Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hot Seat: Angela Cheek of Ellie Mae

The Ellie Mae Compliance Management System leverages Mavent, an automated compliance system which performs more than 370 federal, state and local consumer protection compliance reviews during the loan lifecycle. It also references AllRegs Online to ensure users are up-to-date and in compliance with the latest regulatory changes.

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A holistic approach to gauging housing market performance

Armed with an overall measure of housing market performance relative to long-term trend; an accompanying metric explaining whether that market is overheated or not; and importantly a way to attribute deviations in home prices precisely to selected market variables, market participants would be in a better position to take precautionary actions to limit their exposure in highly volatile markets.

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Digital disruption: How consumer demand is pushing lenders to a new normal

Saddled with legacy systems and burdened with changing regulations, the mortgage industry has been slow to adopt digitization compared to many other industries. Now, however, the industry must provide more transparency to regulators and satisfy consumers while managing tighter margins. In this perfect storm, there’s only one lifeboat — a digital process.

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Clear Capital mitigates risk with improved valuation quality

Clear Capital has been developing, nurturing and maturing its national property dataset for over a decade. The hallmark of its data collection is the employment of a diversity of data sources, including real-time MLS, public records and historical valuation reports.

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National MI sets a leading pace for the industry

National MI has created a structure built on transparency, which assures lenders that valid claims will be handled with forthrightness and respect, rather than the evasiveness sometimes seen during the financial crisis. National MI has helped reshape industry standards with its outstanding customer service and strategic pricing, benefiting a wide range of borrowers.

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Genworth helps manage mortgage risk for customers

By raising the bar on technology and advancing in-house underwriting capabilities, the company has strengthened its underwriting service levels. Underwriting decisions are now faster and more accurate because they are based on validated data stemming from advancements in corresponding risk management technologies.

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4 ways to overcome the bottom-line impact of regulation

Origination and servicing costs are on the rise to such an extent that lenders are finding it increasingly difficult to continue on a profitable trajectory, thus leading to offloading non-profitable parts of the business. Mergers and acquisitions are on the rise. In such a difficult and dynamic time for a lender, what can they do to keep production costs low?

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Ten-X Homes platform offers non-auction home sales online

Investors can choose to use an online auction process, or the new non-auction transaction process, depending on the property and the market conditions. Ten-X Homes is dedicated exclusively to the sale of move-in ready single-family homes, so investor properties will be marketed with other high-quality, non-distressed homes.

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Rental surge: Why more people are opting out of homeownership

Has the Great Recession launched a new era of renting versus buying that will eventually result in a nation where more people rent their homes than purchase them? Or is the increase in renters these days due to an “over-correction” in the market? According to the latest “State of the Nation’s Housing” report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the U.S., in less than a decade, lost all its homeownership gains of the last 20 years.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Tennessee's Trust Company Bank becomes second bank failure of 2016

The Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions closed Memphis-based Trust Company Bank on Friday, and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver. Trust Company Bank becomes the second FDIC-insured bank to close in 2016, and the first in the state since 2013.

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This is why Impac isn't worried about their latest earnings report

Impac’s earnings plummeted from last year and even last quarter, but the company isn’t worried, and even feels that it had a strong start to the year. In this exclusive interview with HousingWire they explain why.

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Former SunTrust Mortgage VP, his wife, her brothers sent to jail for mortgage fraud

For Mohsin Raza, his wife, Humaira Iqbal, and her brothers Farukh Iqbal and Mohammad Ali Haider, committing mortgage fraud really was a family affair. And, as it turns out, the family that plays together also goes to jail together.

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Failed bank's CEO, chairman convicted of trying to scam $13M in TARP funds

The former CEO of a failed bank and the former chairman of the bank’s board of governors conspired to fake millions of dollars of investments in the bank as part of a scheme to defraud the federal government of more than $13 million from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

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Dick Bove: Where will the mortgage money come from?

In light of Rafferty Capital Markets equity analyst Dick Bove’s obvious bias, there’s no denying he has a valid point: the primary source of mortgage financing in this nation is under threat. That threat is not only inaction but political wrong-headedness.

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Capital Economics: GDP growth likely to underwhelm in 2016

While some of the headwinds that restricted first-quarter GDP growth will disappear in the second half of the year, it would still take a lot to salvage GDP for the year. And as the Bureau of Economic Analysis cautions, the first-quarter advance estimate is based on data that is incomplete or subject to further revision.

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Move appoints first-ever chief data officer

Bringing with him an extensive background in data mining, research and analytics, Vineet Singh will fill the role of Move’s first chief data officer. Previously, Singh spent seven years at Intuit in various roles where he oversaw the company’s data science, data engineering, new business innovations and web research and analytics.

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California loss-mitigation bill creates more problems than it solves

California continues its effort to pass a law that would require loan servicers to work with successors to borrowers on loss mitigation options. Unfortunately, SB 1150, while well intended, has the potential to create more problems than it solves. Here are just some of the unclear and dangerous provisions of bill.

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Don't miss it: Women of Influence nominations close at midnight

The 40 women we recognized last year represent a broad cross-section of our industry. Our list included CEOs and CFOs, but also legal officers, sales directors and those in charge of business development. They work in lending, servicing, real estate and investing, but they all have one thing in common: excellence.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Flood insurance bill could bring relief to homeowners

With homeowners getting hit from every side, Congress is now seeking to offer one form of relief. A new bill just passed in the house that could be a game changer for flood insurance.

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Ellie Mae reports record 1Q revenue

Ellie Mae’s first-quarter earnings results are in, and it looks good for the company. Not only did it beat revenue and EPS expectations, but it posted record revenue of $73.6 million.

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Attention Realtors: You may be victim of massive nationwide advertising scam

Realtors and real estate agents all across the country may be victims of a massive advertising scam that promised local ad placement but instead resulted in the theft of $2 million. A Louisiana man induced Realtors and real estate agents to pay thousands of dollars for advertising on major television networks, but instead of providing the services he promised, the man allegedly used the money for New Orleans Saints season tickets, among other things.

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CFPB: Changes to TRID coming soon

Top industry groups banded together to get the CFPB to reopen talk around the rule, and it worked. The CFPB said it has begun drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Know Before You Owe rule. And it’s probably coming faster than you think.

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Say what? JP Power survey shows customer satisfaction shifting to big banks

Although big banks may still be trailing behind midsized banks, they are steadily gaining speed among their client’s levels of satisfaction. Their greatest advantage? Investment in technology.

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Ocwen responds to National Mortgage Settlement foreclosure holds

Early Thursday morning, Joseph Smith, the monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, announced that Ocwen Financial was not in compliance with one of the performance metrics of the National Mortgage Settlement and prohibiting the nonbank from taking foreclosure actions on more than 17,000 loans. In a lengthy response published Thursday afternoon, Ocwen responded to Smith’s office and the nature of the sanctions that Smith’s office placed on it.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates slightly increase, still well below 4%

While the market reacted to the Federal Open Market Committee’s announcement yesterday, the news came too late to impact this week’s mortgage rates. As it stands, mortgage rates are still well below 4%.

