Thursday, February 3, 2011

FED PUBLISHES GUIDANCE ON LOAN OFFICER COMPENSATION

Heeding pleas from industry groups across the country, the Federal Reserve has issued additional guidance to help smaller mortgage lenders and loan brokers comply with new compensation rules that take effect April 1, 2011. Pay structures in which brokers and loan officers are compensated based on the interest rate have been blamed for pushing consumers into unsustainable mortgages and contributing to rising delinquencies. The new rule prohibits this practice to ensure consumers are not steered into loans they can't afford.


http://www.dsnews.com/articles/federal-reserves-loan-officer-compensation-guidance-2011-01-28

FHA EXTENDS 'ANTI-FLIPPING WAIVER' TO SPEED SALES OF REO HOMES

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced Friday that it is extending the suspension of its 'anti-flipping rule' through the remainder of 2011. FHA Commissioner David Stevens says the temporary waiver will accelerate the resale of foreclosed homes in neighborhoods that are overrun with abandoned properties and blight. The move is intended to help stabilize home values and improve conditions in communities experiencing high foreclosure activity.


http://www.dsnews.com/articles/fha-extends-anti-flipping-waiver-to-speed-sales-of-reo-homes-2011-01-28

FORECLOSURES UP IN 72% OF MAJOR METROS BUT DOWN IN HARDEST-HIT AREAS

RealtyTrac has released its 2010 foreclosure tallies for the nation's largest metropolitan areas. The tracking firm found that foreclosure activity increased from 2009 in 149 of the 206 metros with a population of 200,000 or more. Interestingly enough, the metro areas with the 10 highest foreclosure rates all posted decreasing activity from 2009, but RealtyTrac says foreclosures became more widespread last year as high unemployment drove activity up in parts of the country that had been relatively insulated from the initial foreclosure tsunami.


http://www.dsnews.com/articles/foreclosures-up-in-72-of-major-metros-but-down-hardest-hit-markets-2011-01-26

HUD TERMINATES FHA APPROVAL OF 15 LENDERRS

HUD announced this week that it has terminated the Origination Approval Agreements of 15 mortgage lenders due to poor performance and high default rates. In addition, the federal agency terminated eight lenders' Direct Endorsement (DE) approval. Lenders with Direct Endorsement agreements are authorized to both originate and underwrite an FHA loan. HUD's regulations permit the agency to terminate its agreement with any mortgagee whose default and claim rate exceeds a certain threshold based on their geographic area.


http://dsnews.us1.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=59816bad6939d5a7dd87e45a5&id=28330f02ce&e=31685a496f

Bankruptcy Filing Stats

Bankruptcy filings reflect the economy as a whole – and it’s clear we are not on a fast path toward recovery. Consumers are clearly struggling to pay off the debt they’ve accrued over the years, and are turning to bankruptcy as a last resort.


The regions that appeared to be the hardest hit by personal bankruptcy filings were situated in the Southwest, with some exceptions, while the Southeast appeared to experience the most dramatic declines in personal bankruptcy filings. The states that saw the largest increases in bankruptcy filings in 2010 from the previous year included Hawaii (28.9%) California (25.0%), Utah (24.4%) and Colorado (17.4%). Conversely, states that saw drops in the rate of personal bankruptcy filings included Tennessee (-7.2%), West Virginia (-7.1%), South Carolina (-4.1%), Iowa (-3.6%) and Kentucky (-2.7%).

The number of U.S. consumers who filed petitions for personal bankruptcy protection grew 9 percent to 1.53 million in 2010 and this could rise as consumers struggle with excess debt in an uncertain economy, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), an association of attorneys and other bankruptcy professionals, and the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC).

Ex-partner of Fla. Ponzi lawyer Rothstein reaches $500K deal in firm's bankruptcy battle

5-year-old federal bankruptcy reforms leaving some people deeper in debt

When tougher bankruptcy laws took effect more than five years ago, Congress wanted to raise the bar against perceived abuse of the system by ne’er-do-well debtors.


But since then?

Lawyers’ fees have more than doubled, online “credit counseling” is the norm, and the pace of personal bankruptcies is growing, nearing 2004 pre-reform levels.

