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Friday, July 11, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — July 11, 2008

Items of Interest:

INDYMAC — The 2nd Largest Bank Failure In U.S. History

Reuters:
U.S. seizes IndyMac as troubles spread -- U.S. banking regulators swooped in to seize mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc on Friday after withdrawals by panicked depositors led to the third-largest banking failure in U.S. history.

California-based IndyMac, which specialized in a type of mortgage that often required minimal documents from borrowers, became the fifth U.S. bank to fail this year as a housing bust and credit crunch strain financial institutions.

The federal takeover of IndyMac capped a tumultuous day for U.S. markets that saw stocks slide on a surging oil price and renewed fears about the stability of the top two home financing providers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

IndyMac will reopen fully on Monday as IndyMac Federal Bank under Federal Deposit Insurance Corp supervision, but tensions ran high as customers at a branch at its Los Angeles-area headquarters read a notice in the window saying it was closed...

related:
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Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac on the Rocks

update:
Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2008:
Rescue Debate: Paulson Insists Fannie, Freddie Holders Lose -- As the crisis worsens for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is insisting that any potential government rescue plan not benefit the companies' shareholders, according to people familiar with the matter.

The two stockholder-owned, government-sponsored companies, whose operations are vital to the functioning of the U.S. housing market, faced a severe crisis of confidence after a week in which their stocks each lost nearly half their value. On Friday, Freddie Mac finished the day at $7.75 a share, and Fannie Mae at $10.25.

The discussions at Treasury highlight the dilemma created by the financial crisis gripping the U.S: Some institutions are considered too big to fail, but propping them up could erode the market's incentive to properly judge risk by offering investors a false sense of security...
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