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OPINION
April 15, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Consumer advocates have long battled with companies that offer high-interest "payday loans" over the lenders' proposals to increase the maximum amount a person can borrow. Now, a group of those advocates is taking the offensive, pushing a bill that would fix two fundamental problems with payday lending as it's practiced in California. The point isn't to end that form of lending - as the widespread use of the service shows, it responds to a real need - but to stop the loans from becoming a debt trap for desperate consumers.
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REAL ESTATE
May 31, 1987 | DAVID W. MYERS
State and federal lawmakers are considering five proposals that consumer advocates say would put mortgage shoppers on more even footing with lenders. In Washington, Rep. Dean A. Gallo (R-N.J.) is expected to introduce a proposal later this week that would make it tougher for lenders to back out of an agreement to fund a low-interest loan after interest rates suddenly rise.
BUSINESS
May 16, 2010 | By Kenneth R. Harney
If you're thinking about applying for a home mortgage this year, here's some important news: Beginning June 1, your lender is likely to order a second full credit screening immediately before closing. The last-minute credit report will be designed to find out whether you've obtained — or even shopped for — new debt between the date of your loan application and the closing. If you've made applications for credit of any type — for furnishings and appliances for the new house, a car, landscaping, a home equity line, a new credit card — the closing could be put on hold pending additional research by the lender.
BUSINESS
May 12, 2010 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to ban certain bonus payments to mortgage brokers and loan officers, cutting off what experts have called one of the key causes of the nation's mortgage meltdown. The little-known bonuses were paid for home loans that could be sold at higher prices because they carried higher interest rates and other more onerous terms than those for which the borrowers were qualified. Amending financial reform legislation as it makes its way through Congress, the Senate also voted to outlaw stated-income mortgages — loans made without using tax documents, pay stubs or bank records to verify that borrowers actually earn as much as they say they do. These so-called liar loans and the bonus payments are widely regarded as key factors leading to the subprime lending debacle that snowballed into the deep recession.
BUSINESS
September 6, 2008 | E. Scott Reckard, Times Staff Writer
The decline of housing markets in California and Florida has led to record numbers of foreclosures and is causing even good borrowers to pay more for loans, according to analysis and statistics released Friday. To add to the bleak picture, the government Friday reported the eighth straight month of declining employment, increasing pressure on borrowers burdened by tumbling home prices and loans with rising interest rates. The U.S. jobless rate jumped in August to a nearly five-year high of 6.1%, with nonfarm payrolls down 84,000.
BUSINESS
June 23, 2010 | By Gail MarksJarvis
For countless Americans struggling to make their mortgage payments, the problems have just begun. Although a loan modification or foreclosure might allow them to put their housing problems behind them, millions will be dogged for years by the aftermath — a credit score so tarnished by the housing debacle that lenders will avoid them. And if they are able to obtain loans, high interest rates are likely to strain their budgets. This is one remnant of the housing crisis that is sometimes ignored by economists, but the effects may well be a drag on the nation's consumption — and the economy as a whole — for a decade or more.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 17, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Wonder" is the watchword in "The Secret World of Arrietty. " Set in an enchanting locale where the potential for magic is everywhere, this impeccable animated film puts its complete trust in the spirit of make-believe. Beautiful, gentle and pure — but not without elements of genuine menace — it will make believers out of adults and children alike. Based on Mary Norton's celebrated 1952 novel "The Borrowers," "The Secret World of Arrietty" has been on the mind of Japan's Hayao Miyazaki, the great animator of the modern age, for more than 40 years.
BUSINESS
September 2, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON — If you're underwater and facing financial distress, what might Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's new short-sale-reform policies mean for you? Potentially a lot — even if you are current on your mortgage payments and never imagined that a short sale and principal reduction could be in the cards. Here's what's involved. Starting Nov. 1, owners whose loans have been purchased or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie may qualify for a short sale if they fit key hardship criteria including: unemployment; divorce; long-term disability; a change of employment that is more than 50 miles from the current home; a business failure; death of the primary or secondary wage earner; or a natural or man-made disaster.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
In a push to simplify mortgage modifications, federal regulators announced a streamlined process that doesn't require borrowers to prove a hardship. "This new option gives delinquent borrowers another path to avoid foreclosure," Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said in a statement announcing the modifications Wednesday. The new modifications, however, would not include reducing the loan balance, a move promoted by housing advocates and others but resisted by DeMarco, who says it would end up costing taxpayers money and would encourage defaults.
BUSINESS
December 5, 2009 | By Renae Merle
About 25% of borrowers helped under the administration's massive foreclosure prevention plan have already fallen behind on their new mortgage payments, according to government data that raise new questions about the program's effectiveness. The delinquency figures reflect the latest troubles of the program, known as Making Home Affordable. Treasury Department officials this week announced a campaign to put new pressure on lenders to do more to move struggling homeowners into loans with easier terms.
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