Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Here’s the confusion around independent agencies under Trump's new actions

President Donald Trump recently signed a presidential memoranda and executive order that significantly impact the future of regulations across all industries. But for housing specifically, there’s a major catch. The two new actions do not apply to independent agencies, which include the Consumer Financial protection Bureau. Here’s an explanation behind the confusion.

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Consumer confidence retreats in January

A survey conducted by The Conference Board by Nielsen shows that Americans are less confident in the economy in January. However, other measures of consumer confidence disagree with that notion. Americans are more confident in their present situation, but less optimistic about the future.

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New mortgage product increases Ally Financial net income in Q4

Ally Financial saw a net income increase in the fourth quarter, but was still down from the previous year. Its mortgage department, however, nearly doubled from the previous quarter and the previous year. In fact, Ally saw its mortgage finance triple over the year.

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Trulia reports Millennials think housing no longer part of American Dream

The homeownership rate remained the same as it did previous years and previous quarters. The outlook of future homeownership rates may be bleak as Millennials stop saying homeownership is part of the American dream. However, Trulia explains the good news buried in the homeownership rate report.

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CFPB orders Prospect Mortgage to pay $3.5 million for improper mortgage referrals

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today announced Prospect Mortgage will pay a total of $3.5 million in fines for illegally offering kickbacks for mortgage business referrals. Three of the companies that received alleged kickbacks are also being fined.

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Senate Democrats boycott Mnuchin and Price, delay confirmation vote

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted the already rescheduled Tuesday meeting to vote on two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, Steve Mnuchin, as Treasury secretary, and Tom Price, as head the Health and Human Services department. The move delays the vote even further as Democrats demand answers on recent reports. Republicans leaders, however, say the move is offensive, especially since many Democrats said they’ll vote ‘no’ regardless.

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S&P: Private mortgage insurance all set for another banner year

Why such an upbeat outlook? Well, troubled vintages are winding down in an orderly fashion. Also, recent mortgages are comparatively high credit in terms of underlying quality. And it’s not just for 2017, as S&P predicts private mortgage insurers are set to enjoy robust earnings over the next few years. But, here’s the catch.

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Ten-X predicts increase in January existing home sales

After December’s decrease in existing home sales, Ten-X predicts January will bring a fresh start with new increases. It also predicts a continued rise in home prices for the month. Here’s more on the company’s predictions, and how close those predictions were in December.

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Step one: MBA reveals proposal to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Talks around reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are only growing stronger as the nation transitions to a Republican administration. As the association representing the housing finance industry, the Mortgage Bankers Association released its initial plans for its recommended approach for GSE reform. The team behind the plans is made up of some of the top lenders in the industry.

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Case-Shiller: Housing market now officially, completely recovered

Home prices increased in November, bringing a chairman of the Index Committee to explain that the housing market is completely recovered from the crisis. Case-Shiller’s top 20 cities all posted monthly increases after seasonal adjustment. One expert explains why the new administration could push home prices even further in the months to come.

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Why isn't Freddie Mac on board with all these rosy outlooks?

Clearly, the housing market is doing just fine. Read the latest Case-Shiller. Housing pretty much recovered. And Ten-X, too. Home sales increased in January. Don’t forget Black Knight. Home prices are so close to a new peak. So why isn’t Freddie Mac on board with all these rosy, housing outlooks?

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Monday, January 30, 2017

The future of TRID hangs in the balance amid Trump regulatory actions

A freeze on a final rule of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, also called TRID, could become an unfortunate side effect of Trump’s executive order on Monday. The last status update the bureau gave the industry was that it would weigh submitted comments and then issue a final rule. But will the industry ever get its much-needed answers to TRID with the new regulatory actions Trump announced?

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Democrats declare opposition to Mnuchin, delay confirmation vote

The Senate Finance Committee planned to meet Monday evening to vote on the confirmation of Steve Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s choice to lead the Department of the Treasury, but that vote will no longer happen, as Senate Democrats moved to delay the vote, while other party leaders declared their opposition to Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary.

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Black Knight: Home prices so close to a new national peak

The Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services released its latest Home Price Index  report, based on November 2016 residential real estate transactions. The company finds that after rising 5.7% from the start of 2016, U.S. home prices are now within just 0.3% of a “new national peak.”

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Here's how and why CitiMortgage is leaving mortgage servicing

CitiMortgage surprised few in the housing business on Monday when it announced that it agreed to a massive mortgage servicing rights deal with New Residential Investment and Nationstar Mortgage. As it often is with deals of this type, the devil is in the details. And one of the details of this deal is that the MSR sale is a precursor to CitiMortgage completely exiting the mortgage servicing business. Here’s a breakdown of how the deal works, and why Citi plans to leave mortgage servicing behind.

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First American: Rising interest rates finally takes toll on home affordability

Affordability took a hit in November, according to First American, which tracks what it calls “real house prices.” But while real home prices saw an uptick for the month, reversing a six-month trend, First American’s chief economist explains home prices are still at their most affordable point in nearly two decades.

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Trump signs executive order to massively roll back regulation

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday morning to significantly roll back regulations, following through on claims that he would be “cutting regulation massively.” And Trump didn’t stop at reducing regulation, as the order also shows an added focus on reduced regulatory costs.

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Realtors pick their top 10 hottest housing markets for 2017

While January is typically the slowest month of the year for real estate, the market remained strong at the start of 2017. Homes flew off the market faster than the previous year at home prices that were 10% higher than the previous year. Here are the top 10 markets for the start of the new year.

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Pending home sales close out 2016 on a high note

Pending home sales finished the year out strong with an increase in December, however were still weighed down by low inventory levels. The National Association of Realtors’ chief economist explains why that burden could start to lessen in 2017.

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CitiMortgage exits mortgage servicing business

“This announcement further demonstrates Nationstar’s role as a leading subservicing provider to the residential mortgage servicing market. We look forward to welcoming over 750,000 customers to Nationstar, and believe our strategic relationship with New Residential will create meaningful value for these customers and our shareholders,” Jay Bray, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nationstar, said in a statement.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Two senators join battle between the CFPB and PHH

While the landmark case between PHH and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau awaits a decision on whether the full Court of Appeals will rehear the case, more politicians are publicly voicing their support for the bureau. So what’s the big reason for the added support? The new Trump administration. Meanwhile, Chronos Solutions’ new CEO announcement on Friday isn’t the company’s only news.

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Buying a home in 2017? Pro Teck says it will be hard to find a house

Housing inventory shortages already plagued 2016, and given that houses don’t crop up overnight, it’s not likely 2017 will be much better. This new chart from Pro Teck shows exactly how dry the housing market is.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Meet the latest hotbed for housing: Dallas, Texas

The housing market in Texas continues to expand, reaching new highs in some of its cities. One expert explains why Dallas is the new hotbed for housing. Many local businesses are even beginning expansion plans for the city, including Movement Mortgage.

