Archive for 'Bank of America'

Foreclosure Numbers Dropping

Foreclosure

The banks are reporting lower foreclosure numbers for the last quarter of 2011. Some of that can be attributed to the robo-signing fiasco and some to the new programs that the banks have put in place to help the home owner keep their home. The banks have become a little more flexible in dealing with these delinquent mortgages mainly because the tactics they were using before simply wasn’t working. You can read more about it here:

 

 

Bank of America Tiptoes into Landlording Business

Foreclosure properties

Foreclosure properties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It seems like it was only yesterday that when an investor wanted to purchase a property through the short sale process, two things that the Banks demanded were that the homeowner was not to receive any cash and that they were not allowed to stay in the property after the sale. All of that has now been turned on it’s head. Some banks are now offering cash to homeowners for the keys to the property and now BoA will allow some owners to stay on as tenants. The idea is to eventually sell the properties off to investors. Good news for investors and it’s been a long time coming.

Bank of America Corp. has tentatively joined a nascent housing industry movement in which homes in or near foreclosure are sold to investors as rental properties.

The bank on Friday began a test program for 1,000 homeowners headed into foreclosure in Nevada, Arizona and upstate New York — borrowers it has been unable to help with loan modifications but hopes to keep on as renters. If successful, the program could be tried in California and rolled out nationally.

Consumer advocates maintain it often would be better for homeowners, communities and the banks themselves to keep troubled borrowers on as renters rather than kick them out. Seizing and selling empty homes creates neighborhood blight and accelerates downdrafts in housing prices, they contend.

Bank of America doesn’t plan to become a longtime landlord for borrowers turned tenants. In the pilot, it hopes to take possession of homes for no more than three months before selling them to investors making a bet on the recovering housing markets. If the program becomes established, the goal would be for the investors to take over as soon as the occupants relinquish ownership and pay the first month’s rent.

Whether this scheme can work is to be determined by the pilot, the first such test announced by any major mortgage company. The bank wants to find out whether getting a loan off its books with a quick sale at a deep discount is a better deal financially than the foreclosure process, which can drag on for months or even years in highly regulated states such as New York.

“This pilot will help determine whether conversion from homeownership to rental is something our customers, the community and investors will support,” said Bank of America’s Ron Sturzenegger, who oversees about 1 million troubled loans inherited from aggressive mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp., which Bank of America purchased in 2008.

Homeowners can’t apply for the program themselves, a bank spokesman said.

The trial is limited to a tiny slice of the 1 million loans that Bank of America owns outright. It is not testing any of the additional 8 million home loans on which it provides customer service but which are owned by investors in mortgage bonds.

Bank of America executives said the 1,000 homeowners selected are all at least 60 days late on their loans and are not qualified for or not willing to accept other alternatives to foreclosure.

They will be offered one final deal: hand their property titles to the bank, which would cancel their mortgages in what’s known as a deed in lieu of foreclosure, and sign contracts agreeing to rent the home for up to three years at or below market rates.

Source

Hopefully this program works out for all parties and the foreclosure backlog starts moving again.

Mortgage Lenders vs The Scarecrow: If I Only Had a Brain

Are you kidding me? The Banks are just now paying homeowners to get out of a house they can’t afford anymore? They should have been doing this years ago instead of dragging out the short sale process and then delivering the big “No” months later. And then letting the house go through the foreclosure process, which eats up more time and costs them even more money in the process. Here’s one for you: “The banks have realized, ‘We are losing more on the foreclosures than the shorts,'” Augustyniak said. “And they are even willing to compensate the sellers, to give the sellers money to vacate the property.” Wow! What a revelation! Any half-assed Real Estate investor straight out of a short sale seminar in 2006 could have told them that. Guess it takes a while to sink in.

Chase Puts Their Money Where Their Mouth is With Large Short Sale Cash Incentive

McGeough Lamacchia Realty and Dorner Law negotiate a $35,000 payment to their short sale client at closing.

Quote startIt’s important for people who cannot pay their mortgage to be proactive with an alternative such as a short sale.Quote end

Chase Bank sent a homeowner (name withheld) a solicitation letter offering up to $35,000 to do a short sale. Back in August the homeowner called McGeough Lamacchia Realty right away and the home was listed for sale within two weeks.

Once an offer was obtained the staff at McGeough Lamacchia Realty and Dorner Law submitted a short sale package to Chase along with their solicitation letter to remind them that this $35,000 was offered. After five weeks of negotiating Chase not only offered a short sale approval and waived the entire deficiency balance but they agreed to pay this homeowner the entire $35,000.

