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Interest Rate Hike Still a 2015 Possibility, Pending Economic Improvements

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen served as the lone witness in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday titled "Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy.” In the semiannual report to Congress, Yellen was questioned about the highly anticipated rate increase, among other topics such the overall state of the economy, inflation, employment, and monetary policy. She maintained her position on the uncertainty of the rate increase until further economic improvement occurs.

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FHFA Releases Office of Minority & Women Inclusion Strategic Plan

In an effort to bring diversity, inclusion, and equality to their forefront agency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released their Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) Strategic Plan for FY 2016 to FY 2018 on Tuesday. The plan is the result a strategic planning process to develop effective strategies to fulfill OMWI’s role in leading diversity and inclusion (D&I) and equal employment opportunity (EEO) efforts at the FHFA.

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Chase and Wells Fargo Earnings Statements Indicate Strong Q2 Results

Both JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo posted strong financial results in the second quarter, with Chase experiencing a 5 percent jump in net income, according to earnings statements released by both banks on Tuesday. Chase's Q2 net income of $6.29 billion represented an increase of 5 percent from the same quarter a year ago, while the New York-based bank's period-end balance sheet was down $123 billion in the second quarter.

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Report Finds Investors Prefer Flipping Properties over Renting

Investors bidding on properties online and at live events nationwide appear to prefer flipping these purchased properties more than renting them. Auction.com recently revealed the findings from its second quarter 2015 Real Estate Investor Activity Report, a nationwide survey of real estate investors.

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Foreign Homebuyers Discouraged by Strong Dollar U.S. Markets

Although home sales in the U.S. have reached their highest peak since 2007 during the first four months of 2015, foreign homebuyers are not adding to these growing sales. According to a blog by Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s chief economist, in relation to the same period one year ago, home sales jumped 9 percent with the help of lower fixed mortgage rates by one-half percentage point, but foreign buyers did not help with this increase.

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U.S. Prime Jumbo RMBS Issuance on Track to Exceed Post-Crisis Levels

The issuance of new U.S. prime jumbo residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) is set to exceed last year’s levels thanks to a strong second quarter of RMBS issuance, according to Fitch Ratings’ quarterly U.S. Prime Jumbo RMBS Trends report. The Fitch report notes that eight jumbo RMBS deals came to market in second-quarter 2015 from six issuers.

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Witnesses at House Committee Hearing Testify of Dodd-Frank’s Adverse Effects

Witnesses at a recent House Financial Services Committee hearing testified the Dodd-Frank Act has "reduced financial stability" and made Americans worse off financially in the controversial law's first five years of existence. The hearing, titled "Dodd-Frank Five Years Later: Are We More Stable?" was the first in a series of three full Committee hearings to examine the impact Dodd-Frank has had on American consumers and the country's financial system and economy since President Obama signed it in to law in July 2010.

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GSE Risk-Sharing Innovations Could Alter Housing Finance Reform

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In the last eight years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have guaranteed at least half of all new mortgage originations. In a report released on Thursday by the Urban Institute (UI), authors Laurie Goodman, director of Housing Finance Policy Center at UI and Karan Kaul, a research associate at UI determined that the two GSEs play an important, indisputable part in the U.S. mortgage market, but also pose a huge risk to taxpayers.

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