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Survey Shows FHA, VA Loans Dominate in Communities of Color

A new report reveals that loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs are disproportionately prevalent in neighborhood's of color. The study, which is the sixth edition of the Paying More for the American Dream series, found that government-backed loans comprised nearly 67 percent of home purchase loans in communities of color. Statistics from the report indicate that borrowers of in neighborhoods of color received government-backed loans approximately twice as often as those in predominantly white areas.

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Two Years in Review for the CFPB and Dodd-Frank

Financial reform advocates have two birthdays to celebrate on Saturday. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the two-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act, the sweeping financial reform law that spawned it. Their stories run parallel to each other ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and rightly so. The consumer bureau squeaked past partisan gridlock this time last year, just one year after Democrats, then in the majority of both houses of Congress, cleared Dodd-Frank for the president├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós signature.

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Syncora Settles Lawsuit Against Countrywide for $375M

Another Countrywide lawsuit has been finalized, with the announcement that Syncora Guarantee Inc. has settled its claims with the company and its affiliates. Syncora, a subsidiary of Syncora Holdings Ltd., received $375 million from Countrywide to conclude its litigation against the company. In exchange for the payout, Syncora has agreed to release all claims against Countrywide and Bank of America. An official release about the lawsuit noted that Syncora's filing stemmed from insured second-liens.

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Pennsylvania Regulatory Agency Releases Enforcement Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking has released its most recent quarterly data on enforcement actions taken by the organization. Second-quarter findings show that the department grappled with 92 incidences during the period. The report, which was complied by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking's Bureau of Compliance and Licensing, revealed that 90 of the 92 actions from the the group resulted in orders against companies for statutory violations. Survey statistics also demonstrated that 43 of the 90 orders for violations stemmed from mortgage-related issues.

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Initial Jobless Claims Rebound to Four-Week High

First-time claims for unemployment insurance rose 34,000 for the week ended July 14 to 386,000 - the highest level in four weeks - the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 365,000 initial claims. The prior week's total was revised up to 352,000 from the originally reported 350,000. Initial claims had plunged in the week ended July 7 to a four year low as seasonal adjustments ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô used to correct for sharp changes in raw data due to recurring annual phenomena ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô offset annual furloughs of auto workers when plants re-tooled for the new model year.

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Economy Likely to Stay on Path of Recovery: Barclays

The housing recovery is strengthening and turning onto a sustainable path, Barclays said in a report Wednesday. According to the firm's U.S. Housing report, single-family housing starts are expected to trend upward, matching the strength of multi-family starts that has driven the housing recovery over the past year. Barclays also anticipates that home price indices will close out the year strong, suggesting a broadening and lasting recovery. The rising supply and steady sales pace of single-family starts apparently encouraged homebuilders.

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BluFi Announces New Services, New Branch Office

In California, BluFi Lending is continuing its expansion. The direct home loan lender recently announced the opening of a new branch in Walnut Creek, which represents BluFi's third office in the state. The latest location will be led by manager Mario Vargas, who will head up a team of mortgage bankers, processors, and back office staff to service the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós clients in the region.

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Housing Gains Foothold as Mortgage Rates Dip

The third week of July brought news of more mortgage rate lows, according to Freddie Mac. The GSE found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.53 percent (0.7 point), down from 3.56 percent from the past week and 4.52 percent from the year before. In all of 2012, the average 30-year home loan has only scaled to 4 percent or higher for one week. The average 15-year mortgage for the week was 2.83 percent (0.6 point), down from 2.86 percent the week before and 3.66 percent at the same time in 2011.

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Fed: U.S. Economy Faces Headwinds Far and Near

Speaking before Congress Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted a slow and fragile economic recovery in the United States, one that is vulnerable to financial markets abroad as well as fiscal policy at home. Amid the uncertain economic atmosphere, the Federal Reserve will continue its maturity extension program through the end of this year. The program calls for the Fed to purchase short-term Treasury securities and long-term Treasury securities of equal amounts. Bernanke said that the housing market reveals modest recovery.

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Cole Taylor Enters Commercial Equipment Industry

Taylor Capital Group, Inc., is set to capitalize on the nation's construction industry. The company recently announced that its subsidiary Cole Taylor Bank has launched a new equipment financing division for the commercial sector.

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