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Greek Turmoil, G-20 Decisions Target U.S. Lenders

Political trouble in Greece sent stocks and shares for major mortgage lenders tumbling Friday, even as the world's 20 wealthiest nations placed eight U.S. banks on a list that may require systemically risky institutions to shore up their capital reserves. The decision revealed the degree to which events overseas continue to shake U.S. mortgage lenders in an increasingly interdependent global economy, where international players fear the potential for a double-dip recession and ripple effects from systemically risky institutions.

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New Rule Would Streamline GSE Fraud Reports

Fraudsters and money-launderers may find it more difficult to move forward with their illicit activities if a new draft rule receives approval. Publishing a draft rule in the Federal Register Thursday, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network proposed eliminating the Federal Housing Finance Agency as a middle-man in the reporting process for suspicious activity for GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The rule would require GSE officials to file suspicious activity reports with FinCEN itself.

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Credit Unions Vie with Banks for Consumers, Mortgages

Rising debit card fees drove some 650,000 consumers to credit unions over October, with social media movements responsible for galvanizing the exodus, according to a recent survey. The Credit Union National Association laid claim to the figures in a survey for which the trade group polled some 5,000 credit unions nationwide. The ruckus over debit card fees began in September when the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós largest lenders floated the idea of an increase in monthly payments for debit-card users. This only marks the latest in a string of public relations problems.

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October Payrolls Add 80K, Chipping at Unemployment

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Nonfarm payrolls counted more than 80,000 new jobs for the economy over October, slashing the unemployment rate by a few percentage points but at a clip that analysts say will marginally improve an otherwise uncertain economic outlook. The Labor Department reported Friday that the jump to more than 100,000 new jobs over September - a facelift driven largely by a return to work by striking Verizon employees - slid back to new figures with few surprising numbers for several industries.

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HUD Scorecard Delivers Mixed Results for Housing

An October scorecard released Thursday by the Obama administration portrayed the housing market as one beset by mixed circumstances over September and the months before. A still-heavy foreclosure glut matched with declining home values and prices left the market slightly worse for the wear in some areas. The report measured up home prices, home sales, and refinance originations, finding declines for some and stabilization for others. A positive portrayal of efforts by the Obama administration also met with less favorable consumer sentiment.

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Policymakers See GSE-Free Future as Freddie Asks for $6B

The head of the agency that regulates the GSEs addressed one lawmaker's recent proposal to eliminate the federal lifeline for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Thursday even as the latter filed staggering third-quarter losses and requested another $6 billion in taxpayer funds. Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco and several others testified before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, which heard the chief regulator describe why the federal government needs to slowly phase out taxpayer support for the GSEs.

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Good Neighbor Award Winners Announced

REALTOR Magazine has announced this year's winners of the publication's Good Neighbor Awards program, targeting realtors whose commitment to community development sets them apart. Annually, REALTOR honors five individuals for their volunteer work and achievements in community improvement, and the magazine's elite list focuses on those in the real estate industry who stand out as key leaders in all aspects of their lives, both personal and professional.

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Obama Officials Up the Ante to Get CFPB Director

Officials with the White House and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continue to press critics of the bureau to confirm Richard Cordray as director, notably fronting the wife of Central Intelligence Agency Director Ret. Gen. David Petraeus Thursday. Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, CFPB Assistant Director Holly Petraeus addressed concerns about the housing market and the effects on service members and their families, ascribing increased hardship to declining home values and difficulties in home sales.

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New CEO, Chairman of the Board for SISCO

Stewart Information Services Corp. (SISCO) is shaking up its corporate leadership, with the recent announcement that Matthew W. Morris will take over as the company's CEO. Replacing his father, Malcolm S. Morris, and his cousin, Stewart Morris, Jr., as co-CEOs for the entity, Matt is being promoted from an executive role within SISCO.

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Mortgage Rates Plunge Amid Euro Zone Trouble

After inching forward in the last few weeks, mortgage rates again plummeted on fresh concerns about the euro zone crisis, with rates dropping to 4.00 percent, the second-lowest reading for Freddie Mac. The GSE released a weekly survey alongside finance Web site Bankrate. Freddie reported the 30-year loan falling from 4.24 percent recorded last week, not a far cry from the 10-percentage point plunge to 4.23 percent from 4.33 percent that Bankrate.com recorded. Investor confidence shot up after Europe agreed to bail out Greece.

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