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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.
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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.
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.
BUSINESS
October 2, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard and Andrew Tangel
Wells Fargo & Co. subjects borrowers seeking mortgage modifications to "Kafkaesque delays and obstructions," in violation of last year's $25-billion national mortgage settlement, New York Atty. Gen Eric Schneiderman said in a federal lawsuit. The suit, filed Wednesday, asks the federal court in Washington to force the bank to comply with the landmark agreement. It alleges that the bank on at least 210 occasions violated timelines imposed by the settlement. At a news conference at his Manhattan offices, Schneiderman mocked a Wells Fargo letter to a homeowner.
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.
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.
BUSINESS
November 26, 2009 | By Dina ElBoghdady
Fannie Mae, the giant mortgage finance company that helps shape lending guidelines, plans next month to raise minimum credit score requirements and limit the amount of overall debt that borrowers can carry relative to their incomes. The changes are the latest in a series of crackdowns by the mortgage industry and could surprise some prospective home buyers. The industry is tightening loose lending standards that led to the mortgage meltdown and the subsequent economic crisis.
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
April 10, 2010 | By E. Scott Reckard
The NAACP said it had dropped a lawsuit that accused Wells Fargo & Co. of unfairly steering African American borrowers into costly subprime mortgages while providing loans with lower fees and interest rates to white borrowers in similar financial circumstances. The civil rights group said it withdrew the suit after the bank agreed to work with it to develop programs to improve access to the best loans possible in minority neighborhoods and to ensure that borrowers don't get mortgages destined for failure.
BUSINESS
October 13, 2013 | By Lew Sichelman
Anyone thinking of skating on mortgages owned by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may want to think again. As a result of new government reports, the two companies say they are going to do a better job of going after so-called strategic defaulters. Fannie and Freddie can pursue judgments against borrowers who walk away from their loans even though they have the ability to make their payments. That's called a strategic default, and many borrowers are taking that step - typically throwing in the towel because their homes are no longer worth as much as they owe. But when their homes are sold at foreclosure and the proceeds are not enough to cover their outstanding loan balances, it creates a deficiency for which many defaulters either don't realize they are liable or don't care.
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