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Existing Home, Condo Sales Skyrocket in Florida

With low mortgage rates as a driving factor, sales of existing single-family homes and condos in Florida surged in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to a recent report by the Florida Association of Realtors. Increased sales of existing homes were reported in 18 of Florida's metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), and all of the Sunshine State's MSAs showed gains in condo sales.

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SigniaDocs Execs Appointed to Key MISMO Posts

Harry Gardner and Charles Epperson of SigniaDocs, a Dallas-based provider of eMortgage services, have been appointed to key posts within MISMO, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that is known as the mortgage industry's pre-eminent standards organization.

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Keystone Completes Market’s First Multi-Borrower CMBS in Two Years

Keystone Property Group, a real estate developer, manager, and investor of office and industrial properties, announced this week that it has completed a $53.5 million refinancing for one of its properties in the Pittsburgh submarket with what the company says is the first multi-borrower commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) deal in nearly two years. With the entire commercial real estate industry concerned about the ability to obtain financing, Keystone says this loan may signify that lending has begun to return to the market.

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BOK Financial Acquires Rights to Service $4 Billion of Mortgages

BOK Financial Corp. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has acquired the rights to service a $4.1 billion portfolio of mortgage loans from Albuquerque, New Mexico's Charter Bank. The acquisition boosts BOK's current $7.4 billion servicing portfolio by 46 percent. The loans are predominantly held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae, with approximately three quarters from customers in New Mexico.

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NAWRB Launches Nonprofit Program

Since its inception in August 2009, the National Association of Women REO Brokerages (NAWRB) has been seeking to launch a nonprofit program. That goal was realized this week with the official incorporation of the NAWRB Community Enhancement program. This nonprofit venture is dedicated to developing infrastructure for parks and community centers in neighborhoods strongly affected by the nation's growing foreclosure rate.

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Wolters Kluwer Helps Mortgage Lenders Embrace H4H Program

Following the recent enhancements to the federal government's HOPE for Homeowners (H4H) program, Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has updated its library of H4H mortgage documents and consumer education materials. HUD's enhanced program includes several provisions meant to increase lender and borrower participation, including reduced program fees, streamlined borrower certification requirements, and new underwriting guidelines.

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Lender Live Settlement Services Experiences Significant Growth

Along with a growth of staff and office space last year, Denver-based LenderLive Network, Inc. said 2009 brought an expansion of product offerings to its LenderLive Settlement Services division. To help servicers reduce costs and complete more loan modifications, the company provides outsourced fulfillment services and is able to seamlessly bundle these services with its title and recording offerings.

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Homebuilder Buys $3B in Troubled Real Estate Loans from FDIC

One of America's largest homebuilders is getting into the loan restructuring business. Lennar Corporation has purchased two loan portfolios from the FDIC worth $3 billion. Lennar paid $243 million for the portfolios, which include 5,500 distressed residential and commercial real estate loans from 22 failed banks. The Miami-based builder says acquiring and working out troubled real estate loans was an ""extremely profitable"" part of its business during the last real estate down cycle.

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Bernanke Gives Blueprint for Stimulus Pull-Back

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday laid out the central bank's plan for exiting the private credit market and pulling back the trillions of dollars its funneled into the economy to stave off a repeat of the Great Depression. Bernanke stressed that the programs were implemented with no cost to taxpayers, have helped to restart the flow of credit, and are already being ""substantially"" phased out.

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Former ProLogis COO Joins Cassidy Turley

According to a recent company announcement, Diane S. Paddison has been appointed as chief strategy officer at Cassidy Turley, a commercial real estate service provider headquartered in St. Louis. In addition, she will serve as a member of the board of directors and the executive committee of the company.

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