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This just in: The top 20 housing markets for April [Interactive Map]

While many of this month’s hottest housing markets may be the same as last month, there is one significant change. The chief economist for the Realtor website talks about the warming markets in the Midwest, and what this says about their recovery.

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Homeownership rate falls again, nearing all-time low

Just over two months ago, it seemed like there might finally be a light at the end of the tunnel as the homeownership rate in the United States increased for the second straight quarter, after falling to a 48-year low in the second quarter of 2015. But as it turns out, that growth may have been a mirage.

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Rising home prices create economic displacement in San Francisco area

Commutes in San Francisco are getting longer as people move further outside of the city to escape crushing home prices. In the Bay Area, a small community has gotten an influx in population, but it’s still reeling from the housing crisis.

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Cash homebuyers threaten to overheat some markets

While the majority of cash homebuyers received an average discount of 23%, this can’t be said for everyone. The select few markets where cash buyers ended up paying a premium could be in danger of overheating.

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Ocwen foreclosures frozen after National Mortgage Settlement compliance failure

As it turns out, it can get worse for Ocwen Financial. Less than one day after posting a massive loss for the first quarter of 2016, the nonbank has run afoul of the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement and is now forbidden from taking foreclosure actions on more than 17,000 loans.

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Can you guess which state charges the highest property tax?

CoreLogic’s new report shows that areas with only one level of property tax collections tend to have lower tax rates. Hint: This may show why median property tax rates in the northeast tend to be higher than the rest of the country.

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Incenter launching mortgage-focused broker-dealer

Incenter just hired a new sales team as it continues down its new path of registering as a wholly owned subsidiary. Leaders say the new focus will benefit the company. And, here’s why.

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How much worse can it get for Ocwen? Nonbank posts massive loss in 1st quarter

Earlier this year, Ocwen Financial tried to lay the groundwork for just how poor its first-quarter financial results would be, stating in February that the nonbank expected to post a loss in 2016, but the company’s first-quarter results are even worse than expected.

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Here's why Radian's 1Q revenue beat expectations

It was a strong quarter for mortgage insurer Radian. The company beat revenue expectations and was in-line with earnings per share expectations. Here’s how the company fared along with their reason behind the positive quarter.

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Here's how to best spend your money under TRID

In a slow growth market, where margins are being pressured from many corners (including, but certainly not limited to, TRID-related production costs), borrower satisfaction can be a key differentiator. So how do you ensure borrower satisfaction?

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As expected, Fed holds off interest-rate hike

The Federal Open Market Committee elected not to increase the federal funds rate. Whereas the committee believes housing has improved further, inflation is running just a little behind its objective.

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Brian Benson out as CEO of ClosingCorp

ClosingCorp is now looking for a new chief executive officer as the company tells HousingWire that Brian Benson is out as the company’s CEO. Benson told HousingWire Magazine in December that he expected the company’s revenue to double in 2016 and again in 2017. And it’s apparently due to that growth that Benson will no longer lead the company.

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Pending home sales jump to highest level in nearly a year

Overcoming several roadblocks in housing, including rising home prices and low housing supply, pending home sales managed to increase in March for the second consecutive month, reaching their highest level in almost a year. However, this positive news changes depending on the region.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MBA: Mortgage applications reverse course

It was a slow week for mortgage applications despite it being peak buying season, with applications moving further away from the highs witnessed two weeks ago. Here’s where applications fell short.

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Bernie Sanders hints at Elizabeth Warren as potential VP

While the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders may be facing some mounting odds, Sanders is still a viable and active candidate, and still has at least a theoretical chance of winning in November. And while his odds may be long, that isn’t stopping Sanders from floating a name of a potential running mate that would send a serious shiver down the collective spine of Wall Street – Elizabeth Warren.

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Will Fed remain dovish, punt on interest-rate hike again?

During this week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the group that sets the benchmark interest rate for bank lending, there will undoubtedly be some discussion about raising the federal funds rate again, but discussion is about as far as it’s going to get, some analysts believe.

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Mortgage REIT stocks on the rise?

Although some areas fared better than others, overall REITs seem to be on the rise, with some making stock gains even in the double digits. But, as with all stocks, be careful on what you pick.

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[Chart] Mortgage default rate versus rising home prices

Mortgage defaults are an important measure of the health of the housing market. Now with the financial crisis well behind the market, a new chart showing the mortgage default rate and home prices gives a glimpse on the health of the market.

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Freddie Mac: Climate change threatens the future of housing

Climate change, yes climate change, may pose a new threat to the housing market. Freddie Mac suggests making some changes to housing finance now, before it’s too late. Here’s the advice.

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Ditech to use HLP portal for foreclosure prevention efforts

Ditech Finacial, which formed last year when Walter Investment Management Corp. merged two of its subsidiaries, Green Tree Servicing and Ditech Mortgage Corp, to form a new company, is partnering with HLP to use HLP’s web portal in its foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation efforts.

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Appraisal volume shows weakened spring housing market

Looking at the latest appraisal volume numbers from a la mode, it doesn’t look like peak home-buying season. More than a month into spring and the market is struggling to offset several roadblocks.

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Gallup poll finds most Americans believe real estate is best investment

Gallup’s survey showed real estate beat out stocks and mutual funds, gold, savings and CDs and bonds and topped the list as the best investment. Not everyone, however, agreed with the results.

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MBA to the next president: Here are 3 ideas to save the housing market

Responding to the crisis in housing will require aggressive action. Here are three ideas from MBA President and CEO David Stevens to America’s next president. When it comes to meeting the housing needs of its people, America has always responded forcefully. Will the next president do the same?

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What is the future of the mortgage business?

Every one of us with an interest in the mortgage business, whether it be a vested financial interest or otherwise, has to be wondering what the future of the industry is going to look like. It’s pretty clear that the complete homebuying process from selecting a home through the entire mortgage process is moving online. How we get there, on the other hand, is a different story.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

S&P/Case-Shiller: Home prices finally start to stabilize

The National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, increased 5.3% annually in February, breaking a 10-month streak where the year-over-year figure increased over the previous month. Could this finally be the end of rapidly increasing home prices? First-time homebuyers could definitely use the break.

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Wall Street Journal lays waste to CFPB in scathing editorial

While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is fighting to uphold its authority in a federal court, the governmental agency, which so often finds itself in the crosshairs of legislators and the financial industry, has a new enemy in the form of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, which authored a scathing takedown of the CFPB, questioning whether the agency is operating outside of the parameters of the Constitution.

