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January 2006 Archive

ECC Results Mixed
Annual production defied a quarterly decrease at ECC Capital Corp.

Argent Employees Laid Off
The wholesale subsidiary of America's largest subprime lender laid off hundreds of employees.

REIT to Restructure
A California-based subprime real estate investment trust announced it will consolidate its wholesale and retail operations in a management restructuring.

Mortgage Mergers Maintain Momentum
The latest moves in the game of mortgage Monopoly included a real estate investment trust's initial public offering and the government's approval of banking mergers despite discrimination accusations.

HUD Monitors FHA Underwriters, Originators
Originators and underwriters with high default rates on their FHA-insured mortgages face a revised set of rules.

Mortgage Legend Backs Internet Lead Co.
The father of mortgage-backed securities has thrown some of his millions at an Internet mortgage lead generating company.

OT Lawsuits Filed Against Wells, National City
Two mortgage giants face lawsuits alleging the companies violated federal law by refusing to pay overtime.

Paper Analyzes eNotary Effect on Mortgage Fraud
An improved electronic notary system could go a long way toward reducing mortgage fraud, according to a white paper by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor.

Down Payment Assistance Under Fire
The federal government is seeking an injunction against an Illinois-based downpayment assistance organization that it says wrongly promotes seller-paid assistance as tax deductible.

Texas Fund for Broker Victims
Borrowers defrauded by licensed mortgage brokers and originators in the state of Texas have a place to turn to recover money when all other efforts have failed.

Company Closes Correspondent Channel
A Houston-based mortgage lender has shut down its correspondent lending division.

Best Online Home Equity Lenders
Many of the best home equity lending Web sites leave room for improvement -- with more than a third quickly driving prospective customers away.

IndyMac Shines
Fueled by correspondent Alt-A production, IndyMac Bancorp reported record quarterly and annual originations.

Rates, Apps Up
Traffic continued to increase at mortgage shops, while rates started the upward path they are expected to follow throughout the year.

American Home Originations Contracting
Production edged down during the fourth quarter for American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. and may dip further.

Cost Cutting Prompts WaMu Layoffs
Washington Mutual's plan to move some of its functions offshore has resulted in mortgage job layoffs in South Carolina. The repositioning is part of a bigger plan to make the thrift leaner, more efficient and more profitable.

VA Volume Plummets
Annual volume insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs shrunk by 44 percent.

Mortgage Bankers Look Forward
Flattened growth for subprime lending, a moderate increase in interest rates and more funds to fight mortgage fraud are some of the points made yesterday at the Mortgage Bankers Association's 2006 Advocacy Agenda. MBA's top officials highlighted the issues and initiatives that the real estate finance industry will address in 2006.

Pregnant Originator Survives Brutal Attack
The phone call is chilling.
read about stabbing
Irwin May Shed Conforming Ops
Reduced operating margins may force Irwin Financial Corp. to sell its conforming mortgage business.

Fraud Among Top Mortgage Banking Issues
U.S. mortgage bankers have placed mortgage fraud among the top issues to be dealt with this year.

Successful Sales Profile
A Chicago grandmother outsells all of the other salespeople at the car dealership she works for. Her approach, which earns her birthday cards and gifts after the sale from her customers, appears rooted in building trust.

New First Horizon CEO
A new chief now presides over First Horizon Home Loan Corp.

RMBS Volume Soars in 2005
Led by Alt-A activity, the volume of residential mortgage-backed securities transactions broke a record for the fourth consecutive year, according to an analysis of RMBS transactions.

Record Year at Golden West
Golden West Financial Corp. achieved milestone yearly fundings while failing to improve on the prior quarter.

Freddie Business Declines
Quarterly volume waned, but 2005 secondary purchases improved over the prior year for Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Mergers, Etc.
While small banks dominated the most recent mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and corporate transactions, one mortgage banking firm announced plans to divest its conforming operations.

Foreclosure Activity Heating Up
The rate of foreclosures increased every quarter throughout 2005 -- with the Sunshine State leading the way.

Ameriquest Finalizes Settlement
The process of selecting our next ambassador to Amsterdam may now proceed.

photo of Steve Dannenmann

Poker Broker
A Maryland mortgage broker's gamble and a trip to Las Vegas earned him more than $4 million.

Broker Loses License for Lying to Lenders
Georgia regulators have revoked the license from a mortgage broker who had allegedly broken the law by not disclosing information to lenders and state examiners.

BoA Business Buckles
A decrease in quarterly mortgage production contributed to lower annual originations at Bank of America Corp.

