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Lost in Translation
Five mortgage companies have settled allegations of deceptive advertising after the ads they ran in a Spanish-language newspaper were found to be missing key disclosure information.

Imprisoned Originator Gets More Time
A Maryland mortgage broker already in prison for stealing from clients is in trouble again for collecting refinance fees up front on loans where he had no chance of delivering the deals he promised.
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NovaStar Expands Wholesale Operation
A new wholesale operation in Utah will result in the addition of hundreds of jobs at NovaStar Mortgage.
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DC Firm Settles Predatory Charges
Among the accusations against Capital City Mortgage Corp. were claims that the company added phony charges to borrowers' monthly statements.
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Prison Time Growing for Fraud Criminals
The government reports that the number of people who went to jail for mortgage fraud last year was at a three year high, and a healthy real estate market is only drawing more scrutiny to these crimes.
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Mortgage Bankers Discuss Offshore Servicing
Mortgage companies in the United States that embrace offshoring, the practice of hiring workers in other countries (most often India) to perform customer service and "back-room" operations, boast of significant cost savings. But, they also tell stories of strict security measures deemed necessary to protect sensitive data -- and American feelings.
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Most Admired Mortgage Companies
In FORTUNE magazine's latest list of America's Most Admired Companies, the parent of a mobile home loan lender ranked among the top 10, and within the mortgage services industry, Washington Mutual was dethroned by another thrift.
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Rates May Fall
As rates continued their ascent, one economist believes they'll veer from this course in the next few weeks.
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AEs Push Option One Production Higher
The addition of new wholesale account executives sparked a jump in volume for Option One Mortgage Corp.
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TV News Reporter Turns Originator
A former consumer advocate reporter for CBS and NBC who was fired for his criticisms of California's governor has become a loan originator on a mission to protect borrowers from corrupt lenders.
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Freddie Business Off
Mortgage loans purchased on the secondary market by Freddie Mac fell in January.
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Fannie Ads Slashed, More Accounting Woes
Fannie Mae's regulator has found more accounting practices that are not consistent with generally accepted accounting principles. And an approved recapitalization plan slashes spending on advertising and lobbying.
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Fannie, Freddie Forced to Fight Fraud
The reins have once again been tightened at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this time with their regulator proposing that the two companies be required to report fraud.
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Mortgage Broker, Doctor in Lawsuit Over Kid's Hockey
Seventh grade youth hockey player Jordan Hale, the son of Maine mortgage broker, had just finished playing a game when a man burst into his team's locker room.
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Wachovia Adding 100s of Originators
Job hunters along the Eastern sea board should now have an easier time spotting openings -- Wachovia Corp. plans to fill hundreds of loan sales positions this year.
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Fannie Business Continues Slide
The nation's largest secondary lender saw its volume drop every month in the fourth quarter and chopped in half for the year.
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Countrywide Restates Income
Countrywide Financial Corp. has restated its unaudited earnings -- moving a portion of income from 2004 to 2005. The restatement reflects a change in its recognition of gain on sale earnings.
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Dynex Accused of Hiding Repos
A Virginia REIT has been accused in a class action federal lawsuit of securities fraud in connection with a bond issue collateralized by manufactured housing loans.
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Strategic Selling
Good loan originators understand their customers' needs and available mortgage programs. But the authors of one book believe success in sales is based on three premises that focus on the ability to adapt in a changing environment.
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The Credit Score
As credit score calculations have expanded to include less traditional data, the score has become a requirement for government-insured loans. But borrowers should treat these three-digit numbers as assets because there are plenty of criminals that will steal them.
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FBR Now an Originator
Recent mergers include the closing of an investment banker's acquisition of an originator and a management buyout.
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Financial Freedom Reports Record
The nation's largest reverse mortgage lender had a record-breaking 2004.
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IndyMac Stands Out
In a letter to, an IndyMac Bank executive criticized a comparison with Accredited Home Lenders -- noting that thrifts like IndyMac have always received significantly higher P/E multiples than mortgage banks and securitizers.
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Spouses Compete for Originations
With more married couples than one might find on the set of the Newlywed Game, a Miami, Fla.-based lender is finding that mortgages and marriages can go hand in hand.
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Rates Up, Apps Stagnant
Refinance application volume ascended for the third consecutive week, while the 30-year rose the first time this year.
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2004 Thrift Production Off
A strong fourth quarter was not enough to generate record thrift originations for all of 2004, but the sector did achieve record earnings last year.
