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Personal Finance News 09/2008



Is It Time to Sell Your Foreign Stocks? (BusinessWeek Online)
BusinessWeek Online - The stock prices of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have cratered. The bottom of the worst housing slump since the Great Depression hasn't been reached. Fears of inflation are mounting.

Merrill Lynch hires mortgage executives (Reuters)
Reuters - Merrill Lynch & Co , battered by more than $40 billion of write-downs tied largely to mortgages, said on Tuesday it hired Michael Nierenberg from JPMorgan Chase & Co to head its mortgage and securitization businesses.

GMAC to cut 5,000 jobs at ResCap mortgage unit (Reuters)
Reuters - GMAC LLC said on Wednesday it plans to cut 5,000 jobs at its Residential Capital LLC mortgage unit, or 60 percent of that work force, and shut its 200 GMAC Mortgage retail offices to combat persistently weak housing and credit markets.

GMAC slashing work force, reduces mortgage lending (AP)
AP - Lender GMAC Financial Services said Wednesday it will close all of its 200 retail offices and lay off about 5,000 employees as part of plan to reduce its mortgage lending and servicing because of the housing market downturn.

H&R Block posts smaller loss (Reuters)
Reuters - H&R Block Inc , the largest U.S. tax preparer, reported a quarterly loss that was 56 percent smaller than a year earlier on Wednesday, after shedding its money-losing mortgage operations to focus on its tax business.

30-year mortgages dip slightly to 6.35 percent (AP)
AP - Rates on 30-year mortgages fell for a third straight week, dropping to the lowest level since mid-July.

Lehman weighs real estate spinoff: report (Reuters)
Reuters - Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc is considering a plan to put some $32 billion of its commercial real estate and mortgage assets in a new company and spin it off, Bloomberg reported on its website on Thursday.

Breeden details year of progress at H&R Block (AP)
AP - A year after orchestrating a takeover of H&R Block Inc.'s leadership, Richard Breeden gave shareholders an update Thursday on efforts to rejuvenate the tax preparation giant, saying some success has been made but the work is ongoing.

Columbia Bancorp to close mortgage business, cut jobs (Reuters)
Reuters - Columbia Bancorp , the holding company for Columbia River Bank, said it plans to close its mortgage banking division, affecting about 39 jobs, as it strives to cut costs amid a difficult mortgage market.

Home foreclosures reach record high (Reuters)
Reuters - Home foreclosures and the rate of homes entering the foreclosure process rose to record highs in the second quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Friday.

Home loan troubles break records again (AP)
AP - An industry group says a record 9.2 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage were either behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of June, as damage from the housing crisis continues to mount.

Treasury near GSE bailout plan: report (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. Treasury Department is close to finalizing a plan to buttress mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

US government to take over mortgage giants: reports (AFP)
AFP - The US government is planning to put under strict federal control troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, fire their top executives and use federal funds to bail them out, US media reported on their websites.

U.S. to take control of Fannie and Freddie: reports (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. government plans to put government sponsored mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under federal control, the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers reported late Friday, in what could be the largest financial bailout in the nation's history.

Government may soon back troubled mortgage giants (AP)
AP - The government is expected to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as this weekend in a monumental move designed to protect the mortgage market from the failure of the two companies, which together hold or guarantee half of the nation's mortgage debt, a person briefed on the matter said Friday night.

Treasury to ensure stable Fannie, Freddie: Barney Frank (Reuters)
Reuters - U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said on Saturday that the U.S. Treasury Department plans to ensure the stability of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac .

Fannie, Freddie's boards meet Saturday to mull government plan (Reuters)
Reuters - The boards of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were set to meet on Saturday to discuss a government plan to place the companies under federal control, sources said.

Fannie, Freddie blind to the bubble (AP)
AP - Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — despite their robust cadre of economists and mortgage experts — failed to heed warnings that the most dramatic housing bubble in U.S. history would burst.

Treasury plan won't help Fannie, Freddie shareholders: Frank (Reuters)
Reuters - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders, including preferred stockholders, will not fair well under a proposed U.S. Treasury takeover of the two housing finance companies, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank told Reuters on Saturday.

McCain backs government takeover of mortgage giants (AFP)
AFP - Republican presidential hopeful John McCain backed a government takeover of two mortgage giants Saturday while his Democratic rival warned that taxpayers should not bail out their shareholders.

Fannie, Freddie blind to the bubble (AP)
AP - Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — despite their robust cadre of economists and mortgage experts — failed to heed warnings that the most dramatic housing bubble in U.S. history would burst.

Prosecutor becomes figure in mortgage mess (Reuters)
Reuters - Thomas O'Brien, the U.S. Attorney for California's Central District, is emerging as a likely prosecutor in criminal cases expected from the U.S. mortgage meltdown.

Candidates weigh in on stabilizing Fannie, Freddie (AP)
AP - The historic takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which could come as soon as Sunday, moved to the forefront of the presidential campaign Saturday as candidates and congressional leaders seized on the enormous implications for taxpayers and the economy.

US expected to detail Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bailout (AFP)
AFP - US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is expected to detail the government's plan to take over struggling mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Sunday, the Treasury announced.

GSE plan expected at Treasury news conference (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. government was expected to take control of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Sunday in its latest effort to shore up the slumping U.S. housing market.