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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Martin steps aside as CEO of Chronos Solutions

At the age of 22, Matt Martin co-founded Matt Martin Real Estate Management, which was named to Inc. magazine’s 2012 list of America’s 500 fastest-growing companies. In 2015, the company rebranded as Chronos Solutions to help reflect its expanded offerings, which include HOA solutions, accelerated asset liquidation, REO asset management among other services. Now, he is stepping aside.

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Consumer confidence hits highest level in 12 years

Consumer sentiment inched up again in January, hitting its highest level in two years. While optimism is high, the division was high between political party lines. Republicans were highly optimistic, but Democrats were not, marking the most divided responses in 20 years.

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[Video] Here’s the latest update to the MBA’s economic forecast for 2017

It’s an understatement to say the housing market and overall economy has changed since October 2016 when the Mortgage Bankers Association put out its original economic forecast. Lynn Fisher, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s vice president of research and economics, explains in an updated origination forecast what new changes to expect in 2017.

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Mortgage bond trader Jesse Litvak convicted of fraud, again

The tale of Jesse Litvak may finally be moving toward an ending, as a federal jury on Friday found the former Jefferies managing director and mortgage-backed securities trader guilty on one count of fraud. It’s a significant difference from Litvak’s previous conviction, when a jury found him guilty on 15 counts of fraud.

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Does fourth quarter GDP foretell a slowdown in home affordability?

The slower growth in gross domestic product during the fourth quarter had its bright spots, such as the increased spending in residential investment. The outlook for 2017 remains positive, however one expert explains why the low GDP could foretell a slowdown in home affordability.

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Redfin gets into the mortgage business

There’s about to be a new player in the mortgage space, one that boasts it can be a true digital “one-stop shop” for homebuyers, taking them all the way from finding a real estate agent to finding a house and getting a mortgage. And while others claim they can do the same thing, this one brings a well-known name and built-in digital experience. Meet Redfin Mortgage. That’s right; Redfin is getting into the mortgage lending business.

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Home Point Financial acquires Stonegate Mortgage for $211 million cash

In a major growth move, Home Point Financial Corp. announced a definitive agreement to acquire Stonegate Mortgage Corp. in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $211 million. The acquisition, if completed, would position Home Point as a top-25 mortgage originator and servicer.

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GDP growing, but at slower pace in Q4

Real gross domestic product continues to climb but at a slower rate in the fourth quarter than in the third. The deceleration was driven by exports and government spending. The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ first estimate breaks down the increases to GDP in the fourth quarter.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Urban Institute: Suspending the FHA mortgage insurance premium cut is a good idea

Taking the suspension one step further, the Urban Institute posted a blog on the recent HUD announcement, stating that not only is the suspension a good idea but it should be stopped until the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund can build up more money. Unlike those who are arguing that suspending the cut is leaving thousands of borrowers on the sidelines, the blog says, overall, it’s not the best option.

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Pence, Hensarling: Dismantling Dodd-Frank remains a high priority

It’s been a busy first week in office for President Donald Trump, with executive orders on immigration, energy, trade, health care and more being handed down daily. But executive orders are just the preamble to the big initiatives that Trump and the Republican majority in Congress are expected to push for shortly. Chief among those is the “dismantling” of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

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RBS sets aside $3.8 billion more for RMBS settlement with DOJ

It appears that despite a new administration running the ship in Washington, D.C., the federal government still plans to seek restitution for the events that led to the financial crisis, or at least that’s what one foreign bank thinks. Royal Bank of Scotland said Thursday that it is setting aside $3.8 billion to be used to settle with the government.

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loanDepot reaches landmark $100 billion in funded loans

loanDepot kept busy the past seven years since it launched into the housing finance market after the financial crisis. And all the hard work is paying off as the nonbank announced it funded $100 billion in home, personal and home equity loans. And Chairman and CEO Anthony Hsieh says that the company isn’t done growing.

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Trump’s Mortgage Nation – an inside look at HousingWire’s webinar

Will Trump repeal Dodd Frank? Does Cordray have a future at the CFPB? Is GSE reform on the way? Experts from the housing industry answered these questions and more today in HousingWire’s webinar, Trump’s Mortgage Nation. Didn’t have time to watch the whole thing? We have you covered. Here are the cherries from today, plus how to still watch it in full.

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PCLender partners with Blend to bring digital mortgages to more lenders

PCLender, a provider of internet-based mortgage solutions for community banks and credit unions, announced this week that it is entering into a partnership with Blend to bring digital mortgages to more lenders. As a result of the partnership, lenders who use PCLender will be able to use Blend’s platform to create an end-to-end digital mortgage experience for consumers.

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Housing experts: December’s drop in home sales is business as usual

The consensus is in, and overall, housing experts remain positive about new home sales, despite the 10% drop from November. Here’s why one expert instructs: Don’t read too much into it.

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Morningstar: Here's the impact of rising interest rates on mortgage-backed securities

The latest data from Freddie Mac, released Thursday, showed that mortgage interest rates are on the rise again. What will the impact of rising interest rates be on mortgage-backed securities, especially private-label mortgages? A new report from Morningstar has the answers. And here they are.

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New home sales drop more than 10% in December

Following the drop seen earlier this week in existing home sales, new home sales followed suite and dropped in December. However, performance was still up for the year as 2016 saw an increase in new home sales by over 12%.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates shoot up once again

Mortgage rates broke the downward trend from the last three weeks with this week’s increase, the first since Dec. 29. However, despite the increase, hope of home-price deceleration is minimal as the housing market continues to struggle with its lowest inventory since 1999.

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Radian posts record mortgage insurance written for 2016

Despite a drop in net income, Radian’s CEO S.A. Ibrahim is still positive on the company’s results. The private mortgage insurer set new records for writing its highest volume of high-quality and profitable flow mortgage insurance business in Radian’s history.

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Shared equity provider Point selects Roundpoint Mortgage Servicing to act as servicer

Point, a financial technology platform that offers homeowners the opportunity take equity out of their home without taking on new debt, is partnering with Roundpoint Mortgage Servicing, which will service the assets that Point acquires, the companies announced this week.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CFPB’s final mortgage servicing rule implementation possibly delayed

The implementation date of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final mortgage servicing rule lies in question after the Trump administration announced a freeze on federal regulations. The bureau is currently evaluating whether the freeze on regulations applies to independent agencies, but if it upholds it, there will be a 60-day minimum delay on the final mortgage servicing rule.

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Trump protesters hang giant "RESIST" sign from crane at Fannie Mae’s new headquarters

The skyline of downtown Washington, D.C. looked a little different on Wednesday morning after activists climbed a 270-foot crane that overlooks the White House and hung a massive banner that read “RESIST.” The crane in question is, of all places, at the site of the new headquarters for Fannie Mae, currently under construction just a half mile away from the White House.

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Two men shot execution style at NYC mortgage company

Two men were shot execution style inside a mortgage business in Staten Island. Little is known about the shooting, however one of the men killed was believed to be a whistleblower and the state’s only witness against a financial planning company.

