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    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

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The Physician’s Home Mortgage Tax Benefit

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What is the Real Benefit?

Your home is likely your biggest investment. So, knowing exactly what, and how much, you’re paying is just common sense.

Total Costs

But, when medical professionals map out the life of their home mortgage and the total cost — even factoring the best mortgage rate – they often fail to consider the copious tax benefits they will receive.

Going Granular

We take a look at three home-buyer scenarios to determine just how much they will receive in tax benefits over the life of their loan, and the total amount they will have paid when their loan is finally over.

Assessment

Also included is the cutoff point for each filing status for when the standard tax deduction becomes more than the itemized deduction.

Conclusion

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Video on Why The Federal Government Is Suing The Banks

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The Case against Banks – Trying to Understand the Financial Crisis?

Did you know that Federal regulators recently filed a lawsuit against banks for their role in the financial crisis. This motion graphic done, with What’s Trending, breaks down the story so you can understand the facts behind the case.

Video Link: http://columnfivemedia.com/work-items/whats-trending-motion-graphic-why-the-federal-government-is-suing-the-banks/

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On the US Budget Deficit in 2010

Now North of $1.3 Trillion Dollars

By Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation

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The federal fiscal year for 2010 concluded on September 30th. The Office of Management and Budget and Department of Treasury have released the official figures for fiscal year 2010. The deficit was $1.294 trillion.

Geithner Speaks

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner noted that the cost of the financial rescue of banks and automotive companies was lower than expected. He stated, “By carefully managing the emergency initiatives to stop the financial panic and by accelerating our exit from those investments, we have significantly lowered the cost to taxpayers, bringing the costs of the financial rescue down by more than $240 billion this year.”

TARP

The Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP) cost to Treasury was $9 billion in 2010. During this year, the Federal Government also spent $52.6 billion to support the housing industry through troubled lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Deficit Concerns

The deficit declined slightly from 10% in 2009 to 8.9% of the 2010 gross domestic product (GDP). Tax receipts for 2010 were $2.16 trillion or 14.9% of the economy. Government expenditures were $3.45 trillion or 23.8% of the economy. Senate Budget Committee Ranking Minority Member Judd Gregg (R-NH) expressed concern about this deficit and noted, “These abrupt and shocking changes in our fiscal situation cannot be dismissed as “inherited” problems when the tally of the majority’s spending spree has climbed into the trillions.”

Assessment

The Fiscal Commission appointed by President Barack Obama is developing a plan to reduce the deficit. The target for the Fiscal Commission is to reduce the current 8.9% GDP deficit down to 3% of GDP within five years.

Editor’s Note: Your editor and this organization take no position with respect to the many financial and tax options that are available to Congress. This information is offered as a public service to our readers.
Conclusion

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Mortgage Investors Join Outcry Against Banks

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Coordinated Strategies Emerging

[By Karen Weise ProPublica: Oct. 18, 2010, 1:18 p.m.]

Homeowners, and at times the government, have long complained that banks and other companies that service mortgages aren’t good at their job of collecting monthly payments, modifying loans and processing foreclosures. Now, a new cast of characters are piling on the criticism: the servicer’s own clients, the investors that actually own the mortgages.

The Servicers

Servicers handle the day-to-day of working with homeowners on behalf of the investors, who bought bundled mortgages from Wall Street. But investors are now threatening servicers with legal action. Just like homeowners, investors are frustrated by the poor job in modifying loans that servicers have been doing. They also say servicers are looking out for themselves, not investors’ interests as their contracts typically require.

For example, Investor Bill Frey, who runs the securities firm Greenwich Financial Services, says servicers view investors as “a Thanksgiving turkey to be carved up and shared among them-selves.” Investors can range from foreign governments and hedge funds to college endowments and pension funds. During the housing bubble, they gobbled up AAA-rated bonds created by pools of mortgages. Now that defaults and foreclosure are mounting, investors argue that flaws in how loans are serviced are costing them billions of dollars.

They say servicers have often dragged out foreclosures to rack up fees and refused to reduce second mortgages to make modifications sustainable. Investors often prefer modifications to foreclosures. But for modifications that won’t ultimately prevent a homeowner from defaulting, investors still prefer quick foreclosures so they can recoup their money and move on.

Of Terminal In-Decision

“Terminal indecision is not good,” says Frey. “If it can be fixed, fix it. If it can’t, nix it.”

Servicers have been slow [1] to modify mortgages—something we’ve written [1] about many times [2] — and when they do modify loans, homeowners are still saddled with other debt from second mortgages and home equity lines. Even after modifications under the government’s program, homeowners typically still must spend almost two-thirds of their income to pay off their mortgage and other loans, like credit cards or second mortgages.

Emerging Paperwork Scandal

The current mortgage paperwork scandal [3] adds more fuel [4] to the fire as major servicers have halted foreclosures because of potential paperwork irregularities around the country. Concerns are also growing that banks may not have properly transferred loans into the mortgage pools in the first place. “This deficient approach undermines the integrity and the operational framework of the housing finance and mortgage system as it exists today,” the Association of Mortgage Investors wrote [5] in a press release.

(For more on the growing scandal, check out our recent explanation of the main players involved.)

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which represents most major servicers, did not respond to ProPublica’s request for comment.

