Thursday, June 25, 2009

Required Reading: Thursday, June 25th 2009

Appraisals – Calculated Risk

Much is being written about the complaints of the NAR (Realtors) and the NAHB (Builders) concerning the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. And the response from the Appraisal Institute….

Report: Record Credit Card Charge-offs – Calculated Risk

Not Paying the Mortgage, Yet Stuck With the Keys – The Washington Post

Foreclosure Backlog Imperils Recovery

A growing number of American homeowners are falling into financial limbo: They're badly behind on payments, but their banks have not yet foreclosed.

The backlog of seriously delinquent mortgages, which so far affects about 1 million borrowers, is a shadow over hopes for a rebound in the nation's housing markets. It masks the full extent of the foreclosure crisis and threatens to depress prices even further just as some parts of the country are hinting at recovery. For lenders, it could portend even more financial losses tied to the mortgage meltdown…

California: 8 Days Away From Issuing IOUs – Clusterstock

Well, it doesn't look as though a bailout for California is forthcoming, at least not in the next week, so California will have to go it alone and deal with its own mess.

The first step:

Issuing IOUs.

Long Term Buy And Hold Is Still Bad Advice – Mish

In spite of what you hear from main stream media and self-serving advice from Wall Street, an investment philosophy of long term buy and hold is not what it's cracked up to be.
Unfortunately, many boomers headed into retirement are finding that out now, at the worst possible time. Moreover, looking ahead, I doubt the next decade is not going to be much better than the last.

JPMorgan Charges 5% on Credit-Card Balance Transfers – MIsh

The days of routinely using one credit card to pay off a balance on another have come to a close. JPMorgan is leading the way with the highest transfer fees of any of the major card companies.

Obama To Hold Job Performance Review With Every American Worker – The Onion

Obama To Hold Job Performance Review With Every American Worker

WSJ Real Time Economics: Housing Bubble and Consumer Spending – Calculated Risk

Initial Unemployment Claims Increase – Calculated Risk


Bernanke says he didn't bully BofA to buy Merrill – The Associated Press

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress today he didn't pressure Bank of America into acquiring Merrill Lynch in a deal that ultimately cost taxpayers $20 billion.

Bernanke told a House committee investigating the matter that he did not threaten action against Bank of America's CEO Kenneth Lewis or the bank's board members if they decided to abandon the takeover.

California forecast sees 200,000 more lost jobs – The Sacramento Bee

California, which has lost 800,000 jobs in this recession, will lose 200,000 more before it ends late this year, University of the Pacific forecasters said Wednesday in Stockton.

The university’s Business Forecasting Center predicted California unemployment will peak at 12.3 percent in early 2010 and remain in double digits through the end of 2011.

Officials singled out the Central Valley for an especially hard knock from tax hikes and massive expected state and local government budget cuts.

"The state budget crisis is a dangerous aftershock to a region still reeling from the foreclosure earthquake," said forecasting center director Jeff Michael.

Warren Buffett to CNBC: U.S. Economy In "Shambles" .. No Signs of Recovery Yet – CNBC

Financial Crisis: The Complete Timeline – Clusterstock

Bernanke Was Right To Threaten Ken Lewis, Here's Why – Clusterstock

The thing is, there's no other threat to be made. They can't credibly claim they're going to deny BofA an 11th hour, Sunday-evening bailout, if they need one, since Bank of America is too big to fail. The only credible threat is that they'll sack management, and they hope that management has enough skin in the game such that they care.

The problem comes back to banks being of such a size that they're too big to fail. When they get that large, there's just no way to credibly deny them a bailout. Even if Ken Lewis wanted to play total tough guy and go down with the boat, the Fed would've been forced to intervene.

Dr. Seuss On The Economy – Mish

As amazing as this might seem, inquiring minds are reading Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose to see what advice Dr. Seuss might have for President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and Congress about the economy.

Three Real Risks to the Future of the Banks – MInyanville, Minyan Peter

While I expect many analysts will offer that the second quarter is just the beginning of the earnings recovery for banks and brokerages, let me offer 3 counter-risks:…

To Bernanke or Not to Bernanke – Minyanville, Andrew Jeffrey

…Ultimately, President Obama must decide not just whether Bernanke is the right man for the job, but whether replacing him is worth the economic -- not to mention political -- cost. According to Bloomberg, the last 4 US presidents all retained the Fed chairmen from their first terms through their second. Bernanke's 2 most likely replacements, should he not be reappointed (current White House economic advisor Larry Summers and San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank president Janet Yellen) are undoubtedly well aware of this disheartening fact.

The end of Bernanke's term might seem like it's just around the corner. But if we've learned anything from this crisis, it's that 6 months is more than enough time for the world to change in a big way.