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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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Clarity AMC Teams Up with ValuLink’s Technology

Clarity Appraisal Management Company is upgrading its technological support, recently announcing it has selected ValuLink as the company's software platform provider. With the addition of ValuLink's system, Clarity AMC will benefit from a customized, cloud-based appraisal management program designed to facilitate enhanced business processes.

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OMHHF Selects New President and CEO

A new president and CEO has been selected by Oppenheimer Multifamily Housing and Healthcare Finance, Inc. The company recently announced the appointment of James J. Moore III to the leadership role.

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Nearly 30% Believe Home Prices Will Rise in 2012: Fannie Mae

More Americans expect that home prices will recover over the course of 2012, just as they believe that mortgage rates will remain at all-time lows and more think the economy will enter an upswing. Mortgage giant Fannie Mae said in a January National Housing Survey that 28 percent of Americans believe that home prices will rise over the next year by 1 percent, up from 2 percent last month. Of the survey respondents, 8 percent said that interest rates for mortgage loans will decline in 2012, down 2 percent from December.

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Builder Confidence Up for Q4 Single-Family Home Sales

Homebuilder confidence in the single-family market ended the fourth quarter last year on a climb uphill as the wider economy showed improvement. The National Association of Home Builders released a market index Tuesday that recorded a four-point increase year-over-year to 18 for homebuilders in the single-family sector. The index fielded improvements across the board year-over-year, with confidence about current sales ticking up four points to 17 and anticipated sales for the next six months up two points to 26.

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Fed President ‘Bullish’ on the U.S. Economy

The president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, James Bullard, made national headlines recently following his strong statements regarding the state of U.S. real estate. Among the revelations included in Bullard's February speech - the declaration that nation's housing markets have officially hit bottom. During his speaking engagement in Chicago, Bullard applied pressure to the Federal Open Market Committee, calling the group's decision to extend ultra-low interest rates until 2014 a looming disaster for the country. Bullard cited the decline in U.S. home prices and loss of wealth.

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Maverick Funding Expands Reverse Mortgage Network

In Maryland, Maverick Funding Corp. is rolling out a new branch of its subsidiary, Reverse Mortgage Network. Recently announcing the addition of 40 reverse mortgage loan officers from within Baltimore-based Great Oak Funding, Maverick will conduct its expansion during the first two quarters of 2012.

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BB&T Acquires Leading Insurance Company

Through its recent acquisition of property insurance company Crump Group Inc., BB&T Corporation has doubled its wholesale insurance business. Based in New Jersey, Crump is among the nation's leading providers of wholesale commercial insurance, as well as the largest independent wholesale distributor of life insurance in the U.S.

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