Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Jan 07, 2013 Marijuana use is too risky a choice
QUOTE: In 1943, Vice President Henry Wallace published a book celebrating the coming "century of the common man." That century did not last very long. We have transitioned instead into the era of the clever man and clever woman. We have revised our institutions, our programs, our rules in ways that offer profitable new chances to those with cultural know-how -- and that inflict disastrous consequences on those who are overwhelmed by a world of ever-more-abundant and ever-more-risky choices.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 13, 2012 Rage grows over mortgage deal
QUOTE: As more details emerge about the massive $26 billion foreclosure settlement between the five biggest mortgage lenders and the states' attorneys general, a growing number of borrowers are realizing that the deal will do little, if anything, to help them out.
CNN (Cable News Network) Feb 08, 2012 States Negotiate $26 Billion Deal for Homeowners
QUOTE: After months of painstaking talks, government authorities and five of the nation’s biggest banks have agreed to a $26 billion settlement that could provide relief to nearly two million current and former American homeowners harmed by the bursting of the housing bubble, state and federal officials said. It is part of a broad national settlement aimed at halting the housing market’s downward slide and holding the banks accountable for foreclosure abuses.
New York Times Jan 30, 2012 Treasury Investigates Freddie Mac Investment
QUOTE: The Treasury Department is investigating a report that Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, bet against homeowners’ ability to refinance their loans even as it was making it more difficult for them to do so...
New York Times Jan 24, 2012 In Address, Obama Makes Pitch for Economic Fairness
QUOTE: President Obama pledged on Tuesday night to use government power to balance the scale between America’s rich and the rest of the public, trying to present an election-year choice between continued leadership toward an economy “built to last” and what he called irresponsible policies of the past that caused an economic collapse.
New York Times Dec 21, 2011 Countrywide Will Settle a Bias Suit
QUOTE: The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom.
New York Times Jun 21, 2011 Oversight Group Did Not Refer Housing Complaints
QUOTE: The federal agency overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage finance giants, failed to refer to criminal investigators and other authorities almost 100 complaints about possible foreclosure abuse and mortgage fraud at the companies over a recent two-year period, according to a report issued late Tuesday by the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
New York Times Mar 11, 2011 U.S. Inquiry on Military Family Foreclosures
QUOTE: The Justice Department is investigating allegations that a mortgage subsidiary of Morgan Stanley foreclosed on almost two dozen military families from 2006 to 2008 in violation of a longstanding law aimed at preventing such action... As many as 23 military foreclosures were under scrutiny in the Justice Department investigation.
New York Times Mar 08, 2011 AARP Sues U.S. Over Effects of Reverse Mortgages
QUOTE: AARP, the seniors’ organization, filed suit Tuesday against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which regulates reverse mortgages. The suit asserts that policy changes by HUD are pushing older homeowners into foreclosure.
New York Times Mar 08, 2011 Bank Chief Rejects Idea of Reducing Home Loans
QUOTE: Showing resistance for the first time against government pressure to write off tens of billions worth of mortgage debt, Bank of America executives said on Tuesday that the idea was unworkable and warned that it would be unfair to borrowers who had managed to stay current on their loans.
New York Times Feb 11, 2011 Administration Calls for Cutting Aid to Home Buyers
QUOTE: The three ideas that the report outlines for replacing Fannie and Freddie all would raise the cost of mortgage loans and push homeownership beyond the reach of some families.
New York Times Dec 21, 2010 In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks
QUOTE: In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed.
New York Times Dec 20, 2010 Homes at Risk, and No Help From Lawyers
QUOTE: a new state law that sharply restricts how [lawyers working on loan modifications] can be paid.... unintended consequence: the honest lawyers can no longer afford to assist Ms. Bell and all the others who feel helpless before lenders that they see as elusive, unyielding and skilled at losing paperwork.
New York Times May 17, 2010 Senate Votes for a Clear Credit Score
QUOTE: The Senate, by a voice vote, approved a proposal by Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, to require that credit reports include the numerical score, which by the most common measure ranges from 300 to 850.
