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B of A Agrees to Maternity Discrimination Settlement

HUD announced Thursday that Bank of America has agreed to pay $161,180 to settle allegations of maternity-based discrimination. A complaint had been filed by the Fair Housing Council of Orange County against BofA alleging that one of its San Jose branches refused to refinance a woman's mortgage because she was on maternity leave. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in mortgage lending and real estate-related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability. BofA was alleged to be in violation of the provisions protecting sex and family status.

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More Real Estate Agents, Brokers Prefer Romney: Survey

Some 66 percent of real estate agents and brokers disapprove of President Barack Obama's performance, with many preferring GOP presidential forerunner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the coming election, according to real estate company HomeGain. The home valuations company released results from a second-quarter survey Monday that polled 400 real estate agents and more than 1,700 homeowners. The company also found more optimism among real estate professionals about home values.

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Down Payment Biggest Barrier to Homeownership: Study

Feelings about homeownership remain positive in the face of a diminished market, but an uncertain economy and increasing down payments are keeping Americans from making purchases, a report from Integra Realty Resources said. Wednesday's report detailed results from an IRR-commissioned survey of non-homeowners ages 22-50 in 11 major markets. While 85 percent of potential buyers indicated that market conditions are favorable for purchasing a home, unemployment and job instability make many respondents reluctant or unable to buy a home.

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Four Banks Close Friday, Bringing 2012 Tally to 28

Four banks were shut down Friday bringing the tally of fallen banks so far this year to 28. The banks were located in Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation closed Shabbona, Illinois-based Farmers and Traders State Bank. The failed bank held $43.1 million in assets and $42.3 million in deposits as of the end of the first quarter of the year. First State Bank, based in Mendota, Illinois, entered a purchase and assumption agreement with the FDIC.

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Miami Home Sales Fall from Previous Year, Luxury Market Rises

While Miami home sales in April fell slightly, the multimillion-dollar luxury home market experienced a 36.5 percent increase from both the month before and previous year, according to San-Diego based DataQuick. In April, 101 homes sold for more than $2 million or more. During the first four months of 2012, 286 homes sold for the same amount or more, up 14.4 percent from the same period in 2011. Miami-area home sales rose modestly in April compared with March but fell slightly short of the year-ago level.

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Don’t Believe All the Downturn Hype: Capital Economics

Negative reports on the economy may be shaking up confidence, but Capital Economics released a report Friday stating that in their view, the foundations for a sustainable recovery are still in place. The employment situation in the U.S. and issues overseas such as the euro-zone crises are all taking a toll on the economy and consumer confidence. Yet, there are still reasons to make the argument that the recovery is not going to be derailed. Home sales and prices have increased, and mortgage affordability stays high.

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WMI Holdings Appoints Interim Chief Accounting Officer

WMI Holdings Corp., formerly Washington Mutual, Inc., has named a new interim chief accounting officer. As part of the entity's ongoing strategy following the completion of Chapter 11 proceedings, WMI has appointed Timothy Jaeger to the leadership role.

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Mortgage Rates Race to New Lows as Job Growth Wavers

As the employment situation continues to raise concerns, fixed rates fell even lower, slipping yet again to new record lows, according to a survey from Freddie Mac released Thursday. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.67 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending June 7, falling from last week's average of 3.75 percent. The 15-year fixed rate declined even further below 3 percent to 2.94 percent (0.7 point), down from last week's 2.97 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.68 percent.

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Fannie Mae: Unsure Consumers Could Slow the Recovery

Lulls in employment and income growth led to a plateau in consumer sentiment in May, according to Fannie Mae├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós May 2012 National Housing Survey. The data released by Fannie Mae on Thursday showed that although many consumers (72 percent) believe that now is a good time to purchase a house, the percentage of respondents who said they would buy a house after moving actually dropped for the second consecutive month ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô 63 percent in May compared to 64 percent in April and 66 percent in March. Fifteen percent of respondents said now is a good time to sell a home.

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