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Flat Fee Net Branching
In an effort to attract mortgage brokers to its company, one net branch operation charges only a flat monthly fee to its branches. But competitors have some cautionary comments about the concept.
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Ms Daisy Writer Drives Mortgage Company Out of Business
The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Driving Miss Daisy allegedly drove his son-in-law out of the mortgage business, according to a federal law suit.
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American Residential Adding Hundreds of Jobs
In its transition from a mortgage broker to a mortgage banker, American Residential Funding Inc. announced expansion plans that include the addition of mortgage banking positions and loan originators.
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Mortgage Investors Out $20 Million
Following the death of her husband, Gloria Morrison had the painstaking task of sorting through the financial details of the mortgage company he founded. But what she found led her to send the company into receivership.
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LTVs Rising for New Retirees
Borrowers approaching retirement now and in the future will have higher mortgage balances and higher loan-to-values than older homeowners, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. But for older married couples, the home equity numbers improve.
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Ousted Fannie Exec Tops CFO List
Institutional Investor Magazine has named Timothy Howard -- who resigned from beleaguered Fannie Mae late last year amid accounting concerns -- as the top mortgage-related chief financial officer.
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Record 2004 Impac Originations, But Quarter Off
Alt-A borrowers with LIBOR-based ARMs originated by loan correspondents fueled record 2004 production at Impac Funding Corp.
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Stand-Up Broker
How many real estate agents does it take screw in a light bulb? Ask John DeKoven, who hates agents but loves comedy, and he'll probably come up with a pretty good answer.
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Bad Underwriting at Heart of Class Action Lawsuit
Bombardier Capital, the financial arm of a Canadian manufacturing giant, has been accused in a class action lawsuit of deceiving investors about the quality of manufactured housing loans.
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Group to Police Lender Overcharges
Most borrowers are paying too much on their loans because of dishonest lenders and brokers, according to a homeowner watchdog group that has launched a mortgage document examination and audit service to advise borrowers whether they are being cheated.
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MortgageIT to Expand Subprime Operation
MortgageIT Holdings Inc. plans to open new wholesale subprime branches and add dozens of employees in the process.
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Mortgage Broker Gunned Down
Oakland mortgage broker Eric Ramon Baeza should be preparing to celebrate the birth of his first child. Instead, family and friends are mourning his murder.
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The ABCs of FHA
Brokers, processors, and lenders can find answers to many of the FHA questions they have online.
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BoA Unit Shutting Down
About 150 people will lose their jobs as Bank of America dissolves the outsourcing unit it created nearly two years ago.
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Predatory Accusations Drive Lender into Bankruptcy
A class-action lawsuit has helped push a Colorado company accused of operating a predatory loan program into bankruptcy.
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Mortgage Web Sites Among Recent Mergers
Recent merger activity includes deals from New York to California.
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Accredited Shatters All Records
Accredited Home Lenders achieved all-time high quarterly and annual fundings, as well as record earnings, and it expects to continue this pace of growth for at least another three years. The projection sharply contrasts the outlook for the company from one investment publication -- which calls Accredited a "ticking time bomb."
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Falling Rates Stimulate Refi Activity
Mortgage rates fell and may continue their descent in the short run as one industry giant has lowered its forecast for the 30-year average this quarter.
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WMC Forecloses on Nirvana Widow
A rebel rocker who is also the widow of the late poster child of grunge rock has been foreclosed on by the subprime unit of GE.
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Bankrupt Firm Names New President
The former executive who successfully sued Advanta Mortgage for age discrimination is the new president of beleaguered American Business Financial Services Inc.
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Quarter, Year Off at ABN AMRO
A strong December wasn't enough to save quarterly or annual originations at ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc.
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Fannie, Freddie Sued Over G-Fees
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, already smarting from accounting scandals and management shakeups, are now taking heat for charging homeowners fees that are buried inside mortgage payments.
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January Fundings Off at Countrywide
The nation's largest originator started the year with a downturn in production.
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More Loan Originations Through Better Listening
A critical skill needed to become a top originator is that of listening. And while originators may not be born with exceptional listening abilities, there are steps they can take to improve.
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Increased 2005 Production Expected by Community Bankers
Residential real estate finance originations will rise this year. At least that's what the nation's community bankers expect.
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New ABN AMRO Chief
ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc. has a new chief executive.
