* Urban Policy (The Brian Lehrer Show: Wednesday, 29 April 2009) (Public Radio, WNYC)

* House prices have fallen by �45000 from peak Halifax says (Harry Wallop, Telegraph)

* Funeral home director admits embezzling more than $200,000 (Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

* Recession may be over early, some forecasters believe (Kevin G. Hall, Sacramento Bee)

* L.I. POL TOOK CASH FOR CONTRACTS (Kieran Crowley, New York Post)

* Roberts: Obama will have to fight to reduce federal spending (Steven Roberts, Milford Daily News)

* Private sector jobs data adds to economic hopes (Burton Frierson, Reuters US)

* Verizon Continues SMS Spam Suits (Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine)

* Student-loan program on chopping block (Aldo Svaldi, Denver Post)

* In Charlotte, Wells Fargo lays off 548 employees (Rick Rothacker, The Herald)

* Tax deadline only a week away (Eileen Aj Connelly, Tulsa World)

Procrastinators, start your engines. Or at least, fire up your laptops. There’s just a few days to go before you must file your 2008 tax return.

* How old is too old to work? (Kathleen Doheny, KCAU)

April 10 (HealthDay News) — Debate about the ideal age to retire has been going on for years. But with the U.S. economy in a dramatic slump, the flip side of that question — how old is too old to work? — has become uppermost in many people’s minds.

* Making Home Affordable offers mortgage relief (Lura Romei, Plain Dealer)

If you’re confused by the new $75 billion mortgage loan modification program Congress just passed and that was signed by President Obama, you’re not alone.

* Extreme Cheapskates (Anne D’ Innocenzio, Waterbury Republican-American)

was already cheap,” said VanDeventer, a 36-year-old mortgage loan underwriter from Broomfield, Colo. “Now I am neurotic about it.”

* Legalized loan sharking (Bill Wilson, Wichita Eagle)

reader forwarded me an interesting link from last month in the Los Angeles Times on credit card interest rates, further reinforcing my long-held belief that taking out a credit card is my biggest life mistake.

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* Blame Democrats for mortgage mess (Kansas City Star)

Democrats, including President Obama, act surprised by the fact that so many owe more on their homes than they are worth.

* Rhode Island tops nation in rate of mortgage fraud, report finds (Providence Journal)

Rhode Island has displaced Florida as the state leading the nation in mortgage fraud, according to a report made public yesterday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

* Mortgage arrears up 31% in 2008 (BBC News)

The number of mortgage accounts in arrears has shot up by 31% in the past year, according to figures from the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

* The losers won’t just lose quietly (Gil Smart, Lancaster New Era)

On Feb. 19, Rick Santelli of CNBC, railed from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade against President Obama’s plan to bail out homeowners facing foreclosures. He was you guessed it OUTRAGED, HE WAS OUTRAGED! because the Obama plan subsidizes the “losers,” people who should be made to suffer the consequences of their own poor decisions.

* Home reposessions up two thirds in a year says Financial Services Authority (Telegraph)

A total of 46,750 properties were repossessed by lenders during the year, up from 27,900 in 2007, the City watchdog said.

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* CMHC sees nine-year low in new homes (National Post)

* On Wall St: An FDIC on steroids might be answer for troubled banks (Michael Mackenzie, The Financial Times)

* N.Y. Buyers Get Cheap Homes in Rare Foreclosure Auction

* Friday, February 27 (Jessica E. Saraceni, Archaeology)

* A Little Faith Goes A Long Way (CBS News)

* Home sales lowest since ’97 (Mail Tribune)

* North Providence’s finances are the worst of the worst (Providence Journal)

* Mortgage-relief plan sets 31% of income as goal (News Journal)

* Housing groups attack Obama proposal (Chris Churchill, Times Union)

* Obama taking big political risk with budget (Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle)

* Colorado business bankruptcies jump 50% (Business Journal Portland)

Colorado business bankruptcy filings jumped almost 50 percent in 2008, according to data released Thursday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts .

* Report: Mortgage woes mounted in Q4 2008

NEW YORK — A stunning 48 percent of the nation’s homeowners who have a subprime, adjustable-rate mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure, and that’s not the worst of it, new data Thursday showed.

