Mortgage crisis | St. Louis Public Radio

Mortgage crisis

 This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - The collapse of some of the nation's oldest financial institutions started on Main Street America with hundreds and thousands of homeowners such as 56-year-old Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood who in May lost to foreclosure the small ranch house that hadbeen in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. Over the next three days, the Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream. Part 1

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 - The beleaguered banking giant Wachovia Corp. cut its dividend to near invisibility Tuesday as it posted a record second-quarter loss and said it would fire 6,350 workers. It also will eliminate 4,400 open positions and contractors. However, thanks in part to its acquisition of A.G. Edwards last year, one of the bright spots in Wachovia's financial picture was its brokerage business.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2010 - At least 20,000 Missourians who lost their homes in foreclosure by one of the nation's five largest mortgage providers could be eligible for payments of up to $2,000 apiece as partial restitution if their cases were mishandled.

And tens of thousands of other homeowners may qualify for reductions in their mortgage payments.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 23, 2008 - U.S. foreclosures keep coming - and for many, it's the second time around

As 2008 ends, St. Louis housing counselor Eric Madkins, who counsels troubled borrowers facing foreclosure, says his phone is still ringing, and he's seeing firsthand evidence of a troubling trend: homeowners in trouble for a second time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 25, 2008 - The real effect of Tuesday's announcement that the Federal Reserve would buy up to $600 billion in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities is not yet clear for troubled homeowners facing foreclosure, say two local nonprofit housing counselors.

"It could be a breakthrough for homeowners. Right now, loans residing in investor-owned securities are very difficult to modify; servicers are hamstrung by the regulations governing each bundle. If the Fed buys entire trunks of loans, it would have the power to change these stipulations, and that would finally allow for individual modifications," said Karen Wallensak of Catholic Charities.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 21, 2008 - There are no heroes to be found in today's economic crisis, and it won't be over any time soon, says St. Louis economist Murray Weidenbaum.

"I've been saying for some time that this is going to be a long, deep recession; we're not going to come quickly out of it. I hope that some time next year we'll be hitting bottom and the economy will start turning up -- but not dramatically,'' Weidenbaum told the Beacon on Thursday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 20, 2008 - Writing satire in this country is getting to be challenging as the Republican National Committee audits the contents of Sarah Palin's underwear drawer. Or the Bush administration - neo-conservatives who swept into office promising the usual bromides of limited government and fiscal responsibility - saves us from the perils of socialism by urging the Treasury Department to purchase the banking industry.

Commentary: When is a bailout counterproductive?

Nov 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 18, 2008 - In the past few months, the government has intervened in the market at an unprecedented level, putting cash into financial service firms by direct loans or purchase of their preferred stock. And more is promised.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 12, 2008 - On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson  announced that the government has changed how it will spend the $700 billion emergency economic "bailout" fund approved by Congress on Oct. 3. Instead of buying so-called toxic mortgages, it is now considering helping consumer credit markets. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 27, 2008 - Late on a Wednesday morning, Andrew Long wakes to a quiet home.

Everyone's gone. Tammy Long, his wife, left for work hours ago, driving his daughter, Nikki, 16, and her son, Tim, 15, to school on the way. Lucky, the three legged dog, and Ellie Mae, the pregnant Doberman, wait for his attention. The cats skulk about.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 24, 2008 - Things will get worse before they get better. That was the consensus of experts gathered at a forum on the economic crisis Friday. But, they said, St. Louis and Missouri will likely feel a less severe impact than places like California and Florida.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 20, 2008 - Former President Bill Clinton told an overflow crowd at Kirkwood High School on Monday night that Barack Obama offered the best hope of fixing the financial crisis that “has got everybody’s attention.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 12, 2008 - A ubiquitous term in the news about financial crisis is "credit default swap." The subtle mysteries of the mechanism seem to confound commentators and the general public alike. Apparently, they remain a mystery even to some of the practitioners, particularly senior decision-makers at several affected companies. To delve into their meaning and effect, it is helpful to understand them as a substitute for a variety of the age-old institution of insurance.

Editor's weekly: Confronting our fears

Oct 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - We all know that even the most unexpected crises – from 9/11 to last spring’s flood – usually follow a somewhat predictable path. Disaster strikes. Experts analyze the causes and consequences. Leaders take predictable sides and argue over remedies. Through intervention or time, the crisis passes.

Not this time. What scares me most about the current economic crisis is that everything and everyone seem off script.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - Three alarming facts about failing home loans are worrying Karen Wallensak of Catholic Charities who works with troubled homeowners on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 8, 2008 - A $300 billion homeowner rescue plan proposed by Sen. John McCain during Tuesday's presidential debate could be a "nonstarter'' because of the complexity of pooled mortgages, says Chris Krehmeyer, executive director of Beyond Housing, one of five nonprofit agencies that make up the St. Louis Alliance for Homeownership Preservation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 8, 2008 - Paula A. Kerger, president and chief executive of PBS, the parent network of KETC, spent two days this week helping the station celebrate its 10th anniversary in its building in the Grand Center area. She's a veteran of public broadcasting, having spent 10 years in executive positions with Educational Broadcasting Corp. (EBC), the parent company of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 2, 2008 - Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, told Beacon reporters before the vice presidential debate Thursday night that he will vote no Friday when the revised financial bailout plan reaches the House. 

Clay said he opposes the measure because of both its increased price, over $800 billion, and its top-down approach. Clay said it would have been better to help homeowners having trouble paying their mortgages.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 29, 2008 - Monday's deal between Wachovia Corp. and Citigroup may provide temporary relief but could also cause uncertainty for Wachovia's St. Louis-based brokerage business.

The relief comes from Citigroup's willingness to buy the albatross of bad mortgages -- as well as the coveted retail banking business -- from Wachovia, essentially leaving the brokerage and asset management units as the "new" Wachovia.

Commentary: Financial bailout: Words of caution

Sep 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 26, 2008 - At this stage it is imprudent to speculate on the intricate details that the government’s bailout plan will include. There are, however, several broader issues to consider as the plan takes shape.

First, the rescue plan should not be used as an opportunity to extend the role of government in other areas of the economy.

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