New York Times May 15, 2010 Applying for mortgage? Starting June 1, you could face another credit screening
QUOTE: If you're thinking about applying for a home mortgage, here's some important news: Beginning June 1, your lender is likely to order a second full credit screening immediately before closing. The last-minute credit report will be designed to find out whether you have obtained -- or even shopped for -- new debt between the date of your loan application and the closing.
Washington Post Apr 21, 2010 Bias Accord as Harbinger
QUOTE: A DECISION this month by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to drop its racial-discrimination lawsuit against Wells Fargo in exchange for a say in reviewing its lending practices could set the stage for similar agreements with other big mortgage lenders, some experts say. From 2007 to 2009, the N.A.A.C.P. filed suit against 15 lenders, accusing them of offering high-cost loans to many black borrowers during the subprime lending boom, even though many of the applicants could have qualified for lower interest rates and closing costs.
New York Times Apr 02, 2010 Help Paying Mortgages Elicits Anger
QUOTE: The angry comments flooded in after the federal government announced it was expanding its program to assist unemployed homeowners, as well as borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are now worth.
New York Times Feb 27, 2010 Condo board has two options on delinquent fees
QUOTE: Five of the owners reliably pay their monthly condo fee, but one does not...Can we foreclose on the unit...
Washington Post Feb 27, 2010 Be aware of good-faith estimate' rules, or it could cost you
QUOTE: Depending on how loan officers provide quotes up front -- on an informal "worksheet" that carries no federal consumer protections or on a new, three-page "good-faith estimate" that comes with rock-hard guarantees -- there could be a world of difference.
Washington Post Jan 01, 2010 Consumer Confidential
QUOTE: Do you know when you're being hustled by bankers, mortgage brokers, and investment peddlers? Check out our tip sheet on financial pros' everyday deceptions—and how to protect yourself against them
AARP Bulletin Sep 07, 2009 Mortgage Market Bound by Major U.S. Role: Classes of Borrowers Cannot Find Loans as Publicly Backed Debt Mounts (Consequences of the Crisis Part 2)
QUOTE: the government's newly dominant role... has far-reaching consequences for prospective home buyers and taxpayers. The government has the power to decide who is qualified for a loan and who is not. As a result, many borrowers among both poor and rich are frozen out of the market.
Washington Post Aug 26, 2009 Adjustable Mortgages Loom as Threat to Housing Recovery
QUOTE: Mr. [Harvey] Clavon is part of what many economists say is a looming threat to a housing recovery — more than a half-million option ARMs [adjustable rate mortgage] scheduled to reset in the next four years, at rates many homeowners cannot afford.
New York Times Jun 06, 2009 Bank Accused of Pushing Mortgage Deals on Blacks
QUOTE: systematically singling out blacks in Baltimore and suburban Maryland for high-interest subprime mortgages. These loans, Baltimore officials have claimed in a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo, tipped hundreds of homeowners into foreclosure and cost the city tens of millions of dollars in taxes and city services.
New York Times May 12, 2009 Co-signing a loan can be calamitous
QUOTE: ...I never believe that co-signing is a good idea. The risks far outweigh the benefits. What benefit will you get by co-signing? Your daughter will keep a house that might be too difficult to afford. She might lose the house and the lender might have the right to come after you for the money that it lost.
Bankrate.com Jan 08, 2009 Citi Reaches Deal With Lawmakers on Home Loans
QUOTE: In a move that would help troubled homeowners, Citigroup agreed to support legislation that would let bankruptcy judges adjust mortgages for at-risk borrowers....Financial industry lobbyists, however, said the plan was flawed and vowed to fight legislation aimed at easing up on homeowners facing foreclosure.
New York Times Dec 28, 2008 By Saying Yes, WaMu Built Empire on Shaky Loans
QUOTE: Between 2001 and 2007, Mr. Killinger received compensation of $88 million...During Mr. Killinger’s tenure, WaMu pressed sales agents to pump out loans while disregarding borrowers’ incomes and assets, according to former employees. The bank set up what insiders described as a system of dubious legality that enabled real estate agents to collect fees of more than $10,000 for bringing in borrowers, sometimes making the agents more beholden to WaMu than they were to their clients.
