Administration Housing Policy in a Second Term

By: Sunday November 11, 2012 8:45 am

Of all the thumbsuckers about the second-term Obama agenda I’ve read, the ones that reflect the least contact with reality concern Administration housing policy.

It’s beyond clear that the first-term policy framework sought to protect banks and allocate losses from the collapse of the housing bubble elsewhere. That was the point behind HAMP, designed to “foam the runway” for the banks, allowing them to squeeze out a few extra payments from borrowers and absorb foreclosures more slowly. That was the point behind the foreclosure fraud settlement, reacting to the largest consumer fraud in the history of the world by immunizing the conduct in exchange for a pittance of a fine. That was the point behind a financial fraud task force that turned up precious little financial fraud and sought criminal prosecutions of no individual.

White House Promises to Dump Ed DeMarco if They Only Get the Chance in a Second Term

By: Wednesday October 24, 2012 2:00 pm

In one of the more cynical campaign promises I’ve seen in a while, the Obama Administration has apparently been running around to housing advocates telling them they will fire Ed DeMarco as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency… after the election.

Romney Campaign Advisor Pinned Down on Housing Policies

By: Monday October 22, 2012 2:00 pm

Mike Konczal decided to do some sorely missed actual reporting at last week’s debate, seeking out Glenn Hubbard, one of Mitt Romney’s key economic advisers, for a discussion on housing policy.

Big Banks Whining That Fannie and Freddie Won’t Accept Their Toxic Loans Blindly Anymore

By: Saturday October 6, 2012 7:00 pm

Mitt Romney’s comments attributing the difficulty of getting a mortgage to Dodd-Frank QRM rules was really way off base. The rule is on track to be completed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the timeline set out in Dodd-Frank, by 2013. As it’s not in place now, it places no penalty on lenders to hand out loans below the Qualified Residential Mortgage standards. And there isn’t a look-back function in the rules. If anything, you’d think lending would go FASTER to get negative amortization or adjustable-rate loans in under the wire. To the extent that there’s any delay, it’s because banks and mortgage lenders are trying to expand the rule to get themselves legal immunity on the loans they write.

FHFA Bullying States Into Making Foreclosures Faster

By: Friday September 21, 2012 9:05 am

The federal conservator of Fannie and Freddie wants to put its thumb on the scale in favor of faster foreclosures and diminished due process. The Federal Housing Finance Agency wants to be able to foreclose on lenders in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida without concern for whether the documents are legitimate, without concern for whether the bank and the borrower can come to a resolution on a modification.

Treasury Could Force Principal Reductions at the GSEs

By: Thursday August 9, 2012 11:25 am

Last week, when Ed DeMarco rejected principal reductions on Fannie and Freddie loans, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pronounced himself disappointed. Housing advocates called for DeMarco to be fired; I explained why that won’t happen. And here’s another reason, courtesy Joseph Cotterill. The truth is that the Treasury Department has all the tools it needs to [...]

Ed DeMarco’s Relatively Insignificant Choice

By: Monday April 16, 2012 9:20 am

Good columnists like Edward Luce are explaining some of the basics of the ongoing housing/mortgage crisis, but they’re still assuming that the decisions open to Ed DeMarco will have a greater effect than is being discussed. That’s because his decisions about principal write downs would apply only to a small part of the overall depressed housing market.

Analysts Missing the Point on DeMarco and Principal Reduction

By: Wednesday April 11, 2012 10:10 am

Coverage of Ed DeMarco’s speech on principal reductions has sometimes missed the point he’s talking about applying reductions to only a small subset of the underwater mortgates held by the GSEs, so the benefits of the policy are also seen as relatively small. It seems he and the Administration are focused more on interest refinancing than principal reductions.

Breaking Down DeMarco’s Brookings Speech on Principal Reduction

By: Tuesday April 10, 2012 1:30 pm

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 on these loans, but his preliminary analysis suggests the idea may not produce that great an effect.

Bank Accountability Groups Will Shift From Anti-DeMarco Campaign, Move Into the Streets

By: Thursday April 5, 2012 4:00 pm

Over the next several weeks, these bank accountability leaders told me they will step up their direct efforts against the banks and also the Administration.

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