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Record 2004, but 4th Quarter Off at NovaStar
NovaStar Financial reported it had the most productive year in its history. But that wasn't enough to impress Wall Street -- which sent shares of the company tumbling today.
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Cendant Quarter, Year Off
Annual fundings were off by over a third for the recently divested mortgage and fleet operation of Cendant Corp.
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New Century Outlook Stuns Subprime Investors
Shares of subprime companies sank last week after New Century lowered its earnings outlook and warned that other players are operating below costs. And the market's reaction to the announcement is just a precursor of things to come, according to one investment publication.
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ARM Portfolios Sustaining Bankers' Growth
Bankers' willingness to lend has not recently been matched by borrowers' desire to borrow, the government reported, but adjustable rate loans -- well suited for such institutions -- are responsible for the growing share of real estate-secured loans in the sector.
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Subprime Lending Fueling CA Home Appreciation
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Not so long ago, someone looking to buy a house fit squarely into one of two boxes: Based largely on credit score, the borrower either qualified for a "prime" loan with the lowest rate and best terms or had blemished credit and was stuck with a more costly "subprime" mortgage.
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Mortgage Broker Hires Hit Man
When Nicholas Coan was murdered in late January, it wouldn't have been a stretch for Kirkland, Wash., police to consider his mother a suspect.
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Chase Partners with Prudential for 103% IO ARM
Chase Home Finance has partnered with a California real estate firm to offer a hybrid, high-LTV mortgage specifically targeted at Hispanics.
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Document Destruction Rule Effective in June
Brokers and lenders that fail to properly dispose of consumer reports, including credit reports, will fall under the watchful eye of a host of government agencies starting next summer.
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Mortgage Jobs Down
In line with disappointing overall employment numbers, mortgage sector jobs trimmed down in December.
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2004 RMBS Performance Outstanding
The performance of residential mortgage-backed securities improved to the highest level in nine years, according to Moody's Investors Service.
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Jobs Reports Drives Down 10-year Treasury Yield
The 30-year fixed rate and the 1-year ARM moved in opposite directions once again, but economists project both will rise over the long term. For the short term, however, a weak jobs report sent long-term Treasury yields tumbling.
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OCC Issues Predatory Guidelines
The regulator of federally chartered banks has updated its anti-predatory lending standards.
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Fired BoA Originator Robs Bank
There are bad days at work, and then there is the case of Oregon mortgage originator Richard Herald Walton.
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Mortgage Debt Disappears
The nation's business community is warning of a rogue company operating a scheme that uses legal technicalities to help borrowers eliminate their mortgages. One of the independent agents promoting the program claims to have already shafted hundreds of lenders.
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3000 FTC Complaints of ID Theft Used for Mortgages in '04
Lenders beware: The borrowers you think you're lending to may not be who they say they are.
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Fed Funds Rate Bumped 1/4%
As was widely expected, the Federal Reserve decided to raise the federal funds target rate by a quarter percent.
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Fraud Funded Lavish Lifestyle
New Jersey authorities are trying to bust up a massive mortgage securities fraud ring accused of bilking more than 100 investors out of $42 million.
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Mortgage Lead Frenzy
Several mortgage lead providers have inked deals that they hope will increase their supply of loan leads for originators.
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Fitch's Five Factors
In the first of a series of articles explaining its credit criteria, Fitch Ratings discussed the five factors it utilizes to grade residential-mortgage backed securities.
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High-Cost Lending Investors Scarce
Don't look for high-cost loans in pools of residential mortgage-backed securities, as one major ratings agency said less than one-tenth of one percent of the securitizations it rated last year were considered high-cost.
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$135 Billion Cashouts Last Year
Home equity accessed through conforming first lien refinances fell in the fourth quarter and is expected to keep falling through the end of next year. The outlook changes, however, when second lien activity is factored in.
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Calif. Wholesaler Touts Growing Jumbo Production
A strong year was capped off with a strong fourth quarter for one jumbo wholesaler that sees no end to the growing demand for its programs.
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Name Blame
A small mortgage company doing battle with an investment firm that manages more than $90 billion in assets has agreed to relinquish its name.
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COFI Continues Climb
The West Coast-based index for adjustable-rate mortgages edged up for the seventh consecutive month to its highest level last year.
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Florida Company Looking to Buy Mortgage Brokerages
Growth through acquisitions appears to be the soup du jour, and mortgage brokerages are on the menu.
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