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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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PMI Files for Chapter 11, Unable to Write New Policies

Embattled mortgage insurer The PMI Group, Inc., caved in to state-imposed roadblocks by voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday. The move comes a day before a major U.S. holiday and on the heels of a seizure of subsidiaries PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. and PMI Insurance Co. by state regulators with the Arizona Department of Insurance. PMI said that $685 million in senior unsecured notes and about $51.5 million in junior unsecured notes became immediately due and payable as a result of the bankruptcy filing.

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Groups Ask CFPB for More Transparent Appraisal Forms

Do appraisal forms and documents need more transparency? At least one trade group says yes. The Appraisal Institute joined together with other organizations to petition the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for stronger buyer communication when it comes to information about appraisal costs and settlement forms. Specifically, the letter delivered to the government group asked for the separation of appraisal fees from administration and processing fees on settlement forms given to consumers when purchasing a property.

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Drop in Rates Pushes Borrowing Costs to Historic Low

Mortgage rates continue to drop and recent statistics show that the price of long-term lending is approaching historically low numbers. Results of this week's survey from Freddie Mac show that an unexpected rise in home sales coupled with low rates have brought the cost of borrowing to its second-lowest level ever recorded. Percentages for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage loan fell to 3.98 percent off of 4 percent from the previous week, and the averages for 15-year fixed rate mortgages hit 3.3 percent, down from 3.31 percent.

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Thirty-Year Loan Falls Lowest in Seven Weeks: Zillow

With the global economy overshadowed by debt crises, fleeing investors keep mortgage rates at record lows, as Zillow reaffirmed Tuesday. The real estate Web site polled its online audience, reporting that the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 3.8 percent, the lowest rate in seven weeks. A dearth for the 30-year fixed-rate loan reflects a fall by 10 basis points, down from 3.9 percent last week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage likewise hovered around 3.16 percent.

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New Fed Rule Means Capital Plans, Stress Tests for Banks

Fed

Under a final rule, banks with $50 billion or more in assets will need to submit capital plans to the Federal Reserve, which will also begin performing stress tests for the largest financial institutions next year. In accordance with the rule, the Fed will take responsibility for annual evaluations of each institution├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós capital adequacy, internal assessment processes, and capital distribution plans, including dividend payments and stock repurchases.

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