Interesting Personal Debt News Links (February 13, 2009)

February 13, 2009

* What bailed-out RBS and HBOS bankers did was unforgivable.. (Tony Parsons, Mirror)

I reckon many people felt curiously unsatisfied after that bunch of bailed-out bankers from RBS and HBOS hung their heads and said sorry.

* Stocks fall as investors can’t shake economic woest

NEW YORK — Investors sent Washington a message this week: They won’t commit to stocks until the government commits to a plan.

* Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac again suspend foreclosures

Government-controlled mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Friday they have immediately suspended all foreclosure sales involving occupied single-family and 2-4 unit properties through March 6, to give troubled borrowers more time to work with loan servicers to avoid losing their homes.

* Brokers under the microscope as FSA acts (The Scotsman)

Just one of last year’s cases was in Scotland. The FSA said Kilmarnock-based Ian Sanderson, of Mortgage Master, admitted to deliberately inflating people’s salaries so applications would be dealt with by lenders using a fast-track process, which is subject to less scrutiny.

* California foreclosures down 23% in January (Peter Hong, Los Angeles Times)

ForeclosureRadar, the online seller of default data, says California homes sold at foreclosure auctions were down 23% in January from a year ago. The company attributes the drop to big banks being preoccupied with their mergers and thus too swamped to deal with defaults. Lenders say there may be something to that, but they’re also working to modify loans to avoid foreclosures. Here’s the Times …

* Mortgage lending at 34-year low (Hilary Osborne, Guardian Unlimited)

The number of mortgages taken out by people buying a home fell to its lowest level in 34 years during 2008, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said today.

* White House and major banks act on housing crisis (Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times)

Reporting from Costa Mesa and Washington — With pressure growing for government action to stem foreclosures, the White House moved up to next week the unveiling of President Obama’s housing rescue plan, while major banks said they would freeze seizures of homes for at least three weeks pending the rollout of the initiative.

* Mortgages drop to lowest level since 1974 says CML (Myra Butterworth, Telegraph)

Just 516,000 mortgages were taken out for house purchase during the year – 49 per cent fewer than during 2007, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

* Shorn of the Dead (Andrew Stuttaford, National Review)

“Some of the nations large banks, according to economists and other finance experts, are like dead men walking.

* CDS report: Germany weighs on sentiment, Air France swings into loss (The Financial Times)

Credit markets were mixed on Friday morning. While news of the US governments plan on Thursday to subsidise mortgage payments provided a slight boost to sentiment, it was overshadowed by gloomy economic news from Germany earlier this morning. Europes biggest economy posted a faster than expected GDP decline of 2.1 per cent during the last quarter of 2008; raising alarm bells for the rest of …

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