The impact was not much — other than to make it more costly and make more hoops to jump through for anyone filing bankruptcy. 

One change is the means test in which debtor income over the previous six months is compared to the state median. Those deemed too wealthy are barred from liquidation in Chapter 7. Instead, they face a five-year repayment plan through Chapter 13 reorganization.  It’s a mechanical formula that uses the IRS standards.

Last month, Congress tried to edit the errors out of the 2005 reform, with the Bankruptcy Technical Corrections Act of 2010. It attempts to fix spelling errors, correct bad cross-references, and, in doing so, left at least a few ambiguities.


One question: When is the deadline for reform-ordered credit counseling — the day before filing or the day of filing?  No Answer.    I say day before.

Reform added mandatory credit advice for two reasons: to rule out other options short of bankruptcy, and to develop financial tools and budgeting ideas for the troubled debtors. 
These counseling courses are for those who have been financially irresponsible, not for those who have simply had a run of bad luck.  But Everyone must take them.
Across the United States, personal bankruptcies rose 9 percent in 2010, topping 1.5 million. That rate is forecast to go higher in 2011, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.


Families continue to turn to bankruptcy as a result of high debt burdens and stagnant income growth.

Disaster strikes
Many families have been wedged between job loss and mortgage.
Credit rating? Not so good. Bankrutpcy does that to people. A lot of people need a chance to get back on their feet. As long as people are honest in the process, they ought to come out in better financial shape. You will recover in about 2 years.
Free consultation

Most bankruptcy attorneys provide a free initial consultation for people contemplating it.   Call me at (727) 410-2705 for a free  consultation in Clearwater, Florida.

HUD Proposes to Add Sexual Orientation as Anti-Discrimination Factor

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to add a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as an anti-discrimination factor for lenders participating in the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) loan guarantee programs and other HUD programs.


The proposed rule is available at:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=LGBTPR.PDF

HUD is seeking public comment on a number of proposed areas including:

1. Prohibiting lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis to determine a borrower’s eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage financing. FHA’s current regulations provide that a mortgage lender’s determination of the adequacy of a borrower’s income “shall be made in a uniform manner without regard to” specified prohibited grounds. The proposed rule would add actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity to the prohibited grounds to ensure FHA-approved lenders do not deny or otherwise alter the terms of mortgages on the basis of irrelevant criteria.

2. Clarifying that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs. In the majority of HUD’s rental and homeownership programs the term “family” already has a broad scope, and includes a single person and families with or without children. HUD’s proposed rule clarifies that families, otherwise eligible for HUD programs, may not be excluded because one or more members of the family may be an LGBT individual, have an LGBT relationship, or be perceived to be such an individual or in such relationship.

3. Prohibiting owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing, or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, from inquiring about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, the dwelling, whether renter- or owner-occupied. HUD is proposing to institute this policy in its rental assistance and homeownership programs, which include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs, community development programs, and public and assisted housing programs.

In addition, HUD is conducting the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.


I already thought this was protected hmmm

US Sup Ct Upholds Former Reg Z Rule on Credit Card Rate Increase Disclosures Following Default

The Supreme Court of the United States recently held that, under the version of Regulation Z applicable at the time of the relevant transactions, TILA did not require a credit card issuer to provide the credit card holder with a change-in-terms notice before implementing a provision in the cardholder agreement allowing the bank to raise the card holder’s interest rate, up to a pre-set maximum, following the card holder’s delinquency or default.


A copy of the opinion can be found at:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-329.pdf

As you may recall, in January 2009, the Board promulgated a final rule, scheduled to be effective July 1, 2010, which among other things included a new provision, §226.9(g), which requires 45 days’ advance notice of increases in rates due to cardholder delinquency or default, or as a penalty, including penalties for “events specified in the account agreement, such as making a late payment . . . .”12 CFR §226.9(g)(1)(2010). In May 2009, Congress enacted the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit CARD Act). The Credit CARD Act amended TILA, in relevant part, to require 45 days’
advance notice of most increases in credit card annual percentage rates.

