Property Grunt

Monday, April 02, 2007

Roll Call: The open up a can of whoop ass edition

Well, Trump won at Wrestlemania 23.

Of course Stone Cold Steve Austin demanded payment for Trump giving Vince that haircut. I am sure Rosie was creaming in her jeans when she saw that.

This morning Roseanne Colletti did a segment on the how the mortgage/foreclosure crisis was affecting Mahattan. It pretty much covers the same ground as the New York Times article. What I found interesting was when Roseanne Colletti mentioned Bear Stearns had formed a strike force to deal with the foreclosure crisis by reaching out to owners of distressed properties and helping them hold onto their homes.

Here's the rundown from Bloomberg.

EMC Mortgage Corp., the Bear Stearns subsidiary that specializes in buying and servicing troubled mortgages, formed the 50-member squad to meet with homeowners having difficulty making their payments, the New York-based securities firm said in a statement today.

Defaults on U.S. subprime mortgages -- loans made to borrowers with poor credit ratings or high debt burdens -- rose to a four-year high in the fourth quarter. Mortgage servicing companies are trying to arrange alternative payment plans to minimize foreclosures and losses to investors who buy bonds backed by the loans, Standard & Poor's said last month.

EMC's loan-modification team, dubbed the ``Mod Squad,'' will hold workshops in cities with the highest number of at-risk borrowers to educate them about their choices and explore restructuring of their loans, Bear Stearns said. The team will start a six-city tour in Dallas on May 4.

This is actually a brilliant move on Bear Stearns part. Image wise, it presents them as a company that is taking action in ensuring the well being of the people who are taking the brunt of this foreclosure tsunami. It also sends a message to their peers that everyone needs to knuckle down and do their part to prevent any worsening of the situation.

More importantly these workshops also serve as a preemptive strike in dealing with the upcoming storm of foreclosures.

Wall Street banks don't want to foreclose on properties because we're not in the real-estate business,'' Tom Marano, head of Bear Stearns's mortgage business, said in an interview. ``What EMC is trying to do is modify people's loan payments if they are delinquent but want to stay in their house.''

The last thing this industry wants is to play landlord. As financial institutions, they do not have the infrastructure to properly maintain and sell these properties. It would require them to outsource it to specialist like brokers and property managers, costing them time and money. By helping these people hold onto their homes, they are placing the capital outlays onto another party.

However there appears to be a contrast with the approach that Bear Stearns is taking in dealing with foreclosures and their perspective on the sub prime crisis. If you type in Bear Stearns and sub prime in Yahoo news. You get this list of articles.

According to one of the articles, Bear Stearns takes the position that the sub prime crisis will not spread.

Trivia: Did you know that Bear Stearns played a key role in bringing the WWE public?

And what is probably a real big surprise to absolutely no one is that New Century Financial Corp, one of the biggest sub prime lenders has declared bankruptcy.