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Housing Market Index Highest in Nearly Five Years: NAHB

The National Home Builders Association released a housing market index that improved to 29 in February, its highest level since May 2007, with all three of the components showing new strength. The trade group said that it was the fifth consecutive monthly increase, the longest stretch of consecutive monthly increases since April- October 1995. The current conditions index rose to 30, a five-point jump, the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010. The forecast component, assessing conditions six months out.

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Carrington Finalizes Legal Agreement with AHMSI

Carrington Capital Management has finalized a legal agreement with American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. The transaction concludes a lawsuit filed by Carrington against AHMSI in 2009.The terms of the settlement are confidential and no additional details were made available regarding the closure of the legal matter. In an official statement from Carrington Holding Company, LLC, the company noted that the recent deal "resolves the disputes reflected in the action, along with any other disputes between the parties in the past."

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Avison Young Appoints Two New Principals

Avison Young is starting the new year with the addition of two new principals to the company's Illinois-based operations. The commercial real estate services firm has hired data center experts Jim Kerrigan and David Horowitz to bolster its brokerage activities in Chicago.

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New ‘Relationship Banking’ Unit for Brentwood Bank

In Pennsylvania, Brentwood Bank is launching a consumer-focused division targeting small to mid-sized businesses. The financial institution recently announced the addition of its Relationship Banking Unit, which will be dedicated to securing opportunities for the bank within the local business community. Through its new segment, Brentwood Bank will provide a relationship banker for borrowers and customers, ensuring that the same professional will handle the client's needs during the lifespan of the consumer's transactions.

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300-Plus Personnel Leaving MetLife for Caliber

Initiating a major expansion into four new regional markets, Caliber Funding LLC recently announced the hiring of more than 300 mortgage professionals. Caliber's personnel additions will serve to staff the company's operations in New England; the Great Lakes area; the Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware area; and greater Washington, D.C. Caliber's aggressive march into new markets will enhance its presence around the U.S., positioning Caliber for what the company hopes will be a pattern of significant growth during the year ahead.

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New Year Statistics, Predictions from MGIC

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. has released its January statistics, as well as the company's projections for the year ahead. MGIC reported an estimated $1.3 billion in new insurance contracts for the month, and the company is predicting a minimal rise in contracts for 2012. Numbers from the fourth-quarter of 2011 show that MGIC handled around $4.2 billion in new contracts, and the company's new insurance total for the year was $14.2 billion. Data from 2011 shows a solid increase over 2010 findings, with MGIC reporting only $12.3 billion in new contracts for 2010. MGIC stated that it anticipates a slight uptick over 2011 statistics for this year.

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Two Banks Fall Under, Raising National Tally to Nine

State and federal regulators closed banks in Indiana and Illinois Friday, raising the national tally for failures to nine for 2012. Shelbyville, Indiana-based SCB Bank fell dark with about $182.6 million in total assets and $171.6 million in total deposits. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed the institution and appointed the FDIC to carry out responsibilities as receiver. The OCC also closed Charter National Bank and Trust in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The bank went under with $93.9 million in total assets and $89.5 million in total deposits.

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State, Federal Officials Seal Historic $26B Servicer Settlement

More than a year's worth of rumors, negotiations, and reversals concluded Thursday with a $26-billion mega-settlement between government officials and the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós five largest mortgage servicers. The size and scope of the settlement makes it the largest endeavor by state and federal officials in U.S. history. Federal officials and 49 state attorneys general closed a deal with Ally Financial Corp., Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo that supplies homeowners in distress with new relief and establishes new servicing standards.

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