Barack Obama Takes Oath of Office

Barack Obama on Tuesday became the 44th president of the United States.

Following a swearing-in ceremony witnessed by hundreds of thousands of onlookers in Washington, D.C., and millions more who watched on television, the new president acknowledged there there will be challenges ahead, but that he will seek to confront those issues without partisanship or divisiveness that has recently pervaded national politics.

“Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered,” Obama said.

The full text of Obama’s speech is available here.

Simultaneous with Obama’s swearing in ceremony, the White House rolled out a new Web site at the previous address, www.whitehouse.gov, which includes details on all aspects of the president’s agenda, including his plans for the economy. The site also has a blog and a section devoted to the White House itself.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® plans to work with Congress and the Obama administration to pass an economic stimulus plan that is expected to include many components championed by NAR to improve housing.

NAR’s Housing Stimulus Plan includes both legislative and regulatory fixes. Its focus includes keeping mortgage interest rates low, boosting home buyer confidence, and reducing the current foreclosure rate. It also asks that regulators be encouraged to help financial institutions resolve problems in the short-sale process, make it easier for servicers to modify existing loans, remove unreasonable underwriting guidelines and insist that credit reporting agencies correct errors promptly.

Source: NAR, CNN.com

What a special day… we also heard a special prayer from Dr. Joseph Lowery– I couldn’t help but smile while driving on Joseph Lowery Blvd in West End today .. The West End has so much history!

This hit home today…

being that I’m from NY and have worked on Wall Street with Lehman…I was saddened, and a bit fearful when I saw the headlines.. Then after my prayers,- I know that God is still on the throne and all that is, will not break my spirit.  With renewed strength, my prayers are with those whose lives are greatly impacted by the current state of the U.S.

Financial Giants Fall Victim to Mortgage Crisis

Weighed down by losses in the U.S. mortgage crisis, the stability of major financial institutions continues to be shaky. On Monday, U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. filed for bankruptcy and Bank of America announced that it would be buying struggling Merrill Lynch.

Lehman’s is the largest casualty, so far, in the past year in the ongoning credit crisis. Lehman filed for bankruptcy on Monday following a failed attempt over the weekend to find a buyer.

Concerns over the stability of other firms also looms, particularly after the U.S. government’s decision not to provide any bailout for Lehman. In March the government provided financial backing for JPMorgan’s takeover of Bear Stearns, the first big bank to fold under the mortgage crisis.

Also on Monday, No.2 U.S. bank giant, Bank of America announced it would be buying Merrill Lynch in a $50 billion deal.

“Acquiring one of the premier wealth management, capital markets, and advisory companies is a great opportunity for our shareholders,” Bank of America Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis said in a statement. “Together, our companies are more valuable because of the synergies in our businesses.”The buyout is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009.

Source: Reuter News, Ellis Mnyandu (9/15/08) and Associated Press, Madlen Read and Tim Paradis(9/15/08)