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FHA Multifamily Rental Loans Hit New Highs

Despite all-time highs for home affordability, homebuilders are seeing less demand for home construction and more for multifamily rentals, with the Federal Housing Administration recently releasing a report that signals new highs for rental properties across the country. The FHA said that it has endorsed some $10.5 billion in multifamily rental housing loans ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô seven times the number of loans made three years ago and the only second time that the FHA has lent so much.

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Adding to Worries, New Home Sales Drop in July

Marking a third consecutive month, new home sales fell over July, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The drop in new home sales reflects still-weakening consumer confidence as new fears about a global economic slowdown continued to rattle stocks and markets worldwide. New single-family house sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000 over July, reflecting a downward shift in estimates that fixed these numbers at a 0.7 percent decline from 300,000 homes sold over June.

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Services Provider First Valuation Officially Launches

A new mortgage lender debuts with the company announcement that First Valuation officially launches operations Tuesday. The launch signals a change from a previous name, BrokerPriceOpinion.com, under which the company ran operations for much of the last decade.

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State Regulators Suspend PMI Group Insurance Units

After threatening to shut down mortgage insurance operations at The PMI Group, Inc., the Arizona Department of Insurance made good by issuing an order that forced the company to cease writing new mortgage policies, effective Friday. PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., the division responsible for mortgage insurance, shut down two of its units in response. A June 30 financial statement signaling a $329-million net loss, coupled with $574 million in incurred losses, alerted the department to approximately $320 million in policy holder deficits.

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Bloomberg: Fed Doled Out $1.2T to Banks

To stave off the financial crisis, the Fed supplied the biggest Wall Street firms with $1.2 trillion in funds, an amount that overshadows the more public transfer of funds from TARP, Bloomberg News reported.

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Four More Banks Fail as Lawmakers Increase Scrutiny

Four banks walked the line to failure over the weekend, raising the bank collapse figure to 68 on the heels of increased public scrutiny by lawmakers over bank failures. Illinois-based First Choice Bank, Georgia-based First Southern National Bank, Florida-based Lydian Private Bank, and Pennsylvania-based Public Savings Bank all left the table, leaving the FDIC to foot the whopping $374.8-million bill. The FDIC found itself playing the familiar role of receiver in all four loss-share transactions by other banks.

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Accenture Acquiring Zenta

Accenture is planning to acquire Zenta as part of the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós ongoing efforts to bolster its mortgage lending and servicing operations. The terms of the transaction have not been released, but Accenture has confirmed its intention to debut a new division targeting consulting, technology, and BPO offerings.

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A Week in Mortgage Fraud, Scams, Schemes

A $50 million mortgage fraud scheme, bank fraud by a title agency, mortgage Ponzi scheme by a former Republican chairwoman, and trouble for an alleged ring of scamming lawyers helped round out a week in mortgage fraud and demonstrate that sham loans are alive and well across the nation. A flurry of lawsuits, indictments, guilty pleas, and sentences awaited alleged and convicted schemers alike. The trouble arrived on the heels of a fresh Federal Bureau of Investigation report that recorded a spike in mortgage fraud activity over 2010.

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Report: Low-End Markets See Mild Upswing

Despite the rash of research and news reports about consumers staying wary of new purchases, some markets are seeing first-time homebuyers run to take advantage of historically low prices and mortgage rates, particularly in government-backed mortgage programs, according to a research note from Credit Suisse. The research firm said that the scramble to scoop up new properties occurred particularly among state and federal programs. The research note questioned whether builders will continue with current valuations.

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