U.S. Bancorp: One Bank's Foreclosure Efforts

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Includes: BAC, GS, JPM, KBE, PJB, USB
by: Judy Weil

Add this to the debate over what to do about ever-rising foreclosures. From U.S. Bancorp's (NYSE:USB) Q408 conference call:

The restructured loan increase is just a continuation of something we began more than two years ago primarily in two areas. One was residential mortgages where either we know people have rate resets coming up... If they are current we will say you will not have to increase your payment, just keep making the same payment.

That is about half of the residential restructuring loan increases. Where people have fallen behind, we have a variety of programs to help them. We verify their income and hopefully can create a program where they can continue making reasonable payments. If it is something where they can’t make a payment that at least have some kind of market rate then it will be an un-performing loan even if they do stay in the home.

The restructured loans you see in our table do not include the Downey [Downey Financial, recently purchased by U.S. Bancorp after its failure last year. -Ed.] Most of the single family homes came out of Downey. $10-11 billion. We are offering a specific program that was put forth by the FDIC. It all goes through verified income. You can extend the loan term up to 40 years; reduce the interest rate down to 3%. All those are covered assets and to the extent that we reduce our rates below something which is market that is part of what the FDIC has offered up as their loss sharing, not just credit loss sharing it is also a value loss sharing.

USB obviously thinks it's going to work:

We don’t have any projected view of needing any additional capital or needing any government assistance in virtually any combination of outcomes.

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