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Subcommittee Holds Hearing to Evaluate VA Loan Guarantee Program

The Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing Thursday in order to review the current status of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Guarantee Program. According to Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, chairwoman of the subcommittee, VA's loan guarantee program has been an important benefit for more than 65 years that has allowed thousands of veterans the opportunity to own a home. And although this program has proven to be successful, she said there are still ""several issues of concern"" that need to be addressed.

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AFR Mortgage Launches FHA Correspondent Lending Division

American Financial Resources, Inc. (AFR Mortgage), a nationwide mortgage banker headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, has announced the launch of a new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) correspondent residential mortgage lending division that will purchase closed loans from selected FHA direct endorsed lenders.

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Senate Approves Financial Reform Bill

The Senate voted 59 to 39 Thursday evening to approve a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's financial system. The legislation aims to rein in bad lending practices and expand oversight of Wall Street in order to prevent a sequel of the recent housing crisis and the nationwide economic meltdown that followed. The House and Senate have now both passed reform bills intended to protect consumers, limit risk-taking by large institutions, and address the problem of ""too big to fail."" Congressional leaders and the Obama administration must now reconcile the two chambers' versions, a process which is expected to take several weeks.

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Mortgage Rates Fall Once Again: Freddie Mac, Bankrate

Mortgage rates continued to inch down for the week ending May 20, 2010, Freddie Mac and Bankrate reported Thursday. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.84 percent this week. The GSE says this is the lowest rates have been since December 2009. Bankrate's analysis put the 30-year mortgage rate at 4.96 percent, and attributed the week-to-week drop to ""global economic angst.""

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Lenders Repurchase $3 Billion in Mortgages from GSEs in Q1

With home loans going bad at a still-staggering pace and losses mounting for the GSEs, the nation's two largest mortgage financiers are pursuing several avenues to recover money, including returning poorly underwritten loans to lenders. During the first three months of this year, Fannie Mae required lenders to buy back $1.8 billion in loans. Freddie Mac sent $1.3 billion in faulty home mortgages back to the loan sellers during that period. The two companies have said they expect to return as much as $21 billion in home mortgages to banks in 2010.

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Internet Veteran Jesse Gant Joins RealtyTrac

RealtyTrac announced this week the hiring of technology and Internet veteran Jesse Gant. In his role as VP of product and user experience, Gant will lead a team to develop a product plan and vision to drive membership and revenue growth. He will also spearhead new site initiatives, including social networking capabilities, aimed at improving page views, sales, and retention rates.

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Local Workshops Provide Assistance to 2,500 SoCal Homeowners

Representatives from more than a dozen mortgage servicers, along with local HUD-approved housing counselors, were on hand last week in Anaheim and San Bernardino, California to help struggling homeowners with their mortgages. The four days of events saw 2,576 at-risk homeowners come through the doors to learn what they can do to lower their mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure.

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Survey: 59% of Borrowers Would Not Walk Away if Underwater

A survey by Trulia and RealtyTrac shows that only 1 percent of homeowners with a mortgage say walking away would be their first choice if they were unable to make their payments, while 59 percent would not consider a strategic default no matter how much their mortgage was underwater. With walking away off the table for most homeowners, the survey found that only 5 percent of borrowers would opt for a short sale as their first choice if facing foreclosure, while 69 percent would pursue a loan modification to save their home.

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FDIC Adds 73 Banks to Troubled Watch List

The number of insured financial institutions on the FDIC's so-called problem list has risen to 775, up from 702 at the end of 2009. The total assets of problem banks have increased to $431 billion. The FDIC says both the number and assets of problem institutions are the highest they've been since mid-1993, but the agency also pointed out that the latest increase in the number of problem banks is the smallest in four quarters. So far this year, 72 insured banks have gone under.

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IndiSoft’s RxOffice Platform Adds Postal Service Address Verification

Sending letters of notification to homeowners throughout the delinquency life cycle is a requirement to meet insurer, investor, and state guidelines. Failure to send mail to a valid address can invalidate a foreclosure action and result in penalties. Technology provider IndiSoft has added U.S. Postal Service address verification to its RxOffice platform to help its clients address this issue.

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