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New Smart Phone App Matches Home Seekers to Foreclosures

Visionary Apps LLC recently announced the third release of its suite of real estate-related smart phone applications. The company says the new suite puts detailed information on new foreclosures in the palm of homebuyers' hands. Complete Realty Suite apps include millions of listings nationwide from multiple sources, including MLS listings.

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LPS and Prommis Respond to Allegations of Illegal Fee-Splitting

The housing crisis has brought with it a barrage of lawsuits, many of which are taking direct aim at the practices of default servicing firms. One such case filed in a U.S. bankruptcy court in Mississippi names Prommis Solutions and the default services arm of Lender Processing Services (LPS) as defendants. The lawsuit alleges the firms are taking part in a fee-splitting arrangement for services provided to mortgage lenders through LPS' attorney network. Both companies are standing their ground that the case lacks merit and misrepresents their services.

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Treasury Secretary Geithner Challenges Myths About TARP

The federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) officially hit its expiration date last week. For the past two years, the controversial $700 billion bailout package has drawn the ire of critics from nearly every corner. In an op-ed piece, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sets out to dispel what he says are the five most popular myths surrounding TARP, including the cost to taxpayers and the idea that it was a carefully wrapped gift for Wall Street.

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PNC Financial Halts Foreclosures to Review Servicing Procedures

PNC Financial Services Group is the fourth large lender to suspend foreclosures within the past three weeks because of potential deficiencies in the legal paperwork. The bank has reportedly notified its industry partners that it is holding up sales of foreclosed homes in judicial states for 30 days while the company reviews its internal servicing procedures.

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South Florida Housing Market Showing Signs of Recovery

It's no secret that the housing market in Southern Florida is bleak, but a new report from Condo Vultures, LCC reveals that things are looking up for the Sunshine State. The locally based tracking firm says lenders filed foreclosure actions on $3.5 billion in outstanding loans in South Florida during the third quarter, which is a 38 percent decrease compared to a year earlier. According to Condo Vultures, it looks as if 2009 could turn out to be the worst year for foreclosures in South Florida.

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HUD Proposes Tighter Rules to Recoup Losses from FHA Lenders

HUD is recommending new regulations to force lenders to reimburse the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for insurance claims paid on mortgages that don't meet the agency's underwriting guidelines. The proposed rule would also require all new and existing FHA lenders to meet stricter performance standards to gain and maintain their approval status. FHA, at its own discretion, without any judicial or administrative action necessary, will have the authority to immediately withdraw a lender's ability to insure mortgage loans.

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Conference Attendees Say Housing is Linked to Recovery in Northeast

Last Tuesday's conference titled Through the Lens of Housing: New England Economic Recovery hosted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston yielded some interesting answers from polled attendees. The attendees were asked questions to determine what they felt would help lead to an economic recovery in the New England area.

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Equator Introduces Solution for Invoice Tracking and Approval

In an effort to simplify the invoicing process and expedite reimbursements for the servicing industry, Equator has created an invoice tracking system called EQ Invoice Module. The company says the system streamlines the approval process by allowing servicers to configure different rules per portfolio and communicate with agents and vendors online. All existing Equator clients have access to the new EQ Invoice Module.

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Report: Bottom in Home Values Still Months Away

Home value depreciation remained steady in August after improvement stalled in July, according to a new report released by Zillow Friday. The company's market data shows that nationally, home values fell 0.3 percent between July and August and declined 3.8 percent from their year-ago levels. According to Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist, the data clearly illustrates that a bottom in national home values has not yet been hit and will come later this year or in the beginning of 2011 at the earliest.

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HUD to Roll Out Emergency Loan Program for Unemployed by Year-End

To help counter the effects of the still-deteriorating job market on the housing industry, the Dodd-Frank Reform Act provided $1 billion to HUD to implement the Emergency Homeowners Loan Program. The initiative provides eligible borrowers in 32 states and Puerto Rico with a ""bridge loan"" to continue making their mortgage payments for up to 24 months. HUD expects to begin taking applications from borrowers for assistance by the end of the year.

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