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Fitch Notes Potential in FHFA Efforts to Restore Private Market

The goal of attracting private capital into the mortgage market is at the center of discussions throughout the industry and the government. Thus far, efforts by the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) and other federal agencies to provide incentives for the creation of a vibrant private mortgage securitization market have been largely unsuccessful, according to Fitch Ratings. However, the ratings agency does see some promise in a couple of FHFA's goals for this year.

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February Adds 236K Jobs, Unemployment Rate at 7.7%

Unemployment

The economy added 236,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate slipped to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 160,000 and that the unemployment rate would remain at 7.8 percent.

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NTC Promotes Longtime Employee to COO

Nationwide Title Clearing (NTC), a post-closing services provider located in Palm Harbor, Florida, announced the promotion of longtime employee Michael O'Connell to COO. O'Connell has been with NTC for eight years, formerly leading the sales and client relations teams as VP of client relations.

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Mortgage Rates Unchanged as Job Report Looms

Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey indicated little to no movement in fixed rates for the week ending March 7. According to Freddie Mac's readings, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.52 percent (0.7 point) this week, up slightly from the previous 3.51 percent average. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.88 percent. Meanwhile, Bankrate.com reported no movement in any of its three major metrics, with all of them reading the same as last week.

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First-Time Unemployment Claims Continue Downward Trend

Initial unemployment insurance claims fell 7,000 for the week ending March 2, closing the week at an advance estimate of 340,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The decline represents the fourth drop in the last five weeks, indicating a downward trend in layoffs.

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