Daily Business Report — Oct. 21, 2009
Default notices in San Diego County up over last year
The number of mortgage default notices filed against San Diego County homeowners increased by 23.2 percent last quarter compared with the same period of 2008, San Diego-based MDA DataQuick reported. The number of default notices during the quarter totaled 8,702 compared with 7,062 in the third quarter of last year.
In Southern California as a whole, the number of default notices fell last quarter (compared with the prior three-month period), the result of lenders’ evolving foreclosure policies, an uncertain legislative environment and an uptick in the number of mortgages being renegotiated, MDA DataQuick said. A total of 111,689 default notices were sent out during the July-through-September period. That was down 10.3 percent from 124,562 for the prior quarter, and up 18.5 percent from 94,240 in third quarter 2008. The number of recorded default notices peaked in the first quarter of this year at 135,431, although that number was inflated by deferred activity from the prior four months.
“It may well be that lenders have intentionally slowed down the pace of formal foreclosure proceedings. If so, it’s not out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s because they’ve concluded that flooding the market with cheap foreclosures in this economic environment may not be in their best financial interest. Trying to keep motivated, employed homeowners in their homes might be the most cost-efficient way to stem losses,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
The median origination month for last quarter’s defaulted loans was July 2006, the same as during this year’s first and second quarters. A year ago the median origination month was June 2006, so the foreclosure process has moved one month forward during the past 12 months.
“There’s a batch of truly nasty loans that were made in mid 2006. There’s another batch made in late 2006. These are worse than the mortgages before and after, and it’s taking a long time to process them,” Walsh said.
The lenders that originated the most loans that went into default last quarter were Countrywide (7,583), Washington Mutual (5,146) and Wells Fargo (4,425). Along with Bank of America (1,979) and World Savings (4,237), they were also the most active lenders in the second half of 2006. Last quarter’s default rate on loans originated in the second half of 2006 ranged from 1.7 percent for Bank of America to 11.9 percent for World Savings.
Smaller subprime lenders had far higher default rates for that period: ResMAE Mortgage was at 73.9 percent, Ownit Mortgage 69.5 percent, BNC Mortgage 61.4 percent, Argent Mortgage 59.9 percent and First Franklin 59.4 percent. While these and most other subprime lenders are long gone, their loans were bundled, resold and now live on as “troubled assets”.
Indeed, many, if not most, of the loans made in 2006 are owned and/or serviced by lending institutions other than those that made the loans. The servicers pursuing the highest number of delinquencies last quarter were ReconTrust Co, Quality Loan Service Corp and Cal-Western Reconveyance Corp.
While most foreclosure activity was still concentrated in affordable inland communities, the foreclosure problem continued to slowly migrate into more expensive areas. California’s most affordable sub-markets, which represent 25 percent of the state’s housing stock, accounted for 52.2 percent of all default activity a year ago. In third-quarter 2009 it fell to 42.9 percent.
On primary mortgages, California homeowners were a median five months behind on their payments when the lender filed the notice of default. The borrowers owed a median $12,665 on a median $343,200 mortgage.
On home equity loans and lines of credit in default, borrowers owed a median $3,948 on a median $62,800 credit line. However the amount of the credit line that was actually in use cannot be determined from public records.
There are 8.5 million houses and condos in the state.
Downtown projects focus of luncheon
The Downtown San Diego Partnership will hold a luncheon Thursday to discuss the Civic Center, Convention Center expansion and the Downtown Library projects. The Partnership has invited speakers for supporters and opponents of each project. The luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. in Aqua Room 306 of the Hilton Bay Front Hotel, 1 Park Blvd.
Speakers will be Vince Mudd, member of the Mayor’s Citizen Task Force; Malin Burnham, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield Global Real Estate Solutions; Richard Rider, chairman of San Diego Tax Fighters: and Mel Katz, vice chairman of the San Diego Public Library Foundation board. The San Diego City Council will be making decisions on each of these projects in the near future.
Downtown San Diego Partnership names director
The Downtown San Diego Partnership announced the addition of Janelle Riella to serve as its new director of public policy and communications. In addition to managing the media relations and external communications, Riella will be responsible for implementing Downtown Partnership public policy programs. Prior to joining the Partnership, Janelle served as the director of government affairs for the San Diego Association of Realtors. She has also worked in the public sector, most recently as the chief of staff to former Assembly Minority Leader George Plescia. Janelle holds a degree in political science from the University of San Diego. She is also a recent LEAD San Diego graduate.
Excellence in Journalism awards presented
Kelly Wheeler, bureau chief for City News Service, Jamie Reno, Newsweek correspondent and writer, and Dr. Glen M. Broom, professor emeritus, San Diego State University School of Journalism, were the San Diego Press Club’s “special” winners at its annual “Excellence in Journalism Awards” program held Tuesday at Balboa Park’s Hall of Champions. KGTV/l0 retired anchor Carol LeBeau presided over the ceremonies, recognizing more than l00 awardees in numerous categories ranging from print, to electronic to Website efforts and more, plus several “best of show” winners. The “Special Awards” trio was showcased for their career achievements and unique contributions to the field of journalism.
