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OCC: Banks Taking on More Risks

As the U.S. economy continues to improve, the challenges facing the banking industry gradually shift from recovery to risk management in an effort to avoid the pitfalls that contributed to the financial crisis, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) said in its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2014. OCC warned that banks' boards of directors and senior managers should monitor heightened exceptions to traditional underwriting standards.

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Recovery Measures Strengthen; Young Employment Still Weak

In its latest barometer report, Trulia says new construction starts, existing-home sales and delinquency and foreclosure rates have all come closer to normalizing over the last quarter. One factor still hampering the recovery, however, is the unemployment rate among Millennials—a key group for household formation and first-time homeownership.

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Mortgage Rates Down on Weak GDP Report

Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released Thursday, shows the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) falling to 4.14 percent (0.5 point) for the week ending June 26, a continued slide from 4.17 percent last week .The declines follow Wednesday's report on gross domestic product in the first quarter, which surprised most analysts with news of a worse than expected contraction in the nation's economy.

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FHFAOIG Urges Legal Action on Force-Placed Insurance

A new report from the inspector general for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) urges the agency to "assess the merits of litigation" in dealing with servicers and providers accused of abusing lender-placed insurance practices. In 2012, lender-placed insurance issues cost Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a combined $360 million, the report says.

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Fannie Revises Forecasts on Rough First Quarter

The latest economic forecast from Fannie Mae shows that the underwhelming performance of the economy in the first three months of the year and a shrinking GDP have significantly dulled the optimism economists once had for the overall 2014 economy. Fannie stated that the rough U.S. first quarter has caused its Economic & Strategic Research Group to reduce 2014 economic growth expectations.

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Housing Growth Remains Sluggish in Most Markets

On Wednesday, Freddie Mac released its monthly Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) showing mixed signals for the U.S. housing market, with most markets struggling to improve at a pace faster than a slow crawl. Despite declining mortgage delinquencies, improving local employment, house price gains, and attractive mortgage rates, most housing markets remain weak due to weak home purchase mortgage applications.

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Bubble Fears Unwarranted with Homes Still 3% Undervalued

While persistent price gains continue to dominate headlines, homes in a majority of major markets across the country remain slightly undervalued, quashing any concerns of a rising bubble, according to the latest data from Trulia. Nationally, homes remain undervalued by 3 percent compared with long-term fundamentals, according to Trulia's Bubble Watch.

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Study: Gen Y Key to Stronger Recovery

In an annual report, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard suggests Millennial participation is the key to a robust housing recovery. The number of households in their 30s should increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which should boost demand for new housing, the report predicts. For now, tight credit, elevated unemployment, and mounting student loan debt among young Americans are curbing growth.

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Business Shrinks Uninterrupted at Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac's total mortgage portfolio decreased at an annualized rate of 2.1 percent in May, the company revealed in its latest volume summary. Purchases and issuances totaled $19.5 billion in May, down slightly from April’s figure of $19.8 billion. As of the end of May 2014, purchases and issuances totaled $91.8 billion.

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