Nonprime Delinquency Spikes in Some Areas
Higher nonprime default rates are plaguing dozens of cities.

$200k Judgment Against Lead Company
A California-based mortgage lead company has obtained a $200,000 judgment against an online competitor that copied its ads.

Baltimore Beats Real Estate Bandits
A law enforcement crackdown and media-generated awareness has cooled the former mortgage-fraud hotbed of Baltimore.

Citi Business Off
Citigroup Inc. didn't increase quarterly mortgage volume but did manage to boost annual fundings.

Broker Adding 100 NY Jobs
A mortgage broker's relocation is creating job opportunities for salespeople and telemarketers in the Empire State.

Best Managed Mortgage Companies
There was no shortage of mortgage-related companies on the latest list of the nation's best-performing companies.

Quarterly Fundings Tumble at First Horizon
Despite decreased volume in the final quarter of 2005, First Horizon National closed more loans last year than in 2004.

Rates, Apps Improve
Mortgage shops completed more refinance applications as long-term rates rolled to the lowest point in three months.

Volume at Wachovia Wanes
While quarterly fundings fell for Wachovia Corp., annual mortgage closings climbed.

Bank Unloads Long-Term Portfolio
A $383 million portfolio of one-to-four-family first mortgages is trading hands.

Chase Fundings Fall
Chase Home Finance's quarterly and yearly production dropped.

Freddie Buys e-Mortgage
Secondary mortgage lender Freddie Mac has taken a step further into the future.

Lead Co. Looking for Partner
A California Internet mortgage lead company has put out the word that it's looking to partner with another company.

Subprime Casualties
A number of nonprime mortgage lenders have recently decided to trim their operations, and profit margin pressures have led yet another mortgage player to do so. This time around, a California-based wholesaler will shed about 10 percent of its workforce with its exit from the subprime business.

Volume Drifts Down at Downey
Quarterly and annual originations were down at Downey Financial Corp.

Credit Agency Settles Charges of Sloppy Merged Reports
A Utah-based credit reporting agency will pay thousands of dollars to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges that it allegedly did not verify data when creating a credit report for FHA borrowers, some of whom have defaulted on the loans.

Lender Sued Over Inflated Appraisal
A West Virginia woman will get a chance to tell a jury her side of the story in a case in which she has accused a mortgage lender of appraisal fraud.

National City Production Down
Led by a contraction in conforming originations, quarterly and annual fundings fell at National City Corp. -- which indicated it may be prospecting for possible acquisitions.

Wells Ends 2005 With Bang
Wells Fargo & Co. pushed quarterly fundings to the highest level this year, while annual volume was the second-highest ever.

Selling to Women
Women can be deeply loyal customers but respond differently than men to various sales and marketing techniques. One book on the subject identifies these differences and discusses how to address them.

Mortgage Branker
A California-based net branch lender has launched a new venture that promises to make the transition from mortgage broker to mortgage banker easier.

Net Branch Originator Entertains Audiences
When he's not taking mortgage loan applications, one New Jersey originator entertains television, movie and live audiences.

photo of Paul Wheeler

Servicer Adding 150 Jobs
Enticed by nearly $2 million from the local government, a Scottsbluff, Neb.-based mortgage servicer plans to remain in the city and add 150 new employees over the next two years.

Several Banking, Mortgage Technology Deals
Two technology transactions topped this week's coverage of mortgage mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity.

Nonprime Wholesaler Launched
The former wholesale president of one of America's largest subprime lenders, who started out as an account executive at the company, has launched a new wholesale lender. The company offers nonprime and option ARM programs.

South Drives Foreclosure Spike
As new foreclosures rose during December, the inventory jumped by the highest amount since March 2005.

REIT to Acquire Mortgage Banker
A day after disappointing investors with news of missed earnings targets, American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. announced it will acquire an Indiana origination operation.

Best Broker in Washington
A Washington mortgage broker who is proactive in real estate finance legislation and believes bad apples should be weeded out of the industry has been recognized by his peers as the best broker in the state.

Falling Rates Finally Stimulate Applications
More mortgage shoppers responded to declining rates that aren't expected to fall much further.

MortgageIT Cutting Subprime Jobs
Subprime production fell at MortgageIT Holdings Inc., and the company plans to close half of its subprime branches -- cutting jobs in the process.

REIT Warns About Earnings
Earnings won't be as good as previously projected for a New York-based mortgage company. But the lopsided secondary market conditions in December responsible for the disappointing results aren't expected to continue.

