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Mods Make Sense

Ocwen's Paul Koches offers insight into the industry's slow pace when it comes to mortgage modifications. Koches says the assumption that servicers make more money from foreclosures than modifications just isn't true. He explains the operational and technical obstacles that can hamper the modification process and offers concrete imperatives that could streamline and accelerate the loan modification drive.

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Keystone Asset Management Joins Forces With RealtyTrac

In an effort to better market its foreclosed property listings, Lansdale, Pennsylvania-based Keystone Asset Management, a national provider of comprehensive REO, default management, and property valuation services, recently partnered with Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac, Inc.

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Valligent Releases New Appraiser Price Opinion Solution

Valligent, a provider of property valuation and risk management solutions, released a new valuation suite Wednesday that the company says is aimed at ""ending the real estate industry's addiction to broker price opinions."" The company argues that BPOs have contributed to a ""crisis of confidence"" and notes that they are considered illegal in 23 states.

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California-Based Companies Form Joint Venture to Facilitate Short Sales

In response to the overwhelming amount of foreclosures that could have been avoided through a short sale, Retreat Capital Management Group, a provider of loss mitigation and outsourced fulfillment solutions, and First Team National Default Solutions have formed a joint venture to manage the short sale segment of the loss management process.

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Freddie Mac Reports $7.8B Loss for Q4

Freddie Mac reported Wednesday that it lost $7.8 billion, or $2.39 per diluted common share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. The three-month results pushed the GSE's full year net loss to $25.7 billion. For the third consecutive quarter, the mortgage financier said it doesn't need any additional capital from the Treasury, but indicated that might change as early as next month, and warned that conditions could worsen with a ""potential large wave of foreclosures"" still expected.

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MIAC Launches New Corporate Web Site

In an effort to provide mortgage market participants with information critical to their success, Mortgage Industry Advisory Corporation (MIAC), a New York-based provider of FAS 157 fair market valuations, mortgage risk hedging, and accounting solutions, has launched phase I of its new corporate Web site.

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Trepp Announces Acquisition of Foresight Analytics

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, New York-based Trepp, LLC, an independent provider of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and commercial mortgage information, confirmed Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Foresight Analytics, LLC, an Oakland, California-based provider of real estate market consulting services.

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Commercial Mortgage Defaults Hit 16-Year High

The default rate on commercial real estate mortgages held by U.S. banks closed out 2009 more than double what it was a year earlier. Real Capital Analytics has reported that the default rate on loans made for office, retail, hotel, and industrial spaces shot up to 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to 1.6 percent for the same period in 2008. Defaults on multifamily mortgages soared even higher - a staggering 250 percent - with the rate jumping from 1.8 percent to 4.4 percent.

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California’s Housing Supply Dwindles Despite Increase in Prices

Although the median price for existing homes in California soared 15 percent from January 2009 to January 2010, the state's housing supply continued to decrease, according to a new report from the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.). The organization's unsold inventory index fell to 5.8 months in January, a notable drop from 7.3 months during the same month last year. Home sales declined on a month-to-month basis, but are holding steady at pre-peak levels from early in the last decade.

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MBA Develops Forbearance Program for Unemployed

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has put forth a concept for a new forbearance program that would allow borrowers who've lost their jobs to remain in their homes for up to nine months. MBA cites recent statistics that show it takes the average unemployed worker six to seven months to find a new job. MBA says once new employment is secured, the program would serve as a ""bridge"" for the borrower to be considered for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

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