Thursday, March 17, 2011

Star Jones is EVIL

Hey Star you do look inside like the pictures Lisa posted!  (even if it was childish)

Star you couldn't make at Court TV, you couldn't make it at the View, you couldn't get along with Lisa- who's got the problem!

  Lisa try a reverse discrimination suit as a counter suit.


 The plotters:

Matt Weidner Pod Cast


From Matt Weidner's blog:
Yves Smith does an excellent job of breaking down an important loss that the foreclosure defense community took in a recent Alabama case. So why are we taking time to broadcast and talk about a loss? Well, sometimes you learn more from losses than you do with cases that are won…..and as Yves analyzes the “loss” you will see important avenues for attack that are opened up. The bottom line is most of the mortgages that are being foreclosed on are governed by the PSA which is governed by New York Trust law. Now we know that the plaintiffs and foreclosure mills are just ignoring all sorts of procedural elements in their rush to foreclose, just slinging assignments and slaping on endorsements to meet the requirements of each case….regardless of the underlying facts. As an example of this, read carefully the order below and the detailed allegations regarding fraud. But the larger point is even when they’re doctoring the facts and forging and faking assignments and endorsements, they’ve got to follow the requirements of the PSA and they’ve got to fulfill the requirements of New York trust law….which they almost never do.

Most Plaintiffs if they have the original note proceed by way of a blank endorsement and there’s real question about whether the PSA or New York trust law even allow blank endorsement. (The requirement may be to proceed by way of a specific endorsement, which is never, ever done.)

Now the real take away from all this is just how screwed up the wizards of Wall Street have made what was for hundreds of years a very simple matter. Borrower borrowed money; lender owed money. We’re all light years away from those simple times…with disastrous consequences. I have no pity or sympathy for the banks. All they had to do was do their job correctly and stop all the lying and fraud. They did not do their job correctly and the fix our courts are now in is a large part because of the fraud and the games they’ve been getting away with. Still coming is the fallout when title insurers fail to accept the title to these properties…then what?

Non Judicial Foreclosure Coming to Florida?

u“Florida Fair Foreclosure Act”

Stern dumps cases and walks away!

I bet if I tried this move to witdraw from cases  they would yank my ticket.

Why you are better off with a Bankruptcy then a Short Sale

Waiting periods for new home loans with Fannie Mae:

--Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 or 11 — four years; two years with extenuating circumstances.

--Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 — two years from discharge date or four years from dismissal date; with extenuating circumstances, two years from discharge date or two years from dismissal date.

--Multiple bankruptcy filings — five years if more than one filing within the past seven years; with extenuating circumstances, three years from the most recent discharge or dismissal date.

--Foreclosure — seven years; with extenuating circumstances, three years. Additional requirements after three years and up to seven years include a 90 percent loan-to-value ratio, and the loan must be a purchase of a principal residence.

--Deed in lieu of foreclosure — two years, 80 percent maximum loan-to-value ratio; with extenuating circumstances, two years, 90 percent maximum LTV.

--Preforeclosure sale — four years, 90 percent maximum LTV; with extenuating circumstances, two years, 90 percent maximum LTV.

--Short sale — seven years, LTV ratios per the eligibility matrix; with extenuating circumstances, two years, 90 percent maximum LTV.
By the way your still open for a deficency and a second lawsuit to collect after the foreclosure, deed in lieu or short sale, unless the bank agrees to waive the deficency.   Which they  almost never do.

163 Exemptions from BK Prof Blog

Westlaw “Headnote of the Day” -- Chapter 7 "vehicle" ?

163 Exemptions

163I Nature and Extent

163I(C) Property and Rights Exempt

163k44 k. Vehicles and Teams.

Parts which Chapter 7 debtor had collected from various sources, and which, while they had never been assembled, would, if assembled, comprise a working automobile, did not constitute a "vehicle," for purposes of Oregon exemption statute; while exemption statute was to be liberally construed, liberal construction could not transform pile of parts into automobile.