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RealPage seeks to build apartment data giant with acquisition of Axiometrics

RealPage, a provider of software and data analytics to the real estate industry, is growing its operation and seeking to create an apartment data giant with a pair of deals - acquiring “substantially all of the assets” of Axiometrics, a provider of apartment market data, for approximately $75 million; and entering into a “long-term” deal with Real Capital Analytics, a provider of multifamily sales transaction data and analytics.

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CoreLogic: Cash sales increase yet again in October

While cash sales are down annually, October just hit its fourth consecutive month of increases. CoreLogic’s data shows, however, that distressed sales decreased to their lowest levels since 2007.

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Want to join the CFPB’s advisory board and councils?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started accepting applications to join three of its four independent advisory groups, which give formal input on everything from consumer engagement, to policy development to research. Think you have what it takes to join? Here are the 15 seats opening up this fall.

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Who cares if the Dow hit 20K? Not most of us

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, at the offices of investment brokers, and in corporate boardrooms throughout the country, there were hearty celebrations on Wednesday morning as an artificial number hit an arbitrary target. People doffed cheap embroidered hats. They poured Champagne. Frivolity was the order of the day. But for the rest of us, the Dow hitting 20,000 doesn’t mean a damn thing.

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FHFA: Home prices barely increase in November

Home prices increased slightly in November, but at a higher rate that the previous month. The Federal Housing Finance Agency shows the increase, and a breakdown of the increases across divisions of the U.S.

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It's official: Dow finally passes 20K milestone

After flirting with the milestone for weeks, the Dow finally passed 20,000 for the first time ever. Some are calling the sudden surge the “Trump Rally” reigniting. But what caused this increase, and will it last?

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MBA: Purchase applications drive increase in mortgages

Mortgage applications moved slightly higher thanks to a boost in purchase applications. Meanwhile, refinance demand continues to dwindle as its share of mortgage activity now only sits at 50% of total applications.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wells Fargo customers to receive $50 million for overcharged mortgage fees

Borrowers who had a mortgage serviced by Wells Fargo between May 6, 2005 and July 1, 2010 could soon receive their share of a $50 million settlement, which stemmed from charges that Wells Fargo overcharged borrowers for Broker’s Price Opinions during the time period in question.

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CFPB Director Cordray: We will continue enforcing existing rules

Even though there’s an ongoing battle over his unusual authority, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray said he has no plans to stop enforcing existing consumer protection rules. Regardless of who is in power, the CFPB is a law enforcement agency, separate of partisan politics, according to Cordray.

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ServiceLink fined $65 million for LPS foreclosure deficiencies

The ghost of Lender Processing Services came back to haunt ServiceLink and Black Knight Financial Services on Tuesday, as the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced that they are fining ServiceLink $65 million for the “improper actions” of LPS that contributed to a massive settlement with the government over industry-wide foreclosure misconduct that occurred after the housing crash.

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Blackstone's Invitation Homes prepares $1.5 billion IPO

The initial public offering for Blackstone Group’s single-family rental operator, Invitation Homes, is one step closer to reality, as the company disclosed the terms of its initial public offering on Monday. Per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Invitation Homes will offer 77 million shares in its IPO, with an estimated share price of between $18 and $21 per share.

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CoreLogic creates new app for real estate agents on the go

CoreLogic created a new app for real estate agents that allows them to access property information on the go. The search engine covers 99.9% of all U.S. property records. Here is more on the app, and the service it will provide real estate agents.

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Xavier Becerra officially named California attorney general

Now that Kamala Harris is getting settled in her new role in the U.S. Senate, California officially announced Rep. Xavier Becerra as her replacement, approving him as the state’s new attorney general. Becerra comes to the position during a time of major political divide, and the state is looking to him to make sure California is ready for a fight.

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Senate Banking Committee unanimously votes to approve Ben Carson as HUD Secretary

The Committee On Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs unanimously voted to approve Ben Carson as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday morning. However, the nomination process is not yet over. Next stop: Senate floor.

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Existing home sales close 2016 as best year in a decade

Home sales slipped in December, but not enough to keep 2016 from being the best year in a decade for existing home sales. However, despite this slip in home sales, inventory continues to struggle. In fact, housing inventory just hit the lowest level in the history of NAR’s report.

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Fifth Third reports residential mortgage loan increase of 10% in Q4

Fifth Third reported drastic decreases in its fourth quarter earnings today. Its net income dropped 40% from last year. However, despite the decreases, residential mortgage loans still increased by 10% from the prior year.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Ben Carson facing Senate vote to become HUD Secretary

The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is slated to meet Tuesday morning to vote on the nomination of Ben Carson as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Will he finally become HUD secretary after a controversial nomination?

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JPMorgan Chase officially reaches $53 million settlement for lending discrimination

Confirming reports that began to emerge last week, JPMorgan Chase officially reached a settlement with the Department of Justice over allegations that the bank’s brokers charged higher interest rates to minority borrowers than white borrowers in the run-up and during the financial crisis. Initial reports pegged the settlement amount at $55 million, but the actual settlement amount is slightly lower, checking in at $53 million.

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Wells Fargo accused of falsely overcharging mortgage borrowers

With the wound from its massive account scandal last year still fresh, four former Wells Fargo employees in the Los Angeles region say the account scandal was not the only way the bank deceived borrowers. The other area the bank maybe misled borrowers: Improperly charging borrowers to extend their promised interest rate when their mortgage paperwork was delayed.

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Democratic state AGs join fight to save CFPB from Trump

The embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which top Congressional Democrats recently pledged to defend against potential attacks from the Trump administration, has more defenders in its corner now, as more than a dozen state attorneys general are joining the fight to protect the CFPB.

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New American Funding names new divisional vice president

New American Funding brought on a new divisional vice president to lead its expansion efforts in the Southeast. With over 16 years of experience, Kelly Allison brings a team of 91 mortgage professionals with her to her new role.

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Societe Generale fined $50 million for pre-crisis RMBS fraud

In its last few days, the Obama administration announced multibillion dollar settlements with two foreign banks, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, for each bank’s mortgage securitization practices leading up to the housing crisis. And on Friday, as most people focused on the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Obama administration announced one last settlement with a foreign bank for its pre-crisis activities – France’s Societe Generale.

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[Video] Trump wants to cut all regulation by 75%

President Donald Trump said he plans to cut regulations by 75% or more in a meeting with business leaders on Monday. While he didn’t specially call out the housing market in his meeting, he’s already announced some plans for Dodd-Frank.

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Death-row inmate facing final hours for murder of Texas real estate agent

About 10 years ago, convicted killer Kosoul Chanthakoummane brutally murdered a real estate agent in a model home. Now, after a decade on death row, his death is only days away. Though not as brutal as the 33 stab wounds he inflicted on the real estate agent, Chanthakoummane will face the end by lethal injection.

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CFPB fines CitiFinancial Servicing and CitiMortgage $29 million

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hit CitiFinancial Servicing and CitiMortgage with enforcement actions over how both companies handled borrower foreclosures. Since both banks violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, they must pay a total fine of $28.8 million.

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2016 foreclosures dropped more than any year on record

Foreclosure rates dropped and even hit milestone lows in 2016. A new report from Black Knight shows that 2016 saw the greatest drop of any year on record. Even states with the highest percentage of foreclosures saw significant drops from last year.

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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Trump shows he's serious about deregulation

Newly installed President Donald Trump gave some indication of his deregulation strategy Friday night, when he signed an executive order seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act. An executive order doesn’t change the existing law, but does change the enforcement of the law, a course of action that could just as easily be applied to mortgage legislation like Dodd-Frank.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Nonbanks dominate FHA-backed mortgages

Nonbank’s share of Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages crossed $1 trillion for the first time in November. The news, while positive for nonbanks, is causing some in the industry to question the consequences nonbanks face if the industry undergoes any future stress.

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Pioneer Bank names new president and CEO

After seven years with the company, Pioneer Bank’s board of directors named Ron Coben as its next CEO. Here’s more on Coben’s 30-year career, and what he brings to the company.

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Borrowers: This is how the FHA mortgage insurance premium suspension impacts you

As the industry adjusts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to suspend the reduction of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums, consumers are left to face the impact now. Here’s what is means for borrowers.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Total value of homes sold in Northwest increases 18%+ in 2016

Home values increased in 2016, along with the number of homes sold throughout the year, leading to an increase of more than 18% in the total value of homes sold. The increase in sales, however, is not being replaced with new inventory as the housing shortage continues to grow.

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Industry reacts: Is Trump's suspension of FHA mortgage insurance premium cut good or bad?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to suspend the reduction of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums didn’t come as a shocker. But while the industry knew the uncertainty surrounding the situation, they’re left divided on the issue. How much disruption will this delay cause?

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U.S. Bank promotes new chief marketing officer

After 30 years in the advertising and communications market, Beth McDonnell became U.S. Bank’s chief marketing officer. The bank explains why it promoted McDonnell, and why she will be a “remarkable” leader.

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HUD suspends FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

Just moments after President Trump was sworn in on Friday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it is indefinitely suspending the reduction of FHA mortgage insurance premiums, undoing a cut announced by the Obama administration only a few weeks ago. The suspension is effective immediately.

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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac stock hangs in the balance after Mnuchin privatization talks

The highs Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s stocks experienced toward the end last year didn’t stay long. After Trump’s Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin retreated from his original stance on privatizing the government-sponsored entities during his confirmation hearing, both GSEs’ stock tumbled as their future got called into question.

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#InaugurationDay is here – this is what it means for housing in 2017

The United States swore in Donald Trump as its next president, and the nation looks on to see what that will mean for policy changes in the coming months. Fannie Mae updated its economic growth projection for 2017, but remains conservative in its predictions.

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BB&T reports record year for earnings in 2016

BB&T reported record earnings for 2016, and fourth quarter earnings significantly higher than the previous year. However, these increases were not driven by residential mortgage loans which actually decreased in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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California lifts Fidelity National Title Company's suspension on conducting business

After 16 days, the State of California Franchise Tax Board nullified Fidelity National Title Company’s suspension and restored the corporation to good standing on Thursday. The impact of the suspension could hold severe consequences, ultimately delaying borrowers closing on their home.

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JPMorgan Chase reportedly agrees to $55 million settlement for discriminatory lending

JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $55 million settlement with the Department of Justice, which accused the bank’s brokers of charging higher interest rates to minority borrowers than white borrowers in the run-up and during the financial crisis. Here are the details.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

MBA’s political action committee elects new chairman

The Mortgage Bankers Association named New American Funding’s CEO as its new chairman for its political action committee. The MBA talks about why it chose him, and Rick Arvielo explains his plans for the next election cycle.

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New evidence released on murder of Abilene real estate agent

Months of investigation, and police still haven’t made an arrest in the case of Tom Niblo, a real estate agent from Abilene, Texas who was shot and killed. However, newly released information continually points to one person – someone who just made bail.

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Trump's Treasury pick defends past foreclosure practices at Senate hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee sat through his confirmation hearing today as members of the Senate Finance Committee questioned him on his ability for the role. While the questions covered a wide variety of topics, senators focused the majority of their time on one subject – Mnuchin’s time at OneWest Bank.

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Trump Treasury pick Mnuchin opposes recap and release of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

For the first three hours of the confirmation hearing of Steve Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s choice to lead the Department of the Treasury, nearly all of the housing-related discussion centered on the mortgage servicing and foreclosure practices of OneWest Bank, the bank that Mnuchin formerly chaired. But that changed when Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, began questioning Mnuchin about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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[Video] Morgan Stanley CEO: "Not a fan of getting rid of Dodd-Frank"

Shortly after winning the election, Trump’s transition team posted his plan to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. But to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, more changes could be destructive to the market. Instead, Gorman defend the controversial Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

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Housing starts hit best year since 2007

December made up for some of its lost ground in November with an increase in housing starts. In fact, 2016 finished off the year as the best year for housing starts since 2007. However, the market remains in desperate need of new housing stock.

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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates hit third straight week of declines

Mortgage rates decreased for the third straight week after the sudden nine-week increase that followed the president-elect’s win in November. However, the 10-year Treasury saw an increase this week. Freddie Mac’s chief economist explains why.

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MGIC 4Q net income jumps to $107.5 million

MGIC recorded a strong fourth quarter, posting net income of $107.5 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, which beat estimates by $0.06. However, Patrick Sinks, CEO of MTG and its primary subsidiary MGIC, explained that while the company achieved strong financial result in 2016, 2017 is not forecasted to go as well.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

HouseCanary raises $33 million in funding

HouseCanary, a provider of software and analytics for the real estate industry, announced it raised $33 million in a funding round. Even more interesting is the list of investors eyeing HouseCanary, which includes participants like NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

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NY AG reportedly investigating Nationstar Mortgage, OneWest Bank reverse mortgage divisions

New York is ramping up its focus on the practices of reverse mortgage lenders as of late. After introducing plans to increase the regulations surrounding reverse mortgages in the state earlier this month, New York is now reportedly also investigating practices related to the servicing of reverse-mortgages at Financial Freedom, a part of OneWest Bank, and at Champion Mortgage, a unit of Nationstar Mortgage.

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Sources: Trump plans repeal of FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

With President-elect Trump’s inauguration mere hours away, it appears that the Trump administration will do more than just “examine” the FHA premium cut once Trump is sworn on. According to multiple sources, the FHA premium cut, which is currently scheduled to go into effect on January 27, will be delayed, if not done away with entirely, by the incoming Trump administration.

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Loan officers: Stop calling your Millennial homebuyers

Loan officers, the time has come for you to stop calling Millennial homebuyers. Just don’t. Actually, they would prefer it, and you will have better success, if you text them. Don’t believe me? Read this, I’ll prove it.

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Ellie Mae: Closing rates in December hit highest point for the year

Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report showed that closing rates hit their highest point for the year in December, and purchase originations began ticking up even as refi originations decreased. Also, the credit box opened slightly in December as the average FICO score slipped down.

