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NEWS
June 21, 2011
Have I got this right? The government, i.e. the taxpayer, is coughing up millions of dollars of borrowed money, paying over 40 percent more to rehab houses, and renting them for less than $500 a month, including utilities ("Is this house worth 475K?" June 19). At the same time they are selling some for just $75,000 to people who probably won't be able to afford the mortgage, eventually leaving the bad loan to a bankrupt Fannie Mae orFreddie Mac. And now the government wants to expand its involvement in the health care business?
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BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | June 1, 2011
U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is asking the agency overseeing Fannie Mae why the mortgage financier is letting an embattled law firm handle its Maryland foreclosures despite problems documented by sister company Freddie Mac. The Baltimore Democrat — in a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency late Wednesday — says information the regulator provided him in May about the Shapiro & Burson law firm "reveals a much more egregious level of...
NEWS
By Raymond A. Skinner | May 2, 2011
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been the underpinnings of American homeownership for decades, but now, thanks to their role in the collapse of the housing market, they are being targeted for massive reform or elimination. But as leaders in Congress and the Obama administration establish and pursue new policies to guide the housing finance system, it is critical that they preserve the historic and successful — though less well known — mandate of Fannie and Freddie to promote affordable rental housing for moderate and low-income households across the country, a population that is hit hardest by downturns such as the one currently battering our economy.
NEWS
March 5, 2011
Heather H. Murren's conclusion that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are being criticized unfairly for their role in the recession of 2007 ("Don't blame Fannie or Freddie," March 4) is half-baked. Ms. Murren grossly understates the real impact these government-sponsored enterprises have had on the economic crisis our country is going through. She concludes that since only 37 percent of all mortgages obtained just before the meltdown began in 2006 were sponsored by Fannie and Freddie, government-sponsored enterprises did not provide the lion's share of mortgages and therefore should not be blamed for causing the meltdown.
NEWS
By Heather H. Murren | March 3, 2011
More than two years since this country plunged into a financial crisis, countless Americans have lost their businesses, homes, savings and jobs. I am a native of Baltimore, but my current home is Nevada, which remains one of the hardest hit places in the country. So when I was asked to serve on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission — which was tasked to explain what triggered the crisis — I accepted. Having spent part of my career on Wall Street, I was eager to have a chance to research and analyze the fundamental causes of the crisis.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2011
Attorneys who handle foreclosures for Fannie Mae will be able to charge as much as $1,300 per case in the state starting next month, a nearly 40 percent jump that will make Maryland's fee one of the highest in the nation. The decision to increase the amount by $350 was met with concern Friday by Maryland regulators because it will be added to the total that struggling borrowers must pay to avert an auction. "The homeowner ultimately has to bear the cost of those fees," said Anne Balcer Norton, Maryland's deputy commissioner of financial regulation.
NEWS
April 27, 2010
The problem with "Financial Reform" is what the president and Congress have so far proposed doesn't fix the problem. Instead, it makes scapegoats of the financial industry for our government's own regulatory failings — the very ones that led to the financial meltdown. This isn't all Wall Street's fault. It's the fault of specific government policies ranging from failed bank oversight by the Fed to housing policies geared toward raising home ownership to the decision to bail out companies that made bad bets because they were"too big to fail."
NEWS
March 29, 2010
The March 29 article, "When consumers lack information, free market system falters" by Charles Scott, Fred Derrick, and Andrew Samuel displays a fundamental misunderstanding of how markets work by these authors. They claim that because sellers have more information about their products and services than buyers, most sellers will cheat or defraud their customers. Nonsense. Baltimore Sun reporters have more information about daily news than their readers, and economics professors have more information about the field of economics than their readers do, but that does not guarantee that they are frauds and cheats and that the markets for newspapers and higher education "fail."
NEWS
March 28, 2010
T he Obama administration has announced a major new effort to stem the foreclosure crisis by focusing on two groups: the unemployed and the rapidly growing share of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. Getting banks to temporarily reduce payments for the unemployed fits in with many previous efforts to help those who find they are unable, because of the economic downturn, to meet their mortgage obligations. But the second part of the plan, helping those with so-called "underwater" mortgages reduce the amount of principal they owe, may be more difficult for many Americans to swallow.
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