15 U. S. C. §1637(i). Because the Credit CARD Act’s notice requirements with respect to interest-rate increases largely mirrored the requirements in the new version of the new regulation, the Board changed the effective date of those requirements to August 20, 2009, to coincide with the statutory schedule. The transactions giving rise to the dispute at issue in this case arose prior to enactment of the Credit CARD Act and the promulgation of the new regulatory provisions.

The Supreme Court held that the Regulation Z rules were not clear on whether a change to an interest rate that resulted from a previously disclosed provision in a contract would require disclosure. The U.S.
Supreme Court deferred to the Federal Reserve, which in its amicus brief argued that the bank was not required to give the borrower notice under the version of Regulation Z that was in effect at the time.

Plaintiff (“Debtor”) was the holder of a card issued by creditor Chase Bank (“Chase”). The cardholder agreement between the parties provided, in relevant part, that Debtor was eligible for “preferred rates,” but that to keep those rates Debtor had to meet certain conditions. If any conditions in the credit agreement were not met, Chase reserved the right to “change Debtor’s interest rate and impose a non-preferred rate up to the maximum non-preferred rate described in the pricing schedule” and to apply any changes “to existing as well as new balances … effective with the billing cycle ending on the review date.” Debtor brought suit against Chase, alleging that Chase violated Regulation Z because Chase increased Debtor’s interest rate “due to his delinquency or default” and did not notify Debtor of the increase until after it had taken effect.

The district court dismissed Debtor’s complaint, “holding that because the increase did not constitute a ‘change in terms’ as contemplated by §226.9(c), Chase was not required to notify him of the increase before implementing it.” The Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that “because the credit agreement does not alert Debtor to the ‘specific change’ that will occur if he defaults, Chase was obliged to give notice of that change prior to its effective date.” The First Circuit resolved the same question in favor of Chase, the Supreme Court resolved the circuit split and reversed the decision of the Ninth Circuit.

At the time of the relevant dispute, Section 226.6 of Regulation Z required credit card issuers to provide debtors an “initial disclosure statement” to include, among other things, “a disclosure of each periodic rate that may be used to compute the finance charge.” In addition, Section 226.9(c) required that prior notice be given to the debtor “[w]henever any term required to be disclosed under 226.6 is changed or the minimum periodic payment is increased.”

Therefore, the question before the Supreme Court was “whether the Debtor’s interest rate constitutes a change to a ‘term required to be disclosed under §226.6,’ requiring a subsequent disclosure under §226.9(c)(1).” The Supreme Court held that an interest-rate increase does not “constitute a ‘change in terms’ under Regulation Z, when the change is made pursuant to a provision in the cardholder agreement allowing the issuer to increase the rate, up to a state maximum, in the event of the cardholder's delinquency or default.”

Rejecting one among many of Debtor’s arguments against deference to the Board, the Court further reasoned that “there is no reason to believe that the interpretation advanced by the Board is a ‘post hoc rationalization’ taken as a litigation position.” In addition, the Board’s “2004 notice of rulemaking and the 2007 proposed amendments to Regulation Z make clear that, prior to 2009, the Board’s fair and considered judgment was that ‘no change-in-terms notice is required if the creditor specifies in advance that the circumstances under which an increase…will occur,’ and ‘immediate application of penalty pricing upon the occurrence of events specified in the contract’ was permissible.” Therefore, “it is clear that deference to the interpretation in the Board’s amicus brief is warranted.”

HAMP REACHING UNDERWATER AND MIDDLE CLASS BORROWERS: REPORT

Treasury and HUD released a new report Monday on the state of the housing market, including new metrics that provide a more granular view of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Most program participants are moderate and middle income distressed homeowners, with a median credit score of 570, who are underwater on their mortgages. Borrowers in active permanent modifications have seen their monthly mortgage payment cut by a median of 40 percent.


http://dsnews.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=59816bad6939d5a7dd87e45a5&id=f23bb29437&e=31685a496f

Feds Announce NMLS Registrations Beginning for Subject Depository Institution Employees

The federal depository institution regulators and Farm Credit Administration announced that the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry will begin accepting federal registrations.