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Fannie Mae announces plans to securitize re-performing loans

Less than two weeks after the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be reducing the principal on as many as 33,000 delinquent or underwater borrowers, Fannie Mae announced it now plans to begin securitizing loans that were once delinquent.

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6 tips for Millennials to improve their credit scores

Millennials planning to buy a home outweigh those who are financially able to buy a home, however all hope is not lost. The senior vice president of TransUnion gives some tips to Millennials looking to enter the housing market.

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There may be a future for TRID securitizations yet

Six months hasn’t been enough time for investors to feel comfortable evaluating loans under the new TRID disclosures, stifling secondary market trading and increasing costs to lenders. With little direction on what to do in regards to TRID from the CFPB, a new proposal from an industry group could be the key needed to revive the market.

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California pending home sales decrease for third consecutive month

It’s no secret that California holds some of the hottest markets for real estate, but its ever-increasing sales prices and lack of new inventory is reducing the number of sales. The California Association of Realtors made predictions for the 2016 market, but how close were those predictions to reality?

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Altisource announces new president

Altisource announced its new president, Jon Gerretsen, who has worked in senior leadership roles at New York Community Bank, CitiMortgage and KPMG.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Hey Dallas Millennials! Better get used to renting

First-time homebuyers and those looking for a smaller, new home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are out of luck now, and will remain that way into perpetuity, according to a new report from Metrostudy. That’s because homebuilding is booming in DFW, but not for smaller homes.

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Nationstar, Flagstar receive top mortgage servicing marks from Fannie Mae

Nationstar Mortgage and Flagstar Bank are among two of the best mortgage servicers in the country, according to Fannie Mae, which recently bestowed both with its highest level of performance recognition: the Five STAR designation.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Should mortgage lenders consider payday loans?

The same regulators that have driven up mortgage loan origination costs are now training their sights on payday lenders. Payday lending rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would prevent consumers from re-borrowing to pay the interest on these loans, but has other consequences that hurt both lenders and consumers.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Convicted bank robber gets 18 years for role in $3M timeshare mortgage fraud scheme

A New Jersey man who was once convicted of bank robbery will spend the next 18 years in prison for his role in a $3 million conspiracy that scammed customers by offering phony consulting services to owners of timeshares.

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Freddie Mac: Rough start to 2016 doesn't damper housing outlook

So far this year, the housing market has struggled to get itself off the ground, but according to an updated forecast report from Freddie Mac, housing is expected “to maintain its momentum in 2016 and be an economic engine of growth.” Here are the new predictions for this year, including what to expect from mortgage rates.

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Market could be close to pre-crisis share of cash sales

The market is steadily catching up, and is close to resuming its pre-crisis percentage of cash sales, if it continues to fall at its current rate. Could full recovery happen as soon as next year?

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SunTrust rides strong mortgage performance to increase income in Q1

SunTrust’s income rose significantly from both the first quarter of 2015 and last quarter. Part of the increase came from mortgages. What a novel concept. See what else is surpassing Wall Street’s expectations.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Florida building worlds first solar-powered town

The demand from homebuyers for solar energy is growing and continues to do so. Whereas some areas are starting to make solar panels more cost effective, one area took it to a whole new level; they’re building an entire town to be run on solar power.

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New York county legislator former city official among victims of mortgage fraud conspiracy

A mortgage company owned by a New York country legislator and a former Syracuse city auditor is among the alleged victims of a mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved a lawyer, a mortgage broker, a real estate appraiser, and a Realtor working together to defraud lenders out of more than $4 million.

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Fidelity Bank accused of denying mortgage loans based on race

North Carolina-based Fidelity Bank reached a $1 million settlement over allegations that the bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices. The settlement agreement stems from a complaint filed by the Fair Housing Project of North Carolina Legal Aid, which accused Fidelity Bank of denying mortgage loans based on race, which would be a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

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Close call: Some credit unions barely avoid onerous regulation

Robin Sidel’s article is titled: “Safe at Home: Small Credit Unions Dodge Rule Requiring Office Space” and opens with the revelation that there are many, many credit unions so tiny they operate out of the owner’s home. Well, those credit unions may have just dodged a bullet, unlike the big bankers.

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PulteGroup's very public squabble yet to hurt bottom line

If you’re looking at financial data to be your tell all of a company’s health, PulteGroup is doing quite alright, according to its first-quarter earnings. This is important news given the recent, unusually public, and still ongoing, battle over the questionable leadership of the homebuilder’s executive team. However, the earnings might not have come soon enough.

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Freddie Mac offloading $916 million in latest credit risk-sharing deal

As part of its continuing mission to shift some of the credit risk it faces from the taxpayers and onto the private market, Freddie Mac announced Friday that it plans to sell its third credit risk-sharing deal of 2016. Here are all the details.

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Not-so-close call: Bankers face stricter pay rules

Small, work-from-home loan originators at some credit unions dodged the latest regulatory attempt to force them them to open offices. Wall Street bankers, however, aren’t as lucky. At least not when it comes to their $$$.

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Black Knight: Mortgage delinquency rate proves housing market is healing

The housing market continues its slow trudge toward recovery. And this isn’t according to just one index. The latest Black Knight Financial Services’ First Look at March 2016 mortgage data shows several indices reaching new record lows.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fannie Mae shifts more credit risk to insurers with latest deal

Fannie Mae announced Thursday that it completed its latest effort to shift some of its credit risk away from the taxpayers and onto private insurers. The latest deal, CIRT 2016-3, is Fannie Mae’s 10th Credit Insurance Risk Transfer deal since the program began in 2013.

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Mortgage Contracting Services creates new division

The company is expanding it’s services by creating a new division. As a result, the company promoted a staffer into a new Chief Operating Officer position in order to oversee this new expansion.

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Wells Fargo pledges $220 billion for minority low-income mortgages

Aiming to use its place as one of the nation’s largest banks to address “global social, economic, and environmental challenges,” Wells Fargo announced an ambitious five-year plan that includes massive investments in diversity and social inclusion efforts, environmental causes, and billions of dollars for mortgages in “underserved” communities.

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Trulia: Renting a home in retirement better than buying

There is immeasurable value in owning a home, which is why it is the American dream. But does that still hold true for people who are retired? Trulia’s new Rent vs. Buy Report holds some answers.

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Department of Justice loses another one of its top cops on mortgage fraud

Less than a month after Stuart Delery, the third in command at the Department of Justice and leader of the DOJ’s investigations into the conduct of banks during the financial crisis, announced he was stepping down, the DOJ is about to lose another of its big guns in the fight against mortgage fraud.

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First Republic Bank invests in community ups minimum wage to $20 per hour

Recently, the state of California announced that it planned to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2023, but that’s not soon enough and not nearly enough money, according to one San Francisco-based bank.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates still lowest in recent memory [Chart]

While mortgage rates barely nudged in Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, that’s not a bad thing. Actually, mortgage rates remain near historically low levels. In fact, it’s been a long time since rates started notably inching upwards. How long?

