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Mortgage Fraud Reports Down in Q2 as Overall Filings Increase

Mortgage fraud reports dropped year-over-year by more than 40 percent in the second quarter even as total suspicious activity rose, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reported in a release. The network revealed 17,476 filers submitted mortgage loan fraud (MLF) suspicious activity reports (SARs) in the year's second quarter, a 41 percent drop from 29,558 reports during the same period in 2011. Reports related to MLF made up an 8 percent share of all SAR reports.

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ICON Welcomes New EVP of Wholesale Lending


R.J. Arnett will be taking the reins at ICON Residential Lending as EVP of wholesale lending, the California-based originator announced. In his newly-created position at ICON, Arnett oversees the national sales force with a nationwide network of mortgage brokers.

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Envoy Mortgage Expands into Homebuilder Market

Envoy Mortgage is expanding its business with the launch of its new National Builder Division platform. The independent, full-service mortgage banking firm wants to get in on the resurgence in the homebuilder market segment by offering targeted products and services to meet their specific needs.

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White Van VP Earns Third Term on NAMFS Board

The National Association of Mortgage Field Services re-elected VP of White Van Real Estate Services, Kris Katoa, for a third term as a board member. Katoa has been a member of NAMFS for more than 13 years and previously served two terms on the organization's board and on the committee for its 2011 National Conference.

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Wells Fargo Ramps Up Legislative Lobbying

Wells Fargo has been ramping up its lobbying activities over the past several years. After spending just $620,000 on lobbying in 2002, a decade later the bank's spending is in the millions, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Housing followed finance as the second-most lobbied issue by Wells this year. In fact, the Housing Finance Reform Act of 2011 continues to be one of the top lobbied bills by the bank: Wells mentioned the bill in four reports throughout 2011, making the bank one of the most active clients for that piece of legislation.

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Risk Managers Share Positive Outlook for Mortgage, Equity Loans

Optimism among bankers continued to rise in the year's third quarter, according to survey results released by the Professional Risk Managers' International Association (PRMIA). The survey, conducted by PRMIA for FICO, showed that the majority of bank risk professionals expect mortgage loan delinquency to either fall or remain the same. PRMIA called the drop in delinquency predictions "encouraging," as sentiment on delinquency usually experiences a dip in the third quarter.

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Survey: Consumer Confidence Up Significantly in September

Consumer optimism about the housing market and homeownership improved substantially in September, Fannie Mae reported. According to the GSE's September 2012 National Housing Survey, upward trends in home prices and downward trends in mortgage rates throughout the summer reinforced positive attitudes about where the market is headed. Confidence about the economy also grew in September, marking a turnaround from a year of pessimism. Regarding the overall economy, 41 percent of consumers believe the country is on the right track.

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Equifax: Market ‘Set for Growth’ as Home Equity Credit Balances Rise

Home equity installment balances rose 0.3 percent in August--the first monthly increase since November 2007, according to Equifax. After plummeting 49 percent over the past four years to just $143 billion, the company contends August's uptick could signal "a possible turning point in mortgage demand." Equifax says amid signs the contraction in mortgage debt is slowing and delinquencies are trending down, it looks like positive growth may finally be taking hold in the mortgage market.

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Ocwen Put on Negative Watch After Homeward Announcement

Ocwen made some waves when it announced an agreement to acquire Homeward Residential Holdings in a nearly $750 million deal, but Fitch Ratings is doubtful about the move. The ratings agency announced it has placed Ocwen's "B" long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) on Rating Watch Negative following the financial corporation's announcement.

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