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FICO and PRMIA Report Quarterly Findings

A new study from FICO revealed that banking professionals are raising their expectations for loan repayments and credit availability. The survey, which was conducted by the Professional Risk Managers' International Association (PRMIA) on behalf of FICO, showed a reversal in sentiments among U.

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Refi Share of Q4 Originations Reaches 57%: MBA

The refinance share of originations ran up to 57 percent for independent mortgage banks during the fourth quarter last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The trade group said in a fourth-quarter performance report Thursday that new numbers for refinance share reflected a jump from 45 percent seen in the third quarter. Chartered financial institutions and independent bankers profited by $1,093 from each loan made in the fourth quarter, a decline from $1,263 per loan in the third quarter last year. Average production income hovered around 58 basis points in the fourth quarter.

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Still-Flat Mortgage Rates Hover Near Record Lows

Mortgage rates changed little from last week, continuing consecutive record lows from previous weeks. Freddie Mac found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.98 percent, down a notch from 3.99 percent, while the 15-year loan hovered near 3.21 percent, down from 3.23 percent last week. The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell from 2.90 percent to 2.86 percent, with the 1-year mortgage unchanged at 2.78 percent. Finance Web site Bankrate.com fielded few changes. The 30-year loan inched forward to 4.25 percent from 4.23 percent.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Again Hit Four Year Low

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell 6,000 to 357,000 by the end of March, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The previous week's report were revised upward to show a jump by the end of March to 363,000 instead of the originally reported 357,000. Nonetheless ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô subject to revisions ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the new current week's total represented a four year low. Continuing claims, reported on a one-week lag, also fell, dropping 16,000 to 3,338,000 for the week ended March 24, the third straight week-week decline.

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Home Prices Climbed 0.7% in February: CoreLogic

Home prices for non-distressed property sales ticked up 0.7 percent in February from January, even while figures for the same fell by 2 percent year-over-year, according to CoreLogic. The analytics firm said that home prices also marked a seventh straight monthly decline by falling 0.8 percent from January this year. Inclusive of distressed sales, the five states that encountered appreciation in their home prices at the fastest clip included Arizona (4.5 percent), Florida (4.7 percent), Michigan (5.8 percent), South Dakota (4.1 percent), and West Virginia (8.6 percent).

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Mortgage Interest Rates Remain Flat: Zillow

Weak economic news out of Europe and comments from the Federal Reserve chairman last week conspired to keep interest rates for mortgage loans near all-time lows ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and flat ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô for another week. Real estate Web site Zillow found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovering at 3.81 percent, down from 3.88 percent last week. The 15-year loan averaged 3.04 percent, even while the 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages hit 2.57 percent. The Web site found mortgage rates zigzagging in states across with the union, with those in California and New York each falling furthest at a clip of 11 basis points.

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Mortgage Applications Tick Up 4.8% Last Week: MBA


Scheduled increases for government premiums and springtime for a still-steady recovery helped drive up mortgage application volume by 4.8 percent last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. The trade group also found mortgage applications headed up by 5 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The Refinance Index ticked up 4 percent from last week, with the refinance share of mortgage activity on a decline to 71.2 percent of total application volume, down from 71.9 percent from the week before.

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Saxon Mortgage Slashes 680 Jobs in Irving, Fort Worth

The same week that 12 twisters reportedly touched down in Dallas/Fort Worth, residents got wind of that Saxon Mortgage Services will close shop at two addresses and terminate nearly 700 employees. The firm ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô under new ownership at Ocwen Financial Corp. ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô notified the Texas Workforce Commission and mayors of the cities of Fort Worth and Irving that it plans to move forward with 680 layoffs. Saxon Mortgage said that it had also informed employees of their eligibility for job retraining, reemployment services, and other state services for displaced workers.

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Construction Spending Rose 5.8% in February

Construction spending rose 5.8 percent in February from estimates last year to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $808.9 billion. The Commerce Department found Tuesday that figures in February went above estimates from the same month last year but fell 1.1 percent below revised numbers from January. Private construction expenditures grew to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $527.3 billion, roughly 0.8 percent below revised estimates of $531.7 billion from January.

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