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Friday, August 15, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — August 15, 2008

Items of Interest:

Louise Story / NY Times:
Home Equity Frenzy Was a Bank Ad Come True -- “Live Richly.”

That catchy slogan, dreamed up by the Fallon Worldwide advertising agency, was pitched in 1999 to executives at Citicorp who were looking for a way to lure Americans to financial products like home equity loans. But some in the room did not like it. They worried the phrase would encourage people to live exorbitantly, says Stephen A. Cone, a top Citi marketer at the time.

Still, “Live Richly” won out. The advertising campaign, which cost some $1 billion from 2001 to 2006, urged people to lighten up about money and helped persuade hundreds of thousands of Citi customers to take out home equity loans — that is, to borrow against their homes. As one of the ads proclaimed: “There’s got to be at least $25,000 hidden in your house. We can help you find it.” ....

Equity vs. Debt
Home Equity: The Debt Trap----
related:
The Big Picture:
Home Equity Frenzy! -- Is it any surprise that the weakest post-recession economic recovery since WWII in terms of job creation and wage gains led to an enormous debt creation? People are loathe to give up their standard of living, and they will -- and did -- go deeply into debt to maintain their "lifestyles."

Paul Kedrosky / Infectious Greed:
Mortgage Marketers, Stupid Consumers and Jessica Rabbit -- To me, this [NY Times story] is another example of absolving consumers of responsibility. It's not my fault; it's those evil mortgage marketers who did it to me! I am tired of that sort of thing. I am tired of the line of argument that says consumers responded stupidly to what was happening in real estate markets, goaded, in large part, by evil mortgage finance companies. That argument is too convenient by half...
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Andy McCain, John McCain's son, sat on Troubled Bank's BoardWall Street Journal:
McCain's Son Sat on Troubled Bank's Board -- Sen. John McCain's son served until last month on the board audit committee of a Nevada bank that is struggling to survive amid mounting losses and regulatory scrutiny.

Andrew K. McCain, 46, was on the board of Silver State Bancorp for five months before he resigned on July 25 for unspecified "personal reasons," according to a news release issued by the bank at the time.

Andy McCain was on the board of Silver State Bancorp for just five months before he resigned on July 25 for 'personal reasons.'

A week after Mr. McCain's departure, the Henderson, Nev., company reported a loss of $62.7 million in the second quarter and said its capital -- the bank's cushion to absorb losses -- had eroded significantly. At the same time, Silver State announced the resignations of its chief executive and chairman...
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Realty Check:
Foreclosure Fixes: Why They Are Failing -- The voluntary programs to date have been doomed to failure for a couple of reasons. First, they were all voluntary, and didn’t provide lenders or loan servicers any “cover” that would allow them to get out of the contractual requirements they had in terms of foreclosure proceedings. Second, the huge pool of securitized loans really weren’t easy to do modifications or workouts on...
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Forbes / MSNBC:
The fastest dying cities in the United States -- Ohio tops the list with four communities in the top 10, Michigan is second

The turmoil of the mortgage market granted a temporary reprieve from hearing about the woes of America's Rust Belt. That doesn't mean things are better. Despite a decade of national prosperity, the former manufacturing backbone of the U.S. is in rougher shape than ever, still searching for some way to replace its long-stilled smokestacks.

Where's it worst? Ohio, according to our analysis, which racked up four of the 10 cities on our list: Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. The runner-up is Michigan, with two cities — Detroit and Flint — making the ranking...
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AP / MSNBC:
Trump to buy McMahon's home for him -- Developer says it ‘would be an honor’ to help out entertainer

Donald Trump will soon be Ed McMahon’s landlord.

Trump announced Thursday he would save the television personality’s Beverly Hills mansion from foreclosure by buying it for an undisclosed amount and leasing it to McMahon.

The developer told the Los Angeles Times he doesn’t know McMahon personally, but acted out of compassion because helping out “would be an honor.” ...
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