The following article was originally published in the Sun Sentinel with excerpts by Roy Oppenheim.
- Rising interest rates
- Strong US Dollar
- Devaluation of foreign currencies
While foreclosures have waned, South Florida real estate lawyer Roy Oppenheim predicts the housing recovery will slow in the coming months.
He said demand and prices will soften due to a mix of rising interest rates, a strong dollar and a devaluation in foreign currencies. That could lead to more foreclosures.
“I’m expecting a correction, but not anything like 2007 or 2008,” Oppenheim said.
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What do the recent tragedy in Bangladesh and the state of this country’s banking industry have in common? At first blush you might say nothing, but scratch just below the surface and you will see there are many parallels.
First Bangladesh – which we all know by now is a corrupt country being run by an ineffective government where rich factory owners sit in Parliament thumbing their collective noses at building codes that no one enforces.
Then, there are the “too big to fail” banks whose CEOs know that, by virtue of their size, the government won’t let them fail for fear they will, just like the garment factory in Bangladesh, come crashing down taking the innocent with them.
Last month’s accident, which killed more than 1,000, isn’t the first one involving garment factory workers. Still, the Bangladesh government has done little to protect those who are just squeaking out a living in what’s estimated to be a $20 billion industry that accounts for more than 75 percent of the country’s exports.
Why are these things allowed to happen? The answer is simple – much like the banking industry in the U.S., the garment industry in Bangladesh is too big to fail.
But the tide may be turning, both in Bangladesh and in the U.S.
In Bangladesh there’s been a groundswell of protests with factories being burned to the ground, and demands for regulation. Those demands, which not only are being heard overseas, but also in this country where many retailers rely on those factories for cheap labor, may serve as a bellwether for the future. In the wake of massive public outcry some retailers are scrambling to respond. But for those who died, it’s too little, too late.
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The first wave of checks to 4.2 million borrowers, including hundreds of thousands in Florida, will go into the mail Friday, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Tuesday’s announcement was the first time bank regulators released information on how the money, which is part of an agreement replacing the failed Independent Foreclosure Review, will be doled out. Everyone who was in foreclosure during 2009 or 2010 with loans serviced by 13 lenders named in the settlement is eligible for payments ranging from $300 to $125,000.
About 2.3 million borrowers will receive the minimum $300, but checks vary depending on borrower experience. For example, borrowers who had a home repossessed after successfully completing a trial loan modification could get $50,000.
The 1,135 borrowers receiving the maximum amount were mostly homeowners who went through foreclosure even though they were protected by the 2003 Service members Civil Relief Act. About 50 borrowers will get $125,000 each for losing their homes when their loan was not in default.
Critics of the program say the amounts were awarded haphazardly. In many cases, homeowners who applied through the original Independent Foreclosure Review received double the amount of money as people in the same situation who didn’t apply.
Also, up to $500 is being awarded to homeowners in a category called “modification request approved.“This is a completely nonsensical process,” said South Florida foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim. “It’s like winning the lottery.”