The latest banking scandal sprouts smelly new flowers nearly every day, making us wonder whether effective regulation of banks is even possible.
The Libor affair — for London Interbank Offered Rate — was the practice of some London banks (it’s unclear how many) of low-balling the estimates of interest rates they expected to pay to borrow short-term funds from other banks. These estimates go into computing the Libor. Interest rates around the world are keyed to the Libor rate; the extent and distribution of damages and benefits is unknown.
Now authorities in several countries are investigating conspiracies to rig similar rates in euros and Japanese yen, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A few days ago, 275 foreclosure houses across metro Phoenix were purchased through a very quiet $34 million cash deal. But it’s not clear yet who the buyer is.
In February, Fannie Mae announced it would auction 2,490 foreclosure homes in Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It was the first time the government-owned mortgage firm agreed to openly sell groups of foreclosure houses located in just one metro area. Since the crash, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac usually have sold homes they get back from lenders one by one, or in bulk with houses located all over the country.
Several buyers were interested in the Phoenix houses Fannie Mae was selling. Originally, 341 in the region were to be sold to one buyer, according to the federal government.
The sale of the Fannie Mae foreclosure homes became apparent to data guru Tom Ruff of AZBidder on Wednesday night, when he tracked metro Phoenix’s REO inventory — homes taken back by banks that haven’t been resold — and realized it had dropped by 5 percent.
In the latest sales filings, he discovered that a group called SFR 2012-1 US West LLC, located at 135 N. Los Robles Ave., fourth floor, in Pasadena, Calif., purchased 275 foreclosure homes from Fannie Mae that day. Each deal was individually recorded. Fannie Mae’s Dallas office is listed as the seller.