Articles by Ben Lane

SIGTARP moves to hold top brass accountable for bad bank behavior

End the era of the "insulated CEO"
Former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and other Wells Fargo executives could still face criminal charges over how much the bank’s management knew about the more than 2 million fake accounts that 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opened in order to get sales bonuses. Even if Stumpf and the others don’t end up facing criminal charges, the Wells Fargo situation could still prove to be a tipping point as one financial regulator is proposing big changes that would hold executives personally responsible for the actions of their companies.
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More Wells Fargo fallout: Feds to look into sales practices at other Wall Street banks

CFPB, OCC, other agencies to conduct reviews of big banks
Federal regulators are preparing to conduct reviews of the nation’s biggest banks, aiming to root out any of the aggressive cross-selling practices that led to Wells Fargo being fined $185 million for more than 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opening more than 2 million fake accounts to get sales bonuses.
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Wells Fargo launches ad campaign to earn back customer trust

Fallout from fake account scandal continues
Over the last few weeks, the bad news came fast and furious for Wells Fargo. New reports suggest that it’s going to get worse for Wells Fargo before it gets better, but the bank is taking a proactive approach to try to earn back some of the goodwill lost through this scandal.
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RE/MAX getting into the mortgage business; launches Motto Mortgage

Plans to open mortgage brokerage franchises across the country
While most of the biggest names in mortgage lending are focused on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual conference, taking place right now in Boston, one of the biggest names in real estate revealed that it is getting into the mortgage business. On Tuesday, RE/MAX announced that it is launching Motto Mortgage, a mortgage brokerage franchise that the company plans to take nationwide.
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Case-Shiller: Rising house prices just below record highs

Catching up with 2006
Home prices are continuing to rise; now mere basis points below the all-time highs for prices, set in 2006. According to the latest data released Tuesday by S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.3% annual gain in August, just off the July 2006 peak.
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Homeowners facing foreclosure hit 9-year low

Black Knight report shows only 1% of all mortgages in active foreclosure
A new report from Black Knight Financial Services shows that by one metric, the housing market is healthier than it’s been since the crisis began. According to new data released Tuesday morning by Black Knight, the rate of loans in active foreclosure is lower right now than at any point in the last nine years.
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Freddie Mac announces new tools designed to cut mortgage origination costs

Enhancements to Loan Advisor Suite could help lenders' bottom line
Not to be outdone by Fannie Mae’s announcement that it plans to offer lenders “Day 1” representation and warranty relief, Freddie Mac announced Monday that it is planning a series of enhancements to its Loan Advisor Suite designed to cut mortgage origination costs for lenders.
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China Oceanwide buying Genworth Financial for $2.7 billion

Company plans to "strengthen" mortgage insurance business
Private mortgage insurance is booming right now, and one of China’s largest companies wants in. China Oceanwide Holdings Group announced Monday that it plans to buy Genworth Financial, one of the U.S.’s largest mortgage insurers, for $2.7 billion. Here's more on the deal and why the companies feel it's a win for both parties.
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NCUA reveals it paid $1 billion to lawyers in fight to recover credit union crisis losses

Total settlement agreements top $4.3 billion
In 2013, the National Credit Union Administration filed suit against some of the world’s biggest banks over the sale of nearly $2.4 billion in faulty residential mortgage-backed securities to several corporate credit unions, which subsequently failed during the financial crisis, due in part to losses from those very same mortgage bonds. The total amount recovered for the failed credit unions in those settlements is more than $4 billion, but for the first time, the NCUA revealed just how much it cost to reach those settlements.
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