Shareholders Sue Nonprime REIT
Shareholders are suing a California-based real estate investment trust, claiming they were lied to about the true financial condition of the company.

Party for Agents Ends in HUD Settlement
It was some party that a Hawaii-based real estate firm threw for top mortgage-referring real estate agents.

Broker Convicted of Homicide
A Florida mortgage broker is going to prison after a jury found him guilty of killing a man and seriously injuring his wife in a 2003 auto accident.

HEL, Mfg Housing Delinquency Down
Reversing the trend of rising delinquencies in the first half of 2004, more people paid their home equity loans on time during the most recent quarter. But signs of financial stress may interrupt the improvement.

Flagstar Floundering
Fundings fell at Flagstar Bancorp, and no signs of recovery are on the horizon.

2005 Countrywide Fundings Nearly Half Trillion
Countrywide Financial Corp. reversed a three-month production decline but came up short for the quarter. Annual originations, however, met a new milestone.

Best Mortgage Employers
More than one in ten of the best places to work is mortgage-linked.

Ocwen Hit With Biggest Judgment Ever
A Texas attorney has handed Florida-based Ocwen Financial Corp. a one-two punch by obtaining the two largest legal verdicts ever against the company.

Cost of Credit Scores
It takes as little as a one point difference in a credit score to almost double the interest charges a borrower pays over the life of a mortgage loan.

Rock'n Financial
A group of originators working for a Michigan mortgage lender put together a band, practiced in the drummer's basement for six months and made it all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
read news story

State Stops Fictitious Financier's Foreclosure
It took a court order obtained by the Massachusetts attorney general to prevent an alleged bogus mortgage lender from foreclosing on the home of a 71-year-old woman.

New Century Originations Off
New Century Financial Corp. saw quarterly volume drop.

Unrelentless Rising Rates
The 6-month London Interbank Offer Rate and the Monthly Treasury Average continued their relentless climb in December.

How to Be Part of 20% Doing 80% of Sales
Recognizing the right attributes, developing the right style and formulating the right plan are among the many sales success ideas discussed in one book -- which emphasizes that each salesperson should focus on his or her unique strengths.

ECC Cutting Hundreds of Jobs
A California-based subprime lender announced more than 400 of its employees will be laid off this quarter as a result of a reorganization.

Lender Plans 100 New MN Jobs
The operator of a Colorado mortgage company wants to expand into the Minnesota town where he was raised.

Subprime Mortgage Company Robbed
The masked man who entered the Clemson, S.C., office of a subprime mortgage company on Dec. 6 didn't want a mortgage loan. But he was after money.

Mortgage Employment Ends Record Streak
Mortgage jobs may have topped out.

ARM Originations Plunge
The share of mortgages that were adjustable rate tumbled during the latest week.

Mortgage Company Loses Lawsuit
A Colorado court has ruled against a mortgage company that allegedly deceived delinquent borrowers into giving up their homes.

Free Fraud Prevention
A Florida company is giving away free fraud prevention services.

ARM Share Maintains Despite Disappointing Discounts
Despite a flattening yield curve, the share of adjustable rate originations has remained near a decade-high level.

Bank Warns of Impending Charge
A North Carolina-based bank is anticipating a significant credit loss as a result of loans made in violation of the bank's lending policies.

Luminent Shakes Up RMBS Portfolio
Luminent Mortgage Capital expects to take a $112 million charge against fourth quarter 2005 earnings.

ABN AMRO Settles FHA Fraud Charges
ABN AMRO Mortgage Group has agreed to the largest FHA settlement ever.

NovaStar Names New CEO
NovaStar Mortgage Inc. has a new chief.

Subsidiary of Wall Street Giant Faces FTC Inquiry
The Federal Trade Commission has opened a probe into a Texas-based subprime servicer.

Yield Curve Sharpens
The biggest mortgage banking producer in Texas, who does business in a not-so-big town, says new construction and homebuilder loans have each played a lead role in her success.

Dead Fraud
Two previously convicted mortgage brokers have been indicted for using the identities of dead people to commit mortgage fraud. But neither has yet been apprehended.

Big Texas Producer
The biggest mortgage banking producer in Texas, who does business in a not-so-big town, says new construction and homebuilder loans played lead roles in production.

biggest Texas mortgage banker
Countrywide Targeted in La. Investigation
Hurricane-affected borrowers are upset about the way mortgage companies have been treating them, and Louisiana is doing something about it.

COFI at Highest Level Since 2001
Continuing an ugly ascent, the cost of funds index rose 12 basis points during the latest month.

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