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Citigroup’s CEO and COO Resign

One day after posting better-than-expected-albeit reduced-Q3 quarterly earnings, Citigroup announced the resignations of CEO Vikram Pandit and president and COO John P. Havens. Pandit's sudden and unexpected announcement has some analysts and investors baffled. Filling Pandit's shoes as CEO is Michael Corbat, who previously served as Citigroup's CEO of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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Fitch Forecasts Continued Improvements for Housing

Fitch Ratings is predicting a continued recovery into 2012, according to a recent report titled U.S. Homebuilding and Construction: The Chalk Line. A slowly growing economy combined with ""somewhat diminished distressed home sales competition, less competitive rental cost alternatives, and new home inventories at historically low levels"" led the ratings agency to predict growth for housing starts and home sales into 2012, with further moderate improvements into 2013.

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Stronger Traffic Boosts Builder Confidence

After jumping 11 points in three months, builder confidence inched up one point in October to 41, remaining at its highest level since June 2006, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Tuesday, matching economist expectations. The October boost was due entirely to a surge in homebuyer traffic in October, as other elements of the index were flat from September.

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Ratings Agency Forecasts a Stronger Year for Short Sales in 2013

Even though the number of foreclosure filings has risen dramatically in recent months in some parts of the country--specifically in judicial states--the ratings agency DBRS expects the total number of foreclosure filings to show evidence of a steady decline in 2013 when compared to 2012. This is due to ""the record number of servicers that are using short sales as their primary loss mitigation tool to prevent delinquent loans from entering foreclosure,"" the agency's analysts said in a research note issued Monday.

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Platinum Data Hires SVP of Sales and Marketing

Platinum Data appointed a former CoreLogic executive to spearhead sales and marketing efforts. Brook Aguilar, who has 11 years of industry experience, will serve as Platinum Data's new SVP of sales and marketing for the mortgage lending channel.

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Home Prices Give Lift to Consumer Spending

A significant increase in home prices helped push Deloitte's Consumer Spending Index up in September, the company reported. The index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending, rose to 3.53 from 3.27 in August. A substantial 10.5 percent bump in housing prices accounted for much of the overall increase.

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HOPE NOW: 5.75M Loan Mods Since 2007, Short Sales Up in August

August data from HOPE NOW revealed mortgage servicers gave an estimated 75,968 homeowners permanent loan modifications during the month. In July, total loan modifications was higher at 82,679. HOPE NOW also reported the industry has seen 5.75 million loan modifications since 2007. Of those modifications, about 4.68 million were proprietary loan modifications, while more than 1 million were from HAMP.

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ACLU Files Suit Against Morgan Stanley for Alleged Discrimination

The American Civil Liberties Union announced it has filed a suit against Morgan Stanley on the grounds of loan discrimination. The complaint filed by the ACLU, the National Consumer Law Center, and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein alleges Morgan Stanley discriminated against black homeowners and violated civil rights laws by providing incentives to a subprime lender to originate mortgages that were likely to be foreclosed on.

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Manhattan Real Estate Attorney Gets 51 Months in Prison

A Manhattan real estate attorney was sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in a $9 million mortgage fraud scheme, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced Friday. U.S. District Judge Naomi R. Buchwald sentenced Eric Finger, 47, of Mineola, New York, in Manhattan federal court. Through Finger's scheme, he and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained more than $9 million in mortgage loans to purchase dozens of residential properties throughout New York City and Long Island, with most of the loans going into default, according to a release.

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