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BUSINESS
September 26, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
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?
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BUSINESS
September 9, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Regulators plan to lower the maximum size of mortgages that can be backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which is now $417,000 in much of the country and $625,500 in expensive areas such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said the change would probably take effect at the end of the year.  “FHFA has been analyzing approaches for reducing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits across the country, and any such change would be announced with adequate advance notice for implementation on Jan. 1," the agency said in a statement Monday.
BUSINESS
August 16, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - You may have seen two sets of news reports recently that didn't quite add up: First, President Obama called for the liquidation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country's largest providers of funds for home mortgages. Then, Fannie Mae announced its sixth straight quarterly profit and said it was sending $10.2 billion in dividends to the Treasury. Freddie Mac also reported a hefty profit - $5 billion over the previous three months - and said it is providing $4.4 billion in dividends to the government.
BUSINESS
August 15, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
The city of Richmond recently asked financial institutions to sell 624 troubled mortgages - and threatened to seize them through eminent domain. Now the city has its answer: We can't help you. The city aims to provide its residents mortgage relief by buying the loans at a deep discount, then getting them refinanced at amounts lower than the current value of the home. But the loans aren't for sale, according to banks that provide customer service on the loans and watch over the trusts where the loans were pooled to back mortgage bonds.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
The Bay Area city of Richmond had best prepare for legal warfare if it proceeds with its plan to use eminent domain to seize the mortgages of residents who owe more than their homes are worth, housing finance giant Freddie Mac warned. The city has asked the holders of about 620 underwater mortgages to sell the loans to the city at a sharp discount from face value. Richmond hopes to refinance the loans for amounts reflecting current home values, lowering the residents' payments and encouraging them to remain in the blue-collar city.
BUSINESS
July 18, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
City National Corp.'s second-quarter earnings rose 9%, making the L.A.-based private bank and business lender the latest California bank to exceed Wall Street's expectations. The parent of City National Bank said Thursday that it posted a profit of $59.7 million, or $1.04 a share, compared with $54.8 million, or $1.01, in the same quarter last year. The average estimate of analysts as calculated by Thompson Financial Network was for earnings of just 96 cents a share. It was the bank's 81st consecutive profitable quarter, said Chief Executive Russell Goldsmith, noting that assets, deposits and wealth-management fees all grew at a double-digit pace.  Quiz: How much do you know about home loans?
BUSINESS
July 5, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
The gig: Dominic Ng, 54, is chairman and chief executive of Pasadena's East West Bank, formerly a savings and loan association based in L.A.'s Chinatown that he built into the nation's largest Chinese American bank, with $23 billion in assets. The bank operates in California, New York, Boston, Seattle, Houston and Atlanta, with full-service branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shantou, China. A specialty is helping Americans navigate a maze of regulations to invest in China - and increasingly vice versa, as Chinese investors buy U.S. businesses and homes.
BUSINESS
July 1, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Resolving a lingering headache from the housing bust, Citigroup Inc. agreed to pay nearly $1 billion to Fannie Mae to cover Citi's liability for potential flaws in 3.7 million mortgages it sold to the housing-finance giant from 2000 through 2012. Fannie Mae, the biggest buyer and guarantor of home loans, had previously announced similar but far bigger settlements with Bank of America -- $1.52 billion in January 2011 and a whopping $10.35 billion this past January. The Citi settlement is for $968 million.
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