Category Archives: Real estate

Larry Summers’ Contradictory and Dishonest Defense of Administration’s Bank-Focused Crisis Response

Larry Summers, like Tim Geithner, wants the public to believe that rescuing banks and leaving citizens to rot was the right crisis response. But neither experts, nor people who followed the crisis, nor voters at large are buying what Team Obama is trying to sell.

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Ilargi: The Illusionary Economy Revives Helocs, the Home ATM

Yves here. Ilargi is duly skeptical of the enthusiastic financial press response to an increase in home equity liquidation, um, borrowing using home equity lines of credit, or Helocs. While the party line is that this development reflects an rise in home equity and increased consumer confidence, Ilargi stresses that prices appreciation that the Fed has created, the Fed can also take away. I have to wonder how many of these Heloc borrowers are doing so out of necessity or near-desperation.

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GSE Reform Dead for Now

I’m a little surprised at the overly coded reporting at the New York Times and particularly the Wall Street Journal, where Nick Timiraos provides top-notch coverage on the mortgage beat, on the implications of the failure of a widely-touted, Administration-backed GSE reform bill to get out of the Senate Banking Committee. Basically, it confirms what I’ve long believed but refrained from writing about, namely, that government sponsored enterprise, aka, GSE reform, was not going to get done in this session of Congress.

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Quelle Surprise! Ginnie Mae Says Bank of America Has Lots of Servicing Documents Missing; MERS Also in Hot Water

An article by Kate Berry in American Banker earlier this week hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Anyone who was paying attention to the mortgage beat in 2010 through 2012 knew that mortgage securitization originators and servicers were playing fast and loose with critical documents like mortgage notes because they couldn’t be bothered to observe […]

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Chris Whalen Goes Off the Deep End, Issues Error-Filled Screed in Defense of Mortgage Servicers

I once had a good opinion of bank analyst Chris Whalen, despite having some reservations about him. But his error-filled screed against mortgage servicing regulations means he can no longer be taken seriously on the subject of banking. Whalen has become a textbook illustration of the Upton Sinclair saying, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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Just 83,000 Homeowners Get First-Lien Principal Reductions from National Mortgage Settlement, 90 Percent Less Than Promised

Yesterday, the National Mortgage Settlement monitor, Joseph Smith, released his final crediting reports, confirming that all five banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Ally, now known after bankruptcy as Residential Capital, or ResCap) have now satisfied the consumer relief portion of the foreclosure fraud settlement. The banks were required to spend $20 billion in “credited” relief (some actions received less than a dollar-for-dollar credit). Smith exults that the gross relief provided totaled over $50 billion, and that “more than 600,000 families received some form of relief.”

What the mainstream media reports on this don’t tell you is that the $50 billion number is wildly inflated: for example, it includes $12 billion in deficiency waivers in non-recourse states, which the IRS confirmed have no value whatsoever. But I didn’t know just how inflated these numbers were, and how empty the promises, until I went through them.

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