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Clouds May Lift for Housing, Economy by 2014: Survey

Housing lingered in the doldrums of a recovery last year but may pick up by 2014 as the U.S. economy generally improves, analysts and economists said Wednesday. The Urban Land Institute polled 38 real estate analysts and economists to signal their expectations for "broad improvements" in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós economy and real estate markets in 2012. The survey revealed that transaction volume in commercial real estate markets could reach as much as $312 billion in 2014, up from a projected $250 billion in 2012. The news is welcome for an industry that has stayed under a cloud since the crisis.

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New Study Reveals Top 10 Cities for Financial Jobs

The U.S. job market has continued to make headlines during recent months as high unemployment numbers persist in many areas around the country. A study by Accounting Principals, an accounting and financial staffing firm, combined statistics gleaned from the company's internal data, as well as information on the nation's current volume of jobs openings and general economic conditions in the regions observed to establish which cities are likely to be most lucrative for job seekers in the finance field.

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HARP Shores Up Slowing Refinance Activity: MBA

A climb for mortgage rates last week cooled mortgage applications, leading overall volume to edge down by 2.7 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association found in a weekly survey that the refinance share of mortgage activity also continued a six-week streak of declines, with a deflation from 73.4 percent of total applications to 71.9 percent last week. The Refinance Index accordingly ticked down by 4.6 percent from the week before, falling to the lowest figures since December last year. The MBA attributed the dip in a statement to a 12-percent decline in government refinance activity.

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Mortech Upgrades Lending Management Platform

Lenders utilizing the MarksmanLMP platform from Mortech, Inc., are set to gain an advantage when analyzing a borrower's credit score. The company recently announced that it would add a credit report solution to the technology module that will provide faster access to information on potential consumers.

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A Five Star Send-Off for FSI’s CEO

The Five Star Institute, parent company for MReport, is saying goodbye to friend and CEO Ed Delgado. Joining Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, Delgado will leave FSI to become the company's chief operating officer. Delgado boasts more than two decades of experience in the mortgage banking industry and was responsible for founding the company's Lender Leadership League while with FSI.

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Mortgage Rates Still Historically Low But Stable: Zillow

Mortgage rates continued to show signs of stability this week, with rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage largely repeating a series of bumpy but steady fluctuations. Real estate Web site Zillow fielded 3.88 percent for the 30-year loan, nine basis points down from 3.97 percent last week after a back-and-forth between 3.89 percent and 3.98 percent. The company said that rates for the 15-year loan averaged 3.1 percent this week, with those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages not far behind at 2.72 percent.

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QBE FIRST Appoints New CEO

QBE FIRST has named a new CEO, recently announcing the appointment of Christopher Davies to the executive position. The company will capitalize on Davies' two decades of experience in the banking and mortgage industries to promote the growth of QBE FIRST throughout North America.

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Central Pacific Announces New Executive Leadership Role

Central Pacific Financial Corp. has announced the addition of a new executive position within the company's subsidiary, Central Pacific Bank. The financial institution has appointed Lance Mizumoto to the newly established role of executive vice president and chief banking officer. Mizumoto has been a part of CPB since 2005, and most recently, he served as the bank's executive vice president of the commercial markets group. During his three decade career in the industry, Mizumoto has garnered extensive leadership experience in corporate banking, commercial lending, and trade finance.

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Membership for Georgia’s Credit Unions on the Uptick

In Georgia, credit unions are experiencing growth thanks to attractive terms for borrowers. According to the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA), the state recorded a 3.3 percent uptick in membership during 2011. The rise in membership represents a 1 percent improvement over credit union growth for 2010. Georgia residents moving their business to the credit union sector cited lower fees and better interest rates for many services as the chief catalysts behind their decision to pursue membership.

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CDO Lawsuit Against Goldman Gets Green Light

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has officially lost its bid to dismiss a lawsuit initiated by hedge fund Dodona I LLC over claims that the company misrepresented a $2 billion offering of collateralized debt obligations. U.S. District Judge Victor Marreno rescinded Goldman's move to have the case dismissed, and Dodona will now continue to pursue its legal proceedings against the company in federal court. Goldman is currently facing several lawsuits related to its RMBS offerings. Specifically, Dodona filed its lawsuit over Hudson Mezzanine Funding 2006-I and 2006-2 CDOs.

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