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Posts Tagged ‘mortgage crisis’

Banks Bulldoze Foreclosed Homes

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

Bank of America has come up with a new tool to deal with its glut of abandoned and foreclosed homes…. a Bulldozer.

Bank of America, the nations largest mortage servicer, plans to “donate” 100 blighted homes in Cleveland, OH and contribute cash toward their demolition.  The bank has a similar plan for 100 homes in Detriot, 150 in Chicago, with 9 more cities to follow.  Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Fannie Mae are also considering their own bulldozing programs.

  Getting rid of repossesed homes is the biggest headache for US lenders.  1,679,125 homes ( 1 in every 77) are in some stage of foreclosure as of June.    Lenders feel that no one will buy many of these homes and they”re trying to cut their losses.  Bulldozing the problem away means the banks won’t owe property taxes to our floundering cities and it won’t have to pay for repairs, maintenance and upkeep on the property.  In addition, there are some perks for giving away a house.  The banks get a bunch of tax write-offs and best case… they may even get a pat on the back and some nice PR, too. 

The idea of Bulldozing houses is nothing new.  Although the banks are not blowing up homes for alturistic reasons…I think we can all agree that removing home inventory is good for all of us.  In 2010, Warren Buffet advised that “blow up a lot of houses” was a viable option and similar to ‘cash for clunkers’ auto program.  I always thought bulldozing abandoned homes and returning the land to a raw state was a smarter solution than handing out money in the form of a homebuyer tax credit.   The tax credit cost billions of dollars, put money into the hands of a few people blessed with good timing and did little to reduce inventory.

Bankers, why not take the “TNT” strategy one step further.   Donate unwanted houses to local non-profits vs blowing them up?  Make a call to Habitat for Humanity, for example?   I can’t understand why Habitat is still building new homes, when we can’t get rid of the ones that are causing problems in our neighborhoods.   Habitat needs to change their business model with the times and so do our lenders.  Families, who are in dire need now, wait up to 6+ months for a new home to be built and the cost of building from scratch far exceeds the costs of rehabbing properties, in most cases.       

Just my two cents….

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Contained in the clip below are some insightful meditations on the failure of the American Dream in Fresno, CA.  

The short video features skateboarders who comb through the Californian real estate wreckage in search of foreclosed homes with empty pools.

Cannonball from California is a place. on Vimeo.

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New Program Pays Owners to Sell for a Loss

Monday, March 8, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

With more than 5 million households currently behind on their mortgages, the Obama adminstration is rolling out a new program to encourage lenders to accept a short sale.   A short sale is one in which a property is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage owed to the lender.   The administration hopes the program will prevent more foreclosures, which further depress property values and harm good neighborhoods.

The  program, which takes effect April 5, 2010,  pays lenders and borrowers to complete a short sale.   Key points of the program are as follows.

  • 1.  The program compels lenders to accept a short sale offer and forgive the difference they are owed between the market value and the outstanding mortgage balance. 
  • 2.  The lender will receive $1000 for every short sale they participate in.
  • 3.  The program encourages millions of borrowers to get serious about getting rid of their homes.  It  pays homeowners $1500 in walking away cash for finding buyer for their property and closing the sale.
  • 4.  The lender will utilize real estate agents to determine the present market value for a home.  That value will set the minimum acceptable price.   The estimated value will not be shared with the homeowner.  If an offer is submitted that is equal to or higher than the estimated value, the lender MUST take it.

Pro’s and Con’s

  • 1.  For the investment pools which own most of the home loans, there is the hope of getting more money from a short sale than a foreclosure proceeding.
  • 2.  For the lender, $1000 will help offset the labor intensive short sale process.
  • 3.  For the borrower, their credit will suffer less damage.  They have the lenders assurance that they won’t be sued down the line for their unpaid balance.  And, they get $15oo to assist with their relocation.
  • 4.  For the community, short sales mean fewer empty houses sitting around waiting for the bank sale.  It is estimated as many as half of all vacant properties are ransacked, neglected, vandalized and depress the value of neighboring homes.
  • 5.  The downside is that short sales are “tailor made” for fraud.  House values are inherently subjective, which provides a wide latitude for potential conflicts.
  • 6.  Another problem is that bankers hate the very idea of accepting an offer short of what they are owed.  By nature, they don’t want to sell anything at a discount.  If they loan $200,000 …they expect to be repaid $200,000, not $150,000.

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If you are one of the millions of Americans who are outraged by the unrepentant behavior of the “too big to fail” banks, please consider moving your money to a local, community bank.   These arrogant, “Walmarts of Banking” have continued to reward themselves with huge bonuses, expensive trips, parties, private jets and fancy offices at the expense of working people.   And, to add insult to injury, these banking shysters are spending millions of  tax dollars to lobby Congress, solely to prevent financial reform that might protect us from paying for their fraud and financial fiasco’s in the future.  


Forget about the politicans in Washington DC, they don’t really work for us and we don’t need them to make our position clear.   Americans can simply move their checking or savings accounts from the Wall Street “bailout” behemoths such as Citibank, Bank of America and Wachovia to their local, community bank or credit unions.  And, switching  banks is not a lot of trouble.  If you want to read over a checklist before you start, go to the website for tips and helpful information. 

