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Where Most People Don't Go for Mortgages Anymore: Banks

For the first time in 30 years, nonbank lenders break the 50% mark in lending dollars

(Newser) - Remember when you'd go to a bank or credit union to sign mortgage papers? While this may still be the first lending method that enters future homeowners' minds, non-bank lenders issued more than half the mortgage dollars extended to borrowers in the third quarter of 2016—the first time... More »

Government Eases Foreclosure Rules for Unemployed

Homeowners with FHA loans can wait 12 months to pay mortgage if unemployed

(Newser) - The Obama administration is making it easier for out-of-work homeowners to stay in their homes, as it tries to revamp its troubled foreclosure-prevention program. Starting Aug. 1, the Federal Housing Administration will extend the period for unemployed homeowners to miss mortgage payments to a full year from three or four... More »

US Bank Lending Falls at Fastest Rate in History

Figures spark renewed fears that feds are at a loss

(Newser) - The US bank lending rate has fallen its fastest in history, sparking renewed fears that the government hasn't done enough to prop up the economy and that America's troubles are far from over. Lending has plummeted $100 billion just since January, which amounts to a 16% annualized drop. Some $740... More »

Dodd, Conrad Cleared But Scolded in Mortgage Probe

(Newser) - Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad have been cleared of wrongdoing in taking preferred loans from Countrywide Financial, the Hill reports. But the Senate ethics panel gave both Democrats slaps on the wrist. No “credible evidence” of ethics violations emerged, the committee said in a statement, but two “should... More »

BofA, Wells Fargo Rank Worst for Loan Modifications

Treasury report rates banks' performance

(Newser) - Bank of America began modifying just 4% of its loans eligible under the Making Home Affordable Act, according to a Treasury report on big banks' performance, while Wells Fargo started just 6%. JPMorgan Chase led the pack with 20%, Bloomberg reports, while Citigroup had 15%. “Some of the servicers... More »

NAACP Accuses Banks of Loan Discrimination

Blacks were forced into subprime mortgages, group says

(Newser) - The NAACP is accusing Wells Fargo and HSBC of forcing black people into subprime mortgages while whites with identical qualifications got lower rates. Class-action lawsuits were to be filed against the banks today in federal court in Los Angeles. Similar NAACP lawsuits are pending against a dozen other subprime lenders.... More »

Treasury May Lower Mortgage Rates to 4.5%

Rates could go as low as 4.5% to curb falling home prices

(Newser) - The Treasury may try to bring new mortgage rates down to 4.5%—a full percentage point lower than current rates—to revitalize the housing market, the Wall Street Journal reports. Under the proposal, which is still in the early stages, the department would use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac... More »

Credit Relief Flows Slowly—When It Flows at All

Consumer aid package won't budge pickier banks

(Newser) - With hundreds of billions of dollars pumping into the calcified credit markets, many struggling Americans are expecting to see some relief, but many will be disappointed, the New York Times reports. Banks continue to stiffen loan eligibility requirements even as strapped consumers face deteriorating credit scores, and whole categories of... More »

These Days, Local Banks Look Good

Your community banker cares, and may even have good deals

(Newser) - Community banks may seem like quaint relics to those who prefer banking online, but IndyMac's meltdown should have us thinking differently, Ron Lieber writes in the New York Times. Lieber visited a bank in small-town Maryland, and found a friendly, gray-haired manager who gives banking a personal touch. “If... More »

Mortgage Insurers Feel Pinch, Pull Back on Loans

As more home loans fail, lenders ask more of beleaguered backers

(Newser) - Mortgage insurers facing mounting defaults are tightening their standards, adding another hurdle for potential homebuyers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Beleaguered and risk-averse banks are making more mortgage applicants apply for insurance, just as insurers are declaring more parts of the country “declining markets.” making insurance harder to... More »

A Year On, Credit Crisis Lingers

'Vicious circle' threatens broader economy

(Newser) - Despite assurances from some experts that the credit crisis would be short-lived, the forecast remains bleak after more than a year of frustrations, the New York Times reports. In a “vicious circle,” falling home prices lead to more bad loans, which makes credit harder to get so that... More »

Obama VP Vetter Draws Heat for Iffy Salary, Mortgages

GOP hammering VP search head Johnson over Fannie Mae ties

(Newser) - The questionable past of the man leading Barack Obama's VP search was a gift to the GOP trying to rough up Obama's image as a squeaky-clean outsider, the Washington Post observes, but it also underscores the difficulty the Democrat faces in broadening his grass-roots campaign to the general-election stage. Obama... More »

Crisis Is More of Confidence Than Credit

Times scribe connects dots from housing boom to Bear Stearns

(Newser) - The credit crisis that’s roiled financial markets has its genesis in the housing boom that began in 1998, David Leonhardt writes in the New York Times. The boom led lenders to create new financing options—including subprime loans—as investors saw potential for huge returns. Low interest rates encouraged... More »

FBI Probes Countrywide for Fraud

Feds seek evidence that subprime lender lied about quality of loans

(Newser) - The FBI has launched a securities fraud investigation against subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial for allegedly lying to investors about its financial status and the quality of its mortgage loans, reports the Wall Street Journal. The probe could extend to Wall Street firms that helped package more than $100 billion... More »

Bernanke: Homeowners Need More Help

Fed chief calls for writing down problem mortgages' principal

(Newser) - Ben Bernanke says homeowners need more help, and that help might include writing down the principal on some problem loans, reports the Wall Street Journal "Efforts by both government and private-sector entities to reduce unnecessary foreclosures are helping, but more can, and should, be done,"  the... More »

Home Sales, Prices Sink Again

Would-be buyers get comfy, waiting for better deals

(Newser) - Existing-home sales and home prices continued to fall in January, indicating that would-be buyers are waiting for the market to bottom out, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Inventories are high, so it's not surprising prices are declining," said one economist, who described home sales as "soft but... More »

Investigators Ask: Did Banks Withhold Info?

Banks hid risk of bundled 'exception' loans, insiders say

(Newser) - Prosecutors are probing Wall Street banks to see if they ever revealed the risky nature of certain subprime mortgage investments, the New York Times reports. Industry experts are accusing the banks of turning high-risk loans, called exceptions, into investments without divulging details to investors and credit-rating agencies. One probe, led... 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 »

New Home Sales Hit 12-Year Low

Decline tops even worst estimate

(Newser) - New home sales fell much farther than expected in November, hitting their lowest point since 1995, Bloomberg reports, and the slide only likely to get worse. Sales fell to an annual pace of 647,000, a 9% drop from October’s revised-down 711,000 rate. Prices are falling, but buyers... 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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