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May 29, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Citigroup Inc. has become the second financial giant to settle a regulator's lawsuits over questionable mortgage bonds sold to taxpayer-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing bubble. The agreement, disclosed Tuesday, is the second reached by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has 16 similar actions pending. It underscores how the fallout continues from Wall Street's boom-era love affair with such subprime lending kings as Angelo Mozilo and the late Roland Arnall.
May 27, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Even as federal regulators recently cracked down on loose mortgage lending, they hoped that credit unions and community banks would serve as a haven for marginal borrowers. Such neighborhood institutions know their customers, the theory goes, so they could better judge the risk in lending outside new rules for a so-called qualified mortgage. But smaller lenders are pushing back, saying they'll just scale back their mortgage business instead. They fear that lending at the margins will make them targets for bank regulators and plaintiffs' attorneys in cases of default.
May 24, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's a heads-up for the growing ranks of seniors whose post-retirement monthly incomes aren't sufficient to qualify for a mortgage under today's tough underwriting standards: Thanks to a rule change by the largest players in the home loan business, you may be able to use imputed income from your 401(k), IRA and other retirement assets to qualify for the loan you want. That, in turn, could open the door to a money-saving refinancing to a lower-rate loan or a downsizing purchase of a new house or condo.
May 23, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Mortgage rates have risen for the third week in a row, with Freddie Mac's survey of lenders pegging the average 30-year fixed-rate home loan at 3.59%, up from 3.51% last week. Fixed-rate 15-year mortgages -- popular during a recent boom in homeowners refinancing their mortgages -- averaged 2.77%, up from 2.69%, Freddie Mac said Thursday. Borrowers would have paid lenders 0.7% of the loan amount on average to obtain the rates, according to the survey , which asks lenders about the terms they are offering to rock-solid borrowers.
April 29, 2013 | David Lazarus
A growing number of Indian tribes are getting into the payday loan business, saying they just want to raise revenue for their reservations while helping cash-strapped consumers nationwide. But federal officials suspect that, at least in some cases, tribes are being paid to offer their sovereign immunity to non-Indian payday lenders that are trying to dodge state regulations. So far, the tribes have prevailed over California and other states that have tried to assert authority over tribal lending operations.
April 27, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Michele and Russell Poland's credit was shot, but they managed to buy their suburban dream home anyway. After a business bankruptcy and a home foreclosure, they turned to a rare option in this era of tightfisted banking - a subprime loan. The Polands paid nearly $10,000 in upfront fees for the privilege of securing a mortgage at 10.9% interest. And they had to raid their retirement account for a 35% down payment. Most borrowers would balk at such stiff terms. But with prices rising, the Polands wanted to snag a four-bedroom home in Temecula near top-rated schools for their 5-year-old son. By later this year, they figure, they'll be able to refinance into a standard loan.
April 23, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
The number of California homes entering foreclosure plunged in the first quarter, the result of an improving economy, rising home prices and strict new state regulations on lenders. During the year's first three months, new foreclosure actions in the Golden State dropped 51% from the previous quarter and 67% from a year ago, the real estate firm DataQuick reported Tuesday. The quarter's 18,567 default notices were the fewest in more than seven years. The sharp decline coincides with state regulations on banks, meant to curb foreclosure abuses, that took effect Jan. 1. But economic factors also played a big role in the declines, experts say. "If you were going to lose your job, you would have lost your job a long time ago," said Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
April 23, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo
New California foreclosure actions posted a sharp plunge in the first quarter to levels not seen since the last housing boom. Lenders filed 18,567 mortgage default notices on California houses and condominiums during the first three months of the year. That was a 51.4% drop from the previous quarter and a 67.0% drop from the first quarter of 2012, according to real estate firm DataQuick. The filing of a notice of default is the first step in California's formal foreclosure process.
April 19, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Using your home as an ATM no longer is a financial option, but the tools that allowed owners to pull out massive amounts of money during the boom years - equity credit lines and second mortgages - are making a comeback. Banking and credit analysts say the dollar volumes of new originations of home equity loans are rising again, significantly so in areas of the country that are experiencing post-recession rebounds in property values. These include California, Arizona, New Mexico, most of the Atlantic coastal states, the Pacific Northwest, Texas and parts of the Midwest.
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