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Wells Fargo Offers Foreclosure-Avoidance Counseling in Brooklyn

Wells Fargo will provide one-on-one consultation sessions for customers facing financial hardships January 25 and 26 in Brooklyn. Thousands of area homeowners are invited to the event, which will focus on avoiding foreclosure. The company says it is committed to helping people stay in their homes, and this workshop is another way for it to reach out to homeowners and provide answers on the options available for them.

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Future of GSEs Uncertain, Many Lobbying for Their End

For decades the GSEs have made it possible for many people to achieve their homeownership goals by reducing the cost of credit and making it more readily available. But in light of the recent financial meltdown, banks and other corporations are calling for reform that they say the Dodd-Frank Act didn't cover. The government is set to release a report on the future of Fannie and Freddie in the coming weeks, but market participants have low expectations for a definitive solution in the report.

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Safeguard Properties Launches Texas-based Compliance Connections

Safeguard Properties recently teamed with default servicing veteran Brandon Kirkham to launch Texas-based Compliance Connections. The newly formed company provides technology-assisted solutions and fulfillment services in the areas of code violation and compliance. Kirkham will serve as president of the new company.

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REO Maestro Is Now Realis Real Estate Software

REO Maestro has changed its corporate brand to Realis Real Estate Software. REO Maestro will remain the product name of the company's flagship workflow management tool, which has been utilized by agents and brokers specializing in REO properties for the last decade. With rising demand from its customers, Realis is also expanding its product portfolio with the release of Prelude, a tool tailored specifically for short sales and scheduled for release in spring 2011.

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Reports: 30-Year Fixed Rates Edge Higher

Industry data released Thursday show that interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages moved up this week, while adjustable-rate mortgages dipped lower. Freddie Mac puts the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at an average of 4.74 percent. The 15-year rate, on the other hand, headed down with adjustable rates. Analysts say the gap between fixed and adjustable rates has grown significantly in the last six months, making some of the hybrid adjustable rate products a compelling option for certain borrowers.

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LPS: 6.87 Million Mortgages Delinquent or in Foreclosure

As of the end of December, 6.87 million mortgages in the United States were delinquent or in the process of foreclosure, according to Lender Processing Services (LPS). The company's data show that while the nation's volume of non-current home loans remains elevated, it's been steadily declining for several months now. LPS reported that 6.92 million mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure at the end of November, and in October, it was just above 7 million.

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Experian Designs Program to Help Underbanked Consumers

Experian announced this week that it will incorporate positive rental data into the traditional credit file in an effort to help underbanked consumers build credit. According to the FDIC Web site, an estimated 17.9 percent of U.S. households, roughly 21 million, are underbanked. Experian says having positive rental history reflected in their credit scores will help consumers who may have faced financial hardships such as foreclosure or bankruptcy rebuild their credit.

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Michigan Mortgage Banker Selects GCC Platform to Automate Servicing

Michigan-based VanDyk Mortgage Corporation has selected the G/SERV platform from GCC Servicing Systems, a provider of mortgage servicing technology and solutions, to fulfill the mortgage banker's loan servicing needs. VanDyk, which has closed more than $5 billion in mortgage loans since 1987, selected GCC based on a referral from a fellow lender and the company's expertise with Fannie Mae loans. In 2010, that lender increased its servicing volume by 75 percent.

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Gains in Private Sector Employment an Encouraging Sign for Industry

The unemployment rate, while still languishing at a discouraging 9.4 percent, has seen improvement in recent months that is encouraging for many sectors of the industry. The rating agency DBRS says layoffs and discharges in the private job sector have stayed down, helping to reduce early delinquencies in consumer and mortgage credit. This, coupled with government-sponsored programs aiming to help homeowners out of work, paints a tentatively positive picture for the recovery.

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Nonprofit Receives $500k Loan Servicing Grant from Ford Foundation

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), a national nonprofit organization that connects community development lenders with the capital resources of Wall Street, has received a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. The contribution will go toward expanding CRF's organizational capacity to service a higher volume of affordable housing loans associated with foreclosure remediation programs.

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