Ben Lane

Ben Lane

Ben Lane is the Senior Financial Reporter for HousingWire. In this role, he helps set a leading pace for news coverage spanning the issues driving the U.S. housing economy. Previously, he worked for TownSquareBuzz, a hyper-local news service. He is a graduate of University of North Texas. Follow Ben on Twitter at @BenLaneHW.

ARTICLES

Wells Fargo moves to begin internal investigation into fake accounts

Reportedly chooses four independent board members to lead inquiry
Wells Fargo is reportedly ready to take the next step in its attempt to climb back out of the hole it dug itself after a scandal enveloped the bank involving 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opening as many as 2 million accounts without authorization in order to get sales bonuses.
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Former Cantor Fitzgerald mortgage bond trader charged with securities fraud

David Demos accused of defrauding firm that managed TARP funds
A former mortgage bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald stands accused of committing securities fraud by allegedly overcharging customers for residential mortgage-backed securities, a collection of federal agencies announced Friday. Among the victims of this alleged scheme are asset managers and firms affiliated with or subsidiaries of recipients of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the government said.
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AAA ratings return for non-prime mortgage bonds. Crisis redux? Maybe not

Feature of new RMBS deal builds in greater protections for bond buyers
The world of post-crisis mortgage bond trading is about to change, as a new mortgage bond is set to hit the market that features loans that would be considered non-prime, and also carries AAA ratings – a post-crisis first. Both Fitch Ratings and DBRS handed the deal AAA ratings on the largest tranche of the deal, but the deal is not a return to the pre-crisis world of credit ratings, at least not yet.
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Congress to consider bill requiring Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to offload more risk

New bill facilitates additional credit-risk transfers to private market
Despite a new report from Moody’s Investors Service stating that wholesale reform of the government-sponsored enterprises is years away, some members of Congress are pursuing changes to how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate. On Thursday, Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., introduced a new bill in the House of Representatives that would require the GSEs to offload more credit risk onto the private sector.
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Moody's: Privatizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac would cost "hundreds of billions"

Report predicts disruption to secondary market
Steve Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of the Treasury, recently said that “getting Fannie and Freddie out of government ownership” is one of the Trump administration’s top 10 priorities. But just how realistic is that plan? According to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service, privatizing the GSEs is not only unlikely to happen any time soon, it’s also hugely cost-prohibitive, and it would be a negative for bond investors as well. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?
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SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney stepping down

SEC’s top cop to leave at year-end
Last month, Mary Jo White, the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced that she planned to step down at the end of the year, clearing the way for President-elect Donald Trump to choose new leadership for the financial regulator. Now, another of the SEC’s top positions is about to be vacant, as Andrew Ceresney, the SEC’s enforcement director, announced that he plans to step down at the end of the year as well.
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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac hike mortgage modification interest rate for first time in 2016

Benchmark rate increased back to February 2016 level
The market mortgage interest rates aren’t the only ones on the way up, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced Wednesday that they are increasing the benchmark interest rate for standard mortgage modifications to a level not seen in 10 months. The increase will be the first time that the GSEs increased the modification benchmark interest rate in 2016.
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New York unveils bill of rights for borrowers facing foreclosure

State takes final steps to implement new foreclosure laws
The state of New York is taking the next step in its fight against abandoned foreclosures and neighborhood blight by unveiling a consumer bill of rights for borrowers facing foreclosure. The consumer bill of rights reminds consumers of the various rights they have before, during, and after the foreclosure process.
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More trouble for Wells Fargo as bank reportedly fails fair lending requirement

Reuters reports that bank ran afoul of Community Reinvestment Act
The dark clouds surrounding Wells Fargo are about to get a lot darker, as the bank, which is already in hot water over its recent fake account scandal, is reportedly falling short in its fair lending requirements and faces additional sanctions. Click through for the full story.
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