the previous month, an architects' trade group said on Wednesday.
  • 10:06 AM » Bank of America CEO says could repay TARP in '09: report
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 10:06 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis said the largest U.S. bank could repay the $45 billion of government capital it has taken by late 2009 or early 2010, depending on the economy, according to an interview published in the Charlotte Observer.
  • 10:05 AM » Mortgage applications spike
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 10:05 AM by CNN
    Read full story for latest details.
  • 10:05 AM » S&P Cuts $16.16 Billion of Alt-A Securities
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 10:05 AM by WSJ
    S&P cut its ratings on $16.16 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities backed by U.S. Alt-A mortgages issued in 2006 and 2007 following last month's increase on loss assumptions.
  • 10:05 AM » Hedge Funds May Benefit from AIG Bailout: Report
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 10:05 AM by CNBC
    Posted By: Reuters Some of the billions of dollars the U.S. government paid to bail out American International Group stand to benefit hedge funds that bet on a falling housing market, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter and reviewed documents. Topics: | | | | | | | Sectors: | | Companies: | |
  • 12:18 AM » World Bank Cuts China's 2009 GDP Forecast to 6.5%
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 12:18 AM by CNBC
  • 12:17 AM » Housing: Two Bottoms
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 12:17 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Note: I've added a "ShareThis" button to the posts, and I'm now on . In my previous post I discussed the question: We don't know the answer yet. But some readers are confusing a bottom in housing starts with a bottom in pricing. It doesn't works that way! There will be two distinct bottoms for housing: 1) First single-family housing starts and new home sales will bottom. and then followed some time later ... 2) Prices for existing homes will bottom. Just about every housing bust follows this pattern. The bottom in prices could be a year, or two, or more away. It is way too early to try to call the bottom in prices. House prices will almost certainly fall all year and probably next year too. Prices will continue to fall. Prices are not at the bottom. Sorry for repeating myself. Also, it is theoretically possible that single-family housing starts (off 80% from peak) and new home sales (off 78% from peak) could go to zero - but unlikely. Sometime this year housing starts and new home sales will probably bottom, but that doesn't indicate a bottom for house prices.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 12:17 AM » U.K. Prepares Regulatory Overhaul
    Published Wed, Mar 18 2009 12:17 AM by WSJ
    The U.K. financial-services regulator is expected to roll out a blueprint for the most radical rethink of the U.K.'s financial rules in more than a decade.
  • Tue, Mar 17 2009
  • 5:59 PM » Bring finance out of the shadows
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 5:59 PM by www.ft.com
    It is not surprising to see calls for the Glass-Steagall Act to be resuscitated. While better financial regulation is necessary, however, the dichotomy at the core of Glass-Steagall is better left at rest
  • 3:19 PM » 73 AIG employees got at least $1 million, Cuomo says
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 3:19 PM by Market Watch
    Failed insurance giant American International Group Inc. "retention" bonuses of more than $1 million to 73 employees, including 11 who no longer work at the company, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says as political and public anger over the bonuses mounts.
  • 3:18 PM » Frank hopes to draft financial overhaul bill soon
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 3:18 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said Tuesday he hoped to begin writing legislation by early May on overhauling how the federal government regulates the nation's financial system.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 3:18 PM » Lack of Warehouse Funding Hurts Reverse Mortgage Sector
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 3:18 PM by Google News
    Growth in the reverse mortgage sector requires warehouse funding, which has gone virtually AWOL during the past 15 months of worldwide economic contraction. Warehouse lenders provide liquidity by allowing lenders to temporarily fund mortgages at the closing table. But, estimates indicate a severe drop in the number of warehouse lines - down from nearly 115 at its peak in 2005 to less than 30. “Two years ago there were warehouse lenders galore and now there are very few,” laments Michael Wallace, branch manager, Upstate Capital, East Syracuse, N.Y. “The [providers] that are out there are either cutting back on their lines or requiring very large minimums,” according to Wallace, who says he is “going out to local banks and trying to educate them on the reverse mortgage so they can provide [this] funding.” Wallace - whose company wrote 700 reverse loans last year and is averaging about 80/month this year - said he wants part of the federal economic stimulus package to be directed to providing this warehouse funding. “Congress should say to HUD and Fannie Mae ‘start providing these lines’ to guys like us who want to become a Full Eagle.” Even established reverse mortgage lenders like have had problems with its warehouse providers. Due to capacity “issues”, the 2nd largest wholesale reverse mortgage lender was forced to suspend new submissions from brokers in February. The company started from certain customers but wouldn’t comment on when things would be back to normal. Looking to address the problem, last week the Mortgage Bankers Association came out in favor of federal “steps to help maintain existing lines of warehouse credit and creating new warehouse lending by providing a short-term federal guarantee of warehouse lines that are collateralized by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA and RHS [Rural Housing Services]-eligible mortgages.” Neil J. Morse has been a communications professional working in the mortgage finance industry for more than a decade, currently specializing...
