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Ocwen Set to Buy $15 Billion in MSRs from JPMorgan

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a buyer for $15 billion in mortgage servicing rights from the financial institution, with the announcement that Ocwen Financial Corp. would purchase the bank's MSRs for a rumored $950 million. Ocwen's acquisition follows the company's decision to raise $375 million in new equity through offering 25 million shares of public common stock.

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Ellie Mae Promotes Corr to COO

Ellie Mae has appointed a new chief operating officer, with the announcement that Jonathan Corr will be taking over the executive role. Corr has previously been responsible for the company's corporate and product strategy in his position as Ellie Mae├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

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Senator Proposes Bill to Wean GSEs Off Federal Funds

Fielding more pressure for housing finance reform, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill Wednesday that aims to decouple government assistance from the GSEs and shore up private-sector involvement in mortgage markets. The bill, titled the Residential Mortgage Market and Privatization Act, proposes gradually reducing the percentage of principal in the GSEs├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó mortgage-backed securities, streamlining underwriting standards and origination databases, and removing federal guarantees to create a much-discussed to-be-announced market.

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Mortgage Rates Fall Below 4% for Second Time: Freddie

Ongoing trouble in Europe meshed with low home prices to keep a heel on mortgage rates this week, with Freddie Mac offering up news that interest rates for loans fell below 4 percent for the second time this year. The GSE released a weekly survey alongside finance Web site Bankrate.com, which disagreed by reporting that mortgage rates climbed this week. For Freddie, rates for the benchmark 30-year loan fell to 3.99 percent, down one percentage point from last week. Bankrate.com said that the fixed-rate mortgage went up to 4.25 percent.

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HBI Names New President and CEO

The Home Builders Institute has named a new president and CEO, with the announcement that John A. Courson will take over leadership of the non-profit organization. Capitalizing on his extensive industry experience, HBI will utilize Courson to target new revenue opportunities and program development.

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Mortgage Applications Surge Forward by 10.3%

More refinance loan applications inspired a 10.3-percent leap forward in mortgage applications last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA released a weekly survey responsible for tracking mortgage application volume. The surge in mortgage loan application volume follows a shortfall in contract interest rates on average for fixed-rate mortgages, with the 30-year loan seeing a drop from 4.31 percent the week before to 4.22 percent last week.

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Q3 Home Prices Fall While Some State Sales Rise

Existing-home prices sagged in most metropolitan areas over the third quarter, pointing to a soft spot in job security for people across the country as home affordability hovers around record highs. A quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors revealed that more than two-thirds of all metropolitan areas suffered plunges in home prices from last year. The NAR found state existing-home sales falling by 0.1 percent to crest at a seasonally adjusted 4.9 million over the third quarter. First-time buyers bought up 32 percent of homes.

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LoanSifter, Google Enter New Strategic Partnership

A new strategic partnership between LoanSifter, Inc., and Google will give consumers access to online mortgage lending and real-time pricing. Through Google's comparison ads, LoanSifter will facilitate the comparison of loan products among multiple providers using its technology platforms.

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Furor Mounts Over $13M in GSE Exec Bonuses

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain under scrutiny in the wake of large salaries and bonuses for their executives, as lawmakers from both major parties mount a rare joint effort to criticize the GSEs and their federal regulator. No less than 60 senators a total of 35 Republicans and 25 Democrats crossed the aisle to circulate a letter Friday that denounced the Federal Housing Finance Agency for signing off on $12.79 million in bonuses for ten executives with the GSEs. Furor over the bonuses follows a string of changes for Freddie Mac.

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Nearly 70% Want Housing Solutions from Candidates: Survey

Nearly three-quarters of Americans will look for positions on housing from presidential candidates for the 2012 election cycle, according to a recent survey. Move, Inc. released the findings in a survey that it facilitated in phone interviews with respondents in early October. According to the survey, some seven in 10 Americans, or roughly 70 percent, expect candidates for the presidency to address housing concerns. Of these, nearly 71 percent identified themselves as Millennials. About 82 percent called housing "critical" to the recovery.

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