Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market House Prices Bull Market Trend Current State - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver End of Week Technical, CoT and Fundamental Status - Gary_Tanashian
3.Stock Market Dow Trend Forecast - April Update - Nadeem_Walayat
4.When Will the Stock Market’s Rally Stop? - Troy_Bombardia
5.Russia and China Intend to Drain the West of Its Gold - MoneyMetals
6.BAIDU (BIDU) - Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Investing To Profit from AI Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Stop Feeding the Chinese Empire - ‘Belt and Road’ Trojan Horse - Richard_Mills
8.Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - Nadeem_Walayat
9.US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - Richard_Mills
10.How to Invest in AI Stocks to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
IBM - Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Stocks - 25th May 19
Seasonal Dysfunction: Why Generations of Gold and Silver Investors Are Having Such Difficulty - 25th May 19
Employment - The Good and the Bad of Job Automation - 25th May 19
Gold Mining Mid-Tier Stocks Fundamentals - 25th May 19
Buy This Pick-and-Shovel 5G Stock Before It Takes Off - 25th May 19
China Hang Seng Stocks Index Collapses and Commodities - 24th May 19
Costco Corp. (COST): Finding Opportunity in Five Minutes or Less - 24th May 19
How Free Bets Have Impacted the Online Casino Industry - 24th May 19
This Ultimate Formula Will Help You Avoid Dividend Cutting Stocks - 24th May 19
Benefits of a Lottery Online Account - 24th May 19
Technical Analyst: Gold Price Weakness Should Be Short Term - 24th May 19
Silver Price Looking Weaker than Gold - 24th May 19
Nigel Farage's Brexit Party EU Elections Seats Results Forecast - 24th May 19
Powerful Signal from Gold GDX - 24th May 19
Eye Opening Currency Charts – Why Precious Metals Are Falling - 23rd May 19
Netflix Has 175 Days Left to Pull Off a Miracle… or It’s All Over - 23rd May 19
Capitalism Works, Ravenous Capitalism Doesn’t - 23rd May 19
The Euro Is Bidding Its Time: A Reversal at Hand? - 23rd May 19
Gold Demand Rose 7% in Q1 2019. A Launching Pad Higher for Gold? - 23rd May 19
Global Economic Tensions Translate Into Oil Price Volatility - 22nd May 19
The Coming Pension Crisis Is So Big That It’s a Problem for Everyone - 22nd May 19
Crude Oil, Hot Stocks, and Currencies – Markets III - 22nd May 19
The No.1 Energy Stock for 2019 - 22nd May 19
Brexit Party and Lib-Dems Pull Further Away from Labour and Tories in Latest Opinion Polls - 22nd May 19
The Deep State vs Donald Trump - US vs Them Part 2 - 21st May 19
Deep State & Financial Powers Worry about Alternative Currencies - 21st May 19
Gold’s Exciting Boredom - 21st May 19
Trade War Fears Again, Will Stocks Resume the Downtrend? - 21st May 19
Buffett Mistake Costs Him $4.3 Billion This Year—Here’s What Every Investor Can Learn from It - 21st May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - Video - 20th May 19
A Brief History of Financial Entropy - 20th May 19
Gold, MMT, Fiat Money Inflation In France - 20th May 19
WAR - Us versus Them Narrative - 20th May 19
US - Iran War Safe-haven Reasons to Own Gold - 20th May 19
How long does Google have to reference a website? - 20th May 19
Tory Leadership Contest - Will Michael Gove Stab Boris Johnson in the Back Again? - 19th May 19
Stock Market Counter-trend Rally - 19th May 19
Will Stock Market “Sell in May, Go Away” Lead to a Correction… or a Crash? - 19th May 19
US vs. Global Stocks Sector Rotation – What Next? Part 1 - 19th May 19
BrExit Party EarthQuake Could Win it 150 MP's at Next UK General Election! - 18th May 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2019 May Update - 18th May 19
US Economy to Die a Traditional Death… Inflation Is Going to Move Higher - 18th May 19
Trump’s Trade War Is Good for These 3 Dividend Stocks - 18th May 19
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals Update - 17th May 19
Stock Markets Rally Hard – Is The Volatility Move Over? - 17th May 19
The Use of Technical Analysis for Forex Traders - 17th May 19
Brexit Party Set to Storm EU Parliament Elections - Seats Forecast - 17th May 19
Is the Trade War a Catalyst for Gold? - 17th May 19
This Is a Recession Indicator No One Is Talking About—and It’s Flashing Red - 17th May 19
War! Good or Bad for Stocks? - 17th May 19
How Many Seats Will Brexit Party Win - EU Parliament Elections Forecast 2019 - 16th May 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

