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Commercial Mortgage Originations Rise but Demand Remains Weak

Commercial and multifamily mortgage loan originations during the third quarter jumped 15 percent from the previous quarter and were 32 percent higher than during the same period last year, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Thursday. Origination volumes for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and life insurance companies were relatively strong, MBA says, but commercial mortgage borrowing at banks fell on both a quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year basis.

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Mortgage Purchase Applications Increase, Refinances Decline: MBA

Overall mortgage application volume decreased 5 percent for the week ending October 29, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported Wednesday. The decline was led by a falloff in refinances, however, applications for home purchases increased during the week. The trade group reported that mortgage rates were mixed, with 30-year contract rates heading up, but 15-year rates declining.

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Ally CEO: We ‘Screwed Up’ and We’re ‘Embarrassed’ over Robo-Signers

Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage subsidiary was the first major servicer to announce a foreclosure freeze after finding problems in its procedures that led to errors in legal affidavits. In the words of Ally's own CEO, ""We had a robo-signer affidavit problem. We're embarrassed about it and we fixed it. We'll be the first to say we screwed up."" The company reported a $269 million profit for the third quarter on Wednesday, and said it's decided not to sell its ResCap mortgage unit.

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NMLS Adds Credit Report Functionality for SAFE Act Compliance

Mortgage originators can now authorize a credit report to be processed through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS). Beginning November 1, all licensed residential mortgage loan originators participating in NMLS were required to complete the credit authorization process regardless of any prior state requirements. Providing credit history processing through NMLS fulfills one of the mandates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act).

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Fed to Buy $600B in Securities to Hold Interest Rates Low

The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to pump another $600 billion into the economy in the hopes of bolstering what it called a ""disappointingly slow"" recovery. The capital injection will come in the form of purchases of long-term Treasury securities by the central bank, about $75 billion a month between now and the end of June 2011. The goal is to buoy economic growth by inducing banks to lend more while keeping interest rates low. If it plays out correctly, the move is expected to spur spending, foster job creation, and keep deflation in check.

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Freddie Mac Requests $100M in Taxpayer Support after Q3 Loss

Freddie Mac said Wednesday that it lost $2.5 billion during the third quarter of this year. Add to that the $1.6 billion dividend payment the GSE had to make to Treasury on stock the company relinquished in exchange for bailout money, and Freddie Mac reported a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $4.1 billion. The company is asking Treasury for a draw of $100 million in taxpayer dollars. Since Freddie Mac was placed under government control, it has needed $64.2 billion to stay afloat.

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LPS Report Shows Foreclosure Timelines Continue to Stretch

Market data collected by Lender Processing Services (LPS) during the month of September reveals that foreclosure timelines continue to increase, with borrowers in the latest stages of foreclosure languishing without having made a mortgage payment for up to 16 months. LPS notes that the average time a loan remains delinquent in judicial states such as New York and Florida now exceeds 500 days. Nationwide, more than 4.3 million loans are currently 90 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure, according to LPS.

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Pending Sales of Government-Owned REOs May Experience Delays

Buyers of REO homes owned by HUD may have their closing dates pushed back after this Friday, but the federal agency says any delays will be brief. Rumors have circulated from various corners of the industry that HUD is planning a moratorium on REO sales expected to close after the end of this week, but a spokesperson for the government agency stressed to DSNews.com, ""HUD is not suspending sales of HUD REO properties on November 5th or any other time. HUD's new asset managers will continue to list and sell HUD homes.""

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Lenders Told to Disclose Likely Losses from Paperwork Errors, Buybacks

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is putting mortgage lenders on alert regarding disclosures about potential losses from foreclosure paperwork defects and loans they may be forced to buy back from investors. In a letter sent to the chief financial officers of publicly traded banking companies, the federal agency reminded lenders that they are obligated to relay to their investors any known trends, commitments or uncertainties that they expect could have an ""unfavorable impact"" on the company's financial results.

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Homeownership Rate in U.S. Holds at 11-Year Low

The nation's homeownership rate held steady at 66.9 percent during the third quarter. With foreclosures still mounting, bank repossessions at an all-time high, and many consumers abandoning the idea of the ""American Dream,"" homeownership is at its lowest mark since the end of 1999. Renting is not only gaining ground as the most practical means of housing for a larger number of consumers, but some say it could be the answer to keeping millions of struggling borrowers in their homes and stabilizing foreclosure-ridden communities.

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