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Mortgage Applications Jump 12.8% on Low Rates

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Low interest rates for mortgage loans drove up mortgage application volume 12.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the latest figures in a weekly survey released Wednesday. Mortgage applications shot up 60.2 percent on an unadjusted basis in contrast with figures from the previous week. The Refinance Index climbed 15.3 percent from the week before, as the Purchase Index ticked up 8.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.

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Michigan to Capitalize on Low-Income Tax Credits

In Michigan, low-to-moderate income families will get better housing opportunities thanks to a new tax credit initiative. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently announced that the $9.6 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits will go toward renovating affordable rental housing for the state's lower income and at-risk residents. The tax credits are also giving Michigan's economy a boost by creating an estimated 1,600 new jobs in construction and similar trades.

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New Broker Advisory Board Member for Zillow

Zillow, Inc., is welcoming a new member to its broker advisory board, with the addition of Bev Thorne. Currently the chief marketing officer for Century 21 Real Estate LLC, Thorne will take on the leadership position to provide counsel on Zillow's industry services.

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Mortgage Investor Questions Settlement Estimates

Some professionals in the industry are forecasting a dollar amount nearly four times the government's estimates tallying the cost of penalties related to servicing operations at the country's big banks. Currently, the most popular figure in terms of a total settlement stands at $25 billion, but at least one portfolio manager feels that the actual number should be closer to $100 billion. Litigation among several state attorneys general and multiple U.S. financial institutions has turned the harsh spotlight on issues within the mortgage servicing divisions of the banks.

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Fannie Economist: Europe ‘Clearly’ in Recession

The chief economist with Fannie Mae said Tuesday that Europe is "clearly" in recession and forecasted that the United States will endure market corrections for the next five years as housing largely stays in the doldrums. Fannie Mae economist Doug Duncan spoke at the 2011 MPact Mortgage Banking Conference and Expo, which former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headlined Monday evening. Rice discussed problems with the euro zone during her keynote address. Duncan predicted that annual growth will hedge toward 1.5 percent over the next year.

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Federal Joint Task Force to Target Mortgage Fraud

The joint task force created by the Office of the Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury is receiving praise from industry groups. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation recently spoke out on the fraud prevention initiative, announcing that the new task force would utilize the organization's HOPE Hotline to facilitate communication with borrowers.

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Family, Ringleader Sentenced Over $16M in Fraud

A West Chester family, a purported conspiracy leader, and several others entered court dockets this week and the last for their alleged roles in reaping a combined $15.8 million in mortgage fraud across the country. MReport sourced several stories of mortgage fraud for Monday├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós mortgage fraud blotter from several news outlets around the country. Alleged and convicted fraudsters reportedly turned a profit off false information, sham home sales, and made-up identities.

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New SVP, National Manager for Supreme Lending

Supreme Lending has ushered in a new senior vice president with the appointment of James E. Iley, Jr. Iley will now serve as the SVP and national production manager for the Dallas-based company. Iley's hiring is part of Supreme's strategic plan for expanding the company's reach, and he will apply more than 22 years of experience in the mortgage industry to his new role with the entity.

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Obama Administration Continues Fight for Cordray

President Barack Obama is speaking out again against Republican senators who continue to oppose Richard Cordray as the administration's nominee for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray, a Democrat and former attorney general of Ohio, will be subject to a confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, and it seems likely that the move will be unsuccessful due to a filibuster-proof bloc by GOP lawmakers. The senators behind the refusal to confirm Cordray are targeting the restriction of the CFPB's reach.

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Bipartisan Bill Targets More Capital Access, Job Growth

Targeting job growth to boost the nation's economy and housing markets, a co-authored bill calls for the easing of mandates contained within the Dodd-Frank Act and the Sarbanes Oxley Act. U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), and CHarles Schumer (D-New York) recently announced the Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011; the senators hope to help small businesses seeking to go public by altering the pace required to meet expensive obligations in terms of investor protections.

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