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Feed aggregator
prwatch: RT @FoodRightsNtwrk: Coke dumped #ALEC http://t.co/2dLJIKbK Tell
@Kraft & @Bayer to stop writing our laws in secret, too! http://t.co/KZ ...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 7:22pm
prwatch: RT @FoodRightsNtwrk: Coke dumped #ALEC http://t.co/2dLJIKbK Tell @Kraft
& @Bayer to stop writing our laws in secret, too! http://t.co/KZ ...



prwatch: RT @thenation: In this week's guide to taking action—@ATT is
helping bankroll #ALEC, the shadowy group behind countless terrible laws. h ...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 7:22pm
prwatch: RT @thenation: In this week's guide to taking action—@ATT is helping
bankroll #ALEC, the shadowy group behind countless terrible laws. h ...



prwatch: RT @Ringuette: Really @KraftFoods? You think your membership in
#ALEC does *not* fund voter suppression, stand your ground, prvatization ...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 7:22pm
prwatch: RT @Ringuette: Really @KraftFoods? You think your membership in #ALEC
does *not* fund voter suppression, stand your ground, prvatization ...

prwatch: RT @thenation: Coca-Cola and Pepsi Drop #ALEC
http://t.co/ZFXXHXzG #p2

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 7:22pm

prwatch: RT @thenation: Coca-Cola and Pepsi Drop #ALEC http://t.co/ZFXXHXzG #p2



prwatch: Life after ALEC? Coca-Cola is willing to try: http://t.co/tP0OdrY7
Which corporation is next? http://t.co/RdBeE8Yl #ALECexposed #ALEC

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 7:18pm
prwatch: Life after ALEC? Coca-Cola is willing to try: http://t.co/tP0OdrY7 Which
corporation is next? http://t.co/RdBeE8Yl #ALECexposed #ALEC

prwatch: The marriage between #ALEC and Coca-Cola has ended
http://t.co/tP0OdrY7 Which corporation will be next to divorce?
http://t.co/RdBeE8Yl

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 7:17pm

prwatch: The marriage between #ALEC and Coca-Cola has ended http://t.co/tP0OdrY7
Which corporation will be next to divorce? http://t.co/RdBeE8Yl

prwatch: "Study Links NAFTA to Obesity Epidemic in Mexico"
@commondreams http://t.co/fC27mEUU

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 5:46pm
prwatch: "Study Links NAFTA to Obesity Epidemic in Mexico" @commondreams
http://t.co/fC27mEUU



prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: MT @Keith624 "I want my Coke in a 12 pack, not
a SuperPac. Or #ALEC!” How do u want your AT&T or State Farm? Tell 'em: ...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 5:44pm
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: MT @Keith624 "I want my Coke in a 12 pack, not a
SuperPac. Or #ALEC!” How do u want your AT&T or State Farm? Tell 'em: ...



prwatch: MT @stereogab: Boycotts Hitting Group Behind 'Stand Your Ground'
http://t.co/BCwcUsQY via @peteroverby http://t.co/DcoQTtnk #ALECexposed

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 5:39pm
prwatch: MT @stereogab: Boycotts Hitting Group Behind 'Stand Your Ground'
http://t.co/BCwcUsQY via @peteroverby http://t.co/DcoQTtnk #ALECexposed

prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: Now that Coke has dropped out of #ALEC, who
should be next? AT&T, Kraft Foods, State Farm, UPS? http://t.co/PasKHFto #A
...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 5:38pm
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: Now that Coke has dropped out of #ALEC, who should be
next? AT&T, Kraft Foods, State Farm, UPS? http://t.co/PasKHFto #A ...



prwatch: Opposition to Fracking in Australia Grows, but Government Fails to
Enact Moratorium http://t.co/mw0TkXRI #nofrack #natgas #fracking
PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 5:36pm
prwatch: Opposition to Fracking in Australia Grows, but Government Fails to Enact
Moratorium http://t.co/mw0TkXRI #nofrack #natgas #fracking



prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: Coca-Cola dumped #ALEC http://t.co/p5vj6xcQ
Send a letter to the rest of ALEC's corporate board today! http://t.co/TqJx ...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 5:11pm
prwatch: RT @ALECexposed: Coca-Cola dumped #ALEC http://t.co/p5vj6xcQ Send a
letter to the rest of ALEC's corporate board today! http://t.co/TqJx ...



