Thursday, October 4, 2012

Banks not lending for fear of Fannie, Freddie

Welcome to the morning roundup. Here's a look at what's news in banking and finance.

Banks hesitant to lend. Even with mortgage rates at record lows, people are having a hard time getting loans as banks increasingly face demands from Fannie and Freddie to buy back bad loans, The Wall Street Journal reports. One industry lawyer said the mortgage giants have a "gotcha mentality."

OCC to get tougher. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, seen as the most bank-friendly regulator, signaled that it's about to get tougher, Bloomberg says. It's new director has apologized for the OCC's failures to stop wrongdoing in the past.

Senator slams BofA. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, released a letter she sent to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan demanding that the bank communicate better with homeowners, The Hill reports. She describes working with constituents who had trouble getting in touch with the bank about their mortgages.

Bank of America selling office complex. Bank of America plans to sell a 12-building office complex in New Jersey it inherited from Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg reports. The bank has been shedding real estate, including in Charlotte.

JPMorgan suit could bite BofA. The lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general against JPMorgan Chase could set a precedent that would come back to bite Bank of America, says. One of the issues in the JPMorgan case is what type of liability the bank has for Bear Stearns, which JPMorgan acquired during the financial crisis. BofA, of course, has a troubled acquisition of its own in Countrywide.