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Merrill Lynch Goes Correspondent
Merrill Lynch is looking to buy jumbo loans on a correspondent basis.
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NovaStar Touts Broker Warehouse Lines
NovaStar Financial Inc. is promoting warehouse lines that fund up to 100% of investor or stated income loans for brokers. But the successful transition from mortgage broker to mortgage correspondent is eluding many who attempt it.
read story at Lender Ranking
While Countrywide Financial topped's first annual ranking of the top ten mortgage originators, it was a California-based thrift that saw the biggest improvement in fundings last year and a Michigan-based company that topped the list of biggest production declines from 2003.
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Originators Blamed for Appraisal Fraud
Mortgage loan originators and real estate agents are responsible for appraisal fraud -- and resulting foreclosures, according to a recent report by a public policy group.
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Citigroup Bigger in Texas
Mortgage-related mergers and acquisitions this week include the governments' approval of Citigroup's big expansion in Texas.
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Groups Attack Predatory Bill
Civil rights activists have joined consumer advocacy groups in opposition of a national predatory lending bill.
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Low Earning Originators Liability for Broker
An Indiana mortgage broker has agreed to pay substantial back wages for originators that weren't paid at least minimum wage.
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Best Performing Mortgage Companies
Two mortgage-related companies made BusinessWeek's ranking of the 50 best-performing companies in the nation.
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Ameriquest Employees Accused of Fraud
Loans made to two Tampa, Fla. women show former Ameriquest employees may have manipulated investment account statements, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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Countrywide CFO Named
Countrywide Financial Corp. has a new chief financial officer.
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Former PNC Mortgage Exec Running for Mayor
The mortgage business prepared Kentuckian Kelly Downard for politics.
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Minorities May Represent More Risk
Women, minorities and lower-income borrowers continue to receive a disproportionate share of subprime loans, according to a recent study by a consumer advocate organization. But another group suggests risk, not social status, may be the reason these groups wind up in higher rate loans.
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WaMu CEO Earns Millions from Stock Plan
During the refinancing heyday, Washington Mutual's top five executives saw some spectacular compensation. But as the mortgage business has taken a downturn, so has their income.
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Freddie Business Purchases, Portfolio Up
Freddie Mac purchased more secondary market loans in February.
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Rates to Stabilize at Current Levels
Applications eased as inflation anxieties pushed the 30-year fixed rate over 6% for the first time since last summer. But the latest industry forecasts call for rates to settle where they are for a while.
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Fugitive Woman Arrested in Canada
A former mortgage broker accused of participating in a $20 million Atlanta fraud scheme was recently arrested in Canada and is on her way back to the United States to face charges.
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More Originations Through Free Services
A Michigan mortgage banker has figured out a way to attract purchase prospects: Give them a free home warranty with their loan.
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FHA Risks Questioned
A recent government study of the FHA mortgage loan program suggests loan-to-value is a key factor in the likelihood of default, and that any new, higher risk programs should be limited in availability and enhanced by sharing risk.
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Mortgage Company Owner Slain
Nearly nine months after his victim was found shot to death in his suburban Los Angeles home, the killer of a mortgage company CEO is still at large.
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Best Mortgage Training
A magazine publication has ranked companies based on their development and training of employees, and the highest ranking mortgage companies are not necessarily the biggest.
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InterFirst to Ax Construction Unit
ABN AMRO's wholesale unit plans to close down a construction lending unit -- a move that will cost the unit's employees their jobs.
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Citigroup Unloading Portfolio at Loss
Citigroup has decided to exit the manufactured home finance market with the selling of its portfolio of related loans to 21st Mortgage Corp.
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Fannie Purchases Continue Decline
Descending for the fifth consecutive month, Fannie Mae's volume downsized 16%.
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Increasing Credit Scores
The credit gods have offered a few snippets about how to improve credit scores.
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Mortgage Units Shuffle Assets Amongst Each Other
While some mortgage companies are looking to downsize, others are looking to expand. Recent deals between some of these entities appear to be matches made in heaven.
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2004 Production Falls at GMAC
Annual mortgage production was off for GMAC, led by a plunge in prime conforming originations.
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Payoff Fees at Issue in Class Action
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a federal class action lawsuit against a New York mortgage lender accused of charging excessive fees.
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Secondary Market Fares Well in Predatory Bill
Groups representing secondary market players commended the newly introduced national anti-predatory lending bill that will slash the liability of subprime loan buyers and assignees.
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Groups Disagree About Benefits, Costs of Predatory Bill
National predatory legislation introduced last week has found plenty of support -- and opposition.
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Subprime ARMs Lead Delinquency Decline
Mortgage delinquency fell during the fourth quarter -- with subprime ARMs leading the decline, the real estate finance industry's association reported.
