Dodd-Frank-mandated rules on providing more information on the quality of the mortgages and other loans that back securities are expected to be finalized Wednesday. The Securities and Exchange Commission's rules on asset-backed securities will require banks to provide data to investors like borrowers' credit scores and debt levels. The idea is to help investors rely less on credit ratings. The SEC is also expected to release rules forcing Moody's, S&P and other debt-rating agencies to reduce or eliminate conflicts of interest when it comes to the selling of their services to the companies and municipalities whose debt they rate.
Fewer homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, according to a Zillow report. That's the good news. The bad news is that the majority of those homes that are underwater are in the bottom third of home values. That's a problem because a higher proportion of low-price, underwater homes may make it more difficult for homeowners to move up to larger homes, which will crimp purchases by first-time home buyers.