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California Legislature Passes Homeowner Bill of Rights

The California State Legislature has officially passed the Homeowner Bill of Rights. The proposal was originally put forth by the state's Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the legislation is now in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown, whose signature would finalize the law. According to a recent release from the California State Legislature, the law would "institute sensible reforms to bank's foreclosure practices and create a fairer foreclosure process for California's homeowners." The bill would also end current dual-tracking processes for foreclosures.

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Initial Jobless Claims Down Ahead of Jobs Report

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell a sharp 14,000 to 374,000 for the week ended June 30, the Labor Department said Thursday, finding the largest drop in nine weeks. The prior week's total was revised up to 388,000 from the originally reported 386,000. The drop in claims was the second week-over-week improvement and came on the weekend heading into the July 4 holiday, usually a slower period for layoffs, according to seasonal factors. An uncertain employment report will follow on Friday.

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Thirty-Year Loan Slumps to Record-Breaking Low

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slumped back to a new, record-breaking low, as manufacturing fell behind and more investors turned to the safe haven of Treasury debt. Zillow found that interest rates for the loan fell to 3.43 percent, beating a previous low of 3.48 percent for the real estate Web site and setting a new record since it started reporting interest rates in 2008. Interest rates for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87 percent, while those for 5- and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages hovered at 2.43 percent.

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Costs and Profits Rise for Mortgage Originators: MBA

Costs are rising for mortgage originators, but they are still seeing a rise in profit, according to a recent study of independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks conducted by the Mortgage Banks Association. The net cost of originating a mortgage loan in the first quarter of this year was $3,413. When calculating net cost, MBA weighs production and operating expenses and commissions against fee income, excluding factors such as secondary marketing gains, and capitalized servicing.

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LPS Acquires LendingSpace to Enhance Origination Technology

Lending Processing Services, Inc., announced today that it has acquired LendingSpace, a provider of mortgage loan origination software solutions. The LendingSpace technology platform is expected to boost LPS├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó origination technology solutions, including Empower and PCLender, programs used by mortgage lenders, credit unions, and community banks. The LendingSpace product suite features a lending platform that includes full web-enabled capabilities to enhance collaboration between retail originators and their lending partners.

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Barclays Loses Two More as Scandal Embroils Bank

Only one day after chairman Marcus Agius announced his resignation, Barclays announced that director and CEO Bob Diamond and COO Jerry del Missier are both stepping down. The resignations were announced Tuesday morning and are effective immediately. Agius will lead the search for a new CEO and will be supported by deputy chairman Michael Rake. Barclays has not yet commented on a successor for del Missier. The wave of resignations is brought on by a scandal last week, when it was revealed that Barclays had manipulated the London Interbank Offering Rate.

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Mortgage Insurers Write $396B in New Insurance in May

Mortgage Insurance Companies of America released on Friday its monthly statistical report showing that member companies reported a total of $396 billion in primary insurance in force for May. This total is down nearly $1 billion from April and is the lowest total in a year-long fall. Member companies received 38,355 mortgage insurance applications for May, and 35,431 borrowers used private mortgage insurance to buy or refinance a home. Both figures are relatively large jumps up compared to flatter increases.

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Home Prices Advance for Third Straight Month: CoreLogic

For the third month in a row, home prices posted both yearly and monthly gains, according to CoreLogic's May Home Price Index report. When including distressed sales, home prices increased 2 percent in May 2012 from May 2011 and moved up by 1.8 percent month-over-month. When excluding distressed sales, prices made even greater strides, with the year-over-year increase at 2.7 percent and month-over-month increase at 2.3 percent. Distressed sales include short sales and REO transactions, according to CoreLogic.

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