U.S. House Prices Analysis and Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021

Obama’s Refinancing Swindle, Banks Want to Dump Millions of Risky Mortgages Onto FHA

Politics / Credit Crisis Bailouts Feb 04, 2012 - 12:13 PM GMT

By: Mike_Whitney

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleBarack Obama’s new housing refinance plan has nothing to do with “lowering monthly mortgage payments so responsible borrowers can stay in their homes”. That’s all public relations bunkum. The truth is the banks want to offload their garbage mortgages onto Uncle Sam to avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in losses. That’s what this refi-ruse is really all about.


The administration estimates that 3.5 million people with private label mortgages will be eligible to refinance into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Many of these are high risk mortgages that will eventually go into foreclosure which is why the banks want to get them off their books. Regrettably, Obama is only too happy to help them achieve that goal. Here’s a little background from the Christian Science Monitor:

“The nation now has about 30 million mortgages backed by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), mainly Fannie or Freddie…. About 3 million of those are “under water,” meaning the loan is now bigger than home value. Another 20 million or more have been underwritten entirely by private lenders. Some 35 percent of those, 7 million or more, are under water.” (“Obama plan to lower mortgage payments could help, but how much?”, Christian Science Monitor)

Why are so many more “private label” mortgages underwater than loans that were issued by
Fannie or Freddie?

Because the banks were lending money to every Tom, Dick and Harry who could fog a mirror. It was all a big joke. The banks didn’t really give a hoot if the borrowers were creditworthy or not because they were bundling the mortgages together into mortgage backed securities (MBS) and selling them off to investors around the world, so documentation and loan standards didn’t really matter to them. They got their pound of flesh whether the loans blew up or not. Here’s a little refresher from the Washington Post on how we got to where we are today:

“The biggest culprits in the housing fiasco came from the private sector, and more specifically from a mortgage industry that was out of control. These included lenders who originated home loans, investment bankers who packaged them into securities, rating agencies that misjudged these securities, and global investors who bought them without much, if any, study…

Between 2004 and 2007, private lenders originated three quarters of all subprime and alt-A mortgage loans. These were loans to financially fragile homeowners with credit scores under 660, well below the U.S. average, which is closer to 700. But only a fourth of such loans were originated by government agencies, including Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Housing Administration.

The dollar amount of subprime and alt-A loans made during this period by the private sector was jaw-dropping, reaching nearly $600 billion at the height of the lending frenzy in 2006. …. By contrast, government lenders made just over $100 billion in subprime and alt-A loans in 2006. Even in 2007, when the housing market was beginning its free fall, private lenders still handed out more than $300 billion via these very shaky mortgage loans…(“Fannie and Freddie don’t deserve blame for bubble,” Mark Zandi, Washington Post)

The vast amount of bad mortgages were generated by privately-owned banks, not government-sponsored entities. Keep that in mind the next time your loudmouth brother-in-law starts spouting off about how the GSE’s or the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) caused the financial meltdown. The banks were 100 percent responsible. And now they’re back for a double-dip because they still have tons of these wilting loans in their vaults and they need to get rid of them pronto. And that’s where Obama comes in. The banks are counting on the dissembler in chief to make it look like this refi-claptrap is really an effort to “provide a bit of relief for an ailing economy” or “to help working folks make their mortgage payment”. It’s all hogwash.

