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

OneWest Bank executives are considering the possibility of selling the big savings and loan company, the LA Times reports

Discussions were held with several banks, although the talks are at only a preliminary stage, according to people informed about the process.

Executives of OneWest said all along that at some point they intended to sell the bank or offer its stock to the public, with a sale being the preferred alternative.

Hedge fund billionaires took over the remains of IndyMac Bank after the mortgage crisis and converted it into OneWest Bank.

Click here to read the story in its entirety.

Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke indicated that the central bank may consider holding mortgage-backed securities longer on its balance sheet to minimize any market disruption.

Additionally, Duke also said that the housing recovery will strengthen throughout the year, but warned that tight credit conditions may be a drag on the upswing, according to Reuters.

“The strength of this momentum will be determined by credit availability to these new households, an availability that may be much slower to return as mortgage market participants assess the regulatory, market and economic environment,” she said. 

Click here to read the article. To read Duke’s full assessment of investors, click here.

The total volume and amount of home sales in the Pittsburgh, Pa. region reached the highest number since the local market took a dive in 2009, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. 

The number of homes sold in the five-county region, including Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland, jumped to 26,628 in 2012, up from 24,014 in 2009, according to RealSTATs

Last year, the average home price of $166,336 was 12% higher than in 2009 when the average price fell to $147,744.

“We are in an interesting period right now because in most of the neighborhoods there is such a shortage of houses for sale that houses are selling very, very quickly,” said Howard Hanna III, chairman and CEO of Howard Hanna Real Estate.

Read the story here

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. closed its fourth institution in the nation this year.

Frontier Bank in LaGrange, Ga., was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the FDIC as the receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into an assumption and purchase agreement with HeritageBank in South Albany Ga., to assume all of the deposits of Frontier Bank.

The former Frontier Bank will reopen its ninth branch during normal business hours as a branch of HeritageBank of the South.  

As of Dec. 31, Covenant Bank had approximately $258.8 million in total assets and $224.1 million in total deposits.  

Read the full statement here


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