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Mortgage Rates Drop Below 4% for First Time

Mortgage rates slammed into a new, record-setting low Thursday, with mortgage giant Freddie Mac reporting that figures for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 4 percent for the first time in history. Finance Web site Bankrate.com noted a similarly record-smashing low for the loan. Making the biggest waves, the GSE found the 30-year loan dropping on average to 3.94 percent nationally, down from 4.01 percent last week and 4.27 percent over the same time last year.

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Kontogiannis, Six Others Make the Fraud Blotter

Two cases from New York resonated with the mortgage fraud blotter Wednesday, with news sources reporting indictments against six people accused of raking in some $25 million in mortgage fraud and a reduced prison sentence for a money launderer previously convicted for stripping $98 million from lenders. A statement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Reuters story contributed to the round of news for the MReport blotter. Left unclear: the amount of ruin for lenders and homeowners.

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Big Banks Sued for Allegedly Bilking Veterans, Taxpayers

In yet another blow to major mortgage lenders, two brokers unveiled suits Monday against a string of companies alleging the defendants bilked veterans out of millions by hiding illegal fees under other charges for their refinance loans. Quickly emerging as a hot-button topic inside the Beltway, with some pointing fingers at federal agencies, the suit joins a pack of other litigation on the way for big banks. The matter involves the Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans program for veterans.

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Harris Takes the Reins at LPS

Lender Processing Services Inc. has appointed a new president and CEO, with the hiring of Hugh R. Harris. Harris' role begins immediately, effective October 5, and he will also join the company's board of directors.

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Mortgage Applications Fall 4.3% on Borrower Apathy

application

Historically low mortgage rates failed once more to entice interest from borrowers, with the Mortgage Bankers Association recording a seasonally adjusted 4.3-percent plunge in mortgage applications last week. The numbers arrive amid a flurry of action from the Federal Reserve. The trade group penciled in a 4.5-percent decline on a seasonally unadjusted basis, alongside downward revisions for the Purchase Index at a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent and seasonally unadjusted 1.7 percent.

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Mortgage Pro Makes Move to Online Initiative

A former mortgage banking executive is moving on to the lucrative realm of technology based real estate initiatives. Elizabeth O'Brien, previously a director for Citigroup, Inc., was recently announced as the managing director and senior vice president of Auction.

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Group: Don’t Expect Housing Recovery Until 2014

As Fed officials hinted at more stimulus measures for the ailing economy, research consultancy Capital Economics released a note signaling that more trouble ahead for the housing sector could delay a recovery until 2014. Writing for the consultancy, senior U.S. economist Paul Dales painted a grim portrait of the housing economy, explaining that less confidence among consumers and tight lending standards contribute to the view that market conditions will keep a heel on the housing recovery until 2014.

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Fed Officials Promise More Action, See Trouble Ahead

Fed

On the same day that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned lawmakers about their fiscal behavior and hinted at more stimulus measures, one of the Fed├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós governors, Sarah Bloom Raskin, outlined potential peril in the mortgage servicing industry. The Fed chief noted ailing health in the economy while the other official sketched a need for change in servicing standards. News reports found the 30-year Treasury bond yields leaping forward on the promise of action by the Fed chief.

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REITs Making Headlines on Fed News

Fed

Real estate investment trusts are making headlines again, on the news that the Federal Reserve will continue to drive long-term interest rates even lower. High yielding REIT stocks have dropped accordingly, and the REIT market, which thrives on borrowing at lower rates and lending in the mortgage marketplace at higher rates via the purchase of mortgage-backed securities, has struggled. Many industry analysts note that the segment's avoidance of any default risk should offset the instability caused by interest rate fluctuation.

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New Hire for Prudential Morgage’s New Location

New

The multifamily division of Prudential Mortgage Capital Company has a new addition to its team of originators, with the hiring of Kip Kimble. Prudential Mortgage, which functions as the commercial mortgage lending division of Prudential Financial, Inc., will install Kimble in its newly opened Boston, Massachusetts office.

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