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Clinton, Administration Want FHA Changes
WASHINGTON -- FHA reform is gaining support on both sides of the political fence, with the Bush administration and a prominent senator from the other side of the isle supporting changes at the agency.

Flagstar Fading Into Obscurity
Mortgage production slid for the second consecutive quarter at Flagstar Bancorp Inc. as the lender cut 14% of its salesforce.

$1 Million in Mortgage Leads Stolen
Current and former employees of a New York mortgage brokerage have been charged with stealing more than $1 million worth of mortgage leads from the firm.

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50 NY Originator Jobs Open
A home-equity mortgage company based in New York plans to increase its staff by 50 percent.

Fannie Fundings Fade
Fannie Mae's secondary market purchases improved on a monthly basis, but not for the quarter.

1003s Continue Slide
Signs of a healthier economy spurred long-term mortgage rates higher for the fifth consecutive week and curtailed traffic at mortgage shops.

Best Online Mortgage Lenders
Mortgage lenders have done well in simplifying their Web sites for loan prospects but perform worse than other industries in communicating effectively and building trust, according to a recent ranking of financial services providers' treatment of online customers.

REIT's Production Off
Quarterly production nudged down at American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., but its pipeline of loans suggests an increase may ensue.

Reverse Lender May Go Public
IndyMac Bancorp may let investors and employees have a piece of its fast-growing home equity conversion mortgage subsidiary.

Foreclosure Assistance Co. Battling State AGs
A North Carolina-based mortgage default assistance company has found itself in hot water with state attorneys general across the country. Consumers claim the company takes their money but does not negotiate lower mortgage payments, as promised, with their lenders.

VoIP Enhanced Leads
Mortgage lead generation companies are integrating their services with Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems to help loan originators reach several hundred prospects a day.

Shark Attack at Wells
Consumer advocacy groups donned in shark uniforms protested alleged predatory lending practices at Wells Fargo outside its annual shareholder meeting Tuesday.

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NY Ring Busted
Eight people have been indicted in a New York mortgage fraud ring that prosecutors say operated for five years and cost lenders and consumers millions of dollars.

$186,000 Originator OT Judgment Against Ohio Co.
A recent originator overtime ruling by a government agency has the attorney representing one mortgage company scratching his head about how to handle a judgment issued before the ruling.

IndyMac Defies Industry
While mortgage bankers have almost unanimously reported quarterly production declines, IndyMac Bancorp broke another record.

Mortgage Fraud Defendant Murdered
A Connecticut developer won't be facing charges that he defrauded mortgage lenders out of millions of dollars and stole nearly $4 million from a New York co-op.

Georgia Foreclosure Rate Highest
The number of U.S. residential properties entering foreclosure has risen for each of the past four quarters.

Corporate Real Estate Finance
The latest mortgage business transactions have Freddie Mac untangling itself from past problems, a scratch-and-dent operation getting funded and an online mortgage lender launching.

Appraisal Alteration Allegations Lead to License Loss
One Georgia mortgage broker isn't giving up his license without a fight.

Foreclosure Worsen in West
Foreclosures rose in the West, and the outlook isn't good, according to a foreclosure listing service.

Fundings Fall at Freddie
Secondary mortgage loan purchases fell at Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Lead Quality
Generating mortgage leads from directory advertising leaves originators vulnerable to competitors who use "bait and switch" tactics, according to one mortgage broker. But an Illinois-based lead generation company is helping originators overcome poor marketing investments by offering full refunds for bad leads.

$8 Mil Missing from Bankrupt Mortgage Firm
A former baseball star is at the center of a criminal investigation at a bankrupt Southern California mortgage brokerage that is missing $8 million.

Fannie Adjusts Max Fees
Fannie Mae has adjusted the maximum points and fees it will allow on subprime and high-cost loans.

Mixed Opinions Over Overtime Ruling
Commissioned mortgage loan originators who generate little or no income can no longer hold their employers liable for minimum wage compensation and overtime pay. But the reprieve, which came in the form of an opinion letter recently released by a federal agency, doesn't go far enough, according to mortgage employers with pending actions against them and attorneys.

Free Mortgage Leads
A California-based wholesaler lender is giving its best mortgage brokers free mortgage leads.

Golden West Production Declines
Golden West Financial reported another decrease in quarterly fundings.

LoanCare Servicer Rating Improved
The mortgage loan servicing subsidiary of LandAmerica Financial Group saw its rating upgraded.

Countrywide is Biggest
A preliminary analysis of earnings data by indicates three lenders based on the West Coast were the biggest U.S. mortgage originators during the first quarter.

