You may have noticed it’s dang hard to get a good rate for saving money right now. Used to be you could get an online savings account with 5%, no problem. Now if you can get in the upper 1% you’re doing pretty good. So what’s the dilly?
sub prime meltdown
An investigative report finds that Massachusetts regulators only acted against 3% of its licensees during the sub-prime peak, the lowest among fellow New England states, while publicly preening that it was being “aggressive.” In fact, as foreclosures rose during ’06-’08, enforcement actually dropped. Forget who watches the watchdogs, who watches?
An ex-subprime lender employee of a sent us the scripts they used to cold-call homeowners back in 2005 to get them to ditch their 30-year fixed mortgages for risky sub-prime loans. One of them is called, “Wholesale Gangsta Script,” which I think about says it all right there.
The Wells Fargo racist sub-prime mortgage lawsuit reminded me of an old post we did where an ex-Countrywide employee alleged that that loan company had racist practices too. Here’s the insider email we posted back in February, 08:
Here’s the official court filing (PDF) so you can get the full details on how Wells Fargo pushed or even fraudulently placed black borrowers into sub-prime loans, even when those borrowers could afford prime loans, along with an office environment where employees threw around racist slurs, calling black borrowers “mud people” and their mortgages “ghetto loans.” The official statements referenced in the NYT article are in this document in full. The affidavits begin on page 48. Two screenshots inside…
UPDATE: Read the affidavits here.
Ameriquest originated a mortage, securitized it, and sold it. Then pretended it still owned the mortgage to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge. Whoops.
Many homeowners that couldn’t afford their home the first time around, can’t afford it the second or third, a new study finds. Fitch Ratings predicts that 55-65% of home loans getting modified will end up at least 60 days behind within a year. The percentage is even higher for those in subprimes…
Instead of canceling bonuses for top execs this year, Credit Suisse instead will pay them with the very toxic debt that’s thrown the world into an economic crisis. Yes, Virginia, there is a Revenge Claus.
Good news for renters who’ve been dutifully paying their rent while their landlords failed to make the mortgages, and were facing eviction as a result: Fannie Mae will sign new leases with them. [NYT]
Eric lost his home to foreclosure, but unlike other homeowners, he had actually been trying for the past month-and-a-half to buy it back from the mortgage company for more than the mortgage. The law firm that was handling it, however, wanted an extra $20k in fees to make that happen. He told the realtor that he would buy it for more than it was going to be listed for. The realtor told him that he couldn’t make a bid until it was “active,” which would happen on 11-29. On Sunday he tells the broker he;ll give an offer on Monday. Monday rolls around and they’ve already sold the house to someone else, for less than Eric was willing to pay. They said they “forgot” that he was going to make a bid. Eric is livid. His story, inside…
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced plans for allowing Fannie and Freddie to modify more of their loans. The mods will lower interest rates or lengthen the repayment schedule with the goal of bringing payments below 38% of household income. To qualify, borrowers must:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to announce today plans for accelerating and expanding mortgage loan modifications for distressed homeowners. The new guidelines will apply to specific kinds of past due loans and try to bring their debt to income ratio down to 38%. Washington will also prod other big banks to do the same. “It could apply to a broad range of borrowers,” reports WSJ. Expect the full details at a 2pm eastern Federal Housing Finance Agency press conference.
Nearly 90% of the homeowners in Mountain House, CA owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. The average homeowner is down by $122,000. What are they doing to cut back? No more dinners at Applebee’s, buying 1 DVD a month instead of 50, canceling remodeling projects, and playing board games at home instead of going out to the movies, “But not Monopoly,” reports NYT, “with its real estate theme, it reminds them too much of real life.” One man is even cutting back on his scub and flying hobbies, and waiting until after Christmas to buy a high-def television. Wow. I think you’re going to have to dig a little deeper…
“When is the best time to get out there and make a lot of money? NOW!” says the real-estate investment speaker in a dim ballroom in a hotel just off a New Jersey highway. Body odor musky baby powder and farts mingle and hang in the air. I’m in a dim ballroom that’s been converted into a nexus of financial success. A tall man in his 40’s or beyond, with square shoulder, combed thinning blond hair, lords over the group of about 35 on a Tuesday afternoon. In a condescending tone a practiced manner of over-enunciating every syllable, he’s here to disseminate the secrets of real-estate pros. Working undercover for CNBC’s On The Money, I’m eager to learn…
Chase will turn 400,000 high-interest option-ARM mortgages into lower-cost fixed ones, the bank announced this Friday. Foreclosure processes on the loans will be stopped for 90 days while the procedure gets set up. Banks mainly have latitude to adjust the mortgages they themselves own. The complexities of modifying a loan that may have been sold and repackaged into a security are intricate. For one, hedge funds have threatened to sue banks if they modify the loans underlying their bonds. So hooray for the lucky 400,000. Only a few more million to go. If you’re a homeowner facing foreclosure and you’re unable to get your lender to work with you, try contacting the HOPE NOW hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE for free advice from a home preservation counselor.
There’s a lot of funky financial terms getting thrown as we try to explain how the money meltdown started in the first place, and one of the funkiest is a CDO or “collateralized debt obligation.” Luckily, Paddy Hirsch from Marketplace is here to explain it using just champagne glasses, a whiteboard, and a sexy British accent..
The Dow is down over 800 points, and the day isn’t even over. This beats last week’s all-time record of 777 points. A global credit crisis is in full swing, with versions of what just decimated Wall Street repeating itself across Europe as governments swoop in with bailouts of high-profile banks. Verily, blood is in the streets. Hm, what’s that old saw? Oh. Right. Buy when there’s blood in the streets.