The announcement was made by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Farm Credit Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Office of Thrift Supervision.

As you may recall, under the S.A.F.E. Act and the agencies' final rules, residential mortgage loan originators employed by banks, savings associations, credit unions, or Farm Credit System institutions must register with the registry, obtain a unique identifier from the registry, and maintain their registrations.

Following expiration of the 180-day initial registration period on July 29, 2011, any employee of an agency-regulated institution who is subject to the registration requirements will be prohibited from originating residential mortgage loans without first meeting these requirements. The rules include an exception for mortgage loan originators that originated five or fewer mortgage loans during the previous 12 months and who have never been registered.

Further information regarding the registry and the registration process is available at the registry's website:

http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/fedreg/Pages/default.aspx

The Federal Register notice is available at:

http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2011/nr-ia-2011-9a.pdf

US Sup Ct Limits Car-Ownership Deduction for BAPCPA's Means Test

The Supreme Court of the United States recently held that, under BAPCPA’s means test, a debtor in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy who does not make loan or lease payments may not take the car-ownership deduction.


A copy of the opinion is available at:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-907.pdf.

This case came before the Supreme Court on certiorari from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Petitioner Jason Ransom, a debtor in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, had liabilities which included $82,500 in unsecured debt, part of which consisted of a claim by respondent FIA Card Services N.A. Ransom, who owned his vehicle outright, contended that under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005

(BAPCPA) means test used to determine a debtor’s disposable income, he was entitled to deductions in relation to the vehicle for both “Ownership Costs” and “Operating Costs.” FIA disputed Ransom’s proposed repayment plan stating that it “did not direct all of Ransom’s disposable income to unsecured creditors” because it improperly included the ownership deduction.

As you may recall, Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code enables an individual to obtain a discharge of his debts if he pays his creditors a portion of his monthly income in accordance with a court-approved plan. 11 U. S. C.

§1301 et seq. To determine how much income the debtor is capable of paying, Chapter 13 uses a statutory formula known as the “means test.” The means test instructs a debtor to deduct from his current monthly income “amounts reasonably necessary to be expended” for, inter alia, “maintenance or support.” 11 U. S. C. §1325(b)(2)(A)(i). The result is his “disposable income”—the amount he has available to reimburse creditors.

§1325(b)(2).
As relevant here, the statute provides that “[t]he debtor’s monthly expenses shall be the debtor’s applicable monthly expense amounts specified under the National Standards and Local Standards, and the debtor’s actual monthly expenses for the categories specified as Other Necessary Expenses issued by the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] fort he area in which the debtor resides.” The Standards are tables listing

standardized expense amounts for basic necessities, which the IRS prepares to help calculate taxpayers’ ability to pay overdue taxes. The IRS also creates supplemental guidelines known as the “Collection Financial Standards,” which describe how to use the tables and what the amounts listed in them mean. The Local Standards include an allowance for transportation expenses, divided into vehicle “Ownership Costs” and vehicle “Operating Costs.” The Collection Financial Standards explain that “Ownership Costs” cover monthly loan or lease payments on an automobile.

The expense amounts listed are based on nationwide car financing data. The Collection Financial Standards further state that a taxpayer who has no car payment may not claim an allowance for ownership costs.

The Supreme Court examined the language of the Bankruptcy Code at §707(b)(2)(A)(ii)(I), which states, “The debtor’s monthly expenses shall be the debtor’s applicable monthly expense amounts specified under the National Standards and Local Standards.” The Court focused on the term “applicable,” stating that whether or not Ransom could claim the car ownership deduction hinged on whether this amount “is “applicable” to him.” The Court then noted that as this term is undefined in the statute they look to the “ordinary meaning of the term” which is “appropriate, relevant, suitable, or fit.”

The Court stated that applicability, in the context of BAPCPA, is determined by making “individualized determination” of a debtor’s monthly expenses. The Court noted that if Congress had not intended to differentiate between debtors who did and did not qualify for a deduction, it “could have omitted the term ‘applicable’ altogether.” The Court also noted that the “statutory context” gives support to this reading as the Code defines disposable income as “current monthly income…less amounts reasonably necessary to be expended.” Lastly, the Court examined the legislative intent behind BAPCPA, which was to prevent perceived bankruptcy abuses by ensuring “[debtors] repay creditors the maximum they can afford.”

