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Guild expands in the Midwest by acquiring Cornerstone Mortgage

National Mortgage News - 14 hours 55 min ago
Guild Mortgage is adding to its Midwestern mortgage origination operations through the acquisition of Cornerstone Mortgage of St. Louis.

Tech fixes will bring more business to FHA, top HUD official says

National Mortgage News - 14 hours 55 min ago
Adolfo Marzol, an official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is optimistic that technological improvements and other changes can help draw Federal Housing Administration lenders back to the fold.

BofA Tops IBM, Payments Firms With Most Blockchain Patents

IEHI News feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 16:43
Bank of America Corp. may not be willing to help customers invest in Bitcoin, but that doesn't mean it isn't plowing into the technology underlying the cryptocurrency.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender has applied for or received at least 43 patents for blockchain, the ledger technology used for verifying and recording transactions that's at the heart of virtual currencies. It is the largest number among major banks and technology companies, according to a study by EnvisionIP, a New York-based law firm that specializes in analyses of intellectual property.

"Based on what's publicly out there, the technology sector hasn't embraced blockchain as much as the financial-services industry," Maulin Shah, managing attorney for EnvisionIP, said in an interview.

International Business Machines Corp., which has targeted blockchain and artificial intelligence for future growth, tied with Mastercard Inc. for second on the list, with 27 each.

10 housing markets where it's cheaper to own than rent

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:10
Here's a look at the top 10 markets where it's more affordable to buy a home than rent a three-bedroom property.

Breweries, food trucks, DJs: Banks get creative in wooing millennials

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:10
NewDominion Bank and M&F Bank are among the institutions willing to leave the industry's comfort zone to reach younger prospects.

San Jose projected to be nation's hottest housing market in 2018

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:10
A new report from Zillow projects that the San Jose metropolitan area will be the hottest housing market in the nation in 2018, with home values rising dramatically.

Despite loss, legal battle against CFPB's Mulvaney isn't over yet

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:10
After a significant setback this week in the legal bid to unseat Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, consumer groups are pinning their hopes on a second case they hope will provide a different result.

Citigroup Plays Up Investor Payouts Once Tax Cuts Trigger Profits

IEHI News feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:16
As big U.S. banks weigh how to divvy up their windfall from a massive U.S. tax cut, Citigroup Inc.'s approach appears to be set: Shower profits on investors. Lower tax rates mean the bank can stick to its multiyear plan to pay out at least $60 billion in capital to shareholders even after booking a larger-than-forecast charge of $22 billion to adjust to the new tax regime, the bank said Tuesday. Executives had braced investors last month for a $20 billion hit.

Banks face competing demands for a slice of the gains -- potentially raising pay for staff, cutting prices for clients or plowing more into charity. Wells Fargo & Co. executives said last week they'll boost donations to a philanthropic foundation, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. leaders said they're working on a plan to share the tax savings. Citigroup's statement announcing quarterly results only called out the cash coming investors' way.

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The bank took a bigger up-front hit from the changes because it had been sitting on a massive pile of deferred-tax assets -- a form of IOU that cuts tax bills. The company had accrued them by suffering losses during the financial crisis, then long touted them as a way to burnish future payouts to investors. But the tax overhaul wiped out almost half of their value.

BP says Deepwater disaster will cost another $1.7bln

IEHI News feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:14
The London-based company will record a new $1.7 billion charge in the fourth quarter of 2017 and pay $1 billion of that bill in 2018, it said in a statement Tuesday. The remainder will be distributed over a number of years.

"With the claims facility's work very nearly done, we now have better visibility into the remaining liability," Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said in the statement. "The charge we are taking as a result is fully manageable within our existing financial framework, especially now that we have the company back into balance at $50 per barrel."

The latest charge will cover payments to business owners in the area, BP said. The company's spill-related payouts will rise to $3 billion in 2018 from an earlier estimate of $2 billion, while those for 2017 will remain at $5.5 billion.

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The company agreed to settle all claims with the U.S. federal and state governments in a $21 billion agreement in 2015, removing a major chunk of risks related to the deadly accident and allowing Dudley to grow the company again. BP had at that time agreed to make the payments over about two decades, softening the blow on its balance sheet.

The company has said it will pay for the spill with money raised from asset sales. The higher 2018 payout means it will need to raise its divestment program for the year, according to Oswald Clint, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.

The Senate's push to overrule the FCC on net neutrality now has 50 votes, Democrats say

IEHI News feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:12
Fifty senators have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry, top Democrats said Monday.