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Credit Suisse reaches $5.28 billion mortgage bond settlement

For the second time in as many days, the Department of Justice announced that it reached a multi-billion dollar settlement with a foreign-based bank over its mortgage securitization practices leading up to the housing crisis. On Tuesday, the DOJ announced that it reached a $7.2 billion settlement with Deutsche Bank. Now, it’s Credit Suisse’s turn.

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Homebuilders keep confident moving into 2017

Builder confidence came down off December’s high, the highest level for more than 10 years, but remains strong headed into 2017. According to the National Association of Home Builders, many builders are excited for the business conditions that the new administration will bring.

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Supreme Court limits Fannie Mae's ability to take cases to federal court

In a unanimous opinion handed down Wednesday, the Supreme Court limited Fannie Mae’s ability to transfer cases to federal court, ruling that the government-sponsored enterprise’s charter does not grant it the right to move all state cases to the federal level. Here are all the details.

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U.S. Bancorp net earnings set new record in 2016

U.S. Bancorp produced mixed results in their fourth quarter, but that did not prevent the company from setting a record year in 2016. The company’s net interest income also showed growth not just for the year, but also in the fourth quarter.

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Goldman Sachs investing and lending takes a hit in 2016

Goldman Sachs reported its earnings today which showed that while revenues are still up from last year, it is struggling in several areas. One of those includes its investing and lending sector, which decreased 25% in 2016 compared to the previous year. But that isn’t the only sector in the company that saw significant losses.

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Citi keeps moving away from the mortgage business

Citicorp net income increased to $3.5 billion, from $2.8 billion in the prior year period, primarily driven by the higher revenues as well as lower operating expenses and lower cost of credit. However, this isn’t due to expansion in the mortgage market.

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MBA: Mortgage applications post quiet start to 2017

Mortgage applications barely moved, starting off the year only slightly increasing. This week’s report marks the first one of the year with no holiday adjustment since last week’s report included New Year’s. Most notably, the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances fell to its lowest level since December 2016.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Here's one Fannie Mae bull's take on how the GSEs can exit conservatorship

In the weeks since Steve Mnuchin sent shockwaves through the housing industry by stating that the Trump administration planned to end the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reactions varied on whether that can actually be done and how expensive it might be. Here’s an interesting take from an interested party on how the GSEs might actually exit conservatorship and what that would mean to the GSE stockholders who’ve waited quite a few years for a resolution.

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SoFi officially licensed to lend in New York

After roughly a year to get finalized, SoFi officially received its license to lend in New York, which is one of the most difficult states to acquire a license in, Michael Tannenbaum, SoFi’s chief revenue officer, said in an interview. And now with New York under it’s belt, Tannenbaum touches on a strong mortgage future ahead for SoFi.

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It's official: Deutsche Bank reaches $7.2 billion RMBS settlement

Late last year, Deutsche Bank announced that it reached a $7.2 billion settlement with the Department of Justice in connection with the bank’s issuance and underwriting of residential mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007. Although the bank made the announcement in late December, the settlement was not official, but it is now.

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Chicago area sees most home sales since 2006

RE/MAX’s annual report showed the Chicago area saw its highest level of home sales since 2006. However, despite the increase, the city continues to struggle with low levels of housing inventory.

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Ellie Mae names PwC premier consulting partner

PricewaterhouseCoopers joined Ellie Mae’s Pro consulting partner program as a Premier Partner. The premier level is offered by invitation only, with PwC being Ellie Mae’s first Premier Partner in the program. This is what the two companies hope to achieve though their partnership.

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Minnesota's KleinBank accused of discriminatory lending

Minnesota-based KleinBank excluded minority neighborhoods from its service area for all banking services and engaged in discriminatory lending, the Department of Justice claimed in a lawsuit filed late last week. According to the Department of Justice, none of KleinBank’s branch locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is located in a minority neighborhood, a practice known as “redlining.” The bank denies the DOJ’s allegations.

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Clayton announces launch of new home delivery division

Clayton opened a new division of its company and will now be transporting its own houses. It announced it will use the new division to take more control over its homes on the road. Here’s more on the new division, and the training the new drivers will receive.

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Senate Democrats to Trump: Do not fire CFPB director, you've been warned

Senate Democrats are adamantly fighting back against growing calls for President-elect Donald Trump to fire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray. This time around Senate Democrats held a press call to emphasize the importance of Cordray and what the consequences would be if Trump attempted to fire him.

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KBW: What Wells Fargo, Chase 4th quarter results mean for the rest of the industry

While the fourth-quarter results for Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase were decidedly mixed, with JPMorgan significantly exceeding and Wells Fargo missing market expectations, there was one common denominator among the big banks’ earnings – lower earnings from mortgage banking. But what should the market make of those results?

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Capital Economics: Trump’s wall will constrain housing starts

President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico could create more competition in an already tight labor force. The construction labor market could see even more tightening, and constrain housing starts over the next couple years if Congress approves funding for the wall.

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Movement Mortgage CEO: Steven Mnuchin was not a "foreclosure king"

Senate Democrats dubbed Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, the “foreclosure king.” However, Movement Mortgage CEO Casey Crawford says while this makes a nice soundbite, it simply isn’t true. Given that everyone is focusing on Mnuchin’s participation in the foreclosure crisis, Crawford penned a blog for The Hill to try and put an end to everyone calling Mnuchin the “foreclosure king” and instead give him the credit he deserves.

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Contaminated military housing could be causing leukemia

Contamination under a military base in South Carolina lead some military moms to believe it could be the cause for their children’s cancer. At least 11 families near the base have children battling leukemia, but are the military’s efforts to fix it too little too late?

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Moody’s reaches $864 million settlement over RMBS credit ratings

Moody’s Corp. agreed to pay nearly $864 million to settle claims for its role providing credit ratings for Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities and Collateralized Debt Obligations that contributed to the financial crisis. “Moody’s failed to adhere to its own credit rating standards and fell short on its pledge of transparency in the run-up to the Great Recession,” said Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Bill Baer. 

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Here’s the U.S. Treasury’s advice on how to level the mortgage playing field

Right as Washington is about to switch over to a Republican leader after eight years with Pres. Obama at the helm of the nation, the U.S. Treasury communicated its parting thoughts on reforming the housing finance system. Here’s the final piece of a three-part series from the Treasury, this time focusing on an equal playing field for lenders.

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Another Texas city sees record-setting year in 2016

Another city in Texas saw a record-setting year for 2016 with its rising home prices, low housing inventory and high demand. While not on national top 10 lists for booming markets, San Antonio could very soon follow in the footsteps of its neighboring cities as markets in Texas continue to heat up.

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[Charts] A look at FHA mortgage insurance premiums through the decades

Up until this year, the Federal Housing Administration has not reduced annual mortgage insurance premiums since January 2015. But even the 2015 reduction came in a series of increases and reductions that have taken effect since 2010. Before the increase in 2010, there was a long standstill in mortgage insurance premiums, which the Mortgage Bankers Association puts into context in its latest chart of the week.

