Wednesday, November 17, 2010

States, mortgage lenders in talks over fund for borrowers in foreclosure mess

By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Brady Dennis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 17, 2010; 12:03 AM

State attorneys general and the country's biggest lenders are negotiating to create a nationwide fund to compensate borrowers who can prove they lost their home in an improper foreclosure, state and industry officials said.

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The fund would present a solution for both sides, helping banks avoid lengthy and costly court challenges from homeowners and aiding state investigators in their efforts to seek relief for homeowners who were wronged, the officials said.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top News: week of November 15th, 2010

Don't underestimate foreclosure crisis, watchdog to warn

By Brady Dennis and Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 12:09 AM

A congressional oversight panel is set to warn on Tuesday that a widespread problem of flawed and fraudulent foreclosure paperwork could upend the housing market and undermine the nation's financial stability, just as the issue is coming under greater scrutiny this week in Washington.

The report, issued by the Congressional Oversight Panel, which monitors the government's bailout program, marks the first time a federal watchdog has weighed in on the nationwide foreclosure mess.

The panel echoed concerns raised by consumer advocates and financial analysts, who have said that although the consequences of the foreclosure debacle remain unclear, the problems could throw into doubt the ownership not only of foreclosed properties but also the millions of ordinary mortgages that were pooled and traded by investors around the world.

FHA's cash reserves rebounding, audit shows
By Dina ElBoghdady
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 12:08 AM

The Federal Housing Administration's cash reserves remain below the level required by law, but they have not deteriorated much since last year and taxpayer funding will not be necessary to buoy the agency even under worst-case scenarios, federal officials said Monday.

The officials cited an independent audit, due to be released Tuesday, that examined the excess cash the agency must set aside to deal with unexpected losses in its flagship home-buying program. That program has played a critical role in propping up the housing market and currently supports one in five home purchases nationwide.

As of Sept. 30, the agency's reserves had an estimated value of $4.7 billion, up from $3.6 billion a year earlier. The current total represents 0.5 percent of all outstanding single-family home loans insured by the FHA, compared with 0.53 percent a year earlier. The margin narrowed from the previous fiscal year because the agency is insuring more loans.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stocks soar after Federal Reserve's move to bolster U.S. economy

By Neil Irwin and Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 5, 2010; 12:37 AM

The Federal Reserve's aggressive action this week to boost the economy sent stocks soaring Thursday to their highest level in two years as investors expressed renewed confidence that someone in Washington was finally giving the sluggish recovery a lift.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 2 percent, erasing the last of the breathtaking losses that followed the failure of the investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the resulting panic over a possible collapse of the global financial system. Other major U.S. stock indexes were also up sharply.

The Fed's decision to pump $600 billion into the economy through a massive program of Treasury bond purchases was a dramatic move at a time when the White House and Congress have been unable to muster a coherent policy for fueling the recovery and reducing a stubbornly high jobless rate.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Area unemployment drops in Sept. after private-sector job gains

By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 12:03 AM

The Washington area led the nation in employment growth with 56,000 new jobs created over the 12-month period that ended in September, according to federal government data released Wednesday.

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Fed to buy $600 billion in bonds in effort to boost economic recovery

By Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 12:31 AM

The Federal Reserve escalated its efforts to get the U.S. economic recovery back on track Wednesday, again entering the realm of risky and untested policy in response to the worst downturn in generations.

The plan to pump $600 billion into the financial system is designed to stimulate the economy in large part by lowering mortgage and other interest rates.