In re McMillin, 441 B.R. 348 (Bankr. D. Or. 2010)

Too Funny's%20Summer%20Program%20Into%20a%20Psych%20Lab&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

Credit History Pitfalls

In a recent decision, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Bankruptcy Code's anti-discrimination provisions applicable to private employers do not apply to hiring decisions. See Rea v. Federated Investors, No. 10-1440, 2010 WL 5094250 (3d Cir. Dec. 15, 2010). Finding that the language of the statute is plain and that Congress chose to prohibit discrimination in hiring in the anti-discrimination section of the Bankruptcy Code applicable to public employers but not in the section applicable to private employers, the court held that Federated Investors did not violate 11 U.S.C. §525(b) when it refused to hire the plaintiff because he had previously declared bankruptcy. While this decision indicates that private employers may avoid liability under the Bankruptcy Code when making hiring decisions on the basis of an applicant's bankruptcy filing, such employers will face liability under the Bankruptcy Code's anti-discrimination provisions if they terminate an employee or otherwise discriminate against an employee on the basis of his bankruptcy filing.

However, employers may run afoul of various state and federal statutes when making employment decisions, including hiring decisions, based on employees' and applicants' credit histories. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contends that an employer violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if it makes employment decisions on the basis of individuals' credit histories, as doing so has an adverse impact on various minority groups according to the EEOC.  See EEOC v. Freeman, No. 8:09-cv-02573-RWT (S.D. Md., complaint filed Sept. 30, 2009).

Employers may also run afoul of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act if they use a third-party consumer reporting agency to conduct background checks, which typically include credit history information, and an adverse employment decision is made based on such information, unless the employer complies with the FCRA's strict notice, authorization and disclosure requirements prior to taking adverse employment action based on such information. See 15 U.S.C. §1681 et. seq. Some states have laws which contain similar or more stringent protections.

Pants Velor- Charlie Sheen Video

Freddie Mac Splits With Law Offices Of Marshall Watson

Freddie Mac and the Law Offices of Marshall Watson, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based law firm, have parted ways as of March 11, 2011.

The split "was a mutual decision between the firm and Freddie Mac,"  per Freddie Mac spokesperson Brad German.

Watson is one of several law firms under civil investigation by the office of Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi. The firm provides foreclosure, litigation, bankruptcy, evictions and title insurance services throughout Florida.

SOURCE: Freddie Mac

For a juicy story

Dual Track System

Congressional Hearings Today: TARP Oversight, Mark-Ups of Foreclosure, Temporary Bankruptcy Judge Bills

The Senate Banking Committee will be holding a hearing today looking at TARP oversight as the Senate Judiciary Committee will aim to mark up S. 222, the "Limiting Investor and Homeowner Loss in Foreclosure Act" and the House Judiciary marks up H.R. 1021, the "Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeships Extension Act of 2011."
Click for the prepared testimony for the Senate Banking Committee hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.

S. 222, the "Limiting Investor and Homeowner Loss in Foreclosure Act."
H.R. 1021, the "Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeships Extension Act of 2011."

Congressional Panel Report Says Foreclosure Mitigation "Largely Failed"

The final report released Wednesday by the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) paid special attention to foreclosure prevention initiatives, particularly the Home Affordable Modification Program. The COP analyzed several foreclosure mitigation efforts that have been implemented since as far back as 2007, and made it very clear that none of the programs have been as successful as hoped, mainly because of poor planning, poor regulation, and poor data collection.   The report focuses  uses of money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) paid special attention to foreclosure mediation programs, particularly the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

The report says “The TARP is now widely perceived as having restored stability to the financial sector by bailing out Wall Street banks and domestic automotive manufacturers while doing little for the 13.9 million workers who are unemployed, the 2.4 million homeowners who are at immediate risk of foreclosure, or the countless families otherwise struggling to make ends meet.”

After pointing out that the federal government is not an official sponsor of the HOPE NOW alliance, the COP says that while the alliance reports it has modified more than 3 million loans, little information is available about the actual savings the modifications are providing to homeowners.

Of the HOPE for Homeowners program that was established in July 2008, the COP says it “managed to refinance only a handful of loans,” most likely because the program had “poor initial design, lack of flexibility, and … [relied] on voluntary principal write-downs, which lenders were very reluctant to make.”

House Votes to Rescind $1B in Neighborhood Stabilization Grants

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pull the plug on HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and rescind $1 billion in grant money that has not yet been awarded. The NSP Termination Act (H.R. 861) passed the House with a 242-182 vote. It now moves to the Senate, where it is not expected to be met with such favor. White House officials again indicated that President Obama will veto the bill should it make it that far.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stern's Houses For Sale


MLS #R3157055
TOUR #459876
I am seriously drooling here!!!!!!
I Like The Florida home- very nice! 

  The Colorado property just is not my taste. It would be an okay vacation home .

You must admit the man has taste.

For All the Mothers With Little Boys!