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Option One to Increase Policing of Brokers
Pennsylvania investigators have traced significant mortgage fraud to loans originated by Option One Mortgage Corp. brokers -- leading the lender to enter into a joint agreement with the government promising it will more closely watch its brokers.
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Apps Up, But Rates Rising
Application activity reversed its descending trend, while inflationary pressures pushed long-term rates great lengths once again and have the 30-year just below the 6% mark.
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Several Lenders to Miss 10-K Filings
Four mortgage lenders will be filing their annual reports late due to requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
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Employees Falsified Accounting Signatures at Fannie
Fannie Mae's regulator disclosed that employees of the government sponsored enterprise falsified signatures on accounting ledgers and made improper changes to earnings-related database records, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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Avoiding Predatory Tricks
The state of Ohio has identified seven tricks "unscrupulous" subprime lenders and brokers play on unsuspecting mortgage shoppers -- and one of the state's agencies is attempting to educate applicants about these predatory tactics.
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Improving Originations Through Technology
An add-on software program designed to work in concert with Calyx Point has drawn praise from at least one mortgage company that says it doubled production without incurring the accompanying expenses. But a major competitor says its own product costs less and does more.
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Lehman Earnings Bolstered by Mortgages
Mortgage activity contributed to records in capital market revenue as well as net income for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
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Mortgage Magnates
Forbes magazine's latest ranking of the World's Richest People has the chief executive of a mobile-home finance holding company in its number two spot, with several other mortgage-related billionaires sprinkled elsewhere on the list.
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Broker Vs Radio Talk Show Host
A south Florida mortgage broker who ran against a radio talk show host for a City Commissioner post wound up dragging the FCC into the race.
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Ameriquest in Hot Water Over Lending Practices
Ameriquest Mortgage Co. has agreed to settle a California class action lawsuit and is in talks with dozens of states over alleged abusive lending practices, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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BoA Originator Murdered
When family members of Sherine Williams hadn't heard from the Bank of America mortgage loan officer, they became worried.
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1% ARMs
Home lending has reached a new low. Introductory rates akin to credit card and automobile lending deals have surfaced in the mortgage market disguised as flexible ARM programs.
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Privacy Concerns Hamper Online Prospects
A study that rated the online treatment of consumers found many mortgage Web sites may be losing prospects because of privacy concerns. While E-LOAN ranked highest -- several of the nation's biggest mortgage players did not make the cut.
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Banks Balance Minority Lending, Reputation
Banks attempting to reach a broader section of their communities through subprime mortgage lending face possible scrutiny under new HMDA reporting about segments of the population that may end up with higher average rates, Alan Greenspan said last week.
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Restatements at Countrywide, Flagstar
Two national mortgage lenders reported they will need to restate earnings.
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Mortgage Bankers, Allies Plan Attack Against Fraud
Mortgage bankers converged in Washington, D.C., last week to discuss the growing threat of fraud in the industry and strategize about how to combat it.
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PA Staffs Up to Police Mortgage Brokers
Customer complaints and excessive foreclosures have led the state of Pennsylvania to step up its policing of mortgage brokering activities.
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Top InterFirst AE Talks About Secrets to Success
InterFirst Wholesale Lending's top producing wholesale account executive notes that his average broker funds more than $5 million monthly with him. The key to his success: Trust.
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InterFirst Sues Indiana Broker for $5.5 Million in Bad Loans
ABN AMRO Mortgage Group claims in a federal lawsuit it is the victim of a large scale fraud perpetrated by a mortgage broker, appraisers and a title company among others.
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10 Steps to Successful Mortgage Marketing
There are ten steps a mortgage loan originator can take that will reduce advertising costs, improve marketing efficiency and increase loan closings.
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Fannie, Freddie and Fraud
The government seeks to make it a crime to present fraudulent information on loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The move, along with a recommendation that the two secondary mortgage giants be required to promptly report possible fraud, was the result of Fannie's failure to pass on information about fraud loans Ginnie Mae previously purchased.
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Capital One Acquisition Among Mortgage Mergers
The latest mortgage-related mergers have a Pennsylvania mortgage company that is stepping outside the mortgage business to acquire a game-related company.
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Rates, Purchase Apps Higher
Driven by a positive employment report and higher oil prices, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note soared this past week. But rising rates seem to have no impact on borrowers looking to buy a home, with purchase loan applications climbing to their highest level this year.
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Ocwen Employee Secretly Videotaped Women
Two former female employees of a large Florida mortgage company claim they were secretly videotaped by another former employee, who then sold photos to Internet Web sites. The two took their case to court and were each awarded $1million.
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ACORN At It Again
In its ongoing assault of Wells Fargo, ACORN now aims to remove the lender's chief executive from a government advisory council after a study of the lender's loans reaffirmed its position that Wells engages in predatory lending. But Wells says the study is flawed and questions ACORNs credibility.
