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Moody’s to Review ‘Too Big’ Banks

Spooked by speculation that the federal government may withhold bailout funds from banks deemed too big to fail in another crisis, Moody's Investors Service placed the debt ratings for three leading banking institutions under review in June, according to NASDAQ.com. The ratings agency said that the reviews will assess deposit, senior debt, and senior subordinated debt ratings. If lowered, the new ratings would downgrade the banks' reputation as financially solvent institutions, diminishing their abilities to borrow large sums and meet bottom lines.

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Tech it Out: New Appraisal Compliance Partnership Announced

Tech leaders a la mode and CoreLogic are teaming up. CoreLogic├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós ValuEdge platform will now connect with a la mode├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Mercury Network to facilitate ValuEdge's Native XML appraisal data. CoreLogic's ValuEdge software targets streamlined appraisal process compliance, and the integrated plugin with a la mode will provide CoreLogic with additional quality control elements and advanced bundling for all reports.

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RE/MAX Sees Positive Movement in Housing Trends

RE/MAX issued a report this week that yields a net gain in month-over-month statistics for home sales and prices in May, aligning with an expected seasonal drive by homebuyers, investors, and foreign buyers to real estate. Adding to a three-month trend on the upside, the company says home prices climbed 3.7 percent between April and May, while closed sales transactions rose 3.2 percent. RE/MAX says activity appears to be coming back in line with the seasonal trends expected this time of year.

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MBA: Mortgage Apps Jump as Low Rates Draw Consumers

Representing a nudge in the right direction for the origination market, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported a 13 percent swell in home loan applications submitted last week, up from the record low reported just one week earlier. It was the biggest gain recorded in three months. Michael Fratantoni, MBA's VP of research and economics, says low rates are driving consumers back to loans. Rates have dropped over eight of the last nine weeks - a primary driver for homeowners looking to refinance. MBA's Refinance Index jumped 16.5 percent.

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The Economic Link: Job Creation = Home Price Increases

The health of the labor market has a far-reaching impact on many areas of housing. When the economy is growing and the number of employed rises, so do home sales and mortgage originations. According to the research firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, there's also a definitive link between employment and home prices. The firm's analysts examined metro area job data juxtaposed with price trends for new homes, and their conclusions illustrate that jobs and housing "are joined at the hip."

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Historic Lending Lows Hamper Housing Activity

Mortgage lenders across the country have reported layoffs and substantial downsizing, a consequence of heightened regulatory scrutiny, weak job growth, and brittle markets slumbering in the wake of diminishing consumer confidence. Despite a small spurt in refinancing measures and a drop in lending rates to their lowest ebb since the turn of the century, origination loan volume remains low, and lenders are coming to terms with the fact that they will be financing fewer mortgages over a longer-than-expected period.

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Mortgage Rates Continue Slide

Surveys released by Bankrate and Freddie Mac on Thursday confirm a continuing slide in fixed and adjustable mortgage rates, with analysts attributing the declines to news about weak job growth. Figures in Freddie Mac's report trended alongside those in Bankrate's weekly survey to reveal a decline for 30-year fixed-rate averages to 4.49 percent and 4.65 percent, respectively. Bankrate says its findings reflect a straight nine-week fall for mortgage rates, made more unstable by restive housing markets and long-term government debt.

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Mortgage Applications Down Nationwide

application

Mortgage loan applications fell by 0.4 percent nationwide over the last week, spreading unease among lenders concerned about the potential for a dip in the housing market, according to a study released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) on Wednesday. The decline in loan applications coincides with the lowest rates for mortgages in the last six months and the fewest applications for home purchases in nearly 15 years. Market analysts say people are "nervous," which can preclude signing on the bottom line to buy a home.

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