Mortgage Meltdown: Credit Crisis Spreads

 

Credit Crisis Over? — Not by a Long Shot

 

As you can imagine I get emails and comments from hundreds of people seeking help and whose houses are going into sale or foreclosure, most of whom are completely unaware that they have rights superior to the lender, if they can find someone to help them like www.repairyourloan.com

 

Lawyers won’t help you until you get the mortgage audit completed. It is then that you will know the extent of your claims and what you do to stop the foreclosure, the eviction or even extinguish the mortgage and release yourself from liability on the mortgage note. 

 

Here is an article which illustrates why you need to beware of both the government and the lenders. They are trying to give the impression that the credit crisis is (a) not as bad as people thought and (b) over. What they are really trying to do is pivot your attention away from the fact that the massive mortgage meltdown has caused a meltdown in all the credit markets. It has caused a massive meltdown in asset values for individuals, corporations and government entities. 

 

This is not the beginning of the end. It is, as Winston Churchill said in World War II “the end of the beginning.” We have years to go before this shakes out just in terms of education of the public. And we have decades to go to recover from this utter failure of government to do its job — to referee between those who know things and those who don’t. 

 

In the process the government, the corporations and the individuals owning houses or doing their jobs have all been smacked in the face, really hard and have snapped out of their wishful confidence in their government and in the “good faith” of a good faith estimate before closing on a loan.

 

Credit Crisis

Congress And The Credit Crisis

Joshua Zumbrun 05.14.08, 6:00 AM ET

 

Washington, D.C. – 

A congressional panel meets Tuesday morning looking to answer two big questions about the economy: Is the credit crisis over? And can anything be done to prevent another crisis in the future? 

 

To both questions, the answer is “No. And proceed with great caution.”

 

For the credit crisis, reasons for optimism are emerging. Monday morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined positive signs: confidence between banks has risen, the market for repurchase agreements of Treasury securities has improved, secondary markets even for troubled mortgage-backed securities have more liquidity than they did in May.

 

“These are welcome signs, of course, but at this stage conditions in financial markets are still far from normal,” Bernanke cautioned. (See “Recovery: Are We There Yet?”)

 

Still, the battered housing market continues to drag. Data released Monday from the National Association of Realtors showed that home prices are still falling. In the first quarter of this year, the median home price dropped 7.7% from a year ago–the biggest decline in the 29 years NAR has compiled the prices.

 

The number of borrowers who owe more than their house is worth is still growing. Loan defaults and foreclosures are likely to continue, as will losses to the lenders. Foreclosures tend to drag down the prices of their entire neighborhoods. But even here, Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, sees some signs of optimism: “Neighborhoods with little subprime exposure are holding on very well.” And at least banks are not originating new subprime loans.

 

Now for the second question: How to prevent risk in the future. That’s what makes Tuesday morning’s hearing significant. The early advice Congress receives could shape regulation of banks and the financial market for years or even decades. And, as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson noted in proposing a series of regulatory reforms in March, “few, if any, will defend our current balkanized system as optimal.”

 

The March collapse of Bear Stearns exposed a weakness in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, a 1999 law that removed the barriers between commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies. The amount of systemic risk was not recognized until too late.

 

After Gramm-Leach-Bliley, banks and insurance companies were allowed to undertake the same activities, but they still answered to their old regulators. Five federal regulators oversee deposits, in addition to regulation from state governments. Futures and securities are regulated by separate agencies. Insurance regulation is spread across more than 50 regulators.

 

The result was a confused alphabet soup–SEC, CFTC, OCC, NCUA, FDIC–with muddled boundaries or, as SEC Chairman Christopher Cox described the result, “a statutory no-man’s land.”

 

But regulation presents pitfalls as well. It must be considered not in terms of more or less regulation but rather in terms of flexibility and efficiency. 

 

“In the wake of a bust, there is always a predictable series of political activities,” says Alex Pollock, former president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, who will testify before the committee. “First, the search for the guilty; second, the fall of previously esteemed heroes; and third, legislation and increased regulation to ensure that ‘this will never happen again.’ But, with time, it always does happen again.”

 

The guilty have been identified as the twin bogeymen of the subprime underworld: “speculators” and “unscrupulous lenders,” enabled by banks unable to price risk and an irrational belief that home prices would always rise. The esteemed heroes have fallen: the collapse of Bear Stearns, disappointing results from Wall Street’s banks. Even Alan Greenspan has lost some of his luster.

 

The third act at the boom and bust theater is well under way. This week the Senate is ironing out its companion legislation to the House’s Foreclosure Prevention Act, which passed last week with a 266-154 margin. The president has indicated he would veto the bill’s current incarnation but could support a toned-down version. All that remains is the predictable regulatory overhaul and then a long wait for the inevitable cycle to begin in the future. 

 

 

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