TARP - Articles

New Warning on Mortgage Mods: Demand for Up-Front Fees Is a Sure Sign of a Scam

The housing market has been slowly recovering for most of the year, but the fact remains that millions of Americans are still underwater when it comes to what they owe on their mortgage versus the value of their home. As such, many may be looking for some relief, and scammers are now preying on that need. In recent weeks,... Continue Reading »

Feds Target Loan Mod Scams, With Google's Cooperation

The federal government has shut down 85 alleged online loan modification scams, and secured the cooperation of Google to stop the purportedly false advertising by those web operations. The government agency responsible for supervising the use of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds recently targeted businesses that... Continue Reading »

Housing Counselor Caught Stealing Mortgage Mod Payments

Lori Macakanja, a former housing counselor in Dunkirk, N.Y., pleaded guilty this week to mail fraud and theft of government money meant for modifying delinquent mortgages. Some 136 clients of her company, HomeFront Inc., gave Macakanja a combined $300,000 for promised modifications. She used the money for her own use,... Continue Reading »

Housing Market 2011: As Rough As 2010

Looking back on 2010, the year in real estate was, in a word, terrible. Property values continued to fall, foreclosures rose, and even the lowest interest rates in 50 years seemed to have little positive effect on the property market. For U. S. real estate, 2010 was the year of failed government intervention where nothing... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Mods: A Modest Proposal to Avoid Moral Hazards

Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times wrote a recent column advocating what she calls a "bold idea" for housing policy instead of the crash that many economists now appear to want. The main thrust of her column is that TARP and other attempts by the federal government have been bad ideas aimed more at keeping big banks... Continue Reading »

Goldman Sachs Didn't Profit From Mortgage Defaults, But It Tried

We're good guys, really! Goldman Sachs, the publicly vilified former investment bank famously nicknamed a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity" by Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi for the way its seemingly wraps its tentacles around every far flung money-making opportunity, issued a defense in its annual... Continue Reading »

Obama Overhauls Failed HAMP Loan Modification Program

It's as good as official: Home Affordable Modification Program, the year-old government program to save homeowners from foreclosure, is a flop. Today, the Obama administration is set to announce new aid for many homeowners in trouble, who have been beyond help under the limited rules of the old HAMP program. Using $14... Continue Reading »

At Last: Some Real Aid for Struggling Homeowners

In his latest effort to stop the foreclosure tidal wave, President Obama, flanked by Nevada Senator Harry Reid (D), on Friday announced a Plan B for five states hardest hit by the housing crisis: Nevada, Florida, Michigan, California, and Arizona. The president is directing an additional $1.5 billion in aid to the states,... Continue Reading »

You Call That an Apt. Hunt? 4.5 Million Rentals Available in U.S.

Earlier this month new census data revealed that the homeownership rate is plummeting as foreclosures swell. That news buried the other bombshell in the latest numbers: vacancy rates are now soaring for rentals. Nationally, 10.7 percent of apartments are now sitting empty. And in apartment buildings? Vacancies are over 13... Continue Reading »

Top TARP Cop Warns: The Bubble Is Back

With home prices continuing to plummet every month, it may be hard to believe. But it's now officially government policy to keep those home values as high as possible. And Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, doesn't like it one bit. In his latest quarterly report to... Continue Reading »

For Bankers, Who's the Boss?

Watching the CEOs of America's largest banks testifying this week to Congress about their roles in starting The Great Recession with varying levels of contrition and defiance raises the question: exactly who are banks really accountable to in these post-TARP days? Who's the boss? Shareholders? Taxpayers? Customers (whom... Continue Reading »

Our Dystopian Future: The U.S. Economy Six Months from Now

The recession is over, we're told by Bernanke, Geithner, and Summers, it's time for an exit strategy, to wind down the economic stimulus before it turns inflationary. Big banks are booming, TARP funds are coming home to roost, the market's up, the Fed has stopped buying mortgaged-backed securities, and the first-time home... Continue Reading »

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