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Mortgage Application Volume Jumps 3.9% as Refinance Activity Soars

Despite a plunge in purchase applications in the days following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, total mortgage application volume inched up 3.9 percent for the week ending May 7, 2009, due to a surge in refinance applications, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Wednesday. Accordindg to MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, the purchase index tumbled 9.5 percent from the week prior, but the refinance index soared 14.8 percent.

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Loss Mitigation Milestones Surpassed by Stewart Lender Services

Stewart Lender Services (SLS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Houston-based Stewart Title Company, announced Tuesday that during the past year it has processed more than 725,000 distressed mortgage loans and generated more than 1 million lines of outreach to delinquent borrowers. This, the company said, proves that SLS is a strong, stable, and large-scale provider of loss mitigation services for mortgage lenders and servicers.

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HOPE LoanPort Launches Consumer-Based Web Site

In order to bring high-tech loan modification solutions direct to consumers, HOPE LoanPort has launched a new, consumer-based Web site--HopeLoanPortal.org. According to a statement by the organization, this site will complement HOPE LoanPort's web-based housing counselor tool that is designed to streamline submission of completed loan modification applications.

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Maryland Governor Signs Power of Sale Law

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has signed a new law establishing that a power of sale is valid in existing and future deeds of trust originally granted to a corporate trustee. A power of sale clause is sometimes included in a mortgage contract or deed of trust that grants the lender the right to sell the property upon certain default without court approval, but courts in several Maryland counties had ruled against the validity of such a power of sale.

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Mortgage Industry Completes 476,000 Loan Mods in Q1

HOPE NOW says its first quarter data shows a surge in solutions for troubled homeowners. In all, the organization says the mortgage industry completed almost half a million loan modifications for homeowners during the first three months of 2010 - 476,192 to be exact. That includes both proprietary and government mod programs, and represents a 29 percent increase from the same period last year. HOPE NOW also reported that foreclosure starts are down 5 percent compared to a year ago.

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SharperLending’s Appraisal Firewall Expanded Through New Partnership

SharperLending, LLC announced Tuesday that it has expanded its Appraisal Firewall technology product to offer automated appraisal reviews through a new partnership with MDA Lending Solutions and ValuationLogic, Inc. As a result of this expansion, lenders can now run each appraisal through a rule set that performs a detailed check for errors and takes a matter of seconds to complete. This, the companies said, will help lenders make faster underwriting decisions and increase loan production.

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Clayton Helps Lenders Comply with Fannie Mae’s New QC Standards

Clayton Holdings, which provides risk analysis and loss mitigation to the mortgage industry, announced Tuesday that it has incorporated Fannie Mae's newly announced quality control standards into its underwriting offerings. The GSE's new Loan Quality Initiative specifies the policies and process and technology enhancements that it will require from sellers in order to mitigate loan repurchase risk. Clayton says it can help lenders meet these new requirements through its outsourcing and consulting businesses.

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After Hitting a Record Low in 2008, Mover Rate Increases in 2009

The U.S. Census Bureau said Monday that the national mover rate increased to 12.5 percent in 2009, up from 11.9 percent in 2008--the lowest rate since the Bureau began tracking the data in 1984. According to the federal agency, 37.1 million people changed residences in the United States within the past year, jumping from 35.2 million in 2008.

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Study Finds Americans will be Permanently Impacted by the Recession

Like a ripple effect, the recent recession will impact Americans for years to come, according to a new report published by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The study--Household Reaction to the Financial Crisis: Scared or Scarred?--found that the current financial crisis exceeded the devastation created by other post-World War II recessions, and is likely to have lasting impacts on the values and behavior of the current generation, much as the Great Depression had on its generation.

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Home Prices, Sales on the Rise in Many Areas Across the Nation: NAR

The first quarter of 2010 proved to be one of improvement for many housing markets across the nation. According to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors, a growing number of metropolitan areas experienced price gains from a year ago, and most states saw notable increases in home sales from last year.

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