In other instances, prosecutors may not say exactly what they’re investigating when they ask for transaction records. In that case, it’s up to the financial institution to request more information or try to figure it out on its own.

Paying for abortion services with cash is one possible way to avoid detection, even if it isn’t possible for people ordering pills online. Many abortion funds pay on behalf of people who need financial help.

But cash and electronic transfers of money are not entirely foolproof.

“Even if you are paying with cash, the amount of residual information that can be used to reveal health status and pregnancy status is fairly significant,” said Ms. Stepanovich, referring to potential bread crumbs such as the use of a retailer’s loyalty program or location tracking on a mobile phone when making a cash purchase.

In some cases, users may inadvertently give up sensitive information themselves through apps that track and share their financial behavior.

“The purchase of a pregnancy test on an app where financial history is public is probably the biggest red flag,” Ms. Stepanovich said.

Other advocates mentioned the possibility of using prepaid cards in fixed amounts, like the kinds that people can buy off a rack in a drugstore. Cryptocurrency, they added, usually does leave enough of a trail that achieving anonymity is challenging.

One thing that every expert emphasized is the lack of certainty. But there is an emerging gut feeling that corporations will be in the spotlight at least as much as judges.

“Now, these payment companies are going to be front and center in the fight,” Ms. Caraballo said.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Russia slides towards default as payment deadline expires

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals!<<<<

The clock on Spasskaya tower showing the time at noon, is pictured next to Moscow?s Kremlin, and St. Basil?s Cathedral, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

  • Grace period runs out on $100 mln interest payment due May 27
  • Some Taiwanese bondholders did not received payment on Monday – sources
  • Russia says it has funds to pay, sanctions are to blame
  • Lapsed U.S. waiver, EU sanctions on NSD scupper Russia payments
  • CDS committee already declared ‘credit event’ occurred

LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) – Russia looked set for its first sovereign default in decades as some bondholders said they had not received overdue interest on Monday following the expiry of a key payment deadline a day earlier.

Russia has struggled to keep up payments on $40 billion of outstanding bonds since its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, as sweeping sanctions have effectively cut the country off from the global financial system and rendered its assets untouchable to many investors.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said there are no grounds for Russia to default but it is unable to send money to bondholders because of sanctions, accusing the West of trying to drive it into an artificial default.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Russia’s efforts to avoid what would be its first major default on international bonds since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago hit a insurmountable roadblock in late May when the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) effectively blocked Moscow from making payments.

“Since March we thought that a Russian default is probably inevitable, and the question was just when,” Dennis Hranitzky, head of sovereign litigation at law firm Quinn Emanuel, told Reuters. “OFAC has intervened to answer that question for us, and the default is now upon us.”

While a formal default would be largely symbolic given Russia cannot borrow internationally at the moment and doesn’t need to thanks to plentiful oil and gas export revenues, the stigma would probably raise its borrowing costs in future.

The payments in question are $100 million in interest on two bonds, one denominated in U.S. dollars and another in euros , Russia was due to pay on May 27. The payments had a grace period of 30 days, which expired on Sunday.

Russia’s finance ministry said it made the payments to its onshore National Settlement Depository (NSD) in euros and dollars, adding it has fulfilled obligations.

Some Taiwanese holders of the bonds had not received payments on Monday, sources told Reuters. read more

For many bondholders, not receiving the money owed in time into their accounts constitutes a default.

With no exact deadline specified in the prospectus, lawyers say Russia might have until the end of the following business day to pay the bondholders.

SMALL PRINT

The legal situation surrounding the bonds looks complex.

Russia’s bonds have been issued with an unusual variety of terms, and an increasing level of ambiguities for those sold more recently, when Moscow was already facing sanctions over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a poisoning incident in Britain in 2018.

Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, chair in banking and finance law at Queen Mary University in London, said clarity was needed on what constituted a discharge for Russia on its obligation, or the difference between receiving and recovering payments.

“All these issues are subject to interpretation by a court of law, but Russia has not waived any of its sovereign immunity and has not submitted to the jurisdiction of any court in any of the two prospectuses,” Olivares-Caminal told Reuters.

In some ways, Russia is in default already.

A committee on derivatives has ruled a “credit event” had occurred on some of its securities, which triggered a payout on some of Russia’s credit default swaps – instruments used by investors to insure exposure to debt against default. This was triggered by Russia failing to make a $1.9 million payment in accrued interest on a payment that had been due in early April. read more

Until the Ukraine invasion, a sovereign default had seemed unthinkable, with Russia being rated investment grade up to shortly before that point. A default would also be unusual as Moscow has the funds to service its debt.

The OFAC had issued a temporary waiver, known as a general licence 9A, in early March to allow Moscow to keep paying investors. It let it expire on May 25 as Washington tightened sanctions on Russia, effectively cutting off payments to U.S. investors and entities.

