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Feds Settle With MGIC Over Alleged Discrimination

The Justice Department announced Monday that it had settled discrimination claims with the nation's largest mortgage insurance provider. The settlement requires that Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. set up a $511,250 fund to pay 70 individuals identified by federal officials as victims of the alleged discrimination and $38,750 in civil penalties to the United States. The Justice Department said in a statement that MGIC had fully cooperated with federal officials by turning over documents and records during the course of an investigation.

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NAREB Hosts Forum to Address State of Housing in Black America

In Washington, D.C., the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) is preparing to host its State of Housing in Black America Issues Forum. The group, which is the oldest African American trade association of real estate business owners and professionals in the U.S., will present commentary from members of Congress, minority businesses, and granting agencies during the event on May 2.

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Banks Resume Tight Mortgage Lending Standards

With an upsurge in demand, banks resumed tightening standards for residential mortgage loans, the Federal Reserve said Monday in a quarterly survey for bank lending standards. According to the survey, a net 30.2 percent of bank surveyed in the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey saw increased demand in the first quarter for traditional mortgage loans compared with a net 3.8 percent reporting stronger demand in the fourth quarter. The survey found that a net 1.9 percent of survey respondents also reported tightening loan standards.

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Homeownership Rate Plummets to 15-Year Low

Homeownership rates dropped to 65.4 percent in the first quarter, reaching lows not seen in fifteen years, the Census Bureau said Monday. According to government data, the homeowner vacancy rate also fell to 2.2 percent nationwide, down from 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and the rental vacancy rate dropped to 8.8 percent from 9.7 percent one year earlier. The median asking sale price for a vacant home fell to $133,700 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the lowest level since second quarter 2005 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô from $133,800 in the fourth quarter and $143,700 one year earlier.

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Consumer Spending Enters Sharp Slowdown in March

Consumer spending grew just 0.3 percent in March, down from the 0.9 percent growth in February, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Monday. Economists had expected spending to be up 0.4 percent. At the same time, personal income grew 0.4 percent in March, BEA said, slightly faster than February├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 0.

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Twenty-Four Groups Call on CFPB to Make QM Rule Safer

Twenty-four trade groups and associations signed off on a comment letter Friday that calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to give creditors more legal leeway when it comes to Qualified Mortgages. The two-page letter ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô headed up by the American Bankers Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, and National Association of Realtors, among others ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô framed forthcoming rules around credit availability and sound home loans. Influential trade groups continue to criticize the rule.

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Appraisal Institute Responds to FinCEN Report

The Appraisal Institute has submitted its response to a recent report released by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The group's March 2012 Mortgage Loan Fraud Update showed that incidences of mortgage fraud rose by 20 percent year-over-year between the third-quarter of 2011 and the third-quarter of 2010. The group's March 2012 Mortgage Loan Fraud Update showed that incidences of mortgage fraud rose by 20 percent year-over-year between the third-quarter of 2011 and the third-quarter of 2010.

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Transwestern Hiring, Promoting in Midwest

Transwestern has announced the appointment of a new president for its Midwest region. The company recently named Mike Watts to the leadership role, and Watts will take over responsibilities for overall strategy, business development, recruitment, and financial performance for the region.

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MetLife Exits Reverse Originations, Selling Portfolio to Nationstar

Life insurer MetLife announced Thursday that it will exit the reverse mortgage origination business, with plans to sell the division responsible for these loans to Nationstar Mortgage LLC. It was not immediately clear how much Nationstar paid to buy the reverse mortgage portfolio from MetLife. The life insurer also said that it would cease receiving any new reverse mortgage loan applications and registrations. MetLife said that retail banking, including reverse mortgages, accounted for less than 2 percent of operating earnings for the company last year.

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