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January 2005 Archives

Mortgage Employee Beaten to Death
Police near St. Louis believe they are close to making an arrest in the murder of a mortgage company worker.
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Broker Blasts Other Brokers
A broker-turned-blogger is telling prospective borrowers about tricks other brokers play on them. But a spokesman for a mortgage broker trade group suggests the warnings are just an advertisement for her own business.
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Mortgage Industry Outlook
Economists recently discussed their outlook for the mortgage industry -- and its not good. Rates will rise, fundings will fall and more jobs will be cut. But forecasts for home equity originators are much brighter.
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CitiMortgage Caps off Lower 2004 with Strong Q4
CitiMortgage's quarterly volume climbed, while annual production slipped.
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Net Branch Manager Wins $1.3 Million Jackpot
A missed meal turned into more than a million dollars for one unsuspecting mortgage branch manager while on a recent trip to Lake Tahoe.
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4th Quarter Originations Higher, 2004 Lower at SunTrust
As fourth quarter fundings rose to the highest level of 2004 at SunTrust Banks Inc., annual volume was off by almost one-third.
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30-Year at 7% by 2007
Economists' forecasts have the 30-year fixed rate reaching 7% and the 1-year ARM reaching 5.5% by 2007.
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Record Quarter at IndyMac
Volume soared to record-breaking levels at IndyMac Bancorp Inc.
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American Home Claims Bigger Market Share
Fundings, servicing and employee count last year were up from 2003 at American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. While the wholesaler/retailer attributes the impressive performance to a growing market share, surging ARM activity also appears to be related to the rise.
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Fake Co. Formed to Collect Mortgage Payoffs
A businessman accused of forming a fake mortgage company in Texas to collect payoffs pled guilty to mail fraud and money laundering -- crimes that could jail him for up to 40 years.
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The Fifth Element
Abandoning a sales script and addressing the specific needs of prospective borrowers is a key factor promoted by one leading sales training book.
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Merrill Becoming Mortgage Player
Nearly 13,000 brokers are selling mortgages, but they aren't mortgage brokers.
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Study Suggests Subprime Features Fuel Foreclosures
Predatory lending terms, particularly prepayment penalties and balloon payments, significantly raise subprime borrowers' risks of losing their home, according to new research.
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Lead Company Sued Over Mortgage Spamming
The Texas Attorney General has filed a federal lawsuit against two alleged spammers, including a college student, accused of flooding e-mail recipients with offers of mortgage refis and other financial deals.
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Wholesaler Adding Jobs Across Country
The subprime division of ComUnity Lending plans to more than triple its staff base in multiple states during 2005.
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Originator Signs With Buffalo Bills
A New York mortgage consultant plans to maintain his mortgage career while he plays for an NFL team.
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Freddie December Purchases Up, But Year, Quarter Off
Freddie Mac saw its second month of increased business purchases, while its duration gap moved after being unchanged for more than a year.
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In-House Underwriters for Brokers, Net Branches
A net branch company is offering in-house underwriters not only to their own branch managers, but also to mortgage brokers willing to commit a big chunk of their originations to the program. Competing net branch operators, however, caution about some aspects of the move.
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$310 Million Portfolio Trades Hands
Newcastle Investment Corp. acquired a multimillion-dollar portfolio of manufactured home loans.
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American Business Financial Files For Bankruptcy
Unable to fund new mortgages, American Business Financial Services Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
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Former Fairbanks May Find New Owner
Investment bankers have purchased an option to acquire the company formerly known as Fairbanks Capital.
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What You Should Know About Buying Leads
Buying mortgage leads can be a great source of new business for brokers and originators. But beware that unscrupulous lead originators are also out there trolling for new marks.
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Buy, Sell or Restructure?
While mortgage sector mergers, acquisitions and restructurings have been plentiful as of late, some big players have recently announced transactions.
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Subprime Drives Record 2004 RMBS Issuance
Subprime and second mortgage securitizations enabled residential mortgage-backed securities transactions to reach record-breaking levels for the third consecutive year, according to Standard & Poor's.
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Record 2004 at Golden West
Somebody forgot to tell Golden West Financial Corp. that 2003 was the last year of record mortgage production.
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Cardinal to Restate Income
Differences in accounting for the pipeline of loans between Cardinal Financial Corp. and the Fairfax, Virg.-headquartered company it recently acquired have led the company to restate income down by as much as $1 million.
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30-Year Could Reach 6.75% This Year
With long-term rates descending for the third consecutive week, mortgage application activity had its first increase in over a month. But the high end of some top economists' forecasts would leave the 30-year more than a percent higher than current levels.
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Growth is Good
More assets than expected is good, according to one investment banking analyst that upgraded its outlook for shares of an Alt-A REIT.
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Fraud Felon Helps Forestall Forgery
A major mortgage company service provider has partnered with a convicted felon.
