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December 2010 Archive

Record Low for Mortgage Market Index
Led by a decline in refinances, the holiday week saw a nearly one-third drop in mortgage activity -- dragging the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index to its lowest level since launching late last year. Long-term conforming rates fell, but the story was a different one for jumbo rates.

Mortgage Market Index 140 for the week ended Dec. 29, 2010

FL LOs Given More Time for NMLS
Loan originators in the Sunshine State have been granted more time to complete their applications under the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.

1.5 Million Modifications Since 2008
Banks and thrifts have modified more than 1.5 million mortgages since 2008. Foreclosures set a record, while serious delinquency was at its lowest level in five quarters.

New Penn Originates Over $1 Billion
Residential originations exceeded $1 billion this year at New Penn Financial LLC -- which projects a "significant increase" in hirings next year.

FL Lender Sees 67% Growth
A growing Florida firm that originated more than $300 million this year has big plans for next year. Around 200 new hirings are planned to handle as much as $500 million in volume during 2011, while the company's menu of product offerings will expand beyond mortgages. Much of the lender's business is generated from trigger leads.

Moral Hazard High for Strategic Defaults
Slowing the national foreclosure process is only putting off the pain, according to research that analyzed the long-term effects of foreclosures. The study also indicated that borrowers who strategically default are creating a moral hazard that has their neighbors considering similar moves. One possible remedy, however, is a short sale that finances the deficiency balance.

Quicken, PrimeLending Sued by Employees
Quicken Loans Inc. and PrimeLending have been accused in federal lawsuits of underpaying their employees. With several such lawsuits already filed, lawyers are warning that mortgage employment litigation -- especially lawsuits focused on allegations of unpaid overtime under state and federal law -- will see an upward spike in 2011.

Affidavit Probe Expected to Be Done in 2011
An investigation into the foreclosure affidavit crisis by the states is expected to yield results in 2011. The attorney general heading the probe hopes to pass on any penalties collected to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure even as they were in the process of qualifying for a loan modification.

Break for First Magnus Execs
Former executives and directors of failed mortgage lender First Magnus Financial Corp. got a break when a bankruptcy judge tossed out more allegations of corporate pilfering.

Class Action Filed Over HELOC Subordination Fees
A federal lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania against The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. over subordination fees charged on home-equity lines-of-credit. Class-action certification is sought in the case.

Ally Settles Repurchase Obligations on $84 Billion in Loans
Ally Financial Inc. has taken in big step in limiting its repurchase liabilities.

Repurchase Litigation Ledger
Investors, issuers and originators having been taking their disputes over repurchase demands and other repurchase issues to the courts.

HUD Takes Actions Against Hundreds of Lenders
Hundreds of Federal Housing Administration mortgagees recently faced actions over FHA violations. Among the actions were suspensions of origination agreements, terminations of mortgagee approvals and issuances of civil money penalties. Advertising was an issue several of the cases, while reverse mortgages were an issue in at least one action.

3 FHA Mortgagees Pay HUD $1.7 Million
Three Federal Housing Administration mortgagees have agreed to pay more than $1.7 million in penalties and reimbursements over alleged violations.

Broker Says What Banks Can't
When it comes to assigning blame for the mortgage crisis, many are quick to point the finger at banks. And although responses from such financial institutions are limited to diplomatic statements -- a Connecticut mortgage broker is a little more blunt in his assessment that borrowers were a big part of the problem.

Rates Improving
After five consecutive weeks of rising rates, fixed mortgage rates took a breather and could fall further. Still, the share of borrowers opting for an adjustable-rate mortgage jumped.

Fannie Adjusts Pricing
Secondary lender Fannie Mae has updated its pricing on mortgages with loan-to-values in excess of 70 percent and on loans with subordinate financing.

Fannie Outperforms Freddie
Secondary activity at Fannie Mae inched higher last month. The company's outstanding mortgages rose even as total mortgages at its secondary cousin Freddie Mac fell -- indicating a shift in market share. Delinquency was lower versus an increase at Freddie.

Best Month of Year at Freddie
Secondary marketing purchases by Freddie Mac last month were higher than any other month this year. But the news was not so good for delinquency, which increased for the second month in a row.

Bright Outlook for Defaults
An improving economy and stabilizing housing market has one business school predicting that this year's originations have a lower risk of defaulting than loans originated in recent years.