Over the past year more major banks have realized that paying distressed homeowners a substantial sum is a great way to incentivize them to move out of the home they can no longer afford. Chase has been sending out these solicitation letters of up to $35,000 for about a year. Citi Mortgage has been paying up to $12,000 for about 6 months and Bank of America has most recently agreed to pay up to $20,000.

McGeough Lamacchia Realty and Dorner Law have negotiated large sums for its clients before, but this $35,000 is a new record that they are proud of. These programs are only offered on the loans where these banks actually own the mortgage. Most mortgages are being serviced by the large banks on behalf of one of the three GSE’s: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA (Federal Housing Administration). FHA does offer a $1,500 incentive to do a short sale under their Pre-Foreclosure Sale program. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not currently offer any money unless the short sale is through the Treasury’s HAFA program.

Under the Treasury’s HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) program which came out in April 2010, lenders are paying $3,000 to distressed homeowners who complete a short sale through the HAFA program.

“It is clear that the major banks have woken up and realized that a short sale is the best way to decrease losses and assist distressed homeowners in a graceful and dignified exit from their home. It’s unfortunate that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still haven’t seen the light,” says Anthony Lamacchia.

Short sales are increasing across the country for several reasons:

  •     They are becoming better known to distressed homeowners.
  •     Banks have realized that they save tremendous money through a short sale vs. a foreclosure
  •     Banks have finally hired more staff and are working hard to better their short sale processes
  •     All the major banks are now sending out letters offering short sales to homeowners who cannot qualify for a loan modification. Bank of America recently came out with a Home Transition Guide.
  •     Banks recognize that the sooner they get out of a non-performing loan the more money they save.

“I did my first short sale 20 years ago. They are a great alternative to foreclosure and it is nice to see more distressed homeowners are finally opting for them, especially now that these great incentives are being offered,” says Attorney Hillery Dorner.

Nationally short sales have increased 12% in 2011 and many believe they will increase by much more in 2012.

“One thing distressed homeowners need to know now is that banks will be foreclosing much faster in 2012 than they did in 2011 due to these robo-signing issues for the most part being worked out. Therefore it is important for people who cannot pay their mortgage to be proactive with an alternative such as a short sale,” says John McGeough.

For more on this story, visit the New England Short Sale Blog

About McGeough Lamacchia:

McGeough Lamacchia is the #1 Listing Agency in Massachusetts and named one of the Top 100 Real Estate Teams in the country by RealTrends and the Wall Street Journal. They are a full service real estate agency specializing in short sales in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

So there you have it. All you seminar graduates, go out there and make some money.

Bank of America Lawsuit Nearing Deadline

Only 10 days remain before the Nov. 22, 2011, lead plaintiff deadline in a case filed against Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) (“BAC”) alleging the bank misled investors regarding a $10 billion claim by American International Group (NYSE: AIG).

According to the lawsuit, BAC, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Countrywide Financial sold $28 billion in mortgage-backed securities to AIG. After analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of loans, in Jan. 2011 AIG allegedly informed BAC that it felt the risk of the securities had been misrepresented and was prepared to sue the banking giant for more than $10 billion.

AIG finally filed a lawsuit against BAC on Aug. 8, 2011, following months of reported negotiations. On the news, BAC shares fell sharply, losing 20 percent of their value.

Investors with losses over $500,000 who purchased Bank of America common stock during the class period, from Feb. 25, 2011, to Aug. 5, 2011, are encouraged to contact Partner Reed R. Kathrein, who is leading Hagens Berman’s investigation. Reed R. Kathrein can be reached at (510) 725-3000 or via email at BACSecurities@hbsslaw.com.

The lawsuit centers around claims that BAC failed to fully disclose the risks of a pending legal battle with AIG.

Individuals with direct non-public information that may help advance the investigation are encouraged to contact the firm. The SEC recently finalized new rules as part of its implementation of the whistleblower provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Bill. The new rules protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation and allow the SEC to reward those who provide information leading to a successful enforcement with up to 30 percent of the recovery.

Investors can also learn more about this investigation at www.hbsslaw.com/BACsecurities.

About Hagens Berman

Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is an investor-rights class-action law firm with offices in 10 cities. The National Law Journal has rated Hagens Berman as one of the top plaintiffs’ firms in the country five times. More information about the firm is available at www.hbsslaw.com, and the firm’s securities law blog is at www.meaningfuldisclosure.com.

Media Contact: Mark Firmani, Firmani + Associates Inc., 206.443.9357 or mark@firmani.com

Web Site: http://www.hbsslaw.com

Home Loan Originations Increase 22%

Home Loan Originations Increase 22%

Home Loan Originations Increase 22%-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Strong refinance activity helped residential lenders lift third-quarter loan production, and the elevated originations have continued into the current quarter.