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Here's why seasonality matters in the housing market

The concept of seasonality is not well understood or appreciated today. Knowing how seasonality works can make all the difference for when homebuyers and sellers should consider entering the housing market. This is how you should be reading the housing numbers.

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Three major nonbank mortgage servicers; Only one is profitable

Why do they show little-to-no profit in 2015? Will all three continue to struggle in 2016? Here are Moody’s answers. However, there is one area where Nationstar and Ocwen do outperform the big banks.

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Bayview renews contract with LoanSphere MSP

In the mortgage finance industry, more than half a decade is like an eternity. And after six years of using Black Knight’s services, Bayview again renewed its contract. The companies believe the partnership to be mutually beneficial, here’s why.

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Potential homebuyers sidelined until their credit improves

Home prices are up, and inventory is down. Today’s housing market is competitive, and many future homebuyers are worried about their credit and credit history. Experian’s verdict? They should be.

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Is TRID hysteria over? Time to close drops to 12-month low

Well, more than six months have passed since the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s TRID rule. And it appears that, despite the initial hiccups and headaches, lenders finally have a handle on this whole TRID thing.

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LandSafe FNC RELS: Acquisitions behind the CoreLogic success

CoreLogic snatched up several companies over the last six months all with one purpose in mind, building out its property valuation capabilities. The company released its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, and looking over the results, their ‘strategic’ moves paid off. Here’s how.

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Home prices see highest increase since 2007

Although prices have increased across the nation, it should be no surprise that the highest increase was seen in California. Sellers are happy, buyers are struggling, but what is it doing to the market as a whole?

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California home sales slowed way down in March

This is crazy. Normally, at this time of year, home sales start booming in the Golden State. This year, they aren’t. So, what’s going on? PropertyRadar says this is the answer.

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California AG backs expansion of Homeowners' Bill of Rights

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is throwing her support behind a bill that expand the state’s Homeowners’ Bill of Rights to include a provision designed to help widowed spouses and children stay in their homes after the primary mortgage holder passes away.

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Trump: If I win Yellen's days at the Fed will be numbered

If Republican frontrunner Donald Trump secures a victory in November’s election and is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017 as this country’s next president, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen may shortly find herself out of a job.

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Next major issue lenders need to tackle: Cybersecurity

As fast as the digital world is growing, the number of hackers trying to take it down are growing faster. The threat is rising exponentially, not decreasing. And if the people and families behind the information your company is storing aren’t enough motivation to be diligent in this area, the trillions in lost revenue should be. So how susceptible are you?

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Treasury committing $1 billion more to fight blight help struggling borrowers

In February, the Department of the Treasury announced that it planned to boost the Hardest Hit Fund by as much as $2 billion. The first round of funding saw the Treasury Department allocate $1 billion. And Wednesday, the Treasury announced the second round of funding, with $1 billion more now set aside to fight blight and help struggling homeowners.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MBA: Mortgage applications barely move after last week's highs

It was a humdrum week for mortgage applications coming off of the previous week’s highs. This time around, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1% from one week earlier.

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Los Angeles Realtor 'hijacks' Coachella social media feeds

It’s not often that we at HousingWire talk about things reported by The Hollywood Reporter, but this one is just too good to pass up. A Los Angeles Realtor is in a bit of social media hot water after his name and profile suddenly began showing up all over social media posts emanating from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival over the weekend.

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Placester continues expansion acquires RealSatisfied

Placester, a real estate marketing platform that’s seen rapid growth over the last year, announced that it is expanding again with the acquisition of RealSatisfied, an Australia-based company that provides a suite of customer satisfaction tools that provides big data insights to brokers, agents and brands.

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Sindeo joins REach Real Estate accelerator class of 2016

“Sindeo is modernizing the mortgage experience, making it simpler and more transparent for consumers and the Realtors they work with,” said Dale Stinton, president of Second Century Ventures, and CEO of the National Association of Realtors.

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Appraisal volume slowly increases

While appraisal volume barely increased for the week of April 10, it was still enough to push the four-week average higher. The new report also includes a chart for updated numbers from previous weeks.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Here's how to prepare for a CFPB audit

Audits are announced with only a few weeks’ notice — if your house isn’t in order by the time the audit is scheduled, it’s likely too late to establish a track record of building internal policies that show evidence of protecting consumers and training employees to act in accordance with CFPB best practices.

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Former Lehman Bros. exec claims to be victim of $2M real estate phishing scam

A former managing director at Lehman Brothers claims that his real estate attorney’s email address was hacked last year, leading to the theft of nearly $2 million that was earmarked as the deposit for a $20 million apartment in Manhattan.

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Alabama Senator Shelby calls for Fannie Freddie investigation

The senate banking committee chairman called for a government investigation detailing the practices of the FHFA. Will his tactic bear housing reform fruit?

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Housing starts are in and economic experts couldn't disagree more

Analysts’ commentary on the latest housing starts for March range from ‘impressive’ to 'highly disappointing.’ Housing starts are infamous for being volatile and portraying a muddy description of what is going on in the housing market. Which analysis do you find most fitting? Is housing steadily improving or becoming a real problem? Depends on who you ask, but it’s all here.

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MGIC revenue decreases during 1Q

Despite gains in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to that same period one year ago, MGIC saw losses in the first quarter of 2016. These losses are due, in part, to lower investment gains, loss from paying off debt and higher payment for income taxes.

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Housing starts miss expectations drop to 5-month low

The latest numbers for housing starts are in, and they don’t bode too well for the housing economy. According to one economist, both housing starts and building permits fell short in March.

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Matt Taibbi: Government secretly plans Wall Street takeover of Fannie Freddie

If Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi is to be believed, yes, there absolutely was a government conspiracy behind the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. And now, the government is fighting tooth and nail to keep the evidence of that conspiracy a secret, all while plotting something far more insidious. But is he saying something we don’t already know?

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Monday, April 18, 2016

5 tips for SFR investors to maximize profit

The fundamentals for successful home investing apply whether a property is next door or on the other side of the country. Investors should do a thorough amount of due diligence when evaluating an investment because it can make all the difference between achieving a return and dealing with a money losing headache. Here are tips on how to hit your ROI goals.

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GE Capital mere days from 'exiting' U.S. banking system

GE Capital, once a big player in housing finance, is now just a handful of days away from exiting the U.S. banking system after the company completed the sale of its online deposit platform to Goldman Sachs. According to GE Capital, that sale positions the company to terminate its FDIC insurance and “extinguish” its final U.S. bank charter.

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Indiana AG warns residents of homeowner tax sale scam

Residents of the state of Indiana whose homes are sold via a tax sale may find themselves as the target of scammers attempting to defraud them of out of money that may be left over after the sale of their homes, the state’s Attorney General warned recently.

