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Mortgage Lending Overly Tight

Mortgage Lending Overly Tight Mortgage Lending Overly Tight

In the fall of 2012, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that mortgage lending standards appeared to be “overly tight.” A new survey of officers released by the Federal Reserve on Monday showed banks remain unwilling to loosen mortgage standards. Bernanke said surveys show that lenders began tightening mortgage credit standards in 2007 and standards have not seen any significant easing, since that time. Housing recovery has been driven by cash buyers and investors. For the housing recovery to continue, potential buyers need access to mortgages.An important factor restraining residential real estate loans as reported by a large majority of loan officers, “risk-adjusted profitability of the residential mortgage business relative to other possible uses of funds”. Risk that insurers and mortgage buyers would force banks to buy back bad loans, added to the retrained lending factor. Smaller banks are indicating the unlikelihood of booking a mortgage loan with a FICO score of 620, depending on the down payment. Potential buyers with a FICO score of 720 and a 20% down payment had more chance for an approved mortgage application. Mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration with FICO scores of 580 or 620 have slim chance of approval. the Fed said.

Allegations that Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) violated terms of a mortgage settlement signed last year, is resulting in a $26 billion National Mortgage Settlement in a law suit from New York State. Reportedly, office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman documented 210 violations of the new rules by Wells Fargo and 129 violations of the new rules by Bank of America. The suit is between state attorneys general and five banks including a new set of mortgage servicing standards for dealing with underwater homeowners.

The Conference Board reported on Monday that employment trends index edged up 0.1% to 111.68 in April as five of its eight components saw an increase. Despite weak economic activity, the employment trends index is still signaling moderate job growth in the coming months," said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, in a statement.

Shares of First Solar (FSLR) - developer of solar farms for power companies - were higher by 4% during aftermarket trading session on Monday after reporting Q1 earnings. First Solar reported sales above consensus at $30 million; profit for Q1 of $59.1 million or 66 cents a share; an increase in sales by 52% to $755 million and backed its 2013 financial forecast.

Overall market action on Monday was sluggish. While the S&P 500 ended the session at another record close above 1600, Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by little over 5 points and NASDAQ tacked on a gains of 14 points. Investors appear to be a bit squeamish here, as the potential for a sell off appears to be, imminent. The question is, when will the correction take effect and, just how much of the recent gains will be cashed in.
 

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May 6, 2013


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