In The News

In The News




Recent Articles by Barry Zigas

Economy.com, A More Promising Road to GSE  Reform, March 22, 2016

Shelterforce Rooflines, FHFA's Proposed Duty to Serve Rule -- New Opportunities for Community Builders, January 8, 2016

Urban Wire, Making Sure the FHFA's Duty to Serve Regulations Help Underserved Markets, Urban Institute, December 31, 2015

Housing Wire, Recap and Release: Not the Right Path to Affordable Mortgages, November 16, 2015

 Housing Wire, The Devil is in the Mortgage Finance Reform Details, September 1, 2014

Congress Blog, New Mortgage Rules Strike the Right Balance,The Hill.com, January 3, 2014

Orange County Register, Special Report, "Housing Recovery a 'Myth' For Many", Nov. 9, 2013

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Development Investment Review, Learning from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Vol. 9, Issue 1, 2013

American Prospect, Restoring the Dream, Special Report, May, 2011

CSPAN's Washington Journal, August 18, 2010

CNN Money.com Fortune, "The Fannie-Freddie Turkey Shoot," August 16, 2010

American Banker American Banker Viewpoint with Sarah Rosen Wartell on housing finance reform, published August 11, 2010

Huffington Post, Thanks, Hank! July 30, 2010

American Banker "Viewpoint" on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, published March 2, 2010

National Housing Conference Open House Blog,"What's Next for Fannie and Freddie?"  December 24, 2009

What Does the Future Hold for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?, Shelterforce Magazine, Fall, 2009

Retooling HUD for a Catalytic Federal Government: A Report to Secretary Shaun Donovan, Chapter 1: Preventing Foreclosures, February, 2009

What Does Financial Capital Owe Society?, The American Prospect, July/August 2009


News Stories Featuring Barry Zigas

Wall St Journal Economics blog, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:  If You Can't Kill Them, Merge Them, March 23, 2016

CNBC.com, Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?, March 21, 2016

TriblLive.com Splitting Mortgage Payments Could Save Homeowners Thousands, March 16, 2016

Bankrate.com, Sidestep Common, Costly Mistakes in Home Purchase, May 22, 2015

AP, 1 in 4 Renters Use Half the Income for Rent, May 3, 2015

Bankrate.com, 6 Must-Do Steps Before Buying a Home, January 26, 2015

Fast Company, The New Era of "Maybe" Mortgage Lending, January 22, 2015

Wall Street Journal, Minority Borrowers Feel Mortgage Pinch, September 22, 2014

Huffington Post, Elizaebeth Warren Splits Progressives on Mortgage Reform, July 14, 2014

Bloomberg, Treasury Begins Push to Revive US Mortgage Bond Market, June 26, 2014

Affordable Housing Finance, Housing Moves Further Out of Reach, March 24, 2014

Today Monay, New Mortgage Rules:  No Traps, No Runarounds, Today.com, January 10, 2014

Washington Informer, Special Report:  New Mortgage Rules Take Effect, January 10, 2014

Inland Valley News, Mel Watt Becomes New Director of Federal Housing Finance Agency, January 8, 2014

CNBC Nightly Business Report, Underwater Mortgage Insurance, November 21, 2013

Marketplace, Divvying Up the $13 Billion JP Morgan Fine, October 21, 2013

Bipartisan Policy Center, A Conversation about Housing Finance Reform,Video Interview with Zillow Chief Econmist Dr. Stan Humphries, October 7, 2013

American Banker, Affordability Will Be Key Challenge in GSE Debate, August 8, 2013

MSNBC, RIP Fannie and Freddie?,August 6, 2013

McClatchy News Service, Obama Trumpets Housing Gains, Calls for Affordable Mortgages, August 6, 2013

National Journal/The Atlantic Cities, We Could Have Fixed the Underwater Mortgage Crisis a Long Time Ago, July 30, 2013

New York Times, New Standards for Safe Loans, February 7, 2013

Florida's Mortgage Mess:  Among the Worst in the U.S., WLRN, Miami/S. Florida, FL, January 2, 2013