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Homebuilder market index remains unchanged

The housing market index remains unchanged from the past three months. Job availability and low mortgage rates may be pluses, but the low traffic in the market shows some first-time homebuyers still prefer to rent.

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Bernie Sanders announces sweeping housing agenda

Say what you will about the Democratic candidates for president (and many do, often with good reason), but at least they are talking housing in 2016. Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton released her full economic agenda, which included several major housing reforms. Now, Bernie Sanders is joining Clinton in releasing his own housing agenda, which includes expanding HUD programs, reforming credit scoring and other proposals.

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Lack of inventory hindering housing recovery

While the housing market continues to make steady gains, the lack of inventory keeps it from a full recovery. And to make it more difficult, the lack of construction workers isn’t helping either.

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Housing stocks predicted to keep rising

After the significant increase in the value of housing stocks since 2011, some may believe this increase in the market is coming to a close soon. The data, however, shows another side.

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HousingWire's Women of Influence program just became even better

The 2016 HousingWire Women of Influence program will recognize the outstanding efforts of women in driving the U.S. housing economy forward. And, it’s like the award now comes with a +1. Here’s why.

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Stonegate names James Smith CEO after position abruptly left open

Stonegate Founder and former CEO Jim Cutillo announced in August that his last day would be Sept. 10, 2015. As Cutillo was transitioning out, the lender almost simultaneously announced that Smith had joined the company as president and chief operating officer. Now roughly six months later, Smith is officially the new CEO.

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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Zillow, Move legal battle gets more complicated

There are two vitally important housing legal battles going on right now that you need to be paying attention to. One deals with the new housing regulator that rules the block, and the other deals with the two most popular names in online real estate, both game-changers for the industry. Also, it’s finally tax day. Already filed? How were your homeowner tax breaks?

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Indictment: Killer murdered man and then sold victim's home

Robert Shumway, a former Dallas Area Rapid Transit driver, bought his house in 1984 and lived there for more than 30 years. And according to an indictment covered in the Dallas Morning News, Shumway was murdered and buried there, too. Read all about the real estate transaction at the heart of this case right here.

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UBS will pay $69.8 million to NCUA for credit union RMBS losses

The National Credit Union Administration announced that it reached a $69.8 million settlement with UBS, which becomes the latest to settle with the NCUA over losses related to several corporate credit unions’ purchases of faulty residential mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

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Banker, real estate developer indicted for failing to repay $5M in TARP money

A former banker and a real estate developer now face charges of bank fraud after a federal grand jury indicted Shaun Hayes and Michael Litz for their roles in a scheme that allegedly lead to the loss of $4 million of taxpayer money.

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EXCLUSIVE: Fannie Mae completes fresh round of layoffs

Fannie Mae is moving forward with plans to reduce its office space across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Additionally, the government-sponsored enterprise also started letting staff go as the effects of the housing crisis are still being felt.

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Actor Chris Hemsworth sells his home in Malibu for $7M

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth wins big as his Malibu home sells $500,000 over the asking price, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Tennessee attorney gets 33 months for embezzling $2 million from title company

A Tennessee attorney will spend almost three years in prison with two years of supervised release tacked on at the end for embezzling more than $2 million from the real estate closing company that bore his name.

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Freedom Mortgage to pay $113 million for FHA violations

Freedom Mortgage Corporation now has more in common with Wells Fargo, Franklin American Mortgage, Walter Investment, and First Tennessee Bank than simply being mortgage lenders, as Freedom Mortgage is set to become the latest mortgage company to settle with the Department of Justice over alleged violations of the False Claims Act.

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Dial it back: Fannie Mae now expects only one Fed interest rate hike in 2016

Citing the Federal Open Market Committee’s repeated reluctance to raise rates again, Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group now expects only one rate increase in 2016. Just four months ago, Fannie Mae economists expected three rate hikes this year.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

FHFA announces new rules for non-performing loan buyers

According to the FHFA, analysts and advocates have raised concerns that investors may walk away from the most challenging loans in NPL pools, leaving vacant houses in neighborhoods and contributing to blight and decay.

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FHFA principal reduction plan garners mixed reaction from housing industry

It’s only been a short time since the Federal Housing Finance Agency shook up the housing industry by announcing that it plans to begin offering principal reductions to certain borrowers, but reactions from both sides are beginning to trickle in. Some in the housing industry love it, some believe that the FHFA’s plan doesn’t go far enough, while others are concerned that the program sets a “dangerous precedent.”

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Amalgamated Bank first to offer homebuyers down payment insurance

ValueInsured teams up with Amalgamated Bank to offer homebuyers a safety net against market changes. This is the first major lender to offer the down payment insurance, launched back in October, to its mortgage customers

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Investors struggle in California’s competitive housing market

As the California market continues to sizzle, investors struggle with the competition. On the up side, about 76% of Realtors working with investors believe property values will increase in the next year, and 71% said it would continue to increase even in five years.

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Asia’s richest man building apartment skyrise in Chicago

Asian billionaire Wang Jianlin is building Chicago’s priciest penthouse, currently offered for $17.1 million, according to Bloomberg.

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Prospect becomes No. 1 in FHA 203(k) lending

The company’s steady advancement gaining market share has placed it as the nation’s No. 1 lender. The company gives several reasons for success, but mostly credits its renovation financing.

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FHFA makes it official: Principal reduction is coming

A day that many in the housing industry thought would never come is finally and actually here, as the FHFA is making it official – widespread principal reduction is coming. In what it is calling a “final crisis-era modification program,” the FHFA announced Thursday that it will be launching a principal reduction program for some borrowers whose loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

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San Fran home prices fell? Wait, what?

Tales of people renting out boxes abound from the chronicles of San Fran’s recent struggles with housing. It’s so bad, the housing situation actually has its own WIKIPEDIA page. So here’s the shocker: Home prices in the San Francisco Bay Area actually FELL by 1.8%. Want to know why?

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Here's why mortgage tech innovation must extend beyond point of sale

“Providing transparency to an existing process that is inefficient and inconsistent after an well-organized and rapid initial approval experience will upset the borrower and likely result in negative comments and complaints,“ said Stan Pachura, former CIO of National MI.

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Low interest rates plague Bank of America, Wells Fargo earnings

Both banks, which recently failed the living wills test set by the FDIC, say their first-quarter profits fall as thy face “slumping oil prices, low interest rates and choppy financial markets,” writes Michael Corkery.

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Foreclosures now lowest since housing crisis

Although March may have seen an increase in foreclosure activity, for the quarter the numbers were still down. In fact, quarterly foreclosure activity is now at its lowest level since 2006, but still 25% higher than pre-crisis numbers.

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Mortgage interest rates fall to lowest level in nearly three years

Mortgage interest rates continued their downward trend in the last week, falling again to the lowest level of the year and the lowest level in nearly three years, Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed.

