Summer vacation is a time for reading, and my friends come to me to borrow books because I have so many more than most people. In their innocence, they have no idea what I go through in lending a book. They don’t understand that I think of myself as offering them love, truth, beauty, wisdom and consolation against death. Nor do they suspect that I feel about lending a book the way most men feel about their daughters living with a man out of wedlock.
—  Anatole Broyard

How Our Soldiers are Being Massively Ripped Off

Predatory lenders target American soldiers and veterans, who are particularly vulnerable because they often have low financial knowledge (many join the military straight out of high school and receive little to no financial literacy instruction), come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and are generally low-income. Multiple deployments can make it difficult for them to keep up on payments, and they are ripe targets for predatory lending because of their consistent, stable paychecks. Predatory lenders target them by sending unsolicited, misleading loan materials that are designed to look like they come from the government and by encouraging them to take out loans for more than the worth of their homes (particularly disabled veterans, who intend to use the extra funds to upgrade their home so that it will be wheel-chair accessible).

Can exposing past examples of discrimination prevent those in the future? This week’s Design and Violence blog post looks at a map of California neighborhoods that have been labeled “high-risk” by lenders.

[Richard Marciano, University of Maryland, David Goldberg, University of California Humanities Research Institute, Chien-Yi Hou, Rosemarie McKeon. T-RACES (Testbed for the Redlining Archives of California’s Exclusionary Spaces). 2010. AJAX, Apache 3.0, HTML 4.0, JavaScript 1.7, MySQL 5.0, and XML. Image courtesy the designers]

Amazon Kindle Lending Library tops 100,000 titles

Amazon.com has expanded to more than 100,000 titles the library of e-books available for borrowing at no extra charge by Amazon Kindle owners who subscribe to the company’s Amazon Prime subscription service.

The new total, announced in a news release this morning, represents a significant jump from the 5,000 titles available through the service when it launched in September. That meager selection has been one of the biggest challenges facing the service, reflecting the lack of participation by the biggest U.S. publishing houses.

Amazon said today that the catalog includes more than 100 New York Times bestsellers — the same number that was cited at launch.

» via GeekWire

Inside Home Lending for the week of January 16th


QUOTE OF THE WEEK…“If you have to forecast, forecast often.”–Edgar R. Fiedler

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE…Economist Fiedler, Assistant Treasury Secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford, knew that wise forecasters give themselves lots of opportunities for revisions. This time of year, the focus is on forecasts and even though many will soon be revised, some are worth considering. The chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at the University of California, Berkeley, feels home prices have bottomed and are increasing, though not rebounding, where there’s strong job growth. But other economists anticipate a 5% decline in home prices over the next two years. 

Several industry watchers expect mortgage rates to stay low in 2012, especially the first half of the year. But buyers and those looking to refinance shouldn’t drag their feet. Freddie Mac’s chief economist expects rates to rise at least somewhat during the second half of the year. Fannie Mae’s chief economist thinks rates will stay flat most of the year, but may go up a tick the last quarter. And he’s hopeful lenders will work with more buyers with good credit scores. 

BUSINESS TIP OF THE WEEK…Don’t fall victim to “analysis paralysis," putting off a decision until you’ve evaluated every possible option. Successful people just focus on the critical details, then act.


SOMEHOW STAYING POSITIVE…From little guys to big time investors, we’re all trying to keep our spirits up on the good news and patiently wait out the bad. This week had a bit of both, ending Friday with the disappointing report that France lost its "AAA” credit rating and Italy and Spain are expected to drop a couple of notches in their ratings as well. But investors found enough encouragement to help stocks post a modest gain for the second trading week of the year.
One thing that made everyone upbeat was the latest University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment, which shot up from December's 69.9 to a preliminary reading of 74.0 for January, its highest level since May 2011. But disappointing news came with December Retail Sales–up just 0.1% overall and down 0.2%, excluding autos. The Fed’s Beige Book noted a modest increase in economic activity but said nothing to allay concerns over the slow pace of recovery. Finally, the trade deficit grew to $47.8 billion with a drop in exports.

