Entries by Pat Sawler

Home Capital hikes dividend!

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Home Capital Group Inc. profit was $26.6-million in the second quarter, an increase of 20.6 per cent over $22-million in the same period last year. Basic earnings per share were 77 cents, up from 64 cents for the second quarter of 2007.

Return on equity was 27.7 per cent for the second quarter, compared to 28.9 per cent for the second quarter of 2007. Total mortgage originations were $886.9-million during the second quarter, an increase of 42.5 per cent over the $622.6-million advanced during the same period in 2007.

Home Capital’s board has approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to 13 cents per share on the outstanding common shares of the company, which is equivalent to an annual dividend of 52 cents per share.

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HSBC posts steep profit drop!

The Associated Press

LONDON — — HSBC Holdings PLC [HBC-N], Europe’s largest bank by market value, reported Monday its steepest fall in profit since 2001 as costs for bad U.S. mortgage loans mounted.

Net profit for the first half of the year plunged 29 per cent to $7.7-billion (U.S.) from $10.9-billion in profit in the January to June period of last year.

“The first half of 2008 saw the most difficult financial markets for several decades, marked by significant declines in profitability throughout much of our industry,” said HSBC chairman Stephen Green. “HSBC was not immune from the turmoil.”

The biggest losses came from the North American market, which HSBC depends on for a quarter of its revenue. Operations there posted a first-half loss of $2.9-billion, compared with profit of $2.4-billion a

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A zero-down mortgage by any other name?

Globe and Mail Update

As the financial industry sits down with Ottawa this week to assess tighter mortgage rules, another lending product could find its way into the spotlight – cash-back mortgages.

Keen to avoid a U.S.-style housing bubble, the federal government recently cracked down on lenders and insurers through a series of reforms. Major changes already announced include a planned withdrawal of government guarantees for mortgage loans where the down payment is less than 5 per cent of the home’s value, and for those with amortizations of more than 35 years.

Yet while lenders are phasing out so-called zero-down mortgages, many are still offering buyers a similar option through the use of cash-back incentives in lieu of a down payment. This practice will be up for discussion this week, said

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First National profit rises 28 per cent

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — First National Financial Income Fund reported “record profitability” in the second quarter, with revenue rising 23 per cent to $76.9-million from a year earlier and net income up 28 per cent at $30.1 million.

Canada’s largest non-bank originator and underwriter of mortgages raised its monthly distribution to 11.25 cents per unit, or $1.35 annualized, up eight per cent from $1.25.

First National Financial said Wednesday its mortgages under administration increased 28 per cent year-over-year to $36.6-billion at June 30, as originations grew 14 per cent to $3.2-billion.

This growth was attributed to a rising market share in the single-family residential mortgage broker channel and a strengthened position in commercial mortgages.

“First National reached new heights of profitability in the second quarter of 2008, driven by strong volume growth

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GE Money Pulls up stakes!


The global credit crisis has claimed another victim in the Canadian mortgage industry asGeneral Electric Co. winds up its mortgage operations here.

After three years in the business, GE Money Canada said it will stop taking new mortgage applications tomorrow. It’s the latest in a string of alternative lenders that have decided to scale back operations or close shop amid the credit crunch.

Lenders who relied on bundling and selling loans to fund new mortgages have run into trouble as the securitization market went dry.

GE uses its own capital to fund mortgages, and in its case the decision is part of a broader corporate strategy to shift away from consumer financing, said Stephen Motta, chief executive officer of GE Money Canada.

“This was precipitated by

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U.S. to post record $490-billion budget deficit!

WASHINGTON — A Bush administration official said Monday the next government will inherit a record federal budget deficit for next year that approaches $490-billion (U.S.).

The official said the deficit was being driven to record levels by the sagging economy and the stimulus payments being made to 130 million households in an effort to keep the country from falling into a deep recession. A deficit approaching $490-billion would easily surpass the record deficit of $413-billion set in 2004.

To read the rest of the article from the source click here, other wise here is my take. The Canadian national debt is roughly 725 Billion, click here for the running tally. It works out to just over 22K per average Canadian. Now compare that to our American neighbors, 9.5 Trillion or just over 31K per American.  Should we break out … Read more

Economic woes hit U.S. credit card business!


NEW YORK — Even as Washington Mutual Inc. lost billions of dollars from risky mortgages, the largest U.S. savings and loan could rely on its credit card business to turn a profit. No longer.

The thrift’s $175-million (U.S.) second-quarter loss from its card unit stemmed from higher delinquencies and an inability to sell some card debt to investors because of illiquid markets. It was Washington Mutual’s first card loss since it entered the business in 2005 when it bought Providian Financial Corp.

Washington Mutual is not alone. American Express Co., Bank of America Corp., Capital One Financial Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. face pressure as falling home prices, $4-a-gallon gas and rising food costs leave more cardholders struggling to pay their bills and force even wealthy customers

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The worst is over? Think again

As taken from the Globe & Mail. See my comments below.

The stock market would have you believe that the worst of the financial mess is over, and that it’s time again to buy, buy, buy. But Barry Ritholtz, who writes The Big Picture Blog, thinks the buying frenzy of the past week is a head fake that will end badly.

“The anticipated bear market bounce in financials has led to the usual fools’ chorus that the worst is behind us, the economy is on the mend, and a recession is avoided,” he said. “How’s the economy doing? You tell me.”

He then goes on to list (and it’s a long list) the problems that continue to plague the U.S. economy. For one, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are suffering, but so is mighty Toyota Motor Corp., … Read more

Investors sue CIBC over subprime exposure


A group of investors has become the first to launch a class-action lawsuit againstCanadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, alleging misrepresentations about the bank’s exposure to the American subprime mortgage market. The claim alleges that the bank misrepresented its total exposure to U.S. subprime loans by saying it “was ‘not a major issue’ when, in fact, the bank had exposure to billions of dollars of losses.” The suit was filed with the Ontario Superior Court by Toronto’s Rochon Genova LLP. Lawyer Joel Rochon said that CIBC “ignored its legally required disclosure obligations to the detriment of the investing public.” CIBC denied the allegations. “CIBC is confident that, at all times, its conduct was appropriate and that its disclosure met applicable requirements,” spokesman Rob McLeod wrote in an e-mail. CM (TSX) rose $3.17 to $63.29. CPRead more