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Refinance Share Climbs to 73 Percent in January, Time to Close Falls

Refinance loan share jumped to its highest level in at least a year and a half, according to Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report for January 2013. According to the report, refinances made up 73 percent of loans closed in January--the highest level recorded since Ellie Mae began tracking the data in August 2011. January's refinance figure is 4 percentage points higher than December's. Despite the rise in refinance share, the time it took to close a refinance loan declined in January, falling to 54 days.

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Orion Financial Unveils Settlement Services Offering

Orion Financial Group, Inc., a provider of mortgage assignment, lien release, and document retrieval services, announced it is now providing streamlined settlement services to investors. The new offering provides small- to medium-size investors a one-stop, efficient solution for their needs.

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30-Year Industry Veteran Joins LoanSifter as VP of Client Services

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LoanSifter, Inc., a Wisconsin-based provider of product eligibility and pricing solutions for the mortgage banking industry, announced the hiring of Sue Stewart as VP of client services. Stewart has a 30-year tracked record of successfully leading mortgage companies, serving most recently as SVP at Move, Inc.

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Total HARP Volume Surpasses 2M as of November

As of November 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have refinanced more than 2 million loans through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported Tuesday. According to FHFA, nearly 130,000 homeowners refinanced their mortgages through HARP in November alone, making it the second biggest month for HARP activity in 2012 (behind June's 137,000 HARP refinances). In addition, HARP volume represented 23 percent of total refinance volume in November.

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Report: Younger Generations Shouldering Greater Amount of Debt

According to a report from SaveUp.com, the average total debt load for an average member of Generation X or Y (those under the age of 47) is close to $37,000, slightly higher than the national average debt load of $36,157. Of the two groups, Gen X appears at first to be worse off, with the average person harboring a debt load of $46,972 compared to the Gen Y average of $28,930. However, SaveUp.com finds that more than 60 percent of Gen Xers' debt comes from mortgage and student loans--considered "good debt" that helps build assets.

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