Colonial’s failure could make mortgages more scarce, CNN Money


The collapse of Colonial BancGroup poses another hazard to the still-shaky housing market: Mortgages could become even harder to get.

The Southern regional bank, based in Montgomery, Ala., was the largest remaining player in warehouse lending, which provides short-term financing to independent mortgage bankers. At one time, these mortgage bankers originated half of all U.S. home loans using these funds.

Today, the warehouse lending market is decimated. In 2007 it was worth an estimated $200 billion; now there is just $25 billion available — 25% of which belongs to Colonial. With Colonial’s failure, those funds could become even more scarce.

“It’s like if they shut down half the concession stands at the baseball game,” said Scott Stern, CEO of the Lenders One mortgage bankers group in St. Louis. “It means the guy who’s last in line is going to have to wait a lot longer to get a hot dog, and in this market who knows what the price is going to be when he gets there?”

The money began drying up when investors started shunning mortgages not guaranteed by government-backed agencies such as Fannie Mae. These loans, made by the independent mortgage bankers, had become closely associated with the worst excesses of the housing bubble.

Among the biggest players in the market were Countrywide, rescued last year by Bank of America, and Washington Mutual, which collapsed last September. This year, two other prominent lenders had to unwind their warehouse business: National City, the troubled Cleveland bank acquired last fall by PNC; and Guaranty Bank, the Texas thrift that warned last month that it expects to be taken over by regulators.

To be sure, everyone isn’t fleeing the market. ResCap, a troubled home lender owned by the government-supported GMAC finance company, said earlier this year that it would expand its warehouse lending business. Citi said this month it expects to put $2 billion into warehouse lines this year.

But with small banks failing and pulling back and many larger players, such as JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, not aggressively pursuing new business, few expect the new entries to reopen the market.

Thus the industry is lobbying Washington to give government-backed Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae a bigger role in warehouse lending.

But with those entities already backing some 90% of current U.S. mortgage originations — and taxpayers on the hook for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars of losses at Fannie and Freddie — that idea is proving a hard sell.

Still, mortgage bankers are hoping the latest tremors in the banking industry will make Washington more receptive.

“We’re trying to show people how important this is, but I’m not sure the urgency is there,” said Glen Corso, a longtime mortgage industry executive who now heads the Warehouse Lending Project that’s advocating an expanded federal role. “We’d like to see a private solution, obviously, but failing that we need to get something in place to keep financing flowing.”

New Web Site: OregonRealEstateWanted.com


I am excited to let you know that I have created and released a new web site. OregonRealEstateWanted.com (http://www.oregonrealestatewanted.com/) The ORW web site will be advertising the buyers I am working with to the public much like Stewart Group would advertise a real estate listing. My hope is to develop the most opportunities possible for my buyers.

If you have friends or family looking for real estate and they want their needs exposed to the widest audience possible….let them know about the OregonRealEstateWanted.com web site. Brokers, feel free to use the site as one of your many tools. Review the site from time to time and see if any of the buyers listed there are looking for YOUR listing.

Buyers, that seek to have their ads placed on the OregonRealEstateWanted.com web site should contact Fred Stewart, Broker Stewart Group Realty Inc.

Fred Stewart
President/Broker
Stewart Group Realty Inc.
503-289-4970 Cell
503-296-2336 Fax
info@sgrealty.us
http://www.sgrealty.us

Important New Regulations Affecting Closing Dates!


From the Desk of Phil Querin, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLC, PMAR/OREF Legal Counsel

Although the initial annual percentage rate (APR) on a residential loan is disclosed in the Good Faith Estimate early in the purchase transaction, it can change before closing. Under the new rules enacted in the Truth in Lending Act, effective on July 30, 2009 (last Thursday), if the actual (i.e. the final) APR varies from that initially disclosed on the Good Faith Estimate by at least .125%, then there is a mandatory additional three (3) business day waiting period before the transaction can close. So if the final APR isn’t disclosed until late in the transaction, it could potentially force the three (3) business day period to extend beyond the closing date set forth in the Sale Agreement.

As you know, the Oregon Real Estate Forms (OREF) closing date is written in stone – there are no automatic extensions – so if it appears that the APR could be held up or there is any indication that the APR will change at closing, brokers would be well-advised to get seller and buyer to agree in advance to a written extension as a contingency if the final APR causes the three (3) business day period to extend beyond the scheduled closing date. OREF will be meeting shortly to consider some additional language for the new sale agreement form, although it won’t actually get printed and distributed until early next year. In the meantime, I have recommended to my clients that they may wish to consider adding an addendum to their sale agreements with language such as the following: ” In the event that Buyer’s final Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”) differs from the APR initially disclosed to the Buyer in the Good Faith Estimate by .125% or more, the Closing Deadline defined in the Real Estate Sale Agreement shall automatically be extended for three (3) additional business days in accordance with Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act ,as amended on July 30, 2008.”

This, of course, is subject to the review of the companies’ principal broker and legal counsel.