Bank Acquisitions Continue
The Federal Reserve banks have received dozens of mergers and acquisitions applications with the targets located throughout the country. In addition, at least three foreign organizations have been buying up financial institutions. In other bank merger activity, the regulator of the Federal Home Loan Bank system seeks to allow mergers among the banks.

New Business Falls as Rates Continue Rising
Another weekly increase in mortgage rates scared off more mortgage shoppers. Meanwhile, jumbo mortgages grew less attractive compared to conforming loans.

Mortgage Market Index 221 for the week ended Dec. 22, 2010
Rise In Delinquency Might Be Temporary
Just as mortgage delinquency was about to finish its 12th straight month lower, loan performance took a turn for the worse. But one expert sees the increase as just a blip on the screen.

FHA Performance Sinks
The origination of government-insured loans was higher last month, as was the number of outstanding insured loans. But new applications tumbled, turnaround took longer and delinquency deteriorated.

BofA Leads Monthly HAMPs Higher
After four months of declining activity, mortgage servicers have stepped up their activity on government loan modifications. The biggest mortgage servicer maintained its standing as the biggest producer of federal modifications.

21,306 HAMPs completed in November

Mixed Commercial Performance
Commercial real estate lending improved on a quarterly and annual basis but has a long way to go before returning to the levels reached three years ago. As the country's aggregate commercial mortgage portfolio diminished, so did the performance and issuance of securitized loans.

Q4 Forecast Boosted 59%
Mortgage bankers have improved their outlook considerably for fourth-quarter residential originations. Full-year 2010 production estimates were raised by more than $100 billion.

Trio of FDIC Portfolios Sold
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sold three portfolios with more than $600 million in residential acquisition-and-development loans and commercial mortgages.

Bank's Warehouse Business Grows
After getting into the mortgage business last year, a bank based in Texas is reporting strong growth in its warehouse lending operation.

Wells Enters Modification Agreements With 10 States
Wells Fargo & Co. has reached agreements with 10 states to make loan modifications. In just California, where the majority of impacted mortgages are located, more than $2 billion in concessions could be at stake.

HUD Extends Correspondent Deadline
Some loan correspondents for the Federal Housing Administration will be able to maintain their approval beyond the upcoming deadline.

Fannie Lifts Q4 Outlook
Fannie Mae's projection for quarterly residential originations by all mortgage lenders was increased by $27 billion. But mortgage loans outstanding are expected to contract by more than $100 billion over the next three months.

FTC, States Sue Mod Firms
The Federal Trade Commission, which has been busy in federal court, has decided to forbid loan modification companies from charging up-front fees. And, spurred by consumer complaints, Indiana this year filed 34 actions against mortgage modification services. But, in at least one reported instance, a modification company booted out of Florida set up shop in a neighboring state.

Casualty Count Reaches 200
It was a bad week for the small bank sector, with most of the damage happening in the South. Including banks, credit unions and mortgage companies -- 200 mortgage-related operations have closed or collapsed in 2010.

New Defaults Decline
A big improvement in new defaults was enough to offset a monthly rise in the foreclosure inventory.

Mental Impairment an Issue in Reverse Lawsuit
Experts agree that reverse mortgages should only be used as a last resort. Two borrowers have turned to the courts to settle disputes with Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corp. One of the cases involves a borrower who was allegedly mentailly impaired when he closed on the loan, while the other lawsuit ended up reversing a reverse mortgage.

3-Year Sentence For Fired Fannie Contractor
After being fired in 2008 by Fannie Mae because of a serious scripting error, a contract programmer embedded a malicious code in a company computer -- intending serious damage. Last week, the fired contractor was sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Acquisition Will Double Bank's Originations
DANBURY, Conn. -- The acquisition of Connecticut mortgage banking firm that has originated more than $2 billion since its founding will nearly double production at a Connecticut bank.

BofA Fighting States Over Modifications
Earlier today, Arizona's attorney general announced a lawsuit filed against Bank of America Corp. over its alleged handling of loan modifications. Now Nevada has disclosed a similar lawsuit.

BofA Juggles Modification Litigation
Just as Bank of America Corp. seems to be on its way to resolving litigation filed by mortgage-backed securities investors over who will foot the bill for loan modifications, the State of Arizona has filed a new lawsuit against the Charlotte, N.C.-based company over the way it handles its loan modifications.

