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Lending

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: New Jersey witnesses lending resurgence

A look at stories across HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues:

The volume of loans written by New Jersey-based banks rose 16.5% in 2009-2011, while lending fell 5.6% nationwide over that span, according to The Star-Ledger in Newark.

Most of the gains in the Garden State were attributable to MetLife (MET) expanding into mortgage lending, which the insurance giant has since abandoned.

But smaller lenders stepped into the void left by the exit of some of the larger banks, as well. HousingWire explored how community banks are boosting market share as big banks write fewer home loans in our latest HW Focus on Lending, a supplement to the March issue.

"We made a conscious effort to take advantage of other banks stepping back,” Kevin Cummings, president and CEO of Investors Bank of Short Hills told the Star-Ledger. "Really, the crisis was an opportunity for us."

Cummings' firm increased its commercial balance sheet to $3.6 billion from $380 million at the end of 2007, the Star-Ledger reported.

Late last week, Citigroup (C) Chairman Richard Parsons said he will step down from his post following the banking giant's annual meeting in April. Michael O'Neill will replace Parsons, who has been a Citi director since 1996 and became chairman in 2009 after the company received $45 billion in federal bailouts.

Citigroup repaid the funds with interest and returned to a profit the past two years after posting deep losses in 2008 and 2009.

Parsons said Citi came out of the financial crisis a "well-capitalized institution with a clear strategy, sound risk management and a solid, competitive position in global markets."

"Citi still faces a challenging environment, as do all the large banks," he said. "Given the strong position that Citi is in today, I have concluded that the time has come for me to take my leave."

Alain Belda and Timothy Collins also chose not to seek re-election to the board. Belda had been a director since 1997 and Collins held a seat on the Citi board since 2009.

Voters in 10 states across the country head to the polls Tuesday in the next fight between Republican candidates for president. 

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., cast support for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The latest NBC/Marist poll showed Romney in a dead heat with former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in the key battleground state of Ohio. Of course, none of the politicians vying for the right to face President Obama in November dare even mention housing in any stump speech, as it has become a veritable third rail. Although Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, recently said Santorum helped fuel the housing bubble.

One more bank failed last week and once again it was in Georgia, where more failed banks have been closed by regulators over the past few years than any other state.

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed the Global Commerce Bank in Doraville, Ga.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. signed an agreement with Metro City Bank of Doraville to assume all of the $116.8 million of deposits and about $79 million of the nearly $144 million in assets of the three branches of Global Commerce Bank.

The FDIC estimates a cost of $17.9 million to its deposit insurance fund from the failure. The Peach State has had about 90 banks fail over the past few years.

jphilyaw@housingwire.com

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