The lapsed OFAC licence is not the only obstacle Russia faces as in early June the European Union imposed sanctions on the NSD, Russia’s appointed agent for its Eurobonds. read more

Moscow has scrambled in recent days to find ways of dealing with upcoming payments and avoid a default.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last Wednesday to launch temporary procedures and give the government 10 days to choose banks to handle payments under a new scheme, suggesting Russia will consider its debt obligations fulfilled when it pays bondholders in roubles.

“Russia saying it’s complying with obligations under the terms of the bond is not the whole story,” Zia Ullah, partner and head of corporate crime and investigations at law firm Eversheds Sutherland told Reuters.

“If you as an investor are not satisfied, for instance, if you know the money is stuck in an escrow account, which effectively would be the practical impact of what Russia is saying, the answer would be, until you discharge the obligation, you have not satisfied the conditions of the bond.”

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Karin Strohecker; Additional reporting by Emily Chan in Taipeh and Sujata Rao in London; Editing by David Holmes, Emelia Sithole-Matarise & Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Banking body urges decisive wave of global rate hikes to stem inflation

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals!<<<<

Plastic letters arranged to read “Inflation” are placed on U.S. Dollar banknote in this illustration taken, June 12, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) – The world’s central bank umbrella body, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), has called for interest rates to be raised “quickly and decisively” to prevent the surge in inflation turning into something even more problematic.

The Swiss-based BIS has held its annual meeting in recent days, where top central bankers met to discuss their current difficulties and one of the most turbulent starts to a year ever for global financial markets.

Surging energy and food prices mean inflation in many places is now its hottest in decades. But the usual remedy of ramping up interest rates is raising the spectre of recession, and even of the dreaded 1970s-style “stagflation”, where rising prices are coupled with low or negative economic growth.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

“The key for central banks is to act quickly and decisively before inflation becomes entrenched,” Agustín Carstens, BIS general manager, said as part of the body’s post-meeting annual report published on Sunday.

Carstens, former head of Mexico’s central bank, said the emphasis was to act in “quarters to come”. The BIS thinks an economic soft landing – where rates rise without triggering recessions – is still possible, but accepts it is a difficult situation.

“A lot of it will depend on precisely on how permanent these (inflationary) shocks are,” Carstens said, adding that the response of financial markets would also be crucial.

“If this tightening generates massive losses, generates massive asset corrections, and that contaminates consumption, investment and employment – of course, that is a more difficult scenario.”

World markets are already suffering one of the biggest sell-offs in recent memory as heavyweight central banks like the U.S. Federal Reserve – and from next month the ECB – move away from record low rates and almost 15 years of back-to-back stimulus measures.

Global stocks (.MIWD00000PUS) are down 20% since January and some analysts calculate that U.S. Treasury bonds, the benchmark of world borrowing markets, could be having their biggest losing first half of a year since 1788.

CREDIBILITY

Carstens said the BIS’s own recent warnings about frothy asset prices meant the current correction was “not necessarily a complete surprise”. That there hadn’t been “major market disruptions” so far was also reassuring, he added.

Part of the BIS report published already last week said that the recent implosions in the cryptocurrency markets were an indication that long-warned-about dangers of decentralised digital money were now materialising.

Those collapses aren’t expected to cause a systemic crisis in the way that bad loans triggered the global financial crash. But Carstens stressed losses would be sizeable and that the opaque nature of the crypto universe fed uncertainty.

Returning to the macro economic picture, he added that the BIS didn’t currently expect a period of widespread stagflation to take hold.

He also said that though many global central banks and the BIS itself had significantly underestimated how quick global inflation has spiralled over the last six to 12 months, they weren’t about to lose hard-earned credibility overnight.

“Yes, you can argue a little bit here about an error of timing of certain actions and the responses of the central banks. But by and large, I think that the central banks have responded forcefully in a very agile fashion,” Carstens said.

“My sense is that central banks will prevail at the end of the day, and that would be good for their credibility.”

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by David Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Two Trends Slowing Housing Market Normalization, According to First American Potential Home Sales Model

SANTA ANA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a premier provider of title, settlement and risk solutions for real estate transactions and the leader in the digital transformation of its industry, today released First American’s proprietary Potential Home Sales Model for the month of May 2022. The Potential Home Sales Model measures what the healthy market level of home sales should be based on economic, demographic, and housing market fundamentals.

May 2022 Potential Home Sales

  • Potential existing-home sales decreased to a 5.62 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), a 2.0 percent month-over-month decrease.
  • This represents a 61.2 percent increase from the market potential low point reached in February 1993.
  • The market potential for existing-home sales decreased 10.5 percent compared with a year ago, a loss of 660,395 (SAAR) sales.
  • Currently, potential existing-home sales is 1,171,000 (SAAR), or 17.2 percent below the pre-recession peak of market potential, which occurred in April 2006.

