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Tax Deferrals Over for Reverse Mortgage Holders

Oregon's senior citizens with reverse mortgages will no longer be eligible for the state├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós tax deferral program. The initiative recently announced that reverse mortgage applicants won├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót be considered for the program. Homeowners already using the deferral advantage were told in July that they are required to reapply for the statewide program no later than July 25. Additional alterations to the program's format include more stringent asset limits, stricter income criteria, and a five-year minimum for prior residency in the qualifying home.

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New Bill May Extend Conforming Loan Limits

On Monday lawmakers introduced a bill that would extend the current conforming loan limits for another two years a deal that could continue federal insurance for homeowners with high conforming jumbo loans. Rep. John Campbell (R-California) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-New York) co-sponsored the bill, titled the Conforming Loan Limits Extension Act, which would fix the limit for jumbo loans backed by GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration at $729,750.

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Obama Bumps Warren, Taps Cordray for CFPB

President Barack Obama announced Sunday that he would withdraw Treasury Department advisor Elizabeth Warren for the top post at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and replace her with Richard Cordray.

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Federal Office Closure Could Harm Atlanta Real Estate

A report published by turnaround management firm Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos found that a recent move by the Obama administration to clear office space in Atlanta could strangle the city's still-recovering commercial real estate sector, potentially throwing back markets in a state with the fifth-largest amount of government real estate outside of Washington, D.C. The firm fears that a reduction in government-owned property will also crimp employment.

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Housing Analysts Jittery About Debt Default Scenario

Fueling fears about a federal default scenario, fragile debt-ceiling negotiations continued to splinter and stagnate this week, with Republicans refusing to budge on proposed tax increases and Democrats fighting to keep entitlements off the chopping block. If trends continue and the federal government defaults on its national debt, housing economists and mortgage rate analysts predict spikes in interest and mortgage rates, with steep and potentially catastrophic declines in homes sales.

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Galante Now Acting FHA Commissioner

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In a statement released Tuesday, HUD announced the move by multifamily housing deputy assistant secretary Carol Galante to her new role as acting commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. President Barack Obama picked Galante for the position, with rumors circulating around the Capitol that the affordable housing veteran may receive a nomination for the top role, too.

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12 Mortgage Fraud Cases, Over $12M in Losses

Twelve defendants appeared in court around the country this week to answer for charges related to mortgage fraud, conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, and making false information to financial institutions, among others. The estimated combined losses for lenders and families: some $12.4 million. Unaccounted-for: the number of delayed dreams, shattered finances, and lives adversely impacted by the crimes, alleged and otherwise. Several news agencies reported the news.

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MBIA Drops Suit Against Bank of America

After a contentious suit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, MBIA Inc. ended a lawsuit against the mortgage giant over $5.7 billion in bad credit default protection the insurer underwrote for the bank's mortgage-backed securities. According to the filing, MBIA and Bank of America both agreed to voluntarily withdraw the claims and cover their fees for their separate cases. MBIA had sued Merrill in April 2009 with accompanying allegations that the bank committed fraud.

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Warren, Republicans Faceoff on Thursday

With less than two weeks to go before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches, Treasury Department adviser and nominee Elizabeth Warren plans to attend the House Oversight Committee for the last time on Thursday, giving her Republican opponents one final opportunity to lob critiques at her brainchild before it assumes consumer financial protection authority. Analysts across the spectrum seem to agree that Warren will face yet another challenge from Republicans, who fear numerous transfers of authority from seven agencies will tip the scale between regulation and economic recovery.

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