Politics & MoneyMortgage

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Mixed reactions on Florida foreclosure bill

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee is a quick look at the news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

Almost inevitably, perhaps, reaction to the bill signed in Florida by the state’s governor to speed up foreclosures has been mixed. Or so says a piece in The Tampa Tribune.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that expedites the default process on Friday. While some see it as a boon for the consumer and the foreclosure-laden state, others are viewing it as a more efficient means for banks to snatch away people’s homes, the newspaper reports.

It’s one of a few pieces of housing-related legislation becoming law in the Sunshine State. For example, under a new landlord-tenant bill, the article states a tenant could pay partial rent and still be evicted within days if they fail to turn over the rest of the money.

The Wall Street Journal breaks down the housing recovery in a bulls-versus-bears feature article. Reporter Nick Timiraos gets his hands on a research paper by Joshua Rosner, managing director of Graham Fisher & Co. in order to help lay out the bears side of things.

Ivy Zelman of advisory firm Zelman & Associates gives the bulls case.

“If you were waiting for homeownership rates to improve, you would have missed the housing recovery,” says Zelman. “It’s all about occupancy and shelter.”

Watch out: the editors at The New York Times are running a column on the housing recovery. There is no surprise that they don’t like the role of private equity in the housing recovery.

A main concern is that these “Wall Street” investors, by their mere presence alone, will incentivize “banks” to foreclose on homeowners, since an above-market willing buyer is right there waiting on sidelines to boot out the borrower and turn them into lifelong renters.

Even worse, they say, it’s all the government’s fault:

“The emergence of Wall Street investors also reflects the continued failure of public policy to deal with the housing bust,” they write. “The decline in homeownership and the loss of home equity could have been stanched if Congress and the Obama administration had aggressively pursued efforts to keep financially troubled borrowers in their homes, including bankruptcy reform and principal reduction loan modifications.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced that the shutters had been put up on two banks at the end of last week.

The FDIC on Thursday closed 1st Commerce Bank of Las Vegas, with all of the institution’s deposits and sole former premises being taken over by Irvine, Calif.-based Plaza Bank.

As of March 31, 2013, 1st Commerce Bank had approximately $20.2 million in total assets and $19.6 million in total deposits. The FDIC estimates that cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $9.4 million.

And on Friday, Mountain National Bank of Sevierville, Tenn., was acquired by Memphis, Tenn.-based First Tennessee Bank National Association, which will reopen the 12 Mountain National branches under its own name, the FDIC said.

As of March 31, 2013, Mountain National Bank had approximately $437.3 million in total assets and $373.4 million in total deposits.

The FDIC estimates that cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be $33.5 million.


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

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