New York Times Dec 26, 2008 Firms Charge Thousands To Modify Mortgages: Nonprofits Offer Service For Free, Advocates Say
QUOTE: "Once a borrower pays an unscrupulous loss-mitigation consultant and time is wasted, the damage has been done," said Sarah Bloom Raskin, Maryland's commissioner of financial regulation. "While we may be able to recover fees, we can never recover the lost time -- time that the borrower could have used to work out a bona fide loan modification."
Washington Post Dec 26, 2008 A Mortgage Paper Trail Often Leads to Nowhere (Fair Game)
QUOTE: WITH home prices in free fall and mortgage delinquencies mounting, pressure to modify troubled loans is ratcheting up. But lawyers who represent candidates for modifications say the programs are hobbled by the complexity of securitization pools that hold the loans, as well as uncertainty about who actually owns the notes underlying the mortgages.
New York Times Dec 24, 2008 Once Trusted Mortgage Pioneers, Now Pariahs
QUOTE: The Sandlers long viewed themselves — and were viewed by many others — as the mortgage industry’s model citizens. Now they too have been swept into the maelstrom surrounding who is to blame for the housing bust and the growing number of home foreclosures....the United States attorney’s office in San Francisco announced dual inquiries into whether World Savings engaged in predatory lending practices or misled investors about its financial well-being.
New York Times Nov 27, 2008 Rates are falling. Time to refi?
QUOTE: There's an old saying that if you have money and don't need a loan, the bank is willing to lend to you, and if you don't have money and need a loan, the bank will turn you away. A parallel situation exists in today's refinance market.
Bankrate.com Nov 26, 2008 All Fall Down
QUOTE: exposed — using Citigroup as Exhibit A — some of our country’s best-paid bankers were overrated dopes who had no idea what they were selling, or greedy cynics who did know and turned a blind eye. But it wasn’t only the bankers. This financial meltdown involved a broad national breakdown in personal responsibility, government regulation and financial ethics.
New York Times Nov 14, 2008 ID thieves target home equity lines
QUOTE: canny con artists are increasingly draining the equity of unsuspecting homeowners by tapping into their home equity lines of credit. The more equity you have in your home, and the less vigilant you are about monitoring your finances, the greater the risk that thieves could drain the equity from your home -- or worse, sell it out from under you.
Bankrate.com Nov 06, 2008 What caused the mortgage mess?
QUOTE: Some people blame a fair-lending law for the mortgage meltdown and the resulting global financial crisis. Evidence shows otherwise.
Bankrate.com Oct 13, 2008 The ins and outs of reverse mortgages
QUOTE: But before rushing out to apply for a reverse mortgage, be aware that this type of loan has several downsides. Closing costs and fees can be steep, and if you are thinking about leaving your home in two to three years, this is not a financially prudent way to extract money from your home. In that case, a home equity loan is likely a cheaper option.
Bankrate.com Oct 09, 2008 Will the federal mortgage plan help you?
QUOTE: Under the mortgage relief programs, some people will get reduced interest rates, either temporarily or permanently. Others will have a portion of their home debt wiped away. Some will get a combination of reduced rate and loan forgiveness. Still others will wind up disappointed.
Bankrate.com Oct 03, 2008 What would Jesus do, about the bailout?
QUOTE: In hopes of cutting that off, Boulet has sent out an Action Alert encouraging citizens to contact their members of Congress as soon as possible and to ask them to oppose any mortgage relief for illegal aliens.
Salon Oct 02, 2008 States offer foreclosure rescue loans
QUOTE: The rate of foreclosure starts and the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process reached new highs in the second quarter of 2008, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Bankrate.com Sep 13, 2008 These Home Equity Loans Come With Big Risks
QUOTE: When an investor offers you $50,000 or $100,000 in exchange for 30 percent to 50 percent of your home's future appreciation, is it a good deal?
Washington Post Jul 12, 2008 Keeping Closer Tabs On Brokers (The Nation's Housing)
QUOTE: Should your mortgage loan officer's fingerprints be on file in a national electronic database, even if he or she has never been convicted of a crime? Should you be able to go to a Web site to check out your lender or mortgage broker's professional file -- including employment history and disciplinary actions -- before signing up for your next home loan?
