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Mortgage Rates Near Record Lows: Freddie Mac

Amid stabilization within the housing market, Freddie Mac reported Thursday that mortgage rates continued to inch down this week, hovering near record lows, with 30-year rates falling to 4.93 percent. ""Mortgage rates eased for the second week, while economic data releases suggest that the housing market may be in a slow state of recovery,"" said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist.

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Foreclosure.com Awards Scholarships for Solutions to Foreclosure Crisis

More than 1,000 current and college-bound students nationwide answered the call during the 2009 Foreclosure.com scholarship program, submitting essays on ""How to Solve the Foreclosure Crisis."" The Florida-based company awarded a total of $9,000 in scholarships to five students for their innovative ideas on how to curb the distress in the housing market.

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TriNovus Introduces Solution for Bank Compliance With SAFE Act Regulations

The launch of StartSAFE, a comprehensive solution to aid banks in meeting the compliance requirements of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act), was announced Wednesday by TriNovus, LLC, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company focused on delivering relevant technology solutions to the financial marketplace.

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GSEs’ Delinquency Buybacks Create Capital Need

The nation's two largest mortgage financiers have been stuck in the red for some time, and they regularly require cash draws from the Treasury to stay afloat. The GSEs' recent announcements to buy back some $200 billion in seriously delinquent loans from mortgage-backed securities holders over the next few months mean they'll have to come up with some extra cash fast. Analysts at Barclays Capital estimate that Freddie Mac will need to sell off $10 billion to $20 billion of its debt to fund the purchases, while Fannie Mae will need to raise about $60 billion.

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Suitors Line Up after General Growth Properties Rejects $10B Offer

The bankrupt commercial property developer and shopping mall manager General Growth Properties (GGP) has become a hot commodity, with firms lining up to get a piece of the Chicago-based company. On Tuesday, the nation's largest mall-operator, Simon Property Group, Inc. made public a $10 billion unsolicited bid to acquire the rival GGP - a deal that would have pulled the company out of bankruptcy. GGP quickly rejected the offer, and since, speculation has run rampant about other investment firms that may soon come knocking.

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Hope for Homeowners Has New Life

Following multiple revisions and dismal closings, the Hope for Homeowners (H4H) program may experience revitalization. Irvine, California-based Banker's Portfolio, LLC, an innovative solution provider for the resolution of distressed assets, has secured a forward commitment for the purchase of the H4H securities and is rolling out the H4H product to existing mortgage investors, loan servicers, and asset managers as an alternative to foreclosure.

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FHFA Proposes New Housing Goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has sent a proposed rule to the Federal Register establishing new housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) gave FHFA authority to establish annual performance goals for the two mortgage giants. These goals set the minimum percentage of mortgage acquisitions by the GSEs for certain borrower income groups.

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Appraisal Review Technology Released by FNC

In an effort to make appraisal review more efficient, FNC, Inc., a mortgage technology company headquartered in Oxford, Mississippi, recently released the GARR Viewer, which works hand-in-hand with one of its flagship products--the Generally Accepted Appraisal Rules (GAAR) software.

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New FHA Appraisal Guidelines Take Effect

The new Appraiser Independence requirements for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans officially took effect February 15, 2010. Originally planned for a January 1 implementation, the enactment was delayed to provide the FHA and lenders with additional time to adjust systems to accommodate the changes. The new rules are similar the the GSEs' HVCC, and market participants are expecting the same type of pushback to surface.

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Servicers Nearly Double Permanent HAMP Modifications

Mortgage servicers have significantly stepped up efforts to convert trial modifications to permanent status under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), nearly doubling the number in just one month's time. The U.S. Treasury released its January report card Wednesday and it showed that 116,297 homeowners are now in permanent modifications. Another 76,482 have been extended offers for a permanent restructuring, needing only the borrower's signature to complete the conversion. The Treasury said the data ""marked record progress.""

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