Tampa Convention Center

333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602

Show Features

50,000 sq ft of Huge Operating Model Railroads
Giant Riding Train for Kids
200 Booths of Manufacturers and Retailers
Over 100 Trains for Kids to Play With
D.C.C. Controlled Railroads for Adults to Run
Demonstrations, Seminars and New Products

Web Host Found Liable for Contributory Infringement

A jury's $770,750 verdict against Bright Builders marks the first time a Web-hosting company has been found liable for contributory infringement without actual notice that a customer's website lists fake products for sale.

FHA Commissioner David Stevens to Take the Reins at MBA

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced Tuesday that John A. Courson, the organization's president and CEO, will be leaving the association, effective June 1, 2011. Courson will be replaced by David H. Stevens, the current commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Stevens announced last week that he would be resigning from his position at FHA. His departure from the federal agency is set for March 31. According to MBA, he will join the trade group in May.

Probe into Robo-Signing Scandal Finds "No Wrongful Foreclosures"

After the robo-signing scandal that rocked the mortgage servicing world late last year, servicers maintained that even if they had not followed proper procedure when foreclosing on homes, mortgages on all of the foreclosed properties were indeed seriously delinquent. The outrage sparked by the controversy showed that many people simply didn't believe that was the case. But results from the months-long probe into foreclosure documents by the Federal Reserve and other regulators revealed servicers were telling the truth.

ATM Fees Heading Higher

Some of the nation's biggest banks are imposing a variety of new fees on people who withdraw money from automated-teller machines, the Wall Street Journal reported today. JPMorgan Chase & Co., TD Bank Financial Group, and PNC Financial Services Group are already changing their ATM policies to collect more fees. JPMorgan's Chase retail division, for example, is going after noncustomers who withdraw money from the bank's ATMs. Chase executives have grumbled about customers of rival banks using the company's machines even though it charges them $3, which is standard in the banking industry. Chase is now testing fees of $5 and $4 in Illinois and Texas, respectively, for noncustomer withdrawals.

Geithner Backs New Financing Approach for Mortgages

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner yesterday backed legislative efforts to create a new market for financing mortgages that would help wean the $10.6 trillion U.S. mortgage market from government support, Reuters reported yesterday. Geithner testified before the Senate Banking Committee that he endorsed efforts to create a market for covered bonds, which are securities issued by banks and backed by pools of loans. That is different from the current mortgage system, in which lenders sell many of the loans they make to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which then repackage them as securities for investors. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has warned that a covered bond system could put its bank deposit insurance fund at increased risk for losses because the investors would have seniority over the agency in the event of default. Geithner said such concerns were legitimate and would have to be worked out.

In related news, the Obama administration issued two veto warnings yesterday on bills to kill government housing programs that Republicans plan to take up in the House today, CongressDaily reported today. The bills would end the administration's main modification program, the Home Affordable Modification Program, and eliminate $1 billion remaining in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a program for rehabilitating foreclosed homes. The bills are expected to pass the House but are unlikely to be taken up in the Senate, where Democrats have largely sought to improve foreclosure-mitigation efforts rather than abandon them.

FDIC Releases Details on Its Liquidation Authority

The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is offering more details on how it plans to treat certain creditor claims under its new authority to liquidate failed nonbank financial institutions, including when the FDIC will seek to claw back compensation of executives and directors, the Deal Pipeline reported today. In one new element approved yesterday, a company's receiver could seek up to two years of compensation from executives and directors who are "substantially responsible" for the financial condition of a failed company. While the receiver would have to consider whether lower level executives performed their responsibilities with the requisite degree of skill and care, and whether they caused a loss that materially contributed to the failure, it would be far easier to get clawback from top executives and board chairmen. The Dodd-Frank Act allows for the FDIC to be appointed receiver for a financial company if the entity's failure cannot be dealt with under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code without posing significant risk to U.S. financial stability.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

Lawyer Loses License for Advising Clients to Break Into Foreclosed Homes

Citing "substantial harm to clients or the public," the State Bar of California has removed the law license of Michael T. Pines, who it said had helped clients get into their foreclosed homes, despite warnings by courts and police.

Michael T. Pines, a lawyer who garnered substantial media coverage for advising clients to break into their foreclosed homes now has no bar  license.   He has shown complete disrespect for the law, the courts and especially the best interests of his clients. Removing Mr. Pines from active practice is an important step in our mission of public protection.

Although Pines asserted that his clients were illegally foreclosed upon, the state bar maintains that they had no legal right to break into the houses, which were located in Carlsbad, Newport Beach and Simi Valley, Calif.