Alt-A Actions Accelerate
Since Oct. 1, more than $80 billion in Alt-A residential mortgage-backed securities had their ratings lowered by one ratings agency. The latest downgrades were on top of $40 billion in downgrades during September. An ailing economy, ongoing unemployment and weak home prices were blamed for the most recent round of negative actions.

Woman to Be 1st CEO of Top-20 Bank
The first woman to head a top-20 bank will take on her new role in just a few months -- though she wasn't the only woman recently appointed to run a bank. Several other institutions this past month announced a host of changes to their executive lineups.

Recent bank executive activity

Market Metrics Mauled
There was no relief this week in the mortgage market. Rates rose, activity eased and at least one panel predicts a further increase in mortgage rates.

Borrowers, Not Banks, Drag TARP Into Red
WASHINGTON -- While the U.S. government's plan to save the banking industry will likely turn out to be a profitable venture -- programs for borrowers ended up being money-losers.

MO Firm Maintains $1 Billion Status
A mortgage banker operating in Missouri managed to originate more than $1 billion for the second year in a row.

Secondary Investors Defrauded
More than 10 lawsuits have been filed against a Texas mortgage firm that is accused of fraudulently using the same properties as security for multiple loans. Also named as a defendant is the company's owner who previously plead guilty to mortgage fraud.

Mortgage Market Deterioration Resumes
It was another bad week for the mortgage market -- with rates rising, refinances retreating and new weekly activity down by 15 percent. But business was still better than at the same time last year.

Mortgage Market Index 221 for the week ended Dec. 15, 2010

REOs Could Exceed 1 Million in 2010
As the foreclosure affidavit crisis prompted many servicers to suspend foreclosure activity, monthly foreclosure activity sank. But the country is still on track to complete more than a million foreclosures this year.

262,339 foreclosure filings in November

Inside Investor Litigation
A flurry of lawsuits and class actions were recently filed against Lender Processing Service Inc. by the company's investors. A rare courtroom trial ended in a judgment against a bank after e-mails from the institution's lending manager were presented as evidence, and two big banks recently settled investor-related actions.

Ginnie Business Holds Up
Monthly issuance of mortgage-backed securities that are guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association managed to keep up the pace set in the prior period. At the rate of business during the first 11 months of this year, the company is on track to guarantee $400 billion this year.

Biggest Lender at Odds With Industry Over Risk Retention
The largest originator of residential loans in the country is calling for more risk retention by U.S. lenders -- a position directly at odds with real estate finance trade groups.

Repurchases Drive Fraud Reports Higher
An increase in repurchase demands is prompting an increase in the number of mortgage fraud reports.

35,135 SARs filings in first-half 2010

TILA Battle Brewing
Attorneys that represent borrowers have banded with other consumer advocate organizations to oppose a revision in the Truth in Lending Act that would eliminate a borrower's ability to rescind a mortgage for up to three years if there are mortgage compliance violations. Mortgage bankers, on the other hand, are inclined to go along with the proposed changes.

Hirings Generate Millions in Incentives
Economic incentives in Indiana have an expanding lender adding 300 new jobs in the state.

Servicing Portfolios Tumble
Mortgage servicers are handling 43 percent fewer loans than they were a year ago, though they are getting more out of each servicing employee. One of the ratings agencies is warning that servicers will face new threats next year.

Senate Committee Approves FHFA Nominee
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's nominee to head the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made it through a key committee and now faces the full Senate. Several Republicans opposed the nomination.

LO Productivity Up
The average mortgage originator boosted production by 12 percent, according to a mortgage banking report. Meanwhile, their employers managed to increase staff.

Ginnie Surpasses $1 Trillion in MBS
Outstanding mortgage-backed securities that are guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association now exceed $1 trillion.

LPS v. Reuters
It's a war of words between Lender Processing Services and Reuters news service. The mortgage service provider also has a few qualms with The Florida Times-Union.

BofA Borrowers Mistakenly Warned of Delinquent Taxes
A letter sent out from a Bank of America Corp. unit to more than a thousand borrowers mistakenly warned the customers that their homes were in danger of being lost over delinquent property taxes.