Lack of Competition Stifles Refinance Program for Underwater Homeowners

Pro Publica - April 5, 2012 - 3:10pm

by Cora Currier

Some homeowners are getting stuck with relatively high interest rates even after they
participate in the government's program to help them refinance their mortgages. The
biggest banks are not lowering rates as much as they could be — and homeowners have
few options to go elsewhere.

Analysts say that the big banks are set to make major profits off of the Home Affordable
Refinancing Program, also known as HARP, which allows homeowners with loans
backed by government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance if they owe
more than their home is worth.

The program, launched in 2009, is designed to let struggling borrowers take advantage
of lower market interest rates. So far, about 1.1 million people have refinanced under
the program, which was expanded last fall to make it more attractive for banks and to
let more homeowners participate.

Since then, the government says there has been "tremendous borrower interest" and
estimates that another 1 million could qualify over the next two years. But while the
expansion may let more people refinance, it may not be at the lowest rate possible
because the incentives don't favor competition, according to a new report by an
investment group Amherst Securities.

The report says the big banks are able to make a considerable profit from refinancing
their existing customers under HARP, and that there is little incentive for them to go
outside their own customer base and seek out more HARP business on mortgages that
originated with other lenders.
Few other companies have stepped in to offer HARP refinancing for people
who'd like to leave their current lender, partly because it is still risky for them
to take on the underwater loans, even with the HARP incentives.

The result is that homeowners in many cases are stuck with what they've got, Amherst
says, and the big banks can charge them more.

Guy Cecala, who runs the publication Inside Mortgage Finance, said that there is
"virtually no competition" for the big banks. "It's normal business practice for mortgage
lenders — when you can, you charge a higher interest rate."

Here's how this situation came about.

For Banks, Built-In Incentives

Last fall's expansion of HARP tries to make it more appealing to mortgage lenders, since
the initial response to the program fell short of expectations.

New rules removed the cap on how much a borrower could be underwater and
still qualify. It also eased appraisal requirements and — critically for banks —
removed some of the liability for bad loans that banks had when selling their
mortgages to Fannie and Freddie.

The Amherst report points out that the biggest lenders — JP Morgan Chase, Bank of
America, and Wells Fargo — are responsible for more than 60 percent of HARP
refinancing applications. The report also says the cost of refinancing an existing
customer under HARP is minimal.

The big banks already have plenty of demand in-house. As such, it's easier and more
profitable to stick with the loans they already service than to compete for new business,
which could result in lower rates for homeowners.

The report says that the extra steps required under HARP to refinance a loan from
another lender make the process onerous and risky. A spokeswoman for the Federal
Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which is in charge of HARP, disputed the notion that
it's difficult to sign up new borrowers. "The additional information collected is minimal
and appropriate, given that these lenders have no experience with or information on
these (new) borrowers," she said.



JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America all confirmed to ProPublica
that they have seen an increase in the volume of applications for HARP
refinancing since the new rules came into effect. Last month, American Banker
reported that banks were scrambling to bolster their mortgage-servicing units
to deal with the influx of applications from HARP.
The program is voluntary for banks, and they can place their own restrictions over and
above those set by the government.

JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America say they are only doing HARP
refinancing for existing customers — not seeking out new business on loans
originated by other lenders. Wells Fargo is accepting refinance applications
from borrowers at other servicers, but it is putting a cap on the amount that
the loan can be underwater.

Update (4/6): A spokesman for Bank of America said in an email sent after this story
published that the bank’s goal is "to provide fair prices for HARP."