Rates, Apps Worsen Slightly
Application activity eased as rates inched up to levels they are expected to maintain the rest of the quarter.

BoA Fundings Fall
Volume fell for the second consecutive quarter at Bank of America Corp.

First Horizon Falters
First quarter fundings fell at First Horizon National Corp.

DOJ Touts Action Against Downpayment Assistance Firm
A federal court has barred an Illinois-based downpayment assistance organization from promoting contributions to its program as tax deductible.

WaMu Production Down
Led by subprime lending, mortgage fundings continued to fall at Washington Mutual Inc.

Chase Volume Down
JPMorgan Chase & Co. quarterly originations slowed.

ECC Volume Crashes
Quarterly production sank at ECC Capital Corp.

Foreclosures Improve
Following two monthly increases, foreclosures slowed -- though not in the Centennial State.

Downey Continues Down
As fundings decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter, Downey Financial Corp. warned that increases in teaser rates may lead to decreases in option-ARM originations.

Fundings Dip at National City
National City Corp.'s quarterly fundings fell even as earnings increased.

Wells Wanes But Outlook Improves
Production eased at Wells Fargo & Co. But a growing pipeline may be an indication that business will improve.

SunTrust Originations Off
Higher earnings didn't mean higher mortgage volume at SunTrust Banks Inc.

Former Countrywide Execs Settle SEC Charges
Two former Countrywide Financial Corp. executives have settled insider trading charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Forge Ahead
Despite a mortgage industry slowdown, new players are entering the market while others are expanding.

Nonprime 50-Year
A 50-year mortgage for nonprime borrowers with high ratios has hit the North American market.

Work Hard, Play Hard
A Florida mortgage company hopes that employee ownership, a playful atmosphere and accommodations for children will enable it to maintain its status as one of the best local places to work.
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Citi's Production Eases
Quarterly volume slipped at Citigroup Inc.

Nontraditional Loan Regulation & the Secondary Market
Banks, mortgage lenders and bond traders commented on the proposed regulation of nontraditional loans in the secondary market.

Wachovia Off
Quarterly mortgage fundings eased at Wachovia Corp.

Another One Bites the Dust
Another subprime wholesaler is calling it quits -- leaving employees in seven states without a job.

1 of 4 Will Get You More
There are four areas of major importance for all prospective customers, and salespeople who can isolate the single most-important area will be able to gain their trust and increase sales.

New Credit Scores Explained
Concerns about adapting to the new credit scoring system recently announced by the three credit bureaus were addressed by a panel that included representatives from one of the bureaus and a major subprime lender.

Mortgage Market Conditions Deteriorate
As the 10-year Treasury sailed past 5% and mortgage rates continued increasing, fewer mortgage applications were completed.

Jumbo Broker Blasts Other Brokers
A California mortgage broker is warning prospective borrowers that other brokers will deceive them about no-cost loans, prepayment penalties and adjustable-rate mortgages with payment options.

Investors Force Mortgage Co. Into Bankruptcy
A family that invested $4 million in a mortgage brokerage firm that finances nontraditional loans has forced the firm into bankruptcy amid allegations of a Ponzi scheme.

MortgageIT Fundings Fall
Production at MortgageIT Holdings Inc. fell short of the previous quarter.

L.A. Foreclosures Soar
Foreclosures surged in Los Angeles County as rising rates stressed borrowers who used "aggressive financing" to get into homes they could not otherwise afford.

MBNA Mortgage Jobs Cut
The integration of MBNA Corp. into Bank of America will cost hundreds of mortgage employees their jobs this summer.

Pair Arrested for Stealing Titles
Police in California recently ended a six-month investigation with the arrest of the owners of two California mortgage companies. The men are accused of forging mortgage documents and notary seals to steal equity from homeowners.
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Biggest Mortgage Lenders
Several of the biggest companies in the country own substantial mortgage operations. But the mortgage lender with the largest parent is on the verge of going it alone.

Originator Overtime
WASHINGTON -- Faced with an overwhelming number of overtime lawsuits and stepped-up wage and hour enforcement by the Department of Labor, mortgage brokers recently met in the nation's capital to talk about how to deal with compensation for loan originators.

Volume of Mortgage Leads Jumps
A California-based mortgage lead generator pushed production higher.

Dismal Outlook for Real Estate Finance
SAN DIEGO -- The old joke that economists are like accountants, but without the sense of humor, certainly does not fit Doug Duncan, a familiar mortgage industry figure and a senior vice president at the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington, D.C.

REIT to Reduce Workforce
One day after announcing senior executives will take a drastic pay cut, a California-based nonprime lender said it will cut hundreds of jobs.

