Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

A look at stories across HousingWire’s weekend desk…with more coverage to come on bigger issues: Federal prosecutors will not bring charges against the executives of the American International Group (AIG) for company’s collapse, according to a Saturday story in the New York Times. The story cited two unnamed sources. Joseph Cassano, and other executives at the AIG Financial Products unit, which insured $80bn in mortgage securities, have been investigated for possibly misleading investors. But no charges will be filed. The annual rate of default on the group of mortgages originated by Countrywide has “turned around in the past few months,” according to analysts at Barclays Capital. In the past, modifying or pushing these loans through the foreclosure and ultimately, REO process, was slower than average, but the pace is picking up. According to Barclays, liquidations rates of Countrywide loans should increase as more trial modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) are resolved. As of May, 10% of the modified loans received debt forgiveness, up from 0% in January. The most recent modifications came on loans more than 10 months delinquent. The board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) approved settlement of the bankruptcy case of Washington Mutual, the holding company of Washington Mutual Bank, which was closed in September 2008. The agreement also settles claims between Washington Mutual and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), which acquired the failed bank. “This agreement will result in substantial recoveries to the receiver and resolve claims that could have taken years and millions of dollars to litigate,” said Michael Bradfield, general counsel of the FDIC. The Minnesota Department of Commerce closed Pinehurst Bank in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was the only closing last week. Coulee Bank, based in Wisconsin, will assume all $58.3m in total deposits and will purchase essentially all $61.2m in assets. The FDIC estimated the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) to be $6m. Trouble continues for banks around the world, too. The Bank of Spain took control of CajaSur, a bank located in the southern city of Cordoba, according to media reports. CajaSur has more than $16bn in outstanding loans. Troubled property loans were at the epicenter of the bank’s problems. Leaning on revenue from rental properties, Triple Crown Corp., a real estate firm in Harrisburg, Penn., reported it has weathered enough of the housing downturn to begin increasing its property holdings. The company acquired six new development sites for new single-family residential homes. It has also opened a design center to help prospective buyers customize the features of their new home. “We figured that our new home sales would bounce back — and they have — and now we have a head start in reaching new home buyers while the market picks back up,” said Mark DiSanto, CEO of Triple Crown. At the PMI Group (PMI) annual meeting of shareholders, all nine director nominees were re-elected to the board of directors. After the meeting, CEO Stephen Smith was re-elected as chairman of the board. PMI provides mortgage insurance and other credit products. It reported a $157m loss in Q110 even though there was a 21% drop in default notices received in its mortgage insurance segment. In April, released plans to boost capital for the mortgage insurances business. Shareholders also appointed the accounting firm Ernst & Young as independent auditors for the company through the rest of 2010. Effective immediately, institutions wanting to apply as Ginnie Mae or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issuers must use separate forms. Those wishing to apply to Ginnie must use the new Form HUD-11701, titled “Application for Approval – Ginnie Mae Mortgage-Backed Securities Issuer.” Those wanting to become FHA lenders must use Form HUD-92001-A, “FHA Lender Approval Application.” The old form will no longer be available for use. Write to Jon Prior. Disclosure: the author holds no relevant investment positions.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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