New-Home Sales Slide Downward

By: Wednesday July 25, 2012 11:34 am

Bill McBride can spin this all he wants, with a very vague promise about after-the-fact revisions, but the facts are that June home sales fell, days after an existing-home sale measure fell as well. Sales of new single-family houses in June 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000 … This is 8.4 [...]

More on How Ed DeMarco and His Critics Miss the Point on Principal Reduction

By: Thursday April 12, 2012 12:20 pm

I pretty much got out my thoughts about principal reductions and Ed DeMarco yesterday. In short, both sides are missing the point. DeMarco is consumed with self-doubt over 1/1000th of his total portfolio, and he’s inventing boogeymen to get him to stop making the logical and most beneficial call. Felix Salmon is great on this [...]

Breaking Down DeMarco’s Brookings Speech on Principal Reduction

By: Tuesday April 10, 2012 8:41 am

Ed DeMarco, the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency for the past three years, will deliver a speech today at the Brookings Institution that leans in the direction of allowing principal reduction on Fannie and Freddie-backed loans in certain cases. This is definitely a crack in the otherwise rigid objection to principal reduction [...]

HUD Secretary Donovan Faces Questions on C-SPAN

By: Sunday April 8, 2012 10:46 am

I read a rough transcript of this C-SPAN interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and there isn’t a whole lot there that’s all that different from the PR pronouncements he’s made in the past. So this won’t be extensive. I just have a few comments: • Donovan continues to push for principal reductions at the [...]

Operational Problems Contribute to Bank Windfall on Second Lien Issue

By: Tuesday April 3, 2012 11:41 am

Yesterday I took down the Treasury Department’s defense of their second lien policies. Sadly, some otherwise cogent observers were content to just heh-indeed Treasury rather than thinking through the clear evidence that, if a bank doesn’t have to wipe out their second lien before the first gets touched, and if the bank also gets an [...]

Treasury’s Ridiculous Defense of their Second Lien Policies

By: Monday April 2, 2012 8:55 am

Gretchen Morgenson’s story, confirmed as an issue by FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco, about banks being enriched by Fannie and Freddie principal reductions if their second liens aren’t wiped out is simply an expression of reality. If the seconds are allowed to stand, the banks make money on the increased ability to pay on the [...]

Pro Publica Continues Its War on Ed DeMarco

By: Thursday March 29, 2012 6:16 am

Pro Publica continued its jihad against Ed DeMarco yesterday with yet another piece blaming him for the sins of the Administration’s housing policy. This is just an overview piece that muses about how to best get rid of DeMarco. Actually, it’s a bit off-message, because they’re just supposed to say that the White House has [...]

DeMarco Confirms Second Lien Issue in Principal Reductions

By: Monday March 26, 2012 7:04 am

One of the big arguments against Gretchen Morgenson’s quasi-defense of Ed DeMarco and the implications of principal reductions on Fannie and Freddie loans was that surely nobody is suggesting that the GSEs write down their primary loans while the second liens are kept intact. But in fact that is the argument, according to DeMarco himself: [...]

Principal Reductions By GSEs Would Enrich Banks if Second Liens Remained Intact

By: Sunday March 25, 2012 7:54 am

Since the publication of an article from Pro Publica’s Jesse Eisinger and NPR’s Chris Arnold about alleged new analyses by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac finding that principal reductions are good business, the growing community has been on the warpath around demanding that the FHFA, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, allow a principal write-down program [...]

More on the Mortgage Settlement Docs: The Vague Release, the “Work Plan” to Be Named Later

By: Monday March 19, 2012 6:55 am

I feel like I’ve covered many of the elements of the foreclosure fraud settlement documents.  See, e.g., here, here, here and here. But others have picked up the mantle and revealed more truths. I did think the release part of the document, which releases everything in the world and then goes back and names exemptions, [...]

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (IV): Association of Mortgage Investors Planning to Challenge in Court

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 12:08 pm

One of the things I looked at in an earlier installment of the foreclosure fraud settlement documents is how banks can satisfy their obligations by modifying mortgages they don’t own. HUD again tried to push back on this with a blog post about “myths v. facts” in the mortgage settlement (I’ll just say that I’ve [...]

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