The value of focusing on precision is a lost art in American society, which is why the mortgage crisis — and to a greater extent the corporate and political debacles of today — are symptoms of a new-age philosophy that is more focused on delivery than on process, value or work ethic.
In other words, our government and political leaders have checked out on their true responsibilities so to speak. Today's leaders must have read Oprah's favorite book, "The Secret," which claims a person creates happiness by just thinking happy thoughts or happy bubbles as it where.
Asset-based investment management company Fortress Investment Group [stock FIG][/stock], which manages private equity and hedge funds, appointed the former head of mortgage giant Fannie Mae [stock FNM][/stock], Daniel Mudd, as CEO.
Mudd also served as CEO of GE Capital in Japan and held positions in financial services and management consulting at the World Bank, Ayers Whitmore and Co. and Xerox Corp.
American International Group [stock AIG][/stock] this week picked Eric Martinez Jr. to take over the CEO position at the firm's United Guaranty Corp., a mortgage guaranty insurance provider.
He replaces William Nutt, whose reasons for leaving the company were not disclosed before this story went to press.
Gaining insight from the banking crisis in Japan a decade ago, the United States should immediately remove troubled assets off bank balance sheets, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said Monday.
"Banks with troubled assets focus on avoiding further losses and further depleting capital," Boston Fed chief Eric Rosengren told a conference of international bankers. "Troubled banks in Japan were often more supportive of problem borrowers than borrowers who had good prospects going forward. Focusing on future growth requires removing the problem assets."
Since twin housing finance giants Fannie Mae [stock FNM][/stock] and Freddie Mac [stock FRE][/stock] were placed under conservatorship last year, Federal Housing Finance Agency director James Lockhart has famously (infamously?) intoned that both GSEs now carry an "effective" guarantee on both their debt and mortgage securities.
But "effective" is clearly not the same thing as an explicit guarantee, despite wrangling by U.S. policymakers and other administration officials designed to coax overseas investors back into the agency MBS markets.
Nomura Holdings, Inc. -- Japan's largest investment bank -- said today it will exit the US residential mortgage-backed securities business amid "disappointing results." The company said it reduced its exposure to the RMBS market by nearly $2 billion (48.0 billion yen) during the second quarter, and that only $119 million (14.0 billion yen) remains of the company's residential mortgage securities holdings.
Lehman Brothers said this morning that it has eliminated 850 positions in the U.S. and UK amid a restructuring of its mortgage business, a move that the investment bank said "sizes the business appropriately for the current market environment." The company also said it is closing its Korean mortgage business.
No details were given on what percentage of the 850 cuts were centered in the company's US-based operations.
People are listening to real estate economists today in a way that anyone who covered the industry a decade or more ago would not recognize. Smoke is one of the members of this new wave of real estate economists. In fact, Smoke is actually the newest one on the block. The upstart economists at places like Trulia and Zillow are still new, Smoke is just the latest player to join the game..