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: 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.

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.

Part 3 of 3 - This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 26, 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 had been in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. The Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream.

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.

A primer on the financial bailout

Sep 25, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 25, 2008 - To help make sense of the current economic crisis, the Beacon asked local experts in finance and investing for their answers to basic questions. The experts are: Stuart Greenbaum, former dean of the Washington University School of Business and now Bank of America emeritus professor of managerial leadership; Radhakrishnan Gopalan, assistant professor of finance at Washington University; Rick Hill of Hill Investment Group in Clayton; and Pamela Kuehling, a financial planner with Smith Barney. Here are their responses:

Part 2 of 3- This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 25, 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 had been in her family since it was built after World War II. How could this happen? The answer is ... complicated. The Beacon will unravel the story of how Maureen McKenzie of Kirkwood, Mo., lost her 900 square feet of the American Dream. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 24, 2008 - Milo Minderbinder was a believer in free markets. He was the mess officer in Joseph Heller's WW II classic, Catch-22, who bought eggs at 7 cents apiece in Malta, then sold them at Air Corps bases for 5 cents each and still managed to make a profit. In fact, Milo's black-market egg business was so profitable that it metastasized into a trans-national syndicate that traded in all manner of goods and services and dealt as readily with Axis forces as it did with the Allies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 22, 2008 - What's the prospect, or wisdom, of a giant, lumbering bank holding company merging with a giant, staggering investment banking company?

When it comes to Wachovia Corp. and Morgan Stanley, the answer is "no one knows," because the economic landscape continues to shift dramatically and often.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 18, 2008 - It is the surprising incident that gets you. The unseen car that nearly hits you when crossing the street. The bolt of lighting out of the blue. But while the surprising magnitude of the mortgage market collapse exacerbated problems for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mess wasn't completely unexpected.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 16, 2008 - Bailouts for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and American International Group. Bankruptcy for Lehman Brothers. The buyout of Merrill Lynch. The busted IndyMac Bancorp.

Given the continuing assault on the financial services industry, could Wachovia Corp. be the next domino to fall?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 9, 2008 - How will Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders be impacted?

Existing shareholders of Fannie and Freddie would lose out as the Treasury is unlikely to support the two firms to benefit the existing shareholders. The current proposal does not wipe out existing equity, but government will get paid before the shareholders see any money. So for these shareholders to make money on their investment, the housing market has to recover drastically.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 8, 2008 -  The slow St. Louis area housing market won't immediately get better -- or worse -- with the federal government's takeover of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but more loan money could eventually become available, say local analysts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 22, 2008 - What a difference a river can make for homeowners facing foreclosure.

For residents of Illinois, a judicial foreclosure state, the legal process can take nearly a year because it is administered through the courts. In Missouri, the process can take as few as 60 days because the majority of foreclosures are nonjudicial, completed without going to court but in accordance with state law and the terms of the mortgage.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 31, 2008 - A marathon foreclosure counseling session this weekend hosted by Better Family Life, a St. Louis nonprofit, is expected to serve several hundred distressed homeowners in 24 hours, said Maurice Washington, director of the agency's housing program.

And in a sad sign of the times, Washington noted that the event might qualify for a Guinness World Record as the first marathon counseling session of its type.

There's a scammer born every minute

Jul 25, 2008
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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - For American homeowners drowning in mortgage and consumer credit debt, here is a grim warning from law-enforcement agencies: There are sharks in the water.

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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 - When all else fails and foreclosure looms, bankruptcy attorneys say give them a chance

Which is worse: Foreclosure or bankruptcy?

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