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Author Archives: Heather Cernoch

Texas Realtors Rally for Homeowner Rights at State Capitol

More than 2,000 Texas Realtors descended on the Texas Capitol in Austin April 12 for the 2011 Legislative Hill Visits. The governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the Texas House, and legislators met with the Realtors to discuss a range of consumer-protection legislation, including homeowner rights. Realtors say Texas has withstood the real estate bubble that ravaged the rest of the country largely because state leaders made protection of private-property rights a priority in recent sessions.

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FTC to Collect $2.2M from Banned Loan Mod Companies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement this week with two companies and three individuals, who are now banned from the mortgage relief services business and must pay $2.2 million in assets for consumer refunds. The FTC filed the proposed consent order in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The move is part of the federal agency's efforts to thwart scams targeting homeowners seeking mortgage relief.

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Safeguard Properties Announces Training Partnership with AACE

Safeguard Properties has partnered with the American Association of Code Enforcement (AACE) to offer a training and certification program free of charge to code enforcement officials. Available nationally, the program is conducted via an online, on-demand Webinar platform, the first offered by a mortgage field services company. It provides an overview of best practices pertaining to property preservation and tools to assist code officials with day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the integrity of properties in their communities.

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New Arkansas Legislation Assists Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

A new law requires that Arkansas homeowners receive critical documents prior to a foreclosure and encourages loss mitigation or loan modification efforts before the foreclosure is initiated. Mortgage servicers must now provide borrowers facing foreclosure with copies of the note, mortgage, and any assignments; the physical location of the note; and payment history. Homeowners must also receive information about assistance programs that are available.

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Illinois Supreme Court Establishes Foreclosure Committee

The Illinois Supreme Court announced on Monday the formation of a special committee to study and formulate proposals to help families facing foreclosure. The committee will also work to improve the judicial process in mortgage foreclosures throughout the state. Supreme Court justices noted that Illinois' foreclosure crisis is not easing. At the end of 2010, there were approximately 70,000 mortgage foreclosure actions pending in Cook County alone.

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Mortgage Industry Workforce Takes Hit as Layoffs Outpace Hirings

Due to a drop in hirings, mortgage sector jobs lost traction last year, going from a net gain in 2009 to a net loss in 2010, according to an industry report released this week. Layoffs in real estate finance outnumbered hirings by 3,100 jobs last year. In 2009, hirings exceeded layoffs by more than 8,000. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show employment in the mortgage sector has fallen more than 50 percent over the last five years.

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IndiSoft Enhances Technology to Meet New HAFA Directives

RxOffice, a default management technology platform from IndiSoft, was recently enhanced to meet the updated Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) eligibility rules and forms, such as the Dodd-Frank affidavit. Specifically, the RxOffice short sale module supports the capture of data needed to execute either a HAFA or traditional short sale.

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FHA Mortgagee Review Board Settles with Massachusetts Lender

The Federal Housing Administration's Mortgagee Review Board has settled with Massachusetts mortgage lender First American Mortgage Trust (FAMT) for failing to verify whether borrowers could sustain mortgage payments prior to refinancing loans. FAMT agreed to pay $72,500, reimburse FHA for past insurance claims, and indemnify FHA's insurance fund for any claims to be paid on certain mortgages should they default within the next 60 months.

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Fair Housing Investigation Uncovers Corrupt Loan Mod Practices

Four fair housing organizations have released their findings of a year-long undercover investigation of 80 loan modification companies, which reveal a host of corrupt practices scammers employ to target homeowners in distress. According to the report, 55 percent of loan modification companies required an upfront fee to start work or a low initial fee to conduct minimal work, such as reviewing loan documents. Twenty-four percent advised or encouraged homeowners to stop making mortgage payments or stop contacting their lenders.

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Infinity Valuation Services Expands BPO Services

Utah-based Infinity Valuation Services (IVS), a full-service valuation company for commercial and retail properties and the sister company to REO outsourcer Green River Capital, expanded its broker price opinions (BPOs) and appraisal services to include the valuation of retail or non-distressed properties.

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