Financial Business Roundup: Goldman Sachs Goes Property Hunting, Hartford Financial Pays Back Crash Loans

The European debt crisis is taking its toll on real estate: fewer financing opportunities are currently available in that region, and in the U.K. as well. To help remedy the situation Goldman Sachs’ (NYSE:GS) private equity unit plans to initiate a $3 billion property debt fund. The fund would provide senior and mezzanine loans to property investors, aimed at procuring higher-risk, higher-reward loans.

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Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG) shares were up as the U.S. insurer pays back the loans it received during the crisis in 2008. To that effect Hartford is paying $2.43 billion to buy back debt and warrants issued to Allianz (AZSEY.PK), Germany’s largest insurer. At that time in 2008 Hartford borrowed $1.75 at 10 percent from Allianz.

The $25 billion mortgage malpractice deal left many financial firms out, and now regulators are turning their aim towards some of them. Eight firms, including HSBC’s (NYSE:HBC) U.S. bank division, MetLife (NYSE:MET) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), are in the cross-hairs and a senior Fed official recommended fines for them last week. It is alleged that the objectionable foreclosure practices remain within the industry.

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Following the full investment of its second infrastructure fund of $1.6 billion, Australia’s Macquarie (MQBKY.PK) expects to raise a $2 billion fund that will focus on the U.S. and Canada, according to Reuters. Previous stakes in North American infrastructure have averaged gross internal rates of return of over 20 percent for the company.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) has much going for it, says ValueMax, who calls the company ‘one of the best bets in the banking sector’. A commitment to treat its customers better than its rivals could set it apart from them, according to the analyst, and it’s projected to benefit from loan growth, income from trading, and pre-tax earnings, as domestic capital spending increases.

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