Feed aggregator

Genworth working on data protection plan to get merger approval

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:01
Genworth Financial's acquisition by a Chinese insurance company, which has already been delayed several times, might be in peril following the failure of another cross-border merger to gain approval.

Mortgage rates drop to start the new year

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:01
Mortgage rates dropped to start the year as the markets had little new news to react on during the holiday period.

Trump administration must back CFPB action against PHH, top Democrat says

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:01
Sen. Sherrod Brown called on the Trump administration to support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's enforcement action against PHH Corp., which agreed to a $45 million settlement this week related to foreclosure abuses.

Tampa Bay's priciest foreclosure is as twisted as its boardwalk

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:01
Behind a tall iron fence lies one of the most unusual gated communities in Tampa Bay. And within that lies the most expensive and unusual bank-owned house for sale between Crystal River and Sarasota.

Dallas-area home price growth cools

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 06:57
Dallas-area home prices are at record levels but are rising at a slower rate than in recent years.

Credit score gap between homebuyers, consumers at widest point in 12 years

National Mortgage News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 06:57
The gap between the average credit score for homebuyers and other consumers has widened to its highest point in 12 years, and lenders don't know what, if anything, to do about it.

UK companies will face huge new VAT burden after Brexit

IEHI News feed - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 13:54
More than 130,000 UK firms will be forced to pay VAT upfront for the first time on all goods imported from the European Union after Brexit, under controversial legislation to be considered by MPs on Monday.

The VAT changes spelled out in the taxation (cross-border trade) bill -- one of a string of Brexit laws passing through parliament -- are causing uproar among UK business groups, which say that they will create acute cashflow problems and huge additional bureaucracy.

Labour and Tory MPs and peers said that the only way to avoid the VAT Brexit penalty would be to stay in the customs union or negotiate to remain in the EU-VAT area.

The CFPB Lists The Most Hated Banks

IEHI News feed - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 13:00
The CFPB Lists The Most Complained About Banks For 2017

Iranian protests caused by economic hardships and bank failures

IEHI News feed - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:23
The unnamed woman is one of countless Iranians who say their savings have been wiped out by the collapse of fraudulent businesses and unlicensed credit institutions in recent years. Economists are now pointing to the abrupt closure of these poorly regulated institutions as laying the foundation for the unrest that struck Iran starting in late December.

"Banks are shutting down without any kind of notice, and it's creating a huge political and economic backlash at a local level," said Suzanne Maloney, senior fellow on Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution.

Anger over these losses came on top of years of pent-up frustration over a sluggish economy. When the government announced recent price increases and released an austere budget bill, it ignited at-times violent protests that spread rapidly to dozens of cities nationwide. Demonstrators quickly turned their fury on corrupt officials and the Islamic republic as a whole.

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"Most protests in Iran are over economic issues," Maloney said. "What's different is that it seems to have tapped into a deep sense of alienation and frustration, that people aren't just demonstrating for better working conditions or pay, but insisting on wholesale rejection of the system itself."

Royal Handouts Cheer Saudis But Show Struggle to Revamp Economy

IEHI News feed - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:19
Saudi authorities said they'll spend billions of riyals to help citizens offset the impact of a value-added tax and a surge in gasoline and utility prices, a move that will help ease public discontent while highlighting the kingdom's struggle to overhaul its economy.

King Salman, in a series of royal orders early on Saturday, restored an annual pay raise for Saudi civil servants, suspended as part of attempts to rein in a hefty public-sector wage bill. He ordered a 5,000-riyal ($1,333) bonus for soldiers fighting in Yemen and granted Saudis working for the state an extra 1,000 riyals a month as a "cost of living" allowance for a year. The government will also pay part of the newly introduced VAT.

The measures will likely be cheered by Saudis who took to social media and television to criticize surging prices and the implementation of a 5 percent VAT on a wide array of products as of Jan. 1. Yet they also show how the kingdom's rulers are struggling to find a balance between the need to avoid unrest and take the difficult steps needed to reduce what policy makers and economists see as an unsustainable reliance on oil revenue.

SEC Now Investigating Kushner's Use of "Cash for Visas" Program (EB-5)

IEHI News feed - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:16
The Securities and Exchange Commission sent the Kushner Companies a subpoena asking for information about the firm's petitions for EB-5 visas, which allow wealthy foreign nationals to obtain green cards if they invest in job-creating projects in the U.S.

The subpoena, which had not been previously disclosed, was sent in May 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Kushner Cos. makes frequent use of the EB-5 program to raise investment capital for its real estate development projects. The company came under scrutiny last year when it was reported that Jared Kushner's sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, was using the family's connection to the White House in presentations to Chinese investors. In her presentation, Meyer suggested the company was in a position to guarantee approval of the EB-5 applications because Trump was a "key decision maker" in the process.''

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The program is also susceptible to massive fraud schemes. In several cases in recent years, U.S.-based real estate developers have collected hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting foreigners for projects that never materialize or were outright fabrications from the start.

Chinese investors dominate the EB-5 program -- roughly two-thirds of the 10,000 investors visas issued in 2016 were given to Chinese nationals.

SEC Now Investigating Kushner's Use of "Cash for Visas" Program (EB-5)

Implode Explode - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:16
The Securities and Exchange Commission sent the Kushner Companies a subpoena asking for information about the firm's petitions for EB-5 visas, which allow wealthy foreign nationals to obtain green cards if they invest in job-creating projects in the U.S.

