Tag Archive: Edward DeMarco

Aug 21 2012

“Foaming the Runway for the Banks”

Disregard all cheery news you hear from the MSM that the housing crisis is over and housing prices are stable and on the rise. It’s not over. We are still bailing out the banks over the troubled homeowner.

“The evidence is overwhelming: home prices are anything but stable.”

Michael Olenick: Still Looking for a Housing Bottom

Two trends are apparent. One is that banks are delaying foreclosures, or not foreclosing at all despite long-term delinquencies. The other is that private equity firms – flush with cash thanks to Tim Geithner’s religious devotion to trickle-down economics and the resulting cascade of corporate welfare – have been bidding up and holding foreclosed houses off the market. These two factors have artificially limited supply and, combined with cheap mortgages rates, driven up prices. While we can debate whether these strategies represent the best public policy, these policies are obviously not long-term sustainable. [..]

Holding back inventory means that the houses that are put on offer sell faster and at higher prices. That creates an incentive to delay foreclosures or not foreclose at all even when a home is delinquent. Though this seems obvious, the mainstream housing finance community – aided by a freelance “housing analyst,” – uses the faster figures to somehow prove banks are not holding houses. [..]

Besides lower foreclosure activity, the government is going all out to give away houses to private equity firms. Recently Fannie Mae sold 275 properties across metro Phoenix in one sale to a mystery buyer, according to a report by Catherine Reagor of the Arizon Republic. [..]

Anybody who has been a landlord seems to quickly tire of it so, assuming there isn’t a pending planned mass immigration to Phoenix, these investors will eventually want to cash out by selling these houses. Further, they will want to minimize maintenance expenses while they are renting out these houses, so the eventual sale of these houses will increase supply and prolong the housing crisis. Geithner’s policy of shaking down Main Street to help Wall Street continues to hurt your street. [..]

Taking account of the delayed foreclosures and the beginning of mass purchases of houses would mean there should be a surge in home prices, but we’re still seeing little movement in many areas. This is especially puzzling given how inexpensive mortgage are. [..]

Of course, this assumes that people can get mortgages for these houses, though many can’t. Young people especially are hopelessly in debt thanks to out-of-control tuition hikes predictably caused by equally out-of-control student loan policies. [..]

Thanks to low lower foreclosures, real-estate speculators buying in bulk, and low interest rates there is enough direct and anecdotal evidence to suggest that we may be seeing a real-estate recovery on paper. Further, these policies are clearly calibrated to bring about a bubble, despite that bubbles are difficult to control and are not, by definition, sustainable: they always eventually pop. Let’s at least hope that when this bubble bursts the new Wall Street bulk buyers are treated with the same ruthless “free market” vigor that the prior owners of these houses were treated with after the last bubble burst. However, I doubt the mystery Asian money buyer, that Fannie sold Phoenix to, will ever be subject to something like the rocket docket.

Washington’s Blog goes down the list of evidence that “the government’s “Homeowner Relief” Programs are disguised bank bailouts … not even AIMED at helping homeowners. It’s a fascinating piece with all the links to this sham.

Former special inspector general overseeing TARP Neil Barofsky (@neilbarofsky) joined Up w/ Chris Hayes to talk about his book “Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.” Along with panel guests Heather McGhee (@hmcghee), vice president of policy and research at the progressive think tank Demos; Josh Barro (@jbarro), who writes “The Ticker” for Bloomberg View; Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn), senior contributing writer for Newsweek/Daily Beast; and Up host Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes), Barofsky shares his thoughts on the failure of TARP and the housing crisis.

May 04 2012

Bring Me DeMarco’s Head

From Glen Ford at the Black Agenda Report

Bring Me the Head of Ed DeMarco!

President Obama must fire Federal Housing Finance Agency acting director Ed DeMarco because he “has flatly refused to do any kind of principal reduction for the millions of ‘underwater’ homeowners that are suffering, that are drowning in debt because of how the banks crashed the economy,” said Tracy Van Slyke, co-director of New Bottom Line. The coalition of faith-based and community organizations demand a “minimum of $300 billion in principal reduction.” Van Slyke claims New Bottom Line and other Occupy Wall Street-related efforts have “moved the administration far along from where they were. We have moved the dial.”

Why Obama Won’t Help Foreclosure Victims

The Obama administration has repeatedly refused to spend moneys a set aside for distressed homeowners and communities. Why? Because banks have refused to cooperate with such programs, fearing that intervention in the housing market “would threaten to upset the bankers’ carefully calibrated market manipulations.” They would rather continue rigging the game. “The banks have been carefully dribbling out houses for sale, attempting to artificially stabilize prices with the goal of pumping up another bubble.”

The Obama administration’s failure to spend almost any of the $7.6 billion in TARP housing money set aside for the neediest regions of the country seems counterintuitive [..]

The Hardest Hit Fund was specifically targeted to homeowners in areas most seriously impacted by unemployment and falling home values – a formula tailor made for Black and Latino communities devastated by massive foreclosures and layoffs. [..]

The problem was, Obama’s people resisted putting the program into effect. [..]

The problem begins at the top. Obama has consistently protected bankers’ rights to deal with homeowners as they please.

AS reported in the Washington Post: Fannie Mae had seen benefits to lowering some home loans, documents indicate:

Officials at government-backed mortgage giant Fannie Mae concluded years ago that the company could “reduce its losses substantially” by lowering loan amounts for some troubled borrowers, according to internal documents cited Tuesday by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee.

The new insights into Fannie Mae’s analyses about the potential benefits of so-called principal reduction surfaced in a letter from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) to Edward J. DeMarco, the acting director of the independent agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Since being appointed head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in 2009, DeMarco has refused to allow Fannie and Freddie to write down loan balances, in part because he worries that some homeowners would stop paying their mortgages to get relief, ultimately costing taxpayers more money. He has been steadfast in his disapproval in recent months despite growing pressure from Obama administration officials and House Democrats to allow principal reductions.

Those “internal documents” led to accusations that DeMarco, a Republican career public servant appointed by Obama to head the FHFA, withheld information from Congress about the findings:

“This just adds to the pile of evidence that calls into question how sincere DeMarco is about treating this issue seriously,” said Ian Kim, director of campaigns for Rebuild the Dream, a progressive advocacy group that has been urging a principal reduction program.

Supporters of principal reduction argue that it would reduce foreclosures by lowering the monthly payments for underwater homeowners and giving them hope they would one day have more equity in their homes.

Opponents counter that reducing the principal on mortgages owned or backed by Fannie and Freddie could increase their losses and encourage homeowners who are making payments to fall behind in order to lower their debt.

The new documents contradict DeMarco’s congressional testimony in November that analyses by Fannie and Freddie concluded that other forms of homeowner assistance were less costly to taxpayers, the lawmakers said. [..]

The failure to launch a principal reduction program “was not merely a missed opportunity, but a conscious choice that appears to have been based on ideology rather than Fannie Mae’s own data and analyses,” the lawmakers said.

It’s time for DeMarco to go and the Obama administration to stop protecting the bankers who won’t support him ever.