Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The documentary, directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz ("Taxicab Confessions," "The Defenders"), follows eight families struggling in the wake of the economic downturn. Shot over the winter of 2011-12 in Portland, this powerful film reveals the human impact of budget cuts to social services, rising poverty and economic inequality, and the fracturing of the American Dream.

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The Paper Chase is not exactly a short article, but if you're the type that's into reading about UCC Article 3 vs. Article 9 transfer methods for notes and MERS, then this piece is for you. There's a lot of technical stuff in the article, but there's also a discussion of the political economy of mortgage title and transfer law, and some thoughts on how to fix the legal mess we currently have.  Abstract is below the break:

The mortgage foreclosure crisis raises legal questions as important as its economic impact. Questions that were straightforward and uncontroversial a generation ago today threaten the stability of a $13 trillion mortgage market: Who has standing to foreclose? If a foreclosure was done improperly, what is the effect? And what is the proper legal method for transferring mortgages? These questions implicate the clarity of title for property nationwide and pose a too- big-to-fail problem for the courts.

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

We analyze 4,280 lower-income homeowners in the United States who were more than 90 days late paying their 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Two dozen organizations serviced these mortgages and initiated foreclosure between 2003 and 2012. We identify wide variation between mortgage servicers in their likelihood of bringing the property to auction. We also show that when homeowners in foreclosure filed for bankruptcy, foreclosure auctions were 70% less likely.

Monday, November 11th, 2013

It's just me, Professor Porter writing. And what I wanted to write about is the first in a series of thoughts that I have about where mortgage servicing policy needs to go in the future. My first topic where think mortgage servicing needs more conversation and reform is the role of the FHFA and Fannie/Freddie in having fostered/enabled/encouraged some of the unsavory practices in mortgage servicing through their servicing guidelines.

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Year Six of the great foreclosure crisis came to a close on June 30 with no real end in sight.  Five million homes have been foreclosed and another million or more were surrendered by distressed home owners in short sales or otherwise.  We are still far from returning to a stable mortgage market.  In normal times (from 1942 to 2005 for example) about 1% of mortgages are in the foreclosure process at any given time, and another 4% or so are delinquent.  At June 30, about 7% of mortgages are delinquent and more than 3% are in the foreclosure process. These distress rates are down from their peak (10%/4.6%) of March 2010, but are still double to triple their pre-crisis levels.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Mortgage investment entails two principal types of risk: interest rate risk and credit risk. Credit risk is the risk that the borrower will default on the mortgage. Interest rate risk is the risk that interest rates will either rise — in which case the interest rate the inves tor earns on the mortgage will be below market — or that interest rates will fall — in which case the mortgage will now be at an above market rate, but with the borrower likely to refinance. The mortgage securitization market can be roughly divided in to two types of securitizations based on their allocation of interest rate and credit risk: GSE and Ginnie Mae securities ( “Agency MBS” ) and private - label mortgage - backed securities ( “PLS” ) .

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