Fewer Borrowers With LTVs Above 100%
The number of U.S. borrowers with loan-to-values in excess of 100 percent has fallen by more than a half million this year. But over 10 million borrowers are still upside-down. Nevada topped the list for the highest collective LTV, Oklahoma was at the other end of the spectrum, and Texas fell somewhere in between.

Wells Closes Wholesale Center
A wholesale unit located in Northern California will be closed down by Wells Fargo & Co., and, as a result, more than a hundred jobs will be eliminated. But the company says it is still committed to the mortgage broker channel.

Wholesaler Calls It Quits
In addition to two banks that failed last week, a wholesale lender that boasted about its launch last year as other wholesalers were closing shop has now itself closed shop. Other corporate obituaries include a Maryland mortgage investor that has gone bankrupt.

HUD Cuts Off N.Y. Lender
The Federal Housing Administration has yanked the mortgagee approval from a lender based in the State of New York over "numerous and egregious violations of FHA requirements."

Advertising Do's & Don'ts
The targeted nature of direct mail advertising and the ability to tailor each message to the loan prospect can provide a powerful lead-generating tool, according to one consulting firm -- which notes that the results are measurable. But direct mail advertisements, as well as ads through other media, are subject to state and federal laws, and many have recently prompted charges by state attorneys general and by federal agencies and regulators.

Foreclosure Process Resumes at BofA
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- More than two months after Bank of America Corp. suspended foreclosures, it has resumed the process. First to move will be vacant and investment properties.

GMAC Gets Green Light for Maine Foreclosures
PORTLAND, Maine -- A federal judge cleared the way Friday for GMAC Mortgage Co. to resume foreclosure sales and evictions in the State of Maine, which had been on hold for the past month. But the mortgage giant still faces a class-action lawsuit filed by several Maine borrowers, who allege that GMAC used fraudulent paperwork to illegally speed foreclosure cases through the state's court system.

Mortgage Jobs Among BB&T Hirings
BB&T Corp. plans to hire several hundred new employees in 2011 -- including some for mortgage jobs. The company's chief executive officer said second-half 2010 distressed loan sales will be nearly $1 billion.

Foreclosure Lawyer Targets Lender Errors
A Virginia lawyer is representing delinquent borrowers in two separate cases seeking a suspension of the foreclosures and at least $400,000 each in damages. In one case, an improperly filed document is alleged. The other case claims violations of the Truth-in-Lending Act.

Inside Wachovia's Collapse
In the months leading up to the collapse of Wachovia Corp., the Charlotte, N.C.-based institution had received more than $70 billion in government support. But its acquisition of Golden West -- and the accompanying portfolio of mortgages secured by properties in what would become some of the most distressed markets in the country -- was just too much to overcome.

Mortgage Litigation Up 41%
Legal actions tied to mortgage-lending jumped by more than 40 percent in the third quarter of the year based on the Mortgage Litigation Index.

Third-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Litigation Index

Foreclosure Litigation Battles
Servicers are fighting accusations of "robo-signing" in court rooms throughout the county. Bank of America is urging a federal court to disregard defects in a case where the borrower would have lost the house anyway. The representative of one company missed a foreclosure sale by 10 minutes, and the property was sold to the defaulting borrower's brother at a fraction of the value.

Costly Litigation for Foreclosure Firms
Recent foreclosure-rescue lawsuits filed by states and the federal government involve millions-of-dollars in claims and judgments. One current scam has delinquent borrowers selling their homes to rescue firms with the intention of buying it back -- though this rarely happens. Mortgage fraud is often involved in these schemes. A California firm is being sued by the state because it tried to fraudulently use claims of predatory lending.

ARM Activity Headed Higher
As market anxiety over European economies subsided, mortgage rates surged. Some signs point to a continued rise in rates. The latest mortgage forecast has the share of borrowers choosing adjustable rates increasing through the end of next year.

Additional Changes to Ginnie Net Worth Minimums
Issuers of multifamily mortgage-backed securities that are guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association face more increases to net worth requirements.

FHFA Director Nominee Testifies Before Senators
WASHINGTON -- During a Senate confirmation hearing today, the committee's top Republican expressed concern about whether President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the federal regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will give in to political pressure for the two secondary lenders to write down principal. The committee's top Democrat, however, endorsed the nominee.

U.S. Origination Forecast Lifted
Projected second-half originations were boosted by $46 billion over last month's forecast. But next year's business is predicted to be the worst in a decade. One-in-10 mortgages is expected to be adjustable-rate by the end of next year, while refinance share will likely thin considerably.

