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Mortgage

The Takeaway

Federal Housing Administration Struggles as Defaults Rise

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Federal Housing Administration used to be a little-known government agency before the housing meltdown. But when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, the FHA started backing more and more loans to homeowners. Now, a growing number of borrowers are defaulting on loans backed by the FHA — and some are wondering if the FHA itself might soon need a bailout.

We find out how the agency is trying to weather the storm created by increased lending. We also get a first-hand look at how the housing crisis is affecting Cleveland, Ohio.

 

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The Takeaway

How Banks Bet Against the Housing Market... and Won

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You might have heard of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and the role they played in the housing crisis, but have you heard of a 'synthetic CDO?'  Gretchen Morgensen and Louise Story report in today's New York Times, ("Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won,") on how banks used this special category of bundled debt to bet against the housing market, and win. Sometimes it meant the banks profited while their clients lost out.

Louise Story joins us to explain synthetic CDOs and the three government investigations that are already underway about the practice. The government wants to know if investment firms may have exacerbated the housing crisis as they tried to hedge their vulnerable mortage positions. We also speak with Sylvain Raynes, a structured finance consultant, to give us details on how firms used synthetic CDOs and how they pitched them to clients.

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The Takeaway

The Fine Print: Mortgages

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So you want to get in the real estate game while rates are low and affordable property is abundant? Before you hop on the gravy train, be wary of the fine print. As part of our weeklong series on Life in Fine Print, we talk with Dan Green, loan officer at Waterstone Mortgage and author of themortgagereports.com. He explains why all those ads promising low APRs and fantastic terms might be concealing a slightly more complicated truth.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Tiger on Hiatus, Low Mortgage Rates, Responses

Monday, December 14, 2009

  • Sports Takeout: Now that Tiger Woods has announced his "indefinite" break from golf to tend to his deteriorating family troubles, we ask, what will golf be without Tiger? Our sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, talks us through what the fairway phenom has done for his sport. 
  • Money Takeout: Mortgage rates are at historic lows, but relatively few homeowners are refinancing. It's not because homeowners don't want to borrow: Louise Story of The New York Times tells us why banks are turning away potential lenders.
  • Listener Takeout: Takeaway listeners had a few things to say about corporate 'greenwashing' after the first week of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, as well as the lack of South African actors in 'Invictus.'

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The Takeaway

Mortgage Relief Program Helps Few

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Obama administration will go on the offensive this week, pressuring banks to help more U.S. homeowners bring down their mortgage payments. The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is intended to help homeowners cut the amount of interest they are paying on their mortgages. But consumers face two big hurdles. First, many homeowners are having difficulty gaining access to the HAMP program. One such homeowner is Takeaway listener Julie Gonzales, who joins us from Royal Oak, Mich. She applied for HAMP and was turned down. Second, those who are able to enter the trial modification program are finding it difficult to make their modifications permanent. Louise Story, finance reporter for our partner The New York Times, says that while the Obama administration says banks aren't doing a good enough job helping homeowners, the banks are fighting back. They say the government's plan is flawed, and that most consumers need a lot more then just reduced interest payments.

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The Takeaway

A New Breed of House Flipping

Friday, November 20, 2009

There are more than 6.7 million U.S. households with mortgages that are behind on their payments or are in the foreclosure process. It may look like we're a long way from the house-flipping that helped create the housing bubble, but there's a new breed of flipping that's started in places like Florida. We talk to Michael Braga, investigative reporter for The Sarasota Herald Tribune, along with Larry Furman, who is a home owner facing a reset on his adustable rate mortgage.

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The Takeaway

Business Takeout: Federal Housing Agency Teeters

Friday, October 09, 2009

When lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, the little-known Federal Housing Agency stepped in to fill the void for lenders. But now the FHA is facing a financial crisis of its own, and that has some analysts wondering if the FHA will soon need its own bailout. The Takeway talks to finance reporter Louise Story to find out more.

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The Takeaway

Fannie, Freddie Post Big Returns One Year Post-Takeover

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just a year ago, the government stepped in and took over struggling mortgage and loan security giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They were the first major companies deemed "too big to fail," although they would not be the last.  One year after the takeover, both Fannie and Freddie are reporting huge profits.  The times, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, might just be a-changin'.

Joining us to tell us where these gains are coming from and what we've learned in our year of nationalized mortgage lending is Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Now, Fraud Charges Against Countrywide

Friday, June 05, 2009

Countrywide was once the nation’s largest sub-prime mortgage lender. But yesterday, its former CEO, Angelo Mozilo, was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC says Mozilo misrepresented Countrywide's shaky business practices to its investors. Joining The Takeaway this morning to go over the details is Tami Luhby, a Senior Writer at CNNMoney.com.