The tally leaves supporters just one Republican vote shy of the 51 required to pass a Senate resolution of disapproval, in a legislative gambit aimed at restoring the agency's net neutrality rules.

Bitcoin, rival cryptocurrencies plunge on crackdown fears

IEHI News feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:10
Bitcoin slid as much as 18 percent on Tuesday to a four-week low, as fears of a regulatory crackdown on the market spread after reports suggested it was still possible that South Korea could ban trading in cryptocurrencies.

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That came amid news that a senior Chinese central banker had said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies and prohibit individuals and businesses from providing related services.

China shut down exchanges operating on the mainland last year - a move that also sparked a selloff, though the market later recovered.

"It's mainly been regulatory issues which are haunting (bitcoin), with news around South Korea's further crackdown on trading the driver today," said Think Markets chief strategist Naeem Aslam, who holds what he described as "substantial" amounts of bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

"But we maintain our stance. We do not think that the complete banning of cryptocurrencies is possible," he said.

Washington edges closer to a government shutdown

IEHI News feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 09:44
We've been here before -- Congress and the Trump White House facing a potential government shutdown -- and each time the major players have backed away from the brink. But this time feels different, with the government's funding expiring on Saturday.

...And maybe the biggest casualty here is the breakdown in trust -- between Trump and Durbin over the immigration profanity heard ‘round the world; between Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue (who denied Trump said the profanity) and everyone else who was in the room; and between Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly and Stephen Miller, who believed Trump could be tricked on DACA. Without trust, you're not going to get a deal.

Pittsburgh's median rents decreased in 2017

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:04
Pittsburgh rents on the listing site Abodo dropped an average of 1.7% a month in 2017, the fourth-largest decrease in the nation.

Employment boosted credit scores to 10-year high, Experian finds

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:04
The average VantageScore last year was higher than it has been since 2007 due to improved hiring and despite stagnant wages that aren't keeping pace with rising debt levels.

Investors' bond sales lead to higher mortgage rates

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:04
Mortgage rates jumped across the board as investors sold some of their Treasury bond holdings, which led to higher yields, according to Freddie Mac.

New home loan app volume down as storm-driven purchases slow

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:04
Loan applications for newly constructed homes slowed on a month-to-month basis in December as the storm-driven spike in volume ended.

Judge deals another blow to bid to unseat CFPB's Mulvaney

National Mortgage News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:04
U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly on Wednesday said CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English's case was unlikely to succeed on the merits and did not demonstrate irreparable harm.

Housing finance reform could weaken rural lending, groups warn

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:45
Housing finance reform proposals could make it challenging for community banks and credit unions to serve rural mortgage markets, according to a report issued Wednesday by Brookings and the Center for Responsible Lending.

Blame the deluded board members for Carillion's collapse

IEHI News feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 14:06
... the hard fact is that Carillion directors were boasting in March last year of having "substantial liquidity with some £1.5bn of available funding" yet the company ran out of money 10 months later.

That suggests delusion in the boardroom on a grand scale. Hedge funds, looking from outside and betting on the shares going south, seem to have had a better grasp of Carillion's financial distress than the insiders.

...

In the end, it comes down to judgments made in the boardroom. Carillion, outrageously, was declaring a fatter dividend for shareholders only last spring. Given what we know now, the correct action would have been to go to those investors and ask for a big injection of capital via a rights issue. Half the board would have had to resign, but an over-stretched balance sheet might have been repaired. Instead Carillion seems to have chosen to chase more low-margin contracts in a desperate attempt to keep its revenue line moving.

Regarding the point about this all being obvious to hedge fund short sellers, this article has more.

Three years on from currency shock, Swiss central bank can't get back to normal

IEHI News feed - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 13:56
If it raises rates, the Swiss franc strengthens. If it sells off its massive balance sheet, the Swiss franc strengthens. If a global crisis hits, the Swiss franc strengthens.

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"The SNB will most probably be one of the last central banks to change course, and it will take years or even decades for monetary policy to return to ‘normal'," said Daniel Rempfler, head of fixed income Switzerland at Swiss Life Asset Managers.

The Bank of Japan illustrated the problem of reducing expansive policy when a small cut to its regular bond purchases sent the yen and bond yields higher.

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"It is very difficult to say you are ready to intervene in the forex markets when you also winding down the balance sheet," said Florian Weber, an analyst at Bank J.Safra Sarasin.