Chief Economist Analysis: Market Potential for Existing-Home Sales down 10.5 percent year over year, but remains 2.5 percent above pre-pandemic level of May 2019

“The market potential for existing-home sales in May fell 2 percent to 5.62 million at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), compared with last month, and is 10.5 percent lower than one year ago,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American. “Yet, the market potential for home sales remains 2.5 percent higher than May 2019, before the pandemic hit.

“Home purchase demand is declining as mortgage rates rise alongside still-strong house price appreciation. While a decline in demand may reduce the pace of sales and lead to an increase in inventory, existing homeowners are less inclined to sell their homes as mortgage rates rise,” said Fleming. “Historically, nearly 90 percent of total inventory is existing-home inventory, and existing homeowners are staying put. Increasing the supply of homes for sale is key to slowing house price growth and restoring balance to the housing market.”

Existing Homeowners, the Immovable Object

“The amount of time a typical homeowner lives in their home increased 2 percent from one year ago, and 0.4 percent compared with last month, which was the largest month-over-month increase since August 2020 and contributed to a loss of 15,500 potential home sales compared with last month,” said Fleming. “Since existing homeowners supply the majority of the homes for sale, and homeowners are staying put longer, the housing market faces an ongoing supply shortage.

“Before the housing market crash in 2007, the average length of time someone lived in their home was approximately five years. During the aftermath of the housing market crisis between 2008 and 2016, the average length of time someone lived in their home grew to approximately eight years,” said Fleming. “The most recent data shows that the average length of time someone lives in their home reached a historic high of 10.6 years in May 2022.”

Two Trends Limiting Housing Supply and Housing Market Normalization

“Two trends are locking homeowners in place, preventing much-needed housing supply from reaching the market and helping tilt the market toward buyers. Many existing homeowners are rate locked-in to historically low, sub-3 percent mortgage rates, and now that rates are rising, there is a financial disincentive to sell their homes and buy a new home at a higher mortgage rate,” said Fleming. “The golden handcuffs of low mortgage rates prevent more supply from reaching the market.

“Seniors choosing to age in place, rather than downsize or move to another home, further limits housing supply. A 2019 study from Freddie Mac shows that if adults born between 1931-1959 behaved like earlier generations, they would have released nearly 1.6 million additional housing units to the market by 2018,” said Fleming. “As seniors continue to choose to age in place, there will be fewer existing homes available for sale. And, with many of these senior homeowners also locked into historically low mortgage rates and sitting on historically high levels of equity, it’s more likely they will renovate the home they currently own than list their home for sale and move.”

What Does it all Mean for the Housing Market?

“A moderation of house price growth will signal that balance is returning to the housing market. Yet, more housing supply is critical to meaningful moderation in house price appreciation. While rising mortgage rates will continue to cool demand, it will also keep existing homeowners locked into their homes,” said Fleming. “You can’t buy what’s not for sale — and existing homeowners have little incentive to relieve the supply pressure, keeping a lid on housing market normalization.”

Next Release

The next Potential Home Sales Model will be released on July 19, 2022 with June 2022 data.

About the Potential Home Sales Model

Potential home sales measures existing-homes sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate based on the historical relationship between existing-home sales and U.S. population demographic data, homeowner tenure, house-buying power in the U.S. economy, price trends in the U.S. housing market, and conditions in the financial market. When the actual level of existing-home sales are significantly above potential home sales, the pace of turnover is not supported by market fundamentals and there is an increased likelihood of a market correction. Conversely, seasonally adjusted, annualized rates of actual existing-home sales below the level of potential existing-home sales indicate market turnover is underperforming the rate fundamentally supported by the current conditions. Actual seasonally adjusted annualized existing-home sales may exceed or fall short of the potential rate of sales for a variety of reasons, including non-traditional market conditions, policy constraints and market participant behavior. Recent potential home sale estimates are subject to revision to reflect the most up-to-date information available on the economy, housing market and financial conditions. The Potential Home Sales model is published prior to the National Association of Realtors’ Existing-Home Sales report each month.

Disclaimer

Opinions, estimates, forecasts and other views contained in this page are those of First American’s Chief Economist, do not necessarily represent the views of First American or its management, should not be construed as indicating First American’s business prospects or expected results, and are subject to change without notice. Although the First American Economics team attempts to provide reliable, useful information, it does not guarantee that the information is accurate, current or suitable for any particular purpose. © 2022 by First American. Information from this page may be used with proper attribution.

About First American

First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a premier provider of title, settlement and risk solutions for real estate transactions. With its combination of financial strength and stability built over more than 130 years, innovative proprietary technologies, and unmatched data assets, the company is leading the digital transformation of its industry. First American also provides data products to the title industry and other third parties; valuation products and services; mortgage subservicing; home warranty products; banking, trust and wealth management services; and other related products and services. With total revenue of $9.2 billion in 2021, the company offers its products and services directly and through its agents throughout the United States and abroad. In 2022, First American was named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Great Place to Work® and Fortune Magazine for the seventh consecutive year. More information about the company can be found at www.firstam.com. 