Small Housing Inventory May Push Rental Demand for Years, Housing Wire Rewire, December 31, 2012

The American Prospect, Foreclosure Free-for-All, August 30, 2012

Washington Post, How the Presidential Election Affects the Real Estate Market, September 1, 2012

Seattle Times, Deal to Aid 1 Million Homeowners; Won't Solve Housing Market Woes,February 9,  2012

Bankrate.com, Tips to Help You Make a Smart Buy on a New Home, February 9, 2012

MN Public Radio Mid Morning Report, Refinancing for Underwater Homeowners,audio clip (10:45 am), February 2, 2012

Los Angeles Times, Obama Proposes Refinancing Plan for Underwater Borrowers, February 2, 2012

WSAV4 TV, Savannah, GA, Consumer Federation of America responds to Obama refinancing plan for underwater borrowers, video clip, February 1, 2012

Las Vegas Review-Journal, Lender One-on-One, It's A Buyer's Market...January 31, 2012

McClatchy Newspapers, Obama's New Mortgage Fraud Unit Met with Skepticism, January 25, 2012

MN Public Radio Mid Morning Report, Foreclosures Keep The Economy from Recovering, July 12, 2011

Wall St. Journal, White House Raps Banks on Home Affordable Modification Program Failings, June 9, 2011

SmartMoney.com, Where Real Estate Listings Fail, June 8, 2011

 American Banker, Bankers, Consumer Groups Call for Wider QRM Criteria, June 3, 2011

Fox Business News, 5 Things Homeowners Can Bargain For, June 3, 2011

Eden Housing Podcast, The Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, April 29, 2011

Washington Post, Downpayment Proposal Could Make a Mountain Out of A Mortgage, April 9, 2011

Planet Money, Special Reports on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, March 29 and April 1, 2011

Washington Post, Obama Plan on Fannie, Freddie May Boost Mortgage Rates, February 11, 2011

Wall St. Journal, Republicans Welcome Obama's Fannie, Freddie Plan, February 11, 2011

Housing Wire.com, Housing Advocates See See GSE Reforms Putting Affordable Housing Goals at Risk, February 11, 2011

Real LI, Newsday.com, 4 Tips for Finding a Good Real Estate Agent, January 17, 2011

FINS Finance, WSJ Digital Network, Office of Housing Hiring Delayed Until March, At Least, January 7, 2011

New York Times, Foreclosure Frenzy Dismays Aspiring Homeowners, December 12, 2010

Housing Predictor, "Consumers Union Joins to Halt Extra Home Sale Fees," October 13, 2010

Minnesota Public Radio, "Misbehaving Banks Put Wrench in Foreclosure Process," October 6, 2010

Maine Public Radio, "GMAC Suspends Some Foreclosures in Maine," September 24, 2010

American Banker, Democrats Preparing Bill to Expand CRA Beyond Banks, September 22, 2010

C-SPAN Washington Journal, The Future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, August 18, 2010

Wall Street Journal, New Rules for Mortgage Lenders, August 1, 2010

Bloomberg, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Debate Begins, July 8, 2010

Washington Independent, "A 'Disastrous' Republican Proposal to Redo Fannie and Freddie," May 11, 2010

Associated Press, "Freddie Mac Seeks $10B in Aid After 1Q Loss," May 5, 2010

Washington Post, "Discrepancies Detailed in Minority Foreclosures," April 28, 2010

Bankrate.com, "Four Tips for Single, Female Homebuyers," April 23, 2010

American Banker, "Treasury's HAMP Cash:  From Carrot to Cudgel," April 23, 2010

Baltimore Sun, "HAMP:  What the Loan Mod Changes Mean," March 27, 2010

Boston Globe, "Frank wants details on mortgage lender overhaul," March 24, 2010

Weekend Marketplace radio program on FHA and HUD IG reviews of lenders with high claim rates, January, 2010.

