Javid Jaberi, senior vice president of servicing operations for Residential Capital Corp. (ResCap), has left the company as part of a reorganization, said a memo provided to ASR sister publication MortgageWire. According to an e-mail written by ResCap Chief Operating Officer Tony Renzi, Jaberi "has made the decision to leave the company to pursue other interests." No further information was provided. Renzi did not return a telephone call about the matter. An executive at the company, who requested his name not be stated, said Jaberi had been running ResCap's loss mitigation and collections effort. MortgageWire reported that a source said another servicing official, Ron Poindexter, has also left ResCap. The Renzi memo noted that ResCap executive John Vella "will expand the scope" of ResCap's business operations "to include our nonconforming and special servicing portfolios, including responsibilities for all REO functions."
Wells Fargo & Co. appointed two former Wachovia Corp. executives, Robert Engel and Jonathan Weiss, to run its investment banking and capital markets businesses. Each had held similar jobs at Wachovia, which Wells bought last month. Stephen Cummings, who was previously head of Wachovia's corporate bank, declined to join Wells after the merger. Quinten Stevens, who had run Wachovia's equities division, also declined to join the merged firm, Wells Fargo said in a press release. Meanwhile, Well Fargo's Mike Johnson will head the corporate banking division, and its John Shrewsberry will manage the securities investment group, which now includes Wachovia's equities, fixed-income, capital management, and research businesses.
Former Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO Ray Groves was named as the ombudsman for Standard & Poor's. The new hire is part of a plan outlined by the rating agency to increase transparency, strengthen the ratings process, and better serve capital markets. Groves will report to Harold McGraw III, chairman, president and chief executive of the McGraw-Hill Cos. S&P is a unit of McGraw-Hill. Groves has served in various positions during his career, including a 17-year stint at Ernst & Young. He will start his new position on Feb. 16.
Ronald Rosenfeld, who has had close to a four-year stint as the chief regulator of the Federal Home Loan Banks, has resigned now that his former agency has been merged into the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Rosenfeld became chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, which supervised the 12 FHLBanks, in December 2004 after four years as president of Ginnie Mae.
Gatehouse Bank appointed Philip Churchill as head of real estate. Churchill, who joined Gatehouse in December 2008, has had a great deal of Islamic finance and real estate experience having been head of investment management, Europe for four years at HDG Mansur and fund manager of the HSBC Amanah Global Properties Income Fund. Before that, Churchill worked at Citigroup for nine years, where he helped establish two Shariah-compliant European real estate funds. His real estate experience covers a broad variety of property types, geographies and strategies.
A fund set up by Kyokuto Securities and Chuo Mitsui Trust Bank will take over the real estate securitization business of failed Japanese property developer Urban Corp., according to market reports. Urban filed bankruptcy in August 2008 with ¥256 billion ($2.84 billion) in debt. It holds more than 100 properties in Japan. The developer is scheduled to file its rehabilitation plans with the Tokyo district court on Monday.
The European Primary Dealers Association, an affiliate of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, announced its executive board for 2009. The new board will be co-chaired by Stanislas de Caumont, managing director, head of European government bonds and repos at Credit Suisse, and Gunter Fluyt, global head of rates and credits developed markets at ING. The other executive board members are: vice-chair Paul Spurin, head of European government bond trading at Royal Bank of Scotland, and treasurer Antonio Cavarero, Societe Generale's senior inflation trader. Caumont and Fluyt will continue the association's work in promoting policies that encourage integration and efficiency within the European government bond markets.
Fitch Ratings said that U.S. consumer credit quality measures worsened last month as a result of credit card charge-offs rising and cardholder payment rates dramatically slowing. The findings are based on the rating agency's Credit Card Index. The agency expects its credit card ABS ratings outlook to remain stable in 2009 with enough credit and structural protections remaining available. The latest Fitch Index results showed prime credit card portfolio charge-offs rising to four-year highs and monthly payment rates, the rate at which cardholders repay outstanding balances, slowing to their lowest levels since mid-2004. The agency expects its prime charge-off index - now at 6.84% and 31% higher than year-earlier levels - to reach 8% during 2009. Cardholders also cut back on their monthly payments last month, with Fitch's Prime MPR Index falling 246 basis points month-over-month to 15.96%, which is the largest one-month drop on record. Retail or store card charge-offs, Fitch said, surged to three-year highs. At 10.51%, Fitch's Retail Card Charge-off Index is now 49% above year-earlier levels, and Fitch expects the rate to surpass 12% by midyear. Despite the rise in charge-offs and defaults, prime and retail card three-month excess spread levels are holding steady at 5.51% and 9.34%, respectively, according to Fitch.
U.K. credit card companies agreed to a new set of fair principles for treating consumers struggling with their payments. Barclays Capital analysts said that the measures may affect lenders' ability to implement risk-based pricing by restricting their ability to increase rates at short notice. In the longer term, analysts said that the publicity surrounding these measures will prove negative for existing credit card ABS transactions because it may encourage further payment delays.
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