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Fake Broker Steals Equity
A California man is accused of posing as a mortgage broker to get at least one elderly couple to provide him enough information to steal equity from their home.

Ameriquest Settlement Yields Lending Lessons
Ameriquest Mortgage learned a few things from its recent $325 million settlement with the states, and it shared some of that knowledge with other subprime lenders.

Digital Signatures
Electronic signatures are becoming more widely adopted according to a Seattle, Wash.-based company that provides digital signature services.

Fannie's January Off
Fannie Mae began the year with a downturn in business.

Broker Baffled Over Overtime Lawsuit
The Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against two Ohio-based mortgage companies which it claims failed to pay their sales agents more than $220,000 in back wages. But the companies' owner has vowed to fight the action, claiming that his employees were properly paid on a commission basis.

ECC Cuts Dividends
ECC Capital Corp. announced more bad news.

BoA Restatement Tops Corporate Mortgage Activity
As a large Canadian mortgage franchise operation readies itself for expansion in the U.S., one of the biggest American banks announced it will restate income upward.

Option One Consolidating
Option One Mortgage Corp.'s consolidation will result in hundreds of layoffs.

Lawsuit Suggests Ameriquest Shouldn't Have Made Loan
Ameriquest Mortgage Co. is facing a lawsuit filed in Utah's federal court brought by an elderly woman who claims company representatives cajoled her into obtaining a loan at double the interest rate she could have gotten from her credit union. But the subprime lender sees no merit in her allegations.

Freddie's Total Portfolio Nearing $2 Trillion
Freddie Mac's mortgage purchases tumbled in January.

Option One Production Plunges
Quarterly originations tumbled at Option One Mortgage Corp.

Hybrids Fuel Jumbo RMBS Volume
Quarterly jumbo mortgage securitizations improved from the prior year, but dropped during the latest quarter -- signaling a possible trend.

Rates Ease, Apps Edge Up
Applications ticked up as rates see sawed in a range they are expected to continue at for a good while.

Option One, Accredited Stung by Drug Ring
Federal prosecutors in Ohio have snared their first guilty plea in their investigation of a large drug ring that used a mortgage brokerage to launder some of its ill-gotten funds.

Origination Software Goes Virtual
A California technology firm says its Web-based mortgage software interfaces with existing mortgage origination software from other companies. But the service isn't the only one of its kind.

Yield Curve Not Poised for Change
Banking regulators say the inverted state of the Treasury markets doesn't signal economic hard times ahead -- though it may indicate mortgage banking profit margins will continue to be squeezed.

Impac Claims #4 Alt-A Spot
Defying the downward quarterly trend in production, Impac Funding Corp. managed to nudge up annual fundings. But the real estate investment trust doesn't see any improvements on the horizon.

Bank Took 2 Years to File Politician's Mortgage
SunTrust Bank of Atlanta claims it did nothing wrong by waiting two years to file a mortgage it made to a gubernatorial candidate.

New Century Battling Investors
New Century Financial Corp. is fighting a slate of directors proposed by a group of investors.

GMAC Does Servicing Deal
Recent mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity in real estate finance include a software vendor and a servicing deal.

Lenders Partner to Prevent Predatory Lending
A network of 167 lenders announced plans to combat predatory lending by funding at least $1 billion of the subprime industry's annual mortgage originations.

Mortgage Jobs Coming to TX, CA
A California-based mortgage banker will create hundreds of jobs as it expands its presence in the Golden State and establishes its business in the Lone Star State.

Lead Co. Founder Recognized by Software Group
The founder of a lead generation company that was eventually swallowed up by a large corporate conglomerate was recognized as one of Southern California's top entrepreneurs.

10 Calls Cost Broker $100,000
A case out of Florida shows that states are serious about cracking down on mortgage brokers and lenders that violate no-call telemarketing lists.

Man Faces Life Sentence for Running Down Originator
Two mortgage loan officers had just finished eating dinner with another friend at a Southern California restaurant on Jan. 19 when a silver BMW came speeding through the parking lot.

Thrift Fundings Fall
Fourth quarter thrift production fell, but annual originations ascended.

Loans Backing RMBS Drawing Concern
The buzz at a recent asset-backed conference was how the popularity of less traditional mortgages amid softening appreciation will impact the securities market.

