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Friday, March 14, 2008

Housing/Subprime Roundup — March 14, 2008

Items of interest:

Bear Stearns on the brink of collapseWall Street Journal:
Fed Races to Rescue Bear Stearns In Bid to Steady Financial System -- Credit turmoil spread to the heart of the U.S. financial system as Bear Stearns Cos., an 85-year-old institution that has survived the Depression and two world wars, sought and received emergency funding backed by the federal government. [...]

At about 5 a.m. Friday, regulators including New York Fed Chief Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Treasury under secretary domestic finance, Robert Steel, convened by conference call. At the end of the call at 7 a.m., the Fed had decided it would offer the loan. [...]

Bernanke outlines mortgage help plan - Fed chief says central bank 'strongly committed' to easing mortgage crisis.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke outlined the central bank's proposal Friday to stem the subprime meltdown.

In a speech at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition's annual meeting, Bernanke said that the Fed is working to curb unfair lending practices to protect borrowers of adjustable rate mortgages.

"The Federal Reserve is strongly committed to fully employing our authority, expertise, and resources to help alleviate [borrowers'] distress," Bernanke said in written remarks.

Bernanke outlined four responses the Fed is proposing to alleviate the crisis:
  1. Prohibiting lenders from issuing loans that borrowers cannot repay.
  2. Make lenders verify the income and assets of the borrower.
  3. Require escrow accounts for higher-priced loans.
  4. Ban repayment penalties including "loan-flipping."

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia