Wednesday

First National reports strong growth

First National had a strong start to 2008, with solid increases in our key metrics," said Stephen Smith, Chairman and President. First National Financial Income Fund owns a 19.97% interest in First National Financial LP, a Canadian-based originator, underwriter and servicer of predominantly prime residential (single family and multi-unit) and commercial mortgages. First National's mortgages under administration were $34.6 billion at March 31, 2008, up 36% from $25.4 billion at March 31, 2007 and up 5% from $33.1 billion at December 31, 2007.

Canadian banks to improve disclosure

Canadian banks will improve certain disclosure practices as urged by the G7 in its recent Financial Stability Forum report. The severity of the financial crisis has prompted an extraordinary meeting of the heads of the central bank, the country's banking regulator, the federal Finance Department and the big banks, who will gather this morning to talk about what Canada should do to prevent another liquidity crisis. Within 100 days, Canadian banks will establish and adopt "leading practices for disclosure" by tweaking the way they disclose bank securities at mark-to-market values, among other items. Policy makers and regulators are under pressure to show they are taking action in the wake of the financial turmoil that's reverberated in markets around the world.

Monday

Bank of America to help Countrywide borrowers

Bank of America Corp., seeking approval of its Countrywide Financial Corp. takeover, plans to modify at least $40 billion of mortgages during the next two years to keep customers in their homes. Bank of America said that it will locate its national consumer mortgage headquarters in Calabasas, Calif., once it completes its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. Bank of America also plans to double its community development lending, which focuses on affordable housing, small businesses and people in low-income and minority neighborhoods, to $1.5 trillion over 10 years. To accomplish this, the company will offer borrowers several options, including loan modifications and payment forbearance. It will not charge borrowers in foreclosure new late charges, and, in some cases, will waive prepayment penalties. Critics have said that BofA needs to make a strong commitment to working with troubled borrowers and minority communities in the wake of the proposed acquisition, which would ostensibly create the nation’s largest mortgage banking operation.

Friday

US 30-year mortgage rates rise

Inflation fears pushed U.S. 30-year mortgage rates up after being unchanged for three weeks according to Freddie Mac. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.03 percent this week after three straight weeks at 5.88 percent. Rates on 30-year mortgages were last above 6 percent the week of March 16 when they averaged 6.13 percent. One-year adjustable rate mortgages, or ARMs, climbed to an average of 5.29 percent from 5.10 percent. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.62% this week, up from last week's 5.40% average. The mortgage averaged 5.87% a year ago. And one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.29% this week, up from last week's 5.10% average. The ARM averaged 5.43% a year ago. A separate survey released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the volume of mortgage applications filed last week fell 14.2% compared with the week before. Lenders charged an average of 0.3 percent in fees and points on 30- and 15-year mortgages, down from 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent last week, respectively.

GMAC lends $468 million to mortgage unit

Residential Capital LLC - a money losing mortgage lender - borrowed $468 million from a new $750 million credit facility arranged by its parent GMAC LLC. GMAC has been trying to prop up ResCap after defaults soared and credit markets tightened, leading to a $4.35 billion loss at ResCap in 2007. Residential Capital, LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services, is a leading real estate finance company, focused primarily on the residential real estate market in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Australia.

Wednesday

Canada Cuts Interest Rates - Prime @4.75%

The Bank of Canada cut its interest rate by half a point to 3% whilst noting that further cuts might be necessary. The slowdown in the United States, which is Canada's largest trading partner, has begun to affect the Canadian economy. The cut reduces the bank's overnight rate — what big banks charge each other for overnight loans — to three per cent. The overnight rate hasn't been that low since December 2005. It was second time in as many months that new bank governor Mark Carney has moved aggressively on interest rates, bringing down the key overnight rate to three per cent, one-and-a-half points below where it was at the start of December. But in an unusual reaction, Canada’s chartered banks delayed for most of the day matching the central bank’s reduction, suggesting growing unease with the state of financial markets. The Toronto-Dominion Bank was first to act, after 6 p.m. AT, announcing a 50 basis rate cut to its prime lending rate to 4.75 per cent, followed by the other four big Canadian banks.

Tuesday

Home Trust Helps!

Home Trust is alternative lender that provides credit solutions for borrowers with a wide range of products. Home Trust Company has developed a market niche by lending to people who have had difficulty in obtaining their financing from one of the major banks or mortgage lenders.

Home trust lends to Small business owners, self-employed people and People with former credit difficulties that have since been resolved. They also lend to discharged bankrupts without any waiting period. Landed and non-landed immigrants to Canada who do not have a credit history can also benefit from Home Trust products.

If you have equity in your property but do not have provable income that satisfies your bank, talk to a mortgage broker about Home Trust mortgages.

Sunday

Missing Payments?

It is important to talk to your mortgage lender and tell them you're having difficulties. You may find they are open to revising your payments and/or extending the term of the loan, thereby reducing monthly repayments. Discuss your options with your lender as soon as possible. Then take action immediately. The longer you wait, hoping something will happen, the fewer options you will have. Lenders use foreclosure only as a very last resort. They make every attempt — within the confines of reasonable requirements — to develop an individualized solution that helps the borrowers get through a difficult time so they can stay in their homes. The key thing is not to stop making payments without warning - something that will really get your lender offside. If you find yourself seriously struggling to make loan repayments, do something about it sooner rather than later - definitely well before you miss a payment. The worst thing you can do is avoid the phone calls, letters and/or visits from your lender. There are many options. You can market your home as a short sale; get a mortgage modification agreement or even a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Communicate with your lender. Don’t try and ignore them because they won’t go away. And don’t lie to them. Be honest with them and they will help you work out the best solution.

Fixed-rate or variable-rate?

This is a question that consumers have been struggling with over the past several years while we have been enjoying historically low interest rates. With the Bank of Canada now widely thought to have concluded a series of seven interest-rate hikes in the past year, it's time to assess the two strategies.

Should you choose a fixed or variable mortgage loan? It all depends on your tolerance to risk in the face of interest rate fluctuations. A variable rate is generally more advantageous than a five-year rate on a given date. However, the variable rate may vary in time—as its name indicates—whereas the five-year rate remains unchanged for the entire five-year term. With the variable rate, you benefit immediately from rate decreases, but you may be affected if the rates go up.

Many variable-rate mortgage holders may regret not having locked in at a safe fixed rate, but mortgage brokers say that most of them fare about the same as their locked-in counterparts. By managing the variable rate product, some consumers have been able to pay down their mortgage substantially. Experts now agree that over the past ten years one would have paid less interest by taking a short term or variable rate mortgage versus a longer term mortgage. some people prefer the stability of a fixed rate over the potential cost savings offered by a variable rate. Choose your mortgage carefully. Ask a more broker for help before you sign the deal.

Walking away from your mortgage?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are warning struggling U.S. homeowners to think twice about walking away from their mortgages. Mortgage lender Fannie Mae warns homeowners planning to walk away and stop paying mortgages that doing so will make it difficult to apply for your next home loan. Borrowers facing foreclosure will be unable to obtain a loan for up to five years through the mortgage giant, unless there is "documented extenuating circumstances” in which those borrowers would have to wait up to 3 years for a new mortgage, according to a release by Fannie Mae. Even after five years, borrowers with foreclosures in their files will be required to make at least a 10 percent down payment, and will need minimum FICO credit scores of 680. Freddie Mac, Fannie's rival, counts foreclosures as major credit blots for seven years, and a senior official said the company is now aggressively pursuing some walkaway borrowers "to preserve our deficiency rights" where permitted under state law.

Walking away from the mortgage is not your only option if you are having difficulty making mortgage payments. Talk to the Realtors or mortgage brokers for more information on avoiding foreclosure.

Saturday

Why Switch Mortgage?

Switch mortgage means moving your mortgage to another lender. When you get that renewal notice in the mail don’t just sign it and accept the lenders interest rate and terms without giving us the opportunity to see if we can get you a better deal from another lender. In most cases, there is no cost to the borrower when transferring their mortgage as the new Lender normally covers any associated costs, such as the appraisal fees and transfer charges. Prior to transferring a mortgage, a Lender will go through a process of mortgage approval similar to that which was gone through at the time of the original mortgage application. Although remortgaging can be a sensible option for many borrowers, it may not suit everyone. If you only have a short period before your mortgage is paid off in full, or have a mortgage with large redemption penalties, the costs involved with remortgaging may outweigh the benefits.

Laurentian Bank offers 5% cash rebate, lowers rates

Laurentian Bank has changed its mortgage rates offers 5% cash rebate. 5 year rate changed from 7.15% to 7.00%. New mortgage rates will be effective as of April 12, 2008. Laurentian Bank now also offers consumers cash rebates of up to 5% on their mortgage. The new product is fixed-rate mortgage with a cash rebate of up to 5% of the amount borrowed. Combined cash and rate rebates are also available.

Other rates have also dropped at Laurentian Bank. 1 year open lowered from 9.30% to 9.10% and 3 year from 7.20% to 7.00%. Contact your mortgage broker for more information.

Thursday

What Is Blanket Mortgage?

Blanket mortgage, is a type of mortgage used to fund the purchase of more than one piece of real property. Blanket loans are popular with builders and developers who buy large tracts of land, then subdivide them to create many individual parcels and gradually sell them one at a time. For example, if you owned three properties and instead of borrowing separately against each one, you could use a blanket mortgage to create a second mortgage on all three properties.

Renegotiate Mortgage Rates

Renegotiating interest rates on a mortgage is one of several options available to property owners who want to keep their houses but have problems paying. It sounds simple, yet a lot of borrowers in trouble with mortgage payments never consider the possibility when it comes to renegotiating home loan rates. Most people consider refinancing their home mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payment. Refinancing a mortgage means paying off your old mortgage and signing a contract for a new loan. Whether to refinance your mortgage is a difficult question to answer. It might be possible to renegotiate your mortgage at a lower interest rate with your current lender, usually for a set fee. Renegotiating a mortgage is technically not refinancing, but it is an amendment to your existing mortgage. Although the interest rate may not be as low as the current refinancing rate, renegotiating can save you money because you pay no closing costs.

Missing Mortgage Payments

Each year thousands of homeowners mortgage payments get behind because of job loss, divorce, illness etc. If you're reading this you know that once you fall behind on your payments the amount of money needed to catch up grows each month and it becomes harder and harder to do. Avoid foreclosure and losing your home with some tips during this period. First the most important thing is to take action as soon as possible. If your mortgage payment is behind is communicate with your mortgage lender. If you stick your head in the sand and allow yourself to miss payments, you lose one potentially valuable option: the ability to stay current by raising cash against your equity. Once your mortgage payment is behind, the mortgage lender can elect not to accept partial payments of the mortgage payments your are behind and outstanding. Borrowers who are current on their mortgage can stay current by borrowing against their equity. The best instrument for this is a HELOC, a credit line, which you can draw on as needed. Try to get money together as soon as possible to bring the mortgage payments current.You may try to refinance your mortgage to bring it current and and pay-off the lender.If you are unable to do a mortgage refinance to bring the mortgage payments current you should seriously consider selling the home before going to foreclosure. If you go through the foreclosure process that will stay on your credit report for 10 years and you will have difficulty buying a home for up to five years after the foreclosure.

Wednesday

National Bank's All-In-One mortgage line of credit

The All-In-One is a line of credit that allows clients to integrate bank accounts, short-term savings and borrowings into a single solution. Clients can manage their projects independently in separate accounts that are linked to their All-In-One. National Bank has added two new features to its National Bank All-In-One TM mortgage line of credit, an integrated mortgage loan and the possibility of benefiting from credit insurance tailored specifically to this financing solution. National Bank clients can now integrate a mortgage loan into their All-In-One. Clients can enjoy the advantages provided by a mortgage loan, while benefiting from the flexibility offered by the All-In-One. National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations.

Federal Housing Administration Expands Mortgage Insurance

Borrowers who are as much as three months behind on their mortgages, have damaged credit histories and owe more than their homes are worth will now be eligible to refinance with a federally insured loan. The Bush administration will expand a program designed to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages into government-backed loans, but congressional Democrats want to go further. The expansion of an existing mortgage insurance program, called F.H.A. Secure, would help as many as 500,000 additional homeowners by the end of 2008. Under the program, FHA will insure loans with negative equity if lenders are willing to write down the loan balance so there is at least 3 percent equity for borrowers with two months of delinquencies and 10 percent for borrowers with three months of late payments within the previous year.

Bank of England To Cut Rate to 5%

The Bank of England probably will cut its main interest rate for the third time since December as the worst housing slump since 1992 fans concern the economy is slipping into a recession, a survey of economists shows. The mortgage market has tightened this month as banks scramble to conserve cash and stem a credit binge that fueled the country's decade-long housing boom. The number of home-loan products on offer declined by 21 percent in the past two weeks to 4,499 on April 4. U.K. house prices dropped the most since 1992 last month as the seizure in worldwide credit markets made mortgages harder to obtain, a report by HBOS Plc showed.The average cost of a home in Britain fell 2.5 percent to 191,556 pounds ($379,000) from February. U.K. policy makers have been reluctant to cut rates as much as the Fed since credit markets seized up in August, because global price pressures are threatening to spur inflation.

