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Mortgage Fraud News
New York Times Article: Cisneros the Genesis and Genius of Homeownership at What Price?
Sunday, 19 October 2008

Building Flawed American Dreams
As the Clinton administration’s top housing official in the mid-1990s, Mr. Cisneros loosened mortgage restrictions so first-time buyers could qualify for loans they could never get before. Then, capitalizing on a housing expansion he helped unleash, he joined the boards of a major builder and the largest mortgage lender in the nation, Countrywide Financial — two companies that rode the housing boom, drawing criticism along the way for abusive business practices...The causes of the housing implosion are many: lax regulation, financial innovation gone awry, excessive debt, raw greed. The players are also varied: bankers, borrowers, developers, politicians and bureaucrats...For the three years he was a director at KB Home, Mr. Cisneros received at least $70,000 in pay and more than $100,000 worth of stock. He also received $1.14 million in directors’ fees and stock grants during the six years he was a director at Countrywide. He made more than $5 million from Countrywide stock options, money he says he plowed into his company.  See relates article:Henry Cisneros on the hot seat  Related Times Topics: Gretchen Morgenson

Read more...
 
New York Times Special Report Series
Sunday, 19 October 2008

New York Times: Examining the Financial Crisis
Reporter Gretchen Morgenson discusses an upcoming New York Times series of articles examining the causes of the current financial crisis.  See Video by Gretchen Morgenson

 
New York Times Credit Crisis Series
Saturday, 18 October 2008

How the Credit Crisis Unfolded
The extent of the credit crisis that unfolded from the morning of Sept. 17 to the afternoon of Sept. 18. was unseen to the public but spooked policy makers into action. Read more...

 
Will Countrywide Officials Pay?
Friday, 17 October 2008

Countrywide to Set Aside $8.4 Billion in Loan Aid
Countrywide Financial has agreed to the largest program ever to modify home loans, as part of a settlement with officials in 11 states, just days after the federal government adopted a giant financial rescue package without any relief for distressed homeowners...The terms of the settlement do not address Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide Financial, or David E. Sambol, the company’s former president. The states had included both as defendants. Mr. Brown said he would pursue litigation against both men. Neither could be reached for comment.

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Fannie and Freddie Government Take Over
Sunday, 07 September 2008

Treasury's Paulson says government to take over Fannie, Freddie
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. Treasury Dept. said Sunday it is placing troubled mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae under conservatorship by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Under the plan, the FHFA will assume the power of the board, and the two firms' cheif executives will resign after a transitional period. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said: "Based on what we have learned about these institutions over the last four weeks ... and given the condition of financial markets today, I concluded that it would not have been in the best interest of the taxpayers for Treasury to simply make an equity investment" rather than take over the firms outright. Read and Post Comments

 
Washington Post: Real Estate Appraisers - Still Business as Usual
Sunday, 24 August 2008

Real estate appraisers still feel pressured to inflate valuations
Are mortgage loan officers and realty agents -- even individual home sellers -- continuing to influence or attempting to interfere with appraisals despite new federal rules that ban such behavior? Ask appraisers and many will tell you: It's still business as usual. Attempts at encouraging inflated appraisals continue to be commonplace, though in some cases the techniques have become subtler. "Absolutely, appraisers continue to get pressured" to hit the numbers needed to push transactions to closing, said Bill Garber, government affairs director for the Appraisal Institute, the country's largest professional organization representing appraisers.

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Inman News: Fannie-Freddie Deathwatch Begins
Friday, 22 August 2008

Commentary: No end in sight to credit starvation
The big news right now is the Fannie-Freddie deathwatch. First thing: Borrowers should relax; the consequences of demise for you will be either good news or no news. The pending takeover is in many ways a non-story, just confirmation that Fannie and Freddie were, indeed, too big to fail. Hopes will be dashed at the Fed and Congress that takeover will benefit our decapitalized financial system and the economy. Maybe, just maybe, the authorities will absorb that lesson, and begin useful action.

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FBI Investigates Home Builders Incentives as high as $100,000 inflating appraisals
Saturday, 16 August 2008

FBI Probes Unusual Incentives for Home Buyers
When home sales began to slow at the start of the downturn, home builders offered buyers incentives -- instead of reducing prices -- to stimulate demand. The incentives included cars, tuition and credit-card payments, and even cash. Now, federal investigators are questioning whether some of those incentives misled lenders and caused them to write mortgages that were artificially inflated, contributing to today's home-price crash...the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that home builders, brokers and appraisers defrauded lenders by not disclosing unusually large incentives to buyers, which could have added as much as $100,000 to the price of a home.

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The Ins and outs of Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 - Good or Bad?
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Housing bill no panacea
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, signed by President Bush July 30, contains a hodge-podge of new programs, protections and perks for homeowners, home buyers and housing-related companies. But considerable doubt remains as to whether the law will do much to change the current dynamics of the nation's housing markets, which are still mired in misfired mortgages and depressed home sales. The bill may turn out to be not so much too little, too late, but rather misdirected, riddled with loopholes and subject to unintended consequences.

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Express News: Cisneros Special
Saturday, 09 August 2008

Cisneros says he didn't get special treatment
Henry Cisneros resigned from the Countrywide Financial Corp. board last fall, but he hasn't escaped the harsh spotlight shining on the company in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown that began last year.  Some media reports would have the public believe that Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor and U.S. housing secretary, got special rates on loans from Countrywide alongside two U.S. senators — Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D. — now ensnarled in an ethics scandal. Special treatment such as below-market rate loans would violate the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law for directors.

Read more...
 
Mortgage Industry: Watchdog or Lapdog
Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Mortgage Industry Warchdog or Lapdog - By Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle's editorial cartoonist

 
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