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Global Shocks Unlikely to Directly Crimp Housing

Mortgage application volume suffered a drubbing Wednesday, even as the U.S. economy fell behind in important global rankings and the euro zone crisis continues to trouble investors. With numerous economists attributing lows for consumer confidence to a bevy of international concerns, MReport spoke with analysts to spot any troubling signs for housing as the global economy wobbles. The verdict: Market watchers should keep an eye on euro zone fallout for mortgage rates and credit supply.

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MMI Takes Manhattan

On of the country├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós largest independent mortgage companies, Mortgage Master, Inc., has opened its first office in Manhattan. MMI cites the city├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós relatively resilient housing market as the catalyst behind its recent expansion in New York. The Manhattan branch will serve the Tri-State area, which includes Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, and Massachusetts-based MMI holds licenses in all three states.

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SunTrust Promoting in Tennessee

Promoting from within, SunTrust Mortgage Inc. is set to strengthen its internal structure. Both Debi Minton and Jeff Calvert were recently named as assistant vice presidents with the Georgia-based financial institution. Minton, hired by SunTrust in April, boasts more than 23 years of finance-related experience, and additionally, she├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós spent over eight years within the mortgage lending space, prior to her promotion.

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Zillow: Mortgage Rates Fall to Historic Lows

Keeping trends on track for mortgage rates, real estate Web site Zillow revealed a 15 basis-point plunge for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The current rate beached on a record all-time low made possible last month. According to the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, which the Web site creates by tracking thousands of anonymous loan quotes reported daily, the 30-year loan fell from 4.07 percent last week to crest at 3.92 percent. Meanwhile, rates for the 15-year loan hovered at 3.17 percent.

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Political Tensions Alive at Cordray Hearing

A confirmation hearing for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director-nominee Richard Cordray largely went as expected for the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday, with Democratic members defending the federal agency and Republicans heaping criticism on it. Lingering tensions found their way into exchanges between lawmakers from both parties, in and outside the committee room. For his part, Cordray used his opportunity before the Senate Banking Committee to reassure lawmakers about his intentions.

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Prudential Hiring in Wake of Partnership

Prudential Mortgage Capital Company has added a loan officer to its mid-Atlantic, southeast, and southwest regions with the hiring of Scott Heath. Based in the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Atlanta office, Heath will serve as an originator of commercial, mortgage-backed loans for securitization by newly-formed Liberty Island Group.

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Markets, Analysts React to the FHFA Suits

Partly in response to suits brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Friday, stocks for a number of the 17 companies-turned-defendants sank Tuesday, with Deutsche Bank leading the way down midday. Market watchers across the country offered up their reactions, with some portending considerable fallout for the economy and others waving away notions that a settlement by the banks would weaken the housing recovery. Deutsche, Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and others all saw their shares decline Tuesday midday.

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New Bank Failures Raise 2011 Tally to 70

As Americans vacationed over Labor Day weekend, the FDIC and other regulators found themselves swamped with new bank failures Friday, with the federal agency serving as receiver for two in Georgia. State regulators stepped in to shutter Cumming-based Patriot Bank of Georgia and Woodstock-based CreekSide Bank, signing off on a loss-share transaction that left Atlanta-based Georgia Commerce Bank as the sole acquirer. The collapse of Patriot and Creekside raises the national tally for bank failures to 70 this year.

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Strong Servicing Sector for First United

First United Bank has reason to celebrate, with the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós recent announcement that its mortgage servicing division├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós portfolio has ballooned to more than $1 billion. The Oklahoma-based financial institution will now be able to serve even more customers in its home state and Texas thanks to its achievement.

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FHFA Sues 17 Companies Over MBS Losses

Acting on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed suits Friday against 17 of the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós largest banks and firms to recover losses stemming from mortgage-backed securities. At stake: tens of billions of dollars in assets, according to market watchers. Multiple news outlets fixed losses in mortgage-backed securities for the GSEs at $41 billion. The federal agency announced that it filed the suits on behalf of the GSEs in a New York federal court.

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