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CFPB Unveils Change of Guard With New Senior Personnel

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently unveiled several recent changes of guard for senior personnel. The bureau said in a release on Tuesday that Kelly Thompson Cochran, Chris Lipsett, Stephen van Meter, and Delicia Reynold Hand would move into senior roles. Cochran will transition from her role as deputy assistant director into a new office as acting assistant director for regulations. Van Meter will take up a new position as deputy general counsel, a change from his past role as assistant general counsel for policy with the CFPB.

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Q2 Profits Rise for Independent Mortgage Bankers, Originators

Independent mortgage bankers and originators saw their profits rise over the second quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group released a statement on Thursday that found independent mortgage banks and subsidiaries clinching $2,152 on average for every loan from the second quarter. That's an increase from $1,654 per loan from the quarter before. Net production income shot up by 107 basis points, a leap from 82 basis points from the first quarter.

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Slowing Workouts Burn Off CMBS Special Servicer Volume

The slowing pace of workouts hasn├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót stopped CMBS special servicer volume from falling, Fitch Ratings reported. According to Fitch├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós weekly U.S. CMBS Market Trends newsletter, the balance of loans in special servicing as of June 30 was $80.5 billion, a drop from $83.1 billion at the end of 2011 and $85.6 billion in June 2011. This news comes despite a slowdown in resolutions in the year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós first half, with 1,242 loans resolved in that time (compared to 1,556 in the first half of 2011).

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Illinois to Set Aside Settlement Funds for Legal Assistance

Illinois has decided to set aside part of its funds from the national mortgage settlement to provide free legal assistance for Chicago area homeowners, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced earlier this week. About $4.7 million from the national foreclosure settlement funds will go to the Legal Assistance Foundation. LAF will use the funds to reach out to distressed homeowners and provide services to keep struggling owners in their home. The funds will also help LAF work with the courts to improve the Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program and support its staff.

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Bankruptcy Judge Bars Bonuses for 17 ResCap Execs

Residential Capital was denied approval from a federal bankruptcy judge to pay its executives bonuses, Reuters reported Wednesday. The key employee incentive plan was for bonuses between $4.1 million and $7 million to be distributed to 17 of the top 20 employees from ResCap. The written court opinion stated the debtors, or ResCap, argued the bonuses would serve to "motivat[e] . . . key talent" during a sales process that has required ResCap employees to assume "responsibilities above their normal duties," and subject them to ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£extraordinary stress, pressure, and uncertainty as to the security of their jobs."

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Mortgage Fraud Rises Due to Dishonest Applicants

While fraud in the financial services sector declined year-over-year from April through June, mortgage fraud increased, according to the latest report from Experian, a global information services company based in London. Thirty-nine out of every 10,000 mortgage applications were fraudulent during the April to June period, up from 32 out of 10,000 in the same period last year, according to Experian. Mortgage fraud far outpaced savings account fraud.

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Mortgage Rates Fall Back as Some Wait to See Stimulus

After a month of weekly increases, mortgage rates followed Treasury bond yields down this week. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed averaged 3.59 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending August 30, down from 3.66 percent in the previous week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós survey. The 15-year fixed also fell, dropping to 2.86 percent from 2.89 percent. In addition, both the 5-year and 1-year adjustable rate mortgage averages fell, declining to 2.78 percent and 2.63 percent, respectively.

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Spending Growth Tops Income Expectations In July

Personal income rose $42.3 billion in July but consumer spending increased $46.0 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The increase in income ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô 0.3 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô topped expectations of a 0.3 percent boost, and the 0.04 percent increase in spending also met economist expectations. The Mr. Micawber-like report ("Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery," per Charles Dickens) meant personal savings dropped in July.

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Initial Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected

First time claims for unemployment were unchanged at 374,000 for the week ended August 25, the Labor Department reported Thursday after revising upward by 2,000 the prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós originally reported 372,000 claims. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 370,000 initial claims. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one-week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô dipped 5,000 to 3,316,000 from the prior week's 3,321,000, revised from the originally reported 3,317,000. The BLS report will be published September 7. From mid-July to mid-August, first time claims are down 14,000 but continuing claims.

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Single-Family Home Sales Rise, Steady, in July: Group

Sales of single-family homes in the Bay State continued their steady rise in July, The Warren Group reported Tuesday. A total of 4,979 single-family homes sold statewide in July, up from almost 27 percent year-over-year. This July was the best for sales volume since 2005, when sales reached 6,672. Year-to-date, 26,596 homes have sold in Massachusetts, a 24.8 percent increase from the same period in 2011. July also saw condominium sales increase in the state, rising 34 percent year-over-year.

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