First Quarter Off at Countrywide
Quarterly volume tumbled at Countrywide Financial Corp., but monthly production increased.

Net Branch Co. to Change Owners
In the latest mortgage mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity, U.S. bankers oppose Wal-Mart's attempt to open its own bank, and a California-based net branch operation will be sold to a debt resolution provider.

Several Class Actions Filed Against MD Lenders
One of Maryland's most prominent class action attorneys has trained his sights on mortgage lenders in Maryland, setting up a predatory lending unit within his law firm, running newspaper ads and accusing an increasing number of lenders in court of charging excessive and illegal fees. But Maryland lenders and mortgage associations say the lawsuits have no merit and will hurt consumers and the smaller mortgage lenders.

YSP Abuse Rampant, Groups Say
Yield spread premiums are the most abused overcharges by mortgage lenders -- and homebuilder mortgage companies are the biggest abusers, according to a lender-watchdog survey.

Brokers Operating as Agents Reduce Distrust
Mortgage brokers can reduce borrower anxiety, improve their image and increase conversions by using a different compensation model.

Subprime Execs Forego Compensation
In an apparent effort to stay afloat, senior executives of a nonprime mortgage lender are looking at significantly reducing their compensation.

Net Branch Expands by 7
Faced with declining originations, several mortgage brokers have recently sought the relative security of a national net branch company.

Subprime Products Boost Referrals
Bad mortgage pre-approvals are costing real estate agents and sellers money, according to a recent survey -- which also noted originators with subprime programs receive preferential treatment.

Discounted Mortgage Insurance
A major mortgage insurance company has made it possible for prospective borrowers to lower their MI premiums.

New Century Originations Off
Monthly originations improved at New Century Financial Corp., but quarterly volume continued to slide.

U.S. Lenders Target Mexican Market
U.S. mortgage lenders have joined forces with lenders from Mexico -- a potentially lucrative market -- to create an international mortgage association.

Mortgage Jobs Jump
Employment in real estate finance reversed a three-month decline and bounced back above 500,000.

Rising Rates on Horizon
Applications jumped despite a continued rise in rates. Further rate increases are expected due to greater economic growth.

Northeast, West Coast to Lead Real Estate Decline
More mortgage lenders are getting nervous about real estate prices. But the group sees bigger threats to the economy than a real estate bubble.

Wholesalers Tout Online Offerings
Wholesale lenders are making it easier for mortgage brokers to price and submit loans online.

Changes Could Transform FHA
Hoping to increase government-insured mortgage originations and cash available for new homes, mortgage bankers and homebuilders have thrown their support behind FHA-insured loan reforms proposed by the Bush administration.

MTA Hops Higher
In line with other adjustable rate indexes, the Monthly Treasury Average rose once again.

The Other Side of Fraud
As a senior manager for America's Mortgage, a net branch of Advantage Investor's Mortgage, I handled the daily operations of the company, but had no financial control.

Unlicensed Broker Keeps On Originating
For the third time since last month, the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance has banned a mortgage broker from the business.

Lender Boosts Alt-A Hires
Better than expected activity has prompted an Alt-A lender to boost by 500 the number of mortgage jobs it plans to create in Connecticut -- bringing on the additional people more quickly than originally planned.

Time Management Key to Success
Effective time management begins with a thorough understanding of what one wants to achieve, a written mission statement and proper planning techniques, according to one time management book.

FHA Commissioner Addresses Brokers
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Housing Administration's commissioner told a standing-room-only audience of mortgage brokers last week that the housing agency wants to "dig deeper into the borrower pool."

Bulk Transactions Boost MI Volume
Fueled by bulk purchases, the monthly volume of private mortgage insurance increased and appears headed higher.

Branch Manager Monitored Bathroom
A branch manager for a Houston-based mortgage company was fired after a television monitor displaying the only employee bathroom was accidentally discovered in his office.
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Massive Deal Dominates Mortgage M&As
Several mortgage-related mergers involving Florida companies were trumped by a massive deal with the parent of Residential Capital Corp.

HMDA Revisions Explained
A new guide helps lenders better understand Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.

50 Jobs Coming to PA
One of the three major credit reporting agencies is venturing into mortgage closings.

Wells Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has been sued by a former residential mortgage manager who claims that, while employed by the company, she was punished for becoming pregnant.

Fraud Fugitive Found & Arrested
Half of the most notorious couple in mortgage lending has been caught.
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REIT Considering Conversion to C Corp
In an effort to retain more cash, another California-based subprime lender may abandon its real estate investment trust status.
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