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Political Economy: September 19, 2010 - September 25, 2010

California orders Ally Financial to stop foreclosures in state

California attorney general Edmund G. Brown Jr. demanded that Ally Financial stop foreclosures in the state if it could not "immediately prove" its compliance with the law. The order comes four days after Ally said it had found a "technical"...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 25, 2010; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Ally's GMAC unit withdraws foreclosure affidavits signed by second employee

Ally's GMAC unit withdraws foreclosure affidavits signed by second employee, Kristine Wilson, after withdrawing Jeffrey Stephan affidavits.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 25, 2010; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Housing  
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Lawmakers to Fannie Mae: Why are you using lawyers 'accused of regularly engaging in fraud' in foreclosures?

Members of Congress called on Fannie Mae to stop working with "foreclosure mills" under investigation for document fraud. "Why is Fannie Mae using lawyers that are accused of regularly engaging in fraud to kick people out of their homes?" representatives Alan Grayson, Barney Frank, and Corrine Brown wrote in a letter to Fannie Mae CEO Michael J. Williams on Friday.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 24, 2010; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Congress, Housing  
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Ally knew of faulty GMAC documents weeks before eviction moratorium

Ally Financial officials knew a large number of documents submitted in support of mortgage foreclosure proceedings were mishandled as early as August, but did not take action to stop the evictions until last week. Ally Financial officials knew a large number of documents submitted in support of mortgage foreclosure proceedings were mishandled as early as August, but did not take action to stop the evictions until last week.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 24, 2010; 9:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Housing  
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Morning briefing: Did Japan intervene to weaken yen?

1. Traders said the Bank of Japan intervened to weaken the yen on Friday for the second time in just over a week. But Japanese authorities remained silent. 2. Business confidence in Germany rose unexpectedly to its highest level in...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 24, 2010; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda, China, International Economics, Trade  
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Bank execs on reform: What, me worry?

By Howard Schneider To hear the politicians tell it, new financial regulations - whether the Dodd-Frank bill in the U.S. or the banking rules crafted in Basel, Switzerland - represent historic change that will deeply alter how financial companies are...

By Howard Schneider  | September 24, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Robo-signer Linda Green signed documents that led to thousand of foreclosures

Robo-signer Linda Green, like Ally Financial's Jeffrey Stephan, signed documents that led to thousand of foreclosures

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 24, 2010; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Housing  
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Economic agenda: Friday, Sept. 24, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- Commerce Dept. releases durable-goods orders for August. At 10 a.m. -- National Association of Realtors releases new home sales for August....

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 24, 2010; 5:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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User Poll: What should happen to foreclosure documents approved by 'robo-signers?'

Recent revelations of faked documents and forged signatures have called the nation's foreclosure system in to question and provided borrowers with the opportunity to contest more than 2 million foreclosures....

By Washington Post editors  | September 23, 2010; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Morning briefing: French workers strike over retirement age hike plan

China denies ban on rare earths exports to Japan Responding to media reports that it has blocked the export of rare earths to Japan, China's Trade Ministry on Thursday denied any curbs on exports after a territorial dispute between the rival powers. Industry officials had told the New York Times that Chinese customs officials were preventing the minerals from being loaded aboard ships at export hubs, a move that could affect the production of hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles. Growth in private-sector activity across the euro zone slowed dramatically in September, bringing concerns about the stability of Europe's economy to center stage.The purchasing managers index, which combines manufacturing and services, fell to a seven-month low of 53.8 from 56.2 in August. Economists had forecast a decline to 55.9. The Spanish government struck a deal with an opposition party that will help it pass a 2011 budget that it hopes will help keep its deficit down. Thailand's long-delayed auction of third-generation mobile licenses was thrown into further doubt Thursday after a court upheld an injunction against the plan. France commuters struggled Thursday as a second round of strikes against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age to 62 paralyzed trains, planes and schools across the country.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 23, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- The Labor Department releases data on weekly claims for jobless benefits. At 10 a.m. - Republican leaders are scheduled to formally release their Agenda for America, a set of policy prescriptions aimed at reviving the...

By Mike Shepard  | September 23, 2010; 5:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Do you have foreclosure documents signed by Jeffrey Stephan or Beth Ann Cottrell?

At least two officials who signed documents indicating that they had reviewed the accuracy of thousands of foreclosure proceedings have testified in sworn depositions that they didn't actually perform at least some of the reviews. If you have documents signed...

