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Origination

New Home Sales Soar to Two-Year High in May

New home sales jumped to 369,000 in May - the highest level since April 2010 - as the median and average home prices both fell, the Census Bureau and HUD said jointly Monday. Economists had expected sales to reach 350,000 from the prior month's 343,000. Sales increased 7.6 percent month-over-month, marking the first increase in three months, and were up 19.8 percent since May 2011. The median price of a new single-family home fell for the third straight month, dropping to $234,500, the lowest level since February.

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Customers Bancorp Acquires Acacia Federal

Customers Bancorp, Inc. announced Thursday the acquisition of Acacia Federal Savings Bank from Ameritas Mutual Holding Company. Bancorp, the parent company of $2 billion asset Customers Bank, will acquire all of the stock of Acacia Federal from Ameritas for a consideration of $65 million. Bancorp will issue its voting and non-voting common stock for about $45 million at 115 percent of GAAP book value at time of closing. Approximately $20 million of Tier 1 qualifying non-cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock will be issued by Bancorp to Ameritas at a rate of 3.72 fixed for the first five years.

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More Downgrades as Moody’s Goes After Several Banks

Count another major downgrade against the global financial community. On Thursday Moody├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Investors Service slashed credit ratings for 15 major financial institutions, including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, among others. The reason for Moody├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós actions: The biggest banks face too much risk from debt-saddled Europe, earnings volatility, and still-faulty mortgages stateside. The ratings agency grouped the downgraded institutions into three groups. Stocks slid for many of the banks.

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Cleveland Fed to Host 10th Annual Policy Summit

Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is preparing to kick off its 10th Annual Policy Summit on June 28, and this yeaR's two-day event will focus on methods for strengthening and rebuilding communities. In an official statement, the Cleveland Fed called the summit a chance to target effective strategies for economic development in our communities, with a particular emphasis on measurement." In an official statement, the Cleveland Fed called the summit a chance to target "effective strategies for economic development in our communities, with a particular emphasis on measurement."

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Taylor Capital to Expand Mortgage Lending Operations

Taylor Capital Group, Inc., is initiating a major expansion of its mortgage division. The group recently announced plans to double the number of branches for Cole Taylor Mortgage, which serves as the company's lending unit through Taylor Capital subsidiary, Cole Taylor Bank.

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Technology Billionaire to Buy Hawaiian Island of Lanai

Realestalker.com is reporting that a major property acquisition is underway for Oracle founder, Larry Ellison. According to the website, the billionaire technology entrepreneur is set to purchase the Hawaiian island of Lanai for between $500 and $600 million.

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Why Rising Student Debt Could Signal Growth for Housing

An analysis of government data by the National Association of Home Builders revealed another issue that can be added to the list of economic changes caused by the housing slump: Rising student loan debt. Data shows that the onset of the housing crisis brought with it an increase in students taking out loans for higher education. Since the third quarter of 2008, student loan debt has increased by 47.9 percent ($293 million). This increase is attributed to the drop in the availability of home equity loans, according to the NAHB.

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Mortgage Demand Picks Up for Ellie Mae in May

Demand for mortgages increased in May, according to a report released by Ellie Mae Wednesday. The Origination Insight Report for May 2012 showed that the average loan-to-value on closed loans jumped up above the 80 percent mark for the first time since the company began tracking in August 2011. Ellie Mae attributed the increase to an easing of LTVs on conventional refinances. The average LTV on conventional refinance in May was 72 percent, a slide up from April's 69 percent. Closed conventional refinances with LTVs of 95 percent or higher jumped up to 11 percent in May.

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