Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lack of housing supply slows pending home sales in March

Pending home sales dipped slightly in March as low levels of housing inventory created a strain on the market. Low inventory levels are not only holding back home prices, but also creating more competition and increasing home prices. The National Association of Realtors forecasts the rate of home sales for 2017.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates increase after weeks of declines

Mortgage rates increased this week after several weeks of declines. It is now once again above the 4% mark. Freddie Mac explains the housing market still continues to be strong, despite the shifting interest rates.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Step one: Republicans begin fight for Dodd-Frank replacement

The Republican-led Financial CHOICE Act started its long journey through Congress to try and replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on Wednesday. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, formally introduced the Financial CHOICE Act and the Committee held its first hearing on the bill. Ready. Set. Go.

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ATTOM: Average homeowner gains 24% return in equity since purchase

Homeowners are hitting decade highs in their accrued equity, as it increased by 24% since the time of purchase to the first quarter in 2017. And not only are equities rising, but also the amount of time homeowners spend in their home. ATTOM Data Solutions explains why.

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Quicken Loans adds Casey Hurbis to lead marketing efforts

It seems that can’t more than a few minutes without seeing an ad from Quicken Loans, as the company pushes its Rocket Mortgage more and more into the mainstream. Now the company will have a new person shepherding those ubiquitous marketing efforts, as Quicken Loans announced recently that Casey Hurbris is joining the online lender to serve as the company’s chief marketing officer.

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PRMI expands Florida footprint with new branch opening

Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. expanded its territory in Florida with its newest branch opening in Miami. The new location is complete with a new team of mortgage insurance professionals, including its new branch manager who brings 31 years of experience with her.

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Mortgage bond trader Jesse Litvak sentenced to two years for fraud…again

The tale of the government’s pursuit of former Jefferies managing director and mortgage-backed securities trader Jesse Litvak may finally be coming to a close. More than three years after first being convicted, Litvak has been sentenced to a two-year prison term, again.

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SEC, Delaware accuse mortgage loan officer of running Ponzi scheme

A Delaware mortgage loan officer ran a Ponzi scheme that bilked more than $1.69 million out of investors who thought they were investing in a “highly successful” mortgage business, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Delaware Department of Justice claim in new legal filings.

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Cara Krause joins Mortgage Capital Trading as regional sales director

Cara Krause, an experienced industry veteran, will handle business development and client management for new lender clients in the Northeast region.

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Mortgage experts agree: There is no housing bubble

With or without President Donald Trump, the housing market must go on. So as the world continues to tune in to Trump, HousingWire took a break to zero in on what we know best: housing. Three experts joined HousingWire on a webinar on Wednesday to discuss what’s next for housing and the mortgage nation.

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Ocwen pulls a PHH: Asks court to declare CFPB unconstitutional, requests DOJ help

Ocwen Financial is pulling a PHH. Just as PHH did recently, Ocwen is playing the unconstitutional card in its fight against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, asking the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida to declare the CFPB unconstitutional and toss out the CFPB’s lawsuit against the company.

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Here’s the real difference between Millennials and older generations

The generational divide between Millennials and older generations such as Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and even the Silent Generation continues to grow. A new study from Trulia, however, shows we may not be that different after all.

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Finding the right leaders for the C-Suite

Today’s mortgage lenders are dealing with their own gauntlet of chaos that is testing the bounds of their “crews” – that is, their C-level executives. New regulations and overregulation, hyper competition and rising rates have created an abundance of uncertainty in the marketplace. Little wonder, then, that lenders are so focused on shoring up their top teams for success. But what does it take to get to the C-Suite?

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Mnuchin: White House to negotiate 15% corporate tax rate

Wednesday is a big day for the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn unveiled their much-anticipated tax reform plan. But first, Mnuchin gave a sneak preview of what to expect in an interview Wednesday morning.

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HUD Secretary Carson visits Columbus, Ohio

HUD Secretary Ben Carson is embarking on the latest stop for his national listening tour – Columbus, Ohio. Carson will spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday listening to various organizations from the community. Here’s more on the secretary’s tour, and his schedule this week.

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MBA: Mortgage applications post slight uptick

Mortgage applications continue to fluctuate and posted a slight increase, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The survey also reported that the average loan size for refinance applications increased to its highest level since September 2016. This comes after the average loan size for purchase applications reached a survey high at the start of the month.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U.S. Bank fined $15 million for bankruptcy filing violations

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Tuesday that it is ordering U.S. Bank National Association to pay a civil penalty of $15 million for what it calls “bankruptcy filing violations” that occurred between 2009 and 2014. Here are the details.

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Experts: Spring home-buying season starts off with a bang

The spring home-buying season is in full swing, and experts are talking about the fierce competition, rising home prices and low inventory levels in the housing market. Business is booming, but first-time homebuyers are facing major headwinds.

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Credit rating agencies ding Ocwen over CFPB, state regulator charges

In the wake of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a growing group of state regulators accusing Ocwen Financial of widespread mortgage servicing issues, S&P Global Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, and Morningstar each released updated views of Ocwen, with each agency’s analysts stating that Ocwen’s recent regulatory troubles could have dire long-term consequences for the company.

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How will America's lumber fight with Canada impact homebuilders?

The lumber war between the U.S. and Canada goes way beyond the new tariff on lumber that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced on Monday. And what is the main industry using lumber from Canada? Homebuilders. Here’s how it looks broken down to dollars and cents.

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Ocwen takes Massachusetts, Illinois to court to fight mortgage restrictions

Last week, a raft of state regulators clamped new business restrictions on Ocwen Financial for alleged rampant errors with homeowners’ escrow accounts and other issues at the nonbank. Ocwen said that it intended to fight back against the state regulators’ accusations and business restrictions, and the company did just that on Tuesday, announcing that it is taking the regulators in Massachusetts and Illinois to court to fight for its ability to operate within the states.

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Community bankers: GSE reform should keep what works and just fix the problems

More talk of reforming the government-sponsored enterprises are starting to surface as the Trump administration promises to make reform a priority. Diverging from other industry reform options out there, the Independent Community Bankers of America penned their version of how GSE reform should take place. So which option will work best?

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Consumer confidence slips lower in April

Consumer confidence slipped in April as Americans waivered in their future expectations. The Conference Board by Nielsen explains less consumers are saying business conditions are good and more expected the number of jobs on the market to drop in the coming months.

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Fannie Mae announces new programs to break through student loan roadblock

The level of student debt in the U.S. has spiraled over the last decade to $1.4 trillion, effectively locking out millions of potential homebuyers from the market. Fannie Mae’s new programs address specific roadblocks that these borrowers face, providing a jump-start to a whole new generation of homebuyers.

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New home sales soar above market expectations

New home sales surged in March with double digit increases from last year and even significant progress from February. The numbers beat the market’s expectations, and one expert points out the spring home-buying season is already off to a busy start.

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FHFA: Home prices jump 6.4% annual in February

Home prices increased in February, as several reports already showed. The latest report, put out by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, uses home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by the GSEs, and therefore excludes cash sales and jumbo loans.

