Mozilo Regrets Nothing at Countrywide as Gov’t Closes In


Angelo Mozilo cannot believe it.

Six years after he lost control of the largest mortgage lender in the U.S., and days after news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles plans to sue him, the Countrywide Financial Corp. founder is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism.

“You’ll have to ask those people, ‘What do you have against Mozilo, what did he do?'” he said in a 30-minute call with Bloomberg News before Labor Day, one of his few interviews since the firm’s downfall. “Countrywide didn’t change. I didn’t change. The world changed.”

Interviews with Mozilo, 75, and three friends show what retirement looks like for a chief executive officer linked to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Remaining out of public view like Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s Richard […]

Too big to fails not interested in mortgages


The nation’s once top mortgage lenders, the biggest banks, are a fading force in the housing economy.

FBR Capital Markets [FBRC] released its latest report on mortgage origination volumes and found that, among the big four banks, home loan lending is at its lowest level in a decade.

Origination volumes are currently at $305 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $460 billion in the quarter preceding. FBR still projects an estimated $1.3 trillion in overall originations for 2014 is achievable.

The news is a departure from estimations from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Last month, the MBA lowered its forecast for 2014 mortgage originations by $57 billion to $1.12 trillion.

“Big banks continue to shed market share with the five largest producers responsible for just over 30% of activity compared with 60% to 70% pre-crisis,” write report authors Jessica Levi-Ribner, Thomas LeTrent and Travis Potts […]

Higher rates loom for some modified mortgages


Homeowners who got government loan modifications during the financial crisis will begin to see monthly payments rise this year, government report says.

Almost 800,000 homeowners will see mortgage payments rise about $200 a month in the next few years as the benefits of their government loan modifications ease, a new government report says.

The first higher payments will hit more than 30,000 homeowners this year. They received the initial mortgage modifications in 2009 under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), says the report from the office of the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).

The modifications were intended to help homeowners avoid foreclosure as housing prices sank and unemployment soared. About 95% of HAMP modifications included cuts to interest rates, some to as low as 2%, SIGTARP says.

But the “permanent” modifications only last five years, after which interest rates […]

U.S. Treasury Opposes Extending Cutoff Date for HARP Refinancing


The U.S. Treasury opposes allowing borrowers with mortgages originated after mid-2009 to become eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program, the agency’s chief housing-finance adviser said.

Only borrowers with loans originated by May 31, 2009, are currently eligible for the HARP program, which allows homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance even if they owe more than their properties are worth.

“Very few homeowners whose loans were originated after the cut-off date are underwater and advancing the date would do more harm than good by prolonging market and investor uncertainties,” Michael Stegman, the Treasury’s housing adviser, told an audience at the Structured Industry Finance Group conference in Las Vegas.

Analysts including those at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and FBR Capital Markets predicted the cutoff date would be changed after Melvin L. Watt took over this month as director of […]

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