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Airbnb cashes in on Super Bowl LI

The Super Bowl is almost here and Airbnb users in Houston are capitalizing on the hype. Listings that could go for $100 to $300 the weekend before suddenly jump to nightly prices in the thousands. These photos show the change in price that one weekend can bring.

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Wells Fargo to close more than 400 branches

After a week of losses for Wells Fargo, it announced it will be closing down over 400 branches over the next two years. These cost-saving measures could save the company $2 billion, but this isn’t the first time the bank will close branches after the fake accounts scandal occurred.

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These housing experts will answer all of your Trump questions

As the guard changes in Washington, so does the housing and mortgage finance industries we rely on for making our living. Do you have questions on what the Trump mortgage nation will look like? The editorial department at HousingWire gathered housing finance experts to answer all your questions. Don’t miss your chance to get in on the action, completely FREE.

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Top 10 cities with homes most threatened by wind speeds

Even without a tornado or hurricane, high wind speeds can cause significant damage to homes. Because of this risk, homeowners in areas more prone to high wind speeds can sometimes see a decrease in their home’s value or even major property damage during storms. CoreLogic’s most recent report ranks the top 10 cities that are most at risk to wind damage.

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Wells Fargo CFO: Accounts scandal hit our mortgage referral business

Referrals accounted for approximately 9% of mortgage originations in 2016, Wells Fargo CFO Tim Sloan said during an earnings call. He added that the bank expects lower referrals in the fourth quarter will reduce funding volumes in the first quarter by approximately 2.5%.

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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Who will lead HUD until Carson gets started?

The expected next director of HUD, Dr. Ben Carson, is transitioning through the nomination process. So who will serve in the meantime? This guy will. Plus a full update on our favorite Ponzi schemer, Bernie Madoff. You won’t believe what he is up to in prison.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Democrats want "victims of Mnuchin foreclosure machine" to testify at Treasury nominee hearing

Senate Democrats recently began collecting complaints from consumers about Steve Mnuchin and OneWest Bank in preparation for Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of the Treasury. What wasn’t known at the time is what exactly the Democrats planned to do with those complaints. But Friday, the Democrats showed their hand, asking the leadership of the Senate Committee on Finance to allow “victims of Mnuchin foreclosure machine” to testify at Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing.

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Higher mortgage rates will hit hardest in these 5 counties

Interest rates are a hot topic as experts speculate over how many times the Fed will raise rates in 2017. While some in the mortgage industry may benefit from the increasing rates, new homeowners may be looking at higher monthly payments. Here are the counties that will be most affected by the changing rates.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Arizona police arrest, charge suspect with murder of Realtor Sidney Cranston

Shortly after discovering the remains of Arizona Realtor Sidney Cranston Jr., 40, who went missing nearly 18 months ago while showing a property, the police arrested a suspect and charged him with murder in the death of Cranston. The suspect is a friend who managed Cranston’s rental properties and owed him money.

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Consumer optimism slips to start 2017

Consumer sentiment edged down at the start of the new year, but still remains high compared to this time last year. While the consumer sentiment index decreased as a whole, current economic conditions increased to the highest point since 2004.

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Trump eyes former Rep. Randy Neugebauer to eventually lead CFPB

The uncertain future of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau isn’t stopping President-elect Donald Trump from weighing his options for a future director to oversee the financial regulator. And the person Trump is currently eyeing, former Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, has ties to the CFPB that go way back.

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Steve Mnuchin, Trump Treasury pick, to face Senate on Jan. 19

On Friday, the Senate Committee on Finance announced that the confirmation hearing for Steve Mnuchin, the Trump administration’s choice to lead the Department of the Treasury, will take place on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. The Democrats are expected to grill Mnuchin for his time with OneWest Bank, which was accused of redlining and illegal foreclosure activities under his leadership.

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Housing industry rallies around Ben Carson for HUD secretary

The conflict surrounding the appointment that divided the housing industry, Ben Carson as HUD secretary, died down as many housing experts expressed their support of the nominee. Even Carson’s hearing was more bark than bite. However, Carson’s road ahead is not without its challenges.

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[Video] Here's Julián Castro's final farewell speech to HUD

Appearing for the last time before folks as the secretary of the Depart of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro began his farewell speech to HUD employees in typical Texas fashion, with a “y’all”. The White House tapped Castro back in June 2014 to replace outgoing HUD secretary Shaun Donovan, and now with only a week left in office, Castro left HUD with these three pieces of advice.

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Federal Trade Commission chair Edith Ramirez resigns

Recently, Mary Jo White announced that she planned to step down as the chair of the SEC at the end of the Obama administration. President-elect Donald Trump selected Jay Clayton, a top Wall Street lawyer who represented Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Ally Financial, Barclays Capital and others, to serve as the new chair of the SEC. Now, another one of the Obama administration’s top financial regulators announced that she plans to step down, giving Trump another opportunity to pick the new head of a financial regulator.

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Bank of America earnings per share beat expectations, increase 48%

Bank of America showed a positive quarter, and even beat already high expectations. But while the increase is up from last year, it still declined from the third quarter. The bank’s chief financial officer explains that rising interest rates, while not in time for the fourth quarter, could push net interest income even higher in 2017.

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Wells Fargo misses earnings expectations, continues to clean up after accounts scandal

Wells Fargo missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations as it continues to clean up from its massive fake accounts scandal announced back in September 2016. As one of the first banks to report and a major indicator for how the rest of the industry will perform, Wells Fargo recorded a boost in mortgage originations thanks to a huge uptick in refinance volume from last year.

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JPMorgan Chase blows earnings estimate out of the water

JPMorgan Chase reported earnings that not only grew substantially from last year, but also blew estimates out of the water when earnings came in 20% higher than expected. However, not everything in the earnings report showed such strong numbers. The mortgage banking sector struggled in the last quarter of the year.

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3 quick reactions to Ben Carson's confirmation hearing

With only a handful of days left before President-elect Donald Trump steps into office, Ben Carson wrapped up his confirmation hearing to be HUD secretary. Here are the three quick takeaways from the hearing from Compass Point Research & Trading.

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Zillow grows online real estate empire with Hamptons Real Estate Online acquisition

Zillow Group, which already boasts Zillow, Trulia, StreetEasy, and Naked Apartments in its portfolio on online real estate companies, is growing again with the acquisition of Hamptons Real Estate Online, a Hamptons-focused real estate portal.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

J.G. Wentworth accused of financial foul play in WestStar Mortgage acquisition

Back in 2015, The J.G. Wentworth Company, which rose to fame with the “It’s my money and I want it now” advertising campaign, surprised many in the mortgage business by becoming a mortgage company itself. J.G. Wentworth accomplished this transition by acquiring WestStar Mortgage. Now, the former owner of WestStar Mortgage is claiming that J.G. Wentworth misrepresented the state of the company’s financials and pushed for an accelerated closing, which was finalized just before J.G. Wentworth’s stock crashed.

