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Business Letters

Indymac boosts retail bank network

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January 13, 2008

You published an article ("Most lenders accept tough new mortgage rules in Mass.," Jan. 10") that singled out Indymac Bank, the second-largest independent lender in America, as "suspending most lending in the state." As CEO of Indymac's Mortgage Bank, I assure you that while Indymac has suspended some lending through third-party brokers pending clarification of the new state guidelines, we continue to do strong business in the Commonwealth through our growing, 10-branch, 110-person retail lending network, which increased its business in Massachusetts eighteenfold in 2007.

We have enjoyed tremendous success in our Retail Lending Group and are committed to growing our retail business in Massachusetts. We look forward to working with the attorney general's office to get clarification on how to prudently lend through third-party mortgage brokers in the state, and it's our goal that, in doing so, we'll be able to resume our wholesale business in Massachusetts soon.

In particular, we are working with the attorney general's office to address our concern that we would be liable for the product and pricing decisions made by third-party brokers selling Indymac products. Until we can reach a better level of understanding on this issue, we are happy to do business with your readers through our retail channel.

Frank Sillman
Chief executive, Indymac Mortgage Bank
Pasadena, Calif.

A heavier concern for jets: passengers
If a 20-pound lighter food cart saves enough fuel money to warrant writing about, then have the backbone to say how much fuel would be saved if Americans shed their extra weight! ("As jet fuel prices rise, even the drink cart's weight matters," Jan. 2) If baggage gets surcharged for being "heavy," then why not credit folks who aren't obese?

If the airlines can't say it publicly, at least a columnist could write it and get people discussing another ramification of our national epidemic.

Dan McKee
Reading

Pavilion process rife with problems
Having been a participant with many other architects in the Harbor Parks Pavilion Competition, I am not at all surprised that the "winning" design will never be built. I knew it within minutes of seeing it ("Harbor Parks Pavilion being designed for 3d time; Changes and slow fund-raising put visitors center behind schedule," Dec. 29). It was an arrogant choice by the jury, which ignored its own guidelines and overlooked many better, well-thought-out, buildable designs. Having a glass box surrounded by a moat as a welcoming image for a visitor's center is ludicrous. Accessibility would have been very difficult. Energy and maintenance costs would have been outrageous.

Now the plans to remove the public toilets, a key required amenity, the bookstore, an attraction in its own right, and having it only open three seasons have gone further in taking a fine concept and watering it down so much that it will be an embarrassment to the city. Rose Kennedy, who exhibited fine taste in many ways, would be appalled at what is being done to her namesake park.

Jeffrey Noel Baron
Cambridge

Crossed signals on TV converters
I keep reading about the digital converters older televisions will need in a year to convert the signals into something the old TVs can use, but I never hear about the larger question of availability of signals ("If your TV is more than a few years old, you'll need a new one - or a converter box - once broadcasting switches to all-digital," Jan. 7). A few years ago, when we got a digital television, our satellite provider wasn't offering the local stations in high def so our installer put in an attic antenna to get those signals. We're at the bottom of a not too tall hill and we could get the signals only in the fall and winter, when the leaves were off the trees. My mother, who lives closer to the city, in Belmont, couldn't get any over-the-air signals even before digital broadcasts because of the electronic shadow caused by the Cambridge Reservoir.

People may get converter boxes, but no signal to convert, unless those transmitting towers are doubled in height. When is this issue going to be addressed?

Robert Najarian
Concord

Claim overshadows project's real cost
Community leaders, neighbors, architects, preservationists, and others who oppose Hudson North's skyscraper plans that threaten the historic Dainty Dot Building and its surroundings do not question the need for affordable housing in Chinatown or any other neighborhood ("Concessions haven't ended fighting over 27-floor tower," Dec. 27). However, it makes no more sense to claim this as an argument, as a supporter of the controversial project quoted in Thomas Palmer's article attested, to bypass sound city planning and zoning principles here than it would, for example, to propose the placement of a gambling casino on Boston Common and to rationalize this as a means to end homelessness.

The same city planning and zoning standards should apply here as they would in any neighborhood. Otherwise, luxury condominium towers that threaten historic buildings and that violate zoning laws would be rising throughout the city, from Charlestown to Readville, as a putative mechanism to subsidize affordable housing. That this is not the case raises questions about the ad hoc nature of city planning in Boston, and how your zip code, rather than the rules on the books, can shape the fate of historic buildings and development on your block.

Stephen Jerome
Boston

Fighting words over headline
I wonder if the disagreement between Attorney General Martha Coakley and Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes regarding access to insurance company rate filings would have been referred to as a "spat" were the incumbents both men ("Regulators in spat over auto rates," Jan. 9).

Jean Lucey
Boston

Burnes's arrogance hurts governor
I did not vote for Deval Patrick so that his insurance commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes could refuse to share information with the state's attorney general. Former judge Burnes forgets herself. The kind of arrogance she displays is better reserved for sitting judges. Her rush to judgment in favor of "managed competition" is appalling and a disservice to the Commonwealth. As an unelected bureaucrat it is appropriate for her to defer to the state's elected ranking attorney. If her decisions have not been a sellout to the insurance industry, she has nothing to fear from sharing data. As for our governor, he is looking more and more like "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Thomas Tetreault
Lincoln

Sun, sand, sea and a bucketful of woes
I loved the article about how aging population and slow growth threaten Cape Cod ("Aging population, slow growth threaten Cape," Jan. 6). Unfortunately, I live on Cape Cod and I have seen first hand that the Cape has an enormous elderly population and that the Cape is also very economically depressed. In fact, the overall quality of life is so bad on the Cape that I will sell my house this year at the exclusive Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee.

When I first came to the Cape a decade ago, it was alive, appealing, and charming. However, now things have changed for the worst. The Cape is like a gigantic geriatric center with its many old age homes and its nursing homes. It's worse than Florida.

Scott Wolfe
Mashpee

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