Extend and Pretend Versus Purging the System: The Choice in Housing Policy

By: Thursday April 5, 2012 12:00 pm

In a speech yesterday, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Ed DeMarco, said that he would make a new determination on the efficacy of principal reduction for underwater borrowers in Fannie and Freddie-backed loans by the end of this month. The GSEs own or guarantee $5 trillion worth of home mortgages, a substantial chunk, maybe 60%, of the housing market. So even though they only hold 29% of the seriously delinquent loans, their course of action on principal reduction is obviously critical.


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

By: Sunday March 25, 2012 8:35 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 to go forward. Organizations like The New Bottom Line and the Campaign for America’s Future have confidently said that the Pro Publica article proves that Ed DeMarco must stop holding up write-downs for delinquent underwater borrowers before they slip into foreclosure.

Wells Fargo Deals Major Setback to Administration Refinance Program

By: Monday March 19, 2012 3:32 pm

The Administration wants Fannie and Freddie to work with bank mortgage servicers to refinance Fannie/Freddie held mortgages at lower interest rates. That requires the servicers to cooperate, but one of the largest, Wells Fargo, just announced it wouldn’t work with mortgage serviced by others, a stand that could limit the effectiveness of the new HARP Refi programs.

Liz Warren: FHFA Must Help With Principal Write-Downs

By: Wednesday February 8, 2012 11:50 am

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor, consumer advocate and candidate for US Senate in Masachusetts, said today that the Federal Housing Finance Agence (FHFA) must increase their actions on behalf of homeowners, including principal reductions, something that the agency has resisted to this point. Speaking along side Barney Frank, Mike Capuano and MA AG Martha Coakley, Warren’s message was aimed straight at FHFA’s Ed DeMarco, who’s been stalling on principal writedowns.

Schneiderman’s Last-Minute Cancellation Spells Trouble for Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

By: Wednesday February 8, 2012 8:30 am

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly cancelled a conference call yesterday 10 minutes before it was to begin. The subject was supposed to be the foreclosure fraud settlement, amid speculation Schneiderman would announce that he would join. This would spur other holdouts to join, presumably, and at the very least break the somewhat united front against the settlement. But it didn’t happen, and the cause is likely the banks objecting to the lawsuits he and others have filed or could file.

STOCK Act Passes After Ethics Add-Ons

By: Friday February 3, 2012 7:35 am

The STOCK Act was a media-driven bill that politicians felt they could not resist after 60 Minutes ran a (somewhat flawed) exposé on the insider trading activities of members of Congress. Once a must-pass bill like that gets into circulation, it’s going to become an attractive target for messaging amendments where members try to hitch a ride with their pet issues. And because Congress is held in low public esteem, the best of these amendments would deal with the same kind of ethics issues.

HAMP Changes Probably Insufficient to Induce Any More Principal Reduction

By: Tuesday January 31, 2012 10:05 am

I didn’t think much of the HAMP changes announced last Friday, but my pessimism mainly came from the fact that HAMP itself is an irreparably damaged program that nobody wants to use. There’s also the point that the GSEs are generally uninterested in a principal reduction program, and servicers are conflicted. There’s little reason to hope these changes will help much.

California House Dems Call for Recess Appointment at FHFA

By: Wednesday January 11, 2012 10:00 am

There’s wide agreement President Obama will likely have to make more recess appointments if he wants to staff key positions, including the newly-created vacancy at the Office of Management and Budget, as Jack Lew has become White House Chief of Staff. The assumption here is that Republicans will react to recess appointments at the CFPB and the NLRB by refusing to confirm any other Presidential appointee. Now California Dems want a recess appointment for the FHFA.

Bloomberg: Paulson Delivered Inside Information on GSEs to Cronies

By: Tuesday November 29, 2011 9:45 am

Bloomberg News has another blockbuster story today on the heels of its release of information about Federal Reserve bailouts. Here they have former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson essentially aiding and abetting an insider trading scheme while in office. But will there be prosecutions?

CA AG Harris Attacks FHFA’s DeMarco on Principal Reductions

By: Saturday November 5, 2011 7:00 pm

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has been awfully quiet amid pressure from the Obama Administration to agree to a settlement with the big banks over foreclosure fraud. So it’s interesting that she popped up this week to call for the resignation of Ed DeMarco, the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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