ULI webinar on Obama housing policies, December, 2009

Marketplace on mortgage delinquencies, December 2, 2008

Boston Globe, Obama Housing Budget Proposals, February 19, 2009


Housing Finance Conference

On August 17, HUD Secretary Shaun S. Donovan and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner convened a Washington, DC conference in Treasury’s historic Cash Room to discuss the future of the housing finance system.  You can review a webcast of the two plenary panel discussions on Treasury’s website. Regional conferences are reportedly to follow later this year as the Administration develops its own options and recommendations for how to rebuild the system after the…  Read More...

Kiwis Pull It Out!

Watch New Zealand’s All Whites World Cup team pull it out from Down Under in the final 30 seconds of play to seal a draw with Slovakia and live to fight another day!


NHC Seeks Legislative Director


The National Housing Conference is seeking a Legislative Director to lead NHC’s work on public policy issues related to affordable housing and advocating for NHC’s policy priorities at the national level.e Director to lead its policy.  The candidate will report directly to NHC’s CEO, and indirectly to the Director of the Center for Housing Policy, NHC’s research and…  Read More...

Fannie and Freddie Charges Hurting Recovery, Consumers?

Brian Chappelle is a respected expert on FHA and the mortgage business.  He wrote a Viewpoint in the May 4, 2010 American Banker that calls out two ways in which he believes Fannie and Freddie’s current policies are hurting consumers and weakening a possible housing recovery.  

Both GSEs are charging up-front fees at closing for borrowers with lower credit scores.  Chappelle makes the point that these…  Read More...

CFA Handicaps Senate Markup

Consumer Federation of America is publishing a “cheat sheet” on the Senate Banking Commitee’s markup of financial services reform legislation, pointing out “who wins and who loses” on major amendments pending before the committee, which begins its markup this week.

 “Recklessness among big banks and Wall Street firms and regulatory failures by federal agencies triggered a prolonged recession that continues to cause great hardship for many Americans,” said…  Read More...

Nice Tattoo!

NY Times columnist Frank Rich uses the best-selling novel and just-released movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to tee off on Wall Street and the Senate’s consideration of financial reform in today’s column.  As only Rich can, he focuses on this pop culture phenomenon’s sub-plot of financial wrong doing and the financial press’s credulous complicity with financial manipulations by high-flying moguls.  

It’s… 

Fannie and Freddie at Fault?

Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers’ national economics reporter, was interviewed recently on The Real news Network about a possible future for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as utilities.  His perspective on the companies’ role in the financial crisis is particularly interesting to me because of McClatchy’s stand-out reporting on the financial crisis and their refusal to pull punches or accept “common wisdom” in their coverage.  


American Banker “Viewpoint”

The American Banker published a commentary by me in the March 2, 2010 “Viewpoint” section entitled “Sustain the GSEs’ Legacy.”


Admin Quiet on GSE Future in 2011 Budget

In spite of widely held expectations that the Administration’s FY2011 budget would lay out some significant outline of its plans for housing GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the future, the actual budget documents contain only one short paragraph about this topic.  In the “Special Topics” subsection of its “Analytical Perspectives” addendum to the budget, the Administration devotes a number of pages to the companies’ history and current status under…  Read More...

Pitchforks, Anyone

The blog “Econompicdata” has some graphics showing growth in Wall St. compensation that should rouse the populist spirit in just about anyone.  

The blog cites other sources to note that while the

level of compensation remains exorbitantly high across all of financial services, the lack of competition among the largest banks has caused compensation within the industry to become even more concentrated.

Before specifically detailing those firms, lets… 

Joseph Stieglitz on Lessons Learned from the Financial Crisis

Thanks to Barry Ritholz of The Big Picture for posting this pithy column from the China Daily Post.  

Ritholz summarizes the column by distilling these lessons from the financial crisis of the late ‘00’s:


“1. Markets are not self-correcting, and without adequate regulation, they are prone to excess.
2. There are many reasons for market failures. Too-big-to-fail financial institutions had perverse…  Read More...

