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Former Fannie Mae CEO Resigns From Fortress Group

Former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd resigned from his role as CEO of Fortress Investment Group Wednesday amid ongoing controversy related to a Securities and Exchange Commission suit. The company announced his resignation in a statement, not long after Mudd had decided to take a leave of absence from his role.

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FOMC to Maintain Low Interest Rates Until 2014

Fed

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee decided Wednesday to keep interest rates between 0 percent and .25 percent until 2014, even while the economy steadily improves. All but one of the Fed├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós governors voted to extend the policy enacted last fall for another two years, where originally the central bank had determined to delay higher interest rates until 2013. The Fed said that it made the decision in lieu of evidence from December that showed unemployment remaining steady. Experts disagree over whether low interest rates will help the market.

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Obama Proposes New Lending Oversight, Refi Modifications

President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address Wednesday to tout his accomplishments and propose several new housing ventures, including possible expansions to refinance programs, consumer financial protection, and new federal initiatives to combat abusive lending practices. The speech weighed in on risky lending practices in particular and went after Republicans for their opposition to his policies, including consumer financial protection. Experts remain on the sidelines about an expanded refinance program.

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Mortgage Application Volume Declines 5%: MBA

application

Mortgage application volume ticked down by 5 percent from the week before, with the refinance share of activity deflating sharply. The Mortgage Bankers Association adjusted the latest numbers to account for the Martin Luther King holiday in a Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey it released Wednesday. The refinance share of mortgage activity contracted by a sizeable 81.3 percent of total application volume, corresponding with a dip by 5.2 percent for the Refinance Index. Interest rates for mortgage loans by and large went up.

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New Hire for Avison Young’s Los Angeles Division

Avison Young is bolstering the leadership for its West Coast brokerage operations with the announcement that Martin McDermott will join the company's West Los Angeles office. McDermott, a commercial real estate broker, will focus on office and retail property transactions in his new role for Avison Young.

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Mortgage Rates Rise Slightly This Week: Zillow

After falling to new lows last week, interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 3.82 percent, real estate Web site Zillow said Tuesday. The Web site polled anonymous quotes from online users to release the latest Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, which it offers weekly. While the 30-year loan averaged 3.8 percent, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered around 3.12 percent. Mortgage rates have remained near all-time lows as investors continue to flee from European markets, which remain afflicted by concerns over their debt crises.

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Cordray Defends CFPB at First Congressional Hearing

An awkward and slightly tense air greeted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray at his first congressional hearing Tuesday, where the new appointee cast his agency as one that would strive to reduce duplication and increase transparency. Although careful in their approach to the new director, Republican committee members frequently cited their concerns about federal overreach, the constitutionality of his recess appointment, and interests for transparency. The CFPB can now supervise nonbank financial entities.

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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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