Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here Today, Gone on Friday? How Is YOUR Bank Doing?

There’s a lot of talk these days about the nationalization of U.S. banks, how good credit unions may be a safer place to park our money these days, and the “Texas Ratio” which calculates the likelihood of a bank’s failure. The Texas Ratio is a ratio that was developed by Gerald Cassidy and many other analysts now at RDC Capital Markets that they formulated during the Texas Savings and Loan crises back in the early1990s. It takes a bank’s non-performing assets and loans which include loans that are delinquent for more than 90 days, then divides this number by the bank’s “tangible equity plus its loan loss reserve”. If this calculation equates to a ratio of 1:1 – a number of 100 or great – it is considered a warning sign. The higher that number, the better the chances of that bank’s failure.

As much as I like to crunch numbers, I also like to use my time wisely! So rather than dig around and collect the data to calculate these numbers for banks we have relationships with both personally and through business dealings, I’d much rather have a list to check that someone else already did, although I probably will calculate these ratios for banks we have accounts with. I came across this link in a comment on an article on CBSMarketwatch that not only provides the names and Texas Ratios for several banks, but their locations are mapped, too. But, being the type who likes to check and double-check my data sources, I like having another information resource.

So, now we can pay attention to banks who have accepted T.A.R.P. funds AND keep an eye on this Texas Ratio results list to see if we need to do any other “readjusting” so that: a) we aren’t supporting organizations whose business philosophies do not coincide with our own, and b) we don’t get thrown under the bus by the fast demise of a bank. For example, Silver Falls Bank was one the most recent Oregon Bank failures, having been taken over by the F.D.I.C. on Friday, and their Texas Ratio is reported at 176 on this list, but in January 2008 they were putting out positive reports on their stability! The FDIC will not publish their internal list that they keep, and as much as I would hate to see any “run on a bank”, nor do I want to find I can’t get to my money if I want to! Yeah, our deposits are insured, but who wants to deal with this?

Is this Texas Ratio an infallible predictor? Obviously not, since WaMu and Wachovia did not have Texas ratios that sent up caution signs, yet they have both failed for various reasons. So, how healthy is YOUR bank? Maybe you should check it out.

See you out there!

Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant –

Ready...Set...GO! Get Your $8000 Tax Credit for Your Down Payment!

There is some good news on the horizon for home buyers who are ready, willing and able to enter the world of homeownership!

There are several provisions in the overall stimulus package that President Obama's approved Tuesday. One of the most beneficial provision for home buyers is an $8,000 home buyer tax credit for new home buyers - buyers who have not owned a home in the past three years. For qualified home purchases in 2009, the legislation:

· Stipulates that the $8,000 tax credit does not have to be repaid, unlike the tax credit passed last summer (has a recapture provision if the home is sold in the first 36 months, though);
· Keeps the tax credit refundable, or claimable regardless of tax liability;
· Extends the "sunset" date from July 1, 2009 until Dec. 1, 2009 so that consumers can utilize it during the critical summer and fall buying months;
· Allows tax credit home buyers to participate in the mortgage revenue bond programs, such as Oregon Bond's RateAdvantage program; and
· Permits state housing finance agencies to help buyers at closing by advancing the credit amount as a loan using tax-exempt bond proceeds - this is even better than the Oregon Bond CashAdvantage program, as you may still take the really great rate on the RateAdvantage program.

While much of the focus has been on the home buyer tax credit, there are several other important components in the legislation that will help small businesses and bolster the housing market. Additional provisions that relate to housing in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will:

· Help home borrowers wanting to purchase or refinance homes in the high-cost markets by extending the 2008 FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits of $729,750 through the end of 2009;
· Temporarily allow exchange of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocating authority for tax-exempt grants and appropriates $2 billion in HOME funding for affordable housing projects (this should make housing developers trying to keep their construction crews busy happy!)

Think $8,000 would help you get the home you want to buy? Want to find out if you meet the criteria? Call me at (541)608-6003 or e-mail me for your free consultation, and I'll gladly share my 25 years of experience with you.

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper - OR/CA Mortgage Consultant -

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Don’t Forget The Taxes and Insurance And Maintenance Expense!

Something I’ve always made a point of emphasizing with first time home buyers – and with long time homeowners and move up buyers as well - are the “other costs” associated with homeownership. Many first time homebuyers are focused on the principal and interest part of the mortgage payment, and when they use an online loan calculator (or often times when speaking to their loan officer), the attention remains on the principal and interest portion of the payment only. And it recently came to my attention that homeowners seeking note modification may also be focused only on the mortgage portion of their monthly payment.

But, what about the other expenses that will be used when a buyer or homeowner is being qualified for their home loan:

Property Taxes
Homeowner’s Insurance
Mortgage Insurance
Homeowners Association Dues

And how about utility expenses - electricity, natural gas, heating oil, wood/pellets, water, sewer, trash pickup- are these expenses being included in your budget? Or maintenance costs, landscape maintenance, roof repair, paint/stain, septic system maintenance…have you seen the movie “The Money Pit”? This can be a lengthy list! Have you incorporated these other expenses associated with the home you are purchasing in to your budget?

So, my tips for today…

First time homebuyers – make sure you are budgeting for all the costs associated with homeownership AND that you have the cash available to make the repairs and/or do the updating you plan to do to your new-to-you home. One of the tools you may use to accomplish this goal is a loan program that will assist you with meeting your objective to purchase a home AND do repairs/updating, like the USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing loan or a Remodel/Renovation loan.

Existing Homeowners seeking Note Modification – consider all your monthly housing expenses when looking at the terms your lender is offering you. Don’t you want to turn the majority in favor of the homeowners who successfully accomplished their goal of remaining in their home through note modification?

See you at the closing table!

Karen Cooper – OR/CA Mortgage Consultant –