Washington Post Mar 16, 2008 Suffering in Silence Over Foreclosure: In Upscale Md. Subdivision, Few Know the Troubles Neighbors Face
QUOTE: Perrywood's story is remarkable, not just for its cluster of defaults or the relative affluence of its residents. It also reflects a troubling national trend: African American homeowners and other minorities are more likely than non-Hispanic white borrowers to be saddled with the subprime loans and adjustable-rate mortgages that put them at greater risk of losing their homes.
Washington Post Mar 01, 2008 Tapping Into Homes Can Be Pitfall for the Elderly (Golden Opportunities)
QUOTE: ...hundreds of people who have sought reverse mortgages...have complained about high-pressure or unethical sales tactics they say steered them toward loans with very high fees. Some say they were tricked into putting proceeds of their loans into unprofitable investments, while sales agents pocketed rich commissions.
New York Times Feb 26, 2008 Foreclosure Aid Rising Locally, as Is Dissent
QUOTE: Some of these municipal and state efforts [to ease the home foreclosure crisis] have met resistance from people who consider the assistance undeserved and adamantly oppose anything that resembles a taxpayer bailout.
New York Times Jan 22, 2008 If Everyone’s Finger-Pointing, Who’s to Blame?
QUOTE: Two questions lie at the heart of many...[recent mortgage market] cases. The first is whether lenders and investment banks alerted borrowers and investors to the risks posed by subprime loans or securities backed by them. The second is how much they were legally obliged to disclose.
New York Times Jan 08, 2008 Lender Tells Judge It ‘Recreated’ Letters
QUOTE: The Countrywide Financial Corporation fabricated documents related to the bankruptcy case of a Pennsylvania homeowner, court records show, raising new questions about the business practices of the giant mortgage lender at the center of the subprime mess.
New York Times Nov 11, 2007 FHA ban on down payment assistance put on hold: Providers fighting for home-buying program in court
QUOTE: "a move by federal regulators to shut down programs that provide down payment assistance using money from home sellers. The problem is that assistance ends up added to purchase prices, said Richard Hager, a Mercer Island appraiser who teaches anti-fraud classes."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Nov 06, 2007 Borrowers Face Dubious Charges in Foreclosures
QUOTE: As record numbers of homeowners default on their mortgages, questionable practices among lenders are coming to light in bankruptcy courts, leading some legal specialists to contend that companies instigating foreclosures may be taking advantage of imperiled borrowers.
New York Times Nov 01, 2007 WaMu faulted on home loans: Colluded to inflate property values, N.Y. attorney general says
QUOTE: New York's attorney general has accused Washington Mutual Inc. of pressuring a real estate appraisal company to deliver inflated home values in order to justify making loans, a practice that some appraisers have complained of increasingly in recent years.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Oct 15, 2007 Study Finds Disparities in Mortgages by Race
QUOTE: But the Furman Center study, a summary of which is being released today, still raises questions about the role of race in lending practices. A separate analysis of mortgage data by The New York Times shows that even at higher income levels, black borrowers in New York City were far more likely than white borrowers with similar incomes and mortgage amounts to receive a subprime loan.
New York Times Sep 07, 2007 Moral Hazard
QUOTE: When it comes to risky behavior in the market, America has a double standard. We’re told that economic risk-taking as the key to entrepreneurial success, but when big entrepreneurs take big risks that fail it’s amazing how often they get bailed out....Bush’s "ownership society" has proven a cruel farce for poor people who tried to become home owners, and his minuscule response to their plight just another example of how conservatives use moral hazard to push their social-Darwinist morality. The little guys get tough love. The big guys get forgiveness.
Robert Reich personal blog Aug 31, 2007 Bush offers help to troubled homeowners: The President offers aid to subprime borrowers through government programs and new legislation
QUOTE: The president also wants to press efforts to combat predatory lending where unscrupulous mortgage brokers and lenders take advantage of naive consumers by steering them into mortgages that are extremely profitable for the brokers and lenders but ultimately unaffordable for borrowers.
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