The Reverse Guide
Originators of federally insured reverse mortgages are subject to new disclosure, input and issuance requirements. Guidance issued by bank regulators that recently went live helps institutions minimize risks on reverse lending.

Activity Up Despite Rising Rates
Despite a deterioration in mortgage rates, new mortgage activity jumped this week -- though the increase was likely the result of previous lower activity from the recent holiday. Refinances led the increase, and jumbo rates became less expensive compared to their conforming counterparts.

Mortgage Market Index 260 for the week ended Dec. 8, 2010

$2 Mil Settlement for No. 10 FHA Lender
A national lender that claims to be the 10th biggest FHA originator in the country has settled for $2 million allegations that it charged blacks higher rates. Since the allegations first emerged, the company has implemented policies and procedures to ensure its originators don't disparately charge overages.

Lenders Investigated Over Credit Score Requirements
Nearly two dozen mortgage lenders are being investigated because they allegedly require credit scores of at least 620 or 640 on Federal Housing Administration loans. The policy, according to consumer groups, has resulted in discrimination against blacks and Hispanics.

Red Flags Legislation Passed
Lawmakers have passed legislation that clarifies the type of companies that are subject to a new identity theft rule.

30-Year Above 4.7%
After soaring 20 basis points yesterday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury is up more than 10 BPS today. The Treasury activity is pushing the interest rate on the 30-year mortgage above 4.7 percent.

Report: Reverse Mortgages "Very Risky"
Reverse mortgages are "very risky" for ill-prepared borrowers and should only be used as a last resort, according to a report from three consumer groups. The new federal regulator being created for consumer financial products should exercise strong oversight on such loans, the groups say.

5-Year Sentence for Bank LO Who Modified Loans
CHICAGO -- A loan officer at an Illinois bank who decided that he would implement his own loan modification program by altering existing contracts has been sentenced to more than five years in prison. The resulting losses to his employer exceeded $5 million.

Judge Forces Fannie to Mitigate
A federal judge has held up the eviction of an Ohio couple who lost their home to foreclosure and required Fannie Mae, which now owns the foreclosed property, to try and work out a deal to keep the couple in the property. But if that doesn't work, the attorney for the couple is confident he'll have no problem litigating the case.

Mortgage Crime Stories
Two former bank chiefs have admitted to crimes while running their respective institutions -- one which has since failed. One of the CEOs had purchased a yacht which he planned to use to escape to Panama. Other financial institution executives face criminal trials over an array of alleged crimes against their employers. And the list of defendants is likely to grow thanks to a new government effort.

Growing Lender Recruiting
A California-based wholesale lender that closed nearly $2 billion last year reported growth in loan originations and is recruiting employees for sales and production.

Bad News for Mortgage Rates
Treasury market activity Tuesday suggests mortgage rates are moving much higher.

Mortgage Compliance Update
Several resources have been made available to help mortgage firms comply with complex new regulations and legislation. The media are available in multiple formats including Webinars, audio conferences and white papers. Traditional service providers are also touting their solutions.

Delinquency Projected to Fall Over 100 BPS
Late payments on home loans are expected to end the year 23 basis points lower than at the end of the third quarter. By the end of next year, the rate is expected to tumble another 123 BPS.

MetLife Loses No. 1 HECM Wholesaler Spot
After holding the title of biggest reverse mortgage wholesale lender for five months, MetLife Bank has relinquished the crown.

MTA Breaks New Record
The Monthly Treasury Average reached another all-time low, though an end might in sight for the index's illustrious run.

Proposal Has Lenders, Brokers Filing SARs
A proposal from the Department of the Treasury would require more than 30,000 mortgage brokers and non-bank mortgage lenders to file Suspicious Activity Reports with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network when mortgage fraud is suspected. Mortgage bankers have thrown their support behind the proposal.

Mortgage Bankers Concerned About FHA Rule
A proposed rule on Federal Housing Administration loans could have mortgagees on the hook for five years even if their mistakes were not responsible for the defaults or losses. Mortgage bankers are concerned that, in addition to extended liability for indemnification, lenders aren't afforded an adequate appeals process under the proposal.

