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Gov. Kicks Off Housing Program Campaign

Government officials joined forces with local leaders in Miami on Friday to kick off a nationwide campaign to promote the federal Making Home Affordable program and the options available to struggling homeowners.

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PMI Expands Refinance-to-Mod Program

Walnut Creek, California-based PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. announced on Thursday that it has expanded the company’s Refinance-to-Modification (RTM) program. The program can now be used with all PMI-insured loans, not just those loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that are eligible for the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

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Fed Maintains Rate, Bond Purchases

Citing signs that the U.S. economy is beginning to show improvement but remains strained, the Federal Reserve Board decided this week to leave its benchmark federal funds rate at a target range of 0 to 0.

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Mortgage Rates Remain Relatively Flat

Mortgage rates shifted only slightly this week amid mixed reports on the state of the housing market, according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) issued by Freddie Mac on Thursday. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s VP and chief economist, pointed to numbers released by the National Association of Realtors earlier this week, which showed that sales of existing homes have risen for two consecutive months.

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GSEs' Loan Mods Up 57 Percent

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac modified nearly 37,000 home loans during the first quarter of 2009, according to the GSEs’ regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The Q1 figure represents a 57 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2008 and more than double the number of modifications made in the first quarter of last year.

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Bailout Fraud Could Tally $500B Globally

Government stimulus funding totaling $5 trillion has unintentionally introduced new opportunities for fraud and corruption worldwide, according to the latest edition of the Kroll Global Fraud Report. Kroll is a risk consulting firm, headquartered in New York City, with more than 65 offices throughout the United States and around the globe.

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REDC Sued for $132 Million

National Home Auction Corporation (NHA), a now-defunct real estate company specializing in the marketing and auction-style sale of lender foreclosed properties, filed a lawsuit against Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC) in an Orange County Superior Court on Friday.

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MBA Lowers 2009 Home Loan Forecast

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced Monday that it has lowered its forecast of mortgage originations in 2009 to $2.03 trillion, a drop of over $700 billion from its March forecast. The association explained that $84 billion of the drop is due to lower purchase originations and the other $616 billion-plus is due to fewer rate and term refinancings and very low volumes within the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

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Allison Confirmed for Treasury Post

Former Fannie Mae CEO Herbert M. Allison, Jr. was confirmed by the United States Senate on Friday to serve as the Department of the Treasury’s assistant secretary for Financial Stability. In this position, he is responsible for developing and coordinating the Treasury’s policies on legislative and regulatory issues aimed at restoring the nation’s financial system.

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