Friday, April 27, 2007

Cuomo Subpoenaing New York Mortgage Companies

Apparently the New York Attorney General is interested in learning more about the industry and how mortgage brokers get paid. When he was with HUD he wanted more strict disclosures about lender payments to mortgage brokers, called Yield Spread Premiums (YSP). I'm unable to find which companies have received subpoenas, but I'm very interested to know. I'd to see if there's a general target like subprime loans, or emerging market loans.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Supreme Court Tells States: Hands Offa That Bank

It a Supreme Court ruling that came down yesterday with Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing the opinion, the high court decided that under the National Banking Act (NBA), federally chartered banks and their subsidiaries were not regulated by the states, and are, in fact, immune from state legislation.

So this moves the mortgage lending arms of national banks out of the reach of the individual states and into the loving arms of the Feds.

The New York Times has the story here.

I don't know what this means for borrowers who are losing their homes due to foreclosure. Where's Willie Nelson when he's needed? Who going to put together the rock concert to bail out homeowners? Come on Hollywood, flex those money muscles.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Housing v. Human Rights

Yesterday I attended a New York State Banking Department conference on Abusive Lending called HALT.

It was an interesting educational conference for me, though it seemed as though many attendees wanted a forum to air their grievances with the subprime foreclosures throughout the state.

A couple of thoughts about the conference:

First off, is this a human rights issue? I can see that shelter is a human rights issue, but is home ownership? There are most likely some discrimination issues afoot. From the data it seems as though minorities have been placed into subprime mortgage products far more, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics who appear to make up the bulk of the subprime borrowers. There might have been other products for some of these borrowers.

I don't think this is a human rights issue up there with hunger, shelter, false imprisonment and other basic human rights. I'm not trying to lessen the impact, nor mitigate the blame, I just don't think it falls under this category.

The other issue that I heard frequently is a 6 month moratorium on foreclosures. Even Senator Clinton is calling for this in Congress. I don't know if this is a solution either. There are some borrowers who have taken out loans that they cannot repay, if this is the case, these loans should result in foreclosure. I don't know if it's the lender's fault for loaning the money to them. There are others who are victims of fraudulent colusion between real estate brokers, mortgage loan originators and appraisers who may have originally overpaid for their property (how they didn't check on the internet for comparable sales is beyond me), these homeowners should certainly seek some relief until a solution is found for them either dealing directly with the lenders or with a regulatory agency.