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November 2011 Housing Scorecard Revealed

The results are in from the November 2011 Housing Scorecard. In addition to the report's traditional look at the country├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós real estate and mortgage markets, the most recent survey also closely examined the nation's 10 largest mortgage servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable Program, to promote transparency related to the platform's performance.

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Senate Republicans Block CFPB Nominee Cordray

Senate Republicans stood by their 44-member pledge Thursday by blocking a vote scheduled for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director-nominee Richard Cordray. Fifty-three votes fell below the 60-vote threshold needed to move the full Senate toward a vote to either confirm or reject the former Ohio attorney general, without whom the CFPB is unable to exert the array of powers granted it to supervise nonbank financial institutions. Forty-four Republicans pledged earlier to deny a director.

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New EVP for Digital Risk

Digital Risk has added a new executive vice president for its sales and strategy sector, with the announcement that Randy Lightbody will take over the position. Through hiring Lightbody, Digital Risk hopes to continue its pattern of growth and boost its support for services and originators.

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November Survey Shows Consumer Sentiment Stabilizing

Results from Fannie Mae's November National Housing Survey revealed that consumer sentiment is not rising alongside recent positive economic news. Fannie's study showed that most borrowers are adopting a wait and see approach to 2012, despite accompanying findings that indicated consumers anticipate a future rise in home pricing for the first time in six months. Generally, Fannie's survey demonstrated that consumer sentiment is stabilizing.

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Mortgage Applications Jump 12.8% on Low Rates


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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