First Republic For Sale, Oil Leading To Inflation, More $729k Loans

Is it too early for these? The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference – he acquired his size from too much pi…. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian…She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still….A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

Bank of America To Sell First Republic
On to more serious things, like Bank of America looking to sell both its stake in a Chinese concern and First Republic Bank to raise money. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we remember Merrill Lynch buying First Republic, who caters to “well heeled” clients with high net worth, from stockholders in late 2007. And then earlier this year Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch (one can picture the classic cartoon with fish of varying sizes swallowing each other, similar to Golden West being bought by Wachovia being bought by Wells Fargo), which included First Republic. Last week’s stress test results showed that BofA has to raise $34 billion, so companies like First Republic could be on the way out. Bank of America has also sold their 5.8% stake in China Construction Bank for about $7.3 billion to a private-equity fund run by Goldman Sachs and Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings.

Wells Allows 4 (vs 10 for FNMA) Financed Properties
Wells Wholesale, in spite of Fannie Mae allowing borrowers to up to 10, will not change policy on the number of four financed properties when the subject property is a second home or investment property.

Wells Fargo also reminded commercial lenders that the “Last day to submit small balance commercial applications is May 15, 2009 Due to current market conditions, the small balance commercial loans program is being suspended.” This pretty much leaves the SBA and small local lenders for smaller commercial loans.

Suntrust Hikes Limits to $729k
SunTrust is in the club! Effective yesterday, SunTrust came out with their “loan amount increases pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (2009 Temporary Loan Limits). The ARRA permits loans to be originated to the higher of the 2009 Permanent or 2009 Temporary Loan Limits. Agency Plus and DU Refi Plus Agency Plus loans may be originated under the 2009 Temporary Loan Limits. The maximum loan amount will vary based on location of the subject property. All Agency Plus loans must be processed through Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU) and receive a DU “Approve/Ineligible” recommendation with the ineligibility ONLY due to the loan amount. This loan program is not eligible for traditional underwriting or processing through Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector (LP) automated underwriting.”

Oil Leading To Inflation?
Yesterday we had no news, although most investors had mortgage price improvements that were passed through by lenders. Today we had the U.S. trade gap, which widened less than expected in March as both exports and imports fell. The trade gap grew to $27.6 billion, from an upwardly revised estimate of $26.1 billion in February, which was the lowest since November 1999, and is also the first time the trade gap had expanded in seven months. What does that mean? It means that U.S. demand remained weak in the first quarter – no surprise. What is interesting to watch is the price of oil, which is at a 6-month high due to signs of economic improvement. Currently the 10-yr is at 3.22% and mortgage prices are about unchanged from yesterday afternoon.

Daily Humor
Thank you Greg E:
On their honeymoon, the blonde bride slipped into a sexy nightie and, with great anticipation, crawled into bed, only to find her new Catholic husband had settled down on the couch.

When she asked him why he was apparently not going to make love to her, he replied, “It’s Lent”.

In tears, she sobbed, “Well, that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! Who did you lend it to, and for how long?”