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Great Smaller Companies to Work For
Three mortage-related businesses made the first ever list of the Best Small & Medium Companies to Work For in America, which reportedly found that the keys to a successful company are respect for and communication with employees.
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Provident Shedding Subprime, Again
Cincinnati-based Provident Financial Group, which is in the process of being taken over, is looking to shed its $12.5 million subprime mortgage business. This is the second time in as many years that the company has sought to rid itself of subprime assets.
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WaMu a Takeover Target
A warning of disappointing earnings sent the stock of mortgage lending giant Washington Mutual reeling and has at least one analyst predicting the company is headed for a merger.
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Wells Fights Back
ACORN's public demonstrations and lawsuits against Wells Fargo are "deliberate attempts to distort and misrepresent our business practices and procedures," according to a company executive. The lender, which has been under increasing pressure by ACORN to change its lending practices, pointed to cases where it helped borrowers even as it was accused of harming them.
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Servicing Issues Go Well Beyond Payment Processing
Teary-eyed and speaking with determined emphasis, Kathleen Keest gave mortgage professionals a look at the human side of foreclosures.
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Complaint Filed Against Florida Mortgage Firm for Do Not Call Violations
A Florida-based mortgage company was accused of violating federal "Do Not Call" laws by pretending to conduct surveys in an effort to contact California consumers about refinancing their mortgages. It remains to be seen whether the lawsuit filed by the California Attorney General's office will result in a judgment such as the recent one involving a home improvement company.
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Long Beach Reaches Settlement With Golden State Regulators
As part of an agreement to settle a civil complaint for charging excessive interest on residential mortgage loans, a Washington Mutual subsidiary paid California's investment and financing authority $800,000 -- which is less than 10% of the amount the state was originally seeking.
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ACORN Continues Assault on Wells
More than 2000 rally participants will converge in Los Angeles today to protest alleged predatory practices by one of the country's biggest mortgage lenders. The rally coincides with the planned filing of a nationwide lawsuit by consumer advocate group ACORN -- which accuses the company of not informing borrowers they might qualify for a better rate.
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Credit Bureaus Dispute Findings that 25% of Reports Contain Serious Errors
One quarter of credit reports contain errors serious enough to disqualify consumers from buying a home or even getting a job, according to a recent study by one public interest advocacy organization. But the trade group representing the credit reporting industry questions the validity of the results.
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Home Equity Biz Resisting Internet
A new study by the TowerGroup, a Boston-based market research firm, found that just under 10 percent of home equity loans closed in 2003 originated as online applications.
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Rates Lowest in Northeast
In lingering anticipation of a rise in interest rates, the mortgage market was quiet this week with little improvement in mortgage shopping and rates barely moving on a national level. However, notable rate decreases and increases occurred in several regions of the country.
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Business Better at Freddie
On the heels of three consecutive months with increased business purchases, Freddie Mac reported another increase.
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Best Ever at First Franklin
The subprime subsidiary of National City reported that its May production was higher than any other month in its history.
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Minnesota Broker in Hot Water
Minnesota regulators recently suspended the mortgage originator and real estate salesperson licenses of a man accused of stealing equity, committing fraud and lying.
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Peoples Bank Execs Facing Up to 11 Years in Prison
The Kentucky bankers who were in cohorts with a homebuilder convicted of stealing $34 million in loan closing checks have pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud charges.
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Wholesaler Databases Available Online
Mortgage brokers have yet another venue to search for loan programs and lenders that fit their borrowers needs. A recently launched service providing a database with such Internet accessible information anticipates its network will grow by about 50% within the year, and give the older folks in the business added competition.
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First Horizon Acquiring Michigan Mortgage Banker
One of the nation's largest mortgage lenders is getting bigger.
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Broker of the Year
After being named one of last year's top three nominees, a Pennsylvania man returned home this year with the most prestigious honor awarded at the annual conference of the trade group representing U.S. mortgage brokers. He attributes his success in the business -- which he finds "exhilarating" -- to the people he works with.
