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12 Mortgage Fraud Cases, Over $12M in Losses

Twelve defendants appeared in court around the country this week to answer for charges related to mortgage fraud, conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, and making false information to financial institutions, among others. The estimated combined losses for lenders and families: some $12.4 million. Unaccounted-for: the number of delayed dreams, shattered finances, and lives adversely impacted by the crimes, alleged and otherwise. Several news agencies reported the news.

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MBIA Drops Suit Against Bank of America

After a contentious suit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, MBIA Inc. ended a lawsuit against the mortgage giant over $5.7 billion in bad credit default protection the insurer underwrote for the bank's mortgage-backed securities. According to the filing, MBIA and Bank of America both agreed to voluntarily withdraw the claims and cover their fees for their separate cases. MBIA had sued Merrill in April 2009 with accompanying allegations that the bank committed fraud.

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Warren, Republicans Faceoff on Thursday

With less than two weeks to go before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches, Treasury Department adviser and nominee Elizabeth Warren plans to attend the House Oversight Committee for the last time on Thursday, giving her Republican opponents one final opportunity to lob critiques at her brainchild before it assumes consumer financial protection authority. Analysts across the spectrum seem to agree that Warren will face yet another challenge from Republicans, who fear numerous transfers of authority from seven agencies will tip the scale between regulation and economic recovery.

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MBA Urges CFPB to Meet Over Rules

Joining the ranks of other concerned trade organizations, the Mortgage Bankers Association submitted a comment letter to Treasury Department adviser and nominee Elizabeth Warren, urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to consult with stakeholders on closing costs and holding firm on a key question affecting various consumer financial laws. The question in mind concerns the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act and Truth-in-Lending Act, some of the provisions for which the CFPB wants to combine in order to create a uniform mortgage disclosure form.

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CFPB Eager to Write New Servicer Rules

In testimony before the House financial services committee and two subcommittees, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau associate director and potential nominee Raj Date made it clear that the agency plans to pounce on new rules for mortgage-servicers in July. Date described a transfer of authority to the bureau from seven agencies set to occur in July. According to Bloomberg News, the congressional committee asked Date to testify as it looks over gaps and lapses in the current body of mortgage servicing regulation.

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Renters: Owning a Home Top Priority

The National Association of Realtors released a survey this week showing strong support for the belief that homeownership is a credible and worthy goal, with 72 percent of renters surveyed agreeing that owning a home remains a top priority. The 2011 National Housing Pulse Survey signaled a 72 percent thrust among renters who want to own a home, a marked improvement from 63 percent last year. The survey revealed a backlash against the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule, which critics charge will raise down payments by 20 percent.

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HUD Scorecard: Home Sales Rise, Prices Dip

HUD and the Treasury Department jointly released the June edition of the Obama administration├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Housing Scorecard, offering mixed results as home sales crested on a slight uptick and an oversupply of foreclosed properties remained in place. According to the Scorecard, existing home sales jumped slightly over June, trending from 25,100 to 26,900. Mortgage rates elevated the new home sales by staying low, with a number of borrowers refinancing their mortgages to recoup losses and boost their savings.

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Industry Leaders: Reverse Mortgage Rules Too Much

In a prepared statement that it submitted to the Senate Financial Institutions Subcommittee, the American Bankers Association aired concerns about a dry-up in risk in the financial markets, an increasingly serious dilemma that it blamed on Congress for trying to prevent past mistakes from occurring again. The ABA delivered the statement in response to a new loan officer compensation law, a voluminous text with multiple rules and regulations that drove up costs and lost hours for brokers.

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CFPB Likes Social Media Commentary

As it gears up for a formal operations launch in July, the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continues to accept comments from the public on the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure program, which it opened to commentary in May. But there is something else unusual about the commentary period. The CFPB wants the public to participate in the finalizations for Know Before You Owe by logging into their social media accounts and literally comment about the rule online. This is in addition to other commentary.

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