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Federal Agencies Extend Commentary Period for Volcker


Financial institutions now have more elbow room for their commentary, thanks to the decision by four federal agencies to extend commentary for a controversial rule under the Dodd-Frank Act. The FDIC, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission acted in unison Friday by agreeing to delay commentary deadlines for the Volcker Rule, which proposes to ban short-term proprietary trading for financial institutions. The agencies will receive public commentary over the rule until February 13, 2012.

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CEO’s Corner: A New Year for Our Industry

Ed Delgado, CEO of our parent company, the Five Star Institute, reflects on 2011 as we enter a New Year. He takes into account events from around the economy over the last year to forecast a period of hoped-for renewal in 2012.

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New Home Sales Crawl Forward by 1.6%

New single-family home sales offered to end the year on a hopeful note by crawling forward by 1.6 percent in November, arriving at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 315,000 units. The Commerce Department reported the data via the Census Bureau, which releases new-home sales numbers on a monthly basis. New home sales arrived at a median sales price of $214,000 in November, while the average sales price came closer to $242,900, according to the agency.

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Will the FHA Take a Turn as the Next Housing Bailout?

Twists and turns led the housing market into uncertainty in 2011, with concerns about undercapitalization for the Federal Housing Administration driving a feeding frenzy on Capitol Hill and around the nation about the fate of a time-honored agency. A report by Joseph Gyourko, a University of Pennsylvania real estate and finance professor, leveled claims in November that the FHA├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós failure to answer more than $1 trillion in insurance-in-force with $2.6 billion in capital reserves may damn it to its place as the next housing bailout. Gyourko's report put Capitol Hill in a fighting mood.

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A Year of Mortgage Fraud, and the New Year

Mortgage fraud proved its staying power in headlines for 2011, even with incidents for fraudulent loan applications reportedly on the decline from the year before. MReport offers a year in review and a look at how lenders and servicers continue to fight fraud into the New Year.

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HARP 2.0 Continues to Progress Throughout the Industry

As the new version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program takes effect, lenders large and small are joining the government's effort to boost assistance to underwater homeowners. HARP 2.0, which went into implementation on December 1, has already garnered support from the country's four major financial institutions and companies like United Wholesale Mortgage.

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SEC Investigation Puts Additional Heat on GSEs

The head of Fortress Investment Group has left his position with the company and has simultaneously stepped down from the company's board of directors. Daniel Mudd, who has previously served as the CEO of Fannie Mae, is currently one of six former GSE executives under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud-related charges. The SEC's accusations encompass fraudulent actions regarding the GSEs' exposure to subprime loans.

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Housing Numbers Show Happy New Year for Some States

Statistical tallies for fourth-quarter home sales seem to support the idea that 2012 will represent a period of growth in some regions, and throughout the U.S., the National Association of Realtors reported a 12.2 percent jump in November sales on a year-over-year basis.

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Mudd’s Departure Offers Look Back at GSE Execs in 2011

Current and former GSE executives entered national conversations in late 2011 as several retired from their positions, lawmakers took a hard look at multimillion-dollar bonuses, and one member of Congress charged that some senior-level executives received discounted loans in exchange for influence. Daniel Mudd's leave of absence from Fortress follows a series of resignations by Freddie Mac CEO Ed Haldeman, Chairman John Koskinen, and several other board members, with uncertainty over why their resignations went forward at the same time.

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Ahead of 2012, Home Sales Rise 4% in November

Home sales followed a rocky road in 2011, as concerns over credit ratings, mounting public debt, and the potential for a double-dip recession forced homebuyers to the sidelines. MReport takes a look back at this year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós home sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and looks forward to figures in 2012. This week the National Association of Realtors reported home sales leaping forward 4 percent to crest at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November, up from 4.25 million in October and 12.2 percent above 3.94 million-unit figures recorded in November last year.

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