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Obama and Bankers Meet Today, Bankers Give Good Lip Service



Meeting at the White House

richard davisAfter a 60 Minutes interview with President Obama in which he referred to bankers as “fat cats” that he would take to task in his scheduled meeting at the White House today, three bankers skipped out on the affair. The point of the meeting was for the Administration to remind the banking industry that they were given an exorbitant amount of money to save their tails during the bailout and Obama said of the banks, “now that they’re back on their feet, we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to rebuild our economy” (full text of his speech is here).

Obama called for banks to make more small business loans and that he’s tired of potential employers not getting the help they need, “I’m getting too many letters from small businesses who explain that they are credit worthy.”

News outlets buzzed after the big meeting and bankers on several shows said that there was little disagreement in the meeting. Then they all went out for ice cream together. Well, they didn’t do that last part, but they did publicly state on the circuit that it was a productive meeting. But read until the end of this post and you’ll get a good chuckle like I did.

Why this all matters

The real estate industry and unemployment are closely tied together, that cannot be denied. What scares me about this and what everyone seems to have missed was a PBS interview this evening where mouthpiece Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bancorp (USB) was asked when these small business loans might begin and his response was:

“When the recovery starts to happen. So you’ll see, whatever actions we can take, whoever is qualified, we’ll do our level best to qualify them. If we can help guide them to become more qualified we will do that. But until and unless the recovery starts to occur and we start to see some momentum where there’s a real future attached to some of these great plans that small businesses have, it will take some time.”

Umm WHAT!?!? So, let me get this straight- you have a meeting in a fancy room in the White House, you have a productive day, you tell news outlets that sunshiney days are coming again but when asked WHEN the sun would shine, your answer was the equivalent of saying that you can’t help recovery until the recovery is already firmly in place? That is NOT what the President asked of you, he asked you to kick start the economy because you owe it to America and instead you give lip service to the media and make no plans on doing anything until the economy fixes itself.

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  1. BawldGuy

    December 15, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Classic is as classic does. You’d think they could afford better writers at this point.

  2. Benn Rosales

    December 15, 2009 at 1:14 am

    December 2009 D-bag awarded to Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bancorp (USB)

  3. John Wake

    December 15, 2009 at 1:29 am

    If Obama wanted the furniture, he should have put that in the offer.

  4. Missy Caulk

    December 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

    More smoke and mirrors….

  5. Mike

    December 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    In most cases, the banks were not “given” the money. They have to pay it back. Most are. By the Presidents own admission, the taxpayers will “make” money on the short term loans. We will most certainly lose on AIG and GM, but gain on many of the others. Also, do we want tighter lending criteria, or not? Many of these home buyers and small businesses were credit worthy by the old standards, but are not now. FHA may soon require a 5% DP, and on November 11th on CNBC, Realogy CEO and Preident Richard Smith recomended 10%. That’s too high IMHO, but we do need to get back to buyers having some immediate skin in the game.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 15, 2009 at 6:25 pm

      To most first home buyers I’ve ever worked with, 1,2,3% is skin, 10% is life – to most, just making that payment is skin. heh

  6. Mike

    December 16, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Having to make a payment is not “skin”, it’s servicing your loan. Skin is a down payment. If a payment was “skin”, then why are so many defaulting? I think 5% is doable. If a buyer can’t save 5%, then I question their money management skills, and the home was not really much of a priority unless they could get in witrh little down payment. Lower lending standards is what got us to this point, let us not repeat history.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm

      Apparently, sarcasm is lost on you. Carry on..

  7. Portland Condo Auctions

    December 16, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Thats what I heard from him too. That they are not going to help until they are assured that its in their best interest. It does not matter that the taxpayers bailed them out, they are still only looking out for themselves and they do not feel that they owe a debt back to us.


    • Lani Rosales

      December 16, 2009 at 6:07 pm

      Fine, don’t feel an obligation and FINE, don’t give a crap about anyone outside of your ivory tower but for the love of gravy, don’t go on a press tour talking about how you and Obama are sittin’ in a tree and how Obama is so wonderful and you’re taking his advice to focus on small business loans, then quietly sneak off to PBS and say that you don’t care to be the solution you promised the President and America you would be and cause change, rather you’ll wait for change to come around and you’ll be the effect. LAME.

  8. Bob Wilson

    December 16, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I wish I could have been there, or at least outside, where I could have handed to every reporter and news agency a flyer showing how the Feds via the FDIC are giving these very same banks what amounts to a premium to take over the paper of failed banks, and the guarantees that incentivize them to foreclose instead of negotiate a short sale.

    The Feds are still paying the banks. We will not make a net profit on TARP at the end of the day.

  9. Jeff

    December 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    The question remains, if Bank Of America will hold true to it’s commitment to increasing lending in the coming year up to $5 billion dollars. While it won’t do much. it is still something, and other large banks should follow suit.

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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