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BB&T Acquires Leading Insurance Company

Through its recent acquisition of property insurance company Crump Group Inc., BB&T Corporation has doubled its wholesale insurance business. Based in New Jersey, Crump is among the nation's leading providers of wholesale commercial insurance, as well as the largest independent wholesale distributor of life insurance in the U.S.

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Family, Hit Man Receive Hefty Sentences for Fraud

Fraud

A federal court sentenced three family members to prison Monday for their role in $11 million in mortgage fraud, just as another court upped the sentence for a onetime company executive-turned-hit man currently serving time. These stories made our mortgage fraud blotter Monday. MReport sourced the stories from several news outlets, finding in their pages a number of illicit activities by the likes of appraisers, Realtors, mortgage brokers, investors, and company executives. First up: One couple and their son help bring in $11 million with co-conspirators.

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Arbor Commercial Mortgage Promotes New COO

New York-based direct commercial real estate lender, Arbor Commercial Mortgage, LLC, has promoted John Caulfield to COO. Caulfield, previously EVP and director of operations, will now supervise Arbor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós $5.8 billion multifamily loan servicing portfolio.

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Nearly Half of Refinancing Q4 Borrowers Reduced Payments

Nearly 85 percent of refinancing homeowners with first-lien loans maintained or reduced their current payments by paying in additional cash in the fourth quarter last year. Of these, according to recent analysis by mortgage giant Freddie Mac, 49 percent of borrowers slashed their principal payments by refinancing at current rates, compared with 37 percent who preserved their payments. So-called cash-out borrowers accounted for 15 percent of all refinance loans, the lowest percentage in the 26-year history of the GSE's analysis.

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Nearly 40 Republican Senators Vow to Derail Cordray Appointment

Thirty-nine Senate Republicans vowed Friday to challenge several recent recess appointments, including one that installed Richard Cordray as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director, by turning to the courts. An open letter signaled that the lawmakers will also contest appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Many of the signers released another open letter Thursday with questions for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over his past role as a supporter of pro-forma sessions as a tactic to block recess appointments.

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Housing Plays Small Part as Economy Adds 243K Jobs

New

A still-brittle economic recovery picked up steam in January as the private sector added 243,000 jobs, driving unemployment figures to lows not seen in three years. The Labor Department said that the national unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, also signaling a fifth straight month for declines in the number of jobless Americans. Construction added 21,000 jobs from December, with gains for nonresidential construction and specialty trade contractors. Financial services lost some 5,000 jobs from last month by comparison.

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BB&T Honored with 17 Greenwich Excellence Awards

Regional bank BB&T is starting of the year with a slew of awards for its Small Business and Middle Market banking groups. Between the two company divisions, BB&T earned 17 Greenwich Excellence Awards from Greenwich Associates.

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Fairway Releases Strong Year End Statistics

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation has released its 2011 internal findings, and the company was pleased to announce that last year marked its second highest annual total for mortgage loan volume in Fairway's history.

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Senators Introduce Bill to Pay GSE Execs Federal Salaries

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle introduced legislation Thursday to curb multibillion-dollar bonuses for senior-level executives with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sens. Mark Begich and John Thune sponsored the bill, colorfully titled the Stop the Outrageous Pay at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Act. The bill would assign federal pay scale to employees with either of the GSEs, capping the highest salaries at $275,000. It would also repurpose any such funds so designated this year to pay down the politically important national debt.

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Mortgage Rates Plummet On Fed Action, Economy

Mortgage rates yet again slammed into all-time lows, with signs emerging that the economy may still need to improve and action from the Federal Reserve to keep a heel on interest rates until 2014. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage giant Freddie Mac offered up reports on interest rates for mortgage loans in two separate weekly surveys. The former found rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage falling to 4.12 percent, down from 4.25 percent last week, while the GSE said that it declined from 3.98 percent to 3.88 percent over the same time frame.

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