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'Formidable Headwinds' Hinder Recovery: Bernanke

Weak credit and labor markets mean recovery will be slow: Fed chair

(Newser) - Ben Bernanke painted a stark picture of the economy today, warning that "formidable headwinds" are working against the incipient recovery. Despite an unexpectedly positive jobs report, the pace of expansion is likely to remain "moderate," the Fed chair said. “Despite the general improvement in financial conditions,... More »

Borrowers Now Flocking to the Feds to Default on Loans

Same cause of subprime mess blamed for new threats to taxpayers

(Newser) - History is repeating itself, and taxpayers will be footing the bill for it: Flawed lending practices are enabling borrowers to receive mortgage loans they can’t repay—but this time, Washington’s involved, the Washington Post reports. Many of the loans provided by the Federal Housing Administration default after just... More »

Short-Term Solutions to Crisis Won't Cut It: Sachs

Economist argues for systemic adjustment

(Newser) - The financial crisis can't be averted, and the Obama administration would be wise to accept that and concentrate on "a steady policy that will steer us through an unavoidable short-run recession to arrive at a much healthier economy within three to five years," writes Jeffrey Sachs for the... More »

Lenders Turning Blind Eye to Overdue Payments

Overwhelmed banks taking much longer to foreclose on homes

(Newser) - With foreclosures skyrocketing, overwhelmed mortgage lenders are turning a blind eye to homeowners who haven’t paid up, letting them live in their houses despite delinquency, Bloomberg reports. The 3.6% of borrowers at least 90 days behind is almost twice the percentage foreclosed upon. Lenders’ delays are skewing foreclosure... More »

States Act Aggressively to Fight Foreclosures

Unwilling to wait for the federal wrangling, states make bold moves

(Newser) - State lawmakers aren’t sitting around waiting for Washington to solve the mortgage crisis, the Wall Street Journal reports. Instead, many are taking aggressive steps to ease borrower pain, sometimes running afoul of lenders in the process. Illinois, Maryland, and Minnesota all have bills in the works to impose a... More »

Credit Crunch Extends to Student Loans

Investors balk on bonds key to students, museums, cities

(Newser) - A huge new group of borrowers—from students to museums to local governments—are about to find their credit drying up, as the subprime meltdown that has already cost banks $100 billion continues to spread, reports the Wall Street Journal.  In the last few days, investors have backed away... More »

Lenders Throw Lifeline to Struggling Borrowers

A new plan pauses foreclosure actions while new repayment plans are worked out

(Newser) - Six top US mortgage lenders will launch a program today aimed at helping at-risk borrowers avoid foreclosure. Aimed at  homeowners more than 90 days delinquent on loans, Project Lifeline will forestall foreclosure actions for 30 days while lenders try to work out new payment options, reports the Wall Street Journal.... More »

State Lenders Choke Bush's Fight Against Foreclosures

Housing agencies won't risk lending to debtors

(Newser) - President Bush’s goal of helping subprime borrowers by offering tax-exempt bonds is meeting resistance from state lenders, Bloomberg reports. Risk-averse state housing agencies are already turning down over half the applicants to their own programs intended to help those affected by the crisis, due mainly to applicants’ existing financial... More »

Pending Home Sales Take Giant Plunge

Experts recommend buying a house immediately

(Newser) - Pending home sales fell 2.6% in November from a revised 3.7% October gain, Bloomberg reports, far outstripping the 0.7% fall analysts predicted after an originally reported 0.6% October gain. The figures support Henry Paulson’s gloomy outlook on the housing market. “There is no evidence... More »

Paulson Calls for More Housing Relief

Treasury secretary suggests aid for prime-rate borrowers

(Newser) - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson advised the mortgage industry today to give help to millions of financially stressed homeowners whose mortgages are set to rise. His comments signal that the Bush administration is starting to push lenders to expand relief beyond subprime borrowers to homeowners with other adjustable-rate loans, reports the... More »

