Bond Insurers Seen as Next Victim of Squeeze

October 30, 2007 (FT.com) – Investor worries are mounting that the next big casualties from the credit squeeze might be the specialist companies that act as guarantors for bond issuers. These companies, which write insurance to boost the credit ratings of various kinds of bonds, have seen their share prices pummelled and the cost of protecting their debt against default soar. Over the past week, sector leaders such as MBIA, Ambac, XL Capital Assurance, Radian and MGIC have all been hit hard. Continue reading

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California’s Home-Loan Defaults Rise to Decade High

October, 26, 2007 (Bloomberg) – California mortgage defaults more than doubled in the third quarter to the highest level in more than a decade as the housing slump battered homeowners. Homeowners received 72,571 default notices, more than double the 27,218 filed a year ago, DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla, California-based provider of real estate data, said today in a statement. The default level was the highest since the first quarter of 1996, when 61,541 notices were recorded in California. Continue reading

Countrywide Director Resigns Prior to Earnings Announcement

Cisneros resigned today as a director of CHL, two days prior to the company’s earnings announcement on Friday. His excuse: to focus on CityView? Can’t be a good sign and reminds me of William Popejoy’s resignation from New Century when he saw the writing on the wall.  Soon after Popejoy resigned, New Century collapsed.

October 24, 2007 (TheStreet.com) – Henry G. Cisneros, a former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has quit Countrywide Financial’s board of directors.

The move comes just two days before the company, which has come under fire for its business practices and the stock-selling spree of its deeply tanned chief executive, is due to post third-quarter earnings. Wall Street expects a loss of $1.26 a share. Continue reading

Home Equity Loan Securitizations Plunge

“Only $9.9 billion of home equity loan securitizations have come to market since July 1 – A 95% decline from the $200.9 billion in the first half of this year and a roughly 92% decrease from the same period last year.”

Financial Times, October 18, 2007