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

A Chinese Entrepreneur Who Says What Others Only Think

China’s entrepreneur class is grappling with the worst economic slump in decades as the government’s zero Covid policy has shut down cities and kept would-be customers at home. Yet they can’t seem to agree on how loudly they should complain — or even whether they should at all.

A tech entrepreneur wrote in a big group chat in May that many members were too critical. “What people here do every day is criticizing the government and the system,” she wrote. “I can’t see any entrepreneurship in this.”

A top venture capitalist told his nearly nine million social media followers that as much as everyone had suffered from the pandemic, they should try to stay away from negative news and information.

zero Covid policy, which has put hundreds of millions of people under some kind of lockdowns in the past few months, costing jobs and revenues. He’s saying what many others are whispering in private but fear to say in public.

“The questions we should ask ourselves are,” he wrote in an article that was censored within an hour of posting but shared widely in other formats, “what caused such widespread negative sentiment across the society? Who should be responsible for this? And how can we change it?”

He said the lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities made it clear that wealth and social status meant little to a government determined to pursue its zero Covid policy. “We’re all nobodies who could be sent to the quarantine camps, and our homes could be broken into,” he wrote. “If we still choose to adapt to and put up with this, all of us will face the same destiny: trapped.”

staying out of politics is no longer an option for China’s business leaders. But some of his peers are reluctant, given the potential penalties.

steered away from the market economy and cracked down on some industries. It demonized entrepreneurs and went after some of the most prominent of them. Then when the mild, albeit contagious, Omicron variant of the coronavirus emerged in China this year, the government meddled with free enterprise as it hadn’t in decades.

The lockdowns and restrictions have done so much damage to the economy that Premier Li Keqiang summoned about 100,000 cadres to an emergency meeting in late May. He called the situation “severe” and “urgent,” citing sharp drops in employment, industrial production, electricity consumption and freight traffic.

Many business leaders believe that it will be hard to reverse the damage if the government doesn’t stop the zero Covid policy. Yet they feel that there’s nothing they can do to make Beijing change course.

The chairman of a big internet company told me that with all the pandemic restrictions, he and others were operating as if dancing with shackles on while expecting the sword of a lockdown to strike at any moment. With a big public company to run, he said, it would be too risky to be vocal. He hoped the economists could be more outspoken.

The chairman of a publicly listed conglomerate with many consumer-facing businesses said he had to shut down a few of his companies and let people go as revenues dropped off a cliff. He’s not a Christian, he said, but he has been praying to God every day to help him get through this tough period.

articles that compared the pros and cons of different pandemic policies. Then, in mid-May, his social media Weibo account was suspended.

Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, largely disappeared from public view after he criticized banking regulators in late 2019. The regulators quashed the initial public offering of Ant Group, the tech and financial company controlled by Mr. Ma, and fined Alibaba a record $2.8 billion last year.

Ren Zhiqiang, a retired real estate developer, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of committing graft, taking bribes, misusing public funds and abusing his power. His real crime, his supporters say, was criticizing Mr. Xi’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020.

Mr. Zhou, 49, is known as a maverick in Chinese business circles. He founded his first business in stereo systems with his brother in the mid-1990s when he was still in college. In 2010, he started Yongche, one of the first ride-hailing companies.

Unlike most Chinese bosses, he didn’t demand that his employees work overtime, and he didn’t like liquor-filled business meals. He turned down hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and refused to participate in subsidy wars because doing so didn’t make economic sense. He ended up losing out to his more aggressive competitor Didi.

He later wrote a best seller about his failure and became a partner at a venture capital firm in Beijing. In April, he was named chairman of the ride-sharing company Caocao, a subsidiary of auto manufacturing giant Geely Auto Group.

A Chinese citizen with his family in Canada, Mr. Zhou said in an interview that in the past many wealthy Chinese people like him would move their families and some of their assets abroad but work in China because there were more opportunities.

Now, some of the top talent are trying to move their businesses out of the country, too. It doesn’t bode well for China’s future, he said.

“Entrepreneurs have good survivor’s instinct,” he said. “Now they’re forced to look beyond China.” He coined a term — “passive globalization” — based on his discussions with other entrepreneurs. “Many of us are starting to take such actions,” he said.

The prospect depressed him. China used to be the best market in the world: big, vibrant, full of ambitious entrepreneurs and hungry workers, he said, but the senseless and destructive zero Covid policy and the business crackdowns have forced many of them to think twice.

“Even if your company is a so-called giant, we’re all nobodies in front of the bigger force,” he said. “A whiff of wind could crush us.”