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WaMu Quarterly Fundings Edge Higher, Full Year Way Off
Washington Mutual Inc.'s annual volume shrunk by nearly 40%, but subprime originations were strong.
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Fieldstone to Restate Income
The SEC has told Fieldstone Investment Corp. that its interest rate swaps don't qualify for FAS 133, leading to a restatement of income. But the net effect of the restatement will be an increase in net income.
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4th Quarter Higher, Year Off at First Horizon
As it receded, the refi wave soaked up over one-third of First Horizon National Corp.'s annual fundings.
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Business Falls at Chase
Declining conforming production tugged down yearly volume for the mortgage arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., but home equity fundings painted another picture.
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Mortgage Murder Mystery
An Illinois mortgage and property investor charged with murdering his 69-year-old business partner already had a shady history. While working with his son in the mortgage business, both had previously been charged with a felony crime -- but the key witness in that case was murdered.
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Fed Gov Complains About Subprime Brokers
Setting off alarm bells in the subprime sector last week, a Federal Reserve official told reporters that mortgage brokers who make the higher-risk, subprime mortgage loans may lack enough incentive to underwrite them properly.
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Conforming Down, Subprime Double at National City
Even as slashed conforming production pushed annual volume down at National City Corp., production at the subprime unit nearly doubled.
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Wells Claims 'Biggest Home Equity Lender' Title 4th Time
Fundings for the year were down at Wells Fargo & Co. as a result of diminished refinance activity. But interest in ARMS and home equity loans accounted for an increase in quarterly production.
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Quarter Up, Year Down at BoA
Bank of America finished 2004 with higher quarterly fundings, but annual volume was off by over one-third.
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State Farm Mortgage
An 800-pound gorilla is entering the nation's mortgage market.
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Mortgage Banker Adding 100 Jobs This Year
Global Home Loans and Finance increased its staff by 57 percent last year and has plans to grow by at least another 12 percent in 2005.
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Countrywide CEO Tops List
An investor publication has named Angelo Mozilo the best CEO in the mortgage industry.
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S&P Warning Comes as GMAC Mulls New Unit
Forget 'RFC' and 'GMAC'. How about 'RCC'?
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Knowledge is Sales
The steps mortgage originators can take to improve sales have been used for centuries.
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Shareholders, Not Consumers Benefit from GSE Activities
A study by the Federal Reserve says Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have "negligible" effects on reducing costs for mortgage borrowers.
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Group Says Prepayment Penalties Worse for Minorities
Subprime borrowers living in minority neighborhoods are more likely to receive abusive prepayment penalties on their loans than those living in mostly white neighborhoods, according to new research from a fair lending advocacy group.
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New Chiefs to Head Chase Mortgage Units
JP Morgan Chase & Co.'s home finance unit has two new chief executives heading its prime and subprime businesses.
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Lenders Tout Construction Programs
With the once-overflowing river of refinancings gone dry, lenders are looking to drive up purchase business by expanding their repertoire of construction loan programs.
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Former Mayor Now Mortgage Broker
A former New Hampshire mayor is using his political connections to generate business for his new mortgage brokerage company.
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New Century Launches Retail Brand
New Century Financial Corp. has renamed its retail unit and hired a familiar home improvement figure as its new spokesman.
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Rate Watchers Eye Inflation
Rates barely moved this week, with the only uptick occurring in the 5-year hybrid ARM. And while rates are expected to reach 6% until next quarter, upcoming economic data could push them up faster.
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First Franklin Launches Retail Brand
First Franklin has made a move to distinguish its retail and wholesale operations.
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Wisconsin Giving Undocumented Aliens Mortgages
A Wisconsin government agency is conducting a pilot program to provide financing for undocumented immigrants -- and in the process has encountered strong opposition from a state senator who is drafting a bill to stop the program.
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ABN AMRO Reverses Production Spiral
An improved ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc. product menu is credited for the first increase in production since last spring. Among the programs currently in demand are home equity loans, interest-only mortgages and ARMs.
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Borrowers Sue Foreclosure Attorney, Lenders
A group of low income homeowners have banded with a community nonprofit group to take on a Louisiana law firm and a group of mortgage lenders in court.
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Mortgage Co Gives Needy Family 2-Year Free House
"Home for the Holidays" has new meaning this year for the Pressley household. The Detroit family of five won a "mortgage-free" house giveaway sponsored by a local mortgage company. But some prior recipients have complained the company has not followed through with its promises.
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Fidelity, Capital One Announce Upcoming Deals
The latest moves in the game of mortgage monopoly involve not only mortgage operators, but also the companies that service them. And one upcoming transaction will land Capital One in the home equity business.
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Flagstar Quarterly Production Up
Flagstar Bancorp's annual volume was off by over one-third, but the fourth quarter was another story.
