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Congress Reaches Consensus on Financial Reform Legislation

House and Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a reconciled version of their respective chambers' financial reform bills - a historic piece of legislation, which was prompted by a national mortgage crisis that pushed the country's entire financial system to the brink of collapse. The legislation will now go to the full Congress for endorsement. Lawmakers have pledged to have an approved bill on President Obama's desk by the July 4th holiday. Administration officials say the bill that has emerged is ""strong.""

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Report: 70% of Modifications in May Were Non-HAMP

Mortgage servicers completed 112,088 loan modifications through their own proprietary programs in May, according to a report released this week by HOPE NOW. That compares to 47,724 new permanent modifications under the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) during the same month. Altogether, just over 159,000 mortgage modifications were completed in May, as well as 213,000 other workouts, such as repayment and forbearance plans.

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Ocwen’s HAMP Trials Adhere to 3-Month Timeframe

Ocwen Financial Corporation continues to find its name at the top of the list of key performance metrics when it comes to the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Ocwen is one of only two servicers who have been able to achieve a three-month turn time on trial to permanent conversions. Most other servicers' trial plans are significantly longer, extending up to seven months for some of the largest banks.

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iEmergent Forecasts Drop in Mortgage Volume upon Weakening Market

iEmergent expects mortgage interest rates to rise to the mid-five percent range by the end of the year, and home prices to fall an additional 3 to 6 percent. The company's second-quarter update to its Mortgage Volume Forecast also reflects a 5.2 percent further drop in both purchase and refinance volume dollars in 2010.

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Ginnie Mae Guarantees More than $33.9 Billion in MBS in May

The Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) recently released its issuance numbers for May, showing that it guaranteed more than $33.9 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) during the month. In addition to reporting on its continued provision of liquidity to the secondary market, the corporation announced that in April, 1.79 percent of the single-family loans in Ginnie Mae guaranteed securities were 90 days or more delinquent, down from 1.85 percent in March 2010.

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Willis Launches New Distressed Assets Practice

Willis North America recently announced that it has formed a distressed asset practice in order to advise clients on managing the risks associated with financially distressed, foreclosed, or abandoned commercial properties and to provide a range of insurance solutions. According to the company, this new unit will coordinate specialist capabilities from across Willis' practice areas to structure insurance programs that respond to a range of risk management and insurance issues related to distressed assets.

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New York AG Cracks Down on Fraudulent Mortgage Rescue Companies

More than 180 foreclosure rescue companies with customers in New York have been sent cease-and-desist letters from the office of state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. These letters, which came as a result of Cuomo's ongoing investigation into the mortgage rescue industry, warn the companies to immediately end all misleading and illegal conduct. According to Cuomo, thousands of New Yorkers have been affected by foreclosure rescue scams.

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Mortgage Rates Fall to Record Lows Due to Disappointing Economic Data

Following a run of disappointing economic data - from housing, to jobs, to consumer spending - mortgage rates fell to record lows this week, Freddie Mac and Bankrate reported Thursday. The GSE says 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.69 percent, while rates on 15-year mortgages have dropped to 4.13 percent. Bankrate says nervous investors around the globe are buying up Treasury securities, driving both bond yields and mortgage rates lower.

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Audit Shows Prison Inmates Received $9M in Homebuyer Tax Credits

A breakdown in fraud controls allowed prison inmates to apply for and receive $9.1 million in homebuyer tax credits from the federal government, according to an audit conducted by a Treasury inspector general. More than 1,200 prison inmates, including 241 serving life sentences, cashed in on the home purchase tax incentive. The audit also found that the IRS allowed multiple claims on the same home and laid out $17.6 million for homes purchased before the tax credit program began.

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