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Dodd’s Reform Bill Faces Criticism from Industry Groups

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd has introduced new reform legislation that would create a new independent agency to set the rules for mortgages and place tight restrictions on how large lenders conduct their business. Even though he lacks bipartisan support for the bill, Dodd says he's moving forward to reach a compromise that can be passed. But already, mortgage industry groups are voicing their concerns with the reform package - the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in particular.

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Fed Holds Key Interest Rate Near Zero

The Federal Reserve offered the same guarded outlook and careful phrasing that the markets have been hearing for several months when its board members emerged from their meeting Tuesday. The committee voted to hold its benchmark federal funds interest rate at 0 to 0.25 percent. And although some analysts are growing uneasy with the Fed's pledge of indefinitely low rates, policymakers reasserted that ""economic conditions will warrant exceptionally low levels for an extended period."" The central bank also stuck by its plan to cease purchases of mortgage bonds at the end of this month.

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Five Star Announces Move into Commercial

The Five Star Institute (FSI) is carving out its place in the commercial real estate sector. FSI is hosting its first-ever Commercial Default 360 conference, from April 5-7 in Dallas, Texas. The conference provides a forum for mortgage default servicing professionals to collaborate with key asset stakeholders from the commercial real estate sector, to address the challenges the market faces in the wake of rising delinquencies, complex commercial mortgage restructurings, looming foreclosures, and swollen portfolios of repossessed assets.

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Failed Bank Exec First to be Charged with TARP Fraud

Over the weekend, regulators closed down Manhattan's Park Avenue Bank, citing ineffective management and inadequate capital. And on Monday morning, the failed bank's former president and chief executive, Charles J. Antonucci Sr., found himself in handcuffs - the first person to be charged by the federal government with defrauding the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

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LPS Asset Management Launches Short Sale Service

With short sales gaining in popularity among lenders and homeowners alike, and the implementation date of the administration's Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program just around the corner, Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is making moves to help servicers respond to short sale offers more efficiently. The Florida-based technology provider announced the launch of its professional short sale service Tuesday.

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Ginnie Mae Issuance Tops $29 Billion in February

The Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) guaranteed more than $29.3 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in February, the association announced Monday. Total single-family issuance for February was more than $28 billion, Ginnie Mae's multifamily MBS issuance was more than $730 million.

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Sen. Dodd Unveils Financial Reform Bill

Sen. Christopher Dodd introduced legislation Monday that outlines a revamp of the nation's financial regulatory system. The long-awaited reform bill calls for the creation of an ""independent"" Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate mortgages and other loan products. It also establishes a systemic risk council, which has the authority to force complex firms to divest some of their holdings if they become ""too big to fail,"" and it requires the largest financial firms to contribute to a $50 billion fund that would be used to pay for future financial collapses.

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U.S. RMBS Losses to Increase as Government Programs Expire

With the expiration of several key government support programs looming, loss severities on distressed U.S. residential mortgage loans are likely to escalate, Fitch Ratings recently reported. The expiration in the coming months of both the homebuyer tax credit and the Federal Reserve's $1.25 trillion mortgage-backed securities (MBS) purchase program will increase negative pressure on home prices and loss severities.

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Leaders Convene at ‘Neighborhood Stabilization Boot Camp’

In an effort to develop new strategies for stabilizing neighborhoods that experience large numbers of foreclosures, dozens of local officials from 12 of the regions hit hardest by the housing crisis are meeting at Harvard University this week for the Neighborhood Stabilization Boot Camp.

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Equator’s Active Short Sales Top 125,000

Default servicing software provider Equator announced Monday that the company's platform is automating over 125,000 active short sales. Short sales are becoming an increasingly vital strategy for lenders in their struggle to clear underperforming assets. Equator stresses that the keys to a successful short sale are accessibility, responsiveness, communication and fulfillment.

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