Amex Access to TARP, Massive Citi Job Cuts, $625k Loan Rates,

American Express is now trying to find access to the $700 billion bailout fund. It’s not clear what Amex would do with the money, but it may pay off its huge Visa and Mastercard bills.

MBS Quotes
Occasionally people in the mortgage biz want mortgage-backed security prices. Although there is a cost for real-time quotes, there are services that offer delayed accurate prices. For consumers, you better ask if your provider reviews real-time quotes. That’s a good way to screen the quality of the lender you’re getting information from.

Massive Cuts At Citi
This morning CNBC is reporting that Citigroup plans to cut 50,000 people from its workforce through lay-offs and attrition. Yes, this is over and above the 23,000 it has already laid off this year, and takes Citi’s workforce from 350k down to 300k. Their stock has fallen 68% this year, leaving Citigroup with a market value of only $51.9 billion, which is about 2x the $25 billion of capital it received from the U.S. Treasury Department’s new bank bailout plan.

Chase Jumbo Loans
Chase is providing additional credit requirements and analysis guidance for manually underwritten conventional Non-Agency loans, including updated information on the following: Minimum Trade Line Requirements, Serious Derogatory Items, Credit Bureau Analysis, Derogatory Credit Clarification. Chase mentioned that agency loans require an Automated Underwriting System (AUS) decision and, therefore, are not impacted by the announcement, and non-agency loans can be manually underwritten or lenders can use an AUS. Therefore, manually underwritten loans must comply with the requirements and guidance contained in this bulletin.

Who’s Going To Lose Their Trailer?
Do you know what an Oklahoma tornado and a Texas Divorce have in common? Someone is going to lose a trailer. Does anyone even lend on trailers anymore? Taylor Bean, for one, lends on manufactured housing. It brings up the age old discussion of lending on personal versus real property, since many trailers are registered with the DMV and as such are viewed as personal property. And if the trailer has an axle, which is an issue: it is hard to foreclose on something that got wheeled away in the middle of the night.

Countrywide Announces High-Limit Conforming Pricing
Countrywide wholesale came out with their new loan amount criteria. One reps’ flyer said, “The new Conforming limits of $625,500 have been released!! You can lock and submit these loans starting TODAY! Note the new add-ons on our Conforming Rate sheet. Loans over $417K will have just a .25% add to fee! (The 1% hit for Cashout Remains.) 2008 Agency JUMBO loans, $729K, can still be submitted as well. Loans over $625K must close by December 10th, otherwise a 1.75% add on will be applied. Loans over $417K on the new 2009 Limits have a max LTV of 85%, require a 700Min Score, and a max DTI of 41%.”

Economic Preview for The Week of November 17
This week brings us quite a bit of news, including inflation (remember that?) data. Today we’ll see October’s Industrial Production, measuring manufacturing sector strength, expected -.1%. Tomorrow morning is October’s Producer Price Index (PPI), measuring inflationary pressures at the producer level of the economy. It is expected -1.5%, but with a .2% increase in the core reading. Wednesday we have October’s Housing Starts, along with the release of the minutes to the last FOMC meeting. These minutes may be a major mover of the markets or could be a non-factor, depending on what they say, and what economists read into them regarding another rate cut. Thursday we have October’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), along with Jobless Claims, the Philly Fed Index, and Leading Economic Indicators are also later in the week. With all of that in mind, mortgage prices are about the same as Friday afternoon, the 2-yr is yielding 1.22%, and the 10-yr 3.72%.

Also see WeeklyBasis for another preview of the week.

Daily Humor
I went to the doctor for my yearly physical.

The nurse starts with certain basics. “How much do you weigh?” she asks.

“165,” I say.

The nurse puts me on the scale. It turns out my weight is 185.

The nurse asks, “Your height?”

“5 foot 8,” I say.

The nurse checks and sees that I only measure 5′ 5”.

She then takes my blood pressure and tells me it is very high.

“Of course it’s high!” I scream. “When I came in here I was tall and slender! Now I’m short and fat!”

She put me on Prozac.