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WNYC News

One Homeowner Fights Back

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We’ve heard a lot of stories about predatory lenders and unscrupulous practices in the real estate business. But amid all these stories, one company stands out: it’s called United Homes. They’ve boasted they’ve sold thousands of homes in the poorest sections of New York City in the past 15 ...

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The Takeaway

Housing numbers spark mostly confusion, some hope

Friday, April 17, 2009

Even for people who work in the real estate markets every day it is hard to tell what way the housing market is heading. New-home construction held steady at almost 11 percent in March, according to government data released yesterday. But foreclosures are up, with nearly 804,000 homes getting a notice in just the first three months of this year. That's a 24 percent increase compared to the same time last year. But other analysts are seeing hope and some first time homebuyers are finding themselves in great positions to buy.

To help us parse the numbers we turned to two experts: Behrooz Shahidi, a realtor in New Jersey, and Michael Corkery, housing reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
"There certainly was just a wild amount of speculate building during the housing boom, and the air has come way out of that bubble. Most builders won't start a home unless they've got a sale."
—Wall Street Journal writer Michael Corkery on housing changes

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The Takeaway

Oops: How Michael Osinski helped start the financial meltdown

Thursday, April 02, 2009

One way to get your head around exactly what happened with the mortgage crisis is to look at the tools that made it happen. Michael Osinski started out with a job in data entry to support his sick wife. A decade later, he found himself on Wall Street writing the software that let traders turn plain old mortgages into bonds. You could say it’s thanks to him that we all know the arcane term turned dirty word: mortgage-backed security. Osinski joins The Takeaway this morning to talk about his role in the financial meltdown and his new life as an oyster farmer.

For more, read Michael Osinski's article, My Manhattan Project: How I helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street in this week's New York Magazine.

See Osinki at his new job as an oyster farmer in the video below.

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The Takeaway

Bill would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Congress has passed a measure that would allow bankruptcy judges to change the terms of mortgages to help strapped homeowners avoid foreclosure. Supporters say it will keep people in their homes while the banking industry says it will prompt lenders to raise rates across the board. University of Iowa Law Professor Katie Porter, a specialist on bankruptcy and mortgages, and her father Daniel Porter, vice president of Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank in Lansing, Iowa, join The Takeaway with an analysis.

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The Takeaway

A crib sheet of this week's events

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Takeaway covers this week's hot button items. Among these are President Obama's lift on restrictions to federally-funded stem cell research, the government's spending bill, politicizing the recession, mortgage crackdown, market research on China, President Obama's visit to Turkey and a "card check" legislation for unions. Joining the discussion is Marcus Mabry, international business editor at the New York Times and Todd Zwillich, a reporter for Capitol News Connection.

"The Obama administration may start to take some hard hits, not just from Republicans but from outside observers who start to say 'Look at these unemployment numbers we saw. Look at the lack of political leadership and ability for the Democrats to get their own agenda through.' Then the Democrats are going to look like they're ineffectual, and I think that is the real danger of this week."
— Marcus Mabry of the New York Times on what President Obama has in store for this week

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The Takeaway

Parsing the Obama housing plan with Alvin Hall, Part Two

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Takeaway contributor and personal finance whiz Alvin Hall has been helping homeowners dissect the Obama administration's housing plan. Earlier we heard from Pamela Zombeck, a homeowner in Salem, Massachusetts who was struggling to pay her mortgage. Now we sic Alvin on a more complicated situation: the speculator, the guys who bought homes as investments and now have a lot to lose as mortgage payments escalate and housing prices fall. Scott Mintz of Los Angeles bought four homes and has a lot of questions for Alvin.

Click here for Part One

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The Takeaway

There are no residents here: Cleveland as the center of the housing crisis

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The effects of the housing collapse are being felt acutely, daily, powerfully in Cleveland, Ohio. For a time, it led the nation in foreclosures, and now it’s a city that lives with one out every 13 homes vacant. Alex Kotlowitz is a contributor to the New York Times magazine and author of the book There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America. He has a story in this weekend’s magazine titled “All Boarded Up,” describing how the next stage of the national foreclosure crisis has already come to Cleveland.

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The Takeaway

As interest rates drop re-financing mortgages looks more attractive

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

As interest rates for mortgage loans continue to drop, homeowners are looking to refinance and lock in lower long term rates. But most applicants are getting turned down. Takeaway contributor Alvin Hall joins host Adaora Udoji to talk about whether it's a good time to try and refinance and how to go about the process in a tough lending market.

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