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Case-Shiller: Home prices hit fourth consecutive all-time high

Home prices increased to a new high for the fourth consecutive month, according to the Case-Shiller index. S&P Dow Jones Indices’ chairman explains the state of the housing market, and how rising home prices fall in line with the nation’s home sales, housing inventory and other factors.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Blend CEO on why lenders are reluctant to adopt digital mortgages

The words “digital” and “innovation” are plastered across the mortgage market from news articles to marketing materials, and yet there are still lenders out there opting to not go digital. Given this call to adapt to the growth in the technology, why would lenders still be reluctant to change?

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Wells Fargo clears living will hurdle; sanctions removed by Fed, FDIC

It’s been a rough few months for Wells Fargo, but the megabank got a rare bit of good news on Monday when the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced that the bank successfully remedied the issues in its 2015 “living will,” which will remove a series of sanctions from the bank.

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New American Funding expands footprint in Chicago

New American Funding announced its expansion in the Chicago area with its latest branch opening. As the company prepares to open its new location, it also selected a branch manager. Here’s more about the grand opening, the branch and its new leader.

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First American: Home affordability slips in February

As home prices reached all new peaks and interest rates remain above levels seen last year, affordability decreased in February. Unlike home prices, affordability remains well below its pre-crisis peak and even historical norms.

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Additional states restrict Ocwen's business over mortgage servicing issues

Last week, a group of 22 states sanctioned Ocwen Financial and Ocwen Loan Servicing for alleged widespread issues with consumer escrow accounts and allegations that the companies were conducting “willful and ongoing unlicensed activity” in some states. But those states aren’t the only ones that are taking action against Ocwen.

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More Republican representatives speak out against CFPB

The full version of the Republican-led Financial CHOICE Act, which aims to replace Dodd-Frank, is finally out after a lot of buildup on its coming release. So, as the hearing date to discuss it nears, more Republican representatives are vocalizing their opinions against Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and fight for the Financial CHOICE Act.

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RE/MAX and HouseCanary collaborate to provide agents with real estate data

RE/MAX and HouseCanary announced a collaboration to provide agents with exclusive data. HouseCanary is a real estate analytics company that provides values and forecasts for more than 18,000 U.S. residential markets and 100 million properties. Want to know what a home will be worth in two years? RE/MAX agents now know.

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How will a government shutdown impact the mortgage process?

Lenders and homebuyers might need to prepare for potential roadblocks in the homebuying process if the government does shutdown after April 28. Yes, lenders handle the main decision of if a borrower gets a loan, but there are key parts of the mortgage process that rely on government workers.

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[Charts] Black Knight: Home prices hit new peak in February

Black Knight released a new report showing home prices increased in February to a new peak. Some states increased to a peak, however others remain a full 20% before previous peaks. The report breaks down the top metros with home price increases and those with the greatest drops.

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House committee considers bill to open records at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is considering a bill that would force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to comply with the Freedom of Information Act while under government conservatorship. The Congressional Budget Office released its report on what the bill would costs the GSEs and the FHFA.

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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Is Elizabeth Warren running for President in 2020?

Is Elizabeth Warren running for president in 2020? It’s a question that comes up more and more often since the election of Donald Trump in November, and one with serious implications for banks and other financial institutions. That, and more, in your Monday Morning Cup of Coffee.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Here's a detailed breakdown of Ocwen's new restrictions by state

The servicing issues at Ocwen Financial are allegedly so widespread that some states are placing stricter restrictions on the nonbank, beyond freezing the company’s ability to acquire new mortgage servicing rights and originate new mortgage loans. In fact, in one state, Ocwen has basically been put of out business entirely.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Trump signs memorandum on Dodd-Frank's orderly liquidation authority

President Donald Trump signed one executive order and two presidential memoranda on Friday, affirming once again that he plans to roll back many of the regulations put in place in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Unlike a broader past executive order designed to roll back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, Friday’s executive memorandum focused on the orderly liquidation authority part of Dodd-Frank.

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NAHREP stands behind Mortgage Banker Association proposition for GSE reform

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals issued a statement supporting the Mortgage Bankers Association’s proposal for GSE reform. NAHREP stressed that it supported the MBA’s focus on affordable housing, which would help Hispanics who make up 40% of the U.S. first-time homebuyer population.

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Cincinnati sues Harbour Portfolio Advisor over predatory foreclosure sales

Harbour Portfolio Advisor remains in the hot seat as it faces another investigation into its foreclosure sales practices. The city of Cincinnati announced a lawsuit against Harbour Portfolio Advisor, one of the nation’s largest sellers of foreclosed homes, due to unpaid fines and alleged failure to properly maintain dozens of homes.

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Wells Fargo increases fake account class action settlement to $142 million

Last month, Wells Fargo announced that it agreed to a $110 million settlement in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of the bank’s customers who had a fake account opened in their name. The settlement covered anyone who had an account opened in their name without their consent stretching back to Jan. 1, 2009. But Wells Fargo announced Friday that it is expanding both the size of the settlement and the time period the settlement covers by an additional seven years.

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Final Jeopardy for Richard Cordray

On April 5, 2017, Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, gave his semiannual testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Chairman Jeb Hensarling spent only minutes grilling the former Jeopardy! champion about CFPB stonewalling employees. But there’s more to the story, and this is just the start.

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Opinions conflict: Will low inventory hold back future home sales?

After the National Association of Realtors released its report showing strong existing home sales but struggling inventory levels, experts chimed in on what that means for the spring home-buying season and for the rest of 2017. Their opinions, however, differed.

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Ocwen answers state regulators' charges of widespread servicing errors

On Thursday, a group of state regulators, led by North Carolina, accused Ocwen Financial of having widespread errors on consumers’ escrow accounts and said that the company’s financial situation is tenuous, at best. Early Friday morning, Ocwen released a lengthy statement in response the state banking regulators allegations, and as one might expect, Ocwen said that it disagrees with the state regulators’ charges and plans to fight back.

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Here's where the CFPB will ramp up its focus in fair lending oversight this year

After looking back at its fair lending priorities for 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlighted what areas will be on the top of its radar for 2017. So what’s at the top of the list? Mortgages. The bureau explains what particular areas it is ramping up its efforts in its latest annual Fair Lending report.

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Existing home sales soar to highest pace in more than a decade

Existing home sales increased in March to the highest pace in more than a decade and home were sold significantly faster than last month and last year. However, one factor continues to put pressure on home buyers and hold back home sales: inventory. NAR’s chief economist explains that unless the market sees new inventory soon, home price increases will continue to outpace incomes.

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Black Knight launches update to allow lenders greater online access

Black Knight launched an update to its loan origination system that expands the access to its platform to devise with access to the internet. Lenders no longer need direct LOS access in order to perform their functions, but can access the system over the internet. Black Knight explained the increased functionality to its tool.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Does the MBA’s GSE reform plan finally address a key roadblock?

