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Posts Tagged ‘second liens’

“The Giant Elephant in The Room”

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 21st, 2010 12:02 PM |

What is holding back our economy? Why isn’t there more credit available in our banking system?

I have answered these questions numerous times over the last two years BUT many in Washington pretend not to know the answer and pander to their constituencies in the process. Regular readers of Sense on Cents are well aware that the books of our banks–especially our largest money center banks–remain chock-filled with loans that are being valued far in excess of what they are truly worth. Let’s navigate.   

I first addressed issues within the second mortgage and HELOC (home equity line of credit) space in Fall of 2008 (Sense on Cents/Second Mortgages). Here we are a full two years later and America still has not received a straight answer and a full accounting by the banks or their regulators as to this “sinkhole” on their books and in our economy. 

Let’s dive into this hole, get a little dirty, and again expose the issues within this sector. (more…)

Where is Wall Street Hiding Hundred Plus Billion in Lo$$es?

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 8th, 2010 11:24 AM |

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Banks are increasingly healthy, right? Our nation’s accounting rules promote real transparency and integrity in our financial reporting, right? Housing is bottoming, right? No, no, and no!

Why so pessimistic, you may ask? I am not pessimistic at all. I am merely searching for the truth in the midst of the smoke and mirrors on Wall Street and in Washington.

Thank you to our friends at 12th Street Capital for sharing a recently released letter from Congressman Barney Frank imploring the four largest banks involved in mortgage originations to write off second liens they are holding on their books at inflated values.

Why does Congressman Frank believe these loans need to be written off? (more…)

More Bank Fraud

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 16th, 2010 12:53 PM |

The bailing out of our largest financial institutions was a violation of moral hazard of the greatest magnitude. With that violation well in place, America is now facing violations of other moral hazards. What do I mean?

The mortgage modification program is a joke because the banks holding the mortgages have no incentive in modifying them. Why? Because, to a very large extent, if the bank modifies the primary mortgage then it has to write off the value of a second lien, if in fact a second lien exists. Given the amount of equity borrowers took out of their homes, there are a lot of second liens outstanding.

How are the banks handling these second liens? Violating a moral hazard and committing fraud in the process. A report from CNBC, Big Banks Accused of Short Sale Fraud, highlights this reality.  The report outlines: (more…)

Uncle Sam and State Brethren Are Now Mortgage Brokers

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 4th, 2009 11:56 AM |

Hat tip to KD for highlighting a recent article in the L.A. Times, States Taking Steps To Turn $8,000 Home Purchase Tax Credit Into Cash. I am a proponent of providing tax incentives for purchasing homes.  Have Uncle Sam and his state brethren morphed into mortgage brokers, though, in the process?

My concern with this program is the discipline provided by lenders working with borrowers under this program. Is the government so desperate to support housing that it will forward a down payment in the form of a short term bridge loan to prospective buyers? If the borrower can not repay the bridge loan when receiving the credit next year, the loan becomes a second lien.

This program will support home purchases. However, irresponsible lending on behalf of unscrupulous lenders did the same. As the L.A. Times reports, 

In recent weeks, at least 10 states say they’ve come up with ways to work this monetary magic. They have created innovative bridge-loan programs that advance credit-eligible buyers the cash they need for their closings. Generally the advances take the form of second mortgages — with or without interest charges — that become due and payable whenever buyers receive their credits in the form of refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

In Missouri, which was the first state to create such a program, buyers can get a no-cost “tax credit advance” of up to 6% of the home price. The advance is actually an interest-free second lien that is repayable no later than June 2010, once the buyers have received their $8,000 tax credit.

If buyers can’t meet that repayment deadline, the advance morphs into a traditional second mortgage with a 10-year payback term and a fixed interest rate one-half a percentage point higher than their first mortgage rate.

The idea that a prospective borrower may need a second mortgage within 12 months of a home purchase strikes me as an immediate red flag. 

As we enter the brave new world of moral hazard and government control of industry, I guess I am going to have to get used to accepting that fiscal discipline and responsible lending aren’t what they used to be.

LD






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