April 15, 2013 |
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.
May 31, 1987 |
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.
October 26, 2010 |
Financially strapped homeowners struggling to obtain mortgage modifications are taking their frustrations to court, accusing banks and loan servicers of misleading them or breaking promises to help them hold on to their homes. The lawsuits go to what U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has described as the heart of the government's anti-foreclosure efforts: ensuring that banks work in good faith from the start to help borrowers. Although the foreclosure process is less complicated in California than in states where home seizures must be approved by judges, the litigation shows that borrower-servicer relationships can be contentious in the Golden State as well.
May 12, 2010 |
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.
September 6, 2008 |
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.
June 23, 2010 |
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.
December 5, 2009 |
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.
November 26, 2009 |
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.
March 28, 2013 |
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.
February 17, 2012 |
"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.