The subpoena, which had not been previously disclosed, was sent in May 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Kushner Cos. makes frequent use of the EB-5 program to raise investment capital for its real estate development projects. The company came under scrutiny last year when it was reported that Jared Kushner's sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, was using the family's connection to the White House in presentations to Chinese investors. In her presentation, Meyer suggested the company was in a position to guarantee approval of the EB-5 applications because Trump was a "key decision maker" in the process.''

...

The program is also susceptible to massive fraud schemes. In several cases in recent years, U.S.-based real estate developers have collected hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting foreigners for projects that never materialize or were outright fabrications from the start.

Chinese investors dominate the EB-5 program -- roughly two-thirds of the 10,000 investors visas issued in 2016 were given to Chinese nationals.

US created only 148,000 jobs in Dec, vs 190,000 jobs expected

IEHI News feed - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:17
The U.S. economy added a disappointing 148,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, according to a closely watched Labor Department report Friday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting nonfarm payrolls to grow by 190,000. The total was well below the November pace of 252,000, which was revised up from the initially reported 228,000.

An unexpected loss of 20,000 retail positions during the holiday season held back the headline number. The unemployment rate for blacks fell to 6.8 percent, its lowest ever.

QE Party Over, even by the Bank of Japan

IEHI News feed - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:16
``In reality, after years of blistering asset purchases, the Bank of Japan disclosed today that total assets on its balance sheet actually inched down by ¥444 billion ($3.9 billion) from the end of November to ¥521.416 trillion on December 31. While small, it was the first month-end to month-end decline since the Abenomics-designed "QQE" kicked off in late 2012.''

Sessions' Weed Move May Have Little Effect... or Backfire

IEHI News feed - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 18:16
The Cole memo provided "guidance" for federal prosecutors, but since December 2014, a law has been in effect that blocks the Justice Department from spending resources prosecuting state-legal medical-marijuana businesses. Now known as the Rohrabacher--Blumenauer amendment, for two of legalization's strongest supporters in Congress, it was renewed annually until November 2017, despite Sessions' efforts to kill it. The next question is whether it will be renewed again with the spending bill that needs to pass by Jan. 19 to avoid a government shutdown.

On a conference call with reporters Thursday, a bipartisan group of pro-legalization members of Congress suggested Sessions' move may backfire. Sessions, they said, may have galvanized legalization supporters there to attempt to include recreational as well as medical cannabis businesses in the law. In 2015, such a provision fell slightly short in a 222--206 House vote. If it passed this time, it would cancel out Sessions' decision to rescind the memo.

Visa bans cryptocurrency-backed cards

IEHI News feed - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 18:02
Visa ended its relationship with a large cryptocurrency card provider on Friday, causing thousands of people's transactions to be declined and scrambling to figure out how to access their money.

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Wavecrest provided its services to a number of crypto-card companies, including Bitwala, Cryptopay, Wirex and TenX. These companies convert people's cryptocurrencies into cash that is loaded on to a prepaid card, allowing people to use the currency for everyday transactions. Now these cards are invalid.

Why help the competition, apparently! This is a big gambit by Visa, though -- the next step is for people to simple deprecate cards entirely and start using smartphone-based payment at retail locations (which already has a toehold)...

In Trump's first year, stocks soar for rich, but wages stay flat

IEHI News feed - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 17:56
American wages rose a sluggish 2.5 percent last year, according to a Labor Department report released Friday morning. That's the same rate of wage growth as under President Barack Obama. Historically, wages have grown more than 3.5 percent in a typical economic upturn, but that hasn't happened in this expansion.

Trump is facing a similar problem that plagued Obama: The stock market is soaring, but wages are stagnant. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 25 percent in 2017 and is up more than 30 percent since Trump won the election, but those gains largely accrue to the wealthiest Americans, including many of Trump's donors and close friends. Almost half of the country doesn't have a single dollar in the stock market. While some in the middle class do invest via pension funds and 401(k) retirement plans, only a quarter of American households have more than $25,000 in the market, according to a Deutsche Bank report released this week.

"Trump's donors are doing spectacularly well. But Trump's base in West Virginia and Kentucky hasn't really enjoyed much of the recovery," says Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments and author of a daily political newsletter.

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So far, only 18 of the companies in the S&P 500 stock index have cited the tax cuts in announcing additional pay of any kind. Only five of those companies -- all banks -- announced a true wage hike, lifting hourly wages to at least $15 an hour. The rest are offering workers a one-time bonus (typically of $1,000) or a modest amount of additional money in a retirement plan.

Investors should be 'terrified' about the 'exponential' risk associated with Dow 25,000, analyst says

IEHI News feed - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 17:54
``Despite the Dow's rise above 25K, MBMG's Paul Gambles says concerted worldwide growth was seen during previous financial crises and therefore the current risk to investors is "exponential." '' -- The withdraw of QE hasn't really hit yet...

CMBS delinquency rate falls sharply in December

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 13:59
The Trepp CMBS Delinquency Rate ended the year at 4.89%, a decrease of 29 basis points from the November level. That’s the largest monthly drop since January 2016.

Procedural move will delay top Fed, FHA, FDIC nominations

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 13:59
More than 100 pending Trump administration nominees, including Fed Chair-designate Jerome Powell, must update their financial disclosures and have the White House resubmit their names for consideration by the Senate.