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Tag Archives: Mortgage Bonds

Mortgage Rates Ride Rollercoaster Ahead of Greek Deadline

All-time highs for housing affordability persisted this week as interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages hovered near their record-breaking lows, a sign that Europe continues to ward off investors. Real estate Web site Zillow found only a minor shift for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which lingered between 3.70 percent and 3.75 percent before nestling at 3.69 percent Tuesday. The 15-year loan stayed near 2.95 percent, along with rates for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages that averaged 2.65 percent, according to the Web site.

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Moody’s Slashes Servicer Rating for Wells Fargo

Moody├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Investor Service slashed credit ratings for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Thursday over concerns about deterioration in the quality of prime and subprime loans. The ratings agency downgraded the servicer from SQ1 to SQ2+. When reviewing residential mortgage servicers, Moody├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós rates SQ1 as strong and SQ5 as weak, with modifiers like pluses and minuses signifying their relative strength and weakness in each category. Moody├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós cited the $25-billion settlement as one reason why, saying that added public pressure over negotiations lengthened foreclosure timelines.

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Housing Looms Large, As Ever, For Bernanke, Lawmakers

A hearing held by House lawmakers Wednesday with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recast housing and the Dodd-Frank Act as issues critical to the economic recovery. The central banker said that 30 percent of home sales recently consisted of foreclosures and properties in distress, reflecting ongoing trouble for a market underpinned by high home vacancy rates and downward pressure for home prices. The underwriting process, down payments, and pending regulations also took center-stage during the discussion, with House members spotlighting recent servicer consent orders.

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Goldman Sachs Scoops Up $6.2B in AIG Mortgage Assets

Goldman Sachs scooped up $6.2 billion in risky mortgage bonds from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the central bank said Wednesday. The Maiden Lane II assets stem from the taxpayer-funded bailout of American International Group during the financial crisis. An original senior loan in the amount of $19.5 billion needed repayment, and Credit Suisse offered an initial inquiry to pick up the tab for Maiden II assets last fall. The federal government held out on an offer until it felt the sale would mete out a higher rate of return for the public.

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Witnesses Criticize, Call for Repeal of Volcker Rule

Witnesses testifying before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday warned lawmakers that the controversial Volcker Rule could tighten bank liquidity and make U.S. financial institutions less competitive with banks overseas. Once finalized by regulators, the rule ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô unless modified or repealed by lawmakers ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô will enact a provision under the Dodd-Frank Act that prohibits U.S. banks from engaging in short-term proprietary trading practices. Douglas Elliott, a fellow with the Brookings Institution, called for an outright repeal of the Volcker Rule.

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Experts: Basel III Will Mean Higher Borrowing Costs

Earlier Tuesday the FDIC went forward with a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register that calls for annual stress tests to determine capital adequacy for banks. The notice built on the Basel Accords, which the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision revisited with help from a consortium of central bankers over 2010 and 2011. Basel III is the latest by BCBS to require stress tests for systemically important financial institutions, which include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and several other U.S. lenders.

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Bank Shares Slide on S&P’s Eurozone Downgrades

Stocks and shares for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós four largest banks slid back Friday on news that ratings agency Standard & Poor's slashed credit ratings for several debt-saddled euro zone countries, including France, Italy, and Spain. A 0.4-percent dip led the Dow Jones Industrial Average to end the day at 12,422 points, a 48.96 loss from the day before. The S&P 500 went south in a 0.5-percent tizzy, losing 6.41 points to close at 1,298. S&P ignited an investor selloff in the markets earlier Friday by announcing credit changes for 16 European countries. S&P slashed U.S. sovereign credit last fall.

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Duke: Tight Credit May Be to Blame for Slow Recovery

Still-tight credit supply is at fault for anemic demand in the housing market, preventing a full-fledged recovery from exerting itself, according to one governor on the Federal Reserve Board. Delivering a presentation before trade groups in Virginia earlier Friday, Fed governor Elizabeth Duke faulted underwriting and lending standards, among other market forces, for delaying financial support for homeowners. She said tight credit conditions persist even when the GSEs and FHA offer lenders a number of opportunities to shield themselves from additional risk.

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FOMC’s November Minutes Reflect Euro Crisis Concerns


With the euro zone crisis deepening, members of the Federal Open Market Committee elected to stay the course in November by keeping interest rates historically low and pooling investments from agency debt into agency mortgage-backed securities. Minutes framed discussions around concerns about weakening confidence in the markets as a result of any potential default by euro zone nations, even while the U.S. economy signaled that it would continue climbing out of the financial crisis. Europe helped rattle markets and compel the Fed's action in 2011.

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Housing Market Will Stay Flat in 2012: Fannie Mae

Even with a pickup in the general economy, overall growth will remain flat into the New Year, slowing any impact from the housing market and delaying significant changes, according to a think tank internal to Fannie Mae. The mortgage company described circumstances going forward as those vulnerable to weak jobs growth, external shocks from the euro zone, and pickups or drops in consumer spending and confidence. Troubled euro zone markets continued to weigh down on the forecast.

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