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Realtors, DOJ Reach Antitrust Settlement

A federal court in Chicago recently approved a settlement agreement between the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Department of Justice, ending antitrust charges against the association and its members filed by the federal government more than three years ago.

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HUD Releases Final RESPA Rule

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its final rule under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) yesterday to improve disclosures in the home financing process. RESPA, a law originally enacted in 1974, now includes new Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and HUD-1 Settlement Statement forms, which require lenders and mortgage brokers to clearly disclose key loan terms and closing costs.

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Treasury, Fed, FDIC Urge Banks to Start Lending

In its latest attempt to thaw the country’s credit freeze, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a joint statement yesterday urging banks to start lending again.

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Treasury Scraps Plan to Purchase Troubled Mortgages

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced this afternoon that the government’s plan to purchase financial institutions’ under-performing mortgages has been put on hold. In fact, based on Paulson’s remarks, it is unlikely that the Treasury will conduct any auctions to purchase bad loans and other troubled assets – the original intention of the $700 billion bailout package.

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Beware of Down Payment Schemes Not Permitted by HUD

As mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), as of October 1, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) stopped accepting seller-funded down payments. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently issued a report warning about programs being created to get around this new requirement.

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Fed Rule Adds Mortgage Rate Disclosures

The Federal Reserve recently approved new regulatory statutes requiring mortgage lenders to disclose to borrowers how much interest rates differ between prime mortgages and the higher-priced subprime loans offered to less-affluent borrowers.

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Fed Lowers Key Rate to One Percent

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate for federal funds - the rate at which banks lend to each other overnight - by half a point to one percent on Wednesday. Other central banks around the world followed suit, also reducing rates or announcing that they were considering the move.

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California Law Requires Title Reps to Register

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 133 into law last month. The bill, sponsored by the California Land Title Association (CLTA), goes into effect on January 1, 2009 and requires that title insurance sales people be registered with the state.

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Outside the Box, But Inside the Law

Michigan Paves the Way with Creative Techniques to Legally Avoid Costly Delays, Hasten Foreclosure and REO Sales When it comes to loss mitigation, quicker is almost always better. If the ultimate goal of every foreclosure is a clean, quick REO sale, avoiding delay by using creative methods can substantially improve results.

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