Posts Tagged ‘Countrywide’

The Next Financial Crisis Will Be Even Worse

By Brett Arends

The last financial crisis isn’t over, but we might as well start getting ready for the next one.

Sorry to be gloomy, but there it is.

Why? Here are 10 reasons.

1. We are learning the wrong lessons from the last one. Was the housing bubble really caused by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Community Reinvestment Act, Barney Frank, Bill Clinton, "liberals" and so on? That’s what a growing army of people now claim. There’s just one problem. If so, then how come there was a gigantic housing bubble in Spain as well? Did Barney Frank cause that, too (and while in the minority in Congress, no less!)? If so, how? And what about the giant housing bubbles in Ireland, the U.K. and Australia? All Barney Frank? And the ones across Eastern Europe, and elsewhere? I’d laugh, but tens of millions are being suckered into this piece of spin, which is being pushed in order to provide cover so the real culprits can get away. And it’s working.

2. No one has been punished. Executives like Dick Fuld at Lehman Brothers and Angelo Mozilo at Countrywide , along with many others, cashed out hundreds of millions of dollars before the ship crashed into the rocks. Predatory lenders and crooked mortgage lenders walked away with millions in ill-gotten gains. But they aren’t in jail. They aren’t even under criminal prosecution. They got away scot-free. As a general rule, the worse you behaved from 2000 to 2008, the better you’ve been treated. And so the next crowd will do it again. Guaranteed.

Read the rest here: The Next Financial Crisis Will Be Even Worse – SmartMoney.com.


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Does Our Economy Really Have to Run on Fraud?

Does Our Economy Really Have to Run on Fraud?

Courtesy of MICHAEL HUDSON, writing at CounterPunch 

William Hogarth's print published in 1721, satirising the South Sea Bubble. People queue to enter Devil's shop, while he cuts up Fortune. Clerics of various denominations gamble (1.foreground) People ride on wooden hobby horse. Honour is flogged in the stocks by Villainy and Honesty is broken on the wheel with self-interest acting as confessor. Engraving

What is the difference between today’s economy and Lehman Brothers just before it collapsed in September 2008? Should Lehman, the economy, Wall Street – or none of the above – be bailed out of bad mortgage debt? How did the Fed and Treasury decide which Wall Street firms to save – and how do they decide whether or not to save U.S. companies, personal mortgage debtors, states and cities from bankruptcy and insolvency today? Why did it start by saving the richest financial institutions, leaving the “real” economy locked in debt deflation?

Stated another way, why was Lehman the only Wall Street firm permitted to go under? How does the logic that Washington used in its case compare to how it is treating the economy at large? Why bail out Wall Street – whose managers are rich enough not to need to spend their gains – and not the quarter of U.S. homeowners unfortunate enough also to suffer “negative equity” but not qualify for the help that the officials they elect gave to Wall Street’s winners by enabling Bear Stearns, A.I.G., Countrywide Financial and other gamblers to pay their bad debts?

There was disagreement last Wednesday at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission now plodding along through its post mortem hearings on the causes of Wall Street’s autumn 2008 collapse and ensuing bailout. Federal Reserve economists argue that the economy – and Wall Street firms apart from Lehman – merely had a liquidity problem, a temporary failure to find buyers for its junk mortgages. By contrast, Lehman had a more deep-seated “balance sheet” problem: negative equity. A taxpayer bailout would have been an utter waste, not recoverable.

Lehman CEO Dick Fuld is bitter. He claims that Lehman was unfairly singled out. After all, the Fed lent $29 billion to help JPMorgan Chase buy out Bear Stearns the preceding spring. In the wake of Lehman’s failure it seemed to gain the courage to say, “Never again,” and avoided new collapses by bailing out A.I.G. – saving all its counterparties from having to take a loss.

Was this not a giveaway? Fuld implied. Why couldn’t the Fed and Treasury do for Lehman what they did with other Wall Street investment firms and stock brokers: let it reclassify itself as a bank so it could pawn off…
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‘New Deal for Wall Street’ Programs Subsidizing Subprime Lenders

‘New Deal for Wall Street’ Programs Subsidizing Subprime Lenders

trickle downCourtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Welfare for Wall Street is just another phase of the ‘trickle down’ approach that seems to be so popular with the financerati.

