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First-Quarter HARP Refinances Double From Q4 2011: FHFA

The number of loans refinanced through HARP in the first quarter of 2012 was nearly double the number of refinances in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's March 2012 Refinance Report released Friday. The report showed that 180,185 loans were refinanced through HARP during the year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós first quarter, nearly twice the 93,190 refinances in the previous quarter. The month of March alone saw 79,470 loans refinanced with HARP, implicating nearly one in seven loan refinances in the quarter.

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Income Growth Slows in April as Consumer Spending Increases

Consumer spending grew just 0.3 percent in April, up slightly from 0.2 percent in March, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday. Economists had expected spending to be up 0.3 percent. At the same time, personal income grew 0.2 percent in April, BEA said, compared with market expectations of a 0.

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U.S. Economy Adds Only 69K Jobs, Fewest in a Year

The economy added just 69,000 jobs in May compared with a revised 77,000 in April down from the originally reported 115,000, the Labor Department reported Friday. The closely watched unemployment rate inched up to 8.2 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a function of an increase in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós labor force to the highest level ever. Payroll gains for March and April were revised, subtracting 11,000 from the last published numbers for March and 38,000 from the preliminary report for April. A sharp drop in construction jobs ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô 28,000 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô led payrolls down.

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Memphis Drops Suit With $7.5M Agreement From Wells Fargo

After filing suit in January 2010 for predatory lending practices, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, and Shelby County have dropped charges against Wells Fargo. The two parties reached an agreement that requires the mortgage giant to commit $7.5 million to homeownership initiatives. Of the total, $4.5 million will go to down payment and home renovation assistance in amounts up to $15,000 for qualifying families and individuals. The city of Memphis and Shelby County will receive the remaining $3 million.

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Mortgage Insurers Wrote $7.1B in New Primary Insurance in April

Three mortgage insurers wrote $7.1 billion in newly originated primary mortgage insurance in April, up from $3.7 billion last year, according to the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America. MICA said that the companies, including Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., and Radian Guaranty Inc., fielded new primary insurance from $6.7 billion in March. Some 30,575 borrowers used private mortgage insurance to buy or refinance their homes in April. The insurers reported 22,569 defaults and 20,678 cures in April.

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Fixed Mortgage Rates Continue to Break Record Lows

As the debt crisis in Europe continues to worsen and investors look to Treasury bonds for security, fixed mortgage rates fell to all-time record lows in the last week of May. According to the results of Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.75 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending May 31. This is down from 3.88 percent the previous week and 4.55 percent at the same time last year. The 15-year fixed rate mortgage also fell, bringing three of the four benchmark mortgage rates under 3 percent.

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