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NEWS
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.
BUSINESS
September 30, 2011 | By Kathleen M. Howley, Bloomberg News
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.
NEWS
September 17, 2011 | By Jay Reeves, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
September 3, 2011 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
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.
NEWS
July 6, 2011
Dollar Financial Corp., of Berwyn, said it has paid $46 million for an Internet lender in Finland. The purchase of Risicum, based in Helsinki, is expected to immediately add to earnings for Dollar Financial, which focuses on what it calls the "ALICE" demographic ("asset-limited, income-constrained, employed"). The company's shares were up 56 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $22.52 in early trading on Nasdaq.    - Harold Brubaker
NEWS
May 20, 2011
Dear Harry: I want to get our ducks in a row about reverse mortgages before we contact a bank and then get hounded to apply for a program if we decide we aren't interested. There are two big reasons that we're considering the reverse mortgage: to add to our income while we're alive, and to relieve our children of having to sell the house when we're gone. Are the fees substantial? Must they be paid in advance or can they be added on to the loan? Will we have to pay income tax on the money we get?
NEWS
April 15, 2011 | Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The federal government yesterday ordered 16 of the nation's largest mortgage lenders and servicers to reimburse homeowners on whom they improperly foreclosed. Government regulators also directed the financial firms to hire auditors to determine how many homeowners could have avoided foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation's four largest banks, were among the financial firms cited in the joint report by the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, The Fed said it believed that financial penalties were "appropriate" and that it planned to levy fines in the future.
NEWS
January 15, 2011 | By Linda Loyd and Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writers
Buoyed by another shot of state aid Friday, Tasty Baking Co. also won desperately needed relief from its banks, which gave the Philadelphia company until June to sell itself or refinance its debt. The banks, led by Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, also agreed to forgo debt payments by the maker of Krimpets and Kandy Kakes until June 30, a move that should help the company deal with a cash squeeze caused by production problems at the new $78 million bakery at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.
REAL_ESTATE
January 9, 2011 | By Al Heavens, Inquirer Columnist
Michael Lenny of Cherry Hill has 49 years in the real estate industry, more than 30 of them as an appraiser. Five years ago, he stopped doing appraisals for lenders. The income he made was not worth the trouble, he says. That's something I've heard from many appraisers, both before and since the introduction of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct in May 2009. This code of conduct, devised after the housing bubble burst, prohibits lenders from using their own appraisers for any new and refinanced mortgages they generate, and bars mortgage brokers from choosing or paying appraisers.
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