  • 3:18 PM » Wells Fargo Top Mortgage Lender in January as Industry Volume Jumps
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 3:18 PM by www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com
    Mortgage origination volume jumped in January among some of the largest banking institutions receiving TARP funds, according to a new survey from the Treasury Department. The survey, which covers the top 21 recipients of government investment via the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), found consumer lending originations increased at most institutions between December and January. “Mortgage origination volume [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com
  • 1:29 PM » Top mortgage lender mulls bankruptcy
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 1:29 PM by CNN
    Read full story for latest details.
  • 10:51 AM » Lehman puts two bank units on market: source
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 10:51 AM by Washington Post
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc <LEHMQ.PK> is auctioning a thrift and an industrial bank it owns, and the process is in the early stages, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 8:31 AM » The Future of Green Building
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 8:31 AM by Business Week
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 8:31 AM » Credit Card Defaults Hit 20 Year High
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 8:31 AM by Google News
    Credit card defaults are soaring. In response, lenders are hiking rates and slashing credit lines. Meanwhile Obama wants to throw money at the problem by increasing small business loans. Let's take a look at how the above facts interrelate starting with . U.S. credit card defaults rose in February to their highest level in at least 20 years, with losses particularly severe at American Express Co(AXP) and Citigroup(C) amid a deepening recession. AmEx, the largest U.S. charge card operator by sales volume, said its net charge-off rate -- debts companies believe they will never be able to collect -- rose to 8.70 percent in February from 8.30 percent in January. In addition, Citigroup -- one of the largest issuers of MasterCard cards -- disappointed analysts as its default rate soared to 9.33 percent in February, from 6.95 percent a month earlier, according to a report based on trusts representing a portion of securitized credit card debt. Analysts estimate credit card chargeoffs could climb to between 9 and 10 percent this year from 6 to 7 percent at the end of 2008. In that scenario, such losses could total $70 billion to $75 billion in 2009. "People underestimated the severity of the downturn we are experiencing and I wouldn't be surprised to see them north of 10 percent," said Todd, who added American Express was most exposed to higher credit card losses, given its sole reliance on the industry. Credit card lenders are trying to protect themselves by tightening credit limits, rising standards, and closing accounts. They have also been slashing rewards, raising interest rates and increasing fees to cushion further losses. Meredith Whitney, one of Wall Street's best known and most bearish bank analysts, estimates that Americans' credit card lines will be cut by $2.7 trillion, or 50 percent, by the end of 2010 -- and fewer Americans will be offered new cards. Business Owners Tear Up Cards Bloomberg is reporting . Susan Woodward isn’t renewing the...
  • 8:31 AM » FDIC: The Bair (And Frightening) Truth
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 8:31 AM by Seeking Alpha
    We all should be painfully aware by now that there is nothing held inside the Social Security and Medicare trust funds but a bunch of IOUs. Monies collected from payroll taxes are treated as general revenues and used in the “unified budget.” But how many of us are aware that the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund works in a similar fashion? On March 2 nd , FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair made some remarkable statements in defense of the Insurance Corporation’s decision to raise fees and increase revenues. She said in a letter sent to the over 8,300 insured banks that, “Without substantial amounts of additional assessment revenue in the near future, current projections indicate that the fund balance will approach zero or even become negative.”