Ransom argued that the term “applicable” refers to the deduction tables, directing the debtor to chose the “applicable” ownership deduction of whether he or she owned one or two vehicles. The Court noted that this interpretation made the use of the word “applicable” superfluous, and was contrary to the statutory purpose effected by the means test giving an allowance for ““reasonably necessary” expenses.” The Court further noted that “[e]xpenses that are wholly fictional are not easily though of as reasonably necessary.” The Court also disagreed with Ransom’s contention that this reading would conflate “applicable” with “actual”, noting that although an expense can only be deducted if actually incurred, the actual debtor expenses incurred does not necessarily control, if for instance the debtor’s “actual expenses exceed the amounts listed in the tables….”

The Court also disagreed with Ransom’s contention that the car-ownership deduction cannot cover only loan and lease payments, because a separate sentence of the means test provides that “notwithstanding” the other provisions of the test, “the monthly expenses of the debtor shall not include any payments for debts.” The Court held that this sentence did not apply solely to the car-ownership provision, and that this sentence could only serve to “exclude, and not authorize, deductions.”

Lastly, Ransom argued that his reading of the means test was necessary to avoid results not intended by Congress. Ransom gave as an example of such “senseless results” as that of a debtor timing their bankruptcy filing so that he or she would have only a few car payments left, and thus claim an ownership deduction that would not be applicable soon after entering bankruptcy. The Court stated that such anomalies were “the inevitable result of a standardized formula like the means test”, and Ransom’s reading introduced its own problems, namely, “the strangeness of giving a debtor an allowance for loan or lease payments” when he or she is incurring no such costs. The Court held that all of Ransom’s arguments miss the point of both BAPCPA and the means test, which are to prevent bankruptcy abuses while simultaneously assuring that a debtor has enough money for “reasonable expenses.”

Justice Scalia alone dissented from the majority opinion. His dissenting opinion took issue with the majority’s assertion that Ransom’s reading of the word “applicable” would render it superfluous, noting “[t]he canon against superfluity is not a canon against verbosity.” Justice Scalia then stated that “[t]he point of the statutory language is to entitle debtors who own cars to an ownership deduction” and that an independent interpretation of the tables used was unnecessary as there was “little doubt” that a debtor would be able to choose whether to claim a deduction for one car or two. Scalia also noted that the Court’s job was not to “eliminate or reduce” the “oddities” mentioned by the court, but to “give the formula Congress adopted its fairest meaning.”

ISSA ASKS FOR DETAILS OF FANNIE, FREDDIE LEGAL FEES

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants to know why lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still paying the legal bills for their former executives, the Legal Times reported yesterday. Those bills have run well into the millions of dollars - $24.2 million to defend the former executives and $160 million overall to defend them and the companies in various lawsuits, the New York Times reported this month. Issa yesterday released a letter to the Federal Housing Administration asking for a "full and complete explanation" of the decision to "continue advancing legal fees on behalf of former executives." The letter also asks for employment contracts for former executives Franklin Raines, Timothy Howard, Leanne Spencer and Leland Brendsel, and for communications involving the companies, the Treasury Department and the White House
 http://dizzy.abiworld.org/t/1515391/201584/6701/0/y

MORTGAGE FINANCE OVERHAUL TO RAISE COSTS, REDUCE HOME-OWNERSHIP

 David Stevens, commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees loans to first-time and low-income home buyers. Ownership rates, which rose from 63.8 percent in 1994 to 69.2 percent a decade later, have since dropped to 66.9 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Stevens said he expects the rate to fall further.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-01-31/higher-costs-lower-home-ownership-rates-expected-after-housing-overhaul.html



http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20110201a.html

Half of Families Can Afford Most Homes on the Market Report

http://www.dsnews.com/articles/half-of-families-can-afford-most-homes-on-market-report-2011-02-01



According to data from Movoto.com, a real estate site based in California, more than half of American families can afford to buy a new home based on income levels and listing prices.