US takes over Fannie, Freddie (AFP)
AFP - The US government took over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Sunday, placing them in a "conservatorship" to help avert a financial system meltdown from the housing crisis.

GSE rescue could scare bears (Reuters)
Reuters - Bears have reigned supreme on Wall Street so far in September thanks to growing concern about economies worldwide, but their grip on stocks faces a big challenge after the U.S. government's weekend seizure of control of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie, Freddie bailout offers bank stocks reprieve (Reuters)
Reuters - Financial stocks may rise on Monday after the U.S. government took over troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , but this may be only a temporary reprieve given the long list of woes banks are currently battling.

(AP)
AP - Bush says federal takeover of mortgage giants driven by "unacceptable risk" to economy.

Bush: Takeover of housing giants 'critical' (AP)
AP - President Bush said Sunday that the historic federal government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is needed to keep them from failing, a risk he called "unacceptable" for an economy battered by housing and credit crises.

S&P, Fitch slash Fannie, Freddie preferreds to junk (Reuters)
Reuters - Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings on Sunday cut the ratings on preferred stock of troubled housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to junk status after dividends were eliminated in a takeover by the U.S. government.

Futures soar after U.S. takes over GSEs (Reuters)
Reuters - Stock index futures surged on Sunday, pointing to a sharply higher open when Wall Street opens on Monday, after the U.S. government seized control of troubled mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac .

US takes over Fannie, Freddie in bid to ease finance crisis (AFP)
AFP - The US government has taken over ailing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, placing them in a "conservatorship" in a bid to avert a financial system meltdown from the housing crisis.

Asian banks rally on Fannie, Freddie bailout (Reuters)
Reuters - Shares in Asian banks soared on Monday after the U.S. government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , reassuring investors worried about exposure to the mortgage giants' bonds and the value of other risky debt assets.

China frets at U.S. risk after Fannie/Freddie bailout (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. Treasury's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is good news in the short term for China, the biggest holder of the giant mortgage lenders' debt, but Beijing's huge U.S. exposure still poses a serious risk, a prominent government researcher said on Monday.

U.S. talks with Fannie, Freddie turned sour: sources (Reuters)
Reuters - Amicable talks between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. mortgage finance companies' regulator about an aid package ended abruptly as policy-makers resolved in recent days to seize the firms, industry sources with knowledge of the events said.

Fannie, Freddie deal helps some borrowers, not all (AP)
AP - The government's historic bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Sunday will be good news to homebuyers and some homeowners hoping to refinance if it leads to lower mortgage rates, as experts expect.

European stocks soar in early trade, Paris up four percent (AFP)
AFP - European stock markets surged in early trading on Monday, mirroring sharp gains won across Asia after the US government seized control of ailing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Freddie, Fannie plan protects taxpayers: Paulson (Reuters)
Reuters - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in an interview with U.S. radio broadast on Monday that a plan to take control of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had been structured in a way to protect U.S. taxpayers.

Wall Street may cheer Fannie, Freddie bailout (AP)
AP - Wall Street finally got what it's been angling for: a bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that could aid a recovery of the broken U.S. housing market and arrest a slide in stock and credit markets worldwide.

McCain and Obama say Fannie, Freddie takeover needed (Reuters)
Reuters - Both presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain said on Sunday they see the federal takeover of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as necessary.

Mortgage lender Nationwide announces merger (AP)
AP - The Nationwide Building Society, a British mortgage lender, said Monday it is taking over two smaller rivals.

World stocks soar on US mortgage bailout (AFP)
AFP - European and Asian stock markets surged Monday after the US government grabbed control of ailing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, easing fears of a world financial crisis, dealers said.

Dollar rallies after US rescue for mortgage giants (AFP)
AFP - The dollar rose against the euro and yen on Monday after US authorities bailed out two mortgage finance giants, easing investor worries over the future of global markets, dealers said.

Fannie, Freddie: Feds Step In (BusinessWeek Online)
BusinessWeek Online - With the nation riveted on what the next President will do, the current Administration showed on Sept. 7 that it's not ready to take its hands off the economy's steering wheel quite yet. The Bush Administration announced that it had seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , two huge but dysfunctional companies whose financial difficulties were weighing down the U.S. housing market and threatening global financial upheaval.

Washington Mutual ousts CEO Kerry Killinger (AP)
AP - Washington Mutual Inc., ravaged by losses from sour mortgages, replaced Kerry Killinger as chief executive of the nation's largest savings and loan on Monday, adding him to the growing list of banking bosses ousted by their boards.

US government takes on big role in mortgage market (AP)
AP - Uncle Sam has just become the 800 pound gorilla in the U.S. mortgage market. The Bush administration announced Sunday it was seizing troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a bid to help reverse a prolonged housing and credit crisis.

British mortgage lender Nationwide snaps up struggling peers (AFP)
AFP - Nationwide Building Society, the second biggest lender of home loans in Britain, said Monday it had agreed to buy two smaller peers struggling to cope with the global credit crunch.

World stocks soar after Freddie, Fannie bailouts (AP)
AP - World stock markets soared Monday after Washington announced a bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — a move that could help bolster a shaky U.S. housing market and renew global investor confidence.

Fannie, Freddie shares dive, debt rallies on bailout (Reuters)
Reuters - Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's stocks took a dive while their debt soared Monday, as investors bet the U.S. government's takeover of the mortgage finance firms would wipe out shareholders but fully guarantee their bonds.



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