The reason the banks have waited this long (for another bailout) is because the 50-state robosigning case has dragged on longer than they’d anticipated. They figured the 50 state Attorneys General would roll over and play dead like the other politicians they deal with. But that hasn’t happened. The legal fight continues with no end in sight. What the banks are hoping for is a ruling “that prevents states from effectively challenging future foreclosure actions that are based on faulty prior assignments.” In other words, they want to be able to boot you out of your home whether they have proper documentation or not.

Meanwhile, the backlog of homes (that’s in some stage of foreclosure) continues to grow to record levels. When the sluice-gates finally open, an ocean of distressed homes will surge onto the market sending prices plunging and leaving bank balance sheets deep in the red. Here’s more from CNBC’s Diana Olick:

“To give you an idea of just how much the “robo” scandal is toying with the numbers, LPS compared states that require foreclosures to go through the courts versus states that don’t (judicial versus non-judicial) and found the following:

- 50 percent of loans in foreclosure in judicial states have not made a payment in two years, as opposed to 28 percent in non-judicial states.

Foreclosure sale rates in non-judicial states are about four times those in judicial states.” (“Robo-Reality: Final Foreclosures Fall as Pipeline Swells” Realty Check, CNBC)

The backlog of distressed homes is much greater than the data would indicate. Neither the official nor the shadow inventory accurately accounts for the bulging number of homes (10 million) currently in the pipeline.

That’s why the administration is looking for creative ways to whittle down the supply. One idea is to sell foreclosures in bulk to deep-pocket investors with the proviso that they convert them into rentals. But why give Wall Street fatcats the privilege of buying foreclosures at a discount when mom and pop investors are already scarfing them up like hotcakes? How fair is that?

The driving force behind the foreclosures-to-rental scam is that the banks want to remove the GSE’s stock of distressed homes from the competition so they can fetch a better price when their REO’s hit the market. Once again, the policy is being tailored to meet the needs of the banks not the people. Here’s more from Olick about the risks this poses to FHA:

“Critics will also argue that the FHA, which now has an inordinately, historically large share of the mortgage market, is in no position to take on any more risk. The FHA could be considered “underwater” itself, guaranteeing about $1 trillion in mortgages but sitting on just a $1.2 billion dollar cushion to cover losses.

To that end, officials say they could create a separate fund for these loans, not the regular mutual mortgage insurance fund (MMI). This would be a special risk fund, designed to handle high losses.” (“Obama’s Mortgage Refi Plan to Go Through FHA”, CNBC)

How do you like that? The FHA is already leveraged at 100-to-1 and the banks want to add even more debt. And they want to do it in the most deceptive way possible, by creating an off-balance sheet investment vehicle where the red ink can be hidden from public view.

To be eligible for Obama’s refi-program, borrowers will need a credit score (FICO) above 580,(which is extremely low), they’ll have to be employed, and they’ll have to be current on their mortgage payments. (for the last 6 months) In other words, lending standards are being eased so the banks can dump as many high-risk mortgages on the FHA as possible. Obama breezily refers to these abysmal lending standards as “cutting through the red tape.”

Applicants will also be able to refinance under the Obama’s program with loan balances up to (get this) 140 percent of the value of their home. So, even if you owe $560,000 on a home that is currently worth $400,000–and you don’t have a dime’s worth of equity in the house–have no fear–you can still get money from Uncle Sugar. This isn’t a good way to keep people in their homes. It just turns them into debt slaves.

One last thing, all the talk about a “bank tax” is pure blather. The banks will be more than happy to cough-up $5 billion or so if it means they’ll be able to jettison the hundreds of billions in crappy loans on their books. As far as they’re concerned, that’s money “well spent”.

By Mike Whitney

Email: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Mike is a well respected freelance writer living in Washington state, interested in politics and economics from a libertarian perspective.

© 2012 Copyright Mike Whitney - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Mike Whitney Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules