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Apps, Rates Quiet
Rates upticked this week, bringing down mortgage activity, and will keep climbing gradually -- with both the 30-year fixed and 1-year ARM expected to end next year about 40 BPS above their current levels.
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FHA Limit Bumped
In line with the recent conforming loan limit increases, the maximum FHA loan amount has been adjusted up.
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Fugitive Chronicles Mortgage Crimes in 'Fiction' Book
Matthew B. Cox had made the transition from a dead-end insurance sales job to a promising career in the mortgage brokerage business some years ago when he penned a crime novel titled The Associates.
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photo of Matthew B. Cox

Allied Educates Outside Originators
While its not unusual for net branch companies to provide training for their employees, one of the nation's biggest net branch operations has started offering mortgage education to brokers that are not part of the company.
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PA Firm Fined Nearly $1 Million
A black-owned Philadelphia mortgage broker has been slapped with a hefty penalty for using predatory loans to discriminate against its African American customers.
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Blog IDs Bad Wholesalers
Loan officers and brokers can rant and rave about frustrating experiences with mortgage wholesalers on a blog created just for that purpose. But don't look for much gossip yet -- as the blog's only entry so far is from the site's owner.
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MortgageIT Ups Warehouse Line
Online mortgage lender MortgageIT Inc. has raised its warehouse funding capacity by 75%.
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L.A. Probing Mayor's Link to Mortgage Scam Defendants
Prosecutors have begun probing $30,000 in campaign contributions made to L.A.'s mayor by a pair of once high-flying developers now accused of mortgage fraud.
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Processing Outsourcer Adding Jobs
Florida mortgage loan processors looking for a job may have a few more choices now that one processing company plans to add 150 jobs by next year.
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Study Compares Foreclosure Process at Servicers
While it takes nearly a year and a half for a servicer on a California property to liquidate a delinquent loan, servicers of New York properties can expect to wait an additional seven months, according to research conducted by RMBS ratings agency Standard & Poor's.
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Increasing Originations By Branding
In sales, clients need to be sold on the salesperson first, according to the Little Red Book of Selling. If they are sold on you as a brand, then they may buy your loan programs.
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Husband Kills Originator, Self
A southern California mortgage loan originator was shot and killed by her new husband -- who then turned the gun on himself. The shooting continues a macabre series of violent yet unrelated deaths gripping the nation's mortgage industry.
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Bankruptcy a Possibility at American Business Financial
Faced with the inability to pay its creditors, American Business Financial Services Inc. has notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that it may need to seek bankruptcy protection.
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November Business at Fannie Falls
Fannie Mae's business declined 15% in November.
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1-Year ARM Heading Higher
While the 1-year ARM barely budged this week, one industry forecast has it surging 50 basis points from its current level by midyear 2005 and not gaining in popularity.
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Freddie Business Nudges Up
With an uptick in November business, Freddie Mac reversed a four-month trend.
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Big Shake Up at Fannie
Caught up in a whirlwind of controversy, two of Fannie Mae's top executives have exited, and regulators now say the mortgage giant is significantly undercapitalized.
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Delta Secures Additional $200 Million Warehouse Lines
Subprime lender Delta Financial Corp. has increased its warehouse funding capacity by nearly 30% and anticipates production next year will continue to increase from its record level this year.
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Strategic Positioning
Deals, deals deals. From Florida to Texas, mergers and acquisitions are alive and kicking.
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Domestic Outsourcing Jobs Axed
A Kentucky mortgage outsourcing firm that was the brainchild of two mortgage behemoths has given two months' notice to hundreds of employees. The move, brought on by refinance fallout, will result in a staff that is about half the size as before the layoffs.
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Mortgage Banking Profit Margins Tumble
Increased servicing profits are picking up some of the slack as falling production continues to drive down mortgage banking profit margins, according to a trade group study released last week.
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Ameriquest Adding High-Tech Jobs
Ameriquest Mortgage Co. is adding a Colorado data center -- and creating more than a hundred jobs in the process.