A person with an annual salary of $64,400 could reasonably afford a $215,000 home with a 5 percent down payment, an interest rate of 5 percent on a 30 year mortgage, and property taxes at 1.25 percent, assuming a monthly mortgage payment to monthly income ratio rate of 25 percent, the company explained in a statement.

Movoto.com reports 55 percent of homes for sale on Movoto.com are priced under $250,000 and 24 percent are priced between $150,000 and $250,000 as of late December 2010. Movoto also reveals that 53 percent of home searches in December were for listings in the below-$250,000 price range.

HAMP MODS SLOWING, OUTNUMBERED BY REJECTIONS AND CANCELATIONS

Last week, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, released a report to Congress saying servicers are not doing all they can to help facilitate the process of keeping borrowers in their homes. To date there have been 1,025,907 homeowners rejected for HAMP modifications by the eight largest servicers, and there have been 572,655 canceled trial modifications, which typically occurs because of insufficient documentation, program ineligibility, or because the borrower missed payments.


http://www.dsnews.com/articles/servicer-participation-in-hamp-slowing-mods-outnumbered-by-rejections-and-cancelations-2011-02-01

BILL INTRODUCED FOR BANKRUPTCY COURT-ORDERED FORECLOSURE MEDIATION

http://www.dsnews.com/articles/senator-introduces-bill-for-bankruptcy-court-ordered-foreclosure-mediation-2011-02-01


Whitehouse’s bill — Limiting Investor and Homeowner Loss in Foreclosure Act (S. 222) — was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, last week. The full committee held a hearing Tuesday on bankruptcy court foreclosure mediation programs and how the approach might be used to “cut through the red tape” and bring the homeowner and their mortgage company together “for a good faith negotiation,” according to Whitehouse.

Kid Related

In the wake of recent  news stories involving  kids deaths:




http://tv.gawker.com/#!5663083/this-is-the-most-touching-it-gets-better-video-you-will-ever-see

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/02/21/Early-Childhood-Stress-Can-Have-a-Lingering-Effect-on-Your-Health.aspx

http://www.acestudy.org/index.html

http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1202479055898

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/02/top-ten-legal-drugs-linked-to-violence.aspx

Personal Bankruptcies Decline in January

The number of personal bankruptcy filings dropped in January to its lowest level since in two years, according to a report Tuesday.


Consumer bankruptcies fell 22% to 92,669 filings last month, compared to December, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Bankruptcy Research Center said Tuesday. Filings were down about 9% from the same month a year ago.

Monthly bankruptcy data isn’t adjusted for seasonal swings and there tend to be fewer filings at the beginning of the year. Still, the overall trend indicates that the rush of consumer bankruptcy filings appears to be slowing.

Consumer bankruptcies reached their highest level in five years in 2010 but experts predicted that filings would ease this year as Americans are less overwhelmed by their debt.

Global General Files Chapter 15 Bankruptcy in U.S.

2011 Bankruptcy Reference Book- CA

Includes:


- Directory of Bankruptcy Judges (Central District of California)

- Bankruptcy Code (edited)

- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

- Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure

- Local Bankruptcy Rules (Central District of California)

- California Exemptions

Edited and published by M. Jonathan Hayes

$40.00 (818) 882-5600 or roksana@hayesbklaw.com or rosario@hayesbklaw.com

HAMP redefault Rates Low at One-Year Mark

The U.S. Treasury Department says that permanent modifications executed under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) are performing well over time. Of HAMP loan mods that became permanent in the fourth quarter of 2009, 15.3% were 90+ days delinquent one year later, according to the Treasury's latest servicer performance report, which covers data through December 2010.


By comparison, federal financial regulators' most recent Mortgage Metrics Report shows that nearly half (48.6%) of the loans modified by servicers in the first quarter of 2009 had redefaulted by the 12-month mark. HAMP loans that were modified in the third quarter of 2009 did not fare as well, falling into the 90+ day default bucket at a rate of 20.7%.

Approximately 521,600 permanent modifications were active as of the end of last year, the Treasury reports. More than 58,000 permanent modifications and 734,500 trial modifications have been canceled since the program began.

