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Accurate Title Group Releases Good Faith Estimate Calculator

In response to the new regulations under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Accurate Title Group, LLC (ATG), a full-service appraisal, title insurance, closing, and settlement provider based in Huntersville, North Carolina, recently announced the release of its TAG Good Faith Estimate Calculator (TAG GFE).

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Specialized Asset Management Markets REO Assets on RealtyTrac

To better market its foreclosure listings, Highlands Ranch, Colorado-based Specialized Asset Management LLC (SAM), a national provider of asset marketing and disposition services to mortgage lenders, servicers, and investors, recently partnered with RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace headquartered in Irvine, California.

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Ocwen Backs Principal Reductions, Mandatory Outsourcing to Improve HAMP

Ocwen Financial has one of the industry's most impressive track records when it comes to restructuring loans under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The company is converting trials to permanent mods at a rate that is 10 to 20 times higher than some of the biggest banks, and its re-default rate is under 5 percent. Based on his company's success, Ocwen's president has proposed several changes to improve HAMP, including principal writedowns and requiring underperforming servicers to outsource their HAMP processes.

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Strategic Analytics Joins Interthinx Business Unit

Jersey City, New Jersey-based Verisk Analytics, Inc., a provider of risk assessment solutions, recently purchased Strategic Analytics, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based provider of credit risk and capital management solutions to consumers and mortgage lenders. As a result of this acquisition, Strategic Analytics will be part of the Interthinx business unit, a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics and a provider of risk mitigation and regulatory compliance tools for the financial services industry.

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Company Targets Shadow Inventory with 48-Hour Short Sales

Loan Resolution Corporation said Wednesday that it is implementing a pre-approved short sale program to help the 8 million homeowners who are currently delinquent on their mortgages. The company says its streamlined process can turn a short sale decision within 48 hours.

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Appraisal Institute Publishes First Audio Book

In an effort to help appraisers meet the competency and ethical standards of the profession, the Chicago-based Appraisal Institute, a global membership association of real estate appraisers, has published its first audio book -- ""Scope of Work,"" by Stephanie Coleman.

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Trepp Reports CMBS Delinquencies Are Slowing

Past due loans within commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) rose 23 basis points in February, according to a new report from Trepp LLC. The firm noted that it's the smallest month-to-month rise since September 2009. The brief reprieve is welcome news for an industry struggling with rising defaults and looming loan maturities, but that's tempered by a quick reminder from Trepp that CMBS delinquencies are still setting new records as the highest the industry has seen since the CMBS market took hold.

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Countdown To Buy Launches New Pilot Program

Countdown To Buy, a next-generation online real estate marketplace based in Bethel, Connecticut, announced Wednesday that it has entered into a new pilot program with a banking institution to offer a sampling of foreclosed properties in Texas.

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Bolstered by Refinance Activity, Mortgage Applications Soar 15%

Ending a three-week trend of declines, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that home loan application volume soared 14.6 percent last week. The increase came from a 17 percent jump in refinancing activity, as long-term mortgage rates dipped below the 5 percent threshold. But even with recent upsurges in the refinancing numbers and record-low rates, investment bank Credit Suisse says 37 percent of borrowers with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are still paying on loans with rates of 6 percent or higher.

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FDIC Looks to Fast-Track Sales of Seized Assets as MBS

The FDIC has built up a stockpile of some $40 billion in underperforming real estate loans and other assets seized from failed banks over the past couple of years. The federal agency is a regulator and deposit insurer, not an asset manager, and it doesn't like to hold on to these loan leftovers for very long. But the agency's asset portfolio is growing faster than it can conduct auctions and offload these loans. That's led the FDIC to try a new tactic - package the loans and sell them to investors as securities on the secondary market.

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