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New Mortgage Applications Fall as Rates Rise for Fifth Straight Week

Data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Wednesday shows that consumer demand for mortgages waned last week as interest rates soared to their highest level in nearly seven months. MBA's index of new applications for home purchases plummeted 5.0 percent, breaking a three-week streak of increases, while the refinance index slipped 0.7 percent. MBA says Treasury rates increased last week following news that lower tax rates could be extended for another two years. Mortgage rates also followed higher.

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Fastest Growing Lenders Use Compliance Software to Simplify Reporting

Recent Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data released by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) revealed that 11 percent of lenders doubled their volume during the 2009 calendar year. Of those lenders, 40 percent use HMDA and compliance software from QuestSoft. One San Diego-based lender says QuestSoft's technology has cut the time needed to geocode and prepare its quarterly regulatory reports by 90 percent.

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CoreLogic Releases Product to Determine Borrowers’ Income

Analytics firm CoreLogic released Tuesday a real-time fraud assessment and income estimation tool designed to help users comply with recent federal mandates that require lenders to validate borrowers' ability to pay. The program aims to make it possible to confidently lend to people who have little or no credit history.

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Mortgage Banker Profits Rise with Secondary Market, Refinancing Gains

Independent mortgage banks and their subsidiaries made an average profit of $1,423 on each loan they originated in the third quarter, thanks to a surge in refinance activity and growing demand for mortgage-backed securities, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Tuesday. The third quarter's per-loan profit represents a jump of more than 55 percent from the $917 independent mortgage lenders made on each loan in the second quarter of this year.

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Report Reveals Continued Declines in West Coast Foreclosure Starts

New data from ForeclosureRadar shows that though there has been no major drop in delinquencies in the West Coast states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, foreclosure starts have fallen to 2008 levels. The company's report deduces that the drop in foreclosures is due to robo-signing issues and the moratoriums that followed the controversy. Notice of default filings in November were down 9.3 percent in California, while notice of sale filings dropped a stunning 31.7 percent in Washington.

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Fed Holds Direction on Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve says economic recovery is continuing but at a rate that has been insufficient to bring down unemployment. Following its monetary policy meeting Tuesday, the central bank called progress toward its objectives of creating jobs, stabilizing prices, and fostering economic growth ""disappointingly slow."" Fed officials voted to keep the target range for the benchmark federal funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent, and reiterated their commitment to purchase another $600 billion in long-term Treasury securities by June 2011.

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CitiMortgage to Hold Call-a-Thon to Assist Distressed Homeowners

CitiMortgage will host a mortgage assistance call-a-thon on Wednesday for customers who have concerns about paying their mortgages. The event begins at 7 a.m. on December 15, and continues until 1 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, December 16, EST. CitiMortgage borrowers can call the company's foreclosure prevention centers for information and advice during these expanded customer service hours. Foreclosure prevention experts will staff the event, but senior managers and supervisors will be on hand to provide additional support.

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HAMP Will Fall Short of Goal with Only 700K Helped: Report

The Obama administration's signature foreclosure prevention program will help only 700,000 Americans save their homes, according to a scathing report released Tuesday by the Congressional Oversight Panel. The group's assessment falls far short of the 3 to 4 million homeowners that the president pledged would receive more sustainable mortgage loans when the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was launched in March of last year, and is well below the 8 to 13 million foreclosures expected by 2012.

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Report: Mortgage Litigation Up 41%

Legal actions tied to mortgage lending jumped by 41 percent during the third quarter of the year, according to industry data released this week. Activity on more than 100 civil and criminal mortgage-related cases was tracked from July 1 through September 30 in the report prepared by the mortgage banking litigation firm Patton Boggs. Suits involving investor actions outnumbered all other types. Coming in next were actions related to foreclosures, an area that has drawn intense scrutiny with recent reports of widespread robo-signing.

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Household Wealth Increases Despite Heavy Real Estate Losses

The average American's financial situation improved during the third quarter, according to data released by the Federal Reserve. The news is seen as a positive sign for the nation's mortgage markets, which have been stressed by an elevated number of borrowers struggling to fulfill their mortgage obligations because of deteriorating personal finances. The Fed says household wealth grew by 2.2 percent, or $1.2 trillion, during the third quarter as stock market gains offset the $700 billion that was lost on real estate assets.

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