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BUSINESS
February 3, 2012 | By Nathaniel Popper
The collapse of Lehman Brothers is feeling like a bad dream today. The Dow Jones industrial average surged Friday morning, taking it past highs reached last year and up to the highest level since May 2008, before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and the economy went into the toilet. The Dow was recently up 139.64 points, or 1.1%, to 12,845.05. That brings it above the highs reached last  April and July, which were killed by concerns about a double-dip recession in the United States and a European financial collapse.
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BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
The mortgage industry's output of new loans is at the lowest point in 14 years, according to estimates from a trade publication.  Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday that even in the depths of the financial crisis, mortgage lenders were busier than during the first quarter of 2014. One factor is the end of a refinance boom as interest rates have risen well off their record lows. But though the rates are still great by historical measures, mortgages written for home purchases have been weak as well, as sales of new and previously owned homes have slowed.
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BUSINESS
September 4, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - Phil Angelides , who chaired the government commission that investigated the financial crisis, said the Justice Department should pursue more criminal cases against Wall Street executives to restore the faith of average Americans in U.S. markets. "Restoring that faith will require bringing a renewed sense of urgency to the mortgage securities fraud investigation, and a willingness to follow the evidence wherever it leads - even to criminal prosecutions of bank executives and mortgage lenders of any size," Angelides, the former California state treasurer, wrote in an opinion article Tuesday in Politico . "Americans need to know that law breaking at the highest levels will not be countenanced or allowed to jeopardize our financial system and economy," he said.
BUSINESS
March 26, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Putting to rest one of its biggest remaining headaches, Bank of America Corp. has agreed to pay $9.5 billion to settle claims by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The government-sponsored mortgage giants had demanded compensation from the Charlotte, N.C., bank for losses on housing-boom loans that produced mass defaults during the financial crisis. The settlement, announced Wednesday, resolves all claims against Bank of America by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, BofA said. The FHFA is the regulator established as a conservator for Fannie and Freddie when the giant buyers and guarantors of home loans went insolvent during the financial crisis.
NEWS
August 30, 2011 | By Kim Geiger, Washington Bureau
Sen. John McCain's attempt to suspend his presidential campaign to deal with the financial crisis in the fall of 2008 stunned many in the White House and struck then-Vice President Dick Cheney as a sign that “the Republican presidential ticket was in trouble.” It is among the criticisms Cheney levels against the former GOP presidential nominee in his new book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.” When McCain asked President George...
BUSINESS
September 17, 2009 | Jim Puzzanghera
A special commission to determine the causes of the financial crisis is trying to pattern itself after the bipartisan panel that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks -- but some Republicans say the deck already is stacked against them. The 10-person commission meeting for the first time today consists of six people selected by Democrats and four by the GOP, a departure from the even split on the so-called 9/11 commission. And it's headed by longtime loyalists from each party, which some worry could lead to partisan disputes as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission tackles the politically explosive task of what triggered the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2010 | By Nathaniel Popper
In a video on a new Citibank blog, the company's chief executive sits against a white backdrop and owns up to the bank's role in the financial crisis. "It's clear that we made some mistakes coming into this environment, and we have to acknowledge that," the Citigroup CEO, Vikram Pandit, intones over fluttering piano notes. "We have to take responsibility for what we didn't do correctly." The simple, almost austere blog, which the Citigroup Inc. unit began promoting last week in magazine and newspaper ads, is part of a strategic shift by the financial services industry.
BUSINESS
September 12, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The financial crisis and the Great Recession have taken a heavy toll on the U.S. and now one advocacy group says it has calculated that cost: at least $12.8 trillion. The estimate Wednesday from Better Markets , a public interest group that supports tougher financial regulations, came in a 72-page report released just days before the four-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros. That failure triggered the crisis, which dramatically exacerbated the recession that began in late 2007.
BUSINESS
October 23, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The vacuum at the center of the few federal lawsuits brought against banks in connection with the 2008 financial crisis is that actual people seldom seem to be held responsible for the alleged wrongdoing. It's as if the fraud and misrepresentation charged in these cases fell upon the banks from the skies, like interstellar lichens attached to meteorites. Things were different Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, where a jury found Rebecca Mairone, a former executive at Countrywide Financial, liable for a fraudulent mortgage program that may have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $10 million.
BUSINESS
February 5, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Standard & Poor's Corp. helped cause the financial crisis by misleading investors with falsely high credit ratings on bonds backed by toxic subprime mortgages, federal officials alleged Tuesday in announcing a civil suit against the company. S&P executives were motivated by a desire to increase the company's profits and delayed downgrading its AAA ratings on the mortgage-backed securities because it did not want to lose business from banks trying to package bad loans for sale to investors to get them off their books, Justice Department officials said.
