HousingWire's Morning Radar takes a look at news trending on the internet.
USDA wields big stick over delinquent borrowers
It may be a small player in the mortgage market, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service gets tough when homeowners fall behind on payments, The Wall Street Journal reports. It has at its disposal some opportunities to collect against delinquent borrowers that nongovernmental financial institutions don't have. It can, in some cases, seize government benefits and tax refunds before a foreclosure is completed.
The USDA, which provides mortgage loans to rural homeowners and guarantees loans made by banks, accounted for at least a third of all mortgages issued in 2010 in sparsely populated areas in the U.S. After foreclosure, the USDA can go after unpaid balances, even in states that limit such actions by private lenders.
Since the mortgage crisis began in 2007, the USDA's loan volumes have tripled. The agency guaranteed $16.9 billion in loans in fiscal 2011, and issued $1.1 billion in direct loans.
Lehman to buy remainder of Archstone for $1.58 billion
The New York Times reported that Lehman Brothers Holdings has agreed to buy the stake it does not currently own in Archstone, a sprawling apartment company, for about $1.58 billion, according to a person briefed on the matter. Lehman will buy the remaining 26.5% stake from Bank of America and Barclays, after months of negotiations over the holdings. An announcement could come soon, this person said.
European economic outlook dims
Europe’s prospects dimmed this week as the long battle to defend the euro zone continued to undermine confidence and raised the prospect of a renewed cycle of demands for austerity. Read this take on the situation in the NYT.
— Kerry Curry