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Mortgage Servicing Litigation Jumps 88%: Report

Litigation related to mortgage servicing surged during the first quarter, after last fall's robo-signing issues raised questions about servicers' procedures and garnered widespread attention from mainstream media. Mortgage servicing litigation increased 88 percent over the first three months of this year, according to industry data released Monday. Investor-related litigation, however, eased, as did actions related to loan modification disputes.

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PBI Bank to Enter Regulatory Agreement for Portfolio Cleanup

Kentucky-based PBI Bank expects to enter into a consent order with the FDIC and the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions, according to the bank's parent company, Porter Bancorp, Inc. The move will create benchmarks for the bank to improve its business, including enhancing asset quality, reducing loan concentrations, and maintaining capital levels.

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Delinquencies Decline for CRE Collateralized Debt Obligations

Delinquencies on U.S. commercial real estate loan collateralized debt obligations (CREL CDOs) decreased last month, reversing the previous month's increase, according to the latest index results from Fitch Ratings. From March to April, the delinquency rate rose from 14.1 percent to 14.8 percent. But by the end of May, Fitch says it had fallen back to 14.1 percent. Last month's late-pays dropped as nine new delinquencies were offset by the resolution of 18 formerly delinquent assets.

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Florida and Georgia Lenders Shuttered by Regulators

State and federal regulators stepped in late Friday to shut down two lenders - First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay in Florida and McIntosh State Bank in Jackson, Georgia. The closings bring the number of financial institutions on the FDIC's failed bank list to 47 for the 2011 calendar year and are expected to cost the federal agency $108.5 million.

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SEC Has Credit Ratings Agencies in Its Sights

As it peels back the layers of the secondary market to delve deeper into the trading of the subprime mortgage bonds reputed for setting off the financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set its sights on major credit ratings agencies. The SEC is considering bringing civil fraud charges against Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service for their role in positioning mortgage-backed securities that held a high risk of default as grade-A investments.

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New York Appellate Court Rules Against MERS

A New York appellate court has ruled against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), increasing speculation about the role that possible re-foreclosures may play in a still-brittle market. It's the latest in a series of suits involving MERS, which was designed to allow the industry to fluidly and inexpensively transfer millions of mortgages from note-holding banks and institutions via an electronic system. MERS' own proposed rule prohibiting banks from foreclosing in its name - a central part of the controversy - remains in the works.

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Bankers Advocate Opposition of Mortgage Servicing Amendment

The American Bankers Association has sent a letter to key lawmakers in the Senate, urging them to reject foreclosure legislation proposed by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Olympia Snowe. Their bill, tagged the Regulation of Mortgage Servicing Act, has been introduced as an amendment to a larger economic development bill being considered. It mandates an independent, third-party case review prior to foreclosure, among other things, and the bankers group says it would prolong the market correction by slowing down legitimate foreclosures.

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PMI Program Rewards Servicers for Foreclosure Prevention

Mortgage insurer PMI has announced the launch of a new program to identify mortgage servicers who score high marks for keeping borrowers in their homes. These companies will benefit from certain advantages when doing business with PMI. The company has identified certain servicing best practices that play a central role in maximizing home retention and achieving positive results for borrowers, communities, and mortgage investors, alike, and PMI says servicers who follow these practices should be recognized.

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HUD’s Single-Family Housing Chief Resigns

Vicki Bott, HUD's deputy assistant secretary for single-family housing, is departing the federal agency, a HUD spokesperson has confirmed. Bott joined HUD in September 2009, just as the administration was knee-deep in ramping up and rolling out a host of programs to address the nation's raging foreclosure crisis. At HUD, Bott was responsible for the direction and management of all single-family Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs, including the disposition of repossessed homes.

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CoreLogic Chooses Mercury Network for Appraisal Management

Oklahoma-based a la mode announced this week that CoreLogic chose to connect its ValuEdge platform with Mercury Network for receipt of the Native XML appraisal data needed for compliance with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's jointly established Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP). A custom plugin will connect CoreLogic with the Mercury Network of real estate appraisers. The plugin will run an extensive set of quality control rules against the report prior to delivery.

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