For the week, the Dow ended UP 0.5%, at 12422; the S&P 500 closed UP 0.9%, to1289; and the Nasdaq gained 1.4%, to 2711.

The bond market enjoyed the benefits of the flight to safety by investors who had new reasons to fret over the European sovereign debt situation. The FNMA 3.5% bond we watch ended the week UP .03, at $103.08. National average rates for all types of mortgages tracked by Freddie Mac hit new lows for the week ending last Thursday.

DID YOU KNOW?…Inflation is the overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy, usually as measured by this week’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI).


HOME BUILDING, EXISTING HOME SALES, INFLATION… Housing news comes Thursday with December Housing Starts and Building Permits gauging the state of new construction. The annual rates are expected to dip a little, staying just under 700,000. Friday's Existing Home Sales for December are expected to rise to 4.57 million, which is encouraging.

The week also features December PPI wholesale inflation readings, forecast holding in safe territory, and consumer CPI inflation numbers, also predicted to hold steady.Monday, U.S. markets are closed in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.


Weaker than expected economic data tends to send bond prices up and interest rates down, while positive data points to lower bond prices and rising loan rates. 

Economic Calendar for the Week of Jan 16 – Jan 20


Forecasting Federal Reserve policy changes in coming months… The experts expect the Fed Funds Rate to stay at super low levels. Note: In the lower chart, a 1% probability of change is a 99% certainty the rate will stay the same.

Current Fed Funds Rate: 0%–0.25%

Probability of change from current policy:

This e-mail is an advertisement for Jason Gosser. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice, or a commitment to lend. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee of its accuracy. The material contained in the newsletter is the property of Guild Mortgage Company and cannot be reproduced for any use without prior written consent. It is designed for real estate and other financial professionals only. It is not intended for consumer distribution. The material does not represent the opinion of Guild Mortgage Company. This information is subject to change without notice. NMLS Company ID 3274; Branch NMLS ID 37801; Washington Consumer Loan Branch License #CL-37801; Oregon ML-176; AZ Banker license # 0018883; TN Mortgage License #4315; Licensed by the Department of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. This branch is licensed to do business in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California, and Tennessee. NMLS Unique ID 120413. 510-WA-MLO-120413; I lend in WA, OR.

People who live in communities without a cake pan collection can ask about an interlibrary loan, Rippel said, adding that people can check the Kansas Library Catalog online to find cake pans in libraries that have catalogued their collections.

“Kansas libraries let people check out cake pans”

This is so fantastic. Libraries provide consumable ideas and aids for consumption. Sometimes our needs can come in the way of being able to visit the library purely for the pleasure of books. With it being the only safe, free, public space for intellectual progression, the library is becoming more and more “practical” by providing classes, computers, and now kitchen items for lending. What do you wish your library had? And conversely, are there any potential collection materials that could jeopardize a library’s function? 

E-lending won’t put a big dent in book sales

Borrowing from libraries doesn’t pose a threat to bookshops, despite what some cynics would have you believe

With growth in ebook sales slowing, we seem to be reaching a point where digital and printed books can live in harmony. Will the same ever be said for publishers, booksellers and librarians? Not if the response to the latest e-lending pilot is anything to go by.Two years ago, publisher William Sieghart’s review into remote e-lending said that public libraries should be able to lend ebooks remotely. It also recommended that “frictions” (lending limits) be put in place to protect publishers and booksellers.Following that, the Publishers Association and the Society of Chief Librarians jointly commissioned an e-lending pilot project, with frontlist titles made available to four library authorities. Its findings, published in June, were largely positive, if inconclusive. Ebook borrowing increased slightly (though only accounted for 5% of total loans) and attracted some new users, with librarians and borrowers welcoming “a great new development” that could have particular benefits for visually impaired and housebound users. The majority of borrowers surveyed said ebook lending would have no impact on their decision to buy books or visit a bookshop.


Fewer shelves could open valuable space for other library programs, like computer centers, teen tutoring, and adult education classes. For customers, downloading e-books is just convenient. Gussie Young has been checking out books at the Queens Library since moving to New York in 1963. Now with e-readers, she doesn’t have to come here to check out books.