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Threat of Shadow Inventory Diminishing: Barclays

Analysts at Barclays Capital say the industry's ominous shadow inventory is close to topping out. New research published by the firm says the supply of homes nearing REO status, defined as 90 or more days delinquent or in the process of foreclosure, will peak this summer and then begin falling gradually as the market becomes stable enough to absorb 130,000 distressed properties a month. Barclays puts the shadow supply at 4.5 million properties, but forecasts at least 4.7 million distressed sales over the next three years.

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Equator Offers Agent Certification for Short Sale Platform

Default servicing software provider Equator will announce Monday the launch of a new short sale certification program for real agents using its EQ Marketplace online platform. Since January of this year, Equator says it has seen short sale volumes nearly double those of REO properties on its platform, and the new certification program will ensure agents are equipped to handle the growing number of short sale transactions already coming in.

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Ginnie Mae Issuance Tops $32 Billion in April

Ginnie Mae recently announced that it guaranteed more than $32.6 billion in mortgage-backed securities in April. The federal agency also reported a decline in the number of seriously delinquent single-family loans in Ginnie Mae-guaranteed securities. According to Ginnie Mae, its delinquency rate fell to 1.85 percent in March, down from 2.02 percent in February.

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Senate Approves Rating Amendment to Rein in Conflicts of Interest

The Senate's financial reform package is getting thicker. A host of legislative amendments have made their way to the floor, and a good share of them have been directly related to mortgage underwriting and trading. The latest measure approved calls for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to set up a regulatory board that will decide which agencies will provide credit ratings on newly issued mortgage-backed securities. Many are calling it one of the strongest reforms yet to rein in Wall Street's questionable business practices.

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Interthinx Tool Supports Lender Compliance With Fannie Mae’s LQI

Interthinx says its loan-level fraud risk tool, FraudGUARD, can assist lenders in complying with Fannie Mae's new Loan Quality Initiative (LQI). According to Interthinx, the additional rules under the LQI will require lenders to meet stringent new guidelines. And the company says FraudGAUARD can automate much of this process.

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Title Insurance Premiums Decline Just Slightly in 2009: ALTA

After five years of significant declines, title insurance premiums written in 2009 nearly held steady from 2008, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) reported Thursday. According to ALTA's 2009 Market Share Analysis, the industry reported a mere 4.5 percent drop in title insurance premiums in 2009, falling to $9.6 billion from $10 billion in 2008. Despite the national decline, 25 states experienced increases in year-to-year title insurance premiums, ALTA said.

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California-Based Law Firm Offers Alternative to Loan Modifications

Mesa Law Group, a California-based law firm with specialty financial services, recently announced that it has partnered with Investors Finance Inc. to provide homeowners an alternative to loan modifications through the firm's Home Owner Mortgage Restructuring (HOMR) program. A strong alternative to loan modification, the HOMR program reduces the principal balance and helps those at risk of losing their home, Mesa Law Group said.

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Servicing Manager Pleads Guilty to Scheme that Bankrupted US Mortgage

Leroy Hayden has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in connection with a $136 million fraud scheme that sent Pine Brook, New Jersey-based U.S. Mortgage Corp. and its subsidiary CU National Mortgage into bankruptcy in early 2009. Hayden held the position of servicing manager at U.S. Mortgage from 2004 to 2009. According to federal court documents, during that time he conspired with others to fraudulently sell Fannie Mae hundreds of loans belonging to various credit unions.

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Minority Communities Hit Hardest by Drop-Off in Prime Lending: Report

While the financial crisis has significantly reduced access to mortgage credit for all borrowers and communities, neighborhoods of color have been hit the hardest, according to a new industry study. The report, Paying More for the American Dream IV, examined the mortgage lending patterns of banks, including the nation's four largest financial institutions, in seven major metropolitan areas. The analysts found that prime mortgage lending in communities of color has declined more than twice as much as it has in predominantly white communities.

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