Nearly eight years of conservatorship has turned talks of reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a myth that the industry might discuss but doesn’t believe will actually happen. So what’s the main factor stopping GSE reform? No one really understands it. This problem is exactly what the Mortgage Bankers Association is trying to fix.

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Florida also alleges widespread servicing failures at Ocwen

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the members of the Multi-State Mortgage Committee were not the only ones to take action against Ocwen Financial on Thursday for the nonbank’s mortgage servicing practices. The state of Florida also sued Ocwen, along with the company’s subsidiaries Ocwen Loan Servicing and Ocwen Mortgage Servicing, for “mortgage servicing misconduct.”

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New Yorkers hit the streets to protest HUD budget cuts

New Yorkers marched Thursday through the streets to protest President Trump’s budget, specifically the section that proposes to cut $6.2 billion from HUD funding. Even one of New York’s own representatives joined the gathering, calling for no cuts.

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Ocwen accuses CFPB of playing politics with lawsuit, vows to defend itself

Ocwen Financial took the gloves off in responding to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s allegations that the nonbank “failed borrowers at every stage of the mortgage servicing process,” arguing that the CFPB’s lawsuit is politically motivated and vowing to defend itself against claims that are “inaccurate” and “unfounded.”

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CFPB sues Ocwen, alleges total failure of mortgage servicing process

April 20, 2017 is turning into D-Day for Ocwen Financial. Earlier, a group of state banking regulators issued a series of cease-and-desist orders prohibiting the acquisition of new mortgage servicing rights. Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing the nonbank for “failing borrowers at every stage of the mortgage servicing process.”

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Mild winter gives spring home remodeling a head start

A new report from NAHB shows remodeling is on the rise, getting an early start this spring after a mild winter. Many homebuyers are taking out HELOCs for remodeling purposes as the loan rises in popularity with the fall of refinances. However, experts explain there is one problem blocking the new trend.

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State banking regulators crush Ocwen's business with sweeping new restrictions

Citing numerous issues with consumer escrow accounts and a “deficient financial condition,” a consortium of state banking regulators just put Ocwen Financial’s mortgage business on life support. A bombshell announcement from the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks claims that more than 20 state mortgage regulators issued cease-and-desist orders to Ocwen, which prohibits the acquisition of new mortgage servicing rights and the origination of mortgages.

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MBA to Congress: Here’s the roadmap you need to tackle GSE reform

On Sept. 6, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. Nearly nine years later, the largest trade group in the mortgage finance space, the Mortgage Bankers Association, released a white paper to stay in front of the housing reform conversation and address one of the thorniest issues: how to transition to a new system.

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Now is the time — Make housing reform a priority

Today, MBA is releasing a plan detailing how a future secondary mortgage market can work – describing a post-conservator end state for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Our proposal includes transition steps detailing how to get from here to there and is the only paper that comprehensively addresses how the reformed secondary market would serve all Americans along the broad continuum of affordable housing needs.

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MGIC net income grew 23% in Q1 2017

MGIC saw an increase of nearly 23% in the first quarter of 2017. New insurance written saw losses of nearly 30% from the last quarter, however it is still up from last year, and the company CEO explained this drop was expected.

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Here's what will happen in housing and mortgages regardless of what Trump does next

Trump news is everywhere. Most of it is speculation as to what he will do next, and what it will mean for the mortgage and housing markets. But, here’s how to find out what will happen in the housing and mortgage markets regardless of what Trump does.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rate falls below 4% mark

Mortgage rates fell below to 4% mark and landed at their lowest point since November 2016. As international relations grow more tense, investors are pulling out of more risky investments, bringing interest rates down further as they follow the Treasury yield.

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Mortgage Cadence to provide one-stop-shop mortgage platform

Mortgage Cadence announced its license with a new software, FirstClose, that will allow third parties to integrate with the company’s current mortgage program. Mortgage Cadence explains what this means for its platforms, for lenders and what new services it will offer.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ellie Mae: Average closing times now sit at lowest level in two years

The average time to close a loan spent a lot of 2016 fluctuating around the high 40s, but this is no longer the case. The survey found that the average time now sits at the lowest level in two years. The report also found that the purchase market is heating up, as March ushers in the start of the spring home-buying season.

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Get ready: Congress fires up Dodd-Frank, CFPB overhaul

The Dodd-Frank doomsday clock just ticked a little closer to midnight. The Republican-crafted plan to overhaul the country’s financial regulatory system and overturn many provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is now one step closer to becoming a reality, as the House of Representatives is set to consider the Financial CHOICE Act.

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Hey banks! Survey says you’re too confident in your cybersecurity efforts

Cybersecurity experts are working in overdrive to caution the mortgage finance industry that cyber attacks are a matter of when, not if. However, according to a new report from Accenture, banks are still too confident about their protection efforts. Are you overestimating your company’s ability to withstand the onslaught?

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American Society of Appraisers, National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers to merge

A shift in the appraiser world is underway, as the American Society of Appraisers and the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers announced Wednesday that the groups plan to merge. Here are the particulars.

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California lenders reach settlement with HUD over unfair lending charge

A Hispanic man filed a fair housing complaint against several California lenders. Now, these lenders have agreed to pay the man as well as install new fair lending training programs for their staff. HUD explained that today’s action “reflects our nation’s promise of fair housing and equal access to credit for every qualified individual, regardless of their national origin.”

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Houzz allegedly raising up to $500 million

Houzz, which provides online services for remodeling and design, is now allegedly looking to raise about $500 million, which would value the company at more than $5 billion. While Fortune’s sources confirmed the new venture funding rumors are true, Houzz itself denies it.

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First American: Housing market barely underperforms full potential

First American published its monthly Potential Home Sales report which showed the market is slightly underperforming its full potential. But while it is still below where it could be, the existing-home sales market made significant improvements from last year.

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Here's the first annual stakeholder report on Movement Mortgage's rapid progress

Movement Mortgage is less than 10 years old and is already making a major imprint on the housing finance market. Two big drivers behind this growth in 2016 include financing more than $12 billion in residential mortgages and launching a new digital mortgage app. This first annual Movement Impact Report to stakeholders on its business operations, growth, and community investments gives an in-depth overview of how the company is performing.

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Ex-NJ mayor sent to prison for kickbacks involving HUD funds

The former mayor of Passaic, New Jersey will spend the next two years in prison after being convicted of soliciting and accepting bribes from developers who wanted to build low-income housing in the city. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Alex Blanco accepted $110,000 in corrupt payments, much of which was money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Impac Mortgage raises $56 million to expand non-QM production, servicing portfolio

Impac Mortgage Holdings announced its second stock offering in roughly seven months as it plans to continue fueling its already growing servicing and non-qualified mortgage production. Impac’s involvement in non-QM production and servicing isn’t new, but as Joseph Tomkinson, chairman and CEO of Impac Mortgage, stated, both are growing.