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Broker to Correspondent is Risky Transition
Brokers' profit margins are thinner than a razor's edge. Nevertheless, the number of brokers continues to proliferate, driven in part by the allure of conversion to correspondent lending status.
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10-Year Treasury Yield Soars
The 10-year Treasury yield soared to its highest level since last summer amid worries of accelerating inflation.
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Mortgage Companies With Best Investment Returns
The Wall Street Journal recently ranked the companies with the best returns for investors, and a flood of mortgage-related entities made the list.
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Nonprime Servicers Clean Up Act
The word "contrite" comes to mind lately when executives of the former Fairbanks Capital Corp. speak in public. Many of these people are recent arrivals to the Salt Lake City company now known as Select Portfolio Servicing, and they bring with them a "fresh start" persona.
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Former NHL Player Runs Mich Mortgage Company
There is at least one hockey player who isn't concerned about the current National Hockey League lockout.
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Countrywide Home Equity, Subprime Volume Tumbles
Countrywide Financial Corp.'s monthly volume declined again, with the biggest declines occurring in its nonprime lending.
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Broker Kept Proceeds from Cashout Loans
A Los Angeles-area mortgage brokerage is accused of defrauding lenders out of more than $9 million and trying to launder the money through offshore accounts, according to a 14-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury.
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Challenges for Nonprime Lenders
White-hot last year, the nonprime sector in 2005 still has "a tremendous amount of value," says one new entry in the field, while one of the biggest players says there no longer is much demarcation between prime and nonprime lending.
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Predatory Penalties
A mortgage broker accused of using predatory lending practices on every loan it originated in Washington faces a state order requiring it to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution to borrowers. But the now-defunct company has appealed the order and claims the state may have overstepped its authoritative boundaries.
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Fitch Upgrades Select Portfolio's Servicer Rating
Improved operations at the company formerly known as Fairbanks Capital Corp. have led to an upgrade in its servicer rating.
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Broker Charged With 1980 Murder of Parents
In the spring of 1980, police made a gruesome discovery in the Oceanside, Calif., home of Robert and Elsie Boysen.
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Mortgage Bankers Request Relief
Mortgage lenders, frustrated with the high cost of complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, have warned the Securities and Exchange Commission that investors, employees and American competitiveness may all suffer if compliance requirements don't ease up.
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Regions to Unload Conforming Wholesale Ops
This week's mortgage mergers and acquisitions include some bigger players.
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New Century Originations Edge Down
New Century Financial Corp.'s monthly volume slipped for the second straight month.
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More Mortgage Jobs Now than Year Ago
While overall employment rose by the highest level since last fall, mortgage sector jobs continued to descend.
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Sales Priorities
Mortgage applicants can be broken down into four funnel-like categories, with all new prospects starting at the wide end and likely closings filling the narrow end, according to one sales book. Distinguishing applicants this way enables originators to easily prioritize prospects.
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S&P to Scrutinize Outsourcing Arrangements
Outsourcing companies and the financial arrangements they have with mortgage servicers that utilize them will play a bigger role in the determination of RMBS servicer ratings.
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Rates Soar
Long-term rates headed upward for the third consecutive week and are expected to continue in that path.
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RBC Originators Host D.C. Radio Show
Three mortgage loan originators are using a new morning radio talk show to reach prospective borrowers in the nation's capital.
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FTC Releases Report on TIL Violations
The Federal Trade Commission issued an outline of its enforcement activity last year against subprime companies that allegedly violated federal laws, including misleading advertising and overcharging on loans.
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Servicing Portfolio on the Block
Five companies have been identified as potential servicers of a securitized pool of subprime mortgages for beleaguered American Business Financial Services.
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Publication Calls Ditech Flat Fee "Misleading"
Many in the mortgage industry have become familiar with television commercials featuring a frustrated originator who regularly rants, "Oh no, lost another loan to Ditech." But the flat fee program touted in the ads has come under scrutiny by a consumer advocacy publication.
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Lenders Settle with FTC over Privacy Violations
Two mortgage companies are settling federal charges that they failed to protect their customer's sensitive personal and financial information.
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Do Not Call Violations May Cost Broker $770k
The government is trying to collect nearly $800,000 from an Arizona mortgage broker accused of violating federal do-not-call rules.
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WaMu: Help Wanted
Washington Mutual is once again searching for a new executive to head its troubled mortgage unit.
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COFI Keeps Climbing
The 11th District cost of funds index continued its upward path.
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Subprime Window May be Closing
The spread between subprime mortgage rates and conforming rates may widen as the sector struggles to maintain profit margins.
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Chicagoland Foreclosures Fueled by Fraud
Mortgage fraud has played a big role in the high level of Chicago-area foreclosures.
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Nonprime Servicers Concentrate on Customer Communications
Driven by recent rash of predatory servicing issues, nonprime lenders are shifting their focus to better communications with borrowers.
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