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FHFA Unveils Changes to Reform Plan for Secondary Market

The Federal Housing Finance Agency unveiled new additions to the strategic plan it released in February this year, with many changes focused on moving the secondary mortgage market back to private capital sources and creating infrastructure needed to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The additions include four principles, such as safety and security for the residential mortgage market, stability and liquidity in housing finance, and preservation of current enterprise assets. The plan, due for enactment if passed by Congress between the years 2013 and 2017.

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Thirty-Year Loan Slumps to New Low as Investors Flee Europe

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached a new all-time low Tuesday as concerns grew that Greece would leave the euro zone in a disorderly way. Real estate Web site Zillow found the loan at 3.59 percent, down from 3.65 percent last week, the lowest rate recorded by the company since it began tracking interest rates for mortgages in April 2008. This is down from a previous all-time low of 3.65 percent recorded in May. Mortgage rates zigzagged lower across many states, falling 14 basis points in Massachusetts and 11 basis points in Texas.

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With ResCap Deal, Ally Shifts From Home Loans to Auto Loans

After suffering from bad loans during the financial crisis, Ally Financial looks to close the books on its share of ownership in the mortgage business. Executives with Ally took to the phone with investors Tuesday to explain a filing for bankruptcy protection Monday by subsidiary Residential Capital LLC. The consensus: Residential mortgage loans are out for Ally and auto finance is back in the center. Ally will still subservice loans via ResCap while it serves as counterparty to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Builder Confidence Reaches Five-Year High in May

Builder confidence jumped five points in in May to 29, its highest level since the same month in 2007, the National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 26 in May. The month-over-month increase was the largest since April 2009. The total index in May was up 13 points from May 2011, the strongest year-over-year gain since April 2004. All three components of the index ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô current sales, sales six months out and buyer traffic ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô showed strong increases in May.

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Bank Shares Fall as Greek Turmoil Undermines Confidence

A fresh round of concerns that Greece may leave the euro zone sent U.S. stock markets into a dizzying tumble Monday. After some lift in recent weeks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 125.25 points to close by end of day at 12,695, along with shares for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós four largest lenders. The deal reportedly involves a Syriza, a leftwing bloc opposed to further austerity measures that may parlay slashes to Greek social services for $170 billion in bailout funds under a package jointly agreed-to by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

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Fitch Ratings Slashes ResCap Credit Ratings

Fitch Ratings downgraded servicer ratings for Residential Capital LLC on the heels of a bankruptcy filing by the Ally Financial subsidiary. The ratings agency slashed credit ratings for the residential servicer to RMS4, down from RMS3. Earlier Monday Ally Financial announced that Residential Capital, or ResCap, decided to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, selling assets from the estate to Lewisville, Texas-based Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. Nationstar billed the maneuver as one that would make it the nation's largest non-bank residential mortgage lender and one of the largest residential mortgage originators.

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Federal Regulators Finalize Bank Stress-Testing Rule

Three federal regulatory agencies finalized stress-testing guidance Monday for financial institutions with total assets worth more than $10 billion. The Federal Reserve, FDIC, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released the guidance after receiving 17 comment letters from banks, financial advisory firms, and trade groups. The agencies stressed the importance of capital and liquidity, saying that systemically important financial institutions should apply stress tests to these areas on a regular basis as the rule moves forward.

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ResCap Files Chapter 11, With Nationstar Set to Acquire

Residential Capital LLC, the embattled mortgage subsidiary of Ally Financial, filed Chapter 11 Monday, with Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. set to acquire it. The Detroit-based company framed the move as a way to shave losses, repay taxpayers, and preserve its position as an auto lender. Lewisville, Texas-based Nationstar said in a separate announcement that it would acquire ResCap, with the purchase including $374 billion in mortgage servicing assets and $201 billion in primary residential mortgage servicing rights.

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