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3 interest rate hikes in 2017? Not a chance

The real estate industry is buzzing about the possibility of three interest rate hikes during 2017, but one expert says it will never happen. New American Funding’s executive vice president of capital markets explains that the U.S. economy is not in a position to sustain increasing interest rates.

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Ben Carson confirmation hearing had some bark, but where was the bite?

Ben Carson easily sparked more controversy and concern than any other Department of Housing and Urban Development nominee, and yet when the time finally came to grill the potential future leader of HUD, the original uproar practically dissipated. By the looks of things, Carson as HUD secretary is all but locked in.

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Dow, S&P 500 face worst daily drop since October

The recent stock market rally is quickly coming to a close as the Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their worst one-day declines in three months. It was only a week ago that the Dow flirted extremely close to the 20,000 psychological milestone.

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First look at Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase earnings

It’s that time of year again. Friday marks the start of the fourth-quarter earnings season for the financial sector, with Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase kicking it off. Here’s how the banks are predicted to report.

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Senate questions Ben Carson on his ability to lead HUD

Ben Carson’s hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee is now over. While some of the committee members questioned Carson’s ability to be the next secretary of HUD, the hearing wasn’t as contentious as many thought it might be. And despite the controversial reaction to his appointment, the hearing seemed to confirm that Carson will, in fact, be confirmed as the next HUD secretary.

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Ben Carson pledges to "really examine" latest FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

Earlier this week, Julián Castro, the outgoing Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, told reporters that he does not expect the incoming Trump administration to repeal HUD’s decision to cut Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums. On Thursday, Ben Carson, President-elect Trump’s choice to lead HUD, said the the incoming administration plans to “really examine” the Obama administration’s decision before determining a course of action.

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Freddie Mac: Mixed jobs report sends mortgage rates tumbling

Mortgage rates just saw their second drop since the presidential election. The sudden drop came just after the market absorbed December’s mixed jobs report which, according to Freddie Mac, fell below many economists’ expectations.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ATTOM: Foreclosure activity hits 10-year low

Foreclosures activity decreased to its lowest point in ten years. However, not every state followed the trend as some even saw an increase in foreclosure activity. The national drop in foreclosure activity was accompanied by a new high in the number of days it takes to foreclose.

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Trump’s Treasury pick to divest assets after office confirmation

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, plans to divest his interests in 43 companies and investments to avoid conflicts, following recent concerns from Democrats on his background in Wall Street. And one of those companies holds a stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac increase mortgage modification interest rate to highest level in 18 months

For the second time in two months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they are increasing the benchmark interest rate for standard mortgage modifications. While last month’s increase saw Fannie and Freddie increase the standard mortgage modification benchmark interest rate to a level not seen in months, the GSEs said they are increasing the standard mortgage modification interest rate to the highest level in 18 months.

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Here are the questions Elizabeth Warren wants Ben Carson to answer

The eyes of the housing industry will be trained to Capitol Hill today, as Ben Carson, the former Republican presidential candidate, retired neurosurgeon, and President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to the lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, appears for his confirmation hearing. In a letter sent to Carson in advance of his hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren revealed the questions she wants Carson to have an answer for when he appears before the committee – 35 of them, in all.

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Industry expert: The only thing to fear in 2017 is fear itself

OwnAmerica’s CEO explained the housing industry is returning to pre-crisis norms, and will only continue to improve through 2017. The CEO explained the only thing to fear for the housing industry this year, is fear itself.

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Wells Fargo unveils replacement for scandal-ridden pay plan

In the aftermath of the fake account scandal that led to a $185 million fine for Wells Fargo, the bank pledged to change its employee compensation plan, but did not provide details on how exactly the new plan would be structured beyond eliminating sales goals. Now, Wells Fargo revealed how its new pay plan is going to work.

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Missing Realtor Sidney Cranston found dead

Authorities believe they discovered the remains of an Arizona Realtor who suddenly went missing nearly eighteen months ago while showing a property. Though officials said positive identification is not 100% determined, authorities ruled his death a homicide.

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Democrats won’t let CFPB Director Cordray go without a fight

Democrats in Congress are banding together to make sure Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray won’t be prematurely unseated amid strengthening calls from Republicans to have the director fired. And as a subtle reminder, no president has ever removed an independent agency head for cause. Is Cordray going to be the first?

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MBA stands with Ben Carson as HUD secretary

With the day for Ben Carson’s hearing quickly approaching, the Mortgage Bankers Association penned a letter, urging Congress to approve the candidate as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The MBA explains what Carson will bring to his new role, and why it wants Congress to approve him as quickly as possible.

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Will Trump, Republicans overturn latest FHA mortgage insurance cut?

While many in the housing industry appear pleased by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to cut Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums later this month, the real question is whether the cuts, announced by a Democratic administration in its last days, will survive under the new Republican administration.

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Kroll: Here’s why the GSEs can’t (and shouldn’t) be privatized

President-elect Donald Trump’s Treasury pick brought with him talk of privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but what would that really mean for the mortgage industry? Kroll Bond Rating Agency answers that question, but insists that privatization talk will never be more than just that – talk.

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MBA: 30-year mortgage rate falls two weeks straight

Coming out of the holidays and into the start of the year, the 30-year mortgage rate continued to decline after several weeks of record highs. The decline is a change from the record high set right before the end of 2017 when the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to its highest level since May 2014.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Here are 4 steps Ben Carson should take as HUD secretary

Past leaders of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development often embraced one or two signature issues to define their stewardship of the agency. So what area is Future HUD Secretary Ben Carson most likely to focus on? One area will likely be health and housing. If so, here are four steps that Carson can take as future HUD Secretary to help bridge the policy gap between health and housing.

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MBA appoints new chairman of its grassroots lobbying network

The Mortgage Bankers Association just appointed a new chairman for the 2017 through 2018 election cycle for its grassroots lobbying network, the Mortgage Action Alliance. Gene Lugat’s appointor talks about his new role in the MBA.

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[Video] This is why the founder of Quicken Loans is ready for Trump

Taking a break from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert sat down for an interview with Bloomberg to discuss another big sector on his radar, mortgages. Quicken Loans is in the middle of a landmark battle against the U.S. Department of Justice, which Gilbert discusses in the interview and gives his thoughts on settling.

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American Mortgage Consultants acquires business unit from Stewart Lender Services

American Mortgage Consultants acquired a business unit from Stewart Lender Services that’s responsible for residential due diligence and servicing functions. But this is only the beginning, according to the company’s CEO. The acquisition is part of a broader expansion plan for AMC during 2017.

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These cities attract the most Millennial homeowners

Millennials could be the key to housing in 2017, according to some experts. While the homeownership rate decreased nationwide over the past decade, some cities defied the trend, and even saw significant increases in Millennial homeownership. Here’s the top 10.

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Foreclosure inventory declines another 30%

Foreclosures dropped once again by 30% for the year ending in November 2016, according to CoreLogic’s new report. Now, foreclosure numbers are hovering slightly above pre-crisis numbers. In fact, the number of homes in serious delinquency hit the lowest point since 2007.

