October 25, 2013 |
NEW YORK - The widely expected $13-billion settlement between JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the federal government started to take shape with details in a key deal unveiled Friday. The New York bank agreed to pay $5.1 billion to the regulator overseeing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even as JPMorgan kept hashing out the broader pact with federal and state agencies. The Federal Housing Finance Agency had accused the bank and two others JPMorgan bought during the housing crisis of misleading Fannie and Freddie about mortgages and mortgage-backed securities it sold the companies from 2005 to 2007.
October 23, 2013 |
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.
October 17, 2013 |
Fixed mortgage rates rose early this week amid the debt crisis, Freddie Mac's latest survey showed, with lenders offering the 30-year home loan at an average of 4.28%, up from 4.23% a week earlier. The offering rate for 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 3.33%, according to the survey, up from 3.31% last week. The survey was conducted Monday through Wednesday morning, a period when it was uncertain if Congress would lift the maximum amount of debt the government can shoulder.
October 13, 2013 |
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.
October 10, 2013 |
Mortgage interest rates have leveled off at their lowest levels since June, with 30-year fixed-rate loans averaging 4.23%, statistically unchanged from 4.22% last week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey . The home finance giant's widely watched poll of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers showed the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage rising from 3.29% to 3.31%, also small enough to make no statistical difference. Freddie Mac pegged the 30-year average at 3.35% in early May. It shot up to 4.58% in August on widespread belief the Federal Reserve would taper off its efforts to keep interest rates low, then fell again when the Fed decided in September that the economy wasn't strong enough for it to do so. QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the debt limit Borrowers would have paid lenders an average of 0.7% of the loan amount in fees and discount points to obtain the rate, according to the latest report, issued Thursday morning.
September 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Federal Housing Administration dramatically expanded its role after the subprime market collapsed, but at the expense of its own finances. Now, the government agency will get a first-ever bailout of $1.7 billion. In a letter Friday to Congress, the agency's head said it needed money to stabilize its long-term finances and cover potential losses on the huge volume of low-down-payment mortgages it insured from 2007 to 2009. It's the first time the 79-year-old FHA - created during the Great Depression to keep home lending flowing - will require taxpayer funding.
September 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - It's an issue that hasn't gotten much attention but should be a red alert for first-time buyers and others who supplement their incomes with part-time work: Though part-time earnings are playing an increasingly important role in the post-recession American economy, the income you earn part time may not count when you buy a house. Isn't income always income? If you make $42,000 from your regular full-time job and $18,000 more by working part time at a second job, isn't your gross income $60,000?
September 26, 2013 |
The Fed's decision to continue its economic stimulus program unabated has sent fixed mortgage rates plunging to their lowest level in two months, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey , with the 30-year loan averaging 4.32%, down from 4.5% a week earlier. Lenders were offering 15-year fixed mortgages to solid borrowers at 3.37% early this week, down from 3.54% last week. Initial rates for variable mortgages fell as well, Freddie Mac said Thursday. QUIZ: How well do you understand the Fed stimulus?
September 23, 2013 |
Buyers signed fewer contracts for homes in California last month, as higher mortgage rates hampered demand, according to a new report. Pending home sales fell 5% in August from July, the California Assn. of Realtors said Monday. The group's pending-sales index dropped 9% from last year. The index represents contracts signed but not yet closed -- a sign of future market activity. “Rising interest rates over the past several months at the specter of a tapering of the Fed's stimulus program sent buyers to the sidelines in August,” the association's chief economist, Leslie Appleton-Young, said in a statement.
September 19, 2013 |
The Federal Reserve's decision to continue a stimulus program unabated should put more downward pressure on mortgage rates, which had fallen sharply this week even before the central bank announced its decision. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell from 4.57% last week to 4.5% this week, according to Freddie Mac's survey of lenders, which was conducted Monday through early Wednesday. The 15-year fixed home loan declined from 3.59% to 3.54%. On Wednesday afternoon, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke stunned Wall Street by saying the economy is still too sluggish for him to start tapering off on the stimulus, as many economists had expected he would do. That means that for now, the central bank will continue buying $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, pumping money into the economy and pushing down interest rates.