BUSINESS
February 21, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve on Friday released transcripts of its 2008 meetings when central bank policymakers were grappling with the financial crisis. The transcripts from official Federal Open Market Committee sessions are made public after five years. The Fed posted hundreds of pages of verbatim transcripts, taken from audio recordings, on its website . The latest release includes emergency conference calls as Fed officials tried to deal with worsening financial conditions that culminated in September of that year with a crisis that led to the bailout of insurance giant American International Group and other extraordinary measures.
BUSINESS
February 21, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - The day after Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, Federal Reserve policymakers hadn't yet grasped the scope of the financial storm blowing overhead. What was clear to them as they gathered for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16, was that economic conditions were worsening, according to transcripts released Friday of key Fed meetings that year. "The markets are continuing to experience very significant stresses this morning," said Ben S. Bernanke, then the Fed chairman, arriving late for the meeting, "and there are increasing concerns about the insurance company, AIG. " But Fed officials weren't ready for the unprecedented steps, such as bailing out the giant insurer, American International Group Inc., that they soon would be taking in a tumultuous year that transformed the central bank from obscure guardian of interest rates to aggressive fighter of financial crises.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Families boosted their borrowing late last year at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, a sign that Americans are gradually reopening their wallets as they feel more secure in their jobs. Household debt jumped $241 billion to $11.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels, suggesting that after a long period of de-leveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, an economist at the New York Fed. The pickup in debt was a welcome development after a string of disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.
BUSINESS
January 18, 2014 | E. Scott Reckard
Most of the risky mortgages that triggered the financial crisis have disappeared from the marketplace, and lenders will have even more reason to avoid them because of a new federal crackdown on loose lending. But one housing-bubble favorite -- the interest-only loan -- will remain a common offering to well-heeled home buyers, despite new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The rules, which took effect last week, exclude interest-only loans from "qualified mortgage" status, which protects lenders from liability over defaults.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
The wind-down of the bailout continues. The Obama administration has decided to sell about $3 billion of the government's common stock holdings in Ally Financial Inc., a former General Motors Corp. lending arm propped up with taxpayer assistance during the financial crisis. That would bring the recovery from Ally to $15.3 billion, or 89%, of the $17.2 billion bailout provided by the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury Department said Thursday in announcing its plan. QUIZ: big business news of 2014 The deal would involve unloading 410,000 shares of Ally common stock at $7,375 apiece in a private offering, the department said.
OPINION
January 2, 2014
Re "Another use for literature," Opinion, Dec. 29 Robert Sapolsky's fine essay on the value of literature pinpoints the tragedy of our time: the demise of the attention span. As long as one reads simply to find out what happens, then one barrels through the pages and skips the "boring" descriptions and commentary. It takes energy, patience and focus to read good literature, but as the old adage says, "You get out what you put in. " Taking time to enjoy reading means that the "how" is as important as the "what": character development, time and place, meaning and a depth of feeling missing from "easy" fiction.
NEWS
November 11, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
HIV/AIDS rates have climbed steeply in Greece as the country deals with its financial turmoil, a new story by Reuters reports. "Spending by Greeks on health is falling 36 percent this year, according to the National School of Public Health," the story points out. The effects of such cost cutting, it says, are "most visible on the edges of society. Heroin use and prostitution are up. Drug addicts and illegal immigrants with HIV say clean needles, heroin substitutes and antiretroviral treatments are harder to come by. The pace of HIV infection is surging.
WORLD
December 25, 2010 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
For a year now, the once-mighty euro has lurched from crisis to crisis as debt-ridden Greece and then Ireland were forced to ask their neighbors to bail them out of financial trouble. The fear now is that fellow Eurozone members Portugal, Spain and Italy, which also have large budget deficits, will follow suit. Borrowing costs for these countries have skyrocketed even as they scramble to pass harsh austerity plans to convince investors of their commitment to cutting public spending.
BUSINESS
November 19, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel, Marc Lifsher and E. Scott Reckard
NEW YORK - JPMorgan Chase has agreed to a $13-billion settlement with the government over selling shoddy mortgage investments, ending a legal battle that signals a tougher stance against Wall Street wrongdoing. The nation's largest bank admitted to knowingly peddling the toxic securities that helped lead to the housing bubble and the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. The settlement is the largest made by any single American company in history. California, slammed by 1 million foreclosures during the mortgage meltdown, will be a major beneficiary of the deal.
BUSINESS
November 12, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Andrew Tangel
WASHINGTON - President Obama tapped a senior Treasury official to take over as one of Wall Street's top regulators, leading the agency charged with overseeing complex financial derivatives. Obama said Tuesday he would nominate Timothy Massad to succeed Gary Gensler as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Gensler's term expires at the end of the year. Massad has spent more than two years in charge of winding down the $700-billion financial crisis bailout fund, which has turned into a gain for taxpayers so far, though a small projected loss on paper.
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