FHFA’s Christmastime Moral Relativism and the New New Housing Market

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 9:45 am

FHFA has situational ethics here. They rail against states with long foreclosure timelines, even increasing their guarantee fees. But when faced with headlines about foreclosures during Christmas, they become beneficent, and act to increase foreclosure timelines.

 

Lack of a “Foreclosure Wave” Determined By Banks

By: Friday November 30, 2012 6:37 am

Missing here is any understanding of who controls the timing of a so-called foreclosure wave. Banks do the foreclosing, after all, and it’s really up to them whether or not to put inventory on the market or to foreclose at all. And in both cases, they haven’t moved forward for very specific reasons.

On Economy, Justice, Obama Housing Plan Fell Well Short

By: Monday November 26, 2012 11:15 am

Geithner’s protestations about employing the “best feasible solutions” are really disingenuous. Unless by “feasible” he means the “solutions which hold banks the most harmless.” The truth is that Geithner wanted to protect banks and their bondholders at all costs, and that didn’t match with delivering debt relief to borrowers. Period.

Short Sales Continue to Dominate Consumer Relief in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement

By: Monday November 19, 2012 7:52 am

The second report from the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight has arrived, and it shows a continuation of one trend, tempered by the first batch of consumer relief in the form of actual principal reductions.

Yes, Banks Are Paying “Penalties” in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement With Other People’s Money

By: Thursday November 15, 2012 9:22 am

This one offers a bit of vindication. I cannot tell you how much grief I got from “official sources” over the clear reality that banks would be able to pay off their penalties in the foreclosure fraud settlement with investor money. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan flat-out said it, and then had to backtrack and obfuscate. But it was clearly set up by the terms of the settlement. Banks would get credit under the settlement for modifying loans in private label mortgage backed securities, which means the investors take the hit.

This became more clear in Bank of America’s side deal, where they would reduce their penalty through modifying loans they don’t own.

More Noises About Administration Firing Ed DeMarco After the Election

By: Saturday November 3, 2012 2:24 pm

Zach Carter find yet another indicator that, after the election, Barack Obama plans to fire Federal Housing Finance Agency Administrator Ed DeMarco. But this claim has even less meat on its bones than the previous pledge.

It comes from Bank of America analyst Ralph Axel, who argues that the Administration plans to use housing policy as its “secret weapon.”

Resetting the Market: Ireland’s Plan for Mass Mortgage Write-Downs

By: Tuesday October 9, 2012 9:32 am

Now, years later, the Irish government has resigned themselves to do what every country with a housing collapse ought to do – reset the market.

Another Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Scam: Banks Trying to Get Credit for Already Discharged Debt

By: Sunday September 30, 2012 12:55 pm

Though I’m not sure anyone pays attention to them anymore, the President delivered his weekly address this weekend, and it was all about how Congress has to help “responsible” homeowners (because the irresponsible ones deserve nothing, after all they fleeced those responsible banks to get the loan). In the address, President Obama contrasted his approach with a Congress that won’t expand refinancing for underwater borrowers, by saying that his Administration “teamed up with state attorneys general to investigate the terrible way many homeowners were treated, and secured a settlement from the nation’s biggest banks – banks that were bailed out with taxpayer dollars – to help families stay in their homes.”

So what about that? We know from early reports that the bulk of the consumer relief in the first three months of the foreclosure fraud settlement went to short sales, which involve families forced into SELLING their homes, not staying in them. The bulk of these short sales, which amount to a bank waiving the right to seek money from a homeowner who sells a home for less than they owe on their mortgage, occurred in states whose laws bar banks from going after those homeowners anyway.

The Path for Housing Is Dangerous

By: Thursday September 13, 2012 3:30 pm

The housing market is headed on a dangerous path. I’ll have more on this in the coming days, but if you think that an investor-heavy market of house-flippers, with little recourse for those underwater but to sit tight and hope, and a nation of absentee slumlords redlining neighborhoods is something healthy, well you’re in luck, because that’s what we’re getting.

Principal Reduction Tax Time Bomb Generates More Discussion

By: Tuesday September 11, 2012 2:55 pm

About a month ago, I wrote in Salon about a potential time-bomb embedded in the efforts to increase debt relief for mortgages, the expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. Finally, some mainstream sources have gotten around to reporting on this, in basically the same way and with even many of the same principals quoted. Jim Puzzanghera writes at the LA Times:

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