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CFPB Appoints New Officer, Controversy Continues

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a new chief officer with the addition of Hubert H. Skip Humphrey III. Joining the CFPB as the head of its Office of Older Americans, Humphrey will now act as the bureau├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós lead advocate for the demographic.

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B of A Moves to Dismiss Counsel for AIG

Continuing its legal wrangling with American International Group, Inc., Bank of America Corp. has filed a motion to dismiss Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan as the company's counsel for AIG's $10 billion lawsuit against the financial institution. In its move to disqualify the firm, BAC cited conflict of interest due to partner Marc Becker's previous involvement with the bank's chosen law firm, Munger, Tolles & Olson.

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Plummeting Loan Applications Hit 15-Year Low

Rising mortgage rates led to 15-year lows for mortgage application volume last week, with lower purchases following uncertain macroeconomic activity and a rush to rentals by prospective first-time homebuyers. In releasing the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, the Mortgage Bankers Association found purchase applications plunging by 8.8 percent from the week earlier ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the lowest on record since 1996. The trade group reported declines in overall loan volume by 14.9 percent on both a seasonally adjusted and seasonally unadjusted basis.

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Housing Starts Leapfrog Forecasts by 15% in September

Beating forecasts for lower-than-expected housing starts, builders put up 15 percent more new homes on a seasonally adjusted basis than predicted in September, the most since April 2010. The hitch: Multifamily residential construction drove the numbers. The Commerce Department reported that housing starts in September rose above August estimates for 572,000 units, hitting an annual 658,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Analysts speaking with MReport say the surge will not sustain itself in the months and years ahead.

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California’s Home Sales Net Mixed Reviews in September

In California, home sales were down during September, but data from the month still represents upward movement year-over-year for the third consecutive month. The recent findings from the California Association of Realtors puts the state at what the organization calls a stable level. Closings for escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California transitioned downward to a seasonally adjusted total of 487,940 for September, representing a loss of 2.1 percent from August.

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Freddie: Rental Housing Surges Past Homeownership Rates

Rising homebuilder confidence seen Tuesday coupled with news of a surge in multifamily housing development ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the sector typical for rental construction ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported Monday. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac offered up the data and analysis in an October 2011 Economic and Housing Market Outlook, with the consensus that tenant-occupied properties are on track to continue outpacing homeownership rates. New construction starts rose this year with a minimum 20 dwellings.

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Fannie: 50% Chance U.S. Economy Will Double-Dip by End of 2012

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae gives the U.S. economy equal chances for a second recession and recovery by the end of next year. Podcasting the 2011 October Economic Outlook, titled Economy at a Crossroads, the company forecasted that GDP will stay below 2 percent for the remainder of 2011 into next year. Among other reasons, the GSE's internal think tank cited trouble in the financial and labor markets, given the euro debt crisis, weak jobs reports, and low consumer confidence. The outlook follows several other similar reports.

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Survey: Originators Thriving Despite Rules, Regulations

Mortgage originations are on their way up despite the onset of new rules and regulations, according to a recent survey by MortgageDaily.com. Also included: how top originators thrive in today├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós tough market. The results? Three-quarters of those polled make $250,000 a year, even as many of the same lenders decry mortgage rules and regulations. Much of the survey's findings follow departures from the industry by major mortgage lenders, grim economic outlooks, and more.

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RE/MAX Report Shows Sales on the Rise

RE/MAX has released the results of its most recent housing survey, and the company's evaluation of 53 metropolitan areas demonstrates a 7.6 percent rise in home sales year-over-year in September. The findings represent the third consecutive month in which an increase in sales was shown year-over-year for comparable months, and generally, sales have been on the uptick for four of nine months during 2011 based on RE/MAX's report. September's data extends trends seen from data recorded in July and August, during which sales rose by18 percent and 13.1 percent respectively.

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Fraud Participant Pleads Guilty in $7 Million Case

Another mortgage fraud engineer has been brought to justice in New York, with Marleen Shillingford entering a guilty plea following her participation in a multimillion-dollar scheme. Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez, the defendant waived her right to indictment on charges related to a scam that involved more than 40 properties. The fraudulent acts were primarily executed against properties held by banks receiving funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

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