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Super Committee May Axe Home Benefits, Agency Debt

On the heels of Standard & Poor's controversial downgrades for U.S. debt ratings, Congress passed the deficit reduction axe to a bipartisan, six-member "super-committee" for each chamber, with both parties finally naming lawmakers to the commission Thursday. Capitol watchers say important housing laws and provisions may await the congressional guillotine, with the mortgage tax rate deduction, mortgage debt, and other housing-related giveaways in line. The appointments follow a recent deduction-slashing proposal.

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AG Activiates IPO Capital

Putting capital earned from its recent initial public offering to good use, AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., announced that it has achieved significant deployment of its new liquidity. The company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós IPO and simultaneous private placement were concurrently completed on July 6, and by utilizing the capital gained in that transaction as well as the underwriters├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó overallotment option, established and closed on July 20, AG has also been able to debut its initial portfolio.

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Markets Squeeze Banks, Homebuilding Companies

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swept clean Tuesday's historic gains with a 519.83-point nosedive Wednesday, reflecting widespread fears about contagious European debt, the impact of Standard & Poor's downgrades, and an economic slowdown worldwide. Signaling further distress for housing markets, banks with thick mortgage portfolios and homebuilding companies saw their stocks tumble in an investor stampede for the exits. Following the Dow closely, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 plunged 101.47 points and 51.77 points, respectively.

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Fidelity and PSMI Make Merger Official

Fidelity Mortgage, Inc. has new ownership. PSM Holdings, Inc., recently announced the completion of its acquisition, which fuses Fidelity with United Community Mortgage Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Source Mortgage, Inc., via its parent company, PSMH.

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Fourteen Indicted Over $58M Mortgage Fraud Payout

Nine brokers and five lawyers will face prosecution over their alleged role in a $58 million mortgage fraud scheme that banked on 100 loans across New York City and three state counties. According to a Thursday statement, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and Federal Bureau of Investigation stepped up with a five-count indictment against the defendants. Starting in 2004, Gerard Canino and co-conspirators allegedly closed deals for distressed properties by going through sham buyers and attorneys.

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Refinancing Activity Ups Mortgage Applications 21.7%

application

Coupled with an interest in conforming jumbo loans, a wave of uncertainty over economic news helped throw homeowners into a refinancing frenzy last week, feeding a surge in mortgage applications across the board. Despite upticks, purchase applications continued to flat-line in a market overshadowed by weak consumer confidence, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Speaking to MReport, MBA VP Mike Fratatoni added his two cents about S&P's downgrades and the nation's long-term debt crisis.

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Stocks Surge After Fed Decides to Keep Interest Rates Low

Fed

Citing recent trouble on Wall Street, anemic job growth, and lags in the housing economy, the Federal Reserve made public that it will keep interest rates at historically low levels until 2013. The new language marks a market-rallying policy shift for the central bank, which previously kept mum about when it would hike up interest rates. A 429-point jump by the Dow followed a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in which the Fed's decision-makers reportedly failed to reach a consensus on interest rates.

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CMBS Spreads Widen, Signaling Bearishness

Following on the heels of debt downgrades and a bipolar Dow Jones Industrial Average, the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities sauntered back a few steps, showing declines in special servicing loans to 12.3 percent over the second quarter this year. Successive reports from analytics company Trepp and the Wall Street Journal spotted troubling trends for CMBS markets, with credit looking to further tighten and borrowers poised to shoulder the consequences. Performing loans also fell to 29.5 percent over June, down from March.

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