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BUSINESS
December 10, 2010 | David Lazarus
Barely a week goes by without someone contacting me to say that a bank is trying to steal their home. Often, this "theft" is the result of unpaid mortgages that have resulted in foreclosure. But every so often, I hear from someone who seems to have become genuinely entangled in a banking system that is both rigid in its dealings with customers and deaf to legitimate pleas for help. That's the case with Lana Ashford, who faces the loss of her Marina del Rey condo to Bank of America because of what turned into the refi from hell.
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BUSINESS
April 26, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration's Home Affordable Refinance Program is at last helping legions of American homeowners with upside-down mortgages. Nearly 1.1 million homeowners with little or no equity were able to refinance last year under HARP, which assists borrowers who are current on their monthly payments. That's nearly as many as in the three previous years combined, and the latest figures show that early this year, the pace of these refis abated only slightly. The program has become a success story after a stumbling start with slack lender participation.
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BUSINESS
October 11, 2009
Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Bank's refusal defies logic," Oct. 4: Bank of America's refusal to grant a refi to an obviously qualified, longtime customer was a mirror image of a situation faced by a friend in La Quinta and his attempt to refinance with Wells Fargo. After months of responding to request after request for documentation, he told Wells Fargo to take a hike and applied to a small, local bank. A month later, he had his refi. The banks are not only chasing their own tails, but can't decide which end to chase first.
BUSINESS
March 18, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
The Obama administration's new plan to stimulate refinancings of FHA mortgages is likely to help large numbers of homeowners — even those who are deeply underwater — cut their monthly costs by switching to a loan with a rate below 4%. Here's a quick overview of the "streamline refi" program and what it will take for you to qualify. First, the baseline criteria: Your current home loan must be FHA-insured and must have been put on the Federal Housing Administration's books no later than May 31, 2009.
BUSINESS
March 18, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Harney
The Obama administration's new plan to stimulate refinancings of FHA mortgages is likely to help large numbers of homeowners — even those who are deeply underwater — cut their monthly costs by switching to a loan with a rate below 4%. Here's a quick overview of the "streamline refi" program and what it will take for you to qualify. First, the baseline criteria: Your current home loan must be FHA-insured and must have been put on the Federal Housing Administration's books no later than May 31, 2009.
BUSINESS
October 4, 2009 | DAVID LAZARUS
One reason we got into our current economic mess is because banks handed out home loans to pretty much anyone with a pulse, regardless of their ability to, you know, actually make mortgage payments. Banks have subsequently tightened their lending practices, which is a good thing. But have they gone too far? Glendora residents Angie Trujillo and Carl Heinzen think so. They're still trying to figure out why they got turned down for a refinancing of their mortgage. Before we get any deeper into their story, you should know that Trujillo, 61, is no stranger to the world of banking.
BUSINESS
May 22, 2011 | By Kenneth R. Harney
Want to refinance into a seven-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.99%? Or how about 10 or 15 years fixed in the mid-3% range? These may sound suspiciously like teaser quotes with tricks in the fine print, but they are in fact signs of an important shift underway among American homeowners: Not only have they been refinancing at a robust pace in recent weeks, but they're dialing down on the remaining number of years they plan to pay on their mortgages....
REAL ESTATE
December 15, 1996
*--* Lender Loans Amount* 1. Bank of America 2,405 $285 2. American Savings 939 $152 3. World Saving 732 $110 4. Great Western 713 $99.7 5. Long Beach Mortgage 804 $99.4 *--* * Millions of Dollars (3rd quarter, ranked by dollar volume) Source: DataQuick Information Systems
REAL ESTATE
August 22, 1993 | ELLEN MELINKOFF, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Melinkoff is a Los Angeles free-lance writer. and
In the last two years, the mortgage interest rates have been dropping in what lenders see as "waves." The first wave hit in August, 1991, when rates on 30-year fixed mortgages fell to 9% from about 10 1/2%. The second wave, in February, 1992, lowered rates to about 8% from about 9%. And in January of 1993, the third wave brought rates into the low 7% range. With each wave of rate cuts came a wave of refinancing as homeowners rushed to take advantage of the "historic" new rates.
REAL ESTATE
January 18, 2004 | From Times wire services
A slower pace of home mortgage refinancing probably won't weaken consumer spending and hamper expansion because household balance sheets are healthy, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Americans refinanced almost 12 million mortgages last year, about one-fourth of the country's total, compared with 8 million a year earlier, according to the study by Fed economists Margaret McConnell, Richard Peach and Alex Al-Haschimi. Forecasters, including Goldman, Sachs & Co.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2011 | David Lazarus
Like many homeowners, Immanuel Spira decided to take advantage of record low interest rates by refinancing his Westwood home more than once over the last year. Spira, 47, an entertainment-industry lawyer, thought he had a sweet deal when he refinanced into a loan under 5% last summer. But he's now doing it again to secure a rate below 4%, which he figures could save him about $600 a month. Spira's willing to again pay the roughly $1,000 lender fee for a refi, as well as the $500 appraisal fee and the almost $600 escrow fee. What gets him, though, is having to pay more than $1,000 for title insurance — that is, a fee for a record check to ensure that his property is still his. "It's ridiculous," Spira said.
