FOMC Minutes Drag Down Mortgage Market 
The FOMC minutes were releaed this afternoon and mortgage bonds sagged based on the content. The Fed's comments weren't overly exuberant about the economy, but apparently they weren't dire enough. It seems to me that we are splitting hairs here, but mortgage market particpants live in the future,not the past. So, looking forward, the quicker the economy improves and the employment numbers grow, the sooner the Fed will begin Tapering. The pundits took from the wording of the minutes that the Fed isn't quite as disappointed with the data as they wanted them to be.

Remember, tomorrow is another day, and the credit markets do not move in a straight line in either direction. I certainly don't think this is the beginning of the end of low interest rates.

[ 2 comments ] ( 133 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3.1 / 1532 )
October FOMC Meeting May Move Markets Tomorrow 
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ends their October meeting tomorrow and the minutes could move the mortgage market. Concensus is that they will not change their current monetary policy and they will continue purchasing Treasuries and agency eligible Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) at the current pace of $85 Billion per month. What if concensus is wrong?

Well, if they start Tapering, mortgage rates will immediately move higher and stocks will probably move lower. As i have said before, I just don't see any indicaton that this will occur. The jobs figures are underperforming and the economy isn't that strong, but I've been wrong before. Stay tuned.

[ 3 comments ] ( 4151 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1396 )
Goldman Sachs - Tapering will Most Likely Start March 2014 
On October 22nd, economists at Goldman Sachs said, "Although December remains a possibility, this report (jobs) makes it more likely that the Fed pushes the first reduction in the pace of its asset purchases into 2014. While the uncertainity is considerable, we think March is the most likely date under our economic forecast, and the assuumption that the next set of fiscal deadlines proves less disruptive than the most recent set." Well, I cettainly don't have the knowledge, data, or expertise that they have at Goldman, but I find it difficult to believe that the FOMC will Taper that quickly. Here's why.

The Jobs Report is all over the map. There isn't any consistency, and the accuracy is always questioned. For example, August was revised up from 169,000 to 193,000 (this almost keeps pace with jobs lost), while July was revised down from 104,000 to 89,000 (This certainly doesn't keep pace, and September was only 148,000 (again not enough to keep pace). Some experts were even surprised (really?) by the low growth in the private sector for September, and there seems to be a weakening trend the past several months. Remember, the FOMC has pledged to keep the purchase progam in place until the Unemployment Rate drops to 6.5%.

Last Monday I wrote that I don't see the economy creating many new jobs in my community, and these figures seem to bear that out. If we are losing more jobs than we are creating, how can the Unemployment Rate be decreasing? Just a little food for thought.

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Interest Rates Stable for the Week 
The Conventional 30 year fixed rate remained at 4.125% at weeks end. This rate would be available for a borrower who has excellent credit (credit score of 740 or greater) and could be obtained with little or no points if you make the right size of down payment.

The Conventional 15 year fixed rate remained at 3.25%, assuming the same parameters as mentioned above.

Market conditions have remained relatively stable since last Friday. Unless you are going to closing and you have to lock, I feel that it is ok to float your rate. There may be some volatility so don't put your blinders on and ignore the market, but overall the risk should be outwieghed by the reward. Let it ride!

[ 2 comments ] ( 48 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 1950 )
Bank of America on the Hook for Countrywide 
Fraud. Fraud is such an ugly word, but especially in the mortgage industry. B of A was found liable for fraud Wednesday over bad, or defective, mortgages sold by Countrywide (purchased by BofA) to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a process called "Hustle". The jury also found Rebecca Mairone, a former Countrywide executive, liable on one count of fraud.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost $848.2 million on the loans, so that is the amount that the U.S.Justice Department is seeking in damages, but it will be up to U.S. District Judge Rakoff to determine the amount of the award. Mairone's lawyer called her a "woman of integrity, ethics and honesty", vowing to continue the fight because she never participated in any fraudulent activity.

The Justice Department is also currently negotiating a $13 Billion, yes billion with a B, settlement with JP Morgan Chase regarding the sale of mortgages and other issues.

"Hustle" just sounds bad, doesn't it, especially since it was a mortgage origination platform used by a mortgage lender? Especially a lender the size of Countrywide. More on "Hustle" in the next few days.

[ 1 comment ] ( 29 views )   |  permalink  |   ( 3 / 2038 )

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