Legal Strategies

Investors from across the country have been coordinating legal strategies for over a year ago, with the effort ramping up in early spring, according to Frey. Since then, more and more investors have formed a loose consortium, gaining momentum “like a snowball going downhill,” he says. In the last month alone, the group added other investors that own an additional $100 billion in mortgage bonds.

They have not filed any suits yet, Frey says, because the group is first trying to grow even more. Also, since each investor group has different, nonmortgage business with the banks, some investors have conflicting interests in how to proceed, he says. The consortium now represents investors that own more than $600 billion in mortgage securities, which is around a third of the entire mortgage securitization market. The group includes 65 major mortgage investors; Bloomberg reported that large investment companies including Black Rock, PIMCO and Fortress are part of the effort, as are the quasi-governmental Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Banks, which both own private securitized loans.

Coordinating investors is no easy task, since the mortgage bonds were sliced and diced to be sold off to investors around the world. To assert legal rights, investors must coordinate to prove that they collectively represent a certain percentage of each mortgage pool, or in some cases, a certain percentage of each slice of each mortgage pool. (The Wall Street Journal [6] and Bloomberg [7] both describe how Texas-based attorney Talcott Franklin is coordinating a clearinghouse to keep track of the various investments.)

Once investors have standing in each pool, they have the legal right to pressure servicers and trustees to improve or face litigation. The group says they have the legal authority to act in over 2,300 deals.

Investors say servicers must reduce or cancel second mortgages entirely before adjusting the primary loan, since that follows the legal pecking order of how loans should be paid off. But investors say servicers have are dragging their feet in reducing second mortgages to protect their own books, since the largest servicers — Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — also own almost 60 percent of the $1 trillion second lien market.

Bank

Congressional Oversight Panel

A Congressional Oversight Panel concluded in April that there is “tension” between Treasury’s goal of supporting reductions to second mortgages and Treasury’s interest in ensuring that writing down second liens doesn’t severely weaken banks’ balance sheets. The panel wrote than when a servicer owns the second lien, the “inexorable conflict of interest” will more likely lead to modifications on the first loan, “as it benefits the bank at the expense of the mortgage-backed security investors.”

We’ve previously reported [8] that mortgages servicers frequently tell homeowners that investors are the roadblock to loan modifications, even though few mortgage deals actually restrict modifications.

Servicers are also supposed to act like watchdogs and report back to investors when they identify loans they suspect didn’t meet the lending standards promised when the bonds were initially sold to investors. If the banks did misrepresent the quality of the loans initially, the banks would have to buy back the invalid mortgages from the investors. But in many cases, the servicers are subsidiaries of the banks that sold the bonds, which investors say helps explain why servicers have been dragging their feet. Bloomberg noted [7] an analyst’s report that said mortgage repurchases could total over $179 billion.

Original Link: http://www.propublica.org/article/investors-join-outcry-against-mortgage-servicers

Assessment

According to an investor letter cited [6] in the Wall Street Journal, in some mortgage pools that have high default rates, the banks have not repurchased any loans when the servicers are subsidiaries of the banks that sold the bonds. Investors say this is all no small matter. Since the country’s mortgage market is heavily dependent on government support right now, they insist servicers make good on their contracts before start buying loans and supporting the mortgage market again.

Related Articles:

  1. http://www.propublica.org/article/mod-program-falling-short-of-govts-vague-goals
  2. http://www.propublica.org/article/loan-mod-profiles-runaround
  3. http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/biggest-banks-ensnared-as-foreclosure-paperwork-problem-broadens
  4. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-10-13/document-flaws-may-lead-investors-to-fight-mbs-deals.html
  5. http://www.propublica.org/documents/item/association-of-mortgage-investors-press-release-oct.-1-2010
  6. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704814204575508143329644732.html
  7. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-23/mortgage-investors-target-banks-using-texas-lawyer-s-novel-clearing-house.html
  8. http://www.propublica.org/article/when-denying-loan-mods-loan-servicers-often-blame-investors-wrongly

Conclusion

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Recent Elder Housing Updates

Legal Protections, Home Equity Resources and Housing Options

By Staff Reporters

insurance-book1

Recently, significant updates and expanded coverage of the housing market for the elderly has occurred. Several items include efforts to protect consumers, and senior medical professionals, from current difficulties in the housing market. For example, these include the following three updates:

1. FINRA on Reverse Mortgages

An alert issued by the Financial Industry National Regulatory Authority (FINRA), warns that:

“as more Americans near retirement age, some financial institutions are aggressively marketing reverse mortgages as an easy, cost-free way for retirees to finance lifestyles – or to pay for risky investments  that can jeopardize their financial futures.” 

FINRA’s position is that such vehicles should be used only as a last resort.

2. HECM on Primary Residences

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Demonstration (HECM) program, which was first authorized by Congress in 1987, helps elderly homeowners meet their financial needs and provides borrowers with insurance against lender default. Now, homeowners can also use a HECM to purchase a primary residence if they are able to use cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the property they are purchasing.

3. ERA Home-Keeper Program

As a result of the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Fannie Mae announced the discontinuance of its Home Keeper reverse mortgage program, effective as of December 31, 2008.  Some state programs encourage the use of reverse mortgages, in contrast to federal warnings, as a financial tool to help elderly homeowners pay for home and community services so they can “age in place.”

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated, as we follow-up our four part series on: At Home or Nursing Home Care for Long Term Care. Comments from physicians and LTC insurance agents are especially valued.

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