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Political Economy: October 3, 2010 - October 9, 2010

Congressman Alan Grayson explains what went wrong with the foreclosure process

Confused about all the news regarding problems with foreclosures and how home mortgages are related to Wall Street? Check out this YouTube video by Florida Congressman Alan Grayson.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 8, 2010; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Congress, Housing  
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20 years after Berlin Walls falls, Eastern Europe has yet to catch up with world economies

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought broad hopes that the former Soviet and Warsaw Pact states would get the economic equivalent of a full body makeover. But 20 years on, with China in the World Trade Organization, Brazil anchoring growth in Latin America, and countries such as South Korea tapping international investment, Eastern Europe is at risk of becoming an also-ran among the world's emerging markets. That's something Thomas Mirow is battling to prevent as head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), but it is a tough environment.

By Howard Schneider  | October 8, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  China, International Monetary Fund  
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Sept. jobs report: Will Fed now act to boost economy?

The September jobs report was decidedly mediocre, with sluggish growth on private payrolls, steep declines in public payrolls, and an unemployment rate that is treading water. So what does it all mean for Federal Reserve policy? The simple answer is that there is now every reason to expect the Fed to announce new steps to try to bolster the economy at its policy meeting early next month.

By Neil Irwin  | October 8, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Federal Reserve, U.S. Economy, Unemployment  
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Reid calls on lenders to halt foreclosures in all 50 states

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called on major lenders to halt foreclosures across the country Friday following Bank of America's announcement it was stopping proceedings until it finishes reviewing possible paperwork problems.

By Jia Lynn Yang  | October 8, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
Categories:  Housing  
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Morning briefing: UAE BlackBerry ban averted

The European Central Bank left its key interest rates stable at 1 percent and signaled that it's unlikely to consider new stimulus measures despite signs that the recovery is slowing. The United Arab Emirates canceled a ban on BlackBerry services that had been due to take effect Monday, confirming that a deal had been reached but offering no details.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 8, 2010; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Friday, Oct. 8, 2010

Throughout the day -- The IMF and World Bank hold their annual fall meetings At 8:30 a.m -- The Labor Department releases unemployment numbers for September. At 10:00 -- Wholesale inventories for August released. At 1:25: Federal Reserve Governor Daniel...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 8, 2010; 6:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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IMF official moonlights as author of 'financial terror' thriller

By Howard Schneider As chief of the policy review division, Rex Ghosh spends his days at the International Monetary Fund thinking of ways to guard the world economy from a systemic meltdown. So who better to narrate an account of...

By Howard Schneider  | October 7, 2010; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  International Economics, International Monetary Fund, U.S. Economy  
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Sept. retail sales rise 2.6 percent, but pace of growth slows

Retailers managed another month of sales gains in September, according to data released this morning, but the pace of improvement has slowed since the summer. The International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group, reported that sales at stores open at least a year - a key measure of retail health - rose 2.6 percent in September compared to a year ago. The figure is based on sales data at roughly 30 national chain stores that reported results, and performance was uneven across the industry

By Ylan Q. Mui  | October 7, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Retail, U.S. Economy  
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Morning briefing: More calls for yuan flexibility

The dollar slid to a 15-year low versus the Japanese yen, an all-time low against the Swiss franc, a 27-year-low against the Australian dollar and an eight-month low against the euro. The currency fluctuations were due to the prospect of more money-printing by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the strength of the Australian job market revival and anticipation of an upcoming European Central Bank policy meeting. Less than a day after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called the currency issue the "central existential challenge," the head of the IMF and the European Trade Commissioner called for the appreciation of the Chinese yuan.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 7, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010

Throughout the day -- The International Monetary Fund and World Bank hold their annual fall meetings, with morning briefings expected from the heads of both institutions. At 8:30 a.m. -- The Labor Department releases data on weekly claims for...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 7, 2010; 6:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Ohio sues Ally Financial alleging fraud in foreclosures

Ohio state attorney general Richard Cordray is suing Ally Financial and its GMAC mortgage unit, alleging fraud in foreclosures across the state--in what could be the first in a wave of lawsuits against the nation's largest lenders. Cordray said the alleged fraud was the "tip of an iceberg of industrywide abuse of the foreclosure process" and is asking for civil penalties of up to $25,000 for every violation of consumer laws and for Ally to pay back losses to homeowners.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 6, 2010; 9:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Housing  
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Wells Fargo will spend $772M modifying loans

Wells Fargo has agreed to spend an estimated $772 million modifying loans for borrowers across the country after allegations that deceptive marketing was used to sell complex mortgages with adjustable rates. The deal announced Wednesday covers 8,715 borrowers in eight...

