Daily News 5/20/2015

May 20, 2015

Wednesday – May 20

Home loan rates have edged higher in the past few weeks as Bond yields rose due a rosier economy and a strengthening job market. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the fixed 30-year conventional ($417,000 or less) rose to 4.04% in the latest survey, the highest since December 2014. The survey covers over 75% of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990. Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.

The minutes from the April Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released today and could reveal the timing as to when short term interest rates, or the Fed Funds Rate, may begin to rise. The economy and the job market has been improving, but not to the point where a rate hike is necessary here in the first half of the 2015. The Fed Funds Rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances to each other overnight.

The U.S. Justice Department has levied massive fines against five global banking institutions over manipulations of foreign exchange rates. The banks include Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc, and UBS AG and will pay a collective fine of roughly $5.7 billion. The banks described themselves as members of “The Cartel” and used chat rooms and coded language to manipulate rates to increase profits.