Monday Morning Cup of Coffee
A look at stories across HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues: The speech President Obama gave last week outlined $447 billion of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and transfer payments, but it lacked specifics on any potential mortgage refinancing plan. While the administration proposed some changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, one analyst said the agency mortgage-backed securities market "will likely remain in a state of limbo absent further details." Ajay Rajadhyaksha of Barclays Capital, said government refi fears continue to weigh on agency MBS, although non-agencies remain stable. Other analysts raised similar concerns about the administration's plans to deal with high levels of foreclosures and continued high unemployment. It appears a federal revamping of HARP is imminent, and the Federal Reserve plans to use whatever tools necessary to stabilize the economy and spur growth. But the timing of either remains unknown. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) expect mortgages "will continue to face headwinds from policy uncertainty, European volatility, and sponsorship concerns in the near-term." The analysts also expect investor losses from any wide-scale, federally induced refi program even higher than the estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Elsewhere, the flood of lawsuits against America's largest banks may have only just begun. Phil Angelides, chairman of the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission, said there has been little progress in reforming the nation's financial system "so that it works for all Americans, not just the titans of finance, and there have been few consequences for those who drove our economy over the cliff." "We must vigorously pursue financial wrongdoing to deter future malfeasance and seek just compensation for those who were harmed by violations of law," he said in an editorial for The Sacramento Bee. He mentioned the lawsuits filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency against 17 banks, the federal suit against Deutsche Bank (DB), and the attorneys general probe into the robo-signing fiasco, as actions that "hold out the possibility of recompense and reform in the wake of disturbing breaches of ethics." But, he wonders if it's enough because many of the banks fighting these claims are demanding any settlement "come with a broad release for wrongdoing committed in originating, packaging and selling the disastrous mortgages at the heart of the financial collapse."
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed The First National Bank of Florida, Milton, Fla., last week and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver.The FDIC signed an agreement with CharterBank of West Point, Ga., to assume all of the roughly $297 million of assets at the eight branches of the failed institution and nearly all of the $280.1 million of deposits. The federal regulator estimates a cost of $46.9 million to its deposit insurance fund from the 71st bank failure of 2011. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw