• March 12, 2012 • HousingWire.com
A look at stories across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues:
Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage transitioned to new owners, as Ranieri Real Estate Partners and funds tied to WL Ross & Co. closed on a deal for the former Deutsche Bank subsidiary.
The multifamily mortgage company, now known as Berkeley Point Capital, services a $29 billion portfolio. The firms announced the initial agreement in September.
WL Ross & Co., run by billionaire Wilbur Ross, owns the former American Home Mortgage Servicing, which recently changed its name to Homeward Residential.
Government officials expect to file the final version of the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement in court Monday, according to Reuters and others. An oft-discussed filing for late last week came and went Friday, as Aruna Viswanatha writes a disagreement between Nevada and Bank of America held up the deal at the last minute. The two sides also settled as part of a separate suit filed by the state’s attorney general.
The slugfest for the Republican presidential nomination continued as Rick Santorum won the weekend’s biggest prize, Kansas. The former Pennsylvania senator handily beat Mitt Romney, 51% to 21%, and could take home 33 of the state’s 40 delegates, according to The New York Times. Romney won in smaller caucuses in the territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The slate of GOP contests continues this week in Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi and American Samoa on Tuesday and Missouri on Saturday. (Santorum won Missouri’s primary last month, but state Republicans awarded no delegates in that contest.)
Canada’s housing agency now backs an amount of mortgages equal to 31% of the country’s annual gross domestic product, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
The $546 billion of mortgages as of Sept. 30 equates roughly to levels at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the height of the U.S. housing bubble. The two, now in conservatorship, were exposed to possible defaults just more than a third of the size of the economy.
Government-owned Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. estimates a 0.5% probability of its own insolvency, and said it has enough capital except in the case of a long-sustained recession. Canadian home prices are up 44% since 2006.
The Senate Banking Committee turns its attention to housing again this week, with two subcommittees holding a joint hearing Thursday. The committee’s session, its fourth related to housing this year, will focus on how to minimize taxpayer losses.
Witnesses include Steve Linick, inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Laurie Goodman, senior managing director at Amherst Securities.
The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its target for the federal funds rate after its meeting Tuesday. But it’s unlikely the committee will waver from its zero-interest rate policy, which the committee said during its January meeting could continue through late 2014. The FOMC has maintained the federal funds rate between 0% and 0.25% since December 2008.
The Federal Depository Insurance Corp. reported the failure of New City Bank in Chicago, making it the 13th bank nationwide and second in the metropolitan area to go under in 2012.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation shuttered the bank Friday, with the FDIC appointed as receiver. No buyer could be found for the bank with $71.2 million in assets and $72.4 million in deposits.
The FDIC estimates a $17.4 million cost to its deposit insurance fund, and said New City customers will receive checks for the amount of insured money.
(Some brief nonhousing-related news: The NCAA announced the 68-team field for the men’s basketball tournament set to start this week. Get crackin’ on those brackets.)
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