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2004 Volume Off at Countrywide
Countrywide Financial Corp. finished the year with less production than the prior year.
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Best Mortgage Employers
FORTUNE magazine released it's latest list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and the highest ranking mortgage-related company pays its originators an average of $165,000 a year.
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First Horizon Inks 2 Stadium Deals
The love affair between the mortgage industry and professional sports appears to show no signs of waning.
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E-LOAN, CDA Boost Warehouse Lines
Two mortgage lenders based in the West have announced warehouse line transactions.
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Record 2004 at New Century
New Century saw record fundings last year -- with production up more than half over 2003. But the company's chief sees less than a 10% increase in originations for 2005.
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1st Lien HELs Growing
Recent trends in home equity lending include the increasing use of first lien HELs, the growing acceptance of HELs from seniors and a rise in 90-day delinquency, according to a report from the nation's consumer bankers.
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Lenders Help Fund Inauguration
Well-heeled members of the mortgage industry are helping throw an expensive inaugural party for President George W. Bush.
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Fitch Ditches Indiana High Cost Loans
Recently enacted high cost loan legislation has led one major agency to stop rating some pools of Indiana mortgages.
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HEL Delinquency Rises
More borrowers struggled to make timely home equity loan payments, but payments on home-secured lines-of-credit and mobile home loans held up, according to a survey of U.S. bankers.
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2nd Mortgage Lender Unloads Portfolio, Shuts Down
While a recently deteriorating second mortgage portfolio reversed a string of profitable years for one Midwest finance company, it was the lack of potential growth in the market that led the parent company to close the unit down.
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How to Make the Perfect Marketing Plan
You do not need to be enlightened with the advantages of a diversified marketing plan if you have spent the past few years feasting on refinances and now are experiencing famine while you attempt to get a grip on the purchase market.
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Mortgage Job Sector Strengthens
Mortgage jobs were on the rise in November.
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30-Year to Stay Below 6% for Q1
The first week of 2005 saw rates fall, and the 30-year should remain below 6% throughout the quarter, according to one industry economist.
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First Franklin Launches Retail Brand
First Franklin has made a move to distinguish its retail and wholesale operations.
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From Riches to Rags
A California mortgage broker who contributed $1 million to buy naming rights at a college sports complex and pledged money for a cancer center is now sitting in a jail cell facing charges in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme. Also accused in the case is a former escrow officer of a major title insurance company.
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Best Mortgage CEOs
A husband and wife duo responsible for one of the ten largest U.S. mortgage originators has been named the top CEOs of 2004 by an investment publication.
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ARMs Gain in Popularity, Despite Lower Benefit
Despite a smaller spread between adjustable rates and fixed rates, ARM share remains strong. And among hybrid ARMs, the 5/1 is the most popular and presents borrowers with the biggest initial savings over a fixed rate mortgage.
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Mortgage Employee Shoots Children, X-Wife, Self
Blame it on the refi meltdown. Blame it on the winter. Blame it on sheer coincidence.
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CA Mortgage Cos Reach Out to Needy
Employees of two California mortgage companies have harnessed the holiday spirit to provide support for Americans in need here and abroad. The beneficiaries even included fellow employees.
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Broker Prevails Over Regulator With License
A mortgage company was granted a brokering and lending license on the third try -- when the state of Virginia overruled a two-time application denial by its banking regulator and additionally ordered it to refine regulations.
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FHA Credit Watch Terminations to Hit Wholesalers
Wholesale lenders and correspondents with high FHA claim and default rates must now face the wrath of HUDs Credit Watch Termination Initiative.
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Pritzkers to See Some of Superior Settlement
One of the nation's top accounting firms will pay $125 million to the federal government for its role in the collapse of a Chicago subprime mortgage lender.
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Acquire Or Be Acquired
The wheels on deals keep spinning with consolidations involving not only mortgage companies, but also vendors that service mortgage companies. And for some of the latest mergers and acquisitions participants, this isn't their only recent deal.
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Web, CD-ROM Offer Origination Training
Licensing and sales are two reasons mortgage loan originators need specialized education -- and at least two companies want to do the educating.
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Mortgage Magnate Lives Childhood Dream With Cavs' Deal
The owner of the nation's largest online home lender has added a sports team to his long list of acquisitions. And his company says a sponsorship deal already in place with a competing team doesn't present a conflict of interest.
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COFI Break Over
The West Coast-based index for adjustable-rate mortgages hurdled over the 2% mark for the first time in fifteen months.
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Hammer the Spammers
While mortgage refinances are out, mortgage spam is still apparently hot.
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From Broker to Banker
Mortgage brokers across the country will soon have another wholesaler to fund their Alt-A and subprime loans.
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CitiFinancial Servicer Rating Upgraded
Improvements during the past two years at CitiFinancial Mortgage Co. have resulted in upgraded subprime servicer ratings.
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