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Secretary Ben Carson memorializes HUD family killed in Oklahoma City bombing

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of one of the largest terrorists attacks on American soil, and in remembrance of the day, HUD Secretary Ben Carson is at the scene of that terrible crime. Here is what Carson said about the victims and survivors of the attack, which included several HUD employees. May they rest in peace.

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U.S. Bancorp mortgage banking revenue drops more than 13%

U.S. Bancorp reported its first quarter of earnings which came in lower than the fourth quarter of 2016. However, revenues were up from last year. Mortgage banking revenue dropped more than 13% from last quarter, but remained significantly higher than last year.

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MBA: Quiet week for mortgage applications as volume drops

After refinance applications dropped to record lows for several weeks, mortgage applications posted a quiet week. The Mortgage Bankers Association noted that this week’s survey does not include an adjustment for the Good Friday holiday.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lenders: You can double risk-taking and still remain below pre-crisis levels

Is credit too tight? And at what point does credit become too available? The Urban Institute’s new report answers just those kinds of questions. As it turns out, lenders could double their risk-taking and still not hit historically normal levels of credit availability.

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Ellie Mae updates Encompass to support new HMDA requirements

Ellie Mae released an updated version of Encompass, its mortgage management solution. The last update focused on supporting construction loans. This time around most of the changes deal with compliance with the new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which goes into effect in January 2018.

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CFPB sues Ohio law firm over "illegal" debt collection practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau claims that an Ohio law firm is using illegal methods to collect debt and is suing the firm to put a halt to the alleged illegal activity. The firm, however, contends that the CFPB is trying to “strong-arm” it into signing a consent order and says it will fight the lawsuit.

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J.G. Wentworth adds three to management team, CFO to exit

“Drawing upon the diverse expertise of these new leaders, J.G. Wentworth is well-positioned to accelerate growth and sustain progress toward its goals,” said Stewart Stockdale, J.G. Wentworth’s CEO.

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Here’s why the housing market continues to struggle with low inventory

One of the greatest challenges homebuyers face this spring home-buying season is the lack of housing inventory. Freddie Mac gave four reasons in its monthly Outlook why inventory remains low, and what that means for this year’s home sales.

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HousingWire's 2017 Women of Influence nominations are now open!

HousingWire is proud to announce that we are now accepting nominations for the 2017 Women of Influence, our opportunity to honor the housing industry’s most influential women leaders. Here is much more information on one of our favorite award programs.

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Goldman Sachs posts rare miss in first-quarter earnings

Goldman Sachs recorded a rare and unexpected miss in first-quarter earnings. The surprise caused the bank’s stock to fall to its lowest level in nearly five months. Goldman Sachs doesn’t have a huge footprint in residential mortgages, but it’s not completely out of the mortgage arena.

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Experts: Lackluster housing construction growth is disappointing

New construction in March showed lackluster growth with its decrease to an annual rate of about 1.2 million housing starts per year. Experts explain their disappointment in the report, and highlight one sector that is actually set to improve. HINT: It’s not single-family homes.

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MortgageHippo raises $2.25M in seed funding led by CMFG Ventures

MortgageHippo is working to stay at the forefront of the recent growth in digital mortgages. The mortgage technology company announced it closed $2.25 million in seed capital, with which it plans to further expand its software development and sales team. And this time, the company is looking at one specific lending sector.

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Home construction slows moving into spring home-buying season

Housing starts fell in March just as the housing market looks to have its hottest spring home-buying season in recent memory. And while building permits did increase a full 17% from last year, it was not driven by an increase in the single-family sector.

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Bank of America net income soars 40% in first quarter

Bank of America saw tremendous growth in its net income in the first quarter with an increase of 40%. The company’s earnings per share also increased 46% from last year. However, a decrease in mortgage income created a drag on noninterest income for consumer banking.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Trump is convinced CFPB Director Cordray will leave bureau on his own

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump wants to fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray. So what’s stopping him? According to a Politico article published Monday, Trump thinks he will soon be leaving on his own.

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Airbnb updates security after hackers hijack accounts to rob hosts' homes

There’s no doubt that Airbnb is causing a disruption in local housing markets, as the short-term rental website, and others like it, have been accused of making housing more expensive in certain communities and placing some units completely out of reach except for short-term renters. But Airbnb has a new problem on its hands.

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Settlement approved: Wells Fargo customers will get $50 million for overcharged mortgage fees

Borrowers who had a mortgage serviced by Wells Fargo between May 6, 2005 and July 1, 2010 will soon receive their share of a $50 million settlement stemming from allegations that Wells Fargo overcharged borrowers for Broker’s Price Opinions during that period, as a class action settlement covering the overcharging is now finalized.

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Former Wells Fargo exec claims bank fired her for refusing to scam customers

A former executive at Wells Fargo claims in a lawsuit that the bank fired her because she refused to participate in a scam like the bank’s well-publicized fake account scandal, which led to a $185 million fine after more than 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opened more than 2 million potentially unauthorized accounts to get sales bonuses.

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Orlando home sales soar 40% higher month-over-month

Home sales skyrocketed in March by 40% compared to February as homebuyer activity increased in Orlando. However, this jump put even further strain on an already inventory-starved market, bringing housing supply to levels not seen since 2013.

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Want to become a mortgage broker? Here are tips on how to get started

Mortgage brokers fall into the entrepreneur/startup category of the mortgage finance world. There may not be a ton of brokers right now, but this is starting to change, especially when people think about how much money they can make if they work hard. So do you have what it takes to become a broker? Here’s advice from brokers themselves on where to start.

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Trump picks housing finance reform advocate Scott Garrett to lead Ex-Im Bank

The White House announced Friday that President Donald Trump selected Scott Garrett, who formerly served in a prominent role on the House Financial Services Committee and was a long-time advocate for housing finance reform, to serve as the president of the Export-Import Bank.

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Trump reportedly close to choosing the new "most powerful man in banking"

President Donald Trump is reportedly close to choosing a replacement for the “most powerful man in banking.” That characterization is in reference to Daniel Tarullo, who recently stepped down as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Here are the details on Trump’s reported choice to serve as the Fed’s new vice chairman of supervision.

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Despite adverse conditions, California home-buying season off to a good start

While low housing inventory and slow wage growth are par for the course in California, the state pushed past those roadblocks to record a strong start to the year. But strong housing demand, coupled with a shortage of available homes for sale, is still causing major problems for the state, as California Association of Realtors President Geoff McIntosh explains.

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Fannie Mae: Meaningful economic growth appears unlikely in 2017

Fannie Mae released its Economic and Housing Outlook for April, which indicates that the GSE is keeping its economic growth forecast conservative. In the report, the company explains how it is intrigued by the growing optimism from businesses and consumers.

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Assurant names Jerry Rowell managing director of field services

Jerry Rowell, who has more than 20 years of experience leading companies in the financial services sector, including mortgage, field service and commercial lending firms, will be based in Austin, Texas.

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Builder confidence subsides slightly in April

Homebuilder confidence fell off from the high reported in March, decreasing three points in the Housing Market Index in April. However, despite this decrease, experts point out that builder confidence remains at solid levels.

