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Stearns Lending Appoints EVP of Strategic Development

New

California's Stearns Lending, Inc., is welcoming a new executive. The mortgage lender appointed James Hecht as EVP of strategic development. Hecht has more than 20 years' experience in mortgage banking sales and operations, having started as an intern and later a commissioned originator at MGIC.

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Flagstar Announces Executive Leadership Changes

In Michigan, Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (FBC), and its subsidiary, Flagstar Bank (FSB) are starting the new year with an executive leadership shakeup. Recent changes included the promotion of Alessandro DiNello to president and chief administrative officer of FSB and Matthew Kerin to president of FSB's mortgage banking unit.

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Commentary: Addressing the Wrong Problem

Negotiators in Washington face a dismal weekend leading up to -- and perhaps including -- New Year's Eve, made worse because they're trying to solve the wrong problem. They're wrangling over how to avoid the fiscal cliff when a series of laws aimed at or contributing to the nation's deficit are set to expire, complicated by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's pronouncement the nation is approaching its debt ceiling.

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November Pending Home Sales Index Reaches 31-Month High

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) increased for the third straight month in November, improving 1.7 percent to 106.4, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday. Economists had expected a slightly fast, 1.8 percent increase to 106.7. [IMAGE] The index, the NAR said, is at its highest level since April 2010.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop to 350k, Near 2012 Low

First time claims for unemployment insurance dropped 12,000 to 350,000 for the week ended December 22, the third lowest level of the year, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 365,000. The previous week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós report was revised upward to 362,000 from the originally reported 361,000.

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Zillow: Homes Gain $1.3T in Value in 2012

After five years of cumulative losses, home values will finally post their first annual gain, according to data from Zillow. The calculations show homes are expected to gain $1.3 trillion in cumulative value for 2012, the largest gain since 2005 and the first annual increase since 2006, Zillow reported. The company expects the year-end total to reach $23.7 trillion, which is a 6 percent increase from last year's total. In 2011, the cumulative loss in home values was $792 billion compared to 2010.

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