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ComplianceEase names new leader of its sales team

After about 12 years with the company, Dan Smith was promoted to senior vice president of sales at ComplianceEase. Here’s more about Smith’s history at the company, and his 20-year career.

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Quicken Loans: Homeowners didn’t expect December’s drop in home prices

The gap between homeowners’ expectations of their home value and the appraised value of their home widened for the first time in six months. The culprit? While home prices increased annually in December, they still dropped month-over-month.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

New York proposes new rules for reverse mortgages

In addition to unveiling new legislation that would grant the New York Department of Financial Services the authority to ban individuals from working in the financial services industry, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced on Monday a series of new laws that would add financial protections for the state’s senior citizens. Included among those proposals are new rules for reverse mortgages.

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New York unveils proposal to ban "bad actors" from working in financial services

The New York of Department of Financial Services could soon have the power to ban individuals from working in the financial services industry for “egregious conduct,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. In announcing the proposal, Cuomo cited the recent fake account scandal at Wells Fargo as the kind of action that could get a person banned from working in financial services under the new rule.

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NPR: Castro voices concerns about next HUD leader

Julian Castro, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, voiced his concerns about the next administration as he prepares to leave Washington. Notably, he admitted that he would be lying if he said he wasn’t afraid of moving backward over the next four years.

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The war around CFPB Director Richard Cordray

The controversial position Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray sits in is only intensifying as government officials push to have him fired and policy groups urge consumers to defend him. The future of the CFPB and Cordray rests in the fate of two different situations, one of which became one of the top trending hashtags on twitter Monday.

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Here’s the new leadership team for the House Financial Services Committee

The House Financial Services Committee announced the committee’s leadership team for the 115th Congress. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, welcomed the new leadership team and looks forward to the future of the team.

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Housing industry welcomes FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

The Federal Housing Administration surprised some in the housing industry on Monday by reversing course and announcing plans to cut its annual mortgage insurance premiums, less than two months after saying there were no plans for further cuts. Reactions to the FHA’s announcement varied from welcoming the cuts to wondering why it took the FHA so long to make the move.

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OCC terminates HSBC mortgage servicing restrictions

The final bank to have its mortgage servicing restrictions terminated is here. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency officially lifted its mortgage servicing-related order against HSBC Bank USA, lifting restrictions placed on the bank over its failure to comply with requirements of the Independent Foreclosure Review

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Autopsy report reveals Abilene real estate agent’s true cause of death

Real estate agent Thomas Niblo died tragically after being shot in his home in December, an act police stated was not random. Now, a new autopsy report shows what killed him. Plus, police are now eyeing a new suspect who can’t paint a clear picture of his activities from the tragic morning Niblo was killed.

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FHA cuts mortgage insurance premiums again

When the FHA announced late last year that its flagship fund, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, grew for the fourth straight year, it led many to question whether we would see a cut to mortgage insurance premiums again. Now we have an answer.

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Housing sentiment decreases for fifth straight month

After interest rates shot up in the weeks following the presidential election, consumer sentiment regarding housing decreased yet again in December. Fannie Mae’s chief economist explains what two components could pushing housing sentiment forward in 2017.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: What does Goldman Sachs expect from Trump administration?

In the days since the election, observers on both sides of the political divide found themselves shaking their collective heads at the frequency at which the name Goldman Sachs is a prominent feature on the resume of one of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. So, what exactly does Goldman Sachs expect out of the Trump administration? All that and more in your Monday Morning Cup of Coffee.

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Former newspaper publisher charged in $10 million mortgage fraud conspiracy

The former publisher of a newspaper, who also worked as both a real estate agent and a mortgage broker, is facing charges that he and others participated in a $10 million mortgage fraud conspiracy in Florida. Here are all the details.

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CFPB announces handful of leadership changes

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its first leadership changes within the bureau for 2017 following several leadership team changes in 2016. “The mix of experience and talent this group brings will provide great value to the Bureau as we continue to work on behalf of consumers everywhere,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

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Wells Fargo preparing new pay plan in wake of fake account scandal

Last year, Wells Fargo said that it planned to change its employee compensation plan, de-emphasizing the sales goals that led to 5,000 of the bank’s former employees opened as many as 2 million credit card and bank accounts without authorization in order to get sales bonuses. When Wells Fargo made that announcement in September, the details on the changes were scarce, but a new report states that the bank is ready to roll out on its new comp plan, one without sales goals.

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U.S. tries a second time to convict MBS trader Jesse Litvak

The U.S. is trying a second time to convict former Jefferies managing director Jesse Litvak. In July 2014, Litvak was sentenced to two years in prison for lying to clients about mortgage-backed securities, but the case quickly turn a turn the opposite direction when an appeals court tossed out his conviction. Here goes round two.

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Dow flirts extremely close to 20K milestone

The Dow flirted extremely close to the 20,000 psychological milestone on Friday, spending most of the morning and early afternoon reaching less than half a percentage point off the threshold at times. Ever since the presidential election, the Dow, viewed as an indicator of economic health, edged closer, with Friday’s rise marking another record high.

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HUD charges Bank of America with lending discrimination

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday that it is charging Bank of America and two of its employees with discriminating against Hispanic mortgage borrowers. According to the National Fair Housing Alliance and HUD, Hispanic prospective mortgage borrowers were given inferior loan options when compared to non-Hispanic prospective borrowers.

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Quicken Loans parent acquires mortgage shopping website LowerMyBills.com

Rock Holdings, the parent company of Quicken Loans, announced Friday that it is expanding its portfolio with the acquisition of LowerMyBills and ClassesUSA from Core Digital Media. The acquisition of LowerMyBills.com is an interesting one, considering that the site is a financial services comparison site, which allows consumers to shop around for various financial products, including mortgages.

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Despite slowdown in growth, December jobs report still increases

The year’s employment situation didn’t change too much in December as it wrapped up the year similar to the past several months. Given that it marked the last jobs report of the year, several economists explained what this month means for the year ahead, especially when it comes to construction employment.

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MBA: Mortgage credit once again loosens in December

The recent upward trend in mortgage credit availability didn’t let up in December, with credit now loosening for fourth months straight. Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, explains the driving forces behind the trend.

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Confirmation hearing for HUD nominee Ben Carson set for Jan. 12

Over the last few days, Ben Carson, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, met with several senators in preparation for his upcoming confirmation hearing. But Carson’s real moment of truth is coming soon, as the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs announced Thursday that it set the date for Carson’s confirmation hearing.

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Here’s how much rent went up across America in 2016

It’s not only home prices that are on the rise, the cost to rent is going up, too, as renters continue to move from the suburbs into city centers. These charts show exactly how much rent changed across all the states, and even digs deeper into how rent changed across various cities.

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Fact is, no one knows anything about former HUD secretaries

How many Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretaries have there been total? The correct answer: 16. But don’t worry if you got it wrong, you’re far from alone. Only 24% of people got the question correct on a recent HousingWire quiz. So now that’s clear no one has a clue about the past HUD secretaries, here’s a quick run-down of current HUD Secretary Julián Castro’s time in office before he exits.

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