Daunting Denominator

Average Payment per Countrywide Victim:  $1,595 “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson Surveying the latest paltry big bank settlement for predatory lending practices that helped pump up the housing market — before causing it to collapse — it seems obvious that Emerson’s famous line about killing kings has a...
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Confusing Predator, Prey

This Weekend’s Hot Story While it’s still free, check out this article in The New York Times:  ‘In Prison for Taking a Liar Loan.’ It recounts the utterly fantastic tale of a how a small-time Countrywide borrower came to serve a 21 month sentence for mortgage fraud, while the bank’s senior executives literally walked away with...
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FICO’s Decline (& Fall?)

Credit Rating Agencies, Writ Small As a long-time lender, I would always trade off fico for equity. —email from Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide CEO (now charged with civil fraud), to a lieutenant What exactly is Mozilo talking about? Sub-prime lenders’ growing concerns, circa 2006, that the size of a borrower’s down payment was a much better...
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Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo

Personal Fortune, Economic Disaster I don’t follow pro sports very closely these days, but growing up, I remember a statistic in basketball and hockey called the “plus/minus ratio.” The goal was to filter out individual statistics like goals scored or baskets made, and instead, focus on each player’s net contribution to their team. The result...
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"They’re B-a-a-a-c-k . . ."

Return of the Sub-Prime Lenders One of the surprises — at least to me — wading through all the foreclosures in Minneapolis neighborhoods like Phillips, Camden, and Powderhorn Park is the identity of the banks who now have title (i.e., they’re the owners). It’s a veritable “who’s who” of the most aggressive — and least...
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P.S.: Foreclosure Feeding Frenzies

(More) Market Manipulation?In my last post, “Banks Price Low to Elicit Multiple Offers,” I discussed the increasingly popular tactic of foreclosure Sellers pricing low to precipitate bidding wars. What I left out was the identity of the banks who appear to be behind many of them: notorious, sub-prime lenders such as Countrywide and Indymac. Just...
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