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Fed Purchases $20B in Agency MBS

The New York Federal Reserve Bank purchased $20 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from government agencies last week. Total MBS purchases since the Fed program began in early January now stands at $237 billion.

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Existing-Home Sales Hit 4.72M Pace in February

Existing-home sales increased in February, reversing losses in January, according to a new report released on Monday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Even so, NAR said, sales activity remains relatively soft, reflecting additional layoffs and buyers waiting for housing provisions in the economic stimulus package to take effect.

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Treasury Details Plan for Toxic Mortgages

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday laid out details of its plan to alleviate the toxic mortgage assets weighing heavy on banks’ balance sheets – the fiscal burdens that many argue sent the entire national financial system into its headlong tailspin.

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House Passes 90% Tax on Bailout Bonuses

Compelled by the AIG bonus scandal making headlines this week, on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 328 to 93 to institute a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid by any bank or financial institution that owes the government more than $5 billion in federal bailout money.

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Former Fannie Exec Allnutt Heads New REDC Default Solutions

Irvine, California-based real estate auction company Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC) announced on Thursday the launch of a new division: REDC Default Solutions. The new business group will focus on loss mitigation, REO asset management, and asset valuation for lenders and financial institutions.

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Fannie, Freddie Under Fire for Bonuses

As lawmakers grilled AIG’s CEO on Capitol Hill Wednesday about executives receiving bonuses from taxpayer dollars, the Wall Street Journal:http://www.wsjonline.com reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also handing out sizable bonuses as retention payments to thousands of employees.

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Wayne County Sheriff Resumes Foreclosure Sales

Sheriff Warren Evans of Wayne County, Michigan announced this week that he is resuming foreclosure sales. Evans halted all foreclosure sales in his jurisdiction on February 2nd, in anticipation of a foreclosure relief plan from the federal government.

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Mortgage Rates Near Record Lows

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) today, in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.98 percent (0.7 points) for the week ending March 19, 2009.

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