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PrimeLending and Mutual of Omaha now hiring staff for new mortgage venture

Mutual of Omaha Mortgage will begin recruiting for a wide-variety of positions within the next 45 to 60 days, according to a statement, and is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2016.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Obtaining a mortgage gets a little easier

The market remains tight as lenders fear taking too many risks. Although it got slightly easier to take out a loan at the end of 2015, the mortgage market still has a ways to go, according to The Housing Finance Policy Center’s latest credit availability index.

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Fed Beige Book: Economic activity expanded in March, housing results mixed

The Federal Reserve released its latest Beige Book Wednesday, with Fed’s comprehensive look at the nation’s economy showing that economic activity expanded in March, while the housing results were mixed.

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New legislation would permanently bar using Fannie, Freddie g-fees for federal spending

For much of last year, Congress engaged in a fight over the potential use of funds raised from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s guarantee fees to cover federal spending. New legislation introduced this week in the House of Representatives would ensure that a fight over the use of g-fees to fund federal spending will never happen, by permanently banning the use of g-fees as budgetary offsets.

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CC Pace launches TRID relief program

CC Pace has created a program to help lenders with TRID regulations and compliancy. Their study shows that two out of three lenders say technology and operational changes are their largest issues with TRID.

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Will PHH accomplish the unthinkable against the CFPB?

The PHH tactic represents not only one of the few instances where a mortgage company challenged penalties from the CFPB, but an equally rare case of landing in front of a court that doesn’t take the government’s side. If PHH wins, it may change the entire regulatory landscape, and here’s how.

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UPDATE: Board Director Grosfeld resigns from PulteGroup

Since a private meeting held on March 21, PulteGroup has been divided into two sides, with the CEO and board on one side, and the founder and director on the other. While the board had decided not to re-nominate the director in May, Grosfeld announced his departure would be sooner than they all thought.

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House Financial Services Committee approves bill to rein in CFPB budget

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, long a target of Republicans on Capitol Hill, is in the crosshairs again, as the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would bring the CFPB’s budget under Congressional oversight. The CFPB’s budget currently comes from the Federal Reserve, which has no oversight of the bureau.

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Executive Conversation: Brian Fitzpatrick on the future of loan origination

The future demands a flexible workflow and flexible rules. It demands that certain things that are critical to the mortgage asset are accessible via an API, or application programming interface. This is a different mentality than we’ve seen in the past, with lenders using brittle, inflexible monolithic-type systems.

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Five major banks fail bailout test, would need taxpayer money in crisis

Five of the nation’s largest banks are not prepared for a financial crisis and would need taxpayer bailouts, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced Wednesday.

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MBA: Purchase applications surge to new high

Purchase applications took front and center in the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, with applications reaching their second-highest level since May 2010. However, refinance applications weren’t too far behind, reaching their highest level since February 2016.

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JPMorgan Chase profits drop 6.7% in first quarter

Mortgage banking net revenue was up 7% to $1.9 billion, which the bank’s earning statement attributes to “higher MSR risk management results and strong loan growth, partially offset by lower servicing revenue.”

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Appeals Court questions constitutionality of CFPB, attacks Director Cordray

The opening rounds started in the legal battle between PHH and the CFPB as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments on Tuesday. Right now, it doesn’t look too great for the CFPB Director. One commenter on the hearing put it best calling the oral argument the Super Bowl for the CFPB.

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Elizabeth Warren pushing CFPB for more oversight of nonbank mortgage servicers

In a letter sent Monday to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings called on the CFPB to increase its oversight of nonbank mortgage servicers, citing a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office on the rise of nonbank servicers and CFPB’s lack of information about them.

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Independent mortgage bankers see increased profits in 2015

Despite losses throughout the second half of the year due to increased TRID regulations, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports an increase in profits for 2015. The stronger start at the beginning of the year helped keep profits up from 2014 and offset the impacts of TRID.

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Fannie Mae announces latest sale of non-performing loans

Fannie Mae is offering up $1.527 billion in unpaid principal balance as well as $80 million through its Community Impact Pool for sale to qualified buyers. Fannie Mae says that selling severely delinquent loans can benefit communities and reduce risk for taxpayers.

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CoreLogic announces new CFO

As former CFO Frank Martell assumes the role of chief operating officer at CoreLogic, the company announced that James Balas will step into the role of chief financial officer. Before his promotion, Balas served as the company’s senior vice president finance, controller and principal accounting officer.

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CFPB names six new senior leadership roles

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it filled a lot of senior leadership roles, naming six new appointments at the bureau. CFPB Director Richard Cordray commented on the announcement saying, “These talented individuals will help us carry out our mission of protecting consumers and making markets work for everyone.”

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Unsealed government documents may reveal truth about Fannie, Freddie fate

In the years since the government modified its agreement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to sweep all the profits from the GSEs into the government’s coffers, many observers questioned whether the so-called “Third Amendment sweep” was even necessary. Now, a series of now-unsealed depositions show that not only were Fannie and Freddie on track to be profitable for at least 10 years, the government allegedly knew that fact, and more, before choosing to sweep away the GSEs’ profits.

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LRES acquires InsideValuation

The acquisition will leave LRES with more product offerings and client base, whereas Inside Valuation customers will now access LRES’ technology solutions through LRES DirestConnect Integration Hub.

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Progressives using HUD NPL sales to disqualify Castro as Democratic VP nominee

The in-fighting over the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee for President suddenly placed HUD Secretary Juli├ín Castro in the crossfire. Now, a cadre of progressive groups are targeting Castro in an attempt to disqualify him as Hillary Clinton’s potential nominee, and using HUD’s practice of selling non-performing loans to private investors as their weapon.

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Deutsche Bank drops plan to create new jobs in North Carolina amid LGBT controversy

A controversial North Carolina law requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate is not without vocal opponents. First some big musical artists cancelled their shows and now Deutsche Bank is putting the brakes on its plans, too. Is this only the beginning?

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Former MBA Chairman David Kittle joins ComplianceEase

ComplianceEase hired former MBA chairman David Kittle as its senior vice president of government and industry relations. He brings years of experience managing relationships with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Banks, Ginnie Mae and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Foreclosure inventory declined nearly 25% in February

Foreclosures are dwindling, showing improvement from last year. CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft attributed the improvement to more income and improved household finances.

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Flipping mortgages the next frontier for investors?

The appeal of buying home notes is growing as investors in other parts of real estate look for their next big financial move. However, some in the market view the new venture as a sign that the financial crisis hasn’t fully healed. What do you think?

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Department of Justice names new head of financial crisis investigations

As expected, the Department of Justice named Bill Baer as the replacement for the departing Stuart Delery. As Acting Associate Attorney General, Baer will be the third in command at the Department of Justice and leader of the DOJ’s investigations into the conduct of banks during the financial crisis.

