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Personal Finance News 05/2009



Freddie Mac pays 2008 bonuses, honors Kellermann's (Reuters)
Reuters - Freddie Mac, the U.S. mortgage finance giant, on Thursday said it paid $1.3 million in retention bonuses to three executives in late 2008 and so far this year, including a full payout of the award promised to its acting chief financial officer before his shocking death, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Freddie Mac pays $700K to former exec's survivors (AP)
AP - Freddie Mac is paying out more than $700,000 to the family of David Kellermann, the mortgage finance company's former acting chief financial officer who died last week in an apparent suicide, the company disclosed Thursday.

Obama Expands Housing Aid Plan (BusinessWeek Online)
BusinessWeek Online - The Obama Administration said on Apr. 28 it is expanding its plan to stem the housing crisis by offering mortgage lenders incentives to lower borrowers' bills on second mortgages.

Meltdown 101: Low mortgage rates not for everyone (AP)
AP - Every week, mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac releases average rates on four types of home loans, including 30-year fixed rate mortgages — the most popular type of loan for home buyers.

Singers tell Congress: Money (That's What I Want) (AP)
AP - Jack Ely, the singer whose 1963 version of "Louie Louie" still makes the rounds on oldies radio, lives with his wife in a mobile home on a horse ranch in Oregon. Ely says they share $30,000 a year from her teacher's pension and his Social Security checks. They are paying down a mortgage.

Obama Expands Housing Aid Plan (BusinessWeek Online)
BusinessWeek Online - The Obama Administration said on Apr. 28 it is expanding its plan to stem the housing crisis by offering mortgage lenders incentives to lower borrowers' bills on second mortgages.

Tyson Foods posts bigger loss (Reuters)
Reuters - Tyson Foods Inc reported a larger quarterly loss on Monday as a weak economy hurt meat sales and the company had additional income tax expenses.

Singers tell Congress: Money (That's What I Want) (AP)
AP - Jack Ely, the singer whose 1963 version of "Louie Louie" still makes the rounds on oldies radio, lives with his wife in a mobile home on a horse ranch in Oregon. Ely says they share $30,000 a year from her teacher's pension and his Social Security checks. They are paying down a mortgage.

Senate rejects narrowed "safe harbor" amendment (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday rejected a measure that would have narrowed the scope of a housing rescue bill and discouraged mortgage servicers from retooling problem home loans.

GMAC 1Q loss widens as credit markets remain weak (AP)
AP - GMAC Financial Services said Tuesday that it will not be automatically be forced to file for bankruptcy protection if General Motors Corp. is unable to restructure itself by its government imposed deadline.

GMAC loss widens, says can weather GM bankruptcy (Reuters)
Reuters - GMAC LLC, which provides loans to buyers of General Motors Corp vehicles, said its first-quarter loss grew 15 percent, reflecting an increase in soured mortgage and auto loans as the economy weakens.

Major banks funded U.S. subprime lenders: study (Reuters)
Reuters - More than twenty of the largest subprime mortgage lenders relied on financing from U.S. banks that are now relying on billions of dollars in rescue funds, a report release on Wednesday concludes.

Senate moves toward easing mortgage terms (AP)
AP - Trying to curb home foreclosures, the Senate voted on Wednesday to make it easier for homeowners with risky credit to switch to a lower-cost mortgage backed by the government.

U.S. commercial property faces default decade: report (Reuters)
Reuters - At least two-thirds of the $410 billion of U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans that mature from this year through 2018 are not likely to qualify for refinancing, according to a report by Deutsche Bank.

Mortgage rates rise, shy of record low (AP)
AP - Rates on 30-year mortgages inched up this week after matching an all-time record low a week earlier.

Consumer credit falls at fastest pace in 18 years (AP)
AP - Consumer borrowing plunged in March at the fastest pace in 18 years as Americans put away their credit cards and hoarded cash amid the worst recession in decades.