All the business leaders I spoke to said they were reluctant to make long-term investment in China and fearful that they and their companies could become the next victim of the government’s iron fist. They’re focusing on their international operations if they have them or seeking opportunities abroad.

Mr. Zhou left for Vancouver, British Columbia, in a hurry in late April when Beijing was locking down many neighborhoods. Then he wrote the article, urging his peers to try to speak up and change their powerless status.

He said he understood the fear and the pressure they faced. “Honestly speaking, I’m scared, too.” But he would probably regret it more if he did nothing. “Our country can’t go on like this,” he said. “We can’t allow it to deteriorate like this.”

In recent years, a few of Mr. Zhou’s articles and social media accounts have been deleted. His outspokenness has caused uneasiness among his friends, he said. Some have told him to shut up because it didn’t change anything and was creating unnecessary risks for himself, his family, his companies and the stakeholders in his businesses.

But Mr. Zhou can’t help himself. He’s worried that China could become more like it was under Mao: impoverished and repressive. His generation of entrepreneurs owes much of their success to China’s reform and opening up policies, he said. They have the responsibilities to initiate change instead of waiting for a free ride.

Maybe they can start by speaking up, even if just a little bit.

“Any change starts with disagreement and disobedience,” he said.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Redwood Trust Prices Upsized $200 Million Convertible Senior Notes Offering

MILL VALLEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Redwood Trust, Inc. (NYSE: RWT; “Redwood” or the “Company”), a leader in expanding access to housing for homebuyers and renters, today announced that it priced $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount of its 7.75% convertible senior notes due 2027 (the “Notes”) in a private offering to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The aggregate principal amount of the offering was increased from the previously announced offering size of $150,000,000. Redwood granted the initial purchasers of the Notes an option to purchase, for settlement within a period of 13 days from, and including, the date the Notes are first issued, up to an additional $30,000,000 principal amount of Notes. The Notes will be senior unsecured obligations of Redwood. The offering is expected to close on June 9, 2022, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.

Interest on the Notes will be payable semi-annually in arrears on June 15 and December 15 of each year, beginning on December 15, 2022; the Notes will mature on June 15, 2027, unless earlier repurchased, redeemed or converted. Upon conversion, holders of the Notes will receive shares of Redwood’s common stock, together with cash in lieu of any fractional share. If Redwood undergoes a “fundamental change” (as defined in the offering memorandum relating to the Notes), subject to certain conditions, holders of the Notes may require Redwood to repurchase all or part of their Notes for cash in an amount equal to the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any.

Before March 15, 2027, holders will have the right to convert their notes only upon the occurrence of certain events. From and after March 15, 2027, holders may convert their notes at any time at their election until the close of business on the second scheduled trading day immediately before the maturity date. Redwood will have the right to elect to settle conversions either entirely in cash or in a combination of cash and shares of its common stock. However, upon conversion of any notes, the conversion value, which will be determined over a period of multiple trading days, will be paid in cash up to at least the principal amount of the notes being converted. Any conversions of Notes into shares of Redwood common stock will be subject to certain ownership limitations set forth in Redwood’s charter documents. The initial conversion rate is 95.6823 shares of common stock per $1,000 principal amount of Notes, equivalent to a conversion price of approximately $10.45 per share, which is an approximately 12.50% premium to the closing price of Redwood’s common stock on June 6, 2022.

Redwood will have the right to redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, at its option at any time prior to maturity to the extent necessary to preserve its status as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In addition, subject to certain limitations, Redwood will have the right to redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, at its option on or after June 16, 2025, but only if the last reported sale price per share of Redwood’s common stock exceeds 130% of the conversion price for a specified period of time. The redemption price for any Note called for redemption will be a cash amount equal to the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any.

Redwood intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for investment and funding purposes, which may include investing in organically sourced assets through Redwood’s mortgage banking businesses, opportunistically investing in third-party securities and other long-term and strategic assets for its investment portfolio, funding strategic acquisitions and investments, and funding the activities of Redwood’s residential and business purpose mortgage banking businesses, as well as for general corporate purposes and potential open market purchases of common stock or debt. In addition, Redwood intends to use approximately $25.0 million of the net proceeds from the offering to repurchase approximately 2.7 million shares of its common stock concurrently with the offering in privately negotiated transactions effected through one of the initial purchasers of the Notes or its affiliate, as Redwood’s agent.

The offer and sale of the Notes and any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the Notes have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or any other securities laws, and the Notes and any such shares cannot be offered or sold except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any other applicable securities laws. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, the Notes or any shares of common stock issuable upon conversion of the Notes, nor will there be any sale of the Notes or any such shares, in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer, sale or solicitation would be unlawful.

