In the News
As Congress considers an extension to the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, the time is right to consider its potential unintended consequences.
The 2007 law allows homeowners to avoid paying taxes on discharged mortgage debt up to $2 million. It was passed to mitigate the tax consequences of loss mitigation and foreclosure techniques needed to help struggling homeowners with “underwater” mortgages, whereby home values are below the mortgage amount. The act played a key role in helping underwater homeowners keep their homes over the past six years, but it expired at the end of last year....
Events in the Ukraine have been distracting the global financial markets, but for investors and financial institutions in the U.S., the deteriorating economic fundamentals in the housing sector are probably a more urgent concern.
While many parts of the U.S. economy are growing, the housing sector is increasingly a drag on consumption and job creation. The fault lies not with the market, however, but with ill-considered regulations and bank capital rules.
On the surface, things look OK. Nationwide, house prices rose 1.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's index. This is the tenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index....
Last month, as I sat in an Orlando convention center ballroom during the annual MBA Servicing Conference, I noted that the sense of anticipation for the remarks of CFPB Deputy Director Steven Antonakes seemed to range from "not that interested" to "just trying to get a sense of what's next from the bureau."
As Antonakes took the stage, attendees were still streaming in following the warm remarks of Bill Cosgrove, 2014 chairman-elect of Mortgage Bankers Association, and David Stevens, president and chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association. It was soon evident that many of the attendees had not expected to be on the receiving end of the candidly harsh tone Antonakes employed during his speech.
"Nearly eight years have passed and I remain deeply disappointed by the lack of progress the mortgage servicing industry has made," Antonakes said....
Housing market participants largely welcomed a critical bipartisan agreement on housing finance reform released Tuesday, viewing it as a serious effort to address an issue that has bedeviled policymakers for more than five years.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson and Sen. Mike Crapo, the panel’s top Republican, offered an outline of a bill that would unwind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and establish a government backstop for the secondary mortgage market, which would be regulated by a new supervisor.
Their outline stuck closely to the structure and content of a bill offered last summer by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Warner, D-Va., but the committee leaders expected to offer more detail when it is formally introduced as early as the end of this week....
- Speeding Up Vacant Home Foreclosures Could Save Big: Fed Paper
- HSBC, Wells Fargo Settle Forced Property Insurance Lawsuits (1)
- Former TD Bank employee, accomplice pleads guilty to identity theft
- N.Y. s Lawsky Now Targeting Mortgage Servicer Nationstar
- Nonbank Servicers Still Forecasting Growth, Despite Everything
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