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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Phil's Favorites

"Just because you're buying stock, doesn't mean you're an investor"

 

“Just because you’re buying stock, doesn’t mean you’re an investor”

Courtesy of 

Josh here – in the mid 1960’s, investors decided that there was a group of fifty growth stocks whose outlook was so bright that it didn’t matter what price you paid for them, as long as you were buying. By the early 70’s, they were learning a critical lesson about starting valuation – McDonalds, Coke and Procter & Gamble did indeed have a very bright future, but that didn’t prevent them from being cut in half. Investors in these names would have ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

5 COVID-19 myths politicians have repeated that just aren't true

 

5 COVID-19 myths politicians have repeated that just aren't true

The purveyors of these myths aren’t doing the country any favors. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Courtesy of Geoffrey Joyce, University of Southern California

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has jumped to around 50,000 a day, and the virus has killed more than 130,000 Americans. Yet, I still hear myths about the infection that has created the worst public health crisis in A...



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ValueWalk

100 Days Since The Roll Back Of Fuel Efficiency Standards

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

“100 Days Since…” Trump Rolled Back Fuel Efficiency Standards While Public Health, Economic Fallout Accelerated

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The Rollback Of Fuel Efficiency Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One hundred days ago today, the Trump administration finalized its rollback of fuel efficiency standards — a s...



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Zero Hedge

DoJ, FTC Investigating TikTok Over Child Privacy Violations

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Update (1840ET): Not long after President Trump confirmed that the administration is "looking into" banning TikTok, Reuters has reported that the DoJ and FTC are, in fact, looking into probing TikTok over allegations the company violated a 2019 agreement where it promised to protect children's privacy.

And instead of citing the usual anonymous sources, the report cited officials from various nonprofit groups who claimed that officials from the DoJ and FTC had met with them over compla...



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The Technical Traders

Credit/Investments Turned Into End-User Risk Again

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Continuing our research from Part I, into what to expect in Q2 and Q3 of 2020, we’ll start by discussing our Adaptive Dynamic Learning predictive modeling system and our belief that the US stock market is rallied beyond proper expectation levels.  The Adaptive Dynamic Learning (ADL) modeling systems attempts to identify price and technical indicator DNA markers and attempts to map our these...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Here's Why QQQ and Large Cap Tech Stocks May Rally Another 10%!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The long-term trend for large-cap tech stocks remains strongly in place.

And despite the steep rally out of the March lows, the index may be headed 10 percent higher.

Today’s chart highlights the $QQQ Nasdaq 100 ETF on a “monthly” basis. As you can see, the large-cap tech index touched its lower up-trend channel support in March at (1) before reversing higher.

It may now be targeting the top of the trend channel at (2), which also marks the 261.8 Fibonacci extension (based on 2000 highs and 2002 lows). That Fib level is $290 on $QQQ.

If so, this upside target for $QQQ is still 10% above current prices. Stay tuned!

This article was first written ...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

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Comment: Crash in perspective - its Bad, and not over!



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Lee's Free Thinking

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

 

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

Courtesy of  

The COVID 19 pandemic is, predictably, worsening again in much of the US. Only the Northeast, and to a lesser extent some Midwestern states, have been consistently improving. And that trend could also reverse as those states fully reopen.

The problem in the US seems to be widespread public resistance to recommended practices of social distancing and mask wearing. In countries where these practices have been practi...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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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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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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