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Are factory-made homes the future of housing?

Housing inventory recently hit an all-time low as builders struggle to keep up with the rising demand. One factor in the low inventory has been a shortage of construction workers, but a new trend could remedy that as it produces homes made by robots.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Industry trade groups tell Senate how to fix financial regulations

The main front for the Republican Party’s push for regulatory reform is in the House of Representatives, where an effort is underway to replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act with the Financial CHOICE Act. But the House isn’t the only place where regulatory reform is on the table. Here’s a look at what some of the mortgage industry’s biggest trade groups want the Senate to do about regulatory reform. All that, and more, in your Monday Morning Cup of Coffee.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Lennar ordered to pay more than $100 million to iStar in 2005 land row

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered Lennar to pay more than $100 million to iStar to settle a lawsuit that stretches back to 2005. According to details published Friday by iStar, a real estate investment trust, the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision in the lawsuit that stemmed from a soured land deal from more than a decade ago.

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Los Angeles struggles to retain workers due to high housing costs

Los Angeles may have year-round sunshine and great beaches, but it’s not enough to entice workers to accept jobs there. Businesses, instead, must develop special hiring packages in order to compete with more affordable housing markets. What would it take to get you to work in LA?

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And the most competitive housing market in March is…

Redfin’s recent study not only showed that the housing market is gearing up for a hot spring home-buying market, but also which market are the most competitive. In some markets, homes are selling in just over a week, while in others nearly 70% of homes are selling above asking price. As the industry gears up for one of the busiest times of the year, here are the five most competitive markets.

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CIVIC Financial Services names William Tessar CEO and president

As president and CEO, Tessar will focus on improving the loan process and making the sales and operations teams work cohesively. “Our customers will see the immediate benefits of streamlined processes that result in flawless execution and superior service,” he said.

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Ben Carson: Programs that are functioning well will be preserved

The new secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, made a third stop on his listening tour with his visit to Florida. And despite what Twitter might have you thinking, he did more than sit in an elevator during his time there.

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NAFCU reiterates calls to Congress to lighten regulatory burdens for credit unions

Credit unions have focused a lot of their efforts after the financial crisis fighting to make sure they aren’t suffocated by regulation put in place to fix problems they didn’t participate in. Reinforcing calls often made by NAFCU, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions President and CEO Dan Berger wrote a letter to the Senate Banking Committee, highlighting the economic benefits that credit union regulatory relief would create.

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Redfin: These are the best college towns to buy an investment property

With spring home-buying season now underway, many investors are looking their next great buy, and the perennial draw of college towns makes them a prime consideration. Click here to see which cities Redfin has singled out as the best college towns to buy an investment property.

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Did the NSA spy on Middle East banks using the SWIFT network?

Banks are under cyber attack from every side, including, if you believe the latest claim from Shadow Brokers hacking group, the National Security Agency. In the case of the NSA, the latest data dump from the Shadow Brokers suggests the NSA’s motive was to surveil banking activity in the Middle East, not steal money, but any breach of security of the global messaging network could have significant consequences. 

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Historically mild winter leads to hot spring housing market in Chicago

It was unusually warm in Chicago this winter. How warm? According to the National Weather Service, no snow fell in Chicago in January or February. That’s the first time that’s happened in 146 years. While this year’s winter may be a once-in-a-lifetime event for the Windy City, the mild meteorological start to the year is leading to a hot start for the area’s housing market.

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Independent mortgage banks post record revenue per loan in 2016

Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks posted record high revenue in 2016. But don’t get excited just yet. As revenues increased, mortgage expenses also jumped. Here’s how business played out for the year as a result.

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Consumers grow more optimistic about their present circumstances

Consumers are now more optimistic about the economy than they have been at any point since 2000, nearly surpassing the all-time high. And as this optimism grows, one economist explained the gap between Republicans and Democrats is finally starting to close.

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Here’s what these companies are doing to increase Hispanic homeownership

Hispanic homeownership continues to fuel the growth of the U.S. housing market, and now several companies have joined the Hispanic Wealth Project with the goal of tripling Hispanic household wealth by 2024. Here is what several companies pledged to do in 2017 to meet that goal.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ally Bank to mortgage lenders: Gotta spend money to make money

A recent study conducted by Ally Bank shows interest rates and closing costs are highly important factors to consumers when deciding on a lender, but a reputation based on excellent customer service and convenience is just as important. What else might sway borrowers? A little incentive.

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Cook County judge indicted for role in mortgage fraud scheme

A Cook County, Illinois, judge finds herself on the wrong end of criminal charges after federal authorities accused her of taking part in a $1.4 million mortgage fraud scheme. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jessica O’Brien caused lenders to issue and refinance approximately $1.4 million in mortgage and commercial loans by “making false representations and concealing material facts in documents submitted to the lenders.”

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Fannie Mae sells $1.62 billion in re-performing loans to Credit Suisse subsidiary

Fannie Mae announced Thursday that it completed its second sale of re-performing loans, selling more than $1.6 billion in re-performing loans to a subsidiary of Credit Suisse. Here are the details on the latest mortgage purchase for DLJ Mortgage Capital, which also recently bought up more than $4.6 billion in loans from HSBC.

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Redfin: U.S. home prices, sales show strong gains as housing shortage continues

A new report from Redfin shows home sales are heating up as inventory falls during the all-important spring hom-buying season. Click here to find out what experts have to say.

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MBA: Mortgage apps for new home purchases jump to record high

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage application report may be posting lackluster results, but its Builder Application Survey definitely isn’t. Mortgage applications for new home purchases are significantly rising, which is welcome news for homebuyers given the extreme shortage of housing inventory available.

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Rep: Here’s why Dodd-Frank needs to be rolled back

Taking a different approach than other Republicans on why Dodd-Frank needs to be reformed, Rep. David Kustoff, R-Tenn., penned a commentary for CNBC, explaining how the act has stifled the American Dream. To him, Dodd-Frank might have saved Wall Street from collapse, but it has also handcuffed community banks, regional banks, credit unions and other lenders.

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Federal Home Loan Bank of New York will pay $70 million to Lehman Bros. in settlement

The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York agreed to pay $70 million to the bankruptcy estate of Lehman Brothers to settle charges that the bank undervalued interest rate swaps it held with Lehman as the company collapsed in 2008. Here are the details on the settlement.

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CFPB proposes new changes to HMDA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday issued a much-asked-for proposal to clarify the updates to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule that are set to take effect next year. The CFPB claims that these new changes will help ensure industry compliance with the much-discussed HMDA rule. Click the headline to read more about the proposed changes and judge for yourself.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates drop four weeks straight

Mortgage rates continued to steadily decline, maintaining a recent downward trend in rates, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. In fact, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined low enough to hit a record low for 2017.

