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Former Fannie Mae Exec Claims GSE Mismanaged HAMP

A former Fannie Mae VP has gone public with accusations that the nation's largest mortgage company mishandled its stewardship of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The whistleblower claims that HAMP was impeded by intentional delays and slip-ups because Fannie executives placed their institution's short-term financial interests above helping homeowners avoid foreclosure. A spokesperson for Fannie Mae told DSNews.com that there is ""no merit to [the] allegations.""

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Freddie Mac Asks for $1.8B More from Taxpayers after Q2 Loss

Freddie Mac reported Monday that it lost $4.7 billion during the second quarter. The GSE is asking the Treasury for another $1.8 billion of taxpayer dollars. Freddie has drawn $64 billion from its line of credit with the Treasury since the government took control of the mortgage giant in September 2008. Despite a continuous string of losses - this was the 11th in the last 12 quarters - Freddie Mac's latest earnings report actually marks an improvement. For the previous three-month period, the GSE posted a $6.7 billion loss.

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Zillow: Smaller Percentage of Homeowners Underwater in Q2

The percentage of borrowers underwater on their mortgage declined during the second quarter, but that welcome change of pace could come to an abrupt end as home values are again beginning to fall in markets across the country. Zillow reported Monday that as of the end of June, 21.5 percent of single-family homeowners with a mortgage owed more on the loan than their home is worth. That's down from 23.3 percent in the first quarter of this year, and 23 percent during the second quarter of 2009.

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Chicago Lender Shuttered by Regulators as Failed-Bank Tally Hits 109

After four weekends characterized by bank failures in mass, regulators shut down only one financial institution Friday - Ravenswood Bank in Chicago. This latest closing brings the 2010 failed-bank tally to 109. The pace of closings this year is well ahead of the number of shut-downs seen this time last year - 72. The FDIC has said it doesn't expect bank closings to peak until the latter part of 2010.

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Lawmakers to Explore Ways to Recoup Money from GSEs

Leaders of the House Financial Services Committee say they are looking for ways to recoup the billions of dollars the federal government has sunk into the GSEs over the past two years. Taxpayer support to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stands at $145 billion so far, and the tab keeps rising. Rep. Paul Kanjorski says, ""Twenty years ago, we found a way for industry to pay back the sizable U.S. Treasury payments for resolving the savings-and-loan crisis. We can do it again.""

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Fannie Mae Closes HomeSaver Advance Program

Fannie Mae says it is retiring one of its foreclosure prevention options. The GSE's HomeSaver Advance (HSA) program will be taken off the table on September 30. Fannie explained that HSA volume has shrunk significantly as other foreclosure prevention workouts, particularly modifications, have increased. Under the program, servicers were allowed to extend unsecured personal loans to delinquent homeowners to cure arrearages, but as housing and economic woes have worsened, such a short-term fix has not been enough to keep borrowers current.

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Unemployment Rate Holds Steady, Contributing to Foreclosure for Many

Figures released Friday put July's job loss at 131,000 with the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.5 percent, though 71,000 jobs were added to the private sector. A recent report released by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors revealed job loss as one of the top factors contributing to home foreclosures in the state. Across the country, too many Americans have learned that the loss of one's job can be directly related to the loss of one's home.

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FHA Rolls Out Principal Reducing Refis for Underwater Borrowers

Nearly a quarter of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage owe more on the loan than their home is worth, and home prices are threatening to fall further. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), though, is throwing out a lifeline. Starting September 7, the federal agency will offer new FHA-insured mortgages to certain underwater, non-FHA borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments and whose lenders agree to write off at least 10 percent of the unpaid principal balance.

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Twin Cities Commercial Real Estate Improves Despite Downward Trends

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul commercial real estate market is beginning to stabilize, reports locally based NorthMarq. Though downward trends are still continuing in rental rates and vacancy rates continue to rise, residential land is beginning to trade as national homebuilders return to action. NorthMarq expects a long, gradual recovery to begin in late 2010 or early 2011.

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Bear Stearns Portfolio Puts New York Fed in Foreclosure Quandary

The U.S. Federal Reserve is in the same boat as the banks now, dealing with a mortgage portfolio that's riddled with deficiencies and delinquencies. The central bank's New York branch has been saddled with a heap of souring loans from the assets it picked up to support the 2008 bailout of Bear Stearns. And now, as more and more of these loans - both residential and commercial - fall into default, the New York Fed is faced with a dilemma: to foreclose or not to foreclose.

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