Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

A look at the stories on HousingWire’s weekend desk…with more coverage to come on bigger issues: The California Department of Financial Institutions closed Bakersfield, Calif.-based San Joaquin Bank and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) receiver. Ontario, Calif.-based Citizens Business Bank will assume all deposits of the failed bank. The five San Joaquin Bank branches will reopen Monday as Citizens Business Bank branches. As of September 29, San Joaquin Bank had total assets of $775m and total deposits of approximately $631m. Citizens Business Bank agreed to purchase “essentially” all of the bank’s assets and entered into a loss-share transaction with the FDIC for approximately $683m of San Joaquin Bank's assets and did not pay a premium for the deposits. The FDIC estimates the bank’s failure will cost the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) $103m. San Joaquin Bank is the 99th bank closed this year. Democratic state senators in Michigan introduced legislation that, if passed, would require additional lender disclosures and attempt to stop “foreclosure consultant” scams. The package of bills would require lenders to notify borrowers when a mortgage is sold to a third-party and post foreclosure and loan modification criteria on the Internet. The legislation would also establish “basic qualifications and regulations” for foreclosure assistance providers to deter fraud. “Reducing foreclosures is one way we can combat blight and the crumbling of Michigan’s once-thriving neighborhoods and stabilize property values and municipal revenues,” said Sen. Glenn Anderson. “There are still too many instances in which a person’s mortgage can get sold right out from under them and they may have no way of knowing who actually owns the rights to their home. That’s wrong and our legislation will fix it.” A July law created a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures in the state earlier this year and Democrats said the new legislation would protect consumers and open up lines of communication with lenders. “Trying to avoid a foreclosure can be one of the most agonizing and complicated experiences and we must do everything in our power to protect consumers from scam artists and instead arm them with helpful and relevant information,” said Sen. Gretchen Whitmer. “In doing so, we can help stop foreclosure before it starts and keep families in their homes.” Federal prosecutors filed charges against a group of 41 real estate professionals, including six lawyers, seven loan officers, three mortgage brokers, an accountant, and a residential property appraiser that prosecutors said fraudulently obtain more than $64m in loans connected to more than 100 residential properties in New York state. The investigation, “Operation Bad Deeds,” was a joint effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secret Service, the New York State Banking Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other law enforcement entities. The alleged scheme involved the fraudsters targeting distressed borrowers and convincing them to sell their properties or transfer the deeds and fraudulently obtained loans by falsifying mortgage applications and later flipping the houses. McMonigle Financial, the private real estate investment lender unit of the California-based real estate firm McMonigle Group, launched an investment fund for short-term jumbo bridge loans and super-jumbo construction products with anticipated returns delivering in excess of 15% annually, the company announced. Fund managers Rod Colombi, Jeff Arnold, and Pete Bender are in the process of raising $150m for the McMonigle Financial Group Fund I that will fund loans to “high net worth individuals in need of private money financing.” “The jumbo lending market is in desperate need of liquidity,” said group president John McMonigle. “There are plenty of high net worth, high credit quality borrowers who are denied financing due to a lack of traditional income verification. Our goal is to provide these credit-worthy borrowers with viable financing solutions.” The firm is raising $75m for a second fund, MFG Secured Income Fund I, that returned a more than 10% return during its first month, the company said. Both investment funds will finance newly originated transactions via a wholesale lending platform. The office of Idaho attorney general Lawrence Wasden, in coordination with the Idaho Department of Finance, released two digital handbooks for consumers, one on foreclosure prevention foreclosure scams and the second on tips for buying a home. The 60-page foreclosure handbook explains the foreclosure process in Idaho, explains current state, federal and lender loss mitigation programs, as well as explains common foreclosure scams. The 45-page home buying handbook provides a guide for consumers, with information on obtaining a mortgage, disclosure information and legal safeguards, as well as information on mortgage fraud. “These manuals are designed to help Idahoans facing foreclosure in these difficult economic times as well as assist Idahoans interested in purchasing a home avoid the pitfalls that contributed to the housing crisis,” Wasden said. “The information in these handbooks will be extremely useful to people in either of those situations.” Write to Austin Kilgore.

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