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Posts Tagged ‘second mortgages’

“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…)

Kenneth Rogoff: “A Lot of Insolvent European Banks”

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 7th, 2010 5:30 AM |

Kenneth Rogoff

Should the European Union run bank stress tests or not? While that question has been hotly debated over the last few months, we received an answer today from one of the most highly respected economists in the world. Who might that be? Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff, a Thought Leader and Sense on Cents Economic All-Star.

I have often referenced Rogoff’s work over the last eighteen months (go here) and hold him in the highest possible regard. So, about those European banks and the hotly debated stress tests? What does Rogoff think? Are you sitting down?

In a Bloomberg commentary, European Banks’ Hidden Losses Threaten EU Stress Test, we learn: (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…)

Mortgage Magic or Mortgage Mayhem?

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 5th, 2009 7:02 AM |

Are the largest banks in the land ready to defy the rule of law and self-deal with Uncle Sam’s blessing in the name of providing mortgage relief to homeowners currently strapped by first and second mortgages? The WSJ reports How Big Banks Want To Game The Mortgage Mess

Is this another game of chance in which Uncle Sam wants to prime the pump in hopes of luring private capital into the economy? No, anything but. In fact, this is no game at all. Uncle Sam is proposing legislation which would protect mortgage servicers from being sued for not performing their duty to protect the property rights of mortgage investors (including pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies). What does all this mean?

Investors in mortgage securities backed by first mortgages are entitled and expect protection of their capital by the performance of mortgage servicers handling the monthly payment of mortgage principal and interest. In fact, if the mortgage servicers do not perform the investors will and should sue. 

The investors or holders of second mortgages will only receive a return if and when the first mortgage is current on its payment.

Will Congress pass legislation which would unintentionally incentivize large banks, which also happen to be large mortgage servicers, to game the mortgage modification process for their own benefit but at the expense of investors holding the first mortgages? The WSJ highlights:

Given the current housing crisis, there is wide support for measures to make it easier for homeowners to modify their mortgages. That is understandable. Nobody likes seeing the wave of foreclosures. Plus, mortgage modifications may help stabilize home values.

But in the rush to do something, Congress is showing a regrettable willingness to adopt constitutionally suspect legislation that runs roughshod over the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the taking of private property without just compensation. (more…)






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