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After Irene, Housing Starts Fall 5% from July

Fewer-than-expected housing starts fell in line Tuesday with dismal forecasts threatening a global economic slowdown, with the Commerce Department and HUD jointly revealing a 5-percent slide back for single-family home construction over August. Market watchers slapped severe weather with the blame for a slump in new home starts across New England, while a nudge up in building starts framed the dark recession cloud with a silver lining. Housing starts plunged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 over August.

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SSFCU Invests in Automated Technology

Mortgage Cadence, LLC, has a new client in the Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU). Taking advantage of Mortgage Cadence's enterprise lending solutions, the SSFCU is seeking to enhance its loan originations solutions. The company will utilize Mortgage Cadence's Orchestrator and Finale Document services to gain added compliance measures and document management.

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Cornerstone Names New President

Mark S. Higgins received a major promotion from Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, with his recent appointment as company president. Additionally, Higgins will chair Cornerstone├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Direct Real Estate Investment Committee and continue his work with client investment strategy. Higgins ascension to president is part of Cornerstone's growth and expansion plan, and in his new role, he will oversee real estate investments, commercial property portfolios, acquisitions, asset management, and debt vehicles.

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Pacific Union Gets Preferred Investor Status

Pacific Union Financial LLC is the latest preferred investor with Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative. Through the partnership, Lenders One members will be able to expand their products lines in order to take on competitive aggregators. Lenders One, a national alliance of community mortgage bankers, product suppliers, and correspondent lenders, will gain support from Pacific Union for both its retail and wholesale platforms.

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Date: Expect Ability-to-Repay Rule in 2012

Fraud

Treasury special adviser Raj Date made headlines again after announcing Tuesday that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to finalize the ability-to-repay rule early next year. His remarks follow a series of other barnstorming speeches in the ramp-up for several rules. Once approved, the new rule, formerly proposed by the Federal Reserve, will broaden the scope of Regulation Z under Truth-in-Lending and prevent lenders from making loans to consumers without qualifying assets and income.

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Fannie: U.S. Economic Recovery ‘Flirting’ with New Downturn

Fannie Mae cast the U.S. economic recovery as on the rocks Monday with a report suggesting that events at home and abroad primed the country for a return to recession. The GSE cited restlessness in European financial markets, sluggish growth in emerging economies, and upheaval in the Middle East as reasons why America may be bordering on a double-dip. According to the GSE, third-quarter data suggests that U.S. GDP will chug below 2 percent over the remainder of 2011 and 2012.

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Turmoil Continues in the CMBS Market

Commercial real estate loans are making Wall Street headlines again. Joint financing options are becoming increasingly abundant for financial firms struggling to handle the fall out from recent volatility in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market. During the summer, yields rose steadily, increasing the need for investor protection measures. As part of events underway, Barclays CApital announced a partnership with FundCore Finance Group to conduct CMBS loans jointly.

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Feds Seen as Able to Weather Crisis if Greece Defaults

With fears on the rise about a Greek default, stocks for U.S. companies and lenders fell around midday Monday. Speaking with MReport, federal regulatory agencies downplayed the fears despite quarterly numbers that found an expansion in lending volume between wobbly euro zone and U.S. financial institutions over the first quarter. New worries about a spreading debt contagion arose over the weekend when European Union officials reached an impasse in bailout talks.

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New Tech Targets GFE Data Compliance

Enhanced technology initiatives for wholesale and correspondent lenders is now available thanks to ClosingCorp's new platform. The company recently announced that it would release the SmartGFE Service, targeting streamlined processing for entities in both markets. ClosingCorp's SmartGFE product will provide instant access to RESPA-based Good Faith Estimate (GFE) data to those in the wholesale and correspondent segments.

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Banks Lose Big Over Bad MBS, Numerous Suits

Even as the good news emerged that fewer banks are failing countrywide, Bloomberg News found that the nation's biggest lenders have lost some $65.7 billion in bad mortgage-backed securities, with billions in the red. A number of suits by mortgage lenders, one against the other, plus a barrage of action to recover losses for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suggest more losses may be in store for U.S. financial institutions. Market watchers disagree over whether culpability is needed in lieu of the bad economy.

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