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 7:21 AM » Small-Business Lending Gets a Boost
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 7:21 AM by Washington Post
    The Obama administration yesterday unveiled a series of measures to help the nation's small businesses, saying it would spend up to $15 billion to help them get the loans they need to weather the economic crisis.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 7:20 AM » Quick Take: Homebuilder Sentiment and Zero Down Payment Loans
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 7:20 AM by Google News
    March 16, 2009: Todays's Quick Take examines Homebuilder Sentiment and Zero Down Payment Loans. Read more >
  • 7:20 AM » Wall Street Falters Late in the Day
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 7:20 AM by dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com
    Wall Street's four-day buying spree stalled on Monday as stocks gave up strong early gains and closed slightly lower, The New York Times's Jack Healy reported. Weakness in technology companies like Intel and Dell and banks whose names were not Citigroup or Bank of America dragged the broader markets lower in the last hour, halting a [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com
  • 7:20 AM » Indications: U.S. stock futures edge higher; Alcoa slumps
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 7:20 AM by Market Watch
    U.S. stock futures inch higher, with markets largely holding but not advancing last week’s rally in the face of gloomy outlooks from the likes of corporate titans like Alcoa and Nokia.
  • 12:27 AM » Systemic Risk
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:27 AM by The Big Picture
    David R. Kotok co-founded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its Chief Investment Officer since inception. He holds a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in Organizational Dynamics from The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Kotok’s articles and financial market commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to CNBC programs. Mr. Kotok is also a member of the National Business Economics Issues Council (NBEIC), the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the Philadelphia Council for Business Economics (PCBE), and the Philadelphia Financial Economists Group (PFEG). ~~~~~ Systemic Risk March 16, 2009 “Systemic risk is the risk imposed by inter-linkages and interdependencies in a system or market, which could potentially bankrupt or bring down the entire system or market if one player is eliminated, or a cluster of failures occurs at once. Systemic financial risk occurs when contingency plans that are developed individually to address selected risks are collectively incompatible. It is the quintessential “knee bone is connected to the thigh bone…” where every element that once appeared independent is connected with every other element.” Source: AIG draft document dated Feb. 26, 2009, ABC News and Barry Ritholtz website, http://www.ritholtz.com . We are almost two years into this developing financial mess. Yes, it has been two years since Fed Chairman Bernanke stopped using the word contained in his public remarks when he described the state of things in the money world. Much of the current activity focuses on the structure of the massive and unprecedented federal bailout of the financial firms and financial system. The bailout is a response to the elevated and intensified level of systemic risk now widely accepted as prevalent...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 12:13 AM » Bank CEO calls Geithner's Plan "Asinine"
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:13 AM by Google News
    Wells Fargo's CEO Richard Kovacevich has some harsh words about Geithner's stress test. . Henry Blodget seems to agree. "As Americans recover from the shock and disgust of this latest [AIG] revelation, they will justifiably ask who got us into this mess," writes Henry Blodget. "The answer, in part, is the same man who has yet to come up with a coherent plan to get us out of it: Tim Geithner." Geithner told Bloomberg TV this weekend he will "move quickly to lay out a new financing program" to help banks deal with their toxic assets. In other words, Geithner still hasn't put the finishing touches on the "Financial Stability Plan" he announced in mid-February to rousing condemnation because it lacked detail. More to the point, Geithner still doesn't have a coherent plan he's willing to share a year after the Bear Stearns-JPMorgan shotgun wedding. My Comment : Ah Yes, "The Plan". What exactly is the plan? No one really knows because it changes every day by the seat of the pants. Nonetheless, Bernanke told 60 Minutes' Correspondent Scott Pelley "We have a plan" in an exclusive on Sunday. Unfortunately, Pelly failed to ask what the plan is in an interview that was more like an infomercial for the Fed than anything else. Similarly, Geithner & Co. have yet to unveil their new blueprint for regulating banks. But, again, it's coming soon: "We want to accelerate the pace of change on the reform agenda," Geithner said at this weekend's meeting of G20 Finance Ministers. The plan is to unveil the new regulatory framework at the full G20 summit on April 2, The Wall Street Journal reports. My Comment : Before announcing plans, it might behoove Geithner and Bernanke to actually have one. What they seem to have, if anything, is a plan to have a plan. While Geithner fiddles, bank executives are burning mad over what they see as onerous regulations and micromanaging from Washington...
