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Economy Picks Up Steam With 200K Jobs in December

The U.S. economy soldiered ahead by adding 200,000 jobs over December, lowering the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent as more employers picked up seasonal staff members for the holidays. The Labor Department reported Friday that total private-sector employment reached 212,000 last month, alongside fewer jobs for local and state governments, marginal declines in real estate services, and a notable pickup in residential construction around the country. Real estate, rental and leasing services lost jobs by 1.3 percent on average in December.

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Only 5% of Americans Want to Refinance in 2012: Poll

More Americans still feel uneasy about their household finances, leaving only 5 percent interested in refinancing their mortgage, according to a recent Harris Poll. Polling 2,237 adults across the country in mid-December, the research firm found respondents overwhelmingly despondent about the fiscal state of the nation. When it came to housing issues, the poll found Americans about as interested in home improvements and equity lines of credit as they were in refinancing their mortgages.

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With Cordray Director, CFPB Steps Up Nonbank Supervision

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made clear Thursday that it will exercise its full authority to supervise a host of nonbank financial entities, with mortgage originators, brokers, servicers, and others in plain view. The bureau, newly empowered by Richard Cordray├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós recess appointment Wednesday, offered up a video in which the new director addressed a virtual audience Thursday. The bureau released an 800-plus-page manual for nonbank examiners detailing their examination procedures, which focus on an entity├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós volume of business, services, and products.

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Record-Low Mortgage Rates Ring In New Year

Uncertainty in the markets helped ring in the New Year with record lows for mortgage rates, as concerns over debt crises and job growth lingered for wary investors. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage company Freddie Mac released their findings for mortgage rates Thursday in two separate weekly surveys. Bankrate.com reported interest rates for the 30-year loan hitting a record 4.18 percent this week, down from 4.21 percent last week. Freddie likewise found rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sliding from 3.95 percent last week to 3.91 percent this week.

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New Division, New Name for NewDay Financial

Ushering in the new year with a name change, NewDay Financial has announced that it will now officially be known as NewDay USA LLC. The updated moniker was added in order to better identify with the company's client base, according to a statement from NewDay USA.

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New Year Begins With New Mortgage Fraud Cases

Juries around the country resolved to start the New Year with an effort to clean up allegations of mortgage fraud, with several business owners, Realtors, attorneys, and others accused of complicity and direct involvement in millions of dollars of fraud. A few news outlets delivered stories for the latest in MReport's mortgage fraud blotter, with 18 indictments against a business owner in Colorado and numerous other charges against a group of brokers, Realtors, and others in Florida.

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Mortgage Applications Fall 3.7%: MBA

Mortgage application volume fell 3.7 percent in mid-December, reflecting a rebound from sharper declines seen during the same time last year. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the findings in releasing its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, which it adjusted to account for the holidays. The MBA├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan applications, saw total volume tick up by 39 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a higher number for the last few weeks of December 2011 on a year-over-year basis. Mortgage applications fell modestly in comparison last year.

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President, CEO Swap at PHH Corp.

An executive shake-up is underway at PHH Corp. The company's president and CEO, Jerome Selitto, recently announced his resignation, and simultaneously, PHH moved to appoint Glen Messina to the position. Messina, who has acted as PHH├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós chief operating officer since July 20ll, has previously been the chief financial officer and CEO for the mortgage division of General Electric Co. The personnel swap follows negative ratings and estimates for PHH; the company's stock has dropped by 25 percent during the past month and is down 45 percent from numbers seen six months ago.

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Army Veteran Gets New Home Courtesy of GMAC

One Army veteran is enjoying a happy start to 2012, thanks to an important gift bestowed by GMAC Mortgage, LLC.The company recently donated a newly renovated home to a First Sergeant who was wounded overseas while serving the country in 2005. GMAC confirmed that the recipient of the property is 1st Sgt.

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