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Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Wolters Kluwer Names Former Fed Regulator VP of Professional Services

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services continues to expand its regulatory and risk management consulting services. The company recently brought on Timothy R. Burniston to serve as VP and senior director of professional services for its risk and compliance business. Burniston, previously a senior associate director with the Federal Reserve Board's division of consumer and community affairs, joins the company's growing roster of more than 400 in-house regulatory and risk management experts.

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Fed’s Beige Book Depicts Growth in All Economic Areas Except Housing

The U.S. economy ended 2011 in better standing than earlier in the year, according to the Federal Reserve's polling of key business contacts, economists, and market experts throughout its 12 regional districts. Reporting for the latest Beige Book publication, all 12 districts characterized economic growth as modest to moderate - and that's without the typical recovery model in which housing serves as a primary contributor to economic expansion. Across the board, Fed districts labeled residential real estate activity as ""sluggish.""

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Congress and Fed Disagree on Best Path to Economic Recovery

With a common goal of economic recovery, Congress and the Federal Reserve diverge on the best means to that end. Should the housing sector finance the government's economic policies, or should the government help boost the housing sector? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke submitted a white paper to Congress last week as a framework for policymakers to help the housing market, but that move has drawn the ire of at least one senator.

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Fed: Enforcement Actions, Monetary Penalties Necessary for Servicers

Standing before the Association of American Law Schools in Washington D.C., Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin discussed the importance of enforcement and monetary penalties in the mortgage servicing industry. Her message stated simply that ""laws and regulations must be enforced."" A lack of enforcement leads to the entrenchment of bad practices and an increase in the costs of correction, Raskin said, calling many of the mortgage servicing industry's practices ""shoddy.""

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Fed Identifies Markets Primed for Bulk REO-to-Rental Programs

The Federal Reserve is throwing its support behind a large-scale REO-to-rental program to address the oversupply of vacant homes and prevent property values from falling further. The Fed notes that in contrast to the market for owner-occupied homes, rental housing is strengthening. Officials say a government-facilitated program has the potential to help the housing market and improve loss recoveries. They've identified specific markets with large concentrations of vacant REOs, where bulk sales to investors make sense.

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Mortgage Debt in the U.S. Continues to Contract

The ongoing turmoil still gripping housing markets across the country has manifested itself in the Federal Reserve's macro assessment of household wealth and capital flow. With foreclosure stripping millions of Americans of their largest asset and potential homebuyers still watching for the market bottom, the total sum of home mortgage debt in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level in nearly five years. Outstanding mortgage debt contracted by 1.8 percent over the third-quarter period to $9.88 trillion.

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Congress Questions Impartiality of Independent Foreclosure Reviews

At a Senate subcommittee hearing examining the progress of the foreclosure review process ordered earlier this year, lawmakers questioned officials from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve about the impartiality of the ""independent reviews."" Senators asked whether any of the consultants hired to conduct the reviews had worked with the servicers previously. The regulators admitted that some had. Members of the subcommittee say these past ties raise doubts about the true independence of the examiners.

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Fed Offers Nothing New

Those keeping tabs on the Federal Reserve's movements were looking for a change in the central bank's communication strategy when officials emerged from their final policy meeting of the year on Tuesday. Some analysts were even anticipating the Fed to launch a third round of 'Quantitative Easing' measures. All expectations went unfulfilled. With Wall Street disappointed in the lack of action, mortgage rates dipped to new lows following the Fed's (non) announcement.

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Fed: House Flipping Led to Deeper Housing Collapse

There's been much debate over the root causes of the housing meltdown that catapulted the nation into the worst financial crisis in 80 years. A new report from the Federal Reserve focuses on the sharp run-up and subsequent collapse in housing prices during the 2000s. It concludes that real estate investors who used mortgage credit to purchase multiple properties played a larger role in fueling the housing bubble than previously recognized, pushing prices up during the boom and then defaulting in large numbers when prices began to head south.

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Beige Book Illustrates Weakness in Real Estate, Pickup in Refinancing

The Federal Reserve released a new market-gauging rendition of its Beige Book Wednesday. The publication recounts signs of slow to moderate economic growth across 11 of the 12 Fed districts. The St. Louis district was the lone dissenter, reporting a decline in economic activity. Residential real estate activity overall was described as ""sluggish,"" while commercial real estate activity was depicted as ""lackluster"" across most of the nation. Mortgage refinancing, however, was said to have grown at a rapid pace.

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