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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ValueWalk

GILTI: The Ramifications On The Tax Burden Of Corporations

By Gorilla Trades. Originally published at ValueWalk.

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on GILTI standards, Louis Navellier wrote:

Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

We are now essentially in "economic nirvana." Examples: On Wednesday, the Atlanta Fed raised its first-quarter GDP estimate to a 6.2% annual pace, up from 6% previously estimated. The U.S. is still expected to boost the global GDP growth rate more than China in 2021, for the first time since 2005. Since the U.S. is a robust consumer-driven market, the U.S. has the potential to keep pace and exceed China’s overall GDP growth...



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Phil's Favorites

Margin Debt Has Exploded by 49 Percent in One Year to $814 Billion. The Actual Figure May Be in the Trillions. Here's Why.

Courtesy of Pam Martens

When Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, appeared for an interview this past Sunday night on the CBS investigative program, 60 Minutes, he asserted complete ignorance of the amount of margin debt currently being used to inflate the stock market to one new historic high after another. The exchange between Powell and 60 Minutes host, Scott Pelley, went as follows:

Pelley: “The securities industry has reported that $814 billion has been borrowed by people investing in the stock market, borrowed against their portfolios. Tha...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Semiconductor Red Hot Performance Tests 20-Year Breakout Level

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Will the “Red Hot” semiconductor index cool off or get even hotter due to the shortage of chips?

This chart looks at the Semiconductor Index on a monthly basis over the past quarter-century. No doubt the trend is up as it has created a series of higher lows and higher highs since 2009.

Fibonacci extension levels were applied to the 1996 lows and the 2000 highs. Currently, the index is testing the 261% extension level, while at the top of the rising channel as momentum is at the highest level since the 2000 highs.

The rare chip shortage coul...



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Zero Hedge

Beijing Plans To Mix Chinese COVID Jabs To Boost Efficacy As 'Vaccine Diplomacy' Falters

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The director of China's CDC has acknowledged an uncomfortable truth: China's vaccines aren't nearly as effective as the country's scientists have proclaimed - much less their competitors.

"We will solve the issue that current vaccines don’t have very high protection rates,” Chinese CDC Director Gao Fu said at a Saturday conference, according to a report from the ...



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Digital Currencies

Momentum Monday - Return Of The FAANG Gang as Rotation Continues and The Desperate Reach For Yield

 

Momentum Monday – Return Of The FAANG Gang as Rotation Continues and The Desperate Reach For Yield

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

Happy Monday everyone…

Before I get started mark your calendars for this Saturday’s Stocktwits/AllStarCharts Virtual Chart Summit. It is FREE to register at the link enclosed. I will be doing a few special guest interviews covering markets and crypto.

Onwards…

Another great week for those that own stocks and crypto.

The governments around the world have turned cash into trash (I still love it) ...



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Chart School

Gold Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The Biden Yellen team have made their play, and it is not US dollar friendly.

Janet Yellen speech named "International Priorities — Remarks to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs" (here) can be summed to (via Luke Gromen) :


The US is accelerating a move away from "subjugating the US middle and working class to support the USD", to "subjugating the USD to support the US middle and working classes".



Well the above is true, but as we all know large US deficits and the trend of the US dollar are joined at the hip, and that trend is down '...

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Biotech/COVID-19

How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns

 

How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns

A COVID-19 patient in an ICU unit in a hospital in Capetown, South Africa, in December 2020. A variant emerged in South Africa that has since spread to other parts of the world. Other new variants could emerge elsewhere. Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Paulo Verardi, University of Connecticut

Spring has sprung, and there is a sense of relief in the air. After one year of lockdowns and social distancing, mor...



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Politics

For autocrats like Vladimir Putin, ruthless repression is often a winning way to stay in power

 

For autocrats like Vladimir Putin, ruthless repression is often a winning way to stay in power

Russian police officers beat people protesting the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Jan. 23, 2021 in Moscow. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Courtesy of Shelley Inglis, University of Dayton

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, sick with a cough and ...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar - March 10, 2021

Don't miss our latest weekly webinar! 

Join us at PSW for LIVE Webinars every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar – March 10, 2021

 

Major Topics:

00:00:01 - EIA Petroleum Status Report
00:04:42 - Crude Oil WTI
00:12:52 - COVID-19 Update
00:22:08 - Bonds and Borrowed Funds | S&P 500
00:45:28 - COVID-19 Vaccination
00:48:32 - Trading Techniques
00:50:34 - PBR
00:50:43 - LYG
00:50:48 - More Trading Techniques
00:52:59 - Chinese Hacks Microsoft's E...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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