What Can The Mortgage Banking Industry Learn From Charlie Sheen?

The great novelist Arthur Koestler once wrote, "If one looks with a cold eye at the mess man has made of history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction."

Think twice before you say something that can boomerang back at you.
No one ultimately gets away with bad behavior.
Good people get hurt by the bad behavior of others.
No crisis lasts forever.

"Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears."

Attorney Generals Against Write Downs of Mortgages

Following last week's statement by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan that principal reductions are unfair and not in everyone's best interest, more banks and even some attorneys general have spoken out against the controversial clause in the settlement proposal. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf voiced his disapproval of principal write-downs, saying such provisions would entice people to default on their loans. Some attorneys generals said they feel write-downs would force servicers to break their contracts with investors.

According to Bloomberg, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli said there was “a great degree of unease” among the attorneys general regarding the terms of the settlement. Cuccinelli also said he believes it is a problem that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t involved in the negotiations.

The news service said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt also opposes the settlement, saying that mandatory write-downs would force servicers to violate obligations to their investors.

HARP Extended

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has pushed the cut-off date for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) out by a year. HARP allows homeowners with a mortgage owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac who owe more than the home is worth obtain a new loan at today's lower interest rates. The program was originally set to expire on June 30, 2011. FHFA has now extended the program through June 30, 2012.

In addition to HARP’s extension, FHFA announced changes to each GSE’s program parameters to better align the joint initiative.

Previously, qualifying loans for Fannie Mae had to have been made prior to March 2009, while for Freddie Mac it was prior to May 2009. Going forward, both companies will use the May 2009 cut-off date for program eligibility.

Bankruptcy Bailout

Real Estate Broker gets Prison for Bankruptcy Fraud

An Alpharetta, Ga., real estate broker was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in federal prison for making false statements during his bankruptcy case.

6th Cir Rejects BK Trustee's Attempt to Avoid Mortgage Based on Allegedly Defective Acknowledgment

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently held that a bankruptcy trustee could not avoid a mortgage based on allegedly defective certificates of acknowledgment in the mortgage documents, which used the words “executed before me” instead of “acknowledged before me” as explicitly provided under Ohio law.

A copy of the opinion is available at:

The Trustee in the underlying bankruptcy matter sought to avoid the debtors’ mortgages with Citifinancial, Inc. (“Creditor”) based on allegedly defective certificates of acknowledgment in the mortgage documents. The bankruptcy court held that the certificates complied with Ohio state law, the bankruptcy appellate panel affirmed and the Sixth Circuit affirmed, as well.

As you may recall, under the Bankruptcy Code, “a trustee has the same rights that a bona fide purchaser for value would enjoy under applicable state law, whether or not such a purchaser actually exists.” 11 U.S.C. § 544(a)(3). “Ohio law dictates that defectively executed transfers of land are not binding on any subsequent bona fide purchasers for value who take the land without knowledge of such a transfer.” Thus, “standing in the shoes of a hypothetical bona fide purchaser, a trustee can avoid a mortgage that was improperly executed under Ohio law. The trustee, however, has the burden of demonstrating that the mortgage was improperly executed.”

Under Ohio law, a properly executed mortgage must include a certificate of acknowledgement which “shall be accepted in this state if . . . the certificate contains the words ‘acknowledged before me,’ or their substantial equivalent.” In this case, Creditor utilized the phrase “executed before me” and, therefore, the issue before the Court was whether that phrase is the substantial equivalent of “acknowledged before me.” The Court concluded the phrases were substantially equivalent.

The Court reasoned that to be a “substantial equivalent,” “language of the instrument should communicate effectively the four-part meaning attributed to the phrase ‘acknowledged before me’ in the Ohio Code.” Ohio’s statutory definition of “acknowledged before me” includes four elements: “(A) The person acknowledging appeared before the person taking the acknowledgment; (B) He acknowledged he executed the instrument; (C) In the case of . . . [a] natural person, he executed the instrument for the purposes therein stated; (D) The person taking the acknowledgment either knew or had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person named in the instrument or certificate.”

In this case, the first and second elements were easily met because, among other reasons, the phrase “before me” “indicates that the mortgagors were physically in the presence of the … notary public.” In addition, “under Ohio law, one who signs a document in the presence of another acknowledges his signature to the witness, absent some contrary evidence.” Here, “there is no evidence to suggest that the Debtors did not sign in the presence of the notary.”