In January, according to the FHFA, roughly 50,000 people refinanced under the new
HARP rules, and HARP's share of all refinancing increased. Some smaller lenders,
especially in states with the worst housing markets, are hoping to jump in and offer
lower rates to people looking to leave their current bank, even with the greater risk.

Categories: Media, Politics

Seven Years of New West

CJR Daily - April 5, 2012 - 1:58pm

When the website New West was founded, it had grand ambitions. The digital news
outlet blended local and regional reporting to tell stories of growth and change in the
Rocky Mountain West. Today, however, New West has been dormant for over six
months, and is now transitioning to its third owner since it launched in 2005. The site...
Categories: Media


prwatch: Opposition Against Fracking in Australia Grows, but Government Fails
to Enact Moratorium http://t.co/Xz6fI0Eg #Fracking #Australia #NoFrack

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 12:57pm
prwatch: Opposition Against Fracking in Australia Grows, but Government Fails to Enact
Moratorium http://t.co/Xz6fI0Eg #Fracking #Australia #NoFrack

prwatch: RT @jruha: RT @prwatch SubGate: A Tasty New Scandal Rocks
Wisconsin | Center for Media and Democracy http://t.co/3LtNwoQs #stribpol
#mnl ...

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 11:36am

prwatch: RT @jruha: RT @prwatch SubGate: A Tasty New Scandal Rocks Wisconsin |
Center for Media and Democracy http://t.co/3LtNwoQs #stribpol #mnl ...
prwatch: Subgate: A Tasty New Scandal Rocks Wisconsin http://t.co/ogUnneGv
#Wisconsin

PR Watch on Twitter - April 5, 2012 - 11:28am
prwatch: Subgate: A Tasty New Scandal Rocks Wisconsin http://t.co/ogUnneGv
#Wisconsin

Reading Room

CJR Daily - April 5, 2012 - 6:00am
. To see a larger version of this image, click here.
Categories: Media

Audit Notes: Shareholder Revolution Edition

CJR Daily - April 5, 2012 - 1:39am
This AlterNet piece finds some revealing quotes from the Business Roundtable that
show how that influential group's views on who business is supposed to serve shifted
after the shareholder revolution (and the Reagan revolution). Here's what it said in
1981: Balancing the shareholder’s expectations of maximum return against other
priorities is one of the fundamental problems confronting corporate management....
Categories: Media

All You Can Eat Magazines

CJR Daily - April 4, 2012 - 7:51pm
Ken Doctor has a very interesting report for the Nieman Journalism Lab on the new
consortium called Next Issue Media that's ramping up to offer all-you-can-eat digital
subscription access to major magazines. This looks like a magazine lover's dream. It's
also a major venture, and it's one that could continue to transform the prospects for
paid content. The...
Categories: Media

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Readers' Comments
 ALEC members - Education
 1 day 15 hours ago
 Submitted by: Janis
 Unwanted Mail
 1 day 23 hours ago
 Submitted by: bill smith
 alec and education
 2 days 9 hours ago
 Submitted by: BearCountry
 Cincy Protest pictures
 2 days 14 hours ago
 Submitted by: Mark Haller
 ALEC on Broadband
 3 days 18 hours ago
 Submitted by: Anonymous
 Huh?
 3 days 23 hours ago
 Submitted by: Anonymous
 Excellence Award
 4 days 8 hours ago
 Submitted by: Janis Smith
 BS fear-mongering?
 4 days 11 hours ago
 Submitted by: Anonymous
 Koch Brothers exposed
 4 days 15 hours ago
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 so is nothing going to be
 4 days 16 hours ago
 Submitted by: Anonymous

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Inside Story: US 2012 - ALEC: Shaping US
politics behind the scenes
CMD Receives 2012 Izzy Award

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Outrage Over "Stand Your Ground Laws" After
Trayvon Murder Sparks Corporate Exodus from
ALEC
Center for Media and Democracy • 520 University Avenue, Suite 260 • Madison,
Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713 • Fax: 608-260-9714

								
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