  • 12:12 AM » Credit Card Defaults at 20 Year-High
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:12 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Reuters: U.S. credit card defaults rose in February to their highest level in at least 20 years, with losses particularly severe at American Express ... and Citigroup ... AmEx ... said its net charge-off rate ... rose to 8.70 percent in February from 8.30 percent in January. ... Citigroup Inc (C.N) ... default rate soared to 9.33 percent in February, from 6.95 percent a month earlier ... ... Chase ... reported its charge-off rate rose to 6.35 percent in February from 5.94 percent in January. ... Capital One Financial Corp's ... default rate increased to 8.06 percent in February from 7.82 percent in January. ... Analysts estimate credit card chargeoffs could climb to between 9 and 10 percent this year from 6 to 7 percent at the end of 2008. The Treasury and Federal Reserve haven't publicly released the indicative loss rates for various asset classes associated with the two stress test economic scenarios (baseline and more adverse), but these numbers are definitely approaching the "more adverse" scenario range for credit cards.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 12:11 AM » Comparing the NAHB Housing Market Index and New Home Sales
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:11 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Here is a comparison of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index and new home sales from the Census Bureau. Since new home sales are released with a lag, the NAHB index provides a possible leading indicator for sales. Note: the NAHB index this morning was for a March survey. New Home sales for February will be released on March 25th - so the NAHB is released almost 6 weeks ahead of the corresponding sales numbers. Click on graph for larger image in new window. This shows that major tops and bottoms (green arrows) for the two series line up pretty well (usually within 1 month). However both series are noisy month to month, and there are plenty of head fakes in between the significant peaks and troughs. Also the new home sales data is revised significantly (this graph uses revised data). Just something to watch going forward ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 12:11 AM » Ip Blames Greenspan for Lack of Regulation
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:11 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: The only reason that the anonymous Economist blog post ' is believed to be authored by Greg Ip (formerly of the Wall Street Journal) is because says it is, and that's good enough for me. The piece is in reference to the latest edition of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's lame defense of his long tenure at the central bank and its aftermath, a WSJ op-ed that was discussed here last week under the heading .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 12:11 AM » etrade begins mortgage lending again
    Published Tue, Mar 17 2009 12:11 AM by ml-implode.com
    " *Trade Financial is reportedly back in the mortgage business after previously exiting both the retail and wholesale lending channels, according to TheStreet.com."
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: ml-implode.com
  • Mon, Mar 16 2009
  • 5:56 PM » Landlords Get A Break In Obama Housing Plan
    Published Mon, Mar 16 2009 5:56 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: I was equally surprised and pleased to see that in the just-released guidelines for the refinance part of the Obama housing plan, second homes and small rental properties are eligible. Topics: | | Sectors: | Companies: |
  • 5:56 PM » Mortgage Fraud Rises Even as Loans Decline
    Published Mon, Mar 16 2009 5:56 PM by Washington Post
    Mortgage fraud rose last year even though fewer loans were issued nationwide, and Maryland ranked among the top five states with the most serious problems, according to an industry study released today.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 5:45 PM » Release of Authoritative Version of 2009 Selling Guide on April 1, 2009
    Published Mon, Mar 16 2009 5:45 PM by view.exacttarget.com
    Fannie Mae will release the authoritative version of the 2009 Selling Guide with a new writing style, format, structure, and many other improvements on April 1, 2009. The 2009 Selling Guide has been updated and incorporates other Fannie Mae guides. It has been completely restructured and rewritten so it is easier to understand, more concise, and makes finding information easier through tables and bulleted lists.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: view.exacttarget.com
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