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Study: More Lenders Fail to Follow Up with Borrowers

Fewer lenders take the time to follow up with potential borrowers, leading to turned-off applicants, according to a new paper by software and services provider Leads360. The paper said that only 21 percent of mortgage lenders made an attempt to call back borrowers after an initial inquiry. The paper, a "secret shopper study," according to Leads360, tracked customer service strategies and follow-up by mortgage lenders with leads and potential borrowers. It faulted mortgage lenders for their failure to implement customer service strategies.

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FBI: Mortgage Fraud Activity Up in 2010

Fraud

More brokers, loan officers, realtors, and others defrauded lenders, servicers, and homeowners over 2010 despite improving conditions in the housing market at large, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which released a comprehensive report Friday. Mortgage fraud cases and investigations amounted to 3,129 cases over the year, 12 percent more than in 2009 and some 90 percent above the same trends in 2008. Referencing CoreLogic, the FBI said that applicants fraudulently filed some $12 billion in loan applications last year.

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AG Activiates IPO Capital

Putting capital earned from its recent initial public offering to good use, AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., announced that it has achieved significant deployment of its new liquidity. The company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós IPO and simultaneous private placement were concurrently completed on July 6, and by utilizing the capital gained in that transaction as well as the underwriters├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó overallotment option, established and closed on July 20, AG has also been able to debut its initial portfolio.

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Markets Squeeze Banks, Homebuilding Companies

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swept clean Tuesday's historic gains with a 519.83-point nosedive Wednesday, reflecting widespread fears about contagious European debt, the impact of Standard & Poor's downgrades, and an economic slowdown worldwide. Signaling further distress for housing markets, banks with thick mortgage portfolios and homebuilding companies saw their stocks tumble in an investor stampede for the exits. Following the Dow closely, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 plunged 101.47 points and 51.77 points, respectively.

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Fidelity and PSMI Make Merger Official

Fidelity Mortgage, Inc. has new ownership. PSM Holdings, Inc., recently announced the completion of its acquisition, which fuses Fidelity with United Community Mortgage Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Source Mortgage, Inc., via its parent company, PSMH.

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Refinancing Activity Ups Mortgage Applications 21.7%

application

Coupled with an interest in conforming jumbo loans, a wave of uncertainty over economic news helped throw homeowners into a refinancing frenzy last week, feeding a surge in mortgage applications across the board. Despite upticks, purchase applications continued to flat-line in a market overshadowed by weak consumer confidence, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Speaking to MReport, MBA VP Mike Fratatoni added his two cents about S&P's downgrades and the nation's long-term debt crisis.

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Stocks Surge After Fed Decides to Keep Interest Rates Low

Fed

Citing recent trouble on Wall Street, anemic job growth, and lags in the housing economy, the Federal Reserve made public that it will keep interest rates at historically low levels until 2013. The new language marks a market-rallying policy shift for the central bank, which previously kept mum about when it would hike up interest rates. A 429-point jump by the Dow followed a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in which the Fed's decision-makers reportedly failed to reach a consensus on interest rates.

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CMBS Spreads Widen, Signaling Bearishness

Following on the heels of debt downgrades and a bipolar Dow Jones Industrial Average, the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities sauntered back a few steps, showing declines in special servicing loans to 12.3 percent over the second quarter this year. Successive reports from analytics company Trepp and the Wall Street Journal spotted troubling trends for CMBS markets, with credit looking to further tighten and borrowers poised to shoulder the consequences. Performing loans also fell to 29.5 percent over June, down from March.

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