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New Year Statistics, Predictions from MGIC

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. has released its January statistics, as well as the company's projections for the year ahead. MGIC reported an estimated $1.3 billion in new insurance contracts for the month, and the company is predicting a minimal rise in contracts for 2012. Numbers from the fourth-quarter of 2011 show that MGIC handled around $4.2 billion in new contracts, and the company's new insurance total for the year was $14.2 billion. Data from 2011 shows a solid increase over 2010 findings, with MGIC reporting only $12.3 billion in new contracts for 2010. MGIC stated that it anticipates a slight uptick over 2011 statistics for this year.

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Bernanke: Tight Credit Continues to Hamper Recovery


Negative equity, tight mortgage credit, and an overhang of foreclosed properties conspire to delay a full-fledged housing rebound and economic recovery, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday. He said that the inability ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô or unwillingness ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô of lenders to lend puts the brakes on much-needed activity by first-time and repeat homebuyers. He cited a contraction in mortgage credit outstanding for U.S. homes by about 13 percent, with mortgage originators reluctant to lend to otherwise eligible borrowers.

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House Amends Insider-Trading Bill to Ban GSE Bonuses

House lawmakers passed legislation Friday that prohibits insider trading among their members, amending the bill to ban controversial multimillion-dollar bonuses for senior-level executives with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The lower chamber cleared the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act by a vote of 417 to two. An amendment to the legislation bars executives from receiving bonuses while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain in federal conservatorship. This is the second insider-trading bill from Congress to prohibit bonus pay for GSE executives.

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Two Banks Fall Under, Raising National Tally to Nine

State and federal regulators closed banks in Indiana and Illinois Friday, raising the national tally for failures to nine for 2012. Shelbyville, Indiana-based SCB Bank fell dark with about $182.6 million in total assets and $171.6 million in total deposits. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed the institution and appointed the FDIC to carry out responsibilities as receiver. The OCC also closed Charter National Bank and Trust in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The bank went under with $93.9 million in total assets and $89.5 million in total deposits.

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State, Federal Officials Seal Historic $26B Servicer Settlement

More than a year's worth of rumors, negotiations, and reversals concluded Thursday with a $26-billion mega-settlement between government officials and the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós five largest mortgage servicers. The size and scope of the settlement makes it the largest endeavor by state and federal officials in U.S. history. Federal officials and 49 state attorneys general closed a deal with Ally Financial Corp., Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo that supplies homeowners in distress with new relief and establishes new servicing standards.

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Goldman Sachs Scoops Up $6.2B in AIG Mortgage Assets

Goldman Sachs scooped up $6.2 billion in risky mortgage bonds from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the central bank said Wednesday. The Maiden Lane II assets stem from the taxpayer-funded bailout of American International Group during the financial crisis. An original senior loan in the amount of $19.5 billion needed repayment, and Credit Suisse offered an initial inquiry to pick up the tab for Maiden II assets last fall. The federal government held out on an offer until it felt the sale would mete out a higher rate of return for the public.

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Clarity AMC Teams Up with ValuLink’s Technology

Clarity Appraisal Management Company is upgrading its technological support, recently announcing it has selected ValuLink as the company's software platform provider. With the addition of ValuLink's system, Clarity AMC will benefit from a customized, cloud-based appraisal management program designed to facilitate enhanced business processes.

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OMHHF Selects New President and CEO

A new president and CEO has been selected by Oppenheimer Multifamily Housing and Healthcare Finance, Inc. The company recently announced the appointment of James J. Moore III to the leadership role.

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Lawmakers Clear Bill for Vote to Shore Up FHA’s Fund

A House subcommittee cleared a bill Tuesday that would shore up the Federal Housing Administration's ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund by setting annual premiums for mortgage insurers and reworking the agency├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós financial controls. Lawmakers seated on the Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity subcommittee approved by voice vote the FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act, fronting it for a full vote by the House. The FHA continues to alarm policymakers for failing to keep adequate capital on hand.

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