One of rock’s most innovative bands – the Doors, from their appearance on the Smothers Bros.
Note that Robby Krieger is sporting a black eye in this video, which he received from:
1) Getting into a fight with Jim
2) A car accident
3) A guy went to punch Jim for being a “hippie”. Jim ducked, nailed Robby right in the eye.
All of these have been said by band members.
I got to meet Robby in 1983 when we had him play at Cal State Fullerton – a free show at noon on a Wednesday in the middle of campus!
The regulator over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed back against mounting pressure that the mortgage finance giants start reducing the principal owed on troubled loans, insisting the practice could hurt taxpayers and that alternatives were better at avoiding foreclosures.
Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, told U.S. senators Tuesday that reducing the principal on mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie would not protect taxpayers.
The government has pumped about $183 billion in taxpayer money into the companies, which the agency seized in 2008 as they teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.
Lawmakers, especially Democrats, have maintained that the agency needed to direct Fannie and Freddie to write down the mortgage principal on loans that exceeded the value of homes when struggling borrowers were facing foreclosures.
Five of the nation’s major banks agreed to similar terms to settle a nationwide lawsuit. Fannie and Freddie, which own or guarantee 60% of existing mortgages and back 75% of all new mortgages, was not part of that lawsuit.
DeMarco said executives at Fannie and Freddie advised him that it wasn’t “in the best interest of the companies” to write down mortgage principal to reduce foreclosures. The companies would lose part of the total amounts lent out.
He touted other steps, such as interest rate reductions that Fannie and Freddie have approved, to help keep struggling homeowners from defaulting.
“Foreclosure is the worst possible outcome in most instances. It is the most costly, it is the most devastating to the family, and it is the most devastating to the neighborhood,” DeMarco told the Senate Banking Committee.
The agency has “a responsibility to find all prudent actions” to prevent foreclosures, he said. Refinancing, modifying the lengths of loans and deferring payments on mortgage principal are more effective at keeping people in their homes without increasing the risk of losses at Fannie and Freddie, DeMarco said.
Democrats argued that principal reductions would help stabilize the housing market, ultimately reducing taxpayer losses on the Fannie and Freddie bailout because mortgages would not end up in foreclosures.
“In my view, the FHFA has shown a dismal lack of initiative in the housing crisis and needs to be far more aggressive in taking steps that can help both homeowners and taxpayers,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
“The banks are finding it profitable to give principal reductions to about 20% of their own loans while, ironically, the government isn’t allowing principal reductions on any loans,” he said.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said that principal reduction was the one foreclosure-prevention tool that the administration has made the least progress in employing.
But FHFA is an independent agency. DeMarco had been chief operating officer at the agency and became acting director in 2009. The White House has tried to replace him, but Senate Republicans blocked confirmation of President Obama’s nominee for the job.
Republicans, who oppose more government intervention in the housing market, praised DeMarco. But he acknowledged that “there appears to be a lot of criticism” of his performance.
California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris has called on DeMarco to resign.
In a letter released Monday, she asked him to freeze foreclosures in the state until the agency did a “thorough, transparent analysis of whether principal reduction is in the best interests of struggling homeowners as well as taxpayers.”
Also Monday, 115 House members wrote to DeMarco to urge him to allow Fannie and Freddie to write down loan principals.
Hat tip to daytrip for sending this along, from thenytimes.com:
THE $26 billion foreclosure settlement deal announced this month arrived in the final throes of Hollywood’s annual awards season. It also arrived too late for my neighbor, a screenwriter and director who moved out of her two-bedroom house the week before last, after her bank foreclosed on the property.
There had been no “For Sale” sign, no telltale rental tenant, no evidence of anything untoward in our canyon neighborhood, an enclave of writers, directors and actors. I saw nothing until the night I stood on my front steps, my heart in my mouth, and heard her sobbing scream — “I’m 47 years old, and I am going bankrupt!”
Now she is gone, another “statistic,” as she put it when I went next door to say goodbye as the movers loaded the last of her belongings. Her eviction follows that of our mutual neighbors, actors on a well-known soap opera forced out of their house in a foreclosure in a driving rainstorm four days before Christmas. Their dark, vacant houses, emblazoned with the public notices taped in the windows like shameful scarlet A’s, are holes in the hidden, fraying social fabric of Hollywood, where a vast majority belong not to the 1 percent but to the 99.
Of the 11 million Americans under water on their homes and facing foreclosure, more than two million reside in California. None of the Hollywood guilds keep records of how many of their members are among them, but several unions and charitable performing arts foundations report an increase in members applying for emergency housing assistance. When two of my three immediate neighbors have been foreclosed on, there are undoubtedly untold screenwriters, actors, directors and others quietly, invisibly struggling to keep their homes.
Back in April 2009 at the VOSD housing roundtable, I speculated that the low point in Case-Shiller Index would be December, 2011. It was said off-the-cuff, and for comedic effect after Rich T. had just described how difficult it would be to predict the exact month with all the variables.
Little did any of us know that we were in the trough then – at least, so far!
The Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted index for San Diego:
Dec 2011: 151.02
Nov 2011: 151.11 (flat MOM)
Dec 2010: 159.62 (-5.4% YOY)
May 2009: 145.56 (+3.8% since trough)
The Case-Shiller non-SA index for San Diego:
Dec 2011: 150.42
Nov 2011: 151.45 (-0.7% MOM)
Dec 2010: 158.97 (-5.4% YOY)
April 2009: 144.43 (+4.1% since trough)
If a lower CSI makes want to go out and buy a house, you’ll find fewer homes to consider. The number of short sales and REO listings are coming on the market about the same as the previous two years, but regular sellers appear to be reluctant.
Generally there are about 20% fewer new listings to consider around NSDCC:
Last year the new listings got off to a fast start, and after April dropped off unusually quickly. Hopefully this year there will be a more constant flow of new listings. The banks need to prod the defaulters to list those short sales – otherwise they are just going to work the free-rent program!
California’s attorney general has asked for a suspension of foreclosures on loans controlled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris in a letter asked the regulator of the government-controlled mortgage titans to halt foreclosures in California until the agency has completed a “thorough, transparent analysis of whether principal reduction is in the best interests of struggling homeowners as well as taxpayers.”
It is not the first time that Harris has tangled with the giants — last year she sued the two mortgage giants after they refused to answer subpoenas regarding their mortgage and foreclosure practices. That case remains pending.
Harris has also called on Edward DeMarco, the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency that regulates Fannie and Freddie, to step down, accusing him of not doing enough for borrowers.
Harris’ request for a foreclosure pause comes on the heels of a multistate mortgage settlement that will require the nation’s largest mortgage servicers to reduce principal for certain borrowers. California has secured $12 billion in principal reduction and short sales from those banks, but Fannie and Freddie are not part of that deal.
Harris’ office sees the two giants as key to getting the housing market back on track, estimating that more than 60% of outstanding loans in the Golden State are controlled by them. But DeMarco has resisted principal reductions, which is the writing-down of mortgages of borrowers, arguing that the results of those reductions are not worth the costs.
The FHFA has overseen Fannie and Freddie since the two mortgage giants were placed under government control in 2008 as the financial crisis picked up steam. Calls to the agency were not returned.
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