Millions of taxpayers and outraged citizens have already moved their money.  They’ve had enough and they’re not taking it anymore.   The bonus… even though it surprised many people who made the change, the rewards for switching to a local bank are huge   All banks, large and small, now offer Debit and Credit cards, ATM’s and Online banking.    But, the big banks can not match small banks in terms of service.  Local banks offer lower fee’s, higher interest rates on deposits, personalized service focused on the local community and perhaps best of all, you can speak face to face with someone you know, who can make a decision for the bank.   What’s not to LOVE????

Crow Erickson, Inc., parent company of, puts our money where our mouth is.  We conduct all our business at a local, community bank and we hope every hard working American follows our lead.  Are you Tired of Feeling Helpless??   Do you Want Change Really???   You have the power, this time!  Move ALL Your Money from the Megabanks today.  Action is the only change Wall Street understands.

Mortgage Giant Cuts a Deal with Homeowners

Thursday, November 5, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced that it is willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments.

According to CNBC, Fannie Mae will give homeowners, who are in default on their loan, the option of renting the home and staying put for up to one year.  To be eligible, the homeowner must sign over the deed to the property.

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Housing Crash Robs Senior Citizens

Thursday, June 11, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

The worst housing market since the Great Depression is taking a huge toll on senior citizens in this country.  The crash in housing values, especially in retirement haven’s such as Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona, is robbing these long, hard working Americans of their retirement and adequate health care.

While most people believe that seniors have no mortgage on their homes, the reality is that hundreds of thousands of retiree’s owe money on their homes.  Even for those lucky enough to own their house outright, the unprecedented drop in home values means they have less equity to live on or exchange for a move to retirement housing or health care facilities.

  • According to the AARP, 25.5 million people over the age of 50 have a mortgage on their home.  More than 680,000 (which represents 30 percent of all distressed property) baby boomers are deliquent on their mortgage or are in the process of foreclosure. 
  • Many seniors have little saved, other than the equity in their homes.  36 percent of all retiree’s state that their savings and investment nest egg is less than $25,000, excluding home equity and benefit plans.
  • Seniors banked on rising home prices and leveraged their primary asset through equity loans and reverse mortgages.   Those that leveraged assets to afford retirement owe an average of $150,000 on their houses.
  • Retirement communities and long term care facilities are suffering from the housing market, too.  Seniors usually sell their homes to finance admission into senior housing facilities.   Dire market conditions often mean no sale at all, or one at substantially discounted prices.  Many people are left with no choice or options, forcing them to cancel plans to move to housing that fits their changing needs.

Although seniors and retiree’s are often overlooked in the news, the housing and stock market crash have taken a huge toll on their lives and well being.   Most have worked all their lives to build secure nest eggs for their golden years, only to discover that half a lifetime of work and savings vanished in the blink of an eye. 

Click Here to Read More from USA Today

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Stanford Kurland

Stanford Kurland

If you aren’t bothered by morals or ethics, it is so easy to make money.   If you don’t think so, just ask the executives who ran Countrywide Financial.   

Countrywide, in case you forgot, is one companies responsible for the financial crisis.  The huge, subprime lender, that was once a Wall Street darling, made billions of dollars by putting people into home loans that they knew the borrower could not afford, then resold these bad loans to unsuspecting investors. 

It seems that Stanford L. Kurland, former President of Countrywide, along with his ex-Countrywide team of executives, are back to making money in the lending and real estate business.  They opened a brand new company called PennyMac.   PennyMac is located in spacious headquarters, in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.  (Obviously, these smug operators don’t even feel the need to leave town…)

So you ask, what kind of business is Kurland and PennyMac into now??   Surely, they would never be allowed to profit from the slimy mess they helped create???    Wrong.  Their new business buy’s delinquent home mortgages for “pennies” on the dollar, that the US government took over from failed banks and lenders.  They are also busy snapping up foreclosures at cents on the dollar, and then reselling them for big profit.

In case you are wondering how well PennyMac and the old Countrywide team are doing… Mr. Kurland is happy to inform you that his new business is “off-the-charts good??”, as he leaned back in his leather executive chair, while the financial markets plummeted.

Are you mad?  We sure are.   I would love to give Kurland and his team a “A Penny of our thoughts!!!    If you have something to say, you can send an email to or call Toll-Free (866) 545-9070.

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InfoTube homes for sale

InfoTube homes for sale

With news of the financial crisis and the possible federal bailout of US lenders looming over our heads, it comes as no big surprise that August existing home sales were dismal.


In brief, the numbers provided by the National Association are as follows:

  • Existing home sales were down another 2.2 percent in August, bringing the drop to 9.7 percent compared to 2007 levels.
  • The average sales price of an existing home fell to $203,100 compared to $224,400 one year ago.
  • The inventory of existing homes on the market fell in August to a 10.4 month supply.   A slight uptrend from the 10.9 month supply on the market in July.

Falling inventory levels are a bit of good news among all the bad news.   But keep in mind that the slight dip in inventory is not due solely to a growing number of sales.  Cancelations, listing expirations and owners who chose to withdraw their property from the market until activity picks up, also decrease the total number of homes on the market.

The current 10.4 month supply means we are still in a buyers market.   An inventory of 5-6 months is usually a sign of a balanced market, with an equal number of buyers and sellers.

To read the report from the National Association of Realtors, click the link.

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