Wonderful post by Jeff Belonger... Readers: Be informed, not scared! Knowing what's ahead can yield opportunity!
Mr. Ben Bernanke is considered the 4th most powerful man in the world in the banking sector and can at times operate independent of the President of the United States.
Not sure if you watched the 60 minutes interview of Ben Bernanke. I was impressed because he seems down to earth, humble, and caring about Main Street USA. - Mr. Bernanke grew up in Dillon, a small town in South Carolina. He remembers the culture of Dillon and applies it to his decisions. In the interview, they talked about his childhood home that was bought by another family, which is now in foreclosure. You could see that something of this magnitude has struck 'home' with him and he wants to do something about it.
As we know, when it comes to the media, no matter if it's news print, television, the radio, or online, the story in many cases seems to tell only one side of the issue and certain people and certain groups control what is discussed. This control was evident in the interview and I am not the only one that thinks this way. I called my parents last night and they both watched the video. My dad has been successful in business and has a good grasp of business and macro economics. He flat out told me that he didn't like the interview because it didn't tell him much and felt that important details were lacking. My mom thought there was too much fluff and that Bernanke seemed insincere (could see it in his eyes). And if you read the comments from the video, there were 4 or 5 others that felt the same. 60 minutes video - interview with Ben Bernanke -
So why am I scared after listening to the interview? After more than 16 years in the mortgage industry, having a very good understanding on how mortgages work and our current market situations. After talking to a few financial experts, my fears were confirmed.
Mr. Bernanke made this statement. "You don't get a sustained economic recovery as long as the financial system is in crisis." - I agree with this statement, but we need plans and to make this happen. We also need the political will to do the right thing. Bernanke goes on to say that he feels the recession will end this year and that we will have a recovery by next year. Is this to boost consumer confidence? Hey everyone, I am all for positive thinking and positive information. But I am also a strong believer in the truth, no matter if it hurts or not. I just think Mr. Bernanke skated around several questions with answers that were very vague and weak.
If the credit crisis was the most important issue then it should have been addressed first. Instead there was some money thrown at the problem and then came the stimulus and the bloated budget. Now there is nothing left (short of printing presses) to fix the real problem. Some say it could take a Trillion to stabilize the credit market.
He also made statements such as :
- He stated that we were very close to a financial meltdown. (personally I think we are still on the brink of meltdown. My recovery prediction would be sometime in 2011. But I guess we have to define recovery, which Mr. Bernanke didn’t provide.)
- Bernanke was asked why we were so close to a financial meltdown? Bernanke stated that we didn't regulate enough. How about this one. Shouldn't we have people watching over those that regulate? I have been screaming about regulating in regards to mortgages when it came to such things as : good faith estimates, APR's, and false advertising of interest rates and fees since 1994. We knew about this back then. Many were living it large, living it fat, all the way up to 2006, until the shit hit the fan. Our lack of regulations hit us square in the face, yet we found other excuses to place the blame on. Here is what I think about Government Intervention and regulations.
- Bernanke stated that the Federal Reserve has pledged 1 Trillion dollars in spending which has supported :
-- money market funds
-- auto loans
-- small business loans
-- student loans, etc, etc
This commitment has doubled the size of the Fed's balance sheet. He was then asked if this is tax payer's money. He said, no, it isn't. He went on to describe that banks have accounts with the Fed just as we have accounts with the banks. This method is akin to printing money, which the Federal Reserve is printing by the ton. Listen to the video on this part, about using computers to mark up the size of the accounts. The “black hole” was created when the government preempted the decisions a free market system – who wins and who loses.
Near the end of the interview, Mr. Bernanke was asked what would be one of the first signs of a recovery. He stated, "A large bank will be successful when it is able to raise private equity." This is so true in business, but how long will this take? Do many banks just feel that they can rely on the government to bail them out? Because Mr. Bernanke did make a statement that he will not let any banks fail. Hhhhhmmmm
Conclusion: Mr. Bernanke did say that a lot of mistakes were made. Well, that's good to admit, but I think we already knew this. He was then asked what could be done to also help in the recovery.
--Banks need to make loans, to find a way, and "to have a reasonable sense of humility." Wow, how daunting and daring is that statement. So as a bank, I should suck it up, and make it work, not knowing if I will be compensated if the borrower fails? Isn't that how the foreclosure mess started? Didn't the Clinton administration strong arm Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, telling them to make more loans affordable, by lowering credit scores and raising loan-to-values. The biggest issue at the time was 100% financing, which is not for everyone and to push stated loans at such high LTV's, loan-to values.
--Reviewing banks practices. Okay, shouldn't this have been done in the beginning? And he went on to say, "to toughen regulations". hhhhmmmm - How tough? Tough enough to where people can't even get a simple loan? Wait, I thought he said for banks to make loans, to find a way.
Mr. Bernanke, my question to you is, which is it. I don't think we can have our cake and eat it too. That took place from 2003 to 2005 and look at us now. I am starving because not only I can't have my cake, but it's not there to be eaten.
Food for thought? How about slight change and dumping some money into the economy. And then letting the market work itself out... ???
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For more information on FHA loans, please go to this link. The FHA Expert
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For important mortgage insight to watch for, please read : Consumers need to be aware of these Red Flags !!!!
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