House passes mortgage investment reform bill (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a measure that would force mortgage lenders to retain a 5 percent stake in home loans that are sold to investors.

Fannie Mae suffers $23.2 bln loss (AFP)
AFP - Troubled US mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae on Friday reported a loss of 23.2 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2009 as it reeled from a home mortgage meltdown that triggered global crisis.

Fannie Mae seeks $19B in US aid after 1Q loss (AP)
AP - Fannie Mae is requesting $19 billion in additional government aid as job losses grow and risky loans made during the housing boom go bad at a disquieting pace.

Fannie Mae taps Treasury again after $23 billion loss (Reuters)
Reuters - Fannie Mae , the largest provider of U.S. home mortgage funding, said on Friday it needs more capital from the U.S. Treasury after a $23.2 billion loss in the first quarter, and warned government housing programs would cut deeper into its profitability.

Genworth shares slip after 1Q loss (AP)
AP - Shares of Genworth Financial Inc. gave ground Friday, the day after the insurer reported a first-quarter loss largely due to subprime mortgage impairments and investment losses.

Massachusetts, Goldman in $60 million subprime accord (Reuters)
Reuters - Goldman Sachs Group Inc agreed to pay up to $60 million to settle Massachusetts' complaints about the investment bank's role in the subprime mortgage business, state officials said on Monday.

AIG sells Japan headquarters for $1.2 billion (AP)
AP - Embattled insurer American International Group Inc. said Monday it is selling its Japanese headquarters to Nippon Life Insurance Co. for $1.2 billion in cash.

"Sickly" market sparks commercial mortgage feud (Reuters)
Reuters - As the market for U.S. office, retail and apartment building loans heads south, investors in commercial mortgage-backed securities and servicers of the loans are feuding over how to best save their skins.

Freddie Mac asks for more US cash after loss (AFP)
AFP - Freddie Mac, the US mortgage finance giant seized by the government last year, said Tuesday it lost 9.9 billion dollars in the first quarter as it requested an increase in a government bailout.

Freddie Mac seeks $6.1B in US aid after 1Q loss (AP)
AP - Mortgage giant Freddie Mac is looking for $6.1 billion in additional government aid as the cost to taxpayers from the housing market bust keeps growing.

Report: SEC may charge Angelo Mozilo with fraud (AP)
AP - The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission has decided to recommend that the agency bring civil fraud charges against Angelo Mozilo, the former chief executive of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp., according to a published report Wednesday.

Obama administration to expand housing plan (AP)
AP - The Obama administration expanded its $50 billion mortgage aid program on Thursday, announcing new measures that would help homeowners avoid a foreclosure if they don't qualify for other assistance.

Obama administration to expand housing plan (AP)
AP - The Obama administration expanded its $50 billion mortgage aid program on Thursday, announcing new measures that would help homeowners avoid a foreclosure if they don't qualify for other assistance.

The View from Atop a Collapsing Fannie Mae (BusinessWeek Online)
BusinessWeek Online - Of the 11 companies that Jim Collins featured in his best seller Good to Great, just one -- Circuit City -- no longer exists. But amid a brutal housing crisis, the mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae , which Collins called "a high-performance machine," now finds itself in government conservatorship. BusinessWeek's Jena McGregor spoke to former CEO Daniel Mudd, who was dismissed when the government took over.

GMAC renames bank unit Ally Bank, drops own name (Reuters)
Reuters - GMAC LLC, stung by billions of dollars in losses at its auto finance and mortgage units, on Friday scrapped its own name from its banking unit, which it will now call Ally Bank in an effort to gain customers.

Obama's personal finances are sound (AP)
AP - President Barack Obama's personal finances appear to be on sound footing even as the nation's economy struggles, a financial report he released Friday shows.

U.S. money manager takes aim at subprime servicer (Reuters)
Reuters - A money manager owned by Canada's Manulife Financial Corp is seeking to fire one of the largest subprime mortgage companies in the United States, claiming that Carrington Mortgage Services is unfairly tarnishing some bonds.