About Redwood Trust

Redwood Trust, Inc. (NYSE: RWT) is a specialty finance company focused on several distinct areas of housing credit. Our operating platforms occupy a unique position in the housing finance value chain, providing liquidity to growing segments of the U.S. housing market not well served by government programs. We deliver customized housing credit investments to a diverse mix of investors, through our best-in-class securitization platforms; whole-loan distribution activities; and our publicly traded shares. Our aggregation, origination and investment activities have evolved to incorporate a diverse mix of residential, business purpose and multifamily assets. Our goal is to provide attractive returns to shareholders through a stable and growing stream of earnings and dividends, capital appreciation, and a commitment to technological innovation that facilitates risk-minded scale. We operate our business in three segments: Residential Mortgage Banking, Business Purpose Mortgage Banking and Investment Portfolio. Additionally, through RWT Horizons™, our venture investing initiative, we invest in early-stage companies strategically aligned with our business across the lending, real estate, and financial technology sectors to drive innovations across our residential and business-purpose lending platforms. Since going public in 1994, we have managed our business through several cycles, built a track record of innovation, and established a best-in-class reputation for service and a common-sense approach to credit investing. Redwood Trust is internally managed and structured as a real estate investment trust for tax purposes.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, such as statements related to the offering and the expected use of the net proceeds. Forward-looking statements involve numerous risks and uncertainties. Redwood’s actual results may differ materially from those projected, and Redwood cautions investors not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. Forward-looking statements are not historical in nature and can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “seek,” “plan,” and similar expressions or their negative forms, or by references to strategy, plans, or intentions. No assurance can be given that the offering will be completed on the terms described, or at all, or that the net proceeds of the offering will be used as indicated. Completion of the offering on the terms described, and the application of net proceeds, are subject to numerous conditions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of Redwood, including, among other things, those described in Redwood’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Redwood undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

$10K Grant from Arvest Bank and FHLB Dallas Helps National Guard Veteran

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. military veteran Angelia Shaw dedicated 39 years of her life to the National Guard. Her time in the service included spending more than four years at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas, organizing the safe homecoming of injured soldiers.

Ms. Shaw, 63, of North Little Rock, retired from the National Guard in 2018 and is now a financial secretary at Camp Robinson. While she found her service fulfilling, her training over the years in the National Guard took a heavy toll on her knees.

Ms. Shaw was able to make repairs to her home because of a $10,000 Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) grant from Arvest Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). The funds were used to replace her heating and air-conditioning unit, upgrade a bathroom and do other minor home repairs.

HAVEN funds assist with necessary modifications to homes of U.S. veterans and active-duty, reserve or National Guard service members, who became disabled as a result of their military service since September 11, 2001. Alternatively, the funds can be awarded to Gold Star Families that were impacted during this time frame for home repairs/rehabilitation.

“I was really surprised and happy to learn that I qualified and wouldn’t have to pay the funds back,” Ms. Shaw said. “I’ve told some other people about it, and I’m really grateful and appreciative that this program is out there.”

Virgil Miller, group CRA director at Arvest Bank, said the grant is an opportunity to give back to Ms. Shaw and other veterans.

“Arvest Bank has been involved with the HAVEN grant for many years,” said Mr. Miller. “It’s an incredible honor to serve our veterans and Gold Star Families this way.”

Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas, said HAVEN is an extraordinary program because it allows FHLB Dallas and its members to express gratitude to veterans and their families.

“We commend Arvest Bank and its devotion to supporting veterans like Ms. Shaw,” he said. “We deeply value its commitment to the HAVEN grant.”

To learn more about HAVEN, see fhlb.com/haven.

About Arvest Bank

With more than $26 billion in assets, Arvest Bank is a community-based financial institution serving more than 110 communities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Established in 1961, Arvest Bank is committed to meeting the needs of its more than 830,000 retail and business customer households by continually investing in the digital tools and services customers expect. Its extensive network of more than 200 banking locations provides loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing as a part of its growing list of digital services. Arvest is known for its commitment to the communities it serves and to attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse group of talented people. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. To learn more please visit www.arvest.com.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $62.6 billion as of March 31, 2022 is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 800 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit our website at fhlb.com.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Signature Bank Appoints Corporate Mortgage Finance Group

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), a New York-based, full-service commercial bank, announced today the appointment of its Corporate Mortgage Finance (CMF) Group. The CMF group provides financing solutions for a range of mortgage-related collateral across Signature Bank’s national footprint. The Signature Bank CMF Group is experienced in understanding the complexities of the mortgage origination, servicing and investment sectors and works with clients to structure commercial and residential mortgage-supported financing facilities to meet their strategic liquidity and balance sheet management needs.

Heading the new CMF team is Kenneth D. Logan, Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB), who brings more than 35 years of real estate finance, warehouse lending, asset-backed structured lending and corporate finance to his new role as Managing Group Director and Senior Vice President. In this capacity, Logan oversees the Group’s strategy, direction and execution as well as handles portfolio and credit management responsibilities. Prior to joining Signature Bank in 2021, Logan spent 12 years at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (including time at predecessor Wachovia Bank) as Managing Director of the Mortgage Banker Finance Group, which he founded and headed. In this role, Logan had executive leadership and daily management oversight of all aspects of this business. During his career, he also founded and led four successful mortgage finance groups for other large institutions and was a founding shareholder of a community bank, also engaged in mortgage finance.

