January 31, 2014 |
NEW YORK - A New York state judge has approved nearly all of an $8.5-billion settlement between Bank of America and large investors who suffered losses in mortgage-backed bonds stemming from the housing meltdown. The settlement centers around mortgage-backed securities for which the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. acted as a trustee. Some of the claims in the 3-year-old case were not resolved, and the agreement still faces challenges despite the judge's approval. The case's resolution would help Bank of America put baggage stemming from the financial crisis behind it. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank has struggled to lay to rest lingering fallout from its ill-fated 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp., the Calabasas mortgage lender.
January 26, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The verdict was nearly unanimous at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill: The new federal "ability to repay" and "qualified mortgage" regulations that took effect Jan. 10 will make obtaining credit tougher, not easier, this year, and potentially force large numbers of creditworthy home buyers to defer or cancel their plans. What nobody addressed at the hearing, though, was the elephant in the room: OK, we've got a problem. But what, if anything, can buyers who find it difficult to meet the new standards do about it?
January 19, 2014 |
Few regions were hit harder by the Great Recession than the Inland Empire, where foreclosures turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and real estate projects dissolved into weeds and broken dreams. So it's not surprising that four of the five largest banks in the region failed, sunk by risky subprime mortgages and failed construction loans. Citizens Business Bank was the exception. The bank, operated by holding company CVB Financial Corp., limited construction and land development loans to no more than 10% of its portfolio, far less than many of its peers.
January 15, 2014 |
Mortgage applications rose nearly 12% last week as interest rates fell, according to an industry survey. Both refinance and purchase applications increased last week, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said Wednesday. The group's refinance index surged 11% from a week earlier, while the seasonally adjusted purchase index jumped 12%. But the increase comes as mortgage activity generally is trending downward and interest rates are expected to rise. On Tuesday, citing those concerns, the association cut forecast for mortgage originations in 2014 by $57 billion to $1.12 trillion.
January 9, 2014 |
Mortgage rates leveled off in familiar territory this week, home finance giant Freddie Mac said, with lenders offering 30-year fixed loans to solid buyers at an average of 4.51%, down from 4.53% last week. Fifteen-year fixed mortgages, popular with homeowners trying to pay off their housing debts, averaged 3.56%, up from 3.55% last week, Freddie Mac said in its weekly report, issued Thursday. The average start rate for adjustable mortgages that are fixed for the first five years was 3.15%, up from 3.05%.
January 8, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- The new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Wednesday he was delaying planned fee increases by the seized mortgage finance giants because he wanted to assess the impact on the housing market. Melvin L. Watt, who was sworn in as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Monday, quickly showed there would be a change in the direction of government oversight of Fannie and Freddie. He said he intended "to conduct a thorough evaluation" of an increase in fees the firms charge lenders to guarantee mortgages.