Although the third element was less clear, the Court held that criteria was nonetheless satisfied because the “additional language in the Creditor’s certificate established that the individual Debtors, by name, had ‘examined and read the mortgage and did sign the foregoing instrument … of their free act and deed.” Accordingly, “the mortgagors executed the Mortgage for the purposes therein stated and . . . the notary public so certified.”

Finally, the fourth element was satisfied because “the notary in this case had certified not only execution by the named individuals but had also referred to them by name as “the individuals who . . .executed the foregoing instrument.” This “double reference is an indication of satisfactory knowledge of identity that is equally as strong as that provided by the statutory short form.” In addition, under Ohio law, “the rule is generally accepted that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, public officers … will be presumed to have properly performed their duties and not to have acted illegally but regularly and in a lawful manner.”

Of Interest

Articles for lawyers

Proposed Legislation Designed To Protect Military Borrowers, Tuesday 08 March 2011 - 11:17:21

In response to recent reports involving military service members being treated improperly by mortgage lenders and servicers, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has introduced new legislation to enhance foreclosure protections for military borrows.

According to Whitehouse, the Protecting Servicemembers from Mortgage Abuses Act of 2011 would expand on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 by doubling the maximum criminal penalties for violations of its foreclosure and eviction protections. It would also double civil penalties in cases where the attorney general has commenced a civil action. In addition, the bill will give service members an extended period of foreclosure-protection coverage after military service has ended, from the current nine months to a new 24-month period.

"Our troops serving abroad face countless threats every day, but the threat of foreclosure should not be among them," says Whitehouse. "This legislation will help ensure that service members and their families, who have sacrificed so much, will not be forced to endure the pain of foreclosure while they defend our country."

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

SOURCE: Office of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Forced Placed Insurance

Last year, Assurant collected roughly $2.7 billion of premiums through its specialty insurance division, making force-placed insurance the company's most profitable segment.

Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest

Hackers in the News

Although not necessarily tied to a single on-line entity, many websites are strongly associated with Anonymous. This includes notable imageboards such as 4chan and Futaba, their associated wikis, Encyclopædia Dramatica, and a number of forums.[4] After a series of controversial, widely-publicized protests and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous in 2008, incidents linked to its cadre members have increased.[5] In consideration of its capabilities, Anonymous has been posited by CNN to be one of the 3 major successors to WikiLeaks.[

'we are doing it for the lulz'.  LOL

Peoples Liberation Front (PLF), a collective of hactivists founded in 1985. According to Commander X, Peoples Liberation Front acted with AnonOps, another sub-group of Anonymous, to carry out denial-of-service attacks against government websites in Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, and Bahrain.

There are older people, from the direction of the Chaos Computer Club - that can if needed rein in the "kids" who appear to dominate Anon Ops." Explaining the relationship between Anonymous and the PLF, he suggested an analogy to NATO, with the PLF being a smaller sub-group that could choose to opt-in or out of a specific project. "Anon Ops and the PLF are both capable of creating huge "Internet armies". The main difference is Anon Ops moves with huge force, but very slowly because of their decision making process. The PLF moves with great speed, like a scalpel".

Home Values

According to CoreLogic’s study, the five states with the greatest home price depreciation in January were: Idaho (-15.7 percent), Alabama (-12.1 percent), Arizona (-11 percent), Oregon (-9.9 percent), and Utah (-9.8 percent).

The five states with the highest appreciation were: West Virginia (+5.5 percent), North Dakota (+3.3 percent), New York (+1.9 percent), Hawaii (+0.7 percent), and Wyoming (+0.2 percent).

Nationwide, CoreLogic says home prices have dropped 32.8 percent from their peak in April 2006, largely due to increased volumes of distressed properties on the market.

Colonial Cites AmTrust Ruling As Support in Fight with FDIC

Colonial BancGroup Inc. said that a recent ruling by a U.S District Court judge in Ohio involving a dispute between the FDIC and AmTrust Financial Corp. supports a bankruptcy judge's ruling in its favor last year in a similar dispute, Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review reported today. Both Colonial and AmTrust were bank-holding companies whose banking subsidiaries failed in 2009 and were taken over by the FDIC. In both cases, the parents both filed for chapter 11 and have been sparring with the FDIC over commitments the holding companies made to regulators to shore up the bank's capital. In a closely watched decision last year in Colonial's chapter 11 case, Bankruptcy Judge Dwight H. Williams Jr. rejected the FDIC's bid to go after the parent for failure to maintain capital levels at the bank. In AmTrust's case, which involves a similar dispute with the FDIC, U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent pointed to the Colonial bankruptcy court decision and concluded the commitments at issue constituted promises to help reach a goal, namely to prop up the bank, but not guarantees the goal would be reached.

