The One Bailout America Could Really Use
By Kim Clark, CNNMoney, Jan 16, 2012
Laurie Goodman is an apolitical number cruncher who has spent most of her 28-year career out of the public view, studying the minutiae of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) for big investment banks. She's long been a star among Wall Street insiders, however. She holds the record for the most top rankings for fixed-in-come research from the trade bible Institutional Investor.
The Image Officer With a Lot to Fix
By Louis Story and Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times, Jan 14, 2012
It’s show time for Anne M. Finucane. Her co-star on this day, Bill Clinton, is waiting offstage. The audience shifts in its seats. The spotlight goes up and ... action! It’s a Thursday in early December, at a conference center near Orlando, and Ms. Finucane is busy shaping an image. Or, rather, trying to reshape one. This choreographed interview with the former president before a select group of businesspeople is, in fact, part of a much larger effort to rehabilitate one of the most demonized corporations in America.
Some Bullish Housing Forecasts for 2012
By Bill McBride, Calculated Risk, Jan 16, 2012
Earlier I posted some housing forecasts from analysts at Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and added two more forecasts from Merrill Lynch and John Burns. David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders has put out his forecasts calling for new home sales to increase to 360 thousand in 2012 (from 304 thousand in 2011), and for housing starts to increase 17 percent to 709 thousand.
Federal Tax Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums Expires
By Kenneth R. Harney, Washington Post Writers Group, Jan 15, 2012
Though its demise drew little attention because of the partisan year-end brawl over the payroll tax cut extension in Congress, a key mortgage financing benefit disappeared at the end of December: the ability of large numbers of home buyers and owners to write off the premiums they pay for mortgage insurance.
MERS, the Law, and the State
By Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism, Jan 16, 2012
The current version of Harpers — go buy it on the newstand! — has a terrific article by Christopher Ketcham on the MERS mess, which NC has done so much to bring to the attention of the public. I’m going to excerpt and contextualize two portions of the article. First, Ketcham interviews foreclosure activist Vermont Trotter of Coeur D’Arlene, Idaho on the “clouded title” problem. I’m a connoisseur of the worst case scenario, and this is a doozy.
You May Owe Federal Income Taxes in 2013 if You Have a Short Sale
By Donna Gehrke-White, Sun Sentinel, Jan 4, 2012
Now is the time to make the hard decision: Are you going to walk away from your underwater home? Uncle Sam is still giving homeowners until Dec. 31 to go through a short sale or foreclosure without tax consequences — as long as the lender officially releases the debt. But on Jan. 1, 2013, the rules change: The amount a lender forgives, ether in a short sale or foreclosure, on a primary residence will be taxable on federal income taxes.