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Equator Launches PRO REO Solution Aimed at Middle Market

Equator, a Los Angeles-based software provider for the default servicing industry, announced Monday the launch of its new Professional REO solution. The company explained that PRO REO encompasses all the power and best practices of Equator's enterprise REO application in an affordable, quick and easy to adopt solution for the middle market.

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Founder of Citadel Capital Advisors Joins Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc., a global investment banking firm with regional headquarters in New York, announced Friday that it has appointed Steve Abrahams as managing director and head of securitization and mortgage-backed securities research within the firm's global markets division.

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Centerline Restructures Outstanding Debt, Restores Financial Stability

New York-based Centerline Capital Group, a real estate asset management and financial services firm and subsidiary of Centerline Holding Company, announced Monday that it completed a series of transactions with Island Capital Group, LLC, an international merchant banking firm headquartered in New York, and its creditors and preferred shareholders.

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SAFE Act Concerns are Voiced

Many lending groups have expressed serious concerns about several proposed regulations under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act). To address these concerns, a number of national and local trade groups, led by the Mortgage Bankers Association, filed a comprehensive comment letter with HUD on Friday. While the groups support aspects of the proposal, the letter says HUD is exceeding its statutory authority under the SAFE Act by establishing a backup system and determining whether state laws meet the SAFE Act's minimum requirements.

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Congressman Calls for Second Lien Write-Downs

As servicers step up efforts to modify loans and keep borrowers in their homes, many are tripping over stumbling blocks in the form of home equity loans and other second lien mortgages. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank has sent out a petition to some of the nation's largest junior lien holders demanding that they take ""immediate steps to write down second mortgages"" to create a clear path for sustainable loan restructurings, especially since the prospect for any real return on these seconds is negligible, Frank says.

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Mortgage Litigation Surges in Fourth Quarter

Driven by legal actions against mortgage modification firms, overall mortgage litigation hit its highest level yet last quarter, according to recent industry study by the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Patton Boggs, LLP. The firm's analysis shows that loan modification cases more than doubled in the last three months of 2009 - and it appears the trend will persist as state and federal agencies continue to crack down on foreclosure rescue fraud.

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Regulators Shut Down Four Community Banks

The FDIC's failed bank list continues to build. It now stands at 26 for the year, after regulators shut the doors on four more institutions over the weekend - in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and Utah. Just over two months into the year, and already 2010's failures exceed the 2008 full-year total of 25. This latest round of closures is expected to cost the FDIC an estimated $304 million.

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CMBS Delinquencies Propelled by Five-Year Loans

The 29 basis-point (bp) increase in delinquencies to 6.26 percent at the end of February was driven in large part by upcoming maturities from U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) deals originated in 2005, according to Fitch Ratings. The agency says these five-year loans will have difficulty refinancing this year as liquidity remains limited, and warns that in many cases, sponsors will have to either contribute additional equity or look to their servicers for extensions and modifications.

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RE/MAX Enhances Educational Platform

Although 2010 is expected to be a better year than 2009, the downturn in real estate isn't over yet. In an effort to prepare agents for challenges in the market, RE/MAX, a global real estate company based in Denver, has expanded and enhanced its educational platform--RE/MAX University.

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KBW Hires New Head of Real Estate Investment Banking

Investment bank KBW, Inc. is bolstering its real estate business with the addition of Michael Errichetti as managing director and head of its real estate investment banking team. Errichetti previously spent over 25 years at JP Morgan, advising clients and raising capital for large real estate transactions.

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