Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Pro30 Funding of Novato joins the ranks of other Marin mortgage companies that have imploded and have been forced to lay off personnel due to this so-called "subprime meltdown" that is supposedly not affecting Marin:
A Novato mortgage company has laid off nearly all its employees, becoming the third Marin brokerage in just over a month to issue pink slips.

While the mortgage industry has been buffeted by defaults nationwide - particular in the "subprime" sector that caters to borrowers with weaker credit scores - Pro30 founder Bill Coleman said 99 percent of his clients had good credit records.

In many cases, he said, borrowers were defaulting on the loans without making a single payment - perhaps so they could live without housing expenses for six to nine months during the foreclosure process.

"The appreciation started to decline, and people looked at their payments and said they're not going to make money," Coleman speculated. "We ran a great shop. We had great employees. It wasn't a business issue; it was the fact that the industry turned upside down almost overnight."

The closure of Pro30 Funding follows 36 layoffs this month at Paul Financial LLC, a San Rafael-based mortgage company that had 180 full-time workers San Rafael, Santa Rosa and Irvine. Twenty-five of the layoffs were at the San Rafael office.

Late last month, Novato-based GreenPoint Mortgage laid off 70 employees, nine of whom worked out of the company's headquarters. GreenPoint employs approximately 2,800 people, including 560 in Marin.

Paul Financial and GreenPoint said they are not subprime lenders, but felt the residual effects of nationwide problems in the subprime mortgage industry.
So "99%" of Pro30's clientele had "good credit" and yet they still had to close shop. I'm shocked, really. I mean, we all know that only les miserables have to resort to shaky loans, lying about their income, etc. to squeeze into a house and that the ever so responsible Alt-A crowd is safe. But what if it's not so?

Apparently:
  1. The recent troubles in the world of mortgage finance have not been completely contained to subprime despite what the Powers That Be want you to believe.
  2. Marin's economy is also being affected by the mortgage crisis.
Things should get really interesting as Alt-A rolls over.

* * *
Update 6-2-2007: I forgot to include this one (emphasis mine):
San Rafael mortgage broker Paul Financial let go of 36 employees this month. Peter Paul, president of Paul Financial, said the company won’t make money this quarter given the drop-off in lending and the decision to set aside reserves for loans that might go bad down the road.

Paul said the layoffs were due in part to his zigging while the industry zagged. Last fall he revved up in anticipation of more growth. That was shortly before the implosion of the subprime mortgage industry, which lends to those with tarnished credit records. Looser lending in the Alt A and other [as in not subprime?] segments of the mortgage market is now taking its toll.

"Some lenders were really making Alt B loans," Paul joked.
Looser lending in Alt-A? I thought that was supposed to be safe and was going to save the housing market.

7 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

The Marin Heat Index was at 0.61 yesterday. I'm sure this has nothing to do with lending standards that are getting tighter by the week.

But good news! The SF Chronicle ran a tiny article, buried in the Bay Area section "Subprime borrower rescue bill is dead." The CA assembly killed a bill that would have used a housing bond to create a fund for FB's to refinance "with affordable interest rates."

And, while we all know there are no subprime loans in Marin (LOL), those job losses at the local mortgage companies are starting to add up. And I'll bet some of those folks were homeowners in either Marin or Sonoma counties and making good salaries.

Jun 1, 2007, 8:17:00 AM  
Blogger bob said...

"In many cases, he said, borrowers were defaulting on the loans without making a single payment - perhaps so they could live without housing expenses for six to nine months during the foreclosure process."

That is absolutely INSANE. People that made such a purchase with the intent of never paying for it should be fined. I favor bringing back Debtor's prison.

And as far as suggesting that not all bad news for the RE industry is tied to exotic loans, I fully believe it. The fact that a below median 600k home would cost over $4,300 a month with a 30 year fixed tells you right there that more people than not couldn't have possibly afforded the home unless they were making 200k per year.

In fact, I would be willing to bet that along with foreclosures tied to ARM's and IO's,There will be quite a few foreclosures from simple 30 year conventional loan non-payment since there were so many people who were totally counting on refinancing later.

Jun 1, 2007, 9:11:00 AM  
Blogger marinite2 said...

But good news! The SF Chronicle ran a tiny article, buried in the Bay Area section "Subprime borrower rescue bill is dead." The CA assembly killed a bill that would have used a housing bond to create a fund for FB's to refinance "with affordable interest rates."

That is very good news indeed!

Maybe they received a flood of angry letters. Maybe participation in our democratic system works afterall.

Jun 1, 2007, 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger marinite2 said...

Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/387er7

Jun 1, 2007, 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

"Maybe they received a flood of angry letters. Maybe participation in our democratic system works afterall."

Maybe they also realized that their housing bond fund would be a drop in the bucket for the dollar volume of loans about to go bad.

And, I really do believe that a lot of FB's would NOT want a bailout plan, would prefer short sale or foreclosure. How many really want the "priviledge" of a 30-year "affordable" mortgage on an asset that's dropping in value like a brick?

Jun 1, 2007, 2:09:00 PM  
Blogger Hunkston said...

Who should I get in contact with about a states own laws about mortgage broker bonds and as such, how would I get a mortgage bonds form? I life in England and am considering moving to America, don’t know where yet however I was doing some general reading about housing and came across the term mortgage broker bonds and am a little confused, is it a mortgage or a loan to acquire a mortgage?
Also if I want to set up life insurance do I need insurance bonds? Or can I simply open a policy with a company? Im a little confuse by some of the jargon. I am not moving anytime soon but thought I should be aware of things I will need to understand.

Mar 10, 2008, 3:55:00 AM  
Blogger Hunkston said...

Having done some research into living conditions I have made the decision to move to the US! Apart from the medical care (which having just watched the film Sicko I am slightly concerned about) I have decided that there are more positives then negatives and am therefore very excited about the prospect of moving.
However I am concerned with purchasing a house, are mortgages over there the same as there are here? Do I need a large deposit and having spoke to a few people online I am concerned I wont be able to find a company to give me mortgage broker bonds.
and if I cant can I buy a house? Also I am familiar with the term surety bond so is a mortgage bond just a guarantee I will pay on time or is it more?

Apr 30, 2008, 4:33:00 AM  

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