BUSINESS
May 22, 2011 | By Kenneth R. Harney
Want to refinance into a seven-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.99%? Or how about 10 or 15 years fixed in the mid-3% range? These may sound suspiciously like teaser quotes with tricks in the fine print, but they are in fact signs of an important shift underway among American homeowners: Not only have they been refinancing at a robust pace in recent weeks, but they're dialing down on the remaining number of years they plan to pay on their mortgages....
BUSINESS
December 10, 2010 | David Lazarus
Barely a week goes by without someone contacting me to say that a bank is trying to steal their home. Often, this "theft" is the result of unpaid mortgages that have resulted in foreclosure. But every so often, I hear from someone who seems to have become genuinely entangled in a banking system that is both rigid in its dealings with customers and deaf to legitimate pleas for help. That's the case with Lana Ashford, who faces the loss of her Marina del Rey condo to Bank of America because of what turned into the refi from hell.
BUSINESS
October 10, 2010 | By Kenneth R. Harney, reporting from washington
With mortgage rates at unprecedented lows, why are more people not taking advantage of them to refinance or buy houses? The answers are complex and include sagging consumer confidence in the economy and high unemployment rates. But some mortgage lenders point to what they see as overreactions within their own industry that are discouraging and disqualifying potential borrowers ? sharply increased credit score requirements, higher down payments and add-on fees imposed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which control about two-thirds of the loan volume.
BUSINESS
February 7, 2010 | By Kenneth R. Harney
Thinking of cashing out some equity when you refinance your mortgage? Sure, that used to be what millions of homeowners did when they needed extra money. But now get ready for the post-boom, post-crash trend: "cash-in" refis -- the opposite of cash-outs. "It almost sounds un-American," quipped Frank Nothaft, chief economist for mortgage giant Freddie Mac. After all, Americans have grown accustomed over much of the last two decades to tapping into their equity -- pulling out a chunk of cash and adding to their debt load -- when they refinanced their mortgages.
BUSINESS
October 11, 2009
Re: David Lazarus' consumer column, "Bank's refusal defies logic," Oct. 4: Bank of America's refusal to grant a refi to an obviously qualified, longtime customer was a mirror image of a situation faced by a friend in La Quinta and his attempt to refinance with Wells Fargo. After months of responding to request after request for documentation, he told Wells Fargo to take a hike and applied to a small, local bank. A month later, he had his refi. The banks are not only chasing their own tails, but can't decide which end to chase first.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2004 | From Bloomberg News
A slower pace of home mortgage refinancing in the U.S. probably won't weaken consumer spending and hamper the expansion because household balance sheets are healthy, a study released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found. Americans refinanced almost 12 million mortgages last year, about one-quarter of the country's total, compared with 8 million a year earlier, according to the study by Fed economists Margaret McConnell, Richard Peach and Alex Al-Haschimi.
REAL ESTATE
February 15, 2004 | From Bloomberg News
The amount of money raised by turning home equity into cash fell 51% in the last three months of 2003 from record levels in the third quarter as refinancing dropped to an 18-month low. A decline in refinancing put the dollar volume of the so-called cash-out loans at $135.6 billion, down from $277.2 billion, the highest on record.
BUSINESS
October 4, 2009 | DAVID LAZARUS
One reason we got into our current economic mess is because banks handed out home loans to pretty much anyone with a pulse, regardless of their ability to, you know, actually make mortgage payments. Banks have subsequently tightened their lending practices, which is a good thing. But have they gone too far? Glendora residents Angie Trujillo and Carl Heinzen think so. They're still trying to figure out why they got turned down for a refinancing of their mortgage. Before we get any deeper into their story, you should know that Trujillo, 61, is no stranger to the world of banking.
REAL ESTATE
March 2, 2008 | Kenneth R. Harney, Washington Post Writers Group
WASHINGTON -- Everybody wants to help keep people in their houses and out of foreclosure, right? That's what the Bush administration says, and that's what top executives of major banks, mortgage companies and Wall Street investors all say. But where the proverbial rubber hits the road -- the point at which individual homeowners seek to refinance out of unfavorable loans or modify their mortgage terms -- things may look different. Take the case of Robert Whittaker, a Sykesville, Md.
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