Subprime Entrepreneur At It Again
After founding a subprime mortgage company, building it into a top wholesale lender, then selling it, a North Carolina man is confident he can do it again -- this time with technology on his side.

Yield Curve Inversions & Mortgages
Amid an inverted yield curve, mortgage applications eased and interest rates rose -- a trend that is expected to continue.

Mortgage Banker Tycoon
An executive-development firm says its training program and software enables mortgage banking executives to test their management skills and be CEO for a day at a virtual mortgage company.

WaMu Laying Off Thousands
Washington Mutual Inc. announced it will close 10 mortgage processing offices and slash thousands of jobs.

Freddie Ponders Subprime Expansion
Freddie Mac could use subprime lending to expand the base of mortgages it buys this year.

Virtues of Prepayment Penalties
Prepayment penalties save borrowers -- especially subprime borrowers -- millions of dollars, according to an analysis from a California university which also suggests more could be saved with uniform national restrictions.

Year Starts Down at Downey
Downey Financial Corp. announced originations were off during the first month of the year.

HELOCs, Nontraditional Loans Fuel Rising Bank Risk
A recent analysis of banking trends indicates the sector's mortgage exposure is rising.

Judgment on $31,000 Mortgage Costs Servicer $1.8 Million
A Florida-based nonconforming mortgage servicer seeks reversal of a $1.8 million judgment connected to a $31,000 home improvement loan.

Company, Employees Vanish Amid $100 Million Scandal
Federal investigators say a recently disbanded mortgage brokerage firm helped dozens of borrowers cheat financial institutions and secure up to $100 million in loans.

Originator Moonlights as Pro Lacrosse Player
A Connecticut loan originator is also a professional lacrosse player who has played on the U.S. World Cup team.

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Accredited Ascends to Unseen Altitude
Mortgage brokers helped Accredited Home Lenders achieve record loan production.

Ohio Becoming Fraud Capital
Ohio holds most of the top-five markets expected to be fraud hot spots over the next year or so, according to a provider of mortgage risk assessment and fraud prevention solutions.

2nd Mortgage Fee Waiver Lands Lender in Litigation
A Maryland-based bank has been sued by a borrower who claims the lender deceived him when it waived closing costs on a second mortgage, then charged the fees when he prepaid the loan. Attorneys for the borrower are seeking class-action status.

Net Branch Deals Going Down
The latest mortgage-industry mergers, acquisitions and other corporate transactions were dominated by net branch companies.

Merger Related Layoffs at MBNA
Bank of America's acquisition of MBNA will likely result in thousands of layoffs, and some of the jobs being cut are mortgage-related.

Senate Confirms Arnall as Ambassador to Amsterdam
One of the wealthiest men in mortgage lending has taken a job working for Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

New Mexicans Complain
Mortgage lenders placed prominently among New Mexico's most complained-about businesses and services.

NovaStar Delays Financial Announcement
NovaStar Financial Inc. postponed its fourth-quarter earnings release and conference call as it awaits legal opinion regarding tax issues.

Enjoy the Job, Sell More
Finding pleasure in selling is one key to mastering the sales process, according to one sales book. Of the many ways to accomplish this, the book says, making the realization that "selling makes the world go round" is step one. Step two is to act like the successful salesperson one hopes to become until it becomes reality.

Subprime Unit Consolidated
A California-based net branch operation has consolidated its 2-year-old wholesale, nonprime arm.

Alt-A to $3 Million
A California-based wholesale mortgage lender upgraded its Alt-A loan offerings.

Current Rates to Hold All Year
Rates rose to a level they are expected to remain this year.

WaMu Fundings Wane
Quarterly originations tumbled, leaving Washington Mutual Inc. with a small decline in annual production.

Community Bankers Expand Online
Community bankers are expanding mortgage products and services and remain optimistic about their lending activity this year, despite declining volume. The group saw the share of bankers using automated applications nearly double.

Countrywide Starts 2006 Down
Led by a decline in nonprime, monthly loan production tumbled at the nation's largest mortgage banker.

Full Service Fraud Forms
An accountant has been charged with running what prosecutors have described as a clearinghouse for fake documents -- including phony pay stubs -- used to obtain mortgages, loans and federal assistance.