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Rates Hold Steady
Just a few weeks before the Federal Reserve Board's rate committee meets and possibly raises interest rates, rates momentarily froze and mortgage applications broke away from a five-week downturn.
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New Century Discloses 2 Class Action Filings
Two class action lawsuits have been filed against New Century. A New Jersey case accuses the company of RESPA, TIL and state violations while another case in Illinois alleges violations of that state's high rate loan laws.
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More to Web Sites Than Online Applications
National City's Web site ranks highest in a new report that looks at the best practices for online mortgage customer acquisition.
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FTC Investigation Devastating Small CA Firm
The head of a California mortgage company is blaming a disgruntled former employee for triggering a federal probe into his firm. While he claims the investigation has only turned up trivial violations, he said the government has been unrelenting in its pursuit of his small firm.
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Politician Expected Kickback From AZ Mortgage Broker
The friendship between Kevin Ross and Fred Kelly started nearly a decade ago over a beer, before Ross was elected county property assessor in Maricopa
County, Ariz.
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Purchases, Delinquency Improve at Fannie
Along with increased business volume for the third month in a row, Fannie Mae also reported slightly improved delinquency rates on its mortgage portfolio.
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GE Completes WMC Acquisition
The consumer lending division of industrial giant General Electric has completed an acquisition that makes it a player in the subprime game.
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Delinquencies Down, Foreclosures Edge Up
Slightly more mortgage loans entered into foreclosure in the first quarter, but delinquencies decreased for all loan types and will likely continue to do so throughout the year as the labor market continues expanding, the nation's primary trade association said.
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Brokers Honor Wholesaler
U.S. mortgage brokers honored the mortgage arm of M&T Bank Corp. for its exemplary ind
ustry-supporting efforts.
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Brokers Use AU for More Approvals
Three mortgage brokers were recognized for their ability to obtain more approvals utilizing a popular automated underwriting system. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the primary group representing mortgages brokers.
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3.5% Fixed Rate???
At a time when interest rates are rising, the offer of a 3.5% fixed payment 30-year mortgage looked almost too good to be true. Turns out that was exactly the case with the offer being made by a California company, according to a federal government complaint filed in U.S. District Court in California.
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Rising ARM Still Growing in Popularity
In anticipation of the Fed's possible future moves, adjustable rates spiked up this week -- and will probably continue to do so through the end of 2004, one economist indicated, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed more than 100 basis points. As for mortgage market activity, the holiday weekend slowed application submissions for the fifth consecutive week.
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Option One Roaring Ahead
Business is strong for Option One Mortgage Corporation, which saw marked gains in production from the prior quarter and the pri
or year.
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Class Action Against Wells Focuses on Illinois High Cost Loans
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Wells Fargo Financial on behalf of Illinois borrowers. The case, which focuses on high cost loans, challenges the federal government's preemptive authority to regulate the nation's financial institutions.
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Dallas Broker Operates With Revoked License
Despite a license that has been revoked for over a year because of alleged fraudulent actions, a Dallas, Texas, mortgage broker is still conducting business. But a court hearing could put a finale to his failure to comply with regulators.
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United Bankshares to Exit Wholesale Lending
United Bankshares, Inc. has agreed to sell its mortgage banking subsidiary to a McLean, Virginia bank. With the divestiture, the company hopes to be more profitable.
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Lender to Beef Up Tampa Staff
A Florida-based mortgage lender plans to increase its mortgage staff for a recently opened call center by about 160 new employees. The job additions, expected by the end of next year, aren't the only ones planned by U.S. mortgage lenders.
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Non-Refi Business Continues to Sizzle at Countrywide
Amidst an overall drop in mortgage loan production, Countrywide Financial Corp. reported -- again -- record purchase, subprime and ARM fundings.
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Net Branch Co Paying Signing Bonuses
A division of Empire Equity Group Inc. said it will offer branch managers the opportunity to earn signing bonuses up to $100,000. Participants in the program, however, will have to wait to be paid well past signing and aren't guaranteed the bonus.
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GMAC Drops Lawsuit Against LendingTree
A lawsuit filed over a disputed Internet domain address has been dismissed -- leaving feuding mortgage companies as friendly competitors once again.
