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Loss Mitigation

Business Declines for Private Mortgage Insurers

A total of 38,908 insurance certificates for borrowers seeking to buy or refinance a home were issued by members of Mortgage Insurance Companies of America (MICA) in October. That number sits lower than most other months of 2013 and is nearly 4,000 less than last October. At the same time, dollar volume on insurance written throughout the month was the lowest since May 2012.

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As Borrowers Emerge from Underwater, Cloud of Problem HELOCs Rises

The percentage of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth has declined to less than 12 percent as of the third quarter of this year, according to Lender Processing Services' (LPS) Mortgage Monitor report. While the increasing number of homeowners rising above water is good news for the market, LPS detects some tumultuous seas ahead as a cloud of problem home equity loans forms on the horizon.

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Fannie Mae Reports on October’s Book of Business

Fannie Mae completed about 13,000 loan modifications in October, bringing the year-to-date total to nearly 134,000. At the same time, the GSE's serious delinquency rate for conventional single-family mortgages declined seven basis points over the month, dropping to 2.48 percent. According to the company's latest monthly volume summary, Fannie Mae's total book of business is currently valued at about $3.17 trillion.

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VA Increases Allowable Attorney Fees

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently published a notice in the Federal Register that new maximum foreclosure attorney fees will be allowed for loan terminations completed on or after December 12, 2013. Maximum fee amounts vary by state. There are no changes in the amounts allowed for deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure or bankruptcy releases, although VA continues to review these fees.

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LOGS Network Welcomes Scott Brinkley as CEO

LOGS Network announced Wednesday that it has made a strategic addition to its leadership team with the addition of Scott Brinkley as the organization's new CEO. Before joining LOGS, Brinkley held executive positions for two decades with First American and CoreLogic. He also co-founded a large claims processing business and most recently was CEO of the Illinois foreclosure law firm Pierce and Associates.

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Major Servicers Fail Seven Settlement Compliance Tests

The former banking regulator overseeing the National Mortgage Settlement has released a summary of the latest reports he filed with a federal court in Washington, D.C. The reports detail the performance of five major servicers in meeting the terms of the agreement reached with 49 state attorneys general and federal officials. Joseph Smith says he's confirmed six fails in the first quarter of 2013 and one in the second quarter.

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Servicing Fees Counter Declines in New Mortgage Activity

Independent mortgage bankers are a growing segment and they're poised to take over even more market share as larger institutions trim their mortgage businesses. The five biggest banks were responsible for 53.2 percent of new mortgage activity in the United States in 2012, down from nearly two-thirds in 2010. According to a recent FBR Capital Markets forecast, that share could shrink to 40 percent by 2014.

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Consumer Sentiment Rebounds as Stagnant Outlook Emerges

Consumer sentiment rebounded in November, though Americans haven't yet forgotten the government shutdown that brought confidence down in October. The Index of Consumer Sentiment, a joint measure tracked by the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters, rose to 75.1 for the final November tally, making up some of the ground lost in October, when it dropped to 73.2. Last year, the index was measured at 82.7.

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GSEs Announce New Mortgage Insurance Requirements

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have aligned their master policies for mortgage insurance. Among the new requirements incorporated by each GSE are provisions to facilitate faster and more consistent claims processing, specific time frame mandates, and standards for when coverage must be maintained and when it may be revoked. The new policies are expected to take effect in 2014.

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Missouri Firm Honored with USFN Award of Excellence

Kansas City-based Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen, P.C., was awarded USFN's Award of Excellence for the fourth consecutive year. The Award of Excellence is given annually to USFN member firms that meet rigorous standards which evaluate professional activities, industry volunteerism, and community and charitable involvement.

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