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Reports: Fitch May Downgrade Fannie, Freddie

A failure by lawmakers to slash $1.2 trillion from the national debt spurred Fitch Ratings to place U.S. debt on negative outlook Monday, a move that immediately hit GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by association. The ratings agency revised a stable outlook for debt held by Fannie and Freddie to negative, even while it reaffirmed AAA-ratings in place for the GSEs. Multiple news reports suggest that Fitch will likely downgrade credit ratings for the U.S. federal government, along with Fannie and Freddie.

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Massachusetts Home Sales Show Mixed Results

In Massachusetts, the sales pace for single-family homes was on the rise during October, for the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases in the region. However, the state's housing market continues to struggle overall, with a 9 percent drop in total sales volume recorded for 2012. Single-family home sales in Massachusetts are down in terms of the year-to-date pace; by October of last year, around 34,823 homes had sold in the state, according to a recent sales study by the Warren Group.

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Federal Reserve Releases New CDIAC Roster

Fed

The Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC) has revealed its membership line up for 2012. The consulting arm of the Federal Reserve Board also announced its president and vice president appointees, along with four new faces joining the roster.

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Judge Throws Out Citigroup, SEC Settlement

A U.S. district court judge threw out a settlement Monday that Citigroup proposed as a way to compensate investors for losses related to $1 billion in collateralized mortgage debt. Citigroup wanted to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission by covering the losses with $285 million. He cited the need for more information in lieu of a request for enforcement of relief by the court from the commission, a federal agency, and Citigroup, a private party.

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Frank Retires, Leaving Namesake Law With Uncertain Future

Rep. Barney Frank, a liberal icon on Capitol Hill and co-author of the financial reform law that bears his name, announced that he will not seek reelection Monday. A newly redistricted area of Massachusetts ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô which he represented for 40 years ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô adds less than half a million new constituents and straddles an area with which he is unfamiliar, according to Frank. He pledged to continue his public advocacy efforts from outside the Beltway and finish his term in office. Analysts say his departure makes repeal more likely for the Dodd-Frank Act.

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October Home Sales Spike by 8.9% From Last Year

New single-family home sales climbed to a seasonally adjusted annual 307,000 over October, 8.9 percent more than those figures estimated over the same time last year. The Commerce Department yielded the data Monday from new residential sales, which it collected and released via the Census Bureau and HUD. Sales for single-family homes meanwhile crawled above revised September rates of 303,000 by 1.3 percent. Data showed that median sales prices for new homes sold over October this year hovered at about $212,300.

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Research Reveals Plans for Layoffs at Big Banks

A new report from Zacks Equity Research provides an in depth examination of the imminent layoffs for Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon, and State Street. Via the company's Analyst Blog, Zacks.com evaluated the planned personnel reductions and the potential long-term effects of staff cuts from the major financial institutions. According to Zacks, Wells Fargo is moving forward with Project Compass, the entity's cost-efficiency initiative which began in 2010.

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UCMC Teams Up with Costco Mortgage Services

United Community Mortgage Corporation has a new partnership. The company recently announced that it has been approved to join the line up of preferred mortgage lenders under the Costco Mortgage Services platform, which is operated and managed by First Choice Bank.

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International RMBS, CMBS Sales Impacting Banks Globally

In international news, the sale of securitized bonds is causing concern for the secondary market. Analysts from Morgan Stanley released a recent report indicating that securities earmarked for sale by the European banks holding the bonds could reach as high as $470 billion. For struggling companies, rising costs for funding and capital have weakened their positions, leading to the sale of assets; the institutions seeking to liquidate securities holdings encompass lenders focused on deleveraging and distressed banks.

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