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29 posts from February 2013


Number of home foreclosures falling nationwide, CoreLogic reports says

 Lenders completed about 760,632 foreclosures nationwide in the 12 months ending Jan. 31, according to a CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report released today.

Texas was among the top five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures during that 12-month period, with 59,232 foreclosures, CoreLogic said.

California led with 96,051 foreclosures, followed by Florida with 95,492, and Michigan with 73,761 foreclosures.

Approximately 1.2 million homes were in some stage of foreclosure in the U.S., known as the foreclosure inventory, as of Jan. 31 compared to 1.5 million at Jan. 31, 2012, a 21 percent year-over-year decrease, said Irvine-based CoreLogic, a residential property information, analytics and services provider.

Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.2 million completed foreclosures across the country, CoreLogic said.

"The backlog of distressed assets continues to fade as the foreclosure inventory has fallen to a level not seen since mid-2009, with less than 3 percent of all mortgages in foreclosure," said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist.

Added Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, "We still have over a million homes in some stage of foreclosure which is too high, but the continuing downward trend in completed foreclosures is a very positive signal that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We expect this trend will continue in 2013 as the housing market stabilizes and purchase activity picks up."

The five states with the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending Jan. 31 were District of Columbia, 96; Hawaii, 458; North Dakota, 508; Maine, 538; and West Virginia, 602.

Approximately one-third of homes nationally are owned outright and do not have a mortgage, CoreLogic said.

_ Sandra Baker

OmniAmerican Bank earnings flat, loans up

Fort Worth-based OmniAmerican Bank said it earned nearly $1.2 million in the fourth quarter, largely unchanged from a year earlier, but earnings per share slipped a penny to 11 cents from 12 cents a year earlier. Outstanding loans rose 7.6 percent for the year to $735 million. The former credit union said improving credit quality was evident in two positive moves: its net charge-offs of bad loans fell by $1.8 million, down 82 percent from a year earlier, and it made no addition to its loan-loss reserve, which a year ago was a $1.7 million expense.

For the year, OmniAmerican earned $5.7 million, up 44 percent from 2011. It finished the year with $1.26 billion in total assets, down 6 percent from 2011. The decline was mainly from a $146 million decrease in securities held for sale. Non-performing assets were down $3.5 million as of Dec. 31, to $13 million. CEO Tim Carter said "2012 was a great year for OmniAmerican." He said the institution built experienced staff and expanded its online and mobile banking options.

-- Jim Fuquay


Area's mortgage delinquency rate remains flat in December

 The number of homeowners in Tarrant, Johnson, Parker and Wise counties falling behind on their mortgages remained flat in December, says CoreLogic research firm.

CoreLogic said 4.6 percent of mortgage holders were at least 90 days delinquent in December, the same as November. But, it decreased from a year ago when 5.3 percent of mortgage holders were at least 90 days late on payments.

In Texas, the number fell to 4 percent, from 4.8 percent a year ago. And nationally, the number fell to 6.4 percent from 7.2 percent a year ago, CoreLogic said.

Also, the area’s foreclosure rate was 1.1 percent in December, down from 1.4 percent in December 2011. The foreclosure rate measures the percentage of loans in some state of the foreclosure process.

_ Sandra Baker



Impact of Chase job cuts in North Texas uncertain

JPMorgan Chase & Co., which employs about 15,000 people in North Texas, plans to cut thousands of jobs company wide by 2014, the nation's biggest bank said. A Texas spokesman for Chase said it's too early to say just how North Texas will be hit by the layoffs, but noted that "we will remain a major employer in North Texas." Chase said Tuesday it will cut as many as 19,000 jobs, including about 4,000 this year, mostly by attrition, and the remainder in 2014. It said 13,000 to 15,000 of the positions eliminated will be mortgage-related, and 3,000 to 4,000 will be in community banking.

Chase is the second-largest bank by deposits in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan market, behind Bank of America, and the largest in Tarrant County as of June 30, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chase spokesman Greg Hassell said Chase has 242 branches in North Texas, but could not provide a breakdown of its mortgage-related employment in the region. Chase in August 2011 said it would add 700 mortgage servicing positions at its Lewisville facility to handle the flood of troubled home loans. At the time, Hassell told the Star-Telegram Chase also had added 500 jobs at a Coppell facility to handle loan modifications, and 125 at a mortgage documents center in the CentrePort development just south of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. In June 2011 Chase opened an Arlington Homeownership Center with six counselors, and in November 2010 it held a job fair to fill about 140 mortgage banking positions planned for the CentrePort facility. At the time it was reported that 1,500 people worked at that facility in consumer and business banking.

"Fewer homeowners are falling behind on their mortgages, so we need fewer employees to assist those who were struggling," Hassell said. He said the bank will help affected employees find openings at Chase or other local employers.

-- Jim Fuquay 

EECU, Fort Worth Telco credit unions to merge

EECU, one of North Texas' largest local credit unions, will merge with the 5,000-member Fort Worth Telco Credit Union effective May 31, the companies said Tuesday. EECU, formerly Educational Employees Credit Union, has about 167,000 members. It continues a trend of smaller institutions merging with larger credit unions, including 2010's merger of the former Star-Telegram credit union into EECU. Fort Worth Telco had $39 million in assets as of Dec. 31, while EECU had nearly $1.5 billion.

