For a brief history of the multiple extensions of the The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 (“the Act”), go to my June 2017 post here. I predicted at the time that it would be extended through 2018; but I also predicted that news of the extension would be slow in coming, because this law – which no politician in their right mind would actively oppose – was a small bit player in the horse-trading that takes place at the end of each year for tax extenders,  and often is not finally settled until early the following year. Then, once the legislation is passed, it is applied retroactively to January 1 of the preceding year. Continue reading “Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extended Through 2018 – Finally!”

For those who experienced, even tangentially, some of the fallout from the housing and foreclosure crisis, circa 2007/8 – 2012, most are aware of the tax exclusion given borrowers who received some form of debt forgiveness from a lender.

By way of refresher, this all relates to The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 (“the Act”). IRC 108 provides that generally, debt relief given from a lender to a borrower is a taxable event.[1]  The Act, however, allowed taxpayers to exclude from their gross income, debt that a lender or servicer cancelled when it arose from a short sale, deed-in-lieu, foreclosure, or certain mortgage modifications. However there are some limitations: Continue reading “Extension of Mortgage Debt Relief Act – 2017 Redux!”

Markets“Trickle-down did not work. It got us into the mess we were in, in 2008 and 2009,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the idea that tax cuts on high-income households can spur economic growth. “Slashing taxes on the wealthy hasn’t worked. And a lot of really smart, wealthy people know that.” ~ Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2016 (“Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton on Tax Cuts for the Rich”)

The Blame Game. The term “trickle-down economics” is the liberal pols’ pejorative for the theory behind “supply-side economics”, which holds that stable economic growth, in large part, is driven by favorable tax policies, regulatory policies and monetary policies.  In more prosaic terms, “a rising tide lifts all boats” – the boats don’t raise the tides. Continue reading “The Late Great Recession: How It Became Politicized In This Election Cycle”

DecisionQuantitative Easing (“QE”) & Tapering.  QE is a process whereby the Fed purchases large quantities of long-term securities held by big banks. The Fed prints money to make these asset purchases.  By reducing the supply of these securities for other investors, the price goes up.  When the price of the bonds goes up, their yield goes down.  This means that for large companies and municipalities who depend upon the sale of bonds for the financing of projects, their borrower costs go down.  Since mortgage interest rates track the long term T-Bill rates, as QE keeps these rates low, it also keeps mortgage interest rates low.  The goal of QE was to keep long term interest rates low and release more money into the marketplace, thereby increasing economic activity for households and businesses.[1] Continue reading “The Federal Reserve 2015: Looking For The Goldilocks Solution”

Take the Bonus and RunIntroduction.  For most readers of my rants posts, it is no secret that I am a strong supporter of the “little guy;” the folks who suffered the brunt of the Great Recession; whose political heft is felt only during elections, and is otherwise at the mercy of politicians, their hacks and cronies.

However, during the post-recession years, circa 2010 forward, I have watched with disgust what our elected leaders have done under the guise of helping the “little guy.” In my opinion, they have taken every opportunity to capitalize on every transgression by Wall Street and the Big Banks, to fear-monger and fight, solely in an effort to shore up their flagging poll numbers. While trying to aggregate power in Washington, they have completely ignored the needs of the constituents that elected them. Continue reading “Political Dithering – Why Pols Can’t Focus On Extending The Tax Forgiveness Law For 2014”

Little Girl‘The former Federal Reserve chairman, speaking at a conference in Chicago yesterday, told moderator Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics Inc. — “just between the two of us” — that “I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so.” When the audience laughed, Bernanke said, “I’m not making that up.”  ~Oct. 3, 2014

In an October 3, 2014 post on, here, it was reported that former Fed Chair, Ben Bernanke, was turned down for a loan to refinance his home.  This is a guy that now pulls down $250,000 a speech.  What’s up? Continue reading ““I’m Sorry Mr. Bernanke, But You Don’t Qualify For A Loan””

Breaking NewsThis secret congressional testimony was surreptitiously transcribed and delivered anonymously to me by a high-level government employee who had recently been foreclosed by Cerberus Servicing Systems, a little known, but highly aggressive foreclosure company.  Cerbrus’ namesake is the mythical three-headed dog, guarding the gates of Hell, preventing those who enter from ever leaving.  Cerberus Servicing goes after those borrowers the Big Banks wants to teach a “lesson” to, since it requires a uniquely demonic set of skills. Cerberus’ trademark tactic is to pretend to be interested in assisting homeowners to modify their loans, using platitudes such as “We Care” and “We’re Here to Help,” while simultaneously commencing a foreclosure against them. Cerberus personnel are known for their perverse enjoyment of intentionally losing a homeowner’s modification paperwork and then ignoring their pleas to postpone the foreclosure sale so they can re-send their loan mod documents a 4th or 5th time.  PCQ Continue reading “Breaking News: Big Bank Spills All To Secret Congressional Committee!”

BullyIn a recent article appearing at the online site “” there appeared a short blurb titled “Altisource Opens Technology Office in India.” For those who have never heard of Altisource, they are one of the few major members on the Pantheon of Scoundrels, or POS, for short.  On their website, they proudly boast:

Altisource provides services to some of the most respected organizations in their industries, including one of the nation’s largest sub-prime servicers….

Continue reading “Altisource And Its New “Disruptive Enterprise Software””

Take the Bonus and RunIn January 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published a study titled “The Structure and Practices of the Debt Buying Industry.”  The full report can be found here. It makes very interesting reading, and confirms a few things I’ve always suspected.

The reason this information appeals to me is that in some instances, homeowners involved in some form of distressed housing event, such as a short sale, are unable to get the lender or servicer to waive the unpaid balance of the debt, i.e. the difference between the lender’s net recovery in the short sale and the full amount of the debt due [often including thousands of dollars of accrued interest].

When asked by clients what they should do, I tell them the decision is theirs…but to me the choice is clear. Here’s why: Continue reading “Pssst! Wanna Buy Some Unpaid Mortgage Debt – Only 4 Cents On The Dollar!”

iStock_000010654155SmallIn a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “Mortgage Lenders Ease Rules for Home Buyers in Hunt for Business” by Nick Timiraos and Annamaria Andriotis, we continue to hear that banks are beating the bushes for borrowers; and they are relaxing some of the tough lending requirements that have stymied may would-be homebuyers in the last few years.  The reason? The refi boom which was triggered by ever lower interest rates has about run its course.  In the search for other profit centers, many banks are trying to fill the void with loan origination business. Continue reading “Are Mortgage Lending Rules Easing?”