Wednesday the NYSE surged above 10,000 again and stayed there. Happy days are here again. The Recession's back has been broken. We are on the path to recovery.
Well, aren't we?
Banking -- Ur Not Doing It Rite
Meanwhile on Wednesday I was listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation and they were talking about the problems with the programs and efforts to get mortgages redone to prevent foreclosures. In many cases, the few mortgages that are being rewritten end up with $50/month savings -- rather than the $500-$1000/month needed for relief. Then in some cases the penalties built up from before the rewriting get folded back into the mortgage, resulting in a monthly payment more than it was before. Some re-fi, eh?
Worse, a lot of banks seemed to have hired the paperwork gurus from the health insurance industry, since besides saying "NO" right off the bat, they seem to be unable to hold onto any paperwork. People are reporting having to resend the same information an obscene number of times -- and even the successful rewritten mortgages seem to take up to two-and-a-half years to process. One real estate person in Florida said that in his area the banks were more willing to lose $400,000 of a house's value in a short sale, than lose $200,000 in a rewritten mortgage. It's all part and parcel of the short-term gain mentality which has been steadily ruining this country since the 1980s or so. Worse, it's not all stemming from people with no income getting outrageous homes or people buying McMansions -- there's quite a pool of people who would've qualified for a perfectly ordinary and reasonable mortgage they could've afforded but were steered into or sold with some other mortgage product which came equipped with land mines and balloon payments. Caveat emptor on one hand? Or malfeasance and greed on the other?
If the Fed's interest rate to banks is essentially zero, why are there mortgages charging rates like bad credit cards? None of this financial mess would pass muster in any freshmen Economics class!
In Ohio it was mentioned that this one reporter couldn't confirm that National City (now part of PNC out of Pittsburgh) had been able to rewrite any mortgages. One caller to the program said that a judge had ruled against Wells Fargo and Deutchebank for what sounded like hiding behind a shell game of who owns and who controls the mortgage. So much for Federal programs to provide relief -- as it was six months ago, the people most likely to get help are those who contact either someone in government or a reporter, and get a response from a bank that doesn't want to look bad? Yikes.
Thursday, Goldman Sachs was flying high on massive profit reports -- and the news that they wanted to pay millions in bonuses. Other good financial news? Citi lost less than expected. O happy day.
Uh, Never Mind
Today's stock market? Well, let's say that Bank of America and GE had "disappointing" earning reports -- and the Dow-Jones dropped quickly back below 10,000. There was some sort of nonsense of Bank of America wanting to pay bonuses as they cheerfully lost $2,200,000,000.00. Um, that was decided to be a dumb idea.
We're Still Number One!
In Michigan the unemployment rate rose from 15.2% to 15.3%. We still don't have a budget, even though the state's fiscal year began October 1st -- we're operating on a one month extension. The House and Governor are Democratic, the Senate is Republican. Something like eight of the spending bills have been passed by both houses and reconciled, but the State Senate is holding on to them until the last minute to try to prevent the governor from using her constitutional line item veto.
Yeah, I'm not very happy about some of this stuff. Really.