More Rungs on Home Ownership Ladder

In the week ending April 18, 2015, the House passed H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.  H.R. 650 makes helpful adjustments to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations that govern mortgages commonly used to finance the most affordable homes, i.e. manufactured homes.  The House also passed H. R. 685, the Mortgage Choice […]

Spending Habit Can Tee up Another Bailout

Two of the largest US institutions are at risk of going wobbly.  Fannie Mae lists $3 trillion and Freddie Mac lists $1.7 trillion  in securitized mortgages that they sold to banks usually with guarantees.  According to some sources, their impressive performance in recent years may be drawing to a close and their federal masters have […]

Expecting a Crush of Lenders for Low Down Payment Mortgages?

The most prominent obligation for federal bank regulators – the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve, and the Controller of the Currency – is to avoid another taxpayer bailout as happened in 2008. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) infused $250 billion into banks to stabilize them.  The program was embarrassing to banks […]

It’s Comparable, Comparable, Comparable

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they will be loosening the penalties they impose on mortgage originators. A deluge of mortgages defaulted during the great recession, resulting in the current regulations designed to help resist a repeat.  Much of the tougher rules govern percent of market value that can be mortgaged, income to debt […]

Home Bittersweet Home

For decades housing was a buoyant force in our economy. Lately it has been a dead-weight in the lives of many who are in or who are approaching retirement.  Their retirement portfolios are not generating enough income to pay the bills, and because of spotty employment, many are failing to make regular contributions.  A generation […]

Justice for Profit

The automobile industry has a disreputable track record of rolling out flawed vehicles that threaten consumer safety.  The inevitable recalls burden consumers with worry and wasted time.  No manufacturer has a monopoly on faulty cars. Over the past several years, GM recalled 1.4 million cars due to a faulty ignition switch involving 13 deaths.  Ford […]

Handling the Return of Housing to the Private Sector

The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) buy mortgages from banks and thrifts then securitize them for sale.  These mortgage backed securities are more attractive to investors than raw mortgages because they don’t need servicing and are easier to buy and sell.  In this way, Fannie […]

Mortgages May Become Too Onerous

For those determined and financial able, wonderful homes are available at prices considered a steal just a few years ago.   A lively housing market has traditionally helped pull our economy out of the recession ditch.  What this market lacks are able consumers with dreams of a first-time or move-up home. Although the latest recession was […]

The Public Should Not Be a Mortgage Insurance Backstop

Mortgage Insurance is a guarantee that a mortgage lender will be repaid.  Without this guarantee, most lenders would be reluctant to loan money for 15 or 30 years to anyone lacking high income, high down payment and high credit rating.  Their reluctance would show up as refusal to loan or as an uncomfortably high interest […]