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GOP Candidates Thrash GSEs, Dodd-Frank at Debate

Candidates for the Republican presidential nomination roundly criticized Freddie Mac Monday, taking swipes at rival and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for services he rendered to the mortgage company as an independent contractor in 2006. Yesterday The Gingrich Group ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô founded by its namesake and currently doing business as the Center for Health Transformation ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô revealed that Freddie Mac paid Gingrich $25,000 in monthly fees for consulting services he rendered to the mortgage company as an independent contractor.

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Zillow Launches New Neighborhood Platform

Zillow is making it easier for home shoppers to gain information about the homes they are interested in purchasing with the launch of its Neighborhood Advice tool. The popular website will allow potential home buyers to learn more about the neighborhood they are targeting via social media outlet, Facebook.

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Illinois Home Sales Climbed in December

Illinois received an unexpected gift during December - rising home sales. Crediting the unseasonably mild weather, low mortgage interest rates, and attractive market pricing, the state recorded its sixth consecutive month of increasing numbers of homes sold. According to the recent report released by the Illinois Association of Realtors, the total number of homes sales during December was up 14 percent year-over-year. Overall, data from Illinois showed 8,828 homes sold for the month, off of 7,746 sold during December 2010.

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Reverse Loan Originator, Onetime Company Exec Make Fraud Blotter


A former company executive previously convicted of $100 million in mortgage fraud saw his name on our mortgage fraud blotter for his role in orchestrating an attempted hit from prison, right next to a loan officer sentenced to jail time for taking in $2.5 million in a reverse mortgage plot. First up, the Justice Department offered the account of a Florida loan officer, Louis Gendason, sentenced by a federal judge to 70 months in the slammer for coordinating a reverse mortgage fraud scheme that targeted elderly borrowers.

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CFPB, FTC Sign Agreement to Share, Clarify Powers


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission signed an agreement Monday to eliminate regulatory overlap by frequently sharing information about investigations and rulemaking proposals. A Memorandum of Understanding obliges the agencies to meet no less than once quarterly to share information, notify each other of action pending against entities, and coordinate training exercises for examiners and personnel. The agreement fulfills provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act that charge the agencies with signing a memorandum.

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First Niagara Moves Forward with HSBC Acquisition

Continuing its sell off, First Niagara Bank has announced its intention to liquidate another 27 branches. The move is part of the company's transition following its acquisition of HSBC Bank's regional retail business in New York and Connecticut.

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FGMC Adds to Company’s Management Team

First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation has appointed a new assistant vice president, with the announcement that Lyle Lasky will join the company at its national underwriting and credit compliance manager. FGMC will capitalize on Lasky's 17 years of experience in the industry to enhance its quality and compliance initiatives.

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Housing Finance Reform Mired in Primary Politics

Presidential hopefuls remain quiet on subjects related to housing finance reform ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô except when it comes to politics. With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trumping former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary Saturday, the latter went on the attack Monday by reportedly criticizing his opponent for a $1.6-million contract he signed with Freddie Mac to advise the GSE at one time. These rows touch offer the only debate for candidates over housing, signaling only peripheral discussion of a still-lagging sector.

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Three New Bank Failures Mark First for New Year

Three new banks went under Friday, marking the first for 2012 since state and federal regulators closed 92 financial institutions last year. State regulators in Florida and Georgia shuttered Central Florida State Bank and The First State Bank in Belleview and Stockbridge, respectively. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed American Eagle Savings Bank in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania. The latest bank failures mark the first three for 2012. Last year saw 92 closures nationally, while 2010 bore witness to 157 bank failures.

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LoanSifter Now Prices Radian Guaranty Insurance

Mark another big team-up for mortgage pricing company LoanSifter. On Wednesday the company announced that it will now include price quotes for Radian Guaranty Inc. in its pricing engine. The price quote from Radian will appear in LoanSifter's mortgage insurance best execution pricing platform. This is the next big thing for LoanSifter, which recently signed a deal with Google that allows it to facilitate comparison of loan products among many providers via a new technology platform.

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