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Mortgage Insurers Receive GSE Approval

Fannie Mae has approved four new mortgage insurers to provide mortgage insurance for conventional first mortgage loans, according to a lender letter released Thursday. Two of these mortgage insurers also received approval to do business with Freddie Mac.

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Obama Pledges $1.5B for Unemployed and Underwater Homeowners

The administration unveiled a new initiative to help the nation's hardest hit housing markets. President Obama is allocating $1.5 billion for states where unemployment is high and home prices have fallen more than 20 percent. While national indicators point to housing stabilization, local conditions vary considerably. Obama is setting up an ""innovation fund"" for state agencies to develop their own loan modification assistance programs for underwater and unemployed homeowners.

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Delinquencies, New Foreclosures Fall: Is this the Beginning of the End?

The national residential delinquency rate and new foreclosures initiated both dropped in the fourth quarter. Is it a sign that the industry has finally turned the corner on the housing crisis? The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) says yes. ""We are likely seeing the beginning of the end,"" Jay Brinkmann, MBA's chief economist, said. According to MBA, the delinquency rate has fallen to 9.47 percent, down 17 basis points from the third quarter of 2009. Foreclosure starts are down 22 basis points.

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Federal Realty Promotes Dawn Becker to COO, EVP

Federal Realty Investment Trust, an equity real estate investment trust headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, recently promoted Dawn Becker to COO and EVP of the company. Becker, who has been with Federal Realty for 13 years, was hired in 1997 to provide deal structuring and legal guidance to support the company's acquisition efforts.

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Homeowners Pessimistic on Property Values: Zillow

American homeowners have historically been particularly sanguine about real estate values, making their perceptions far from the reality of late. But the severity of the housing downturn appears to be finally setting in for homeowners nationwide, according to a new report from real estate data provider Zillow. Just one in five believe their property value increased during 2009, but Zillow says in fact, 28 percent of homes appreciated during the year.

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Study Examines Effects of Foreclosure on Latino Families

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Community Capital have released a study which uses interviews with Latino families who have suffered a foreclosure to shed light on the damage inflicted by the loss of their home.

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The National Groups Expands Executive Team

The National Groups, the parent company of the National Default Servicing, LLC suite of mortgage service operations, announced Thursday that Mitchell Oringer and Richard T. Fikani have joined the firm, filling two new leadership positions.

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Ginnie Mae Guarantees More than $38 Billion MBS in January

In an announcement Wednesday, the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) said it guaranteed more than $38.1 billion in mortgage-backed securities in January. The corporation also said the single-family loans in Ginnie Mae-guaranteed securities that were 90-days or more delinquent fell to 2.

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Wells Fargo Doubles Permanent HAMP Modifications

Wells Fargo & Co. announced Wednesday that as of January 31, 2010, it had 137,128 active trial and completed modifications in place under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Of these, 17,652 were permanent modifications--double the number of permanent modifications reported as of the end of December, and 7,554 were permanent modifications pending completion.

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Foreclosure Activity in California is Up Again as Stalemate Continues

With hundreds of thousands of California homeowners in foreclosure, a stalemate continues as only a small percentage reach the end of the process and the time to foreclose stretches. New data from locally-based ForecloureRadar shows that the time from notice of default to trustee sale in California has increased from 146 days in August 2008, to 229 days in January 2010, because lenders are increasingly delaying foreclosures to work through loan modifications and other foreclosure alternatives.

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