If "Cash for Clunkers" had involved subsidized loans for cars administered by the banks it would have been touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread by the coporate media and mainstream infomercials, instead of being slammed on a daily basis as a troubled, pointless giveaway program.

So now we have a new "Cash for Criminals" program from the finance friendly folks at the tarnished Treasury and finagling Fed as outlined in the story below, this time for those overpriced housing loans sold to underpaid, over-indebted consumers.

The housing market needs to clear, the losses need to be realized, and the debt must be written down or taken into default by the banks.

The banks do not wish to foreclose because this will force them to start marking down the toxic assets they still hold on their books.

The Obama Administration is doing a fairly good imitation of Japan Inc.

Washington Post
Subprime Lenders Getting U.S. Subsidies, Report Says
By Renae Merle
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Many of the lenders eligible to receive billions of dollars from the government’s massive foreclosure prevention program helped fuel the housing crisis by issuing risky subprime loans, according to a report to be issued Wednesday by the Center for Public Integrity.

Under the $75 billion program, called Making Home Affordable, lenders are eligible for taxpayer subsidies to lower the mortgage payments of distressed borrowers. Of the top 25 participants in the program, at least 21 specialized in servicing or originating subprime loans, according to the center, a nonprofit investigative reporting group funded largely by charitable foundations.

Much "of this money is going directly to the same financial institutions that helped create the sub-prime mortgage mess in the first place," Bill Buzenberg, executive director of the center, said in a statement.

For example, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Countrywide, which has been bought by Bank of America, are eligible to receive billions of dollars under the program,…

The report comes as the Obama administration is prodding lenders to do more to help borrowers. Less than 10 percent of delinquent borrowers eligible for assistance through Make Home Affordable have received…
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Countrywide Exec Warned The Fed On Toxic Mortgages

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Countrywide Exec Warned The Fed On Toxic Mortgages

Courtesy of Tom Lindman of But Then What?

Well, this is interesting. If you’ve read the SEC complaint against Countrywide’s Angelo Mozillo and other executives you probably noticed the name John P. McMurray popping up several times. He was the chief risk manager at Countrywide who saw the problems coming, alerted management and was promptly ignored.

It turns out that Countrywide wasn’t the only concern that had the benefit of his analysis and chose to believe in the tooth fairy instead. In 2006 he offered some of the same advice to the Fed.

From Reuters:

At a time when many in the U.S. home loan industry were offering money to almost anyone who walked in the door, John P. McMurray publicly warned about the risks of such lax lending.

McMurray pointed out the risks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s annual conference on bank structure and competition on May 18, 2006 — less than a year before the housing sector and mortgage lending industry began collapsing, leading to a credit crunch that spread around the world.

Such lending practices also eventually collapsed Countrywide into a fire sale takeover and led to charges of fraud and insider trading being brought against company co-founder Angelo Mozilo.

McMurray’s presentation on the home lending boom contrasted with comments Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke had made in the event’s keynote address about 90 minutes earlier.

Bernanke said home finance innovation did carry risk but provided significant net benefits…

At the Fed conference, McMurray gave an almost academic presentation that included 29 slides packed with graphics and charts on the risks and causes of mortgage delinquency.

He explained how larger loans, lower credit scores, higher loan-to-value ratios, and less required documentation from loan applicants were coinciding with greater delinquency, wrote Cabray Haines, who summarized the conference for the Chicago Fed Letter.

“McMurray pointed out that this finding is particularly worrisome, given the recent popularity of loans that require little to no documentation of borrowers’ income and credit history,” Haines wrote…

There is a little bit of “gotcha” in the article which is unfair. It’s always easier to see the error in battle plans after the fight than it is in the middle of it, but that doesn’t alter the


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Countrywide’s Mozillo Charged With Fraud By The SEC

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at BUT THEN WHAT

Countrywide’s Mozillo Charged With Fraud By The SEC

You are probably aware that the SEC has accused former Countrywide CEO, Angelo Mozillo, and two of his chief lieutenants with fraud. The SEC complaint document makes for fascinating reading. It demonstrates that Mozillo and others were acutely aware and concerned with the risks they were running while steadfastly painting a different picture to investors and regulators.

Here are a few of the passages that I found captivating:

On 100% subprime loans:

Mozilo further stated that the 100% loan-to value (also known as 80/20) subprime product is “the most dangerous product in existence and there can be nothing more toxic and therefore requires that no deviation from guidelines be permitted irrespective of the circumstances.”

