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Origination

HUD Scorecard Delivers Mixed Results for Housing

An October scorecard released Thursday by the Obama administration portrayed the housing market as one beset by mixed circumstances over September and the months before. A still-heavy foreclosure glut matched with declining home values and prices left the market slightly worse for the wear in some areas. The report measured up home prices, home sales, and refinance originations, finding declines for some and stabilization for others. A positive portrayal of efforts by the Obama administration also met with less favorable consumer sentiment.

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Policymakers See GSE-Free Future as Freddie Asks for $6B

The head of the agency that regulates the GSEs addressed one lawmaker's recent proposal to eliminate the federal lifeline for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Thursday even as the latter filed staggering third-quarter losses and requested another $6 billion in taxpayer funds. Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco and several others testified before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, which heard the chief regulator describe why the federal government needs to slowly phase out taxpayer support for the GSEs.

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Good Neighbor Award Winners Announced

REALTOR Magazine has announced this year's winners of the publication's Good Neighbor Awards program, targeting realtors whose commitment to community development sets them apart. Annually, REALTOR honors five individuals for their volunteer work and achievements in community improvement, and the magazine's elite list focuses on those in the real estate industry who stand out as key leaders in all aspects of their lives, both personal and professional.

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Obama Officials Up the Ante to Get CFPB Director

Officials with the White House and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continue to press critics of the bureau to confirm Richard Cordray as director, notably fronting the wife of Central Intelligence Agency Director Ret. Gen. David Petraeus Thursday. Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, CFPB Assistant Director Holly Petraeus addressed concerns about the housing market and the effects on service members and their families, ascribing increased hardship to declining home values and difficulties in home sales.

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New CEO, Chairman of the Board for SISCO

Stewart Information Services Corp. (SISCO) is shaking up its corporate leadership, with the recent announcement that Matthew W. Morris will take over as the company's CEO. Replacing his father, Malcolm S. Morris, and his cousin, Stewart Morris, Jr., as co-CEOs for the entity, Matt is being promoted from an executive role within SISCO.

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Mortgage Rates Plunge Amid Euro Zone Trouble

After inching forward in the last few weeks, mortgage rates again plummeted on fresh concerns about the euro zone crisis, with rates dropping to 4.00 percent, the second-lowest reading for Freddie Mac. The GSE released a weekly survey alongside finance Web site Bankrate. Freddie reported the 30-year loan falling from 4.24 percent recorded last week, not a far cry from the 10-percentage point plunge to 4.23 percent from 4.33 percent that Bankrate.com recorded. Investor confidence shot up after Europe agreed to bail out Greece.

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Lawmakers Argue for More HARP 2.0 Modifications

A bipartisan group of lawmakers called for more modifications to the Home Affordable Refinance Program Wednesday in a public letter addressing federal officials. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) joined eight other lawmakers to call for the FHFA and other federal regulators to lift access barriers to borrowers with higher-equity government-backed loans. The letter argues that new modifications could benefit approximately 12 million other borrowers.

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Zillow: Homebuyers Setting Unrealistic Expectations

A new survey from Zillow: reveals that prospective homebuyers may have an overly optimistic view when it comes to their expectations related to property appreciation and housing value. In the website├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós recent poll, more than 42 percent of those that plan on purchasing a home in the near future said they anticipated a 7 percent annual increase in their property value during their ownership period.

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Bernanke: No New Action, but Fed May Still ‘Deploy Tools’

Fed

The Federal Reserve restrained itself from announcing any new monetary or fiscal stimulus measures, deciding instead that it will continue to reinvest principal payments for agency debt in mortgage-backed securities while it keeps a heel on historically low interest rates. Continuing a public relations tour at a time of increasing unpopularity on both the right and left, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed reporters from behind a desk.

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New National Sales Exec for First Valuation

Collateral valuation services provider First Valuation has found a new national sales executive in Brandon O'Briant. While remaining based in Dallas, Texas, O'Briant will apply his 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry to managing First Vaulation's current clients and establishing partnerships on behalf of the company.

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