Friday, June 17, 2011

Brief Recap of Major Financial Issues

There used to be a TV show, weekly, called appropriately "THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS". It provided a satirical review of the weeks happenings - especially politics. Kind of like a fast paced, hit-a-run version of John Stewart. Actually, "The Daily Show" is a modern day iteration. This Is The Month That Was:

Foreclosures still moving at a brisk pace. Some slowing but due to paperwork issues. The mortgage servicers, led by the Mortgage Backed Security Investors, want to foreclose, and actually do so, even when they do not have the legal rights. IT GOES LIKE THIS :
You get a loan from the "We Saw You Coming Mortgage Company"
b. The mortgage company has already sold the loan to a large bank
c. The holder of the mortgage only (not the note, the I.O.U.) is company called MERS, short for Mortgage Electronic Registration System. This is mortgage industry registry to avoid recording mortgage transfers
d. The loan is "sold" into a Pool of 3000 other loans paying the Bank for its investment in your mortgage. The Bank now has no risk - this explains why no one cared about loan quality and why there were bizarre loan products like the "Pick-A-Payment"

e. The pool is sold as a BOND - just like a corporate bond- where investors buy $10,000 or maybe $1mil of the total which can be $2billion+ The reason to purchase is to get a higher than bank savings account interest return without much risk (good luck!)
f. If a borrower falls behind in payments, the manager of the pool of loans (called the investor) decides whether to modify the loan or not
g. The Fed Gov't set up the Making Home Affordable program to help homeowner get modifications but DID NOT REQUIRE ANY LENDER/INVESTOR MAKE ANY MODIFICATIONS


1. There was a Consumer Finance Protection Board established so one agency can "ride-herd" as a REGULATOR to be certain that consumers don't get swindled. Here's where that is:

a. The CFPB is to stop "Predatory Lending practices", credit cards that have hidden fees (like the 0% interest for 1 year including balance transfer except for the 4% or 5% fee, not interest on the transfer)-see last posting for full explanation, and excessive fees to Banks for using a debit card.
b. The Republicans in the Senate have vowed to refuse to allow the appointment of ANYONE to the top spot at the CFPB unless the powers are reduced and there is a committee running it

2. Banks are lobbying to reverse the Law that will limit how much they can charge the merchants for each customer use of a debit card. Right now if you buy a $2.00 coffee and "swipe" your debit card to pay for the coffee, the store might get charged $0.40. No wonder prices for small items like coffee and hamburgers are so high

1. Jobs are still being created, 50,000 this past month but that is only 1.2% of the unemployed
a. No real manufacturing starts to create jobs
b. Housing market dead - too many foreclosed and repossessed homes to let prices rise so no one can sell, Banks own too many houses, no reason to build a new house hoping someone will buy it
c. Mortgages are extremely difficult to get so even if you want to buy, who will lend you the money. No building-No Jobs.
d. Outsourcing to other countries bigger than ever


1. Economy is not defined as how much we are earning or how much things cost or how confident consumers/businesses are feeling
a. Economy is the system to move goods and services. Essentially how will supply and demand is working
b. Economics is the study of the economy - not a science and there are as many theories as there are people studying the economy, therefore being Economists. So when you hear about "The Top Government Economist said that..." it's just his opinion. It is not a real science. It's a social science based on opinions and theories

2. Our trade imbalance grew. This is the measure of how much we import versus export. We import much more than we export.
a. The trade imbalance affects the value of our Dollar as compared to other countries currency
b. Things got better with Japan because few cars are being imported due to the disasters that hit Japan
c. Things got worse with China - they buy a fraction for us of what we buy from them.

That's just a brief round-up of 4 topics of concern to us all

Oh, I almost forgot - there is the Federal Debt Ceiling -that is the maximum amount the Government can borrow. We will be "MAXED OUT" by August. Raising that limit is also being held-up by Congress. If it doesn't get raised, we end up defaulting on our loans (payment of interest and principal on such things as Treasury Bonds. Then the value of the dollar compared to other currencies will drop by 25%-35% OR MORE immediately. Think things cost are expensive now? How about $7/gallon gas or a $40,000 Base Model Toyota

Author's Copyright by Richard I. Isacoff, Esq, June 2011

No comments: