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Congress Screams Bloody Murder About HAMP Program



Barney FrankLast week, the Obama administration sends “swat teams” into mortgage servicers’ offices to investigate the problem of loans under the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (a $75 billion taxpayer-financed program put in place to curb foreclosure rates) as servicers are blamed for frequently losing paperwork, missing details and failing to complete applications.

With mortgage delinquencies rising, 375,000 borrowers are eligible for permanent loan modifications by the end of December and the Administration wants to make sure the banks make good on granting these modifications. Proof of reluctance to move past trial offer periods is that only 1,711 permanent mortgage modifications had been offered by September.

Today, the House Finance Committee Meeting was filled with raised voices toward the administration that their efforts are subpar. According to, Chairman Rep. Barney Frank said, “we are terribly frustrated,” which was met with agreement by others on the committee. “Why can’t we do so something? I am frustrated,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said.

Is it ironic that Frank is leading the screams of bloody murder given his role in the mortgage bloodbath, or is it is he nobly leading the charge to hold the administration, lenders and others accountable and get to the bottom of this mess to help out stranded homeowners?

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  1. Matt Stigliano

    December 9, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Lani – Here’ what I love about Barney: he’s passionate and a bit of a hot head. Here’s what I hate about Barney: he’s a bit of a hot head and passionate.

    I think now that banks are paying back TARP funds they feel they don’t have to deal with HAMP with as much seriousness. They got what they needed to stay alive what’s in it for them now?

  2. Benn Rosales

    December 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’d love to put congress in the hot seat, how about congress go before the american public an explain fannie and freddie, how about barney explain that fiasco. He and congress wont, but they will scream at everyone else- to funny.

  3. linda calvecchio

    March 9, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Can someone please tell me what to do was in trial period for over a year and a half then they sold the loan right out from under me now new company has me at 30,000.00 behind in mortgage payment and threating forclousure. I never missed or was late one time. I thought a loan modification wa a good thing for people to lower their mortgage payments buit this is a disgrace. Citi mortgage has done this to millions of people and it has to stop. They have played with peoples lives credit and homes along with all the stress they have put is through. There needs to be reprucussions here. I can not and will not allow them to take my home. I worked way to hard for it.

    • Lani Rosales

      March 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Linda, your situation would be expedited by speaking with an independent loan expert as each modification is unique. Maybe even just a phone call with a mortgage broker would set you on the right path?

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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