“EECU has a long-standing relationship with Fort Worth Telco Credit Union and its leadership,”  Lonnie Nicholson, CEO of EECU, said in a prepared release. “The decision to merge seemed like a natural extension of the relationship between the two credit unions.”

 “We feel this merger will be extremely beneficial to our members as they will have access to resources not currently available to them,” said Ron Reed, Fort Worth Telco Credit Union president. “Having been our neighbor in Fort Worth for 33 years, we’re confident in EECU’s commitment to upholding the high standards of service our members are used to.”

Fort Worth Telco Credit Union member accounts, including deposits and loans, will be transferred to EECU. The credit union was chartered in 1935 for area Bell Telephone employees, according to its website. It has about the same assets but only half the members it had in 2000, according to Star-Telegram records.

-- Jim Fuquay



Dallas developer buys 27 acres along FW's West Seventh Street

Dallas-based developer Centergy Retail has bought about 27 acres on the bustling West Seventh Street near Trinity Park from Chesapeake Land Development Co. and has plans to develop the property.

Chesapeake, a part of Chesapeake Energy co., assembled various parcels in 2007 and 2008. A 4-acre tract was once the location of the Bankston Collision Center and was sold to Chesapeake by Hillard Auto Group.

The land is just east of Montgomery Plaza and includes parcels along Stayton and Sixth streets, and between Fifth Street on the south, Kansas Street on the north, Harold Street on the west and Greenleaf Street on the east. "The new owner is keenly aware that this property is a vital link between downtown Fort Worth and the Cultural District," said Julie Wilson, Chesapeake’s vice president of urban development in Fort Worth.

The land is currently serving as a staging area for the new 7th Street bridge fabrication. Wilson said the new owner will continue to allow that.

Centergy has developed shopping center, including in El Paso, according to its website.

_ Sandra Baker


FW's Sundance Square reaches construction milestone with topping out of two new buildings

Downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square expansion reached a construction milestone this week with the topping out of The Commerce and The Westbrook office buildings, its developer said.

The two buildings are among three new buildings and a public plaza planned in the heart of the 35-block Sundance Square, between Third and Fourth streets, and Commerce and Throckmorton streets.

The concrete super structure has been completed on both buildings and roofs have been poured, Sundance Square said.

Ductwork and framing has begun on some floors of the buildings with air handling units used for the HVAC systems also being installed. Exterior walls will begin to go up in the next 30 days as the project takes shape and nears an October completion date, Sundance said.

The Commerce, 420 Commerce St., is a five-story, 83,000-square-foot building, and The Westbrook, 425 Houston St., is six-stories and 93,000 square feet. Both will have ground level retail space.

"We are right on schedule with this project," said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square. "The buildings and plaza will open later this year and we are planning a community celebration for November. When this project is completed, the plaza itself will become a destination within Sundance Square."

An underground storm sewer replacement along Main Street will be completed in time to open up Main Street for the Main St Fort Worth Arts Festival in mid-April, Sundance said.

Construction also begins this month on the permanent, multi-purpose stage at the base of The Westbrook. The steel structure of the clock tower in The Westbrook will be added by early March.

_ Sandra Baker

Which Wich to open in West 7th later this year

Which Wich, a sandwich shop known for its unique customer ordering system, plans a spot in the West 7th development.

Developer Cypress Equities said the 1,394-square-foot shop will open this year. It will be between Sweet Tomatoes and Wink Threading Salon in the 2900 block of West Seventh Street.

The restaurant features more than 50 varieties of customizable sandwiches. Customers use red pens on select their choice on a pre-printed menu on brown sandwich bags.

Melissa Kulig with The Westover Group represented the tenant.

West 7th is a 13-acre pedestrian-friendly development at 7th Street and University Drive offering shops, apartments, offices and restaurants.

_ Sandra Baker

Tandy Leather Chairman Thompson resigns

Fort Worth-based Tandy Leather Factory said Tuesday that Chairman Wray Thompson
resigned from his position and as a member of the company's board effective immediately. Joseph Mannes, a director since 1998 and chairman of the audit committee, was named acting chairman until the next annual meeting of shareholders "or until his successor has been elected and qualified."  William M. Warren, currently secretary and general counsel, was elected a director. He is also president and director of Loe, Warren, Rosenfield, Kaitcer, Hibbs,
Windsor & Lawrence, P.C., a Fort Worth law firm.

In a prepared release, Thompson said: "My career with Tandy Leather has been a rewarding one. But even more satisfying is knowing that I leave this company in the capable hands of a solid board and management team. They have a strong belief in Tandy Leather's potential and a great vision
for getting there. I am confident that they will continue to manage the company with great success."

Tandy Leather (ticker: TLF) has 29 Leather Factory stores in 19 states and Canada, 78 Tandy Leather retail stores in 37 states Canada, and three combination wholesale/retail stores in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Spain.

-- Jim Fuquay

GameStop boosts dividend by 10 percent

Directors of Grapevine-based GameStop boosted its annual dividend by 10 percent, to $1.10 per share.

The next regular quarterly dividend of 27.5 cents per share will be payable on March 19 to all shareholders of record as of March 5.

Still, shares of the videogame retail chain was trading down nearly 3 percent this morning, off 70 cents to $24.67 a share.

GameStop said that since "initiating a disciplined capital allocation plan in Jan. 2010, GameStop’s stock and debt buybacks have totaled more than $1.5 billion dollars and the company operates debt free."

-- Steve Kaskovich


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