THE BASIS POINT

Countrywide’s $8.5b Lawsuit, Fed Increases TAF to $900b, Wachovia Drama, Does Rescue Bill Help Me?

As the attorneys for Wells and Citi grapple over Wachovia, and their pick-a-pay portfolio, I am trying to figure out who to contact there regarding selling them some of my worthless belongings:

  • Burgundy Members-Only jacket
  • Commodore 64 PC
  • Best of Milli Vanilli cassette tape
  • A Payphone

I’ve also heard of a website being set up where consumers can sell their worthless items to the government.

Wachovia must feel like the ugly high school kid at the dance, suddenly being fought over by the “cool crowd”. Citigroup and Wells Fargo may be trying to steer clear of a long legal battle – the latest plan consists of them splitting up Wachovia’s network of branches geographically with Wells taking the brokerage and asset management units.

WHAT DOES THE RESCUE BILL MEAN TO ME?
If you have friends or clients who ask you, “What does the rescue bill do to me, or for me?” have them check this out.

FANNIE MAE MISGIVINGS
Here is an article from the NYT on what happened at Fannie Mae to push their business toward lending “down the credit curve.”

COUNTRYWIDE SETTLES LAWSUIT, WILL DO LOAN MODIFICATIONS
Countrywide Financial has agreed to the largest program ever to modify home loans, as part of a settlement with officials in 11 states. They had been sued by the states over what they said were predatory lending practices. To settle the suits, Countrywide will provide $8.4 billion in direct loan relief, affecting an estimated 400,000 borrowers nationwide, while waiving certain fees and setting aside additional funds to help people in foreclosure and relocating. None of the programs Congress had proposed made it into the final $700 billion government bailout last week. Countrywide will waive late fees of $79 million and prepayment penalties of $56 million and suspend foreclosures on delinquent borrowers with the riskiest loans. A foreclosure relief fund will be created with $150 million from Countrywide to help borrowers who are four months or more behind on their payments or whose homes have already been foreclosed on. The company will also provide $70 million to help borrowers relocate to rental housing.

FED INCREASES TAF, PAYS INTEREST ON RESERVES
This morning the Federal Reserve announced it will take up the authority granted to it by the TARP to pay interest on reserves, beginning Thursday, at a rate 75bp below the fed funds target rate on excess reserves and 10bp below the target for required reserves. The Fed also increased the size of the Term Auction Facility (TAF) to $900 billion. The ability to pay interest on reserves is important because it allows the Fed to expand its balance sheet without driving the fed funds rate to 0%.

TOP MORTGAGE ORIGINATORS IN 2Q
Who is originating loans these days? Well, in the 2nd quarter at least, Wells was #1 with almost a 14% market share. Chase was #2 with 13%, Countrywide and Bank of America were #3 and #4 respectively, and Citi rounded out the top 5.

CREDIT SCORE PROTECTION
Good loan agents & brokers already do this for their clients, but through the wonders of modern technology, agents/brokers can have their clients “opt-out” of pre-screening of their credit by all of the major repositories. Remember, as soon as you run a credit report, you will very likely be inundated with offers for mortgages/credit unless you have previously “opted-out” of such pre-screening. To opt out go to www.optoutprescreen.com fill out the quick form to avoid solicitations.

JOKE OF THE DAY
A man was telling his neighbor in Sun City Center, “I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.”

“Really!” answered the neighbor. “What kind is it?”

“Twelve thirty.”