News Alerts. Nov. 5, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

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  1. BofA’s Countrywide Found Liable for Defrauding Fannie Mae – Bloomberg News Alerts. Nov. 5, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    We’ve covered this trial before, but this article goes into additional details.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office brought the case, said Countrywide’s program “treated quality control and underwriting as a joke.”

    “In a rush to feed at the trough of easy mortgage money on the eve of the financial crisis, Bank of America purchased Countrywide, thinking it had gobbled up a cash cow,” Bharara said in a statement. “That profit, however, was built on fraud, as the jury unanimously found.”

    Prosecutors in Bharara’s Civil Fraud unit alleged that a division of Countrywide in August 2007 initiated a loan program called “High Speed Swim Lane,” or HSSL, that ran until 2008.

    Source …

  2. The Top 5 Factors Resulting in Resident Loyalty | Property Management Insider [cached] News Alerts. Nov. 5, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    Joanna Ellis says:

    When it comes to maintaining and increasing resident retention, we seem to put a lot of focus on why our residents are not loyal to us, but what we should really be asking ourselves is “What am I doing right?” When you identify who your loyal residents are, you’ll usually find there are five common factors that correlate with their loyalty. We’ve listed them below for your convenience:

    1. You Ask for AND Listen to Resident Feedback

    2. You are Fast to Resolve any Maintenance or Apartment Community Issues

    3. You Make Living at your Apartment Community Easy

    4. You Know your Residents Have A Choice—and You Let them Know It

    5. You Create “WOW” Moments in your Community

    Read the source to fill in the blanks.

    Source …

  3. Is Your Mortgage Status Designated “Inactive”? (MERS) News Alerts. Nov. 5, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    Rick Tobin writes:

    The Shadow Inventory & MERS

    Instead of upwards of 60 million residential MERS mortgages becoming inactive or possibly even completely voided and worthless, many of the largest banks and mortgage service companies worked closely with the U.S. government to create the National Mortgage Settlement in early 2012. This insanely small $25 billion settlement is but a mere fraction of the potentially trillions of dollars of MERS mortgages nationwide.

    The National Mortgage Settlement of 2012 and MERS Scandal were two of the primary reasons why home listings nationally dropped dramatically.

    There were potentially millions of Shadow Inventory homes (mortgage payments are more than 90 days late), which may not have valid promissory notes, or other mortgage or title instruments or documents, in the files. The lack of listed home inventory led to a rapid increase of home prices between 2011 and 2013 (also partly due to the record low mortgage rates).

    We completely agree with Rick that the $25 billion is woefully inadequate and that those who made the settlement knew that when they made it.

    Source …

  4. LIBOR Scandal Heats Up – TheStreet

    Philip van Doorn reports:

    NEW YORK (TheStreet) — JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has another lawsuit to add to its litigation pile of pain.

    Fannie Mae (FNMA) on Thursday filed lawsuits against JPMorgan and eight other major banks, seeking “at least” $800 million in losses, plus punitive damages over the alleged collusion of banks to manipulate LIBOR.

    The lawsuits were first reported in the Wall Street Journal. A Fannie Mae spokesperson confirmed the lawsuits had been filed but no other detail was included in the report.

    Fannie Mae has not put out a press release discussing the lawsuits, and an email requesting additional comment from the company Friday (November 1, 2013) morning wasn’t immediately returned.

    LIBOR stands for London Interbank Offered Rate. The rate was originally compiled by the British Bankers’ Association from the rate information submitted each day by a group of large banks with international business. LIBOR is a critically important “overnight rate,” because many types of loans have their rates indexed to LIBOR, as do many types of derivative securities.

    The LIBOR scandal came to light last year, when various media outlets reported that banks had submitted false information used to compile LIBOR. Banks had misstated the rate at which they estimated they could borrow funds overnight from other banks, because admitting to an increased cost for overnight loans would signal that the financial health of the bank submitting the data was weakening.

    Source …

  5. Japan September wages post minimal gains, showing tough battle to end deflation | Reuters News Alerts. Nov. 5, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    Stanley White reports:

    (Reuters) – Japanese wage earners’ total cash earnings rose 0.1 percent year-on-year in September, government data showed on Thursday, in a sign there has been very slow progress in achieving big increases in wages needed to end 15 years of deflation.

    However, wages are sticky. They lag behind the leading edge of growth. They need to be patient and not raise taxes until the right time.

    Source …

  6. Japan factory output rebounds, bodes well for wage outlook | Reuters News Alerts. Nov. 5, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    Leika Kihara reports:

    (Reuters) – Japan’s factory output rebounded in September to its highest level in nearly one-and-a-half years as robust domestic demand driven by the government’s stimulus policies and a looming tax rise compensated for slowing exports to the rest of Asia.

    The gain reinforces the view the world’s third-largest economy is recovering moderately, and may nudge more firms to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s requests to raise base salaries next year.

    One caveat is that demand may be being inflated as consumers bring forward purchases to beat an increase in the sales tax from next April, and so may soften into the middle of 2014.

    Source …

  7. Japan Salaries Extend Fall as Abe Urges Companies to Raise Wages – Bloomberg

    Keiko Ujikane & Andy Sharp report:

    Japan’s salaries extended the longest slide since 2010, even as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urges companies to raise workers’ wages as part of his bid to reflate the world’s third-largest economy.

    Regular wages excluding overtime and bonuses fell 0.3 percent in September from a year earlier, marking a 16th straight month of decline, according to labor ministry data released today. Total cash earnings rose 0.1 percent.

    The data underline the difficulties Abe faces in getting companies on board in his drive to end more than a decade of deflation among nascent signs of price gains after the Bank of Japan’s unprecedented easing. Trade unions are demanding higher base pay, and the question now is whether firms will agree in wage negotiations early next year.

    As we’ve said before and will continue to do so, the planned timing of the tax increases will work against the economy, which will work against demand, which will then work against wage increases and the desired inflation to break the deflationary cycle and lift Japan out of its lost decades.

    Source …