On the heels of Logan’s appointment, other key banking professionals were added to the CMF Group, which now totals 14 colleagues. Several of these individuals previously worked together at their former institutions.

Kelly Kucsma was appointed Director of CMF Operations and Senior Vice President, responsible for all operational areas of CMF, including client onboarding, individual loan approvals, loan level and client level monitoring and treasury functions related to funding and repayment of transactions. Kucsma spent 21 years at Wells Fargo Bank (and predecessor Wachovia Bank) in Charlotte, N.C., most recently as Director, Warehouse Lending Operations and Transactional Due Diligence within their Asset Backed Finance and Mortgage Banker Finance Group. During her tenure, she held a range of mortgage banking related leadership roles, spending 14 years specifically in Warehouse Lending Operations.

Paul Tirella and Michelle Marrapodi were each named Associate Group Director and Vice President – CMF, handling business development and relationship management, working with mortgage lenders, aggregators and servicers nationwide to represent Signature Bank’s suite of financing services to the mortgage industry. This includes the financing of residential, business purpose, multi-family and commercial mortgage loans and servicing rights.

Tirella joins from Bank United where he was a Vice President – Business Development for the Residential Warehouse Group. For five years, he aided in growing the residential mortgage warehouse lending business, sourcing a plethora of counterparties, which led to the business line’s expansion. Other roles included banking relationship management and credit-related positions at UBS and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others.

Marrapodi, with more than three decades of banking experience, had been Senior Vice President, Warehouse Lending at Prosperity Bank. In this position, she developed and managed warehouse lending relationships with independent mortgage banking firms nationwide. Throughout her career, Marrapodi held related roles at ZAIS Group, EverBank, Astoria Federal Savings, MetLife Home Loans and Credit Suisse First Boston, just to name a few.

Keith Ashworth was appointed to Operations Manager and Vice President for the CMF Group, where he manages non-treasury operations for CMF. Bringing more than two decades of experience to his role, Ashworth was Operations Manager and Vice President at Wells Fargo in Atlanta for 12 years, during which time he worked with both Logan and Kucsma.

Michael Tenkerian, with 20 years of industry related experience, was named Vice President and Treasury Manager for the CMF Group, overseeing cash management and wire transactions. Previously, he spent seven years at Bank of Hope in California as Senior Vice President and head of Warehouse Lending.

Melissa Marini, with 21 years of financial services and mortgage banking expertise, is Vice President of Specialty Operations for the CMF Group, where she evaluates applicable lending opportunities for the Group. She also joins from Wells Fargo Bank (Charlotte), where she was an underwriter for 15 years and worked with certain members of the Signature Bank CMF Group.

Jason Carter, as Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, handles reviewing of financial and collateral information for prospects and oversees a portfolio of direct and indirect asset-based credit facilities. He manages the loan documentation process coordinating activities with underwriters, field examiners and operations staff to ensure proper ongoing account administration. For five years prior to joining Signature Bank, Carter was Vice President – Portfolio Manager at Associated Bank in Chicago.

Christine Castner was also appointed to the post of Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, primarily underwriting new facilities and monitoring existing deals. With a career spanning 30 years, she spent the past eight as Vice President, Senior Credit Analyst at Prosperity Bank before joining the CMF Group. Castner also was Senior Credit Officer, Warehouse Lending at Ally Bank and spent 10+ years with GMAC/RFC, starting as an analyst and then moving into the credit officer role.

Other professionals with substantial mortgage finance experience rounding out the CMF Group are:

“Throughout the past decade, we have demonstrated many times over to the marketplace our keen ability to identify opportunities for adding complementary business lines and attracting veteran teams who built an expertise within their areas. We have nurtured these initiatives, delivering solid results across the board. The CMF Group will be no exception. We have assembled a group of top-notch professionals who possess extensive warehouse lending experience, all of whom bring distinct talents within this novel space to our enterprise. With the addition of these seasoned colleagues, we look forward to the increasing contributions the CMF team will make as well as the business line’s growth and impact,” explained Joseph J. DePaolo, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Bank.

Logan commented on his development of the CMF Group: “The Bank’s mission-driven approach and client-centric philosophy affords my team the chance to truly leverage our vast expertise, build our business line and grow autonomously. All the professionals in the new CMF Group bring a deep expertise within our niche business, which will bode well for the Bank’s growth as it moves forward in this arena.”

About Signature Bank

Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), member FDIC, is a New York-based, full-service commercial bank with 38 private client offices throughout the metropolitan New York area, as well as those in Connecticut, California and North Carolina. Through its single-point-of-contact approach, the Bank’s private client banking teams primarily serve the needs of privately owned businesses, their owners and senior managers.

