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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Foreclosure review fees questioned

HousingWire’s Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news from the weekend, with more coverage on bigger issues.

New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney is calling for detailed information about contractors hired to look into foreclosure processes at mortgage servicers.

The high cost of reviewing foreclosures at big banks ignited Maloney, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, to request federal regulators who oversee foreclosure reviews to provide details about the independent contractors examining borrowers’ cases, the New York Times reported.

The contractors received more than $1 billion in fees, which led to a $3.3 billion cash settlement for borrowers. Regulators began requiring foreclosure reviews in 2011 after evidence surfaced of rampant improperties by the banks servicing troubled loans.

Click here to read the full article.

More jobs would equal more pop to the nation’s economy, according to an MarketWatch article. Reporter Jeffry Bartash runs the gamut of recent, positive housing numbers but gets to the real core issue at the end, and grows more dire in the predictions. 

“Housing is coming back from a low base,” noted Richard Moody, chief economist of Regions Bank in Alabama. The point being that nascent recovery are also very fragile.  

So what could derail the recovery?

For one, new-home sales will have to accelerate at a faster rate or a glut could develop, Bartash warns. Further, a lack of jobs continues to drag the economy.

“If we do see better job growth, housing will recover even faster,” Moody said

JPMorgan Chase had its biggest three-part debt sale since the lender issued $7.2 billion of bonds in April 2011. Chase’s $6.2 billion trading loss last year is a faded memory for bondholders who awarded the lender the cheapest borrowing costs to date.

Chase sold $6 billion of securities including $2.75 billion of 10-year notes with an unprecedented 3.2% coupon, according to Bloomberg.

The bond offering came after the company reported a record profit for the third straight year, driven by rising loan demand. Chase also boosted its mortgage fees and related revenue to $2.03 billion in the fourth quarter.

The company sold $1.25 billion of five-year notes at its record low coupon of 1.8% to yield 103 basis points more than similar-maturity Treasuries.

Click here to read the full article.

The Twin Cities witnessed a revival in the housing market last year as the city continues to climb the industry ladder.

Home sales priced at more than $1 million, jumping nearly 20%. This gain outpaced the broader market, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Across the 11-county metropolitan area, 307 home sales were priced at more than $1 million in 2011, a fraction of the 13,000 properties that sold for less than $120,000. There was also a nearly 50% jump in properties priced from $350,000 to $500,00 and sales in all price ranges increased 17% from last year.

The main driver in the increasing housing market is a result of first-time buyers and investors, the Star Tribune reported.

To read the full story, click here.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. closed its second institution to fail in the nation this year.

1st Regents Bank in Andover, Minn., was closed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which appointed the FDIC as the receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into an assumption and purchase agreement with the First Minnesota Bank in Minnetonka, Minn. to assume all of the deposits of 1st Regents Bank.

The former 1st Regents Bank will reopen its sole branch on Tuesday as First Minnesota Bank during regular business hours.

1st Regents Bank had approximately $50.2 million in total assets and $49.1 million in total deposits.

The estimated cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $10.5 million.

Read the full statement here.

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