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Citigroup continues moving away from mortgages as originations plummet

Citigroup first-quarter earnings show that the bank is continuing to move further and further away from mortgages and into other lines of business. According to information released Thursday by the bank, Citi’s residential first mortgage originations plummeted in the first quarter, dropping from $5.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $3.8 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

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Affordable housing-focused originator joins Walker & Dunlop

Before joining W&D, Naish served as the director of affordable housing finance at Berkeley Point Capital and has previously held multiple roles with HUD, where he became an expert in affordable housing policy and FHA multifamily products.

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Wells Fargo first quarter mortgage originations drop

Wells Fargo’s mortgage business in the first quarter of 2017 fells across the majority of its divisions. However, the mega bank noted the drop was expected. As a whole, the bank mostly performed in line with the start of 2016.

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Despite beating revenue expectations, JPMorgan Chase mortgage banking struggles in 1Q17

JPMorgan Chase beat revenue and earnings per share expectations for the first quarter 2017. But despite performing well overall, the bank’s mortgage department struggled, continuing a recent downward trend in mortgage net revenue.

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Foreclosure activity drops below pre-recession levels in 47% of U.S.

Foreclosure activity dropped significantly in the first quarter of 2017 and brought 47% of the U.S. to foreclosure activity below pre-crisis levels. As for March, foreclosure filings increased slightly but marked the 18th consecutive month of annual decreases.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Community lenders stress possible negative impact on mortgage interest deduction in tax reform

As the Trump administrations works on hashing out comprehensive tax reform, the Community Home Lenders Association penned a letter to address its serious concerns about the future of the mortgage interest deduction, along with the potential negative impact to it. While the U.S. Treasury secretary said the mortgage interest tax deduction will not be changed earlier this year, nothing is guaranteed when it come to the future of tax reform.

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Waters: Republican proposal to overall Dodd-Frank kills most important parts

The Republican’s newly revealed act to replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act targets one of the most important government agencies to Congress Democrats, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the Committee on Financial Services and one of the biggest defenders of the CFPB, won’t let the CFPB go away easily.

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These are the top 5 real estate markets this spring

A new report from Ten-X shows the top five hottest markets for this spring according to current and forecasted housing data. Some markets within the top five saw considerable increases in ranking before landing as a top market for the spring.

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Trump's latest revision: Keep Fed Chair Yellen and low-interest rates, too

President Donald Trump tweaked a few of his previous alarming comments made on the future of America’s economy in a new interview with The Wall Street Journal. Back when he was running for office, Trump has made a handful of assertions on what he planned to do if president, including firing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Is Yellen’s job secure now?

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LRES hires Mark Johnson as chief strategy officer

Johnson will oversee the creation and implementation of new strategic priorities and ensure core company initiatives, services and partnerships at the national residential and commercial mortgage services company.

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Immigrants seek to own homes in the suburbs

Immigrants’ needs and desires will shape housing growth for decades to come, and right now that growth potential seems to be looking towards the suburbs, a new report from Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing shows. As immigrants continue to shape the needs of the market in the U.S., the center explains how urban areas with strong immigrant-population growth should respond.

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United States Appraisals adds two industry vets to sales team

National appraisal management company United States Appraisals has announced the addition of David Wegmann and John Powell as business development managers, bringing more than 45 years of combined experience to the company.

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Renters view down payment as largest barrier to homeownership

A new survey from Zillow shows many renters want to own a home but cite down payments as a major barrier to homeownership. As the housing market looks to Millennials to improve on the low homeownership rate, Zillow’s survey shows this faith in the younger generation is not misplaced.

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Republicans propose drastic overhaul of Dodd-Frank and CFPB

Following through on promises made by President Donald Trump, leading Congressional Republicans unveiled a new replacement for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The new proposal goes further than previous Republican efforts to overhaul Dodd-Frank. Here’s a look at the more aggressive version of the Financial CHOICE Act, which includes drastic changes for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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MBA: Despite flat mortgage apps, purchase loan size reaches new high

Despite another quiet week for mortgage applications overall, average purchase application loan size managed to post a new high, continuing recent trends. As a whole, mortgage applications increased 1.5% from one week earlier. Here’s how the rest of the data came in.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Freddie Mac: Renters say they expect to stay where they are

As renters become more confident, they are not moving toward homeownership, but say they are fine where they are and will continue to rent over the next few years. In fact, many say even if they move, they are likely to continue renting and expect rent prices to remain affordable.

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Financial Services Roundtable selects Ed DeMarco to serve as Housing Policy Council president

Former Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Ed DeMarco joins the Financial Services Roundtable leadership team as FSR’s Housing Policy Council president. DeMarco has a long and extensive history in the housing market, which even landed him as HousingWire Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2012.

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Trump floats complete repeal of Dodd-Frank

Last week, President Donald Trump told a group of CEOs that his administration is planning a “very major haircut” on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. But Tuesday, Trump went even further, telling another gathering of CEOs that a full repeal of Dodd-Frank may be on the table. Click through to hear for yourself.

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[Graphs] Here's what it typically takes to lock in a home purchase in Texas

Texas’ housing market is as hot as the state’s scorching summer heat, as the market reaches new peaks in sales and home prices. So who are the homebuyers that are able to break into the market? This new Texas Association of Mortgage Bankers’ report provides an in-depth look at the people who are snagging a piece of the pie in the quickly growing housing market.

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Home prices rising, yes, but not as fast as homeowners think

Quicken Loans released its monthly Home Price Perception Index, which showed while home prices are increasing, it is not as fast as homeowners think. This is the fourth consecutive month the gap between homeowner opinions and appraised values increased. The index shows, however, this doesn’t hold true for the West Coast.

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OrangeGrid names Michele McCoy vice president of business development

“With a passion for problem-solving and helping clients tackle complex problems with pragmatic solutions, Michele will assist OrangeGrid in building and sustaining strong business relationships across our rapidly growing client base for years to come,” said Todd Mobraten, OrangeGrid’s CEO and founder.

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Wells Fargo investigation reveals these shocking stories of bad behavior

Just when you think you’ve heard the worst story from Wells Fargo’s recent fake accounts scandal, a new revelation comes out. The new report from the bank’s independent study into its unethical sales practices revealed these shocking stories.

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson takes listening tour to public housing in Jacksonville

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is making the next stop in his listening tour on Tuesday, visiting a public housing facility in Jacksonville, Florida that was recently the target of the state’s senators. Carson will visit Eureka Gardens, which is one of several federally subsidized housing developments in Florida that subject residents to “deplorable” living conditions, according to Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

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United Shore to pay $1.4 million for allegedly overcharging California borrowers

United Shore Financial Services, the parent company of United Wholesale Mortgage, will pay $1.4 million as part of a settlement with the California Department of Business Oversight, which accused the lender of overcharging “thousands” of borrowers for interest on their mortgages. But the company’s CEO says that the fine is for a long-fixed problem and that the company didn’t benefit at all from the alleged overcharging.

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More Americans are now paying their mortgage often, and on time

Mortgage delinquency rates continued their downward decent in January. While serious delinquencies and foreclosure inventory dropped at the start of 2017, it was early-stage delinquencies that saw the best performance as they hit their lowest rate in two decades.