The Bank has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Signature Financial, LLC, provides equipment finance and leasing; and, Signature Securities Group Corporation, a licensed broker-dealer, investment adviser and member FINRA/SIPC, offers investment, brokerage, asset management and insurance products and services.

Since commencing operations in May 2001, Signature Bank reached $121.85 billion in assets and $109.16 billion in deposits as of March 31, 2022. Signature Bank placed 19th on S&P Global’s list of the largest banks in the U.S., based on deposits at year-end 2021.

Signature Bank was the first FDIC-insured bank to launch a blockchain-based digital payments platform. Signet™ allows commercial clients to make real-time payments in U.S. dollars, 24/7/365 and was also the first solution to be approved for use by the NYS Department of Financial Services.

For more information, please visit https://www.signatureny.com.

This press release and oral statements made from time to time by our representatives contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should not place undue reliance on those statements because they are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and may be beyond our control. Forward-looking statements include information concerning our expectations regarding future results, interest rates and the interest rate environment, loan and deposit growth, loan performance, operations, new private client teams’ hires, new office openings, business strategy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each of the foregoing and on our business overall. Forward-looking statements often include words such as “may,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “could,” “project,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “plan,” “estimate” or other similar expressions. As you consider forward-looking statements, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us or in our control. These factors include but are not limited to: (i) prevailing economic conditions; (ii) changes in interest rates, loan demand, real estate values and competition, any of which can materially affect origination levels and gain on sale results in our business, as well as other aspects of our financial performance, including earnings on interest-bearing assets; (iii) the level of defaults, losses and prepayments on loans made by us, whether held in portfolio or sold in the whole loan secondary markets, which can materially affect charge-off levels and required credit loss reserve levels; (iv) changes in monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. Government, including policies of the U.S. Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; (v) changes in the banking and other financial services regulatory environment; (vi) our ability to maintain the continuity, integrity, security and safety of our operations and (vii) competition for qualified personnel and desirable office locations. All of these factors are subject to additional uncertainty in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, which are having impacts on all aspects of our operations, the financial services industry and the economy as a whole. Additional risks are described in our quarterly and annual reports filed with the FDIC. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, beliefs and expectations, if a change occurs or our beliefs, assumptions and expectations were incorrect, our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. You should keep in mind that any forward-looking statements made by Signature Bank speak only as of the date on which they were made. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and we cannot predict these events or how they may affect the Bank. Signature Bank has no duty to, and does not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements after the date on which they are made.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Cathay Bank Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This year marks Cathay Bank’s 60th Anniversary. Founded in 1962 in Los Angeles Chinatown, the bank’s initial focus was to serve the growing and underserved Chinese American community in Los Angeles. Cathay Bank became a publicly traded company, through its holding company Cathay General Bancorp, on Nasdaq in 1990, and by 1999, the bank had expanded its footprint to the East Coast. Today, Cathay Bank remains headquartered in Los Angeles and operates over 60 branches throughout the U.S., with one branch in Hong Kong and representative offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei.

Some of the bank’s more recent milestones include refreshing the Cathay brand, purchasing HSBC Bank USA (“HSBC”) West Coast mass retail market consumer banking business and retail business banking business, and surpassing $20 billion in asset size as of December 31, 2021.

Cathay Bank also gives back to its local communities. The Cathay Bank Foundation was founded in 2002 to help raise and administer funds distributed to community-based nonprofit organizations and continues to do so today. To celebrate its many years of achievements and to thank the support of our clients and community, Cathay Bank hosted a celebratory event this evening in San Marino, California.

Executive Chairman Dunson Cheng and President and Chief Executive Officer Chang M. Liu both attended the event and delivered speeches commemorating the occasion. A press conference was held before the formal dinner and the media interviewed Liu, focusing on the bank’s milestones, achievements, and community involvement.

“As part of our many anniversary celebrations, we hosted various events, including an Open House event at every branch from April 18 to 20, to reconnect with our local communities, clients, and prospects. On our Diamond Anniversary, we stand on the shoulders of our dedicated colleagues past and present who have planted and cultivated the seeds of success as we applaud our Bank’s history, celebrate its present and shape its future,” stated Liu.

About Cathay Bank

Cathay Bank, a subsidiary of Cathay General Bancorp (Nasdaq: CATY), opened its doors in 1962 in Los Angeles to serve the growing immigrant community. Today, we operate over 60 branches across the U.S., with a branch in Hong Kong, and representative offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei. In 2022, we proudly celebrate our diamond jubilee. While much has changed over six decades, our pursuit and dedication has only grown stronger. Then, now, and always, we go above and beyond, so you can, too. Learn more at cathaybank.com. FDIC insurance coverage is limited to deposit accounts at Cathay Bank’s U.S. domestic branch locations.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<