A look at stories across HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues:
The New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI Sunday night, ousting the New England Patriots for the NFL's top spot.
Meanwhile, in the mortgage servicing world, Wells Fargo is taking home the top prize for its burgeoning commercial and multifamily mortgage servicing business.
Wells Fargo (WFC) ranks as the nation's largest commercial and multifamily mortgage servicer, with the firm handling $437.7 billion in U.S. master and primary servicing business by the end of 2011, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in its year-end servicing report for 2011.
PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Services (PNC) followed closely behind, servicing $355.1 billion in commercial and multifamily loans. Other top players in the segment include Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, which services $176.5 billion in loans, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) with $115 billion and KeyBank Real Estate Capital (Key) with $108.2 billion in servicing business within the multifamily/CRE segment.
PNC/Midland is the top master and primary servicer of commercial bank and savings institutions, while also leading the pack on investor loans and Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae loans. Wells Fargo ranked first in handling loans on warehouse facilities.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley fired off a letter late last week to Ed DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, insisting the FHFA allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer principal forgiveness and loan modifications to struggling, underwater homeowners.
Coakley advised DeMarco to allow the GSEs to offer principal forgiveness on certain loans using a net present-value analysis.
“More than five million people have lost their homes due to foreclosure in the past five years, and millions more on the brink of foreclosure, struggling to stay in their homes,” Coakley wrote in her letter. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be a leader in the arena of loan modification best practices, not an obstruction. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should change course to serve both their own interests and those of the public and the economy.”
The principle write-down debate has become a political hot potato in Washington D.C. Rumors emerged last year that the Obama administration wants to relieve tensions for struggling borrowers through principal write-downs. In response, DeMarco insisted the agency is already helping borrowers through principal forbearance programs. Other principal write-down dissenters suggest the benefits of the write-downs would not necessarily justify the means or costs to taxpayers.
Another political hot topic in the nation's capitol is the need to create a full-scale economic recovery. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will be holding a hearing Thursday to discuss the state of the housing market and the need to remove barriers to a full economic recovery. The committee will hear testimony from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics (MCO) and Christopher Mayer, the Paul Milstein Professor Real Estate, Finance and Economics at the Columbia Business School.
There were no new bank closings reported over the course of the past several days, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s website.