Wheeler received the Harold Keen Award, named for San Diego’s long-time journalist. Wheeler was cited for going above and beyond standard practices for the sake of fairness and truth telling in his long news reporting career and his extensive coverage of the courts.
Reno was honored with the Drew Silvern Award, given to a journalist for courageously reporting in a manner that reflected their personal or professional lives. As a 13-year survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Reno has become an advocate for cancer patients, and has written extensively about his experience and the world of clinical trials.
The Andy Mace Award, given to Broom, adds one more to his numerous awards, recognizing his career-long achievements in educating and writing for several generations of public relations professionals.
“Best of Show” winners were: Brooke Williams and Danielle Cervantes, The San Diego Union-Tribune; Julie Gallant, San Diego Business Journal; the team of Wayne Carlson, Phyllis Van Doren, Tom Shess, Dirk Sutro, Neal Matthews, Leah Olman, Arthur Olman, Leslie Cohen, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine; team Joanne Faryon, Megan Burke, Ross Ching, Nathan Gibbs, KPBS-TV; Cliff Albert and KOGO News Team KOGO Radio; and Lauren Reynolds, JW August, Christian Cázares, Felicia Kit, Juliette Vara, KGTV 10News.
A complete list of winners, including those honored with “Best of Show,” may be found at: www.sdpressclub.org. The event was chaired by Rebecca Chappell.
Public relations professionals gather for international conference
Public relations and communications professionals from the San Diego area will present at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) 2009 International Conference Nov. 7-10 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina. Hundreds of the San Diego region’s top communications professionals will attend the communications conference, which will host thousands from around the world and feature more than 80 professional development sessions led by 175 of the best industry leaders, including keynote speakers Arianna Huffington, Wendell Potter, Bob Garfield and La Jolla resident Todd Buchholz. The conference takes place on the 50th anniversary of the San Diego chapter of PRSA, which has more than 250 members.
Henry J. DeVries, marketing faculty member at UCSD, will present guidance on how to better engage with and learn from stakeholders to achieve business objectives.
Bey-Ling Sha, associate professor at SDSU, will present advice on how to communicate with employees while adjusting to the changing business environment
Magali Muria, research associate at the University of California, will speak about issues related to Mexico and its relationship to U.S. businesses.
David Glanzer, director of marketing and PR for Comic-Con, will speak on how the convention stays on the edge, continues to sell out, and speaks to a growing global community.
Gayle L. Falkenthal, president of the Falcon Valley Group, will offer insight to communications professionals interested in starting their own businesses.
Harbor Police chief to call it quits
Kirk Sanfilippo, chief of the Port of San Diego’s Harbor Police Department and a law enforcement veteran for more than three decades, has announced his retirement effective Jan. 5, 2010. “Having spent 31 years in public safety work, I along with my wife Jody, have decided to pursue other interests in life,” he said. “Primarily, we look forward to being with family and friends in the Pacific Northwest but, additionally, plan to engage in travel, community volunteer opportunities and consulting work.” A search for the chief’s replacement is under way. It is being conducted by Bob Murray & Associates.
Sanfilippo has led the 166-member department, including more than 140 sworn officers, since April 2005 when he was named interim chief. He was appointed permanently to the position the following June. Sanfilippo served 22 years with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety before joining the Harbor Police force in 2003 as a captain. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Santa Clara University.
Supervisors approve Ron Roberts’ fire season proposal
The county Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a proposal from Supervisor Ron Roberts to fund up to 20 hours of additional flying time by a super-sized water-dropping helicopter this fire season. “This is great news for the county, its residents and our 18 cities,” said Roberts, who authored the funding plan. “Fires know no boundaries, and neither should our resources. Now if a major blaze erupts anywhere in our 4,200-square-mile region, we can concentrate on protecting our people and property without worrying about who will be paying to fly the Incredible Hulk, the most capable helicopter in our aerial fleet.” The issue of funding additional flying time arose following news on Oct. 8 that San Diego Gas & Electric agreed to pay the cost of leasing and staffing an S-64E Helitanker for use by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department during the 2009 wildfire season. The SDG&E package included funding of two hours of flight time per fire incident.
Left unanswered was what happens after two hours? Under the Roberts plan, the cost of flying the Helitanker beyond two hours per incident will be covered from a $250,000 county fund already established to rent additional firefighting assets when conditions warrant.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney names adviser to Blue Chip Council
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney named financial adviser Steven M. DeMatteo to the firm’s Blue Chip Council for the second consecutive year. DeMatteo also was promoted to second vice president of wealth management. The Blue Chip Council is a recognition program for financial advisers who, within their first five years, demonstrate the highest professional standards in addition to excellence in client service. DeMatteo is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of South Florida.
Access IR/PR adds senior consultant
Access IR/PR, a senior level investor and public relations firm based in San Diego, has added Andrew Wiseman as senior consultant. Previously, Wiseman was a founder and executive with at La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. Wiseman has more than 25 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, primarily in investor relations and medical communications. He has 15 years of experience managing the investor relations program inside a public company, and played a role in bringing the company from a start up, through the IPO process, into the public company arena.
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