Unstructured Finance

UF Weekend Reads

By Sam Forgione

This week’s Weekend Reads may drive you back to the big news of the week: The Debates.

Just as the candidates’ tone and tenor seemed to drive judgments as to who won and lost, some stories were written about sparring between politicians and bankers, billionaires on whether a bankrupt Mexican company should be let off the hook, the banks and the foreclosed-upon, and the more milder subject of volatility investing. In the case of the Foreign Policy and DealBook links, the attitudes of the parties involved seem more important than their logic. And a winner and a loser probably won’t come to you. At least here, unlike in the voting booths, you can stay undecided.

 

From Foreign Policy:

Mohamed El-Erian writes that politicians and bankers should stop putting each other down and start averting the next crisis.

From DealBook:

Two highflying investors bump heads over a soured credit investment, Azam Ahmed writes.

From ProPublica:

The “Independent Foreclosure Review” may bear some fingerprints of a big bank, Paul Kiel writes.

And the winner is….

By Matthew Goldstein

Four months ago, the regulator for Fannie Mae announced with much fanfare that it would accept bids for 2,500 single-family homes owned by Fannie Mae. The process has drawn a lot of interest from hedge funds, private equity firms and other big money players, but it’s been a slow one.

However, it appears the Federal Housing Finance Agency has finally come up with a date for qualified bidders to submit bids for the deal. And that date is, (drum roll) June 7, say people familiar with the situation.

There’s been a lot of speculation about which firms will bid for these Fannie-owned homes. My incredibly well-sourced colleague Jenn Ablan and I have been on this from the start and will endeavor to find out as quickly as possible the names of some of the biggest players entering the market for foreclosed homes. Stay tuned.

Wall Street gold rush in foreclosed homes heads north

By Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan

The state of Alaska is looking to cash in on the growing demand for renting out foreclosed single-family homes.

A spokeswoman for the $40 billion Alaska Permanent Fund recently approved a $400 million investment with a California-based company that specializes in buying foreclosed homes and renting them out. Laura Achee said the fund is still negotiating the terms of the deal with American Homes 4 Rent LLC.

The Alaska fund, which is managed by a state-owned corporation, is believed to be one of the first public investment arms to sink money into the market for foreclosed homes.

It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again in the Las Vegas real estate market

Nordstrom Fail: One sign of Las Vegas' hard times is this failed Nordstrom store and accompanying shopping center that never advanced beyond the skeletal stage.

By Jennifer Ablan

Las Vegas had become the poster child of what many had pegged as the biggest casino during the real-estate boom, all which was engineered by cheap credit and a yearning for owning a piece of the American dream.

The economic toll of the financial crisis swept through towns and communities in terms of home foreclosures, devastated neighborhoods and half-built shopping centers and office complexes.

At the intersection of Wall and Main

By Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein

Whether you agree with it or not, the Occupy Wall Street protests that began two months ago in New York have ignited a debate over income inequality and the political clout of the nation’s banks.

Before the protesters began camping out in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, much of the conversation had  focused on the federal government’s debt and not the equally big debt run-up by U.S. consumers in the years before the financial crisis. Now it seems you can’t go a day without reading a story about the vast gulf between rich and poor and the shrinking middle class, or how the housing crisis won’t get fixed until something is done to alleviate the burden for millions of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages.

Last month a group of graduate journalism students from Columbia University spent some time at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti where they did in-depth interviews with over 200 protesters. (This was before New York City moved to forbid people from sleeping out in the concrete plaza). And the students findings were surprising in that the OWS protesters weren’t just a bunch of unemployed hippies, who all vote Democratic. Rather, they found that the majority of protesters didn’t identify with either political party, 56 percent didn’t have private health insurance and just under 40 percent gave President Obame a grade of C for managing the economy.

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