Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

A look at the stories on HousingWire’s weekend desk…with more coverage to come on bigger issues: Regulators shut down five banks Friday, including beleaguered Colonial Bank. So far, 77 banks have been shut down in 2009. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) estimates the latest closings will cost nearly $3.7bn. The majority of those costs came from the Alabama State Banking Department’s closure of Montgomery, Ala.-based Colonial Bank, which the FDIC estimates will cost $2.8bn. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Branch Bank and Trust (BBT) assumes all of Colonial’s deposits and rebranded Colonial 346 branches as BB&T locations. BB&T will purchase approximately $22bn of Colonial’s $25bn in assets. The Nevada Financial Institutions Division closed Las Vegas-based Community Bank of Nevada, at a cost of $781.5m to the FDIC insurance fund. The FDIC created the Deposit Insurance National Bank of Las Vegas so customers can transfer their deposits to other insured banks. Nevada State Bank will provide operational management of the FDIC bank, which will remain open for approximately 30 days. Any depositors who do not transfer their accounts in that time will receive the balance of their account in a mailed check. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed Gilbert, Ariz.-based Union Bank, National Association. It cost the FDIC $61m. The one Union Bank location reopened Monday as a branch of the Oklahoma City-based Midfirst Bank. Midfirst also agreed to purchase all deposits, except about $88 million in brokered deposits and $11m of Union Bank’s $124m in assets. The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions closed Phoenix-based Community Bank of Arizona. It cost the FDIC $25.5m. Midfirst will rebrand the four Community Bank of Arizona locations as Midfirst branches. Midfirst assumes the bank’s $143.8m in deposits and $125.5m of $143.8m in its assets. Pennsylvania’s Office of Thrift Supervision closed Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association at a cost of $6.8m to the FDIC. PNC Bank, National Association (PNC) assumes $13.8m in deposits and $3m of the bank’s $13.4m in assets. Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association’s one branch reopened as a PNC Bank branch. Researchers at Barclays Capital (BCS) remain negative on agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as “valuations remain much too tight,” according to its “Securitized Products Weekly” report. The report also notes while the Making Home Affordable Modification Program “should help prevent foreclosures,” Fannie Mae’s (FNM) serious delinquencies continued to rise in Q209. In commercial MBS, Barclays believes continuing declines in property values will encourage recent vintage borrowers to exercise their default option and selectively walk away from their non-recourse, CMBS debt. Houston-based Litton Loan Servicing, Calasbasa, Calif.-based PennyMac Loan Services and Titusville, Penn.-based Servis One all signed on as HAMP servicers. The Treasury Department has allocated a $774.9m cap to Litton, $6.2m to PennyMac and $29.7m to Servis One. There are now 45 servicers participating in HAMP. Grant Gondrezick, a former professional basketball player with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers, pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud, US attorney Tim Johnson’s office announced Friday. According to a plea agreement submitted in US District Court, Gondrezick, 45, recruited straw buyers who were paid to provide false information to obtain loans worth more than the purchase price of the homes. The excess funds were supposed to pay for renovations Gondrezick’s remodeling company was to perform, but never did. Johnson’s office said Gondrezick received approximately $1.9m from the deals. Gondrezick faces up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to $1.9 million in restitution. Co-defendants Tiffany Brooks, who worked as a loan processor, Dirk Minnifield, a real estate agent and former NBA player with the Houston Rockets, and Marc Williams, who worked with Brooks as a loan processor, are also charged in the case for their alleged involvement and are scheduled to go to trial in February 2010. FDIC chair Shelia Bair believes Congress will not approve the Obama Administration’s plans to expand the Federal Reserve’s authority to regulate large financial institutions and give the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency enforcement powers over banks. While Bair said she supports “90%” of Obama’s plan, including creating the consumer agency, she wants to see enforcement kept under the FDIC’s purview. Giving the proposed agency enforcement powers would force banks to report to two enforcement groups, one focusing on bank stability and the other on consumer protection, but the two are “interrelated in a way that is very, very difficult to tease out,” Bair told The Associated Press. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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