Stocks may brake for housing, Home Depot (Reuters)
Reuters - U.S. stocks are likely to hit more speed bumps next week as investors become more wary of Wall Street's ability to rally further and housing starts, jobless claims and other indicators are in the spotlight.

Wall St Wk Ahead: Stocks may brake for housing, Home Depot (Reuters)
Reuters - U.S. stocks are likely to hit more speed bumps this week as investors become more wary of Wall Street's ability to rally further and housing starts, jobless claims and other indicators are in the spotlight.

AIG looks to spin off Asian insurance unit (AP)
AP - American International Group is planning to spin off its Asian life insurance unit in an initial public offering as the faltering U.S. company seeks to repay billions in government bailout funding.

AIG plans to spin off Asian life insurance unit (AP)
AP - American International Group Inc. plans to spin off its Asian life insurance unit in an initial public offering to help repay billions of dollars in U.S. government loans.

Congress gives final OK to mortgage fraud bill (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Monday to a bill that will create an independent commission to investigate the cause of the U.S. economic meltdown and give federal prosecutors more legal clout and staff to crack down on financial fraud.

U.S. housing starts, permits hit record lows in April (Reuters)
Reuters - New U.S. housing starts and permits unexpectedly fell to record lows in April, a government report showed on Tuesday, denting hopes that stability in the housing market was imminent.

US home building starts, permits hit record lows (AFP)
AFP - US housing starts and building permits slumped in April to record lows, highlighting the crisis in the real-estate sector as the economy struggles with recession, government data showed Tuesday.

Beazer Mortgage to refund millions to NC borrowers (AP)
AP - North Carolina banking officials say Beazer Mortgage Corp. will refund $2.5 million to more than a thousand borrowers to settle claims it violated state lending laws.

Wall Street flat as data tempers recovery hopes (Reuters)
Reuters - Stocks were little changed on Tuesday as data suggesting no let-up in the housing slump tempered investors' hopes that the recession was moderating.

Stocks waver after surprise drop in housing data (AP)
AP - Investors are curbing their optimism about an economic rebound after housing construction tumbled to a record low in April.

Oil up slightly, US refinery problems support (Reuters)
Reuters - Oil prices rose on Tuesday on buying inspired by gains on Wall Street and a flurry of U.S. refinery problems leading into peak summer driving season.

Treasury prices mixed after drop in housing starts (AP)
AP - Treasurys finished mixed Tuesday along with stocks after new home construction dropped to the lowest pace on record.

Lawmakers seek tighter oversight of credit raters (AP)
AP - Lawmakers on Tuesday proposed tightening oversight of Wall Street's credit rating agencies as regulators move to reshape supervision of the industry widely criticized for failing to give investors adequate warning of the risks in subprime mortgage securities.

NC appeals court upholds tax bill for Wal-Mart (AP)
AP - The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its efforts to get a $33 million tax refund, upholding a trial judge's ruling that found a complex corporate structure was used primarily to avoid corporate income taxes.

US mulls consumer financial protection agency (AFP)
AFP - President Barack Obama's administration is mulling creation of a federal consumer finance agency to protect the public from predatory mortgage lenders, credit card providers and mutual fund companies, the Washington Post has reported.

A Frigid April for Housing Starts (BusinessWeek Online)
BusinessWeek Online - Looks like the "green shoots" for the U.S. housing market are taking their sweet time springing through the soil. One day after a surprising jump in the National Association of Home Builders' sentiment survey in April, Wall Street was hoping that the May 19 release of the U.S. housing starts report for April would show a modest uptick, with economists forecasting a rise to a 523,000-unit annual pace from an unrevised 510,000 in March.

Obama signs mortgage bill into law (AP)
AP - President Barack Obama said homeowners facing foreclosure would have a second chance under a measure he signed into law on Wednesday, but he added consumers still must live within their means.



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