U.S. lenders originated around $354 billion in home loans during the third quarter based on an analysis by MortgageDaily.com. Business jumped roughly 22 percent from the second quarter’s revised $289 billion.

Behind the stellar performance was an increase in refinance volume as the 30-year mortgage fell from an average of 4.740 percent at the end of May to 4.351 percent at the end of August based on the U.S. Mortgage Market Index report from Mortech Inc. and MortgageDaily.com.

Driven by the Greek sovereign debt crisis and the Federal Reserve’s disclosure in September that it plans to extend the maturities of its Treasury investments and reinvest principal payments from agency debt and mortgage-backed securities investments into more agency MBS, mortgage rates have fallen even further. The improvement has kept refinance activity elevated and potentially could have fourth-quarter production even higher.

The Federal Housing Administration endorsed $49.7 billion in mortgages during the third quarter, leaving it with a market share of around 14 percent. FHA market share fell from a revised 18 percent in the second quarter.

Wells Fargo & Co. retained its No. 1 title during the third quarter. But Bank of America Corp. slipped to third place behind JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Ally Financial Inc. also moved down a notch.

Originations

Rank Q3 2011 Q2 2011 Q3 2010
1 Wells Wells Wells
2 Chase BofA BofA
3 BofA Chase Chase
4 Citi Ally Ally
5 Ally Citi Citi

 

Nearly half of all residential production was generated by the top four lenders.

Citigroup Inc., Quicken Loans Inc. and Flagstar Bancorp Inc. each increased volume by at least half compared to the second quarter. But BofA saw new business tumble 18 percent — the worst performance of the biggest lenders.

Compared to the third-quarter 2010, MetLife Home Loans turned in the strongest performance with an increase of 16 percent.

Mortgage Lender Ranking at:
http://www.MortgageDaily.com/MortgageLenderRanking.asp?spcode=pr

Mortgage origination news at:
http://www.mortgagedaily.com/Fundings.asp?spcode=pr

Quarterly mortgage production by the top lenders at:
http://www.mortgagedaily.com/FundingsConforming.asp?spcode=pr

About MortgageDaily.com
Founded in 1998, MortgageDaily.com is a dominant online source of mortgage news, statistics and analysis for the mortgage industry. Visit us online at www.MortgageDaily.com.

CONTACT:
Holly Himelright
NewsAlert@MortgageDaily.com
3811-700 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75219

No Fee Debit Cards are Out There

No Fee Debit Cards are Out There

No Fee Debit Cards are Out There-Image via Wikipedia

Despite recently announced new fees from some other banks, First Financial Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIN) today announced its commitment to keeping debit cards free of monthly charges.

Debit cards are extremely popular with our customers and with merchants, and we have no plans to start charging a monthly fee for use of these cards,” said F. Scott Dueser, Chairman, President and CEO.  “Free debit cards are just part of a highly competitive package of banking services we offer our customers, including free online banking, free online bill payment and the choice of a free personal checking account.”

About First Financial Bankshares

Headquartered in Abilene, Texas, First Financial Bankshares is a financial holding company that operates 11 separately chartered banks with 53 locations in Texas, stretching from Hereford in the Panhandle to Huntsville, north of Houston.  The Company also operates First Financial Trust & Asset Management Company, N.A., with seven locations and First Technology Services, Inc., a technology operating company.  With more than a century of tradition, First Financial Bankshares is nationally recognized as a top-performing and financially secure banking company providing superior products, excellent service and personal attention.

The Company is listed on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the trading symbol FFIN.  For more information about First Financial Bankshares, please visit our website at http://www.ffin.com and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/First_Financial.

Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These statements are based upon the belief of the Company’s management, as well as assumptions made beyond information currently available to the Company’s management, and may be, but not necessarily are, identified by such words as “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “target”, “forecast” and “goal”.  Because such “forward-looking statements” are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations include competition from other financial institutions and financial holding companies; the effects of and changes in trade, monetary and fiscal policies and laws, including interest rate policies of the  Federal Reserve Board; changes in the demand for loans; fluctuations in value of collateral and loan reserves; inflation, interest rate, market and monetary fluctuations; changes in consumer spending, borrowing and savings habits; and acquisitions and integration of acquired businesses, and similar variables.  Other key risks are described in the Company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which may be obtained under “Investor Relations-Documents/Filings” on the Company’s Web site or by writing or calling the Company at 325.627.7155.  Except as otherwise stated in this news announcement, the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements because of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: F. Scott Dueser, Chairman, President & CEO of First Financial Bankshares, Inc., +1-325-627-7155

Web Site: http://www.ffin.com

Hagens Berman today announced that it is continuing to advance its investigation of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) (“BAC”) after a lawsuit was filed alleging that the banking giant failed to disclose the risk associated with a $10 billion lawsuit threat from American International Group (“AIG”) (NYSE: AIG) to investors.

