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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ameriquest "cutting and running" In Puget Sound

Props to reader seattle price drop for spotting this story about Ameriquest Mortgage skipping town:

A banking giant shut down all of its branches in Western Washington on Tuesday, leaving thousands of local customers in the lurch, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reported.

Ameriquest Mortgage is closing 229 branches nationwide, including 26 branches in Washington state.

Peter Demerick of Bremerton thought all he needed to do was fax his mortgage papers in to Ameriquest. But he didn't expect to get a disconnected number, and now he's still trying to get answers.
...
"This is absolutely crazy. Ameriquest is one of largest mortgage companies in the United States," he said.
...
Ameriquest is closing all 26 offices in the Puget Sound area. About 4,000 employees nationwide were let go Tuesday and told to take their belongings and go home.

Demerick is sure his mortgage broker had no idea. "I'm sure he was totally shocked. If he knew about this yesterday, he was a great actor. At this point they're cutting and running."
I expect we will see a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming years as real estate begins its decline.

In other news, I caught this story via the 360Digest blog:
Homestore Inc. this week rolled out a new look for its Move.com home-search Web site, which features existing homes, new homes and properties for rent.

Move reported a net loss of $2.04 million in the first quarter compared to a net loss of $395,000 in first-quarter 2005.

The company reported that the quarterly loss is related to a new rule issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which relates to public companies' accounting of stock options. "Excluding stock-based compensation expense related to the adoption of (the rule), net income would have been $1.3 million for the first quarter of 2006," Move Inc. reported. Total operating expenses were $55.4 million in the first quarter, up from $44.3 million in first-quarter 2005.
...
Total revenue in the first quarter was $69 million, up 22 percent from first-quarter 2005.
Move.com doesn't have anything to do with the Seattle area, but I found the story interesting because their soon-to-be "Director of Consumer Innovations" happens to be Dustin of our favorite local real estate blog, Rain City Guide.

(Alison Grande, KIRO 7, 05.03.2006)
(Inman News, 05.03.2006)

12 comments:

Eleua said...

"Peter Demerick of Bremerton thought all he needed to do was fax his mortgage papers in to Ameriquest. But he didn't expect to get a disconnected number, and now he's still trying to get answers.
"


This falls into the "I told you so" department...

On my RE blog I talk of a hypothetical scenario where a Bainbridge Island couple (Joe Hippen and Mary Trendy) get forced out of their house, and how the market can tank faster and deeper than anyone realizes.

In my ficticious example, I said that Joe works for "Fly-by-Night" Mortgage company.

I should have just said "Ameriquest."

It's starting. I see bullish people. They are everywhere. They are mortgaging their future and don't know they are trapped in debt.

Anonymous said...

Eleua,

I'm not sure I caught the URL to your blog. Could you post it again?

Eleua said...

http://clearcutbainbridge.blogspot.com/2006/01/do-math-why-real-estate-will-get-cut.html

Eleua said...

I tested the link in post #1 and it is a good link.

The Tim said...

I think anon is employing the little-known tactic of sarcasm to have a little laugh at your expense, Eleua...

first_time_buyer said...

any idea what happens to the guys who took mortgage from Ameriquest. Now, are they free of all debt? ;-)

Eleua said...

Yup, he got me.

Oh, well...

seattle price drop said...

I am sure that this is the tip of the iceberg. Apparently, Ameriquest has been involved in a lot of shady stuff and is being sued by several people.

Sorry, don't have the links and such but I'm sure it can be googled. I read a bit about these suits today.

It is sickening to me that "hearth, home and community" has been turned into "obscene money maker and debt for life in turn".

And sad that so many have been scared senseless into buying into this insanity.

As the latest "Harpers" magazine has said, Americans have become "home serfs".
A lot of innocent people are going to be hurt by the fallout from this totally immoral bubble in cost of the roof over ones' head.

It is destroying the US economy and could very well throw a wrench in US society.

Thank God it is coming to an end and shame on anybody who encourages it's continuation.

Shelter is a basic neccessity and people should not have to go into the poor house for it.

For those who have already made the leap out of fear, I pray for you but, that was your own decision. And you need to take personal responsibility for the choices you have made.

Hopefully, we are coming to the end of people who are standing in line to buy a house they, in reality, cannot afford.

We have more productive things to do than pay a never-ending mortgage debt.

Nick said...

"Shelter is a basic neccessity and people should not have to go into the poor house for it."

We're talking about adults here. They could have rented. Economies don't work if adults don't ever suffer the negative consequences of their irrational actions.

Anyone can still rent. This isn't about unaffordability. It's about stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Nick's going to be one angry dude when prices tank.

Anonymous said...

A friend who works at a bank here said they'd just hired a few people who were let go from WAMU in Seattle.

According to her, WAMU just "shut down a home loan dept. in Seattle".

Don't know if that's an exaggeration or what. I guess we'll hear more in the future.

Anyway, if you remember, WAMU shut down a hefty proportion of US branches last winter or Fall.

Tim Dunn, Realtor said...

If a mortgage company collapsing means that the housing market has a bleak future, does Enron collapsing mean that oil prices have a bleak future?

This is so clueless I hardly know where to begin. Businesses collapse due to bad management all the time. That fact says zip about the industries that they are in.

Further, if a business collapses because it's industry is in trouble, that is a response to the present, not the future. And Seattle area real estate, whatever its future, is not currently in trouble.

You just don't get it - You can't have a speculative bubble without speculation. People don't speculate with their own homes. They sometimes speculate with non-owner occupied homes, but Seattle doesn't have very many of those.