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Initial Unemployment Claims Jump to 10-Week High

First time claims for unemployment insurance jumped 13,000 to 380,000 for the week ended April 7, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the highest level since the end of January. At the same time the previous week's report was adjusted upward by 10,000, wiping out what had been a four-year low and showing an increase of 4,000 initial claims instead of an originally reported drop of 6,000 for the week ending in late March. Economists had expected initial claims would increase - from the original report - to 359,000. The week-over-week jump in first time claims was the second straight of the year.

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SunTrust Appoints New Consumer Markets Exec

In Georgia, SunTrust Banks, Inc., has appointed a new leader within its consumer division. The financial institution recently announced the addition of Reginald Davis as SunTrust├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós executive vice president and head of consumer deposit products. Prior to joining SunTrust, Davis was the president of RBC Bank├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós U.S. operations. In his role for RBC, Davis headed up all aspects of the bank├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós consumer, mortgage, wealth management, and commercial units.

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Fannie Mae Adds to Its Access Program

Fannie Mae has approved a new underwriter for debt securities. Multi-Bank Securities, Inc., recently announced that it has now been added as part of Fannie├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Access program. Michigan-based MBS operates as a fixed-income securities broker-dealer, and the company serves credit unions, banks, municipalities, and other institutions around the U.S. Through its underwriting activities, MBS also provides wholesale deposits to various financial institutions.

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The Fed’s Beige Book Sees Modest to Moderate Growth

Fed

The economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. The central bank reported faster and solid growth in Kansas City and Minneapolis but moderate or modest growth in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco Cleveland, and St. Louis. New York reported economic growth picked up somewhat while Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions. Banking conditions remained stable, the Beige Book said, with modest improvements in demand for lending.

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Ally Financial Takes Leave of Broker-Dealer Activities

Ally Financial will soon take leave of mortgage broker-dealer activities and exit its share of the marketplace. The source said that Ally will honor all existing trades. Ally said that it will continue to operate broker-dealer activities in the insurance share of the marketplace. News outlets report that the federal government owns 74 percent of the company, the result of more than $17 billion in bailout money it received to withstand the financial crisis. Many reportedly expect Ally to file for bankruptcy for the Residential Capital mortgage subsidiary it owns.

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HomeVestors Expands its Network of Franchisees

HomeVestors is celebrating a strong end to the first-quarter of 2012, recently announcing that the company reached record numbers of new franchisees during the period. During the past three months, HomeVestors added 38 franchises to the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós portfolio.

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Farmer Mac Receives Two New Board Members

The Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, also known as Farmer Mac, has added two new members to its board of directors. The organization recently announced that former Iowa Gov. Chester Culver and Bruce Sherrick have joined Farmer Mac├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós directorship. Both Culver and Sherrick were nominated to the prestigious position by President Obama. The two candidates were recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and both were officially sworn in the week of April 2. Culver held the governorship for Iowa from 2006 until 2010.

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Mortgage Rates Dip as Job Numbers, Spain Disappoint

Mortgage rates fell to lows not seen in a month on the heels of an underwhelming jobs report and concerns that Spain may follow Greece into default-scenario territory. Real estate Web site Zillow found interest rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage zigzagging across the country, just as it fell from 3.81 percent to 3.73 percent this week. Rates for the 15-year loan hovered near 2.95 percent, while those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages slumped to 2.56 percent. The Labor Department flattened expectations by reporting that the economy added only 120,000 jobs in March.

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CFPB Set to Propose New Rules for Mortgage Servicers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau steamed ahead with proposals for new rules Tuesday that would require mortgage servicers to notify homeowners about changes to their interest rates and insurance policies. The CFPB said it would publish proposals for the rules this summer and seek to finalize them by January next year. Under the new rules, servicers would need to tally up mortgage payments for homeowners every month, issue notifications about interest-rate changes for many adjustable-rate mortgages, and stay transparent about so-called force-placed insurance policies.

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Before Slowing, Home Prices Slid 0.9% in January: LPS

Home prices slid 0.9 percent in January before likely slowing to a crawl in February, analytics provider Lender Processing Services said Monday. The company released a Home Price Index that showed home prices averaging $195,000, signaling a seventh straight month of price declines. Of nearly 600 metro areas, 524 encountered price declines, with a dip in prices for 39 states. Pittsburgh emerged from the largest 26 metro areas as the only city to experience increases in average home prices since January 2005.

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