mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Now If Congress Could See The Light”: A Fully Private Mortgage Market Is Good For Nobody

Let’s be clear about one thing: just about everyone agrees that the federal government is providing too much direct support to the mortgage market today. That support should be scaled back over time, but it cannot be eliminated entirely.

We believe, as do many others across the political spectrum, that a modest level of government support is necessary to promote a stable, accessible and affordable housing market. That includes an explicit guarantee on certain kinds of mortgage debt – but not the financial institutions that issue that debt.

Rather than keeping taxpayers on the hook for every dollar of loss on mortgage-backed securities – as we do now with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – we would rather see private capital take losses first. Financial institutions should have the opportunity to buy limited government insurance on those securities in exchange for a fair and financially responsible fee, much like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. offers on bank deposits.

Regardless of whether you own or rent, a government guarantee is critical to your economic well-being. Here are two reasons why.

First and foremost, the guarantee plays a crucial role in preventing and lessening the intensity of boom-and-bust cycles in the housing market. When private capital retreats from residential mortgages during a downturn, government-backed entities stay open for business, ensuring that money keeps flowing into housing. First-time homebuyers can still get a home loan. Homeowners can still refinance or find a buyer if they’re looking to move. Developers can still access the capital they need to start construction on new apartment buildings. Each of these activities sends ripples throughout the economy – new construction jobs, more demand for household goods, stronger and more stable home values – which improves everyone’s bottom line.

In the most recent example, purely private mortgage lending basically ground to a halt when the financial crisis began in 2008. Ever since Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration have backed roughly 9 in 10 mortgages made in the U.S., saving the market from even worse collapse.

According to a recent analysis from Moody’s Analytics, a fully private market would have “difficulty providing stable mortgage funding during difficult financial times.” The authors concluded that “the resulting credit crunch further undermines housing demand, driving down prices and unleashing a vicious cycle.” That’s not good for anybody.

Second, it’s important to note that government-backed mortgages don’t just help homebuyers – who benefit from lower interest rates and access to longer-term, fixed-rate mortgage products. They also help the one-third of the U.S. population that rents.

In addition to their homeownership operations, Fannie and Freddie guarantee so-called “multifamily” mortgages, which finance apartment buildings with five or more units. That guarantee plays an important role in ensuring that quality, affordable rental options are available for low- and middle-income families. In 2009, the first full year of the financial crisis, Fannie and Freddie backed 85 percent of new multifamily mortgages; today that number is closer to 50 percent.

According to a recent analysis from Freddie Mac, if the government guarantee on multifamily mortgages were to go away, the market would shrink significantly. New construction on rental housing would plummet by as much as 27 percent, while average rents would rise by as much as 2 percent.

It’s clear that America’s families, regardless of their housing situation, benefit from an explicit, limited and paid-for government guarantee on mortgage debt. And a growing bipartisan consensus agrees: of the 25 plans for housing finance reform reviewed by the Center for American Progress, all but five preserve some sort of government guarantee.

Now, if only Congress could come to a similar agreement.

 

By: Andrew Jakabovics and John Griffith, Analysts at Enterprise Community Partners, U. S. News and World Report, August 13, 2013

August 18, 2013 Posted by | Financial Institutions, Home Owners | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Debt Ceiling Warning: Inaction Would Double Interest Rates, Crash Market

Public efforts by both House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama to convince skeptical new Republican House members to add $2 trillion to the nation’s burdensome $14 trillion debt ceiling are being reinforced by dire warnings from business leaders that failing to OK the increase will lead to inflation, an immediate doubling of interest rates and a killer Wall Street crash.

“If they don’t increase the debt, there will be a huge impact on the economy,” a Wall Street executive told Whispers on background. “Interest rates would spike. S&P and Moody’s would downgrade U.S. debt, raising the price of borrowing, there would be a market sell-off, it would be a disaster.”

While Boehner, who yesterday called for a deal that would OK the debt ceiling increase in return for trillions of dollars in spending cuts, Wall Street lobbyists and banking and business leaders are meeting with several of the new Tea Party-backed House members who pledged to stop raising the ceiling to explain the impact of standing pat.

“A lot of freshmen are new to the issue,” said one of those meeting with the new members, some of whom signed pledges not to raise the debt ceiling no matter what.

Among the specifics the sources say they are telling the new members:

— Inflation could jump, though they aren’t giving any percentage growth.