 Then, in an April 13, 2006 email, Mozilo informed Sambol, Sieracki, and others that there were numerous issues that they must address relating to the 100% subprime second business in light of the losses associated with the HSBC buyback. One issue in particular that Mozilo identified was the fact that the loans  had been originated “through our channels with disregard for process [and] compliance with guidelines.” Mozilo went on to write that he had “personally observed a serious lack of compliance within our origination system as it relates to documentation and generally a deterioration in the quality of loans  originated versus the pricing of those loan [sic].” Mozilo noted that, “[i]n my conversations with Sambol he calls the 100% sub prime seconds as the ‘milk’  of the business. Frankly, I consider that product line to be the poison of ours.”

On Option ARMs:

[w]e have no way, with any reasonable certainty, to assess the real risk of holding these loans on our balance sheet. The only history we can look to is that of World Savings however their portfolio was fundamentally different than ours in that their focus was equity and our focus is fico. In my judgement, as a long time lender, I would always trade off fico for equity. The bottom line is that we are flying blind on how these loans will perform in a stressed environment of higher unemployment, reduced values and slowing home sales. (emphasis added)

Finally, on November 4, 2007, Mozi


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This is Your Nightmare Scenario

 

This is Your Nightmare Scenario

Courtesy of 

What would happen if stocks crash? What would that do to people’s retirement plans? How would that change the way young people think about stocks? And what would it do to our country?

The cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio now reads 30 for just the third time ever. The two previous times it printed a three handle, not only were future returns lower, but they preceded major market tops that would define a generation of investors.

The chart below shows the CAPE ratio and the S&P 500 (log). This visual tells a lot of stories, but for the purposes of this exercise, I want to focus on the two previous v...



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Zero Hedge

Mapping The U.S. States That Smoke The Most (And Least)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The number of people smoking in the U.S. has fallen considerably over the years.

The most recent figures from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that just 15 percent of adults are cigarette smokers - down from 20.9 percent in 2005.

There is considerable variation between states though,...



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ValueWalk

So Value Investing Is Not Dead According To Goldman

By The Acquirer's Multiple. Originally published at ValueWalk.

I had to smile when I read this article on Bloomberg titled, Goldman Sachs Mulls the Death of Value Investing.

The article states:

There isn’t much value in value investing these days.

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Insider Scoop

Marveling At Multi-Factor ETFs

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related This Goldman ETF Keeps Growing Getting Smarter About Smart Beta Related ...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin In Perspective: Bill Gates Worth More, Gold 200 Times More

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock, MishTalk

An interesting article on HowMuch puts the Bitcoin phenomenon into proper perspective.

Google founder Larry Page’s net worth beats bitcoin’s entire market cap. Microsoft founder Bill Gates’s net worth is double Bitcoin.

Please consider The Bitcoin Economy, in Perspective.

Last year, Bitcoin became more stable than gold, and earlier this year, the price of a Bitcoin surpassed that of an ounce of gold for the first time. Currently, all the bitcoin in the world is ...



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Chart School

Russell 2000 at Rising Support

Courtesy of Declan.

There wasn't much to say about today, but the one index which caught my attention was the Russell 2000. The index caught a bounce in demand at the rising trendline and also did enough to recover the 20-day MA. Traders looking for pullback opportunity could take a look at the Russell 2000. Stops on a loss of 1,397.


The Nasdaq is primed for a move to challenge 6,350. Today's doji marks indecision just below 6,250 but if it can push above this price level it would likely trigger a spate of short covering. Technicals hav...

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Biotech

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues

Courtesy of Greg HallCase Western Reserve University

Digitized strand of DNA. Mathagraphics/From www.shutterstock.com

With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as “23andMe” and “Ancestry DNA,” more peo...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of June 19th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Mapping The Market

Frontier laid off state Senate president after broadband vote it didn't like

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Speaking of FTR – not nice people…

Frontier laid off state Senate president after broadband vote it didn’t like

By Arstechnica.com

Broadband provider Frontier Communications recently laid off the West Virginia state Senate president after a vote the company didn't like—and yes, you read that correctly.

West Virginia does not have a full-time legislature, and state lawmakers can supplement their part-time government salaries ($20,000 a year,&...



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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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