GM CEO Out, Market Quiet, Mozilovilles?

GM’s Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner has reportedly been forced out as GM has piled up billions of dollars in losses and asked for government loans to stay alive. Wagoner was with GM for 32 years, and has been replaced by Fritz Henderson, the company’s vice chairman and chief operating officer. (Let’s hope his 401(k) wasn’t all in GM stock!)

Countrywide’s Legacy
During the Depression in the 1930’s homeless encampments were nicknamed “Hoovervilles” in “honor” of President Hoover, who many blamed for the economic downtown. Now we have Mozilovilles. (Thank you Bill F. for passing this along.)

Mortgage Fraud Update
How are mortgage companies minimizing fraud out there? Some are implementing procedures such as instructing the closing agent to notify the lender in writing prior to closing a loan if title to the subject property has changed hands within the past 180 days, and/or the new mortgage represents an increase of over twenty-five percent (25%) of a previous mortgage made during that same period; and/or if the agent has knowledge of previous, concurrent or subsequent transactions involving the borrower(s) or the subject property. Others are performing a verbal VOE using Directory Assistance, or obtaining an in-file credit report. Thorough companies are reviewing both the seller and buyer columns of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, PTF, looking for anything unusual, and obtaining a signed 4506-T for self employed borrowers or non-salaried borrowers. Lastly, companies are verifying that parties to the transaction do not appear on the investor’s ineligible list. (The Prieston Group out of Northern California is to thank for this list.)

Today’s Market
Focusing on today’s market, there is no relevant news scheduled for release, so the attention may be on the stock markets – which are not looking great given Geithner’s statement that some US banks will need more assistance and that GM is facing bankruptcy. The 10-yr is around 2.70% and mortgage prices are better by roughly .125.

Economic Preview
Tomorrow morning we have March’s Consumer Confidence Index, and given that two-thirds of our economy is based on consumer spending, it is of some relevance. It is expected to show a slight pick up. We also have the Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Survey. Early Wednesday we have Construction Spending, and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will release their manufacturing index which is a survey of trade executives, and it is also expected to show a slight increase. On Thursday we have February’s Factory Orders and the weekly Jobless Claims. The biggest news of the week will come on Friday morning with March’s Employment report. It is expected to show an increase in the unemployment rate from February’s 8.1% to 8.5% and that approximately 655,000 payrolls were lost during the month.

Daily Humor
A gynecologist had become fed up with malpractice insurance and HMO paperwork and was burned out. Hoping to try another career where skillful hands would be beneficial, he decided to become a mechanic. He went to the Nashville Auto Diesel College, signed up for evening classes, attended diligently, and learned all he could.
When the time for the practical exam approached, the gynecologist prepared carefully for weeks and completed the exam with tremendous skill. When the results came back, he was surprised to find that he had obtained a score of 150%.
Fearing an error, he called the instructor, saying, “I don’t want to appear ungrateful for such an outstanding result, but I wonder if there is an error in the grade.”
The instructor said, “During the exam, you took the engine apart perfectly, which was worth 50% of the total mark.”
“You put the engine back together again perfectly, which is also worth 50% of the mark.”
After a pause, the instructor added, “I gave you an extra 50% because you did it all through the muffler, which I’ve never seen done in my entire career.”