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MDA MindBox Enhances its Risk Management Technology Platform

Los Angeles-based MDA MindBox, a division of MDA Lending Solutions that provides advanced-decisioning solutions to the mortgage lending industry, recently announced an update to ARTAdvisor, an automated portfolio review tool. This technology platform, which provides risk management from early risk detection through loss mitigation by automating the review, analysis, and management of any size portfolio, now includes short sale, foreclosure, and deed-in-lieu analysis.

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Mortgage Fraud Continues to Climb, Up 7% in 2009: Report

Incidents of mortgage fraud and misrepresentation by professionals in the industry continue to climb. According to a report released Monday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute (MARI), such cases increased 7 percent for the 2009 fiscal year when compared to the previous 12 months. The pace has slowed thanks to improvements in industry reporting and policing, but MARI's research shows foreclosure rescue and loan mod scams are on the rise, and now the company is seeing a significant increase in short sale scams.

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Home Price Index Posts First Annual Increase in Three Years

In yet another sign of stabilization within the housing market, national home prices increased on a year-over-year basis for the first time in three years in February, according to the LoanPeformance Home Price Index (HPI) released Monday by First American CoreLogic. Despite the year-over-year increase in prices, the HPI forecast for the coming months turned less optimistic in First American's latest update, showing a softer recovery than in previous forecasts.

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PMI Loses $157 Million in the First Quarter

The PMI Group is still in the red. The California-based residential mortgage insurer released its first quarter 2010 earnings report Sunday, posting a net loss of $157 million, or $1.90 per share. The company's net loss widened from a deficit of $115.3 million, or $1.41 per share, during the same period one year ago. PMI said this year-over-year change was primarily due to the increase in fair value of the company's corporate debt.

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Treasury Gives Green Light to Sell 1.5 Billion of Taxpayers’ Citi Shares

The U.S. Treasury is moving ahead with a plan to sell off taxpayers' 27 percent ownership stake in Citigroup Inc. The Wall Street bank was one of the biggest bailout recipients among financial institutions, and the Treasury's decision to pull out is being viewed as a testament to just how quickly the big lenders have been able to recapitalize. Treasury has authorized Morgan Stanley to sell up to 1.5 billion shares of Citigroup common stock - the first offering in a larger plan to dispose of all the Treasury's 7.7 billion common shares in the bank.

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Seven Illinois Banks Shut Down by Regulators

The state of Illinois saw seven of its locally-based banks closed down by regulators over the weekend. So far this year, 57 institutions have landed on the FDIC's failed bank list. Ten of those are from Illinois. This latest round of Midwest closures is expected to cost the FDIC a combined $973.9 million.

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Private-Label RMBS Deal Sees Strong Investor Interest

The private-label mortgage debt drought has come to an end. Redwood Trust Inc. priced the industry's first non-agency, non-government residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) in two years on Friday. Bidding by investors for the $222.4 billion pool of home loans was so strong that it sold at lower yields than Redwood initially offered.

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Commercial Property Values Turn Negative Again

Commercial real estate prices appeared to be stabilizing toward the end of last year, but a new study shows price declines have returned. Moody's Investors Service says its index for commercial property values fell 2.6 percent in February. It was the first decline recorded by the company in four months. The share of distressed sales in Moody's repeat-sales database has increased significantly over the last year. In early 2009, less than 20 percent of resales were identified as distressed. In February of this year, that proportion reached nearly one-third.

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xplair Technology Enhances its Mortgage Portfolio Management System

xplair Technology, LLC, a San Diego-based provider of portfolio management software, hardware services, and support, announced Thursday that it has added a Loss Mitigation Midsourcing module to its Web-based residential mortgage platform, illumair Management System (iMS). This new module was designed to meet reporting requirements for government-sponsored entity programs, including the Home Affordable Modification Program, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, and Fannie Mae's Deed-for-Lease.

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Short Sales…A Breeding Ground for Fraud?

With defaults continuing to mount and declining property values still widespread, the industry is seeing an increase in short sales. Such transactions are expected to burgeon even further now that the federal government has implemented its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. With the new policies and still-precarious market conditions, short sales are gaining in popularity among lenders and distressed homeowners alike, but as with any modus operandi that rapidly picks up steam, this proliferation can open the gate for fraudulent activity.

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