By Washington Post editors  | September 22, 2010; 2:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Treasury official overseeing bailout steps down

Herb Allison is leaving his post as the U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability. Since the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, the former Merrill Lynch president and head of Fannie Mae has played a critical role in the government's bailout efforts by overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program for Treasury.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 22, 2010; 10:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  U.S. Treasury  
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Morning briefing: Italian police seize $30m from a Vatican bank account

A branch of Credito Artigiano's bank in Rome. Just when the Catholic Church didn't need another scandal, Italian authorities have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe. (Photo Credit: Angelo Carconi/AP) 1....

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 22, 2010; 7:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010

At 10 a.m. - The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issues its home price index for July. At 10 a.m. -- The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on the Securities and...

By Mike Shepard  | September 22, 2010; 5:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Warren's first appearance as part of Obama team

By Brady Dennis In her first official appearance as a member of the Obama administration, Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday appeared alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner at a forum aimed at simplifying of complicated mortgage disclosure forms that often inundate...

By Brady Dennis  | September 22, 2010; 12:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Fed shows openness to new steps to boost economy, but takes no action

Federal Reserve Board officials decided not to take new steps to try to boost the economy Tuesday. But they suggested that could change in the months ahead.

By Neil Irwin  | September 21, 2010; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Federal Reserve  
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Morning briefing: Chinese yuan strengthens to 1993 levels

The harbor of Ilulissat in Greenland, 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. (Photo Credit: Doug Struck/The Washington Post) 1. The yuan strengthened for the ninth consecutive day Tuesday--breaking through the 6.7 per U.S. dollar mark for the first...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 21, 2010; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010

At 8:30 a.m. -- Commerce Dept. releases housing starts for August. At 10 a.m. -- Senate Banking Committee holds hearing to examines the country's infrastructure, focusing on creating jobs and the economy. At 10 a.m. -- Senate Finance Committee holds...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 21, 2010; 5:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Ally's GMAC mortgage unit temporarily halts evictions in 23 states

Ally Financial Inc.'s mortgage unit has temporarily suspended evictions and some bank-owned closings on homes in 23 states mostly on the East Coast and Midwest. In an internal memo dated Sept. 17, marked "urgent," and addressed to brokers and agents of the company's GMAC mortgage unit, were ordered to immediately halt evictions, cash-for-key transactions and lockouts. Ally, the nation's fourth-largest home loan originator, may "need to take corrective action in connection with some foreclosures" in the affected states, the memo stated.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 20, 2010; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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At CNBC town hall, Obama is asked: 'Is the American dream dead?'

Updated 1:35 p.m. U.S. President Barack Obama is seen on a television set as reporters listen to his remarks during a town hall meeting at the Newseum in Washington. (Photo Credit: Jim Young/Reuters) By Ariana Eunjung Cha and Nia-Malika Henderson...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 20, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Regulation, U.S. Economy  
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It's official: The Great Recession ended last summer

The panel of economists that is the widely accepted arbiter of business cycles has called an end to what is now officially the longest U.S. economic downturn of the post-World War II era. The recession ended in June 2009, 18 months after it began in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research's business cycle dating committee.

By Neil Irwin  | September 20, 2010; 11:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (173)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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Morning briefing: Malaysia adds Chinese yuan-denominated bonds to reserves

Malaysia's central bank purchased yuan-denominated bonds to add to its reserve holdings, a major boost for Beijing's efforts to internationalize its currency. Greece's bank stress tests have been postponed by the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank to allow the country to raise more money in capital markets. Chinese automaker SAIC said it is paying close attention to General Motors's upcoming stock sale after the U.S. Treasury Department said investors would be sought across "multiple geographies." SAIC, a state-owned company, is GM's joint venture partner in China and there has been speculation that it will buy a stake in the Detroit automaker.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 20, 2010; 6:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Week ahead: Fed in the hot seat

The Federal Reserve is on the hotseat this week, and new data scheduled for release should shed light on the state of the housing market. Tuesday Federal Reserve policymakers are slated to meet to decide the course of monetary policy,...

By Neil Irwin  | September 20, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Q&A: FTC consumer protection chief on new consumer financial protection bureau

With the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau overseen by White House consumer czar Elizabeth Warren set to be up and running by July 2011, how will the FTC's role evolve? David Vladeck, director for the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, discussed how responsibilities for protection consumers will change in the months ahead.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 20, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission  
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Economic agenda: Monday, Sept. 20, 2010

At 10 a.m. -- National Association of Home Builders releases home builders' confidence survey for September....

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | September 20, 2010; 5:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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