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Even Though Challenged by Delinquencies, U.S. Thrifts Post Q2 Profit

The U.S. thrift industry reported second-quarter earnings of $1.49 billion, its fourth consecutive quarterly profit. The industry consists of savings and loan institutions that by law are required to have at least 65 percent of their lending in mortgages and other consumer loans. With today's troubled housing market, their mandated line of business is proving precarious. The industry's regulator warns that thrifts continue to face challenges from delinquent loans, with the number of problem thrifts growing and overall assets declining.

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Bay Area and SoCal Hit Hard in California’s Slipping Home Sales

July home sales in the state of California were down 19.9 percent from June and 21.9 percent from a year ago, MDA DataQuick reports. In the Bay Area, home sales for that month dropped sharply to their lowest level in 15 years, down 22.8 percent from July 2009. Southern California was also pummeled with its biggest year-over-year drop in more than two years, down 21.4 percent from 2009. On the positive end, the median price paid for a home last month in California was up 7.2 percent compared to a year ago.

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FHFA Home Price Index Shows First Increase in Three Years

Home prices in the U.S. rose in the second quarter of 2010, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The regulator's purchase-only house price index (HPI) is calculated using sales price data from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages, and last quarter was the first time since Q2 2007 that the HPI posted a quarterly increase. The index was 0.9 percent higher on a seasonally adjusted basis in the second quarter than in the first quarter of 2010.

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DRI’s New Default Management Platform Assists Overburdened Servicers

Default process management software provider DRI Management Systems, Inc., has announced its new Web-based, loan servicing application for the mortgage industry, Rincon. According to the California-based company, the Rincon platform helps overburdened servicers keep pace with demands for borrower assistance. Rincon is expected to double or triple the workload each servicing specialist can handle.

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Refi Activity Leads to 4.9% Increase in Mortgage Apps: MBA

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Wednesday that its index of mortgage application volume climbed 4.9 percent for the week ending August 20. Refinance activity was the driving force behind the increase. Record-low interest rates are prompting existing homeowners to take out new loans and lower their monthly mortgage payments.

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Holliday Fenoglio Fowler Hires New Managing Director

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF), a provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services, announced this week that Christopher Simon is the company's new managing director of its debt placement group. A 13-year veteran of commercial real estate, Simon's new role will focus on originating debt, equity, and structured finance transactions throughout the western United States.

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Nearly Two-Thirds of Delinquent Mortgages Untouched: Study

According to a report from state attorneys general and bank supervisors from across the country, more than 60 percent of homeowners with seriously delinquent loans are still not involved in any form of loss mitigation with their servicer. The ratio is disconcerting considering the group also found that loan modifications today are resulting in significant payment reductions with fewer redefaults. Absent improvements in foreclosure prevention efforts, the group expects hundreds of thousands of foreclosures will occur later this year.

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Housing Affordability Near Record-High for Sixth Consecutive Quarter

Bolstered by favorable interest rates and low home prices, housing affordability in the second quarter remained near its highest level of the past two decades, according to an industry index developed by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. The study found that 72.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the second quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. Syracuse, New York was the most affordable major housing market. New York City was the least.

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Fitch Upgrades BofA but Voices Concern over Mortgage Portfolio

Fitch Ratings has upgraded the individual and preferred stock ratings of Bank of America. But the agency says the upgrades are tempered by the bank's high level of nonperforming loans and the likelihood of large volumes of mortgage repurchase requests from the GSEs and other secondary market investors, largely because of the loans the bank inherited from its Countrywide acquisition. Fitch also expressed concern about BofA's exposure to home equity loans, especially those with loan-to-value ratios above 100 percent.

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Arizona Court: $123M Trigild Sale Approved

The Arizona Superior Court issued a ruling this month that allows San Diego-based receivership and loan recovery specialist Trigild to sell seven Arizona apartment complexes to Standard Portfolio for $123 million. The 2,759-unit portfolio was abandoned last year by the investment firm Bethany Group and placed into receivership in March 2009. The court's ruling allows the properties to be sold without requiring the lender to foreclose prior to the sale.

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