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6.5% By 2005
As the 1-year adjustable rate mortgage rose, fixed rates fell. But a forecast from the Bond Market Association has the 30-year at 6.5% a year from now.
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Mortgage Finance Trends
In the world of residential mortgage lending, what's hot and what's not? Interest-only loans, ARMs and first lien HELs are hot. Fixed rates, refinances and stand-alone seconds are not.
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Larger Firms have Fewer Concerns about Outsourcing
A new study illustrated that outsourcing will continue to evolve as a key strategy that will allow mortgage companies to remain competitive both domestically and internationally.
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Mortgage Web Sites Leave Much to be Desired
While prospective borrowers prefer the Internet as a guidance tool in starting the mortgage loan process, new research shows many mortgage lenders' Web sites don't make it easy for consumers to learn about the various loan programs they offer.
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Broker Sued for Faxing
Unwanted faxes that pitch a product or service are like Internet Spam and telemarketing calls -- a typically unwanted part of doing business in an office environment.
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State Stops Strippers
Dozens of homeowners are expected to receive restitution from a recently settled case involving two Minnesota-based mortgage companies and its owner accused of equity stripping.
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Originator Murdered by Collectors
When New York mortgage originator Robert Calabrese lost his job in the fall, he turned to a new business venture that cost him his life.
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Nice November Production at National City
Conforming and nonprime originations rose at National City Corp.
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Countrywide Adding 7,500 Texas Jobs
Induced by a $20 million investment from the state of Texas, Countrywide Financial has agreed to purchase a property in a Dallas suburb -- and in the process, create thousands of jobs within the state during the next several years.
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Are Originators Entitled to Min Wage, Overtime?
Three loan officers have sued a Florida mortgage company claiming they are owed unpaid minimum wages and overtime. Lawyers in the case are seeking to include all similar employees of the company during the past three years -- including those who had substantial commissions while employed.
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Mortgage Banker's Wife Beats Jeopardy! Champ
Jeffrey Zerg recalled the phone conversation with his wife, Nancy, just three months ago. "I have some good news and some bad news," Nancy had said. "I did it! I beat Ken Jennings! But I didn't do so well the next game."
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Vanderbilt, 21st Century to Add Servicing jobs
In the game of musical chairs that's been played with mortgage jobs lately, servicing positions in Tennessee are all the rage today.
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Rates Slip, But Heading Higher
Disappointing employment news was good news for mortgage shoppers -- with more completing loan applications last week. But the party might not last long as forecasts now have the 30-year at 6% sooner than expected.
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Mortgage Co. at Center of High Profile Lawsuit
A dispute involving a mortgage company is at the heart of what could be a major legal decision involving a relatively new federal law designed to crack down on corporate fraud.
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Delinquency Down, But Subprime Soars
A major trade group representing the mortgage industry had some good news and some not-so-good news; while overall mortgage delinquency was lower, delinquency in the subprime sector rose.
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Countrywide Originations Up
Driven by higher refinance activity, Countrywide Financial Corp. saw overall production rise after falling for the prior two months.
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$4 Billion Mfg Housing Portfolio Trades Hands
Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Inc. has agreed to purchase a $4 billion portfolio of manufactured housing loans from a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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Bigger Share of Cashout Proceeds Going to Investments
As more borrowers liquidate high amounts of home equity to make investments -- a move that can result in losing their home, NASD has once again stepped in to alert the firms it regulates to carefully analyze investors' suitability before recommending such activity.
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Fitch Ups First Horizon Servicer Ratings
First Horizon Home Loan Corp. received upgraded servicer ratings on Alt-A and home equity loans.
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NovaStar Helps Delinquent Borrowers Find Jobs
How can lenders reduce the number of unemployed borrowers that wind up in foreclosure? Help find them jobs.
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Amerisave Adding Origination, Production Employees
Production personnel looking for employment in Atlanta will benefit from the subprime expansion next year of one mortgage company.
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Fundings Hold Steady at New Century
One of the nation's biggest subprime lenders maintained the pace of the previous month's production and remains positive it will achieve its annual goal.
