Sunday, February 27, 2011

Program Helps Unemployed Get Help With Mortgage Payments

BIRMINGHAM,AL (WIAT) --- Like many other americans, Brenda Anderson has been unemployed since May 2009, and much like the others, she's gotten behind on mortgage payments.

"It worries me that perhaps I have to leave my home, and where would I set up residence? So that is a major concern for me. Where would I live?"

But a new program may be the answer she was looking for. Hardest Hit Alabama will provide 162 million dollars to families across the state to help with mortgage payments for one year. Something Anderson says gives her hope.

"When you're juggling a minimum of $255 a week, you have your car, you have your insurances, you have your household expenses, that's very difficult to do and you're not able to do it on that income, so it would help me to be able to pay my bills," she adds.

To qualify, you must be unemployed, receiving unemployment compensation, and your home cannot be more than 250 thousand in value.

For those who are applying, this local program is a life saver.

"They want to stay in their homes, they have families, or in Brenda's case- she's single but she's been in her home for 10 years and they want to maintain a certain style of living but without employment, they cant. So this Hardest Hit Alabama program takes that pressure off of them for at least 12 months," says housing counselor Joe Clark.

Each family who qualifies will receive 15 thousand dollars.

In total, they're hoping to benefit approximately 13 thousand families.

The program is first come first serve- you can contact your local neighborhood housing authority to see if you qualify.

Big banks warn of fines in mortgage investigations

Three of the nation's biggest banks warned investors Friday that federal and state investigations into their mortgage businesses could lead to severe financial penalties.
The New York Times reported that Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup made disclosures in their U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings that indicated any settlement with the government could be expensive.
Many state attorneys general, including in Ohio, have looked into the banks mortgage practices and federal regulators also have investigations ongoing.
Along with potentially costing the banks financial penalties, the investigations also could damage the banks' reputations, according to Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC) filing.
It was not clear if the investigations could have an impact on other banks with mortgage operations other than those three. MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) and PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC) have large loan operations in the Dayton region with hundreds of employees each. The largest bank in the Dayton region is Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB), along with Huntington Bancshares (Nasdaq: HBAN) and KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY).
BofA is the nation's largest bank. In terms of assets, Bank of America held $2.27 trillion in assets at the end of last year, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) had $2.12 trillion in assets at year-end, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) had $1.91 trillion and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) had $1.26 trillion.
Bank of America has three home loan branches in the Dayton region, and Wells Fargo has three securities branches, three mortgage offices, a loan processing center and four companies in its financial network in the Dayton region.


30-year mortgage rates again below 5 percent

Freddie Mac reported that the average rate on the 30-year loan slipped to 4.95 percent from 5 percent. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed home loan fell to 4.22 percent from 4.27 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.80 percent from 3.87 percent. The five-year rate hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.
The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate home loans edged up to 3.40 percent from 3.39 percent.
Turmoil in Libya has raised oil prices and spurred speculation that an economic recovery may slow. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes, which are benchmarks for some consumer loans, fell to a three-week low. The decline has pushed mortgage rates down from a 10-month high, making home buying more affordable as demand begins to increase.
In times of trouble, money runs to places where it can be parked safely, like Treasuries," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH Associates, a publisher of consumer-loan data in Pompton Plains, N.J. "Mortgage rates tend to follow that."
Purchases of new homes plunged 13 percent last month, the Commerce Department reported. The drop reflected declines in the West and South that indicate a California tax credit and bad weather may have played a role.
Applications for mortgages climbed last week from a two-year low as falling rates helped boost refinancing. The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of loan applications increased 13 percent in the week ended Feb. 18. The group's refinancing gauge increased 18 percent, while its measure of purchase applications climbed 5.1 percent.
Sales of previously owned homes edged up in January, but remained at a weak pace, the National Association of Realtors said.
Foreclosures continue to depress the market and weigh on prices. They represented 37 percent of all previously owned home sales in January, and all-cash buyers made up nearly a third of those sales, according to the NAR. First-time home buyers, who traditionally make up 40 percent of the market, represented only 29 percent of all sales.