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Software Systems Exempt from FTC’s Ban on Upfront Mod Fees

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will enact a ban on advance fees charged for loan modification and mortgage assistance rescue services starting January 31, to prevent providers of such services from collecting upfront fees from homeowners without successfully securing a loan modification. The new rule, however, exempts fees charged in advance for loan modification products, such as software systems that produce modification documentation like the technology offered by loss mitigation software provider the Loan Post, Inc.

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CoreLogic Home Price Index Shows Decline for Third Straight Month

National home prices in October were down 3.93 percent from year-earlier levels, CoreLogic reported Thursday, marking the third month in a row the company's index has recorded an annual drop in residential property values. October's reading follows a 2.43 percent annual decline reported for the month of September and a 1.08 percent drop in August, signaling that the deterioration in home prices is getting progressively steeper with each passing month.

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Bank of Commerce Chooses ComplianceOne for Loan Transactions

Bank of Commerce in Oklahoma has selected Wolters Kluwer Financial Services and the company's ComplianceOne solution to document its lending transactions. ComplianceOne is a single, integrated documentation solution that Wolters Kluwer says will allow Bank of Commerce to manage compliance with loan and deposit account transactions faster and more efficiently.

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Ohio AG to Head Enforcement at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The U.S. Department of the Treasury added three members to its senior leadership lineup for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray will lead the enforcement team. In addition, Federal Reserve Director Leonard Chanin will oversee the rule writing team, and former AFL-CIO Director David Silberman will head the card markets division.

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Foreclosures Fall to Lowest Level Since 2008 on Robo-Signing Delays

Data from RealtyTrac shows that foreclosure activity last month fell to a level not seen since November 2008, after problems with paperwork prompted case reviews, foreclosure suspensions, and re-filings of affidavits by mortgage servicers. Foreclosure filings nationwide dropped 21 percent from the previous month and 14 percent from a year earlier. For the first time since February 2009, RealtyTrac says the total number of filings for the month dropped below 300,000.

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FinCEN Announces 7 Percent Rise in Mortgage Fraud Related Reports

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said this week that suspicious activity reports (SARs) indicating mortgage loan fraud increased seven percent in the first half of this year. Banks and thrifts filed 35,135 mortgage-related SARs from January to June 2010. The federal agency found that reports referencing the term short sale appeared 827 times, and SARs referencing broker price opinion appeared 41 times during the first quarter of this year alone.

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Treasury Hires Senior Leadership for CFPB Implementation Team

Senior technology leadership is now in place for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) implementation team, according to an announcement from the Treasury Department. Tim Duncan will lead technology operations, and David Forrest will lead the online engagement team. Currently housed at Treasury, the CFPB will have statutory oversight of mortgage lending and the power to set new rules for home loans and other consumer-facing credit products.

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Dallas Fed Says 11th District Banks Performing Well, with Some Stress

According to the fourth quarter issue of Southwest Economy, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, banks in the Eleventh Federal Reserve District are performing well, although signs of stress are still apparent. The report states that about 30 percent banks in the district, which includes Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico, find that even after restructuring troubled loans to give borrowers easier terms, many of the loans become delinquent again.

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New Regulatory Rule to Support Foreclosure-Ridden Neighborhoods

Federal regulators on Wednesday announced changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) parameters to support communities affected by high foreclosure levels. The final rule encourages depository institutions to finance development projects in areas that qualify for HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Institutions will receive CRA credit for any NSP-eligible activities, such as loans extended to grant recipients to buy foreclosed homes or a donation of REO properties to a nonprofit housing organization.

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New Jersey Bans Wall Street Home Resale Fees

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed A. 2861 into law last week, banning Wall Street Home Resale Fees, or private transfer fees. New Jersey becomes the 19th state to restrict the use of these fees. On the federal level, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has issued guidance that restricts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from investing in mortgages with these fees. A bill currently being considered in the House would ban the fees across the country.

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