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Crisis Watch

Cram Downs Cool Down

An intense lobbying campaign by the financial services industry has slowed and possibly killed legislation that would give bankruptcy courts the power to write down mortgages Read More »

Cram Downs Are Coming.

Banned since Congress reformed the bankruptcy laws in 2006, cram downs are making a come back and may reappear in thousands of bankruptcy courts. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on who you ask, because every side has its own studies and experts to prove its case. Read More »

Delinquencies Set a Record, Moratoria Create Artificial Spike

In the fourth quarter of last year, more homeowners—nearly 8 percent—were delinquent on their mortgages than 1972, when records were first kept. Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist and senior vice president for research and economics attributed the increase in delinquencies to factors that had nothing to do with the economy. Read More »

Bank Problems and the Housing Sector

The U.S. banking system is ailing and further deterioration could have serious negative implications for the economy and housing sector. To date, the Treasury has injected $196 billion into the nation's top banks by purchasing preferred bank stock. In addition, the Federal Reserve has increased its lending facilities, including the Term Auction Facility, which offers $150 billion in secured loans to banks per auction. And now the government has increased its ownership of Citigroup. Read More »

How Far Has Fannie Mae Fallen?

Nearly half of Fannie's loss occurred in the fourth quarter, after it was "placed under conservatorship" by the Treasury Department in September. Immediately, Treasury began to use Fannie and Freddie to buy up mortgage backed securities at a loss in an effort to restore faith in the MBS market. Now it is clear that Fannie and Freddie will be the Obama Administration's primary conduits for refinancing and modifying mortgages held by foreclosure prospects-and the costs will be borne by the taxpayers. Read More »

Obama Budget Limits Mortgage Interest Deduction

Last week President Barack Obama proposed $634 billion in new taxes on upper-income Americans and cuts in government spending over the next decade to pay for his promised health care expansion. The new taxes included a limitation on the amount taxpayers earning over $250,000 can deduct for mortgage interest payments and other deductions. Read More »

Credit Union Bailout Ignites Civil War

Until very recently, credit unions have gloated over the woes besetting their competitors in financial services. Unshackled by mark-to-market accounting requirements, largely untaxed, non-profit and free of the pressures of Wall Street, and only minimally exposed to the risk of subprime defaults, credit unions as a whole survived 2008 like islands of soundness in a sea of chaos. Read More »