HSBC to match fixed-rate mortgages

HSBC has announced that it is making its new Rate Matcher mortgage available to all UK homeowners. But the new offer could see some customers paying as much as £5,000 in arrangement fees. At a time when rival lenders have been dropping their most competitive products amid funding concerns and a rapidly cooling housing market, HSBC's new deal initially sent shock waves through the mortgage market. There are an estimated 1.4 million mortgage holders who took out two-year deals during 2006 when rates were very low. Many have enjoyed mortgage deals with rates as low as 4.5 per cent, but now face a shock when they come to take out new loans, with the average two-year rate currently running at 6.29 per cent. HSBC, which is Britain's ninth-largest mortgage lender with 3.6% of the market, admitted that the upfront fees accompanying its matched deals would vary considerably, depending on the rate to be matched and the amount borrowed. For example, an existing rate of 4.54% on a £250,000 loan will only be matched if the borrower pays an upfront fee of £4,099. HSBC's new Rate Matcher offer opens on Monday and will run for five weeks. The bank said it had put in place three times its normal mortgage-servicing capacity.

Washington Mutual Dropping Wholesale Mortgages

once one of the largest residential mortgage lenders, Washington Mutual, will stop originating mortgage loans through independent mortgage brokers due to the ongoing mortgage crisis. Washington Mutual, said it was set to receive a seven-billion-dollar cash infusion to help shore up its finances which have been ravaged by mortgage-related losses. Washington Mutual was an early leader to offer subprime adjustable rate mortgages to the general public and by the end of last year the losses started to mount. The company did not provide details on the number of employees affected by the move, although it said it expects the closures to take effect before the end of the second quarter. The bank’s portfolio includes $57 billion in option ARM mortgages; so-called negative amortization loans have been a fast-increasing source of losses for lenders as housing prices have fallen in key markets throughout the United States and put millions of borrowers in the position of owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

Saturday

Australians Pay Higher Mortgage Termination Fees

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission reveals that Australian home buyers face some of the highest "early mortgage termination" fees in the world — as well as a complex array of other fees and charges. The federal Government released details of a review of mortgage entry and exit fees which it says will help boost competition in the banking sector and make it easier for unhappy borrowers to switch lenders. The report recommends that mortgage contracts be standardised so borrowers know what fees they face, if they attempt to switch institutions during the life of a loan. ASIC examined set-up fees, service fees and discharge fees in cases where borrowers decided, within three years of taking a mortgage, that they wanted to change lenders. Early termination fees have been blamed for dampening competition in the banking sector by making it prohibitively expensive for disgruntled home owners to switch to cheaper loans.

Wednesday

Mortgage Application Volume Down

US Mortgage applications plunged last week, largely reflecting a drop in demand for home refinancing loans. Mortgage application volume tumbled 28.7 percent during the week ending March 28, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly survey. Mortgages to purchase homes dropped a seasonally adjusted 11.8% last week, compared with the previous week. Refinancing applications took a 38.1% dive on a week-to-week basis, according to the MBA's latest survey. The U.S. real estate market is currently suffering one of the worst downturns in its history. Last week's drop in demand may indicate what is in store for the hard-hit sector this spring, which is the peak home-buying season. Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees, averaged 5.75 percent, up 0.01 percentage point from the previous week.

UK's First Direct suspends mortgage offers

UK's First Direct has withdrawn mortgages for new customers to clear a backlog after people flocked to its relatively cheap rate mortgages as other lenders raised mortgage rates due to the credit crunch. The HSBC Bank owned Internet and telephone bank said it is temporarily withdrawing its mortgage range after receiving five times the usual volume in applications. First Direct has stopped offering the mortgages for a short period, not expected to be longer than a few weeks, to clear an administrative backlog after receiving five times the normal number of mortgage applications. First Direct's most popular offer was a 4.95 percent 2-year fixed rate mortgage, which it last week raised from 4.75 percent. Competitors NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland on Thursday became the first British lenders to raise their offset mortgages for existing customers to 6.45 percent from 6.2 percent.

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