FHA Policy, Procedure and Performance
Everybody seems to have an opinion about what should be done to limit losses at the Federal Housing Administration. As the agency assesses its own operations and implements federal legislation -- a host of new guidelines, procedures and warnings have emerged.

The M.I. Bulletin
Major mortgage insurers have recently updated policies and revised guidelines for rate quotes, minimum FICO scores and market classifications. Also impacted are ratings, validation requirements and refinances under a federal program. Many of the changes are less restrictive, while some involve enhanced offerings.

Jan. 1 License Deadline for CA LOs
California loan originators who work for mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers will need to be licensed and listed in the national registry come Jan. 1, 2011. Around 19,000 originators have met licensing requirements so far, while roughly 18,000 people are still working on it.

PennyMac Hit With Cease-and-Desist Order
Distressed investor PennyMac Loan Services LLC has been hit with a cease-and-desist order over unlicensed lending.

Big Decline in Bankruptcy Filings
Consumers filed 13 percent fewer bankruptcies last month.

Improving Economy Hurting Mortgage Market
Mortgage rates deteriorated for the third consecutive week, driving refinance activity lower and dragging down overall new loan activity. Behind the mortgage market deterioration is an improving economy.

Federal Funds for Delinquent NC Borrowers
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- More than 20,000 North Carolina borrowers who were hit by a hardship could be eligible for federal funds to help with their mortgage payments. While the program is targeted at unemployed borrowers, other potential beneficiaries include borrowers who were recently divorced or separated.

U.S. Mortgage Jobs Expand
More people were employed in real estate finance in October than a month earlier. But compared to a year ago, the sector has contracted.

HECM Lenders Lift Loan Volume
Last month saw an up tick in the number of federally insured reverse mortgages originated. The title of second-biggest reverse retail lender changed hands, while No. 1 saw monthly business leap by two thirds.

Ginnie Volume Down, Fannie & Freddie Up
While monthly issuance was lower at the Government National Mortgage Association, volume moved up at the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

2011 FHA Loan Limits Released
Next year's maximum loan limits on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration -- including traditional loans and reverse mortgages -- have been released by the government.

FHA Wholesale Program Launched
Mortgage brokers and mortgage banking correspondents now have another place to close their Federal Housing Administration loans.

BofA Moving 2,500 Origination Jobs to Modifications
Bank of America Home Loans is moving some of its mortgage loan originators and other production staff to its loan modification department.

Strong Opposition to Proposed TILA Change
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve is considering a move that would make it more difficult for delinquent borrowers to stop foreclosure. A proposed Truth in Lending Act change would require borrowers to pay principal in full before the lien is released when they invoke a three-year right of rescission on loans with TILA violations. But there is plenty of opposition to the proposed change.

Service Providers Help With Originations
Several offerings promise to help mortgage originators avoid compliance errors, and one claims to help increase production. But for financial institutions and other peripheral players who don't want to be saddled with the bricks-and-mortar cost of originating mortgages, several service providers are promoting multiple alternatives.

loanDepot Claims History Making Production
Mortgage originations reported by loanDepot in September were, in fact, loan applications. Still, the 11-month-old firm was able to make history in its first year of business.

Mortgage Activity Sinks
New mortgage activity tumbled a quarter this week as rates rose and refinances retreated. It was the third week in a row that business was down.

Mortgage Market Index 188 for the week ended Dec. 1, 2010
Customer Base Growing at Credit Unions
When compared to the prior quarter and last year, credit unions have boosted their base of customers. Earnings also improved from the previous periods. But the foreclosure growth rate rose at its most brisk pace during 2010.

N.Y. Judge a Menace to Servicers
A New York State judge, who has no tolerance for mortgage servicers that cannot prove they own a loan or do not provide required documents such as a five-year payment history, will testify before legislators this week. One-in-five foreclosures in his courtroom this year have been dismissed or frozen.

Freddie Suspends Foreclosure Evictions
No borrowers will be evicted from their homes during the holidays if the foreclosed loan is owned or managed by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Bank Regulators Rein in Actions
Monthly actions by banking regulators against federally insured institutions took a dive -- falling 30 percent. The number of cease-and-desist orders issued tumbled more than 40 percent.

Mortgage Meetings and Events
Distressed investing is the topic being discussed at a big share of mortgage-related conferences. Upcoming events include a servicing conference, a commercial mortgage show and a meeting that will address legislation and regulation.

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