A.O. Smith names new controller
Milwaukee, Wis.-based A. O. Smith announced that Daniel Kempken has been named VP and controller.
In his new position, Kempken will oversee the accounting, financial planning, internal audit and risk management functions for the global manufacturer of residential and commercial water heating equipment.
“Dan enjoys broad ranging accounting experience, both on a domestic and international basis,” said John Kita, executive VP and chief financial officer. “He is well acquainted with GAAP and SEC guidelines, as well as requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley law. In addition, he has extensive experience in acquisitions and divestitures.”
Kempken, a certified public accountant, brings more than 13 years of public accounting experience to A. O. Smith. Most recently, he was a senior manager with Ernst & Young’s Milwaukee office.
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Home equity loans blamed for underwater mortgages
A study released today by CoreLogic, a real estate data and analysis firm, indicates that 38% of homeowners who took out home equity loans on their houses were “underwater” at the end of the first quarter of 2011, compared with 18% of borrowers with no home equity loans. More than 40% (4.5 million) of all negative equity borrowers have home equity loans.
In total, 10.9 million, or 22.7%, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2011, down slightly from 11.1 million, or 23.1%, in the fourth quarter.
Las Vegas led the nation with a 66% negative equity share, followed by Stockton (56%), Phoenix (55%), Modesto (55%) and Reno (54%). Outside metropolitan areas in the top five negative equity states, the metropolitan markets with the highest negative equity shares include Greeley, Colo. (38%), Boise (36%) and Atlanta (35%).
While the average negative equity borrower was upside down by $65,000, there were wide disparities by state. New York borrowers were upside down by an average of $129,000, the highest average in the nation, followed by other high housing cost states: Massachusetts ($120,000), Connecticut ($111,000), Hawaii ($98,000) and California ($93,000). Ohio’s negative equity borrowers were upside down by $31,000, the lowest average in the nation, followed by Indiana ($34,000) and Minnesota ($38,000).
"Many borrowers in negative equity are still able and willing to make their mortgage payments,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist with CoreLogic. “Those in negative equity and impacted by an income shock of some kind, such as a job loss, divorce or death, are much more likely to be at risk of foreclosure or a short sale. The current economic indicators point to slow yet positive economic growth, which will slowly reduce the risk of borrowers experiencing income shocks. Yet the existence of negative equity for the foreseeable future will weigh on the housing market recovery by holding back sale and refinance activity."
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BuildFax partners with Equifax
BuildFax, the national database of building permit activity and creator of the BuildFax Remodeling Index, has joined forces with Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit monitoring firms. The new partnership will give property and casualty insurance carriers immediate access to property history information, improving the accuracy of their underwriting to develop better pricing strategies and reduce the potential for fraud.
Insurance carriers can incorporate building permit data into their business decisions and more accurately identify over-valuations, under-valuations and everything in-between, thus accurately pricing home insurance for both new business opportunities and renewals, according to the announcement.
"We focus on documenting and updating a structure’s ‘life story’ by collecting and providing detailed information for all U.S. residential and commercial property related decisions," said Holly Tachovsky, president of BuildFax. "We’re very pleased to be joining forces with a recognized industry leader like Equifax, as this relationship will allow us to quickly introduce our unique dataset to the insurance industry. Equifax is known for bringing powerful intelligence to this vertical, and we are confident that our offering will strengthen its service and provide a level of transparency to building permit data not yet seen in the industry."
Based in Austin, Texas, and Asheville, N.C., BuildFax has created a proprietary property intelligence engine that contains building and permitting information from 4,000-plus cities and counties across the United States.
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