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Vacation home sales plummet in 2016

Home sales increased in 2016, however the share of vacation rentals plummeted to levels not seen in several years. But even as vacation-home purchases dropped, investment properties increased year-over-year.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Here's an entirely new way to hijack a bank

The number of ways to rob a bank is apparently limited only by the imagination of hackers, which is to say, nearly infinite. Recently, a Brazilian bank fell victim to an entirely new and dangerous form of hacking. And if you don’t think that your institution could be next, it might already be too late.

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President Trump taps Russ Vought to be OMB deputy director

President Donald Trump tapped Russ Vought to serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, where he will serve under Director Mick Mulvaney. The two will be tasked with reducing regulation controlling regulatory costs and more, so expect to see their names pop up a lot more in housing finance news.

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Better Mortgage continues push into purchase mortgages

Earlier this year, online mortgage lender Better Mortgage said that raised $15 million and planned to use the money to launch and expand of Better’s home purchase finance product on the company’s website. Now, the company is continuing its push into purchase mortgages by rolling out a “verified” pre-approval letter for borrowers.

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Fifth Third Bank promotes Phillip McHugh to head of consumer bank

Fifth Third Bancorp announced recently that it is promoting Phillip McHugh to become the bank’s new head of its consumer bank, which includes retail banking, mortgage, auto lending, business banking, collections and credit centers. McHugh is replacing Chad Borton, who is leaving Fifth Third to become president of USAA Federal Savings Bank, the bank said.

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New York budget to target homelessness, affordable housing

New York announced its budget late after it surpassed its April 1st deadline. The newly released budget contains many implications for housing, including tuition-free college. A considerable part of the budget is also dedicated towards fighting homelessness and providing affordable housing.

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LenderLive officially takes over PHH private-label mortgage operations

Earlier this year, LenderLive Network announced that it would be taking over PHH Mortgage Corporation’s private-label fulfillment operations in Jacksonville, Florida. That transition is now complete. According to LenderLive, the company is now processing, underwriting and closing loans on an outsourced basis for PHH fulfillment clients served out of the Jacksonville facility.

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Freddie Mac launches education initiative to boost homeownership in Kentucky

Freddie Mac announced that eight manufactured home retailers joined its program for increasing homeownership education for buyers of manufactured homes in the Kentucky area. Here is the latest news on the program, and what it seeks to accomplish.

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Representative Hill: Here's what the defenders of the CFPB ignore

As the controversy around the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau heightens, more representatives are stepping outside of the beltway to speak directly to their constituents about the constitutionality and functionality of the bureau. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., is the latest representative to pen a commentary on the need for the agency to be reined in.

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FBC Mortgage launches online mortgage application for wholesale and correspondent divisions

FBC Mortgage launched an online mortgage application for its wholesale and correspondent division, bringing digital mortgage technology previously only for use for retail into the third-party origination world. The announcement signals a greater movement toward digital in the lending space.

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Tesla takes next step in solar energy revolution, unveils new solar panels

Tesla, which got into the solar energy business last year with the acquisition of SolarCity, is taking the next step in its plan to revolutionize the acquisition, storage, and use of solar energy with the introduction of its own version of solar panels. What does it mean for the solar energy business? And what does it mean for the mortgage business?

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First Financial Northwest expands footprint in Seattle area

First Financial Northwest announced the expansion of its footprint in the counties surrounding the Seattle area. The bank announced it will acquire four branches including their retail locations, ATMs and more. But the bank’s expansion doesn’t end there.

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Wells Fargo claws back $75 million more from Stumpf, Tolstedt

Wells Fargo announced the results of an internal investigation into its recent fake accounts scandal, which found that cultural, structural and leadership issues were the root cause for its improper sales practices. Due to the investigation’s conclusions, the company announced it will claw back even more from top executives, including former CEO John Stumpf, with the total now reaching more than $180 million. Click the headline to read more.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Representative continues attack on CFPB in local op-ed

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., doubled down in her battle to unseat Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and overhaul the bureau in a guest commentary for her local newspaper. Meanwhile, looking at another controversial part of Washington, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet the man in charge of reforming them. All of this and more gets unpacked in this week’s Monday Morning Cup of Coffee.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

MGIC: Should borrowers wait to save 20% down or buy now?

Down payments are commonly cited as one of the most misunderstood parts of the home-buying process, as potential homebuyers hold off shopping until they can put 20% down on a home. A new calculator from MGIC helps solve this problem. Home shoppers can use the calculator to see if they should buy now or wait.

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Northwest sees new listings soar by 50%

New listings flooded the market in March, but pending home sales increased even more, leaving the region to struggle with its low inventory levels. Experts from the Washington state area give the latest update on the market and predict a frenzied spring home-buying season.

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Wells Fargo partners with NeighborWorks America to boost homeownership in Birmingham

Wells Fargo is partnering with NeighborWorks America and Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham to boost homeownership in the Birmingham and Jefferson Country areas of Alabama. Through the program, borrowers may be eligible to receive a matching down payment assistance grant ranging from $2,500 up to $7,500.

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As home equity loans rise, here's the latest pulse on delinquencies

The market is starting to welcome home equity lines of credit back into the market after a long hiatus after the financial crisis. Given their growing prominence, a new report from the American Bankers Association’s Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin gives a current pulse on the health of home equity lines of credit by looking at delinquencies.

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Fannie Mae: Americans come down off home-confidence high

Americans came down off February’s confidence high as less said now is a good time to buy a home. However, the percentage of consumers saying now is a good time to sell a home continues to increase. And those who think interest rates will decrease hit a new survey low.

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Dart Appraisal partners with HouseCanary to launch new automated valuation report

Aiming to take property valuation to another level, Dart Appraisal, a nationwide, independent appraisal management company, announced this week that it is partnering with HouseCanary, a real estate data analytics company, to launch a new automated valuation report.

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Economy experts: No jobs, no problem – unexpectedly low report not all bad

The jobs report in March came in much lower than homeowners expected, the lowest since May last year. However, experts explain there is no need to read too much into the report, saying it was only a temporary drop.

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PACE industry responds to Congressional efforts to change program's rules

Earlier this week, a group of senators and representatives introduced bills in both houses of Congress that would change the rules for loans created by the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. When introducing, some of the bill’s sponsors said the PACE program is a “scam” and the industry is bereft with “predatory” lenders that “trick” unwitting homeowners. The PACE industry unsurprisingly disagrees with those allegations.

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MBA: Jumbo loan programs help loosen mortgage credit

Mortgage credit availability increased in March led by a jump in jumbo loans. But despite posting small steady increases, mortgage credit is still historically low. The following charts exactly how loose credit is now.

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NY AG charges landlord for $5 million mortgage fraud scheme

Uncovering a $5 million mortgage scheme, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Dean Galasso, 49, a New York City landlord with multiple properties in Manhattan and Queens, after discovering he fraudulently tried to obtain a mortgage to finance the purchase of a rental building. The discovery led to six charges total.

