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Stewart Agency Technology Integrates With LPS SoftPro

Stewart Title Guaranty Company (STGC) announced Monday the integration of Stewart Agency Technology with Lender Processing Services'(LPS) SoftPro, a real estate closing and title insurance software. According to George Houghton, EVP of the agency services group for STGC, the Stewart Agency Technology enables SoftPro users to increase efficiency, automate various parts of workflow, and better manage forms.

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HAMP Servicers Put Nearly 300,000 in Permanent Mods

The Treasury Department released April data for the administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Monday, showing that permanent modifications have been initiated for 299,092 struggling homeowners. That's an increase of 68,000 or almost 13 percent over March. Government officials stressed that HAMP servicers must be held accountable for their individual performance. New in this month's statistics is information about servicer-specific conversion rates.

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Four More Bank Failures Push Year’s Tally to 72

Regulators seized control of four community banks over the weekend, in Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, and Missouri. This latest round of closures brings the total number of insured institutional failures for the year to 72 - already more than double the number of banks to go under this time last year. Midwest Bank and Trust Company in Illinois was the largest of the most recent shut-downs.

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Mortgage Jobs Manage Second Consecutive Gain: Report

Mortgage employment expanded by more than 700 jobs during the first quarter, an industry report released Monday showed. Lenders, banks, and service providers terminated more than 1,500 mortgage-related employees during the first three months of this year. But the sector also added more than 2,200 new positions during the period. It was the second consecutive quarter that mortgage jobs improved.

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Threat of Shadow Inventory Diminishing: Barclays

Analysts at Barclays Capital say the industry's ominous shadow inventory is close to topping out. New research published by the firm says the supply of homes nearing REO status, defined as 90 or more days delinquent or in the process of foreclosure, will peak this summer and then begin falling gradually as the market becomes stable enough to absorb 130,000 distressed properties a month. Barclays puts the shadow supply at 4.5 million properties, but forecasts at least 4.7 million distressed sales over the next three years.

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Equator Offers Agent Certification for Short Sale Platform

Default servicing software provider Equator will announce Monday the launch of a new short sale certification program for real agents using its EQ Marketplace online platform. Since January of this year, Equator says it has seen short sale volumes nearly double those of REO properties on its platform, and the new certification program will ensure agents are equipped to handle the growing number of short sale transactions already coming in.

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Ginnie Mae Issuance Tops $32 Billion in April

Ginnie Mae recently announced that it guaranteed more than $32.6 billion in mortgage-backed securities in April. The federal agency also reported a decline in the number of seriously delinquent single-family loans in Ginnie Mae-guaranteed securities. According to Ginnie Mae, its delinquency rate fell to 1.85 percent in March, down from 2.02 percent in February.

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Senate Approves Rating Amendment to Rein in Conflicts of Interest

The Senate's financial reform package is getting thicker. A host of legislative amendments have made their way to the floor, and a good share of them have been directly related to mortgage underwriting and trading. The latest measure approved calls for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to set up a regulatory board that will decide which agencies will provide credit ratings on newly issued mortgage-backed securities. Many are calling it one of the strongest reforms yet to rein in Wall Street's questionable business practices.

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Interthinx Tool Supports Lender Compliance With Fannie Mae’s LQI

Interthinx says its loan-level fraud risk tool, FraudGUARD, can assist lenders in complying with Fannie Mae's new Loan Quality Initiative (LQI). According to Interthinx, the additional rules under the LQI will require lenders to meet stringent new guidelines. And the company says FraudGAUARD can automate much of this process.

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Title Insurance Premiums Decline Just Slightly in 2009: ALTA

After five years of significant declines, title insurance premiums written in 2009 nearly held steady from 2008, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) reported Thursday. According to ALTA's 2009 Market Share Analysis, the industry reported a mere 4.5 percent drop in title insurance premiums in 2009, falling to $9.6 billion from $10 billion in 2008. Despite the national decline, 25 states experienced increases in year-to-year title insurance premiums, ALTA said.

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