Institutional investors and others who purchased Bank of America common stock between February 25, 2011, and August 5, 2011 (the “Class Period”), are encouraged to contact the firm. The deadline to move the court for lead plaintiff is November 22, 2011.

According to the lawsuit, BAC, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Countrywide Financial sold $28 billion in mortgage-backed securities to AIG. In January 2011, after analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of loans, AIG reportedly informed the bank that it felt the risk of the securities had been misrepresented and was prepared to sue the banking giant for more than $10 billion.

Following months of reported negotiations, AIG filed suit against BAC on August 8, 2011. BAC shares fell sharply, losing 20 percent of their value. Hagens Berman’s investigation centers around claims that BAC failed to fully disclose the risks of a pending legal battle with AIG.

“It appears clear that Bank of America knew for quite a while that negotiations with AIG were at an impasse,” said Reed R. Kathrein, Hagens Berman partner. “A potential $10 billion issue is material to most companies. How BofA failed to mention it in quarterly and earnings reports is baffling to investors.”

Reed R. Kathrein, who is leading the firm’s investigation, can be reached at (206) 623-7292 or via email at BACSecurities@hbsslaw.com. Investors can also learn more about this investigation at www.hbsslaw.com/BACsecurities.

Individuals with direct non-public information that may help advance the investigation are also encouraged to contact the firm.

The SEC recently finalized new rules as part of its implementation of the whistleblower provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Bill. The new rules protect whistleblowers from employer retaliation and allow the SEC to reward those who provide information leading to a successful enforcement with up to 30 percent of the recovery.

About Hagens Berman

Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is an investor-rights class-action law firm with offices in ten cities. The National Law Journal has rated Hagens Berman as one of the top ten plaintiffs’ firms in the country four out of the last five years. More information about the firm is available at www.hbsslaw.com, and the firm’s securities law blog is at www.meaningfuldisclosure.com.

Media Contact: Mark Firmani, Firmani + Associates Inc., 206.443.9357 or mark@firmani.com

http://www.hbsslaw.com

More than 2,000 mortgage jobs have been eliminated this year, according to the Second-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Employment Index from MortgageDaily.com. But falling rates and worsening loan performance could lead to increased hirings in the second half.

The index, which reflects hirings and layoffs tracked by MortgageDaily.com, was down almost 500 jobs in the second quarter. Nearly 5,000 hirings weren’t enough to offset more than 5,000 layoffs.

Still, the contraction was less severe than the first quarter. But activity swung from growth of more than 700 jobs during the same period last year.

Quarter Layoffs Hirings Net
Q2 2011 5,404 4,940 -464
Q1 2011 4,318 2,513 -1,805
Q2 2010 2,028 2,768 +740

Real estate finance positions in California were off more than a thousand jobs — the worst of any state. But Ohio’s gain of 800 jobs was the best performance.

State Q2 Net Gain/Loss
CA -1,078
PA -292
NC -276
OH +800
KY +400
MO +222

Nearly half of all layoffs tracked were at Wells Fargo, which cut mortgage fulfillment staffing and closed its reverse mortgage business.

More than half of all second-quarter hirings occurred at Chase, which hired hundreds in Ohio.

Company Net Gain/Loss
Wells Fargo -2,500
BofA -954
Kondaur -161
JPMorgan +2,585
USBank +394
MetLife +200

Hirings could pick up as rates have recently fallen to record lows — sparking a refinance rally and boosting demand for loan originators, processors and underwriters as well as other production personnel.

However, since some of the biggest lenders already made massive job cuts this year, this group might be reluctant to staff up too quickly. Instead, small- to mid-sized mortgage bankers and brokers are likely to quickly capitalize on the building refinance wave.

In addition, deteriorating delinquency and bloated foreclosure inventories could drive additional recruiting by mortgage servicers.

Department of Labor data indicate that mortgage jobs fell to 239,100 as of June from 244,700 at the end of the first quarter and 259,700 at the end of 2010.

The complete Mortgage Employment Index report — including full tables by state, year and company — is available at:
http://www.mortgagedaily.com/MortgageEmploymentIndex.asp?spcode=pr

Mortgage employment news is available online at:
http://www.mortgagedaily.com/MortgageEmployment.asp?spcode=pr

About MortgageDaily.com

Founded in 1998, MortgageDaily.com is a dominant online source of news, statistics and analysis for the mortgage industry. Visit us online at www.MortgageDaily.com.

CONTACT:
Holly Himelright
NewsAlert@MortgageDaily.com
214.521.1300

Web Site: http://www.MortgageDaily.com

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