The Treasury Department's statement follows the Jan. 28 introduction of a bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to shut down HAMP. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told TheHill.com that HAMP was a "colossal failure," adding that the program was "one more example of why government interference in the private sector doesn't work."



SOURCE: U.S. Treasury Department

FHFA Plans to Consolidate Offices

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that it will consolidate its three office locations into one location. Beginning in November, the FHFA will center its operations at Constitution Center, 400 Seventh St. S.W., in Washington, D.C.


"This move will improve efficiency and will allow for expansion in, and greater integration of, our examination and supervisory personnel and programs," says Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the FHFA.



SOURCE: FHFA

Homeownership Rate At Lowest Level Since 1998

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to 66.5% of all households in the fourth quarter of 2010, marking the lowest recorded homeownership level since 1998, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.


The fourth-quarter rates were down 0.4% from the third quarter of 2010 and 0.7% from the fourth quarter of 2009. The highest recorded homeownership rate was 69%, which was reached in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The Census Bureau also reported that the homeowner vacancy rate increased in the fourth quarter to 2.7%, up from 2.5% in the third quarter, while the rental vacancy rate declined to 9.4% in the same period, down from 10.3% in the previous quarter.

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau

New Florida Homeowner Assistance Program Begins

A new program designed to help distressed Florida homeowners has begun operations.


Central Florida News reports that the Florida Hardest-Hit program will use $1 billion in federal funds to help struggling homeowners make their mortgage payments for up to 18 months or make a delinquent loan current. The funds will go directly to lenders and will not need to be paid back unless the home is sold within five years.

The program will begin taking applications from Lee County residents before rolling out across the entire state. An estimated 20,000 homeowners may be eligible for program assistance.


SOURCE: Central Florida News

Servicers Completed 1.24 Million Non-HAMP Loan Mods in 2010

http://www.dsnews.com/articles/servicers-completed-176-million-non-hamp-loan-mods-in-2010-2011-02-02



Though servicers seem to be having minimal success with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), final 2010 data released by HOPE NOW shows that its members completed 1.24 million proprietary loan modifications last year. That number is more than double the 512,712 HAMP modifications completed by servicers last year. HOPE NOW's data show that there were 1.06 million foreclosure sales in 2010, compared to 1.76 million total loan modifications.

BP Mediator Feinberg Cannot Call Himself Independent, Judge Says

A federal judge said that Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer paying victims of BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, cannot identify himself as an independent administrator of a $20 billion settlement fund, Bloomberg News reported today. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans concluded yesterday that Feinberg must fully disclose his ties to BP when communicating with potential claimants. Lawyers for oil-spill victims had questioned Feinberg's handling of the $20 billion trust fund, known as the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF). "A full disclosure of the relationship between Feinberg, the GCCF, and BP will at least make transparent that it is BP?s interests" that Feinberg is promoting in his role as head of the fund, the judge said in a 15-page ruling


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-02-02/bp-mediator-can-t-identify-himself-as-independent-court-rules.html

Treasury: U.S. to Hit Debt Limit in April/May

The United States will hit a $14.3 trillion statutory limit on its debt slightly later than previously estimated, the Treasury said yesterday as it unveiled a still-hefty debt auction schedule, Reuters reported yesterday. Treasury officials said that the limit would now be hit between April 5 and May 31, versus a previous estimate of end-March to mid-May. The later time frame reflected an upward revision to estimates of tax receipts and a downward revision to projected borrowing from the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. The officials said that they were proceeding with borrowing plans under the assumption Congress will raise the limit without a protracted battle, an assumption financial markets share.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/02/us-usa-debt-limit-idUSTRE7118FT20110202?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews

Free Foreclosure CLE

http://www.legalspan.com/TFB/catalog.asp

The Florida Bar News announced that online CLE "Foreclosure Litigation in Florida" is available from The Florida Bar website at no charge (4 hours CLE).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Special

Chapter 7 Individual or Joint $800* plus fees & costs till March 1,2011 mention this blog.  Call 727-410-2705 to schedule an appoitment!