* Partner gets 7 years in mortgage fraud case (Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune)

A Greenwood man convicted in a $6 million suburban mortgage fraud scheme received the same seven-year prison sentence Wednesday as his codefendant, with a Hennepin County District judge agreeing to free both men on bail pending appeals.

* Mortgage woes break records again in 4Q

NEW YORK – A stunning 48 percent of the nation’s homeowners who have a subprime, adjustable-rate mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure, and that’s not the worst of it, new data Thursday showed.

* Punish all who caused crash (Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Wall Street collapse that precipitated today’s economic crisis has many causes, from regulatory failures to recklessness and greed. But before Congress begins to write new rules, we must investigate any crimes that may have been committed, whether by local mortgage brokers or the biggest banks.

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* Congregation in foreclosure fight (Maurice Possley, Chicago Sun-Times)

* Ed McMahon Has Bone Cancer: Source

* Andrew Clark: Generation Bailout (The GW Hatchet)

* Safeguard financial data when applying for mortgage (Seattle Times)

* HUD secretary, Congress debate foreclosures

* AARP says plan not for all (Residential Design & Build)

* Banks in a rush to cut interest rates (The Telegraph)

* Chris Griffith: Short sales coming up short on stopping foreclosures (Naples Daily News)

* Buffett blasts himself, others (Charlotte Observer)

* Effor.com: Will the banks survive? (Knoxville News-Sentinel)

* Creditors fear new losses on Northern Rock bonds (Philip Aldrick, Telegraph)

* Changes not likely to hit depositors (Madlen Read)

* Mortgage approvals up in January (BBC News)

* Obama’s challenge tonight: answer CNBC’s Rick Santelli (Johanna Neuman, Los Angeles Times)

* Police raid Anglo Irish Bank (Agence France-Presse)

* Foreclosures lead to budget problems for associations (Paul Owers, S. Florida Sun-Sentinel)

* Even Cave Dweller Can’t Escape Recession (Scott Mayerowitz, ABC News)

* Southwest Riverside County among top in nation in foreclosed homes (Jeff Horseman, Press-Enterprise)

* January home sales rise and median prices drop: L.A. County details (Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times)

* Harder to find our soft spot (Seattle Times)

* US mortgages shake-up raises lawsuit fears (Saskia Scholtes, The Financial Times)

The US governments plan to pay mortgage servicers for modifying troubled home loans could expose servicers to a new breed of lawsuit from disgruntled mortgage investors, say industry insiders.

* Home construction plunges to record low (KABC)

Construction of new homes and applications for future projects both plunged to record lows in January as all parts of the country showed big declines in building activity.

* Family allowed to remain in home as mortgage fraud case proceeds (Susan Essoyan, Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Question: Whatever happened to Debbie Aurelio and her family, who lost title to their Ewa Beach home and faced eviction after allegedly being swindled by mortgage scammers?

* Construction’s worst year (Jeff Collins, Orange County Register)

Construction’s worst year With residential and commercial projects reaching their lowest levels in at least 62 years, builders and the companies they hire are struggling to survive.

* The art of mortgage renegotiation (Rob Carrick, The Globe and Mail)

Falling mortgage rates have revealed yet another way the banks are charging their clients more in these financially stressful times.

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* 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 …

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* Effor.com: Financial plan wont include bad bank (Reuters America)

According to a report on Reuters , the new TARP 2.0? bailout package wont include a provision for a bad bank.

* Canadian bankruptcies soar 47 percent

The number of Canadian consumers and businesses going bankrupt soared nearly 47 percent in December.

* More consumers complain about bill collectors (David B. Caruso-)

NEW YORK After several years in which Americans were buying stuff on credit they couldnt afford, a rapidly increasing number are complaining about getting harassed and abused by bill collectors.

* Judge refuses to lower bond for jailed nurse (Roxana Hegeman)

WICHITA | A judge refused Monday to lower the cash bond for a jailed nurse who, along with her husband, is accused of wrongfully prescribing drugs at a clinic linked to 59 drug overdose deaths.But the Pain Relief Network, a patient advocacy group that supports Linda Schneider, said just minutes after the ruling that family and friends have come forward with the money. Network president S…

* Northern Rock’s losses on repossessed homes soar (Nicky Burridge, The Independent Online)

Losses incurred by Northern Rock on repossessed homes soared nearly four-fold during 2008 as the economy deteriorated, figures showed today.

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