By Jia Lynn Yang  | October 6, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Ore. Senator calls for special investigator for foreclosures

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) called on the Treasury Department and Housing and Urban Development officials to appoint an independent investigator to examine the foreclosure actions at major loan servicers.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 6, 2010; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Housing  
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N.C. joins states calling for foreclosure moratorium

The North Carolina Attorney General's office expanded its investigation into improperly prepared paperwork for foreclosures to 15 mortgage companies and ordered them to suspend foreclosures in the state. Attorney General Roy Cooper's announcement Wednesday follows similar industry-wide moratoriums issued by his counterparts in Texas and Connecticut. California and Massachusetts have issued more limited directives, calling on specific lenders to freeze foreclosures.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 6, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Housing  
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National Retail Federation releases holiday forecast

By Ylan Mui You may be having visions of candy corn and pumpkin patches, but the retail industry is already knee-deep in Christmas spending forecasts. The latest organization to gaze into its crystal ball is the National Retail Federation, the...

By Ylan Mui  | October 6, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Data Digest, Retail, U.S. Economy  
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Morning briefing: Bank of Japan downgrades economic outlook

Japan's central bank downgraded its assessment of the economy in October due to the impact on exporters of a strong yen and amid mounting global uncertainty over the economy. The country's ruling Democratic Party urged the cabinet on Wednesday to consider more stimulus money.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 6, 2010; 6:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Pelosi, lawmakers call for federal probe on mortgage lenders

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the Justice Department to investigate the nation's largest mortgage lenders on Tuesday, and Maryland joined a growing list of states seeking to halt foreclosures while they probe claims of fraudulent filings. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Pelosi and dozens of other Democrats accused the nation's biggest banks of making it difficult for struggling borrowers to get foreclosure relief while the firms routinely evicted them with flawed court papers.

By Brady Dennis and Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 6, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congress, Housing  
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Economic agenda: Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010

At 8:15 a.m. - Payroll services firm ADP issues its monthly report on U.S. private sector employment. At 9 a.m. -- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner speaks at the Brookings Institution on the global economic recovery. At 10 a.m....

By Mike Shepard  | October 6, 2010; 5:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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House Speaker Pelosi calls for federal foreclosure investigation; AFL-CIO seeks national moratorium

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and other California Democrats are calling or a federal investigation into irregularities in processing documents to foreclose thousands of homes at some of the nation's largest mortgage lenders.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 5, 2010; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Housing  
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How does the U.S. rank in outcomes for aid money?

Money for foreign aid, like money for education or other basic services, is often governed by a more-is-better assumption. But the Center for Global Development has been on a drive to focus attention on the quality rather than just quantity, pushing for more attention to measurable outcomes and the degree to which aid is making a difference in the lives of the people it is meant to help.

By Howard Schneider  | October 5, 2010; 12:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  International Economics  
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Lender Processing Services acknowledges employees allowed to sign for managers on foreclosure paperwork

Lender Processing Services, the Jacksonville, Fla.,said its subsidiary, Docx, stopped executing affidavits in September 2008 and that the documentation was prepared by the lenders or servicers. "These affidavits were then executed by LPS consistent with industry practice," the company said. As for assignments of mortgage, the company said Docx relied on the lenders to input information that was downloaded into a template and then signed. LPS said it only prepared such documents for two lenders/servicers between 2008 and 2009.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 5, 2010; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Housing  
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More on the output gap: The structural unemployment debate

By Neil Irwin Check out the online graphic that Alicia Parlapiano and I created on the output gap, explaining why it just doesn't feel like an economic recovery. Here are a few more thoughts on the output gap and the...

By Neil Irwin  | October 5, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  U.S. Economy  
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Md. governor, attorney general, congressman call for voluntary foreclosure freeze

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has joined the state's attorney general and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) to call on mortgage servicers to voluntarily halt foreclosure proceedings.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 5, 2010; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Housing  
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Morning briefing: Ireland's credit rating may be lowered again

Japan's central bank cut key interest rates further, to a range of zero to 0.1 percent as it tries to stimulate the faltering economy. Moody's on Tuesday warned that it may downgrade Ireland's credit rating again, due to the high costs of bailing out its banks and a weak economic recovery.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 5, 2010; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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Economic agenda: Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010

At 10 a.m. -- Services-sector activity index for September released by the Institute for Supply Management. At 4:30 p.m. -- The American Petroleum Institute issues weekly national petroleum report....

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 5, 2010; 6:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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Economic agenda: Monday, Oct. 4, 2010

At 10:00 a.m. Pending home sales index for August released. At 10:00 a.m. -- Factory orders for August released. At 11:30 a.m. -- The New York Federal Reserve's Brian Sack speaks at the CFA institute conference. At 3:00 p.m. --...

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  | October 4, 2010; 10:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  *Economic agenda  
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