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Servicers Concede Several Points in Settlement Response

Servicers made several concessions in their version of the settlement proposal that they submitted to federal and state regulators. In an excerpt of the draft obtained by DS News, servicers agree to stop dual tracking, give borrowers a window to appeal a denied modification, and provide a single point of contact for borrowers. Perhaps most significant in the excerpt is a pledge by the servicers to establish standards for affidavits and sworn statements in foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings.

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California Realtors and Fannie Mae Launch Effort to Expedite Short Sales

The California Association of Realtors has partnered with Fannie Mae on an initiative designed to help Realtors resolve issues that arise after a short sale offer is made on a Fannie Mae-backed loan. The effort centers around technology from the GSE, the Fannie Mae Short Sale Assistance Desk, which helps brokers and agents shorten the waiting period for approval on Fannie Mae short sale transactions. It also assists real estate professionals with post-contract issues, the existence of a second lien, or problems involving mortgage insurance.

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Treasury: Nearly 4,500 HAFA Short Sales and Deeds-in-Lieu Completed

Treasury has released a new report on the government's foreclosure prevention efforts. In addition to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) numbers that are regularly recounted, new this month are details on short sales and second lien modifications. As of the end of February, 4,488 homeowners completed a short sale or deed-in-lieu under the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. Another 10,177 borrowers have HAFA agreements in place. Second-lien modifications have been provided to 16,951 homeowners.

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FHFA Inspector General Evaluates Pay Structure for GSE Execs

In 2009 and 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) approved salary packages totaling more than $35 million for executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency's Office of the Inspector General has released a report detailing the compensation levels of GSE execs for the past two years, noting that the CEOs of Fannie and Freddie together made $17 million during that period. The report points out that although the GSEs have lost billions of dollars and depend on federal support, their senior executives continue to receive multi-million dollar salaries.

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Robert J. Hopp & Associates Adds Managing Attorney in California

Robert J. Hopp & Associates LLC, a national provider of legal, default, disposition, and title services, announced Friday that Donna L. La Porte, Esq. has joined its California legal team as managing attorney. La Porte is an AV-rated attorney in the commercial and default industries with over 20 years' experience representing financial institutions, mortgage bankers, and servicers in all aspects of commercial, multifamily, and residential real estate.

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Genworth Financial Saves $6.6B in U.S. Mortgages from Foreclosure

Genworth Financial, a mortgage insurer based in Richmond, Virginia, saved $6.6 billion in U.S. mortgages from foreclosure last year, according to the company's latest Foreclosure Prevention Scorecard. Compared to 2009, when the company saved $2.6 billion, that's an increase of more than 153 percent. Genworth says it provided nearly 40,000 workouts to distressed borrowers last year, saving each, on average, more than $195,500.

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Massachusetts’ Foreclosure Starts Down 67% from Last Year

Massachusetts' foreclosure petitions, the first step in the foreclosure process in the state, declined 67 percent in February when compared to a year earlier, according to the Warren Group, a Boston-based provider of real estate data. Completed foreclosures also fell sharply, dropping 44 percent on a year-over-year basis. The Warren Group called the numbers a ""remarkable turnaround,"" demonstrating a new ""go-slow attitude"" among lenders.

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National Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.8%

Employers added 216,000 jobs to their payrolls in March, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor. The national unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent, down from 8.9 percent in February. Analysts had been forecasting a smaller pool of new jobs and no change in the unemployment rate. Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by a full percentage point. The government agency's count shows there are currently 13.5 million people out of work, with 45 percent having been unemployed for 27 months or more.

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Robo-Signing Settlement Disputes Continue After Wednesday’s Meeting

Attorneys general and federal regulators sat down with major servicers this week to discuss the details of the robo-signing settlement. Both sides have submitted their own version of what they believe a settlement should look like, and this week's meeting is just the first in what will likely be a long period of negotiations. Banks have repeatedly spoken out against what they believe to be terms that are too harsh and may even encourage moral hazard. Mortgage investors are also weighing in on the proposed terms.

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Senate Panel Advances Bankruptcy Foreclosure Mediation Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would give bankruptcy courts the authority to order face-to-face meetings between homeowners and their lenders for foreclosure mediation, clearing the way for it to move on to the full Senate. The legislation does not give bankruptcy judges the power to modify mortgages like the controversial bankruptcy cramdown proposals that have repeatedly failed in Congress. Instead, it would give them a mechanism for opening up the lines of communication between homeowners and creditors.

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