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The Alter Group Announces New Affiliate

In an announcement Thursday, The Alter Group, a corporate real estate developer based in Chicago, said it has formed Alter Asset Recovery, which will provide expedited solutions for lenders and special servicers holding distressed properties. The formation of this new affiliate comes at a time when distressed commercial real estate assets are potentially the largest challenge facing banks and other lenders.

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Google Partners with Multiple Software Companies

As DSNews.com reported, Google has recently released its AdWords comparison ads feature, which allows consumers to shop for and compare mortgages. In addition to teaming up with Mortech, Inc., Google has partnered with Los Angeles-based Leads 360, West Palm Beach, Florida-based OpenClose Mortgage Software, and Costa Mesa, California-based PriceMyLoan.

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Bair Says CRE Woes Aren’t Confined to Small Banks

For months, analysts and industry experts have assured the markets that the downturn in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector won't be enough to send the financial system into a second crisis - that it won't be the dreaded next shoe to drop because exposure is isolated to smaller, community banks. But FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair says that's not an accurate assessment.

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Moody’s Analytics Acquires Commercial Mortgage Metrics

Moody's Analytics, the risk management and research arm of New York-based Moody's Corporation, said Wednesday that it has acquired full ownership ofCommercial Mortgage Metrics (CMM) from CBRE Econometrics Advisors. CCM is an analytical model for assessing default and recovery risk for commercial real estate (CRE).

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Surge in Short Sale Requests Unlikely to Impact Housing Market

Although short sales are likely to increase in 2010, the jump in these transactions is unlikely to have any real impact on the housing market, according to a new study by Housing Predictor. While more at-risk homeowners are turning to short sales as an alternative to foreclosure, Housing Predictor says the small number of short sales that are actually approved by banks represent less than 1 percent of all homes facing foreclosure.

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Mortgage Interest Rates Fall for Third Straight Week

After rising steadily just before the end of last year in what some feared was the start of a continuing upward trend, interest rates on home loans have dropped for three consecutive weeks in January, according to reports from both Freddie Mac and Bankrate Thursday.

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Superior Home Services Relocates

Superior Home Services has announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters to a new site in Scottsdale, Arizona. The location is part of the new Scottsdale Quarter development opened last year.

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Obama Proposes New Limits on Big Lenders

In public remarks Thursday, President Obama said he wants to give federal regulators the power to restrict the size of the nation's largest financial institutions and the scope of their risk-taking ventures, such as investing in hedge funds. The phrase that became vogue at the onset of the financial crisis when Washington was crafting its bailout policies too big to fail has become a sticky cliche begrudged by Main Street taxpayers and lawmakers alike.

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FHA Makes Extensive Policy Changes to Address Default Risk

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) said Wednesday that it is raising homebuyers' up-front costs for mortgage insurance, tripling downpayment requirements for borrowers with low credit scores, and cutting seller concessions in half. The agency says the new policies will help it better manage loan risk and losses. According to FHA's latest monthly activity report, nearly 9 percent of the single-family mortgages it insures against default are at least 90 days past due.

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