Perhaps the biggest story of the week was CDO woes anew at Alesco Financial ($0.00 0%). This week’s blowup came courtesy of ailing Alt-A lender IndyMac Bancorp ($0.00 0%), which announced (in addition to a worse-than-expected quarterly loss) that it would defer the interest payment on its trust preferred securities. Alesco holds a portion of the equity interests in eight CDOs that include trust preferred securities issued by IndyMac.
Ultimately solving the current housing and mortgage mess isn't likely to come from measures now being debated on Capitol Hill -- that's the message that was whispered in hallways and at coffee breaks at a recent MBA Secondary Market convention in Boston. Instead, solutions are already emerging on various fronts from aggressive investors looking to turn trouble into profit; the result may just yet be a stabilization of housing's teetering axis.
HW readers may or may not know that a not-so-small-ish bank in Arkansas, known as ANB, failed last week -- the latest in what the FDIC and other industry experts expect to be a string of bank failures in 2008 and 2009.
What you may not know is what brought the bank to its knees. Via the WSJ:
Under increasing pressure from consumer groups, Fannie Mae ($0.00 0%) said Friday that it had eliminated its prior loan-to-value restrictions in so-called "declining markets," or those local housing markets most directly hit by the ongoing housing correction. New underwriting and downpayments standards will apply to all mortgages accepted by Fannie Mae, regardless of geographic location, eliminating the controversial policy.
ISGN Technologies, Ltd., a mortgage technology provider, said Thursday that it is re-branding its flagship origination platforms MortgageHub and Dynatek, along with other companies owned by the Pennsylvania-based firm.
The company said it will pursue a so-called unified branding strategy, renaming MortgageHub and Dynatek as ISGN; the company's offshoring platform, Inuva, and its doc prep/fulfillment provider, Tradewinds, will be known as ISGN Fulfillment Services. An inspection and risk mitigation company, Cocamar, will be rebranded as ISGN Inspection Services.
After a blistering take on what he called a "vulture mentality" among servicers last week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday urged the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation into "an emerging of pattern of apparent misconduct by Countrywide Financial Corporation involving its behavior with regard to debtors during bankruptcy."
A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Tuesday that a shareholder lawsuit against executives and officers at Countrywide Financial Corp. ($0.00 0%) can continue to trial, an outcome that many in the industry see as potential precedent for future litigation.
Omni Financial Services, Inc. ($0.00 0%) said Wednesday afternoon that it would delay filing its first quarter earnings as the small community banking company continues to struggle with the financial effects of a surge in real-estate owned inventory.
For the first time in California's history, foreclosure sales exceeded 1,000 properties per day in April, according to a report released Tuesday afternoon. Foreclosure sales at auction -- the last step in the foreclosure process -- jumped 44 percent in April to 22,838 sales, representing $9.45 billion in combined loan value, according to foreclosure data firm ForeclosureRadar.
The vast majority of properties sold at auction received no third party bids, despite ever-increasing discounts from lenders anxious to prevent further build-up in REO inventories.
Freddie Mac ($0.00 0%) said Wednesday that it lost $151 million, or $.66/share, during the first quarter of 2008 as it dealt with what it called a "challenging" mortgage and housing market and absorbed $1.4 billion in credit costs. The quarterly loss compares to a $133 million loss, or $.35/share in the year-ago period, and was significantly better than analysts had expected.
Nonprofits — the Cuyahoga Land Bank, NeighborWorks America, Rebuilding Together, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, PCV|VRM Seeds of Hope and many more local organizations — are investing significant resources to improve America’s most vulnerable housing markets.