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Mortgage Applications Rose 4.5% Last Week: MBA

Mortgage applications shot up 4.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, above averages seen year-over-year but far below gains in overall volume that occurred over the last several months. Releasing the figures in a weekly survey Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported mortgage application volume expanding 34.4 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The refinance share of mortgage activity contracted to 80.8 percent of application volume.

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Three in Four Voters Back Federal Housing Aid: NAHB

Americans from both political parties overwhelmingly value a role for the federal government in housing and oppose any efforts by lawmakers to eliminate traditional home buying incentives, according to a recent survey. The National Association of Home Builders polled more than 1,500 likely voters from swing states across the country in early January, with help from conservative-leaning Public Opinion Strategies and left-leaning Lake Research Partners. Three out of four voters agreed that it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to back homeownership.

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Democrats Urge Obama to Recess Appoint New FHFA Director

Twenty-eight California Democrats urged President Barack Obama Wednesday to sidestep Congress by recess-appointing another agency director ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô this time for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Democratic signers criticized the FHFA for failing to assist more homeowners and prevent foreclosures, beginning with an energy program described by the members of Congress as one that would lower energy payments and help Americans afford their mortgages. Last week Obama bypassed Republican opposition by recess-appointing Richard Cordray.

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MetLife Departs Forward Mortgage Origination Business

Life insurer MetLife announced Tuesday that it will cease originating forward residential loans and exit the business entirely. The company said in a statement that it would continue to service existing customers, even while it ceases accepting new loan applications for forward mortgages. MetLife also said that it would continue to originate reverse mortgages. MetLife said it expected to incur as much as $90 to $110 million in costs after tax next year for leaving the business.

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Home Prices Fell 0.8% in October: LPS

Home prices ticked down on average by 0.8 percent in October, reaching $200,000 and marking the fifth straight month for declines for industry figures, according to Lender Processing Services. In releasing the national home price index, the analytics provider also said that November may have fielded about 0.5 percent in home prices declines. The new numbers for home prices follow ongoing declines from 2006, at which time U.S. housing inventory amounted to $10.6 trillion ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and since fell to $7.5 trillion.

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AFR Appoints New National Sales Director

Mortgage lender American Financial Resources, Inc., has added a new national sales director. AFR recently announced the appointment of Paul Impagliazzo to the position, and he will now be responsible for the company's wholesale and correspondent lending divisions.

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New CIO for Mortgage Contracting Services

Mortgage Contracting Services has appointed a new chief information officer, with the announcement that Tod Phelps will join the firm. In his role for the company, Phelps will be responsible for developing new strategies for all information technology initiatives.

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Veros Approves SharperLending for UCDP Integration

Gaining industry approval, SharperLending LLC has announced that Veros Real Estate Solutions confirmed its appraisal firewall platform for integration with the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP). SharperLending released its appraisal firewall interface to the UCDP on December 10, and Veros has now declared the web-based program operationally ready for submissions.

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Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams Announces Resignation

Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams announced Tuesday that he will resign once the mortgage giant selects his successor. A 21-year veteran with Fannie Mae, he accepted an appointment to head up the mortgage company just as the FHFA placed it into conservatorship during the financial crisis. The announcement follows Ed Haldeman├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós decision last fall to step down as CEO of Freddie Mac, just after the two executives saw themselves and eight others in senior leadership positions embroiled in scandal over multimillion-dollar bonuses.

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Generation Mortgages Selects Tech Provider

Mortgage Cadence, LLC, has been selected by Generation Mortgage Company to replace the company's current lending system. Generation will begin using Mortgage Cadence's Orchestrator, Finale Document Services, and Opus systems to gain enhanced end-to-end support for its mortgage lending business.

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