* Our regular commenter “circularfiringsquad” is sometimes difficult to decipher. He’s not the greatest speller or grammarian in the world and his use of nicknames often makes it hard to follow what he’s trying to say.
But the commenter has been hammering away almost non-stop for weeks, perhaps months, on the “HomeBanc” story, which finally broke this week after Gov. Pat Quinn launched a new TV ad.
* The commenter has now moved on to a different page in the oppo book…
After the spectacular failure of the news organizations who knew about the Rauner HomeBanc scandal(at least3) let’s start the day with another venture Mitt has plundered as he prepared to bless us with his vision on we should be governed. How about Education Futures Group?
OK, how about it? Anybody out there wanna take a crack at looking into and then explaining Education Futures Group in comments?
* By the way, the Tribune wasn’t really impressed with the HomeBanc story…
Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday launched a new ad attacking a business deal of Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, though the dots the Democrat uses to attack the Republican don’t necessarily connect. […]
The equity firm Rauner formerly chaired, GTCR, partnered in 2000 to create HomeBanc Mortgage. While GTCR once held a majority stake in the firm, it reduced its holdings after a public stock offering, selling the last of its shares in September 2006, Security and Exchange Commission records show.
GTCR’s actions came just months before the sudden financial unraveling of the mortgage company in 2007 led first to the January firing of CEO Patrick Flood, followed by an August bankruptcy filing. But GTCR had no board members on the mortgage firm involved in its management since 2005, prior to Flood’s firing and severance, and the bankruptcy filing. Records show Rauner was not a board member of HomeBanc in the lead up to its public offering in 2004.
It could not be immediately determined how much GTCR earned from the sale of stock during the phase-out of its involvement with the firm.
* But the union-backed Illinois Freedom PAC took issue with a Rauner campaign statement from yesterday…
HomeBanc Did Very Little Subprime Lending. “HomeBanc says the concerns about borrowers’ ability to repay, particularly subprime borrowers, hurt the entire industry. And though HomeBanc did little subprime lending — less than 1 percent of the roughly $5 billion in loans it made last year were in that segment — nervous lenders that HomeBanc relied on to fund loans started retrenching. Wall Street investors who purchased pools of loans through the mortgage-backed securities also retreated.” (Peralte C. Paul, “HOMEBANC: Lender Had Little Margin For Error,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/12/07)
* From the union PAC…
2000: Bruce Rauner And Ned Jannotta Joined The Board Of Directors Of Homebanc. “Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to GTCR on its purchase of HomeBanc. And Jannotta and his partner, Bruce Rauner, will join HomeBanc’s board of directors.” [Daily Deal, 5/25/00]
2004: More Than 50% Of Homebanc Loans Were Interest Only. “A newer kind of “interest-only” mortgage lets home buyers cut payments even further. Borrowers pay no principal in the early years of the loan–a period that often stretches to 10 years. That trims initial monthly payments dramatically. Consider that same $200,000 fixed-rate loan, which costs $1,230 a month over 30 years. An adjustable-rate interest-only loan at 3.38 percent cuts that payment by more than half, to just $563 a month. At HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. in Atlanta, more than 50 percent of home buyers opt for an interest-only loan.” [Newsweek, 6/14/04]
After The Interest Only Period Ends, Borrowers Face A Big Jump In Payments. “They’d better know what they’re doing. After the interest-only period ends, borrowers face a big jump in payments. With interest-only loans it also takes homeowners much longer to build up equity; if housing prices fall, they could end up owing more than they own, especially if they put down a zero down payment. That’s one reason some pros think they’re a bad idea. “They’re a way to help people buy more house than they really should be buying in the first place,” says Dallas financial planner Bryan Clintsman. Mortgage companies admit borrowers need to be aware of the risks. Says HomeBanc senior VP D. C. Aiken: “If they go out and buy a new car because they’re saving $700 a month, that’s not a good thing.” [Newsweek, 6/14/04]
* And then there was this…
Homebanc “Started To Punish Georgia Homebuyers” By Raising The Cost Of Adjustable Rate Mortgages Because Of The Tough Consumer Lending Act. “Lenders also started to punish Georgia homebuyers. HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. — one of the state’s largest mortgage originators until it failed four years later — raised the cost of adjustable-rate, interest-only loans. Household Mortgage said it would not purchase any loans that were subject to the law. Other lenders stopped making FHA or VA loans because of vagueness in the law.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 4/29/13]
Homebanc Advised Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue To Dismantle Georgia’s Predatory Lending Law That Would Have Outlawed Abusive Loans Saying It Increased The Cost Of Home Loans. “A hungry and growing band of mortgage brokers circled borrowers with complicated loans offering payments that started low but quickly escalated, saddling homeowners with payments they couldn’t afford. Along with subprime loans, brokers hawked interest-only and negative-amortization loans. They offered no-money-down, no-documentation, no-job loans, anything to cinch the deal and entice their prey to the closing table. But when interest rates adjusted higher and housing values plummeted, many of those borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure, lowering the value of entire neighborhoods. Georgia’s predatory lending law would have outlawed some of those abusive loans, but it never got the chance. One of Sonny Perdue’s first acts as governor was to move to dismantle the law. In doing so, he followed the advice of companies such as Atlanta-based HomeBanc Mortgage Corp., which claimed the law’s liability measures forced it to increase the cost of home loans. At the time, HomeBanc blamed the increase on the New York investment bank Bear Stearns, which demanded a half-percentage-point premium for its loans because of higher liability risks supposedly associated with buying loans governed by Georgia’s predatory lending law. With Georgia now ranking third in the nation for mortgage loan delinquencies and 10th for foreclosures, neither HomeBanc nor Bear Stearns is around to advise the governor on what to do next. Both companies became early casualties of the real estate slump and the collapse of mortgage-backed securities.” [Editorial, Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/3/08]
· With Homebanc’s Backing, The Georgia Fair Lending Act Was Gutted In 2003. “Four years ago, the Legislature bowed to bankers who complained that the state’s 6-month-old landmark predatory lending law was too harsh and was making it too difficult for consumers with less-than-perfect credit to buy homes. One of the most vocal critics of the original law was former HomeBanc CEO Patrick Flood. [Atlanta Journal Constitution. 08/10/07]
The Georgia Fair Lending Act Which Homebanc Successfully Gutted Could Have Protected Homebuyers And Protected the U.S. Economy From Collapse. This week, the Atlanta-based HomeBanc announced it is closing its mortgage loan business, making the company the latest victim of easy credit policies that courted riskier borrowers with loans that carried artificially low interest rates during the first few years and then shot up steeply. When the market was hot, mortgage companies weren’t concerned with whether borrowers had the financial stability to survive an economic downturn. After all, the capital markets were booming and mortgages were being bundled and sold to investors without much regard to risk. So when Georgia lawmakers — in a temporary flash of sound goverance — passed a law to rein in the flourishing subprime market and derail the Wall Street money train, the entire industry rose up in fury. The law permitted claims for unlimited damages against predatory lenders, allowing suits not just against the originating lenders but also against investors who bought mortgage-backed securities. In the short time before it was gutted, the law had no effect on Georgians seeking conventional home loans. Only those borrowers with credit histories suggesting they might have a hard time repaying the loans found it harder to get financing. Now the meltdown of the subprime market is affecting even the big names in the mortgage industry, such as HomeBanc. “We had a moment here in Georgia where we told lenders that they couldn’t lend without regard to repayment ability,” says William Brennan, an Atlanta Legal Aid specialist in mortgage abuses. “But instead the General Assembly gave aid and comfort to these lenders.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution. 08/10/07]