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DebtX: CRE Loan Prices Pick Up Slightly in May

According to a recent report by DebtX, the aggregate value of DebtX-priced commercial real estate (CRE) loans that collateralize commercial mortgage-backed securities inched up to 76.6 percent as of May 28, 2010, rising slightly from 76.4 percent in April. Despite the month-to-month increase, loan prices were still down on a year-over-year basis, as CRE loan values were 77.6 percent in May of last year.

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Cleveland Fed Examines Link Between Foreclosure and Unemployment

According to an article recently released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, much can be gleamed by studying the historic link between foreclosure and unemployment rates--including the fact that according to past patterns, we can expect the current high foreclosure rate to persist for some time. This finding was based on the observation that states that experienced boom-bust housing cycles in the past (such as Texas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and California) had elevated foreclosure starts for years after the peak in foreclosure starts and inventory, and these previous boom-bust cycles were small in comparison to the current cycle.

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Home Equity Loan Delinquencies Fall for First Time in Two Years: ABA

Housing-related loan delinquencies improved across the board in the first quarter of 2010, the American Bankers Association (ABA) recently reported. According to ABA's quarterly consumer delinquency report, home equity delinquencies fell for the first time in two years to 4.12 percent of all accounts, down from 4.32 percent the previous quarter. Home equity lines of credit delinquencies and property improvement loan delinquencies also fell during the same period.

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Report: GSEs’ Mortgage Guarantee Fees on the Downswing

The average guarantee fee charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on single-family mortgages fell to 22 basis points in 2009, a dip from 25 basis points in 2008, according to a report released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). FHFA said this decline resulted from a significant improvement in the credit profile of the single-family mortgages the government-sponsored enterprises acquired relative to 2008. On a year-over-year basis, there were improvements across the product, credit score, and loan-to-value ratio spectrums.

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Minority Borrowers Disproportionately Damaged by Foreclosure Crisis

Households across the nation have been negatively impacted by the foreclosure crisis, but African-American and Latino families have been hit the hardest, according to a report recently released by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). The report found that while the majority of families who have lost their homes are non-Hispanic and white, African-American and Latino families have been disproportionately affected relative to their share of mortgage originations. Among recent borrowers, CRL estimates that nearly 8 percent of both African-American and Latinos have lost their homes to foreclosure, compared to 4.5 percent of whites.

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Wells Fargo Leaves Nonprime Space, Says Goodbye to 3,800 Employees

Wells Fargo is restructuring its financial division--a move which outlines for the closure of 638 Wells Fargo Financial stores, as well as for the company to stop originating nonprime portfolio mortgage loans. The bank said this move is the result of its 2008 acquisition of Wachovia Corp, which makes these units no longer necessary. Of the 14,000 employees at Wells Fargo Financial, approximately 2,800 positions will be eliminated within the next 60 days, with an additional 1,000 positions to be eliminated over the next 12 months.

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30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages Hit New Record Low

The weekly mortgage rate reports released Thursday by Freddie Mac and Bankrate were mixed. But one thing was certain: the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit a new record low. Freddie Mac said 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.57 percent for the week ending July 8, 2010, down from last week's average of 4.58 percent. And Bankrate said 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.74 percent this week, a slight dip from 4.75 percent one week earlier. Meanwhile, the average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages posted a minor uptick.

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OCC’s Dugan to Leave Post August 14

John C. Dugan announced Thursday that he will leave his role as Comptroller of the Currency on August 14, 2010. This departure comes as Congress is in the final stages of considering the Financial Reform Bill. If passed, this legislation will preserve and expand the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's role as a dedicated prudential supervisor of federally chartered banks and thrifts. Dugan said this exclusive supervisory focus will serve the nation well in the future when the banking system is tested once again, as it surely will be.

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Fannie, Freddie Transition to Over-The-Counter Trading

As of Thursday morning, shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are trading exclusively on the over-the-counter (OTC) market. This announcement comes shortly after the Federal Housing Finance Agency directed the companies to voluntarily delist their common and preferred stock from the New York Stock Exchange and any other national securities exchange. Fannie Mae's common stock will commence trading on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol ""FNMA,"" and shares of Freddie Mac's common stock will now trade under the symbol ""FMCC.""

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U.S. Home Prices Continue Journey Upward in June: Clear Capital

Thanks to an increase in springtime sales and the lasting residual effects of the federal homebuyer tax credit, U.S. home prices continued to increase in June, Clear Capital reported Thursday. According to the company's Home Data Index Market Report, June home prices came in 8.8 percent above levels experienced one year ago. And on a rolling quarter-over-quarter basis, home prices jumped 5.2 percent, bringing the nation back to within 1 percent of last fall's levels.

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