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2 Brokers Murdered
In apparently unrelated instances, two mortgage brokers were found murdered -- one in Chicago, and the other just a few days later in Florida.
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Wheel and Deal
The wave of mortgage-related consolidations has now spread to Canada and South America.
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Robinson Vs Neiman Marcus
The owner of a south Florida mortgage school has won a $2.6 million jury verdict over a seven-year old shoplifting dispute with racial overtones.
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Founder of Mortgage Unit Sues Bank for $28 Mil Over Firing
What looks to be a bitter and expensive legal fight over control of a mortgage company and its Internet unit has broken out in Massachusetts.
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Mortgage Jobs Jump
As the financial markets digest overall disappointing employment news, the government reported today that jobs in the mortgage sector grew.
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Fixed Rates Rise, ARMs Off
Long-term rates surged to the highest level in four months, while the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM fell for the first time in over a month. And even as conventional purchase originations are rising -- FHA purchase originations are plunging.
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Mortgage Banker Inks CSU Sports Complex Deal
A California mortgage banker and philanthropist has contributed $1 million to rename the sports complex of one of the state's universities after his company.
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RBC Cutting Jobs at U.S. Mortgage Unit
As part of a restructuring of operations, Royal Bank of Canada reduced staff by 1,660 -- and among the casualties are employees at its U.S. mortgage unit.
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NovaStar Lawsuit Comes on Heels of Critical HUD Audit
Subprime lender NovaStar Financial, already facing the fallout from a tough government audit over its net branch structure, is now being sued for $200 million in a Georgia federal court for allegedly using unlicensed brokers.
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Mortgage Debt to Double During Next Decade
Residential mortgages outstanding are expected to top $17 trillion within the next 10 years, according to economists from some of the biggest players in real estate finance.
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COFI at 15-Month High
The 11th District cost of funds index inched up for the fifth consecutive month and is at its highest level since the summer of 2003.
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Fannie Unloaded, Ginnie Bought Bogus Notes
A federal judge has ordered Fannie Mae to turn over $6.5 million it received as a result of selling fraudulent mortgages back to the originator who in turn sold them to the government.
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news about mortgage crimes

Branch Manager at Former BoA Unit Sentenced for Fraud
A former branch manager of Bank of America's one-time subprime lending subsidiary was sentenced for approving loans he knew were fake while at the unit.
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$13 Million Secondary Fraud
A California mortgage broker made fake loans against homes without the knowledge of the property owners, then sold those loans on the secondary market multiple times.
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String of Murders Hit Mortgage Industry
For the third time in a matter of days a person who worked in the mortgage industry has been murdered. But a history of mortgage fraud and a choice to turn against other members in a fraud ring provide possible clues to the motive in this case.
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Fraud Notes Cost Fannie $7.5 Million
Already on the radar screen of federal authorities when in 1998 he bought a 58-foot Sea Ray yacht for $802,000 in cash, the owner of First Beneficial Mortgage Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., got on Fannie Mae's radar by selling the company millions of dollars of bogus notes. When Fannie demanded he repurchase the notes, he sold the same false notes to Ginnie Mae and used those proceeds to repay Fannie. But Fannie, a government sponsored company, neglected to notify Ginnie, a government owned company, that the loans were fraud -- leading to a $7.5 million settlement this week.
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Famous Figure Fights Fraud
First he wrote bad checks. Then he went to jail. Then he joined the FBI. Then he wrote a biography that became a movie directed by Steven Spielberg where he was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and chased by Tom Hanks. Now he's telling mortgage company executives how they can avoid being looted.
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Mortgage Employees, Evangelist Among Players in Ponzi Scheme
Two California mortgage workers, a homeowner and a traveling evangeli
st have been arrested in what the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has termed a Ponzi scheme.
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stories for loan originators

Study Looks at Nonprime Wholesalers
While onsite visits are helpful in persuading mortgage brokers to try a nonprime wholesale lender, a new study says the value of subsequent visits diminishes significantly. It's returned phone calls and reliable preapprovals that brokers value most.
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