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What kind of monster would leave THIS behind in a foreclosure?

At the height of the foreclosure crisis, HousingWire regularly ran ads from a nonprofit called No Paws Left Behind. The charity worked hard to find no-kill shelters for the droves of innocent cats and dogs abandoned when their owners fled the property. While we’ve lost contact through the years, and the fallout from housing bust began to ameliorate to some extent, it comes with some sadness to learn the act of abandoning pets is still happening.

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The Big Miss: Jobs plummet far below expert predictions

March’s jobs report is in — and well below expectations. And not only is the total number of jobs below expectations, but also the number of construction jobs is significantly lower than the ADP report projected.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

PropertyRadar: No, California is not in a housing bubble

San Francisco Bay Area home sales plummeted to the lowest of any month since February 2008 as average home prices soared into the millions. The extreme rise in home prices, however, is not a sign that the housing market is in a bubble and about to pop. Instead, this report explains what is to blame.

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S&P: Mortgage-backed security market making a comeback in 2017

Back in February, DBRS predicted that the residential mortgage-backed security market could see a resurgence in 2017 thanks to rising interest rates, which both drive down refinances and make securitization a more financially appealing option. As it turns out, that’s exactly what’s happening.

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Even the most affordable housing markets still aren't very affordable

In metros across the U.S., many residents are struggling to keep make the income needed in order to live comfortably. As home prices on the West Coast remain well above the national average, it is not surprising that the area contains some of the most expensive metros. But living in one of the least expensive metro can still be a struggle.

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Here’s what you need to qualify for a reverse mortgage

Home equity conversion mortgages, more commonly known as reverse mortgages, are another avenue for homeowners to add to their financial assets and retirement plans, but there are requirements that need to be met.

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TransUnion: Here’s why Millennials are delaying homeownership

As homebuyers get ready to enter the spring home-buying market, a study from TransUnion shows Millennial homebuyers are holding off for two key reasons, and what first-time homebuyers can do to be better prepared for buying a home.

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DOJ requests time during oral arguments in CFPB and PHH case

The Department of Justice made headlines in March when it revealed that it switched sides in the landmark battle between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and PHH. While it now aligns with PHH, it doesn’t completely agree with the company’s position. As a result, it requested time in the oral arguments to give its unique stance.

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ALTA urges CFPB to warn consumers about real estate funds phishing scams

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors warned consumers they could be the next victims of growing trend of mortgage closing cost phishing schemes. But, according to the American Land Title Association, that warning was not enough to fully prevent future schemes from being successful and consumers are still falling victim to the phishing scams.

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Can small lenders even compete with big banks for digital mortgage domination?

Despite nonbanks being able to get an early jump on the digital process, a new report from Fitch Ratings states that large banks will have a greater long-term advantage thanks to their greater access to resources. The mortgage finance industry might finally be embracing technology but which companies will come out on top?

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AVMs make a comeback

Today, AVM innovation has coalesced into a valuation product category with impressive and measurable accuracy rates. The accuracy of AVMs has now been tested and sustained over multiple years and diverse geography and property conditions. In addition, AVM methodology is more transparent than ever, with well-documented due diligence literature available on data sources, modeling techniques, testing procedures and safety measures.

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Millennials closing loans at fastest pace in nearly a year

Millennials are closing loans at the fastest pace since March last year, and VA loans saw the greatest speed up in February. Ellie Mae’s Millennial tracker shows the latest trends in Millennial homeownership, and perhaps one of the most surprising revelations was where they are buying homes.

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Congress takes on "predatory" PACE loans

The rules surrounding energy retrofit loans, the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, which engendered a great deal of divisiveness over the last few years, could be about to change, as both houses of Congress are set to consider changes to the rule. And what’s the name of the act meant to challenge PACE loans? Well, that’s called PACE too. Click for the full explanation.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates hover just above 2017 lows

Mortgage rates dropped once again, creating a three week trend of decreases and hovering just above 2017’s lows. Freddie Mac’s chief economist explains what will determine if next week’s rates follow the new trend or see an increase.

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ATTOM names states with highest property tax rates

A new report from ATTOM Data Solutions shows property taxes came in at $277.7 billion in 2016, or more than $3,000 per home. And taxes were higher for owner-occupied homes than for investment properties. The report shows which states had the highest property tax rates and which ones saw property taxes of more than $10,000 annually.

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Castle & Cooke Mortgage launches consumer direct lending channel

Castle & Cooke Mortgage, an independent mortgage lender, is expanding into consumer direct lending with the launch of a consumer direct team. According to the company, the new team will work to “improve retention of clients in the company’s servicing portfolio” and originate new loans.

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Cordray answers charges that CFPB didn't take lead on Wells Fargo scandal

During a heated exchange in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s semi-annual hearing in front of the House Financial Service Committee, Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., grilled Director Richard Cordray on the bureau’s lack of initiative in the massive Wells Fargo fake account scandal. Wagner focused the brunt of her time on creating a timeline of events to prove her case that the bureau just stood by during the Wells Fargo scandal. In her words, the bureau was asleep at the wheel.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Wells Fargo CEO pens open letter thanking customers for their loyalty

It probably goes without saying that it’s been a rough few months for Wells Fargo. It all started with the shocking revelation of fake account scandal at the bank, which involved more than 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opening more than 2 million fake accounts to get sales bonuses. And now the bank is working repair its tarnished reputation.

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Tensions reach boiling point at CFPB Director Cordray's hearing

Both sides of the aisle were primed for battle at the hearing of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, as this semiannual hearing happened in the midst of controversy around the bureau and Cordray’s position. Tensions quickly rose in the room as representatives questioned Cordray on the constitutionality of his bureau. One representative even asked Cordray why he doesn’t just step down.

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FOMC minutes reveal when Fed may shrink balance sheet

The Federal Open Markets Committee released minutes from its March meeting, showing it may shrink its balance sheet sooner than the market expected. Members didn’t give any specifics on how the reduction will occur, or even when, but did comment on a general time frame.

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Housing advocate groups create website to track Ben Carson

Unhappy with the selection of Ben Carson as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a group of housing advocates decided to do something about it. Wondering what Carson did last week? The group created a website online to track his moves in person and online.

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Wells Fargo reaches data-sharing agreement with Finicity

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, recently reached a deal with Experian that enables consumers to provide income and asset information to lenders digitally through Finicity’s more than 16,000 integrations with financial services institutions. Now, Finicity is adding another integration to a financial services institution, and a rather large one at that – Wells Fargo.

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Here’s why appraisers are reluctant to work with the VA

Appraisal shortages already plague the market and slow down the closing process, a problem which grows only more complicated when it comes to VA mortgages. One expert explained that while good appraisals are key to maintaining a strong VA Home Loan Guarantee Program, regulatory burdens are getting in the way.

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ADP predicts yet another month of substantial job increases

ADP released its National Employment Report which shows jobs will increase substantially in March. And the construction boom continues as construction jobs see a significant increase. However, with its spotty record, ADP’s report could come in lower than Friday’s report.

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