March 23, 2012
At long last, HARP 2.0 is available to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers who want to refinance but owe more on their mortgages than their houses now are worth. HARP 2.0 - HARP stands for Home Affordable Refinance Program - is being billed as an improvement over the three-year-old version that just about everyone acknowledges didn't help anyone. The reason for that failure: The original program had limits on loan-to-value ratio, the amount of a mortgage as a percentage of the appraised value of a property.
March 1, 2012 |
Houses repossessed by mortgage lenders through foreclosure accounted for 7 percent of fourth-quarter 2011 sales in the metropolitan Philadelphia area, the search engine RealtyTrac said in a report released Thursday. Although the number of houses repossessed, 1,010, was 8.14 percent higher than in the same three months of 2010, the percentage of total sales was half that of the United States as a whole. RealtyTrac's numbers cover the Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington metropolitan statistical area.
February 2, 2012 |
President Obama detailed plans Wednesday to help an estimated 3.5 million homeowners refinance into lower-rate mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration and to turn hundreds of thousands of houses repossessed by lenders into rentals. The president spoke at a news conference in Falls Church, Va., where, he said, property values have declined 25 percent since the housing bubble burst five years ago. Obama, who announced the initiative in his State of the Union address Jan. 24, said the program was designed for "responsible" homeowners who are current in their mortgage payments but are unable to refinance loans at fixed rates as low as 3.8 percent because they owe more than their houses are now worth.
November 1, 2011
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ordered Thomas Richter, the owner of a Bala Cynwyd lender that specialized in financing taverns, to pay $668,951 to seven borrowers "for damages, humiliation and suffering caused by illegal predatory lending," plus $10,000 in civil penalties to the state. The order was dated Oct. 24, but Richter said Tuesday that he had not seen the order and was "totally shocked" to hear about it. "I've been dealing with this case for a couple of years.
October 6, 2011
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is right. The nation should not rush to settle with lenders before finishing investigations into how their irresponsible mortgage spree has damaged the economy. Harris walked out of talks last week among 50 state attorneys general, the U.S. Justice Department, and major lenders concerning a proposed settlement to compensate homeowners victimized in the foreclosure robo-signing scandal. She correctly asserted that the banks' request for immunity against future claims was too broad.
September 30, 2011 |
Cynthia and Gerald Matthews left a booming property market in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital, to buy a home in Bloomington, Ind., where real estate prices are beginning to recover from a five-year slump. "It was much cheaper than we thought it would be," said Cynthia Matthews, who got a 5 percent discount off the $196,999 asking price of the three-bedroom brick neo-Colonial, and a mortgage rate close to 4 percent. People like the Matthewses who are able to survive the scrutiny of mortgage lenders are getting the best deals of the five-year U.S. housing bust, and perhaps the best deals of a generation, after a 31 percent decline in home prices since 2006.
September 17, 2011 |
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Leaders of Alabama's largest county chose Friday to settle with Wall Street over $3.1 billion in debt from a sewer system overhaul rather than go through with what would have been the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Jefferson County Commissioners agreed in principle to the deal, but the state legislature must take action in a special session to complete the agreement, and commissioners said bankruptcy was still possible if that legislation doesn't go through.
September 16, 2011
Berkadia Commercial Mortgage L.L.C., a Horsham lender and servicer, said Friday it agreed to buy Tavernier Capital Partners L.L.C., a Florida commercial mortgage firm for an undisclosed amount. The deal, expected to close in 30 days, will add 20 employees and $2 billion in loan servicing business to Berkadia's operation, which was bought in 2009 by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Leucadia National Corp. from the bankrupt Capmark Financial Group Inc. for $468 million. Tavernier was formed in 2007 when its founders left Capmark.
September 3, 2011 |
NEW YORK - The government yesterday sued 17 financial firms, including the largest U.S. banks, for selling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac billions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities that turned toxic when the housing market collapsed. Among those targeted by the lawsuits were Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Large European banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank and Credit Suisse were also sued.