Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. mortgage lender, is slowly getting back into making subprime home loans. The bank is looking for opportunities to increase revenue, as overall mortgage lending volume declines. It believes it has dealt with its prior mortgage problems, particularly with U.S. home loan agencies, to be able to extend credit to borrowers who may have a higher risk profile. These steps by the bank could amount to a substantial change for the subprime mortgage market that brought the banking system to the brink of collapse. Since the recent financial crisis, banks have been reluctant to lend mortgage money to borrowers, except to those deemed to be the safest.
In January we attended the BDO, UBS and Wells Fargo jointly sponsored event, “Summit to End the Overhead Myth,” in New York City. Led by steering committee members Steve Barker (World Resources Institute), Tom Dente (InsideNGO), Sarah Gillman (Natural Resources Defense Council), Steve Howell (Nature Conservancy), Bob Mims (Ducks Unlimited), Arun Sardana (UBS), Tom McCauley (Wells Fargo) and our own Adam Cole, New York Assurance partner in the Nonprofit & Education and Healthcare groups, the event aimed to assess the way forward for organizations to measure impact by results, not administrative overhead. Key participants also included Ken Berger of Charity Navigator and Jacob Harold of Guidestar, two of the charity rating organizations leading the charge to overhaul their rating systems.
According to our latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors, new orders in January 2014 were 2 percent higher than January 2013 and up 8 percent over December (remembering December is a short month with the Holidays). This was about what was expected as most we talked with noted some slower growth in January. New orders in January 2013 were 7 percent higher than January 2012 so at least the 2 percent increase was comparing to a decent growth month in 2013.