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Initial Unemployment Dip But Remain Elevated

First time claims for unemployment insurance remained over 380,000 for the second straight week for the week ended April 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday, the highest levels of the year. According to the report there were 386,000 initial claims, down from the revised 388,000 one week earlier The prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós report was adjusted upward by 8,000 Economists had expected initial claims would decrease (from the original report) to 365,000.

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HUD Swears in Rhodes Scholar, Publisher as Deputy Secretary

HUD swore in a Virginia-based publisher with British credentials as deputy secretary Wednesday. Confirmed by the Senate in late March, Maurice Jones stepped up to serve as the federal agency├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós second senior-most official. Jones arrives at his new position with considerable credentials. Graduating from Hampden-Sydney College, he snagged a Rhodes scholarship to study and later pick up a degree from the University of Oxford. He later graduated from the University of Virginia with a juris doctor.

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CFPB Goes After Lenders for Disparate Discrimination

If new guidance from the consumer bureau means anything, lenders could face action in instances that allegedly involve discriminatory lending practices for homeowners ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô even if practices seem fair at face value. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a bulletin Wednesday that reasserts disparate impact, a legal doctrine tucked into the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by policymakers that lays blame at the feet of lenders for overt and disparate acts of discrimination.

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Debt Crises Inspire 6.9% Pick-Up in Loan Volume: MBA

Debt crises in Europe spurred a wave of refinance applications last week, leading mortgage loan applications to tick up by 6.9 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group found that mortgage loan application volume went up 6.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before. The Refinance Index edged up 13.5 percent from the week before, with the refinance share of mortgage activity increasing to 75.2 percent of the share of total activity.

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Provident Bank Appoints New Commercial Banking Leader

In Rockland County, New York, Provident Bank is welcoming a new leader for its commercial banking team. The company, a subsidiary of Provident New York Bancorp, recently announced Marianne McGoldrick as the firm's senior managing director of commercial banking. In her new role for Provident Bank, McGoldrick will handle team leadership for building and cultivating commercial relationships. Prior to joining the company, McGoldrick served as the vice president and senior relationship manager for HSBC's middle market portfolio in the Hudson Valley region.

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Zillow Adds Agent Hub to Online Offerings

Rolling out a new online platform for real estate agents, Zillow, Inc., recently announced the launch of Agent Hub. Zillow's tool will give users a place to find and manage information from the website in one location. Additionally, the CRM platform automatically saves leads and connections accrued via Zillow, allowing agents to make individual notations and track high-priority contacts. Other benefits provided through Agent Hub include an analytics dashboard for monitoring listings and agent profiles and metrics.

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Cleveland Fed Forecasts Uncertainty for Nation’s Fiscal Future


The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released its spring Forefront report addressing the budget shortfalls throughout the U.S. Examining the risk that weakening public finances have on specific regions of the country, the Cleveland Fed is forecasting an uncertain future for the country's financial stability. The pension funds, which would deliver a shock to the broader financial system upon failure, appear more stable than previous reports have suggested. The bank evaluated bank capital requirements and tax system tradeoffs.

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Multifamily Surge Leads Housing Permits to Four-Year High

Housing permits surged another 4.5 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 747,000, the highest level since September 2008, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported jointly Tuesday. At the same time though, housing starts fell for the third time in the last four months to the lowest level since last October. March housing starts were reported at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 compared with 694,000 in February. Starts have been flat for the past three years.

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Fitch: Servicers Would Feel Burn From New CFPB Rules

Mortgage servicers would feel the pain if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalizes new rules it plans to propose this summer, according to Fitch Ratings. The ratings agency said in a statement that increased operational, compliance, and reporting expenses would take place if the rules take effect without any modification by the agency. The CFPB issued statements last week that signal its intentions to roll out with new proposals for rules that require more disclosure and transparency from servicers.

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HUD Debars Mortgage Loan Officers, Title Agent

HUD signed off on debarment Monday for three South Florida loan officers and a Pittsburgh title agent following convictions that found the four had reaped $2.5 million in reverse mortgage fraud. In a statement, the federal agency said that juries of their peers convicted loan officers Marcos Echevarria, Louis Gendason, and John Incandela for their roles in systematically identifying, then pressuring elderly homeowners to trade up their home loans for reverse mortgages. The three reportedly also committed appraisal fraud by exaggerating values for the properties to seize more funds.

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