Monday, May 14, 2012

Bet on Foreclosure Boom Turns Sour for Investors

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Bet on Foreclosure Boom Turns Sour for Investors

DJSP Enterprises logo

... Early in 2010, the back-office processing operations of Mr. Stern’s law firm were converted into a publicly traded company called DJSP Enterprises. Mr. Stern pocketed nearly $60 million from that transaction, public filings show.

Behind that big-money deal was a curious cast of characters, including some with previous run-ins with regulators. Other parties included a small Wall Street investment bank headed by a former presidential candidate, the retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark, and a little-known private equity firm based in New York.Read more

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'Toxic' Mortgages Rally as Resets Accelerate: Credit Markets

Toxic waste spill

... Prices for senior bonds tied to option adjustable-rate mortgages, called “toxic” by a government commission, typically jumped 6 cents to 64 cents on the dollar in the past month, according to Barclays Capital. The next best-performing class of home-loan securities without government backing rose 4 cents. Option-ARM debt tumbled to as low as 33 cents in 2009.Read more

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Bad math

... The credit-derivatives group, then just three or four people I sat next to, soon spawned an ever-expanding team managing ever-more complex creations: credit-default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and the myriad other structures built with black boxes and shrouded by acronyms. Meanwhile, my group continued to peddle mostly the forbears of these recent menaces, the more mundane interest-rate swaps and Treasury-rate locks.Read more

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In Overhauling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, It's Better to be Late Than Sorry

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac logos

... It is true that the administration will be late in delivering its plan for overhauling mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as called for in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. These housing power players, responsible for keeping mortgage money flowing, were taken over by the government during the financial crisis. Now the government has to figure out what to do with them.Read more

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Wolves in Watchdogs' Clothing

Wolf in sheep's clothing

The Angelides Commission report -- the result of a 15-month, $10 million government "investigation" of the housing collapse -- is already selling at a brisk pace on Amazon. Released last week, the 633-page report pins the blame on Wall Street and lax regulation, while recommending criminal prosecution of bankers.

Problem is, those findings serve the political interests not only of the Democrats who set up the "bipartisan" Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission -- but also of the key staff.Read more

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12 Signs That The Worst Housing Collapse In U.S. History Is Getting Worse

house falling off cliff - Credit: Business Insider

We are officially in the middle of the worst housing collapse in U.S. history - and unfortunately it is going to get even worse.

Already, U.S. housing prices have fallen further during this economic downturn (26 percent), then they did during the Great Depression (25.9 percent).

Approximately 11 percent of all homes in the United States are currently standing empty. In fact, there are many new housing developments across the U.S. that resemble little more than ghost towns because foreclosures have wiped them out.Read more

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