— Interest rates could double if U.S. debt is downgraded. House loans, for example, that are now below 5 percent, could surge to 9-10 percent, killing any chance of fixing the housing slump or cutting the unemployment rate, now at 9 percent.

— The stock market could suffer a 10 percent drop, far more significant than the 778 point thrashing Wall Street took when the House rejected the government’s $700 billion bank bailout plan in September 2008.

“That market sell-off will look small compared to what we’ll see,” said a Wall Street executive.

So far, the campaign to turn the naysayers around is starting to work, say those involved. Helping is the expectations that the debt ceiling won’t actually be breached until August.

While there have been warnings that the vote must come sooner due to expectations that the cap will be breached this month, officials explained that Treasury can make several moves to postpone that until about August 2.

By: Paul Bedard, U. S. News and World Report, May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Banks, Businesses, Congress, Conservatives, Debt Ceiling, Deficits, Economic Recovery, Economy, Financial Institutions, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Jobs, Lawmakers, Lobbyists, Politics, President Obama, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party, Unemployment, Wall Street | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will We Even Notice If The Government Shuts Down?

You’ll still get mail — but won’t be able to visit the Grand Canyon. Here’s a look at what a shutdown feels like: 

The probability of a partial government shutdown is increasing with each passing hour. With funding set to expire at the end of Friday, federal agencies have begun drawing contingency plans if President Obama and GOP congressional leaders fail to reach an agreement by then.

The basics of a shutdown, which we last experienced more than 15 years ago, are known: Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be placed on furlough, and only those deemed essential to the protection of human life and property will continue to work — without pay. But the details are nebulous. What, in practical terms, would a shutdown actually mean to ordinary Americans? Would it disrupt their lives? Would they even notice? 

To help answer these questions, we’ve put together the following guide to life under a shutdown:

  • Social Security payments will be fine. The Social Security Administration doesn’t receives its funding from annual congressional budget appropriations, but rather through the Social Security Trust Fund, which is financed through payroll taxes. The Social Security Administration will likely continue doling out payments, and employees essential to guarantee those payments will continue working, although new applications may be affected. 
  • Medicare is safe … for now. Recipients will continue to receive checks for a limited time. However, if the shutdown were to stretch out for several months, payments could be cut off. 
  • The military will keep operating. Members of the armed services will continue to work, although they wouldn’t receive pay during the shutdown. Officials are rushing to put in place contingency plans to ensure that vital national security and foreign policy operations keep running. Two-thirds of State Department staffers would go on furlough.
  • The Veterans Health Administration would be unaffected. The V.A. operates on a two-year funding cycle that began last year, meaning it has already received the money it needs to keep operating. 
  • Good luck trying to visit national parks and museums. More than 350 federally run park sites, as well as federal museums, such as the Smithsonian and the National Archives, would be closed to visitors. Some museums that also receive private financing, such as the Kennedy Center, will remain open. The cumulative effect of the closures mean a half-million visitors could be turned away this weekend alone, according to some estimates. Security personnel, however, would remain in place.
  • Federal courts could conceivably operate unaffected. During past government shutdowns, the courts remained fully open through the use of fees collected by federal bankruptcy courts. Still, an extended shutdown could require furloughs for “court clerks, technical staff, security guards and other court employees.”
  • Homeland Security doesn’t stop. Most department employees would continue to work without pay. That includes border patrol, airport security and U.S. Coast Guard patrol. The department’s e-Verify system — which enables employers to check the immigration status of prospective hires — would be suspended. 
  • You’ll still receive your mail. The U.S. Postal Service, which is funded through customer payments, in large part from postage stamps, will continue to operate as normal
  • You’ll also still have to do your taxes. Income earners are still expected to file their taxes on time, although the IRS will suspend the processing of paper tax forms until government operations resume. 
  • Federally funded clinical research takes a hitNew research at the National Institutes of Health would be suspended, although ongoing research would continue. 
  • Tough luck if you need a new passport or visa. Most applications for passports and visas would likely go unprocessed. Such was the case in the ’95-’96 shutdown, when “nearly 30,000 visa applications were unprocessed” and “200,000 applications for passports were ignored.” 
  • Home loans will take a hit. The Federal Housing Administration could curb new home loan guarantees that private mortgage lenders often require for assurance that loans will be honored.

By: Peter Finocchiaro, Salon, April 6, 2011

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Consumers, Government Shut Down, Mortgages, Politics, Public | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: