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Provident Expands Retail Mortgage Business

In California, Provident Financial Holdings, Inc., has announced its entry into retail originations. The company recently announced that it has hired a retail mortgage banking group to open loan production locations under the Provident Bank Mortgage banner throughout the northern region of the state.

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LPS Responds to Nevada AG’s Allegations

Lender Processing Services, Inc., has officially responded to the December complaint made by the Nevada Attorney General. In a company statement, LPS stated that it has filed a motion to dismiss, based on legal defects.

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Refi Applications High as Overall Volume Drops 2.9%: MBA

Mortgage application volume contracted by 2.9 percent from the week before, even while refinance volume continued to soar amid signs that more homeowners are seeking to take advantage of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. The Mortgage Bankers Association found in a weekly survey that mortgage loan application volume simultaneously went up 9 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The trade group├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Purchase Index climbed by 17.1 percent but remains 4.3 percent lower than figures seen during the same week last year.

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MDC’s Board Appoints New Financial Leader

In less than two weeks, M.D.C. Holdings, Inc., will welcome a new company officer, with the announcement that John M. Stephens will join MDC as the group's chief financial officer, principal accounting officer, and senior vice president. MDC's board of directors recently appointed Stephens to the leadership positions, and his new roles with MDC will become effective on February 13.

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Homeownership Rates Wallow at Nearly 15-Year Lows

Homeowners moved closer to the sidelines last year, buying fewer homes than in 2010 and edging homeownership toward lows not seen since the 1990s. The Commerce Department released figures Tuesday that posted 66 percent for homeownership rates last quarter, reflecting declines by 0.5 percent year-over-year and 0.3 percent on a quarterly basis. Homeownership vacancy rates hovered around 2.3 percent last quarter, 0.4 percentage points lower than in 2010.

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Home Prices Plunged 1.3% in November: Case-Shiller

Home prices fell by 1.3 percent in November last year, slashing figures in 19 of 20 metropolitan areas for the second straight month, according to the most recent Standard & Poor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós/Case-Shiller index. The index showed that home prices declined by 3.6 percent year-over-year, with 13 of 20 areas suffering steep declines in annual returns. It showed the weakest annual return of several cities, even while Las Vegas, Tampa, and Seattle all settled near new lows for home prices in November.

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ALFN’s CEO Resigns, Starts Consulting Group

The American Legal & Financial Network (ALFN) recently released a brief statement announcing the resignation of the organization's current president and CEO, William LeRoy. The Missouri-based group extended few details surrounding LeRoy's departure, but the ALFN did indicate that LeRoy's resignation would be effective immediately.

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Debt Crises Send Mortgage Rates Plummeting: Zillow

Interest rates for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage plunged to 3.72 percent this week on new concerns about debt crises in Europe, according to real estate company Zillow. In releasing the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, the Web site found that interest rates for the 15-year loan also fell to 3.01 percent, alongside 2.63 percent for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages. Mortgage rates remain low despite uplifting news from the continent, where 25 eurozone nations signed off on a new fiscal pact Monday.

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December Mortgage Originations Down 10.1% from September: LPS

Mortgage originations fell from a peak in September last year to hit 10.1 percent in December, according to Lender Processing Services. Revealing the latest data in December Mortgage Monitor report, the company also said that loans originated over the last two years consistently showed high quality, which it attributes to tighter lending and underwriting guidelines. LPS Applied Analytics said that risk attributes stayed near minimal levels, with credit quality for borrowers averaging 750 in 2011.

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