Treasury Commitment to GSEs Stirs Debate

According to the Wall St. Journal, the Treasury Department’s Christmas Eve announcement of an uncapped commitment to backstop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has caused a bit of a stir.  The article also details pay packages for the five highest paid people at both companies.


Fannie, Freddie Top Exec 09 Pay Noted

Fannie Mae’s CEO Michael Williams and Freddie Mac’s CEO Charles Haldeman received about $6 million each in compensation in 2009, reports CNN today.  Other senior executives also had enviable pay packages.  But unlike many other financial firms, including those under the supervision of pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, these packages did not include long term stock awards or options.  The Federal Housing Finance Authority approved all the GSE compensation packages,…  Read More...

Odd Couple Attacks Rahm Over Freddie Mac

In a weird “East meets West” alliance, conservative activist Grover Norquist and liberal Firedoglake blogger Jane Hamsher are attacking White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel over his short stint as a board member of Freddie Mac, the New York Times’ Caucus Blog reports.


ACORN broke no laws, CRS report says

ACORNThe Congressional Research Service reports that its investigation of ACORN found the group did not break any laws in administering a number of contracts with federal agencies.  CRS examined ACORN contracts over the last 5 years and found no instances of the group violating the terms of its funding, reports the NY Times.


Loan Mods Not Working As Hoped

 A good report from Alan Zibel at the Associated Press on progress—or lack of it—in the Obama loan modification program.  


CFA’s Travis Plunkett on Al Jazeera

Check out CFA’s Legislative Director Travis Plunkett on Al Jazeera discussing consumer financial protection.


Fed Regulation of Banks Fell Short, Washington Post Suggests

Federal Reserve BoardAs the Senate considers Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s renomination for another 4-year term, the Washington Post has published a thorough review of all the signals the Fed missed in the run up to the mortgage crisis.  Will a chastened Federal Reserve learn from its lessons, or does this sad history argue for a different regulatory overseer, and possibly a different Chairman?


Schumer slams bank fees

As banks continue charging consumers high fees for ATM’s and other credit uses, NY Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calls them out.


Fannie, Freddie Long Term Federal Wards?

The New York Times reported in a story on December 17, 2009 that Fannie, Freddie, GMAC and AIG may be settling in for a long stay under the U.S. Government’s protection.  


Donna Brazile op ed on foreclosures

Donna BrazileDemocratic Party strategist and consultant Donna Brazile’s op ed in the AZ Daily Sun newspaper dishes it out as only Donna can.


The Paradox of Toil

Paul Krugman cites work by Gauti Eggertsson, husband of our friend Helima Croft, on why economic policies that work in normal times don’t when interest rates are at zero.


HUD Secretary Shaun S. Donovan speaks at CFA’s Financial Services Conference

HUD Secretary Shaun S. DonovanHUD Secretary Shaun S. Donovan addresses CFA’s 2009 Financial Services Conference in Washington, DC on December 4. 2009.  Watch the speech and Q&A on CSPAN.


NY Times reports homebuyers have trouble competing with investors for foreclosed homes

This NY Times report on Sunday, December 13, 2009, recounts the difficulties owner occupant buyers have in outbidding “vulture” investors.  Quoting a number of experts, including Barry Zigas, the story also mentions efforts like Fannie Mae’s to offer foreclosed property first to owner-occupants.


How’d We Get Here?

This hysterical powerpoint presentation entitled "The Subprime Primer" has been making the rounds through the Internet.  I wish I knew who had authored it so I could give them credit!

Warning:  there is some crude language in this presentation that could trigger corporate firewalls/security/filters.


Successful CDC’s?

Dee Walsh, Executive Director of REACH Community Development in Portland, OR, and Bob Zdenek, Interim Director of the National Housing Institute and former Executive Director of the National Congress for Community Economic Development have published a thoughtful piece in Shelterforce Magazine titled "Balancing Act" detailing the tough choices nonprofits face in deciding whether and how to "go to scale."