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COVID-19 takes PennyMac founder; Fannie, Freddie hedge funds 😞

By January 26, 2021 No Comments

PennyMac founder dies of COVID-19

The pandemic has again tragically robbed us of one of the greats. PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust along with its manager and service provider PennyMac Financial Services announced the passing of the company’s founder and Non-Executive Chairman Stanford L. Kurland. Mr. Kurland died from complications related to COVID-19 and had been battling brain cancer. He was 68.

“I am deeply saddened to share the news of Stan’s passing. COVID-19 has robbed us of a great leader, mentor and friend,” said David Spector, President and Chief Executive Officer of PMT, in a statement.

“Stan leaves an indelible mark not only on PennyMac, but on the mortgage industry he helped to build and shape. His storied career in mortgage banking spanned more than four decades. With his passion and vision, Stan led and built two of the largest and most influential companies in our industry, making home loans to millions of Americans. He will be deeply missed by many in our industry and our community — including all of us here at PennyMac.”

Condolences flooding in from across the industry.

“Stan was an icon to the industry. He became a friend back when I was at Freddie Mac and yet we continued to remain in touch through the years at HUD, MBA, and even recently,” said David Stevens on his LinkedIn. “Stan was one of the leaders who stood up to Angelo and others at Countrywide in the latter years when he thought they were taking on too much risk. He then founded Penney Mac with David Spector which has grown into an amazing company. Stan always seemed ego-less to me, humble yet brilliant. Will miss him.”

He will be missed.ot of people thought,” Mr. Ishbia told the WSJ. “Our expectation is that we have a lot of upside in our projection numbers from what we had originally disclosed.”

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Hedge Funds “back to square one” with Fannie/Freddie bet

A long list of investors was banking on the privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their best bet was in the hands of the Trump administration, which was committed to returning the GSEs to private hands. That didn’t happen and now those investors are facing a rethink of their strategy.

“We’re back to square one in terms of getting them out of conservatorship,” said David Barrosse of Washington, D.C.-based policy-analysis firm Capstone LLC, which counts hedge funds as its clients, said in this paywalled WSJ article. “Investors are severely disappointed that more wasn’t done before the end of the Trump administration.”

Things came crashing down last week when outgoing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it wasn’t happening on his watch. But this isn’t a “woe to the hedge funds” sarcastic note. The shift indicates that the GSEs will be going to be used as operational arms of the Federal Government, and that carries pros and cons.

More immediately, the most commonly traded class of Fannie’s preferred shares have now fallen more than 40% from mid-November to near $6. Common shares of Fannie have fallen from $3 at the end of November to $1.83 at Thursday’s close.

The Obama presidency was marked by indifference to Fannie and Freddie privatization. Since conservatorship, Fannie and Freddie have returned about $300 billion to the government. Will the Biden administration adopt a similar approach? It’s a waiting game at this point.

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Cancel culture strikes Texas Realtor Jenna Ryan

The Texas real estate agent who is facing charges for her role in the Capitol Hill riots is being hit by the nation’s newfound love of cancel culture, this time from Yelp and Paypal.

First of all, Yelp. On Yelp, her online reviews are being salvaged by people who didn’t even use her services.

Yelp took down her page after non-DFW based reviewers started savaging her in the comments.

“She’s so funny. In fact, I’d say she’s an ABSOLUTE RIOT!!!!” wrote one reviewer named Craig F. from Houston. “Serious she’s so funny it’s almost CRIMINAL.”

Ryan, who took a private plane to Washington D.C. on the day of the riot, faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Ryan defended her actions, blamed Trump and felt she should have been pardoned.

Now Paypal. Ryan had launched a digital campaign to help with legal expenses related to the events in Washington. She was accepting donations through payments processor Paypal, but late last week Paypal also suspended her account.

In an email, Ryan said she was “astounded,” and that she's been a PayPal customer for 20 years. “I was canceled with no warning or anything,” Ryan said, adding that “people that have patriotic beliefs that are different from places like PayPal will need their own system of money and commerce.”

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