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Origination

PSM Holdings, Brookside Sign Merger

PSM Holdings, Inc. has agreed to merge its mortgage banking arm with Oklahoma's Brookside Mortgage, LLC, forming a new entity that the parent company will manage under a wholly owned subsidiary. The merger serves as the next step in a broader expansion strategy by PSM Holdings, which it began in 2010 by acquiring another Oklahoma-based mortgage banking company, CBB, Inc., and continued by acquiring UCMC in February this year.

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Obama Mulls Warren Substitute

Elizabeth Warren has hit another hurdle on the path to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, after a string of news reports revealed the administration is considering a former banker for the role. The buzz is that President Barack Obama and his advisers have begun to openly float Raj Date as a replacement nominee to fill the top position at the bureau. Date currently serves as a deputy under Warren and has ties to Capital One Financial and Deutsche Bank.

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Regulators Want Stress Tests for Banks

The top three U.S. banking regulators have issued guidelines that would require comprehensive stress tests every year for lending institutions with assets totaling $10 billion or more. The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed guidance material that would test a bank's capital preparedness and lending ability under national economic duress. The evaluation would also appraise the integrity of the banks' payout plans for shareholders.

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Government Scorecard: Housing Markets Still Fragile

The Department of Treasury and HUD jointly released the Housing Scorecard for May on Thursday, finding that housing markets remain fragile with a seven-month stretch of declining home prices. The scorecard tracks monthly housing and economic data. The May edition called housing prices weak, noting only a minor boost for sales in April. Other industry reports echo the assessment with mortgage applications still falling, eroding home equity, and weak job growth -- all impacting the mortgage market.

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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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FDIC Goes After Mortgage Broker for Fraud

The FDIC has filed a complaint with a California federal court against the owner of mortgage broker Amerifund Financial, Inc., seeking $1 million in damages based on civil fraud allegations. The suit alleges that the defendant, Eric Matthew Anderson, and several others submitted $2.4 million in fraudulent loans to the Downey Savings and Loan Association. The FDIC says Downey S&L later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after incurring $1.2 million in losses directly related to the Amerifund loans.

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Jefferies Group Appoints New Managing Director

Jefferies Group, Inc., a global securities and investment firm, announced the appointment of Richard Ford as its new managing director in the company's Real Estate Investment Banking Group on Wednesday. Ford joins Jefferies as an executive with nearly 15 years' experience in real estate investment banking. He was previously at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as managing director of the firm's real estate investment banking group.

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Fed: Real Estate Markets Show Widespread Weakness

Fed

The Federal Reserve released a report on Wednesday that suggests a "steady pace" of economic growth throughout most of the country, with intermittent spots of economic activity slowing in four of its 12 regional districts, namely Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago. The central bank's regularly published Beige Book indicated that construction and real estate markets continued to show widespread weakness. No district seemed to see an increase in home prices.

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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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Zillow Releases New Mobile App

Homebuyers can now review the latest mortgage loan quotes right from their phone for loan shopping on the go. On Tuesday, Zillow released a statement publicizing the launch of its newest innovation: a mobile app that allows iPhone users to navigate the mortgage market and receive the latest custom quotes from lenders and mortgage bankers, with tools to determine the amount of their monthly payments and decide whether refinancing packages would make sense for their homes.

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