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Former real estate sales associate gets 4 years for Florida mortgage fraud

A 39-year-old Massachusetts man was found guilty on five total counts earlier this year related to his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost Wells Fargo nearly $1 million. Each count carried a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but his sentence was far less severe than that.

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch pulls mortgages, servicing from PHH

Bank of America Merrill Lynch pulled out some of its mortgages from PHH and left no promises about its remaining business. These losses, coupled with the complete loss of servicing from Merrill Lynch, is yet another hit on PHH’s weakening dam. BofA says it’s simply taking the mortgages in-house. Here’s the whole story.

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Here's how Wells Fargo will report Thursday

After its slight increase in earnings for the fourth quarter in 2015, Wells Fargo is expected to be looking at a loss for the first quarter of 2016. The revenue, however, is expected to increase again.

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Inventory isn't a problem in these top cities for first-time buyers

First-time homebuyers are often left with little inventory to choose from, and when they do find something that marginally fits their initial demands, they might face an outrageous bidding war. The good news is that this situation isn’t happening everywhere. Here are markets where “committed-but-oh-so-frustrated housing newbies" can turn.

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LendingHome funds more than $550 million in mortgage loans

Marketplace lenders are rapidly growing in the origination space. San Francisco-based LendingHome is one of these fast-paced company, announcing its mortgage demand is already significantly greater than it was in 2014.

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Massive REIT Annaly Capital set to get even larger

In a move that creates a massive mortgage real estate investment trust, Annaly Capital Management announced Monday that it plans to acquire Hatteras Financial Corp. for $1.5 billion. According to a release from Annaly, the deal will make the company the “largest, most liquid and diversified mortgage REIT in the world.”

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Goldman Sachs officially reaches $5B settlement over toxic mortgage bonds

The previously announced $5 billion settlement between Goldman Sachs and the federal government over claims related to toxic mortgage bonds sold to investors in the run up to the financial crisis is now official, the Department of Justice announced Monday morning. Click the headline to read more.

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This is why customer experience is critical for everyone

Where are the technological innovations that will benefit the vast majority of the homebuyers and refinancers for whom banks, credit unions and brokers serve? Who is innovating for the customer who doesn’t qualify for the “easy button?”

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Spring clean your personal finances

Personal finances content dominated the web this weekend, including the safety of reverse mortgages and the advice to a homeowner considering strategic default. The Panama Papers land UK Prime Minister in hot water and it’s time to spring clean personal finances. Yes, all of that, and more, is summarized right here.

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Here are spring's 'hottest' single-family markets

Spring brought a new crop of hottest housing markets, and while the hottest housing market in the nation might sound familiar, there are a few surprises on the list. Don’t assume to you already know.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Co-Owner of mortgage company sent to prison

Lester Soto pled guilty to a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme, and today the judge has announced his sentencing, and he is not the only one going to prison. Soto used help from loan officers and even attorneys in his scheme.

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It's official: Wells Fargo reaches largest settlement in FHA history

After nearly four years and multiple attempt to get the case dismissed, Wells Fargo finally resolved its battle with the government over claims related to the bank’s Federal Housing Administration lending insurance program. This is the largest settlement in FHA history. Click the headline to read more.

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Homebuilders booming in Dallas-Fort Worth

Up 22% from last year, the Dallas-Fort Worth market seems to be booming. There is one factor, however, that is keeping it from reaching its full potential.

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[Video] How to navigate 3 mortgage industry changes

As fast as the industry grows, so do the rules and technology it uses. CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage Mat Ishbia talks about what’s happening right now and how one key change could be a big win for independent mortgage lenders.

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JPMorgan Chase CEO declares mortgages bad for business

In his yearly letter to shareholders, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon openly questioned why the bank is still in the mortgage business, telling shareholders that one of the main reasons that the megabank is still engaged in mortgage lending is for the benefit of its customers, despite the “volatile” nature of the business and the “increasingly lower returns” coming from mortgages.

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New York Attorney General pushes FHFA for principal reduction

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is joining the chorus calling for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce the mortgage balances of struggling borrowers. Schneiderman sent a letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt this week, stating that principal reduction “should be deployed broadly and quickly to homeowners in desperate need of this relief from the continuing damage caused by the housing crisis.”

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Mortgage lenders: The future of your business rests on mobile technology

While the call to action seems obvious, lenders continue to struggle with adapting digital technology. Mobile technology is no longer an optional luxury. It’s become a necessity to compete in today’s market.

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Collingwood Group Chairman calls out 'regulatory Jihad' on mortgage lenders

There is little doubt that there are more regulations foisted upon the mortgage industry in the wake of the housing crisis. Count Tim Rood, the chairman of The Collingwood Group, among those who think the regulatory environment is smothering mortgage lenders, going so far as to use a shocking term to describe the current lending environment.

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Baltimore settles affordable housing case for $30 million

After being accused of segregating Section 8 Housing tenants, Baltimore County has agreed to settle outside of court. Their terms, however, have started a whole new battle as the settlement and new proposed legislation face strong opposition.

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MERS wins twice in Texas federal courts

The frequently legally challenged MERS won again in court recently, as the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division and the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division held MERS’ mortgage assignments were valid, and granted motions to dismiss in two cases.

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Mortgage Master expands throughout San Francisco

After the last few years of success, Mortgage Master is now expanding their business both through new employees and new locations. As prices rise in the Bay Area, the need for lenders also continues to grow.

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JPMorgan: US economy will face economic tragedy in 10 years

The U.S. is divided on many different issues that face the nation, and how to deal with those issues. JPMorgan suggests that the U.S. begins compromising to fix these issues, or else… 10 years down the road… bam! Economic ruin.

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Mortgage lending standards tighten slightly in March

Although government lending program standards are looser, tighter lending standards created a decrease in the mortgage credit availability in March. But, the good news is the lending belt didn’t constrict all that much.

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Michigan plans $75M more fed funds to fight blight in Detroit, Flint

The office of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced the Treasury Department’s approval of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s plan to utilize the $74.5 million allocated to the state as part of an expansion of the Hardest Hit Fund program, paving the way for increased foreclosure prevention and blight elimination efforts in the cities of Detroit and Flint.

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CoreLogic: REO sales drop to lowest level since January 2007

Although the market will always have some level of distressed sales, it will no longer be at the same level witnessed during the financial crisis. If the current annual decrease continues, the market would reach its pre-crisis level of 2% distressed sales by mid-2018.

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Fort Worth homeowners face uphill challenge to fight county appraisal values

Homeowners in the area started getting notices last week and they have until the end of May to file protests of the increases. However, filing a protest requires comparing the data on comparable home values, which are now tied up because of a lawsuit filed by the appraisal district’s software licensing vendors.

