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Christopher Whalen

Christopher Whalen is an author and investment banker who lives in New York. Read more about Christopher here.


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Washington & Wall Street: Is Dodd-Frank Killing the Housing Recovery?

So the far-left in Congress achieves one of their key goals in Section 941, namely to cripple the private mortgage market and focus all housing finance market activity on the “qualified mortgage” sector. Depression era agencies like Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration operate in a cozy cartel arrangement with the top four banks, killing any significant opportunity for the private sector in the US housing market. Jul 26, 2013 7:14 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Detroit Defaults as Auto Industry Surges

The bankruptcy of the City of Detroit is a historic event for many reasons. In financial terms, it is an event of default for municipal bonds measured in billions of dollars. Reuters reports the law firms specializing in municipal bankruptcy will be busy in the near term Jul 22, 2013 9:15 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Bank Earnings Suggest Housing Slump Ahead

Bottom line is that the nation’s largest banks are warning US policy makers that the housing sector is cooling after a relatively modest rebound in home prices over the last 18 months. While there are many reason why the housing sector is cooling, the key factor keeping millions of Americans out of the market is the Dodd-Frank law and the regulatory hurdles that have been erected to “protect consumers” by the likes of Senator Warren. Unfortunately the only thing Senator Warren really is doing is protecting millions of US consumers from buying homes. Jul 17, 2013 10:34 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: McCain-Warren Glass Steagall Bill Is Dead-On-Arrival with Obama

Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Arizona Republican John McCain have introduced legislation to separate commercial and investment banking a la the Depression era Glass-Steagall. The proposal is more of a political exercise since the legislation has little chance of approval, but it is important because the political attraction of beating on the largest banks has not diminished now five years after the start of the subprime crisis. Jul 12, 2013 10:04 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Basel III Bad for Housing, US Economy

Should JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon be the next Fed Chairman? Federal Bank Regulators just published the latest “draft” bank capital guidelines for US depository institutions, aka “Basel III.” You don’t need to know the details, just know that consumers who want to get a loan to buy a house are getting screwed while the bankers who caused the financial crisis are being only modestly inconvenienced Jul 8, 2013 7:19 PM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Rising Rates Won't Hurt Home Loan Market

Are rising interest rates, care of the Federal Reserve, really bad for the home mortgage market? Reading the headlines, you would think the world has ended with a one point move up in the annual percentage rate or APR on a typical mortgage. But don’t accept the simple answer when pondering the world of mortgage finance. Today, getting a mortgage is more a function of politics than of interest rates and only the best borrowers need apply. Jun 30, 2013 4:57 PM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Obama, Energy & 'Californication'

The ultimate objective of Obama and the anti-growth environmentalist community is to turn America into California. They sell a happy image cleaner environment, but the real agenda is pure anti-business, pro-government fascism à la FDR. The future of American energy policy pursued by Obama includes limits on carbon emissions and other environmental rules that are impossible for business to achieve and which will make it equally impossible to create new jobs for Americans in the future. Jun 25, 2013 5:00 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street -- Steve Forbes: Bernanke Has 'Failed'

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke is having a bad week. The fun started on Monday on PBS with Charlie Rose, when President Barack Obama said Chairman Bernanke has stayed in his post “longer than he wanted,” effectively firing the central bank chief on national television. Jun 19, 2013 5:18 PM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Volcker Challenges Bernanke on Inflation

Americans forget that for much of the first half of the 20th Century we lived under wage and price controls made necessary by two world wars. Today, however, in peace time the Fed is bailing out Wall Street speculators, zombie banks and most of all, the profligate national Congress with zero interest rates. Do Ben Bernanke and his colleagues on the FOMC have the courage to do the right thing and end the Fed’s extraordinary policy efforts before inflation becomes a serious national problem? Jun 17, 2013 6:05 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: At Facebook, It's About Quality vs. Quantity

My take on Zuckerberg has always been simple: smart young man with poorly developed business skills and, more important, a glaring lack of good professional advice. Last year’s IPO was a complete fiasco, but one that was predictable given the current state of Wall Street. Jun 12, 2013 12:00 PM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Jobs, Credit, and Economic Growth

Last week, a raft of economic data came out that confirms what all of us already know, namely that the US economy is growing far more slowly than before the 2008 financial crisis. Most politicians and economists tell us that the economy will eventually grow faster, but is this really true? The fact is, neither politicians nor economists can or will tell the American people the truth in the wake of the great housing bust. Jun 10, 2013 8:02 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: OCC Cleared BoA Countrywide Bankruptcy

A lawyer once told me that “all’s well that ends” when it comes to litigation. As we enter year six of the investor litigation by American International Group, several Federal Home Loan Banks, and other large investors against Bank America’s Countrywide unit, the story just keeps getting better and better. Jun 5, 2013 5:57 PM PT

Washington & Wall Street: If Christie Wants to Be President, He Needs to Fix NJ Housing

Republicans of an optimistic variety view New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a strong contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. But before we start popping the champagne corks to celebrate, let’s take a look at how this important state has fared under his leadership. Hurricane Sandy obviously did tremendous damage to the New Jersey economy, but perhaps an equally important issue is housing. Jun 3, 2013 10:55 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Fine Tuning & Fed Independence

A decade ago, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee were presiding over the lowest interest rates since WWII. The terrorist attack on September of 2001 had spurred the central bank to reverse course and ease tighter policy put in place to cool the financial bubble in technology stocks. The reason for this change in interest rate policy was to arrest any negative economic response from the dastardly act on 9/11. May 31, 2013 6:16 AM PT

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