Subprime Lender Lobbying Foiled Safeguards

Ameriquest's budget to woo local, national officials: $20M+

(Newser) - Subprime giant Ameriquest spent more than $20 million on political donations from 2002 to 2006 to successfully lobby against lending restrictions meant to protect borrowers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Though the company spent millions at the national level, its focus was local, where regulators were cracking down on predatory... More »

Fed Cracks Down on Loose Lending

Unanimous vote marks historic shift toward regulation

(Newser) - Seeking to avoid another subprime meltown, the Federal Reserve cracked down on mortgage lending today by a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Wall Street Journal reports. If approved next year, the Fed proposals will require creditors to consider borrowers' financial and credit status, but will not prohibit prepayment penalties altogether, a... More »

Fed Plans to Tighten Mortgage Lending Rules

Proposals will rein in subprime lenders

(Newser) - Stricter rules will face mortgage lenders if a Federal Reserve proposal unveiled today moves forward. The Fed wants to prohibit or limit prepayment penalties, force lenders to make sure borrowers set aside money for taxes and insurance, require lenders to verify income, and prohibit lenders from giving borrowers unaffordable loans,... More »

Americans Split on Borrower Bailout

Lenders get no sympathy: 72% in poll oppose help

(Newser) - About half of Americans say borrowers snared in the subprime mortgage mess brought the trouble onto themselves, but they nevertheless deserve "special treatment," CNNMoney reports. In a poll of 1,002 adults, 51% also said they felt sorry for borrowers, with 46% blaming financial institutions' lending policies for... More »

Bush Mortgage Plan Arrives

1.2M homes at risk in crisis could be saved, he says; critics charge it's not enough

(Newser) - The White House today released its plan to help homeowners threatened by the subprime crisis, asserting 1.2 million could be helped—but only 240,000 of 2.2 million rate resets due next year are covered, CNN reports. The five-year interest rate freeze doesn’t apply to borrowers 30... More »

Auto-Loan Delinquencies Rise as Stress Spreads

Lenders are tightening credit, raising rates as delinquencies rise

(Newser) - Consumer auto loans are beginning to show the strain of the subprime collapse, with delinquencies among top-rated borrowers from 2006 rising 55%, to 4.5%, in September. That's the largest month-to-month increase in delinquencies in nearly a decade, the Wall Street Journal reports. Delinquencies among less credit-worthy consumers rose to... More »

Dems Pitch Own Mortgage Plans

They say Bush's freeze falls short

(Newser) - Democratic candidates are criticizing President Bush's plan to bail out homeowners in the subprime mess for not going far enough and have outlined their own, more ambitious, proposals, the New York Times reports. "It appears that the president is pushing a freeze for a very narrow group of borrowers,... More »

Bush to Offer Mortgage Freeze

Plan would help homeowners facing rate increases

(Newser) - President Bush will detail tomorrow the Treasury Department's plan to hold interest rates steady for subprime borrowers at risk of defaulting on their mortgages when rates rise, Reuters reports. The plan, negotiated with mortgages lenders and investors, would freeze for five years adjustable loans due to jump to higher rates... More »

Subprime Woes Afflict Good Credit Risks

Borrowers eligible for standard deals fell for risky loans

(Newser) - Borrowers with shady credit who never should have been allowed near a dotted line weren't the only ones swallowed by the subprime debacle—credit-worthy borrowers received 55% of all subprime loans in 2005, the apex of the subprime surge, reports the Wall Street Journal. Incentive-motivated mortgage brokers put many borrowers... More »

Mortgage-Rate Freeze Draws Backlash

Plan to give borrowers a break called 'morally repugnant'

(Newser) - Not everyone is applauding Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's plan to freeze adjustable mortgage rates on distressed home loans to help contain the spreading subprime crisis. Some analysts think the plan will only postpone foreclosures, rather than preventing them. And now that loans are bundled and sold to investors, some of... More »

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