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Congress brings knife to CFPB gun fight

CFPB Director Richard Cordray once again sat before the Senate in his semi-annual report to Congress, but this time was different. Director Cordray came to this battle armed with lots of support from senators and some watchdog groups. The atmosphere was calm compared to previous years and there was little talk of mortgages.

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Fannie Mae: Consumer confidence in housing falls to 18-month low

Despite the fact that mortgage interest rates just fell to the lowest level since February 2015, consumers haven’t felt this poorly about the housing market in 18 months. In fact, more people feel that now is a bad time to sell a home rather than a good time to sell for the first time in more than a year.

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Freddie Mac: Rock-bottom mortgage rates signal refi opportunity

While mortgage rates were already at historical lows, they are now at the lowest level since February 2015, giving homeowners who have still not refinanced another shot to save money. Don’t miss out. As Freddie Mac’s chief economist notes, this could all quickly change.

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Fewer people filing for unemployment

The latest jobs report from the Department of Labor gives a positive forecast for the market. Although initial jobless claims inched higher the last several weeks, they are still holding near record lows. And the declines are predicted to continue.

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The CFPB throws a bone to mortgage lenders

The financial crisis was nearly a decade ago, but you would think we’re still in the midst of it with the way the CFPB treats the mortgage industry. The bureau is not quick to throw the mortgage industry a bone, and what it considers as helping was never with that intention.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

It's a great time to buy a home, but no one cares

There are plenty of economic indicators suggesting that now is a good time to buy a home. For starters, interest rates are at all-time lows. But do any of these factors hold value to potential borrowers?

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First-time homebuyers want to skip 'starter home'

The current state of the market is hard on first-time homebuyers, but it is not the only reason these buyers have not moved forward on purchasing a home. Here’s a breakdown of what first time homebuyers prefer.

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Shacking up finally legal again in Florida

Good news for unmarried couples in Florida. After 148 years, Florida finally decided to get rid of a law that banned unmarried couples from living together. Not that the law against it was adamantly enforced. But still, it’s nice to know you’re not in danger of going to jail.

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Competitive housing market hits Midwest

The housing shortage seems to have moved to the Midwest as buyers begin struggling to find a home. Biding wars, waived home inspection and other tactics have become necessary in order to place a contract.

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Housing rights protestors shut down FHFA Director Watt's lecture at Harvard

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt was supposed to give a lecture earlier this week at Harvard Law School, but the event was prematurely canceled amid security concerns as scores of housing rights advocates showed up and repeatedly interrupted Watt.

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Tech companies losing San Francisco housing war

San Francisco’s market continues to boil, pushing people further outside of the city in search of affordable living. The boom in technology jobs isn’t sufficient enough to sustain the cost of living in what Zillow data shows is the most expensive city to live among the 50 largest cities in the U.S.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Will HMDA replace TRID as the most dreaded mortgage acronym?

Leading legal and compliance experts at several different HMDA sessions at MBA tech warned attendees that the amount of data and the unprecedented level of transparency that it will give regulators pose heightened compliance risks for banks and mortgage lenders.

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Elderly couple declines Augusta National's 7-figure home offer

Over the years, the Augusta National Golf Club spent more than $40 million to purchase homes to create free parking for the crowds who gather for the Masters once a year. The Masters tournament keeps expanding, but the parking lot does not. And that’s down to one, elderly and utterly unsympathetic couple.

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Landmark PHH court battle against CFPB about to begin

You can count on one hand the mortgage companies that fought back against the CFPB. The latest one, PHH, has a case, but whether it will win its battle against the big guy is still hard to say. Either way, it will all kick off on April 12.

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Survey shocker: Nearly every credit union suffers TRID mortgage closing delays

Callahan & Associates surveyed 203 credit union executives from 46 states to evaluate the impact of TRID. They found a majority of them experienced closing delays, sometimes up to six months. Here are the 4 reasons why this is happening.

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Freddie Mac partnering with Hope LoanPort to 'modernize' housing counseling

Freddie Mac is partnering with Hope LoanPort to take the first step in connecting Freddie Mac’s Borrower Help Centers and Borrower Help Network to a ‘comprehensive, secure platform.’ Non-profit housing agencies can now use the platform to share information and interact with lenders to help more families become successful borrowers.

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Realtors: Here's how you will beat the competition

It’s peak shopping season, the prime time that a real estate can reap a lot of rewards and success. But in a market saturated with competition, are you differentiating yourself? The president of Keller Williams gives his own formula on how to outpace the competition.

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MBA: Refinance demand making a comeback?

Given recent comments from the Fed, spring home-buying season and low interest rates, there are a lot of factors at play in the housing market. As a result, only one week after reporting that refinance demand was dwindling, it managed to bounce back. And according to a recent report, there is still a lot of untapped potential in the refinance market.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fitch: Texas homes overvalued by 10% to 15%

Rising home prices in Texas continue to grow at a more rapid rate than income growth, creating an overvaluation of 10% to 15%. After about several years of consecutive price increases, the market in Dallas became overvalued in 2014, and in Houston 2013.

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Mortgage lending boom? Equifax reports massive increase in home credit

Contrary to some fears that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new disclosure rule would severely dampen mortgage lending in 2015, a new report from Equifax shows that exactly the opposite took place, as mortgage lending grew by a drastic margin in 2015.

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Northwest housing market gridlocked

Some real estate professionals are comparing the market to a tulip garden planted upside down. The growth is in the wrong direction, and fear to enter the market is creating a never-ending cycle.

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California joins New York in raising minimum wage

As California Governor Jerry Brown and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law to raise the state’s minimum wage. The question remains, what will that mean for housing?

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Mortgage Master celebrates grand opening in Illinois

Buyer demand in Illinois is pushing Mortgage Master, a division of loanDepot, to expand. The new location will be an ideal location for their customers, according to Mortgage Master CEO.

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LenderLive appoints new execs to correspondent lending division

As the newest members of LenderLive, regional account executives Lynn Collins and Tisha Hamari will cover southern states and will work with current and prospective clients, including community banks and credit unions participating in or considering the company’s correspondent program.

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Leader of Justice Department's financial crisis investigations stepping down

Stuart Delery, the third in command at the Department of Justice and leader of the DOJ’s investigations into the conduct of banks during the financial crisis, is stepping down. In his time as the lead of the DOJ’s Civil Division, Delery oversaw massive settlements with several financial institutions for their business practices during the financial crisis, including a $601 million settlement with HSBC.

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Appraisal volume surges on Fed comments

Appraisal volume for the week brought welcomed news after a lackluster end to winter. Thanks to recent comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen buyers felt an extra rush to buy.

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Youngest homeowners deemed most likely to remodel

A new Bankrate survey shows youngest homeowners are the most prone to making home improvements in the near future. About 52% of homeowners planning a project over the next year indicate they want to work on their home’s exterior. See how the ages break down.

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