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New Century Fundings Soar
Month-over-month mortgage production jumped 27% at New Century Financial Corp.
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Calyx Drops Suit Against Ellie Mae -- For Now
Two major players in the mortgage loan technology business are locked in a legal battle over a copyright dispute. However, a major development in the case last week has left the lawsuit in limbo.
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Payoff Statement Fee at Issue in Class Action Lawsuit Against Countrywide
One of the nation's largest residential lenders was named in a New Jersey class action lawsuit for allegedly illegally charging consumers fees required for closing. This marks the third lawsuit related to such practices and could end up costing the company over $1.8 million.
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Mortgage Jobs Expand
Mortgage jobs increased for the third consecutive month even as mortgage activity continued to take a pounding.
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Deutsche Launches Correspondent Unit
The investment banking arm of a European banking conglomerate has decided to try its hand at correspondent mortgage lending in America. The unit will focus on closed loan purchases of nonagency loans.
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GMAC v LendingTree
What's in a name? Plenty, when that name is an Internet domain coveted by one of the biggest players in the nation's mortgage business.
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Share of Refinance Apps Expected to Fall 25%
Mortgage activity has dropped for four straight weeks and as the market awaits Friday's employment report, long-term rates were almost immobilized and short-term rates jumped. The falloff in applications is mostly the result of a dwindling refinance share -- which is projected to drop another 25 points by year's end.
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Closing Attorney Stole $700,000 From Mortgage Banker
A New York closing attorney has been arrested after being charged with stealing nearly $700,000 from an escrow account used to disburse funds.
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Brokers' Assets Frozen Over Deceptive Ads
The ad looked hard to resist. "Free 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30-year Fixed" mortgages at "Today's Rate" with "NO COSTS-NO KIDDING."
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BoA to Cut 500 Mortgage Jobs
Following a pleasant holiday weekend, hundreds of Bank of America mortgage employees returned to work only find out they will soon be out of a job. The layoffs, prompted by rising rates and declining applications, have been preceded by similar moves at other mortgage companies recently.
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Brokers See Higher Rates Having Minimal Impact on Their Production
Even as mortgage production is expected to decrease industrywide, one post-refinance boom report showed that mortgage brokers have an optimistic outlook about how they will fare this year. Some of those surveyed indicate they will offer other services in addition to mortgage brokering.
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COFI Very Hot
The 11th district cost of funds index reversed course again and set a new record low in the process.
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Trade Groups Differ Over Originator Licensing
While licensing is currently only required for Minnesota mortgage company owners, a new professional designation was introduced for the state's loan officers and marks another step toward industry self-regulation at a time when predatory lending and mortgage fraud is very much present. The move highlights differences between two of the state's trade groups.
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Strong Production at ABN AMRO
ABN AMRO Mortgage Group Inc. kept up its momentum as it reported increased mortgage volume for the fourth consecutive month.
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news about mortgage crimes

Service Identifies Problem Brokers, Originators
Most fraud is reportedly committed by an insider, and at a time when plunging production is expected industrywide, brokerages are more susceptible to fraud. But, a new tool designed to detect fraudulent activity in a broker's history can possibly prevent a company from losing business and millions of dollars, according to one fraud prevention company.
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Appraisers Blame Brokers, Licensing for Fraud
Representatives of the nations appraisers testified before Congress that inadequate appraiser licensing and pressure from mortgage brokers enable criminals to commit mortgage crimes.
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Fraud Costs CEO, Company $52 Million
A federal grand jury in Florida has returned a verdict of more than $52 million against a defunct mortgage firm, its owner and one of its directors.
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stories for loan originators

How to Generate Agent Referrals
Many sales trainers will tell you that the key obtaining more referrals is asking for the business. This concept is absolutely false. If it were true, why have trainers been beating this into our heads for years and most of us still are not comfortable asking? The key to getting more referrals is putting ourselves in the position to ask. When we place ourselves in the right position, the business transaction will take place naturally. If it feels uncomfortable or is forced -- it is not right.
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