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Mortgage Rates Near Record Lows

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) today, in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.98 percent (0.7 points) for the week ending March 19, 2009.

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Gov. Launches Homeowner Website

In a joint effort, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched a new Website on Thursday for troubled homeowners seeking information about the administration’s Making Home Affordable loan modification and refinancing program.

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Fannie, Freddie Under Fire for Bonuses

As lawmakers grilled AIG’s CEO on Capitol Hill Wednesday about executives receiving bonuses from taxpayer dollars, the Wall Street Journal:http://www.wsjonline.com reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also handing out sizable bonuses as retention payments to thousands of employees.

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DocuTech Opens Portland Office, Names COO

DocuTech Corp., a provider of compliance services and document technology for the mortgage industry, has opened a new office in Portland, Oregon. The company said its expansion is to meet growing customer and technology development needs in the mortgage marketplace.

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Treasury Releases Recovery Funds for Community Banks

On Wednesday, as Vice President Joe Biden hosts local officials from across the country at the White House to discuss how funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) will support new economic growth in their communities, the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is releasing its implementation plan to award nearly $100 million in grants and $3 billion in additional tax credit authority to support community-based financial institutions.

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Financial Reform at Forefront on Capitol Hill

At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he plans to begin drafting legislation to overhaul regulation of the nation’s financial system by early May.

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Fed Bumps MBS Purchases to $1.25 Trillion

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee concluded its monthly meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and announced several aggressive initiatives to provide greater support to mortgage lending and housing markets, the committee said in a statement to the press.

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GSE Loan Mods Up 76 Percent in Q4

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) submitted its fourth quarter report to Congress this week detailing actions the GSEs have taken to prevent unnecessary foreclosures. The report shows a 76 percent increase in loan modifications by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the third to fourth quarters of 2008.

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Response Analytics Releases Making Home Affordable Software

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Response Analytics Inc. has released a new software module developed for mortgage servicers, investors, and mortgage insurers that the company says dramatically simplifies the administration of loan modifications under the federal government’s Making Home Affordable plan unveiled earlier this month.

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Officials Offer Clarification on Federal Mods

Representatives from the U.S. Treasury, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac took part in a conference call on Tuesday, hosted by the Mortgage Bankers Association and the HOPE NOW Alliance to answer a growing list of servicers’ questions (said to be six pages, single-spaced) regarding the administration’s Home Affordable Modification program.

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