Credit Quality to Retreat
Purchase mortgage demand contracted and credit quality may deteriorate, according to a new survey of bank loan officers.

Waterfield Shedding Hundreds of Jobs
The sale of Waterfield Financial Corp. will result in hundreds of mortgage-related layoffs.

Bulk Originations Surpass Traditional Fundings
For the first time ever, private mortgage insurers reported they insured more bulk volume than traditional volume. But at least one insider says this scenario is not likely to sustain.

Share of Cashouts Climbs
Most refinances closed during the latest quarter included cashout, according to a big buyer of the loans. The high ratio of originations that include equity extraction is expected to continue despite a plunge in the dollar volume.

Bush Budget Boosts FHA's Appeal
Sweat equity, 100 percent loan-to-values and subprime programs are all items proposed in the Bush administration's 2007 budget.

photo of President George W. Bush

Allied Expands
The self-proclaimed largest U.S. mortgage broker just got bigger.

Worst TIL Violators in 2005
Settlements with three mortgage companies over violations of the Truth in Lending Act were recently touted by the government.

RMBS Performance Outlook
Performance of residential mortgage-backed securities will remain stable this year despite what one ratings agency calls the proliferation of affordability mortgage products in a softening real estate market.

ABN AMRO Originations Abate
Fundings tumbled at ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc.

Wells Sued for Damaged Credit
A California couple is taking Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to court, claiming that the company "blighted their credit" by inaccurately reporting that they were responsible for making payments on an Orange County house that was condemned after it disappeared in a sinkhole.

WaMu, New Century Make Moves
A major expansion at Washington Mutual and an acquisition of a warehouse lender by New Century top the latest mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity in real estate finance.

Countrywide Rolls Out Lot Financing
The nation's largest originator now finances vacant land.

Mixed SunTrust Results
SunTrust Bank Inc.'s quarterly production slipped, but annual fundings painted another picture.

Servicing Portfolio for Sale
A $40 million portfolio of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bulk servicing rights is up for sale.

How to Improve Internet Lead Conversions
Internet leads require a warm-up period before conversion rates improve, according to a mortgage industry sales and marketing consultant who says lenders should do some "incubation," including phone and email campaigns.

More adjustable-rate mortgage indexes headed higher last month.

FHA Fee Guidelines Loosened
The Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to align closing costs on FHA-insured loans with the conventional mortgage market.

Jobs Flow Out of Real Estate Finance
About 1,400 fewer people worked in mortgage-related positions at the end of December than at the beginning.

Former Citi Exec could Prompt AIG Mortgage Expansion
Robert Willumstad helped build Citigroup's mortgage lending business, but can he do the same at insurance giant American International Group?

Rates, Apps Worsen
Applications waned as rates rose in response to inflationary pressure.

FTC Targets Credit Repair Companies
Credit repair firms that claim they can remove accurate but negative information from a borrower's credit report are the focus of a crackdown by regulatory and law enforcement agencies.

Profile of Growing Wholesaler
Rapid growth at one wholesale mortgage lender has been supported by a platform of proprietary products, a focus on purchase transactions and an understanding of today's borrowers. The California-based company says it is on the prowl for acquisition opportunities.

Texas Town to Host 1,500 Countrywide Employees
Countrywide Financial Corp.'s continued expansion in the Lone Star State will create hundreds of new jobs in North Texas.

Countrywide Blasts New Century, Ameriquest
Fierce competition from "irresponsible players" such as Ameriquest Capital Corp., New Century Financial Corp. and real estate investment trusts are to blame for tumbling earnings, according to America's largest mortgage banker.

Net Branch Adding Alternative Division
A Massachusetts-based national net branching operation is expanding into alternative lending.

Fake Paystubs Online
A Florida Internet company has allegedly offered online services for mortgage loan applicants that needed fake paystubs.

Key to One Ohio Mortgage Banker's Success
Bridal shows and home improvement shows are just some of the places one Cincinnati-based mortgage banker drums up leads for its originators. But before they start on the leads, salespeople, who are recruited from a local university, must first endure a 3-month boot camp.
photo of ColdStream founders

Fannie Business Falls
Annual and quarterly volume fell at Fannie Mae, but monthly business improved.

COFI Just Keeps Rising
Three key rates rose recently.

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