Fannie, Freddie Probe Focuses on Disclosure

The investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is homing in on the extent to which the mortgage-finance giants adequately disclosed their exposure to subprime loans, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The agency on Friday sent Daniel Mudd, the former chief executive of Fannie Mae, a Wells notice, which indicates that the SEC staff is preparing to recommend civil enforcement actions and gives individuals the opportunity to persuade regulators against such an action. The SEC is weighing whether to include charges against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - in addition to individuals - in any enforcement action.

House Votes to Kill Another Housing-Assistance Program

The House of Representatives approved a bill, 242-177, on Friday that would end the federal program that lets out-of-work homeowners take out government loans to temporarily stay current on their mortgages, CongressDaily reported on Friday. The measure would immediately turn off $1 billion in loans available through the Housing and Urban Development Department to borrowers with costly medical bills or who have lost their job. The Senate is not poised to act on the measure and the White House has issued a veto threat on the bill. The House this week plans to take up two other Republican-led bills aimed at killing Obama administration housing-assistance programs. One would end the Home Affordable Modification Program; another would terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which has $1 billion left for rehabilitating abandoned homes.

Bank of America Unit Tried to Hide Foreclosure Information, Hackers Say

A hacker organization known as Anonymous released a series of e-mails today provided by a former Bank of America employee who claims they show how a division of the bank sought to hide information on foreclosures, the New York Times reported today. The bank unit, Balboa Insurance, was acquired by Bank of America when it bought the mortgage lender Countrywide Financial in 2008. Balboa deals in "force-placed" insurance coverage on mortgages and the e-mail messages concern the removal of information linking loans to other documentation. Bank of America said that the documents had been stolen by a former Balboa employee, and were not tied to foreclosures.

I have some ideas- hey hackers call me.

Borders Aims to Exit Bankruptcy by Summer

Borders Group Inc. hopes to exit chapter 11 protection by summer's end after getting a head-start on its restructuring by targeting 200 superstores for closure, Borders President Mike Edwards said, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Borders is exploring closing as many as 75 additional stores and hopes to present a formal business plan to publishers and other creditors in early April. Borders, which filed for bankruptcy protection Feb. 16 and is aiming to exit bankruptcy by August or September, will have 433 stores after closing an initial round of 200 superstores. The final number of additional store closings will depend on the success of negotiations with landlords and may be closer to 20 to 25 stores, said Edwards.

Congressional Hearings Examine the State and Municipal Debt Crisis, Reforming the America's Housing Finance Market

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today will hold its second hearing examining the state and municipal debt crisis, while the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing today titled "Reforming America's Housing Finance Market." The Senate Banking Committee's hearing at 10 a.m. ET will feature Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and their prepared witness testimony can be found here. The House Oversight Committee hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m., and the witness list and prepared hearing testimony can be found

Foreclosure Settlement Plan Might Make Matters Worse

The proposal federal officials and state attorneys general that includes a $20 billion settlement with mortgage companies raises a number of questions and potential problems, according to an editorial in today's Washington Post . As flagrant as the mortgage companies' procedural violations might have been, they did not actually cause many foreclosures, according to the editorial. It is also not clear why anyone who was not foreclosed on should get the money and the proposal might help people with negative equity avoid foreclosure - good for borrowers, neighborhoods and even banks, which avoid the hassle and expense of repossessing distressed property, according to the editorial. The prospect of qualifying for a principal reduction might induce some borrowers to engage in strategic defaulting.

Lucas Demands CFTC's Review of Dodd-Frank Costs

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has asked the inspector general of the Commodity Futures and Exchange Commission to investigate the agency's cost-benefit analyses of implementing the derivatives title of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Deal Pipeline reported yesterday. "Now is not the time to impose poorly vetted regulations on this economy," Lucas said. "Taking the time to understand the consequences of the rules will not weaken them - it will only strengthen the CFTC's ability to deliver on the objectives of Dodd-Frank."

House Republicans Take Shots at Dodd-Frank

House Republicans announced plans yesterday to pick apart last year's sweeping financial-reform, CongressDaily reported today. The GOP proposals before the House Financial Services Committee that were outlined yesterday would ease provisions dealing with derivatives clearing, liability for asset-backed securities, Securities and Exchange Commission registration requirements and data reporting. They are to be debated at a Capital Markets Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.