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Market News (01/08/2013)

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MADISON, Wis. (1/8/13)

  • Business sentiment worldwide unevenly improved in the past six weeks, with no real spike after Congress passed its tax deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, according to Moody's Analytics Survey of Business Confidence (Moody's Jan. 7). Toward the end of last year, expectations about the prospects of the economy heading into 2013 improved. However, business sentiment still is tenuous and is likely to rapidly decline if federal policymakers cannot fix the remaining debt-ceiling and spending issues in a proper manner, Moody's said. Current business sentiment continues to be an indicator of a fragile economy, Moody's said …
  • The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, comprising the world's top central bankers and regulators, Sunday announced it will relax a rule intended to make sure that large banks can get through financial crises without running out of cash (The Wall Street Journal Jan. 7). Banks said the rule--known as the "liquidity coverage ratio"--was not workable and was financially risky. They have intensely lobbied the committee for two years to change it, said the Journal. The regulatory committee succumbed to the pressure and made it easier for banks to comply with the rule and also delayed its complete implementation until 2019, the Journal said …

News of the Competition (01/08/2013)

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MADISON, Wis. (1/8/13)

  • Bank of America Corp. (BofA) has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to resolve home-loan repurchase claims that arose from troubled mortgages that soured during the housing crisis (, The New York Times DealBook and The Wall Street Journal  Jan. 7). BofA, the second-largest U.S. lender by assets, will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion to settle home loan repurchase claims and $6.75 billion to buy back mortgages it sold to Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise said Monday. The loans were created by Countrywide Financial Corp., which BofA purchased in 2008. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other mortgage buyers claimed  Countrywide loans were based on erroneous data regarding borrowers and properties, Bloomberg said …
  • A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit against Citigroup and MidFirst Bank regarding force-placed insurance may proceed (American Banker Jan. 4).  Borrowers Gordon Casey in Syracuse, N.Y., and Duane Skinner in Maryland allege the banks perpetrated wrongdoing in the force-placing of flood insurance on their homes. U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Utica, N.Y., ruled Wednesday their lawsuit can proceed. In the suit--filed in May on behalf of themselves and other borrowers serviced by affiliates of Citigroup and MidFirst Bank--the two men claim the banks made them buy flood insurance in amounts that were illegally excessive, the Banker said. Force-placed insurance is a form of hazard coverage banks buy to protect the properties of buyers who let their homeowners' insurance lapse …