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Mortgage Rates Inch Up Amid Debt-Default Fears

As House Republicans shifted their focus to a balanced budget amendment Friday in order to push through a debt-ceiling raise bill, two analytics companies posted upticks in mortgage rates - a sign that some say the markets feel increasingly unsure about whether the nation will be able to pay its debts come August 2. A Bankrate, Inc. survey reflected a 6-basis point surge to 4.74 percent, with mortgages totaling 0.35 discount and origination points, with Freddie Mac reporting a similar jump.

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NAR: Pending Home Sales Climb Upward

After taking a nosedive in April and recovering in May, pending home sales climbed upward at a steady pace over June, according to a sales index released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. As regions showed signs of recovery, market watchers faulted leery lenders and bad appraisals for a less-than-timely rebound. Releasing the Pending Home Sales Index, NAR revealed encouraging gains in unclosed contracts, as signings went up by 2.4 percent to settle at 90.9 in June.

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FHA: Total Loan Origination Volume Falls

Plummeting refinance applications crimped Federal Housing Administration mortgage loan applications over June, according to a report issued by the federal agency, with total volume falling 22 percent less than volume at the same time last year. The FHA attributed the plunge to a 50 percent decline in year-over-year numbers for refinance applications. Data from June last year suggests a sharp decline in refinance loan applications, which dropped from 69,876 to 35,367 last month.

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OTS Goes Dark as Authority Moves to OCC

On Thursday the Office of Thrift Supervision went dark in offices and locations around the country, with the bulk of its supervisory responsibilities and employees relocating to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and several other federal agencies. Come October, the agency ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô responsible for supervising savings banks and associations since 1989 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô will officially cease to exist. The OCC received transfers of authority that includes regulating institutions with less than $10 billion in assets.

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FHFA Sues UBS Americas Over MBS Losses

On Wednesday the Federal Housing Finance Agency slapped UBS Americas Inc. and several other defendants with a suit in the U.S. district court for the Southern District of New York, claiming the company violated federal law by selling bad residential private-label mortgage-backed securities to GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Aiming to recover losses stemming from a $4.5 billion investment by the GSEs in 16 pools of mortgage-backed securities, the federal agency alleges in the suit that UBS misstated and omitted important details.

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Mortgage Applications Post Declines Across the Board

As reflected by a weekly survey released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the number of mortgage applications filed by homebuyers declined 5.0 percent from the previous week. The survey showed a dip by 5.0 percent in mortgage loan application volume, as measured by the Market Composite Index, with a corresponding 4.9 percent decline on an unadjusted basis from the week ending July 22. The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey reviews half of all residential mortgage applications.

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Survey: Lenders Hopeful for Credit Expansion

Lending availability may be in the swings of an expansion, as loan structures and demand loosen, leading to more financing opportunities in the broader economy, according to a second-quarter survey released Wednesday by research firm Phoenix Management Services. The survey posted hopeful signs for an erstwhile tight credit supply, even as it anticipates continued volatility in home construction, real estate, and other markets. The survey used anecdotal and quantitative research.

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Wells Promoting While Preparing for Executive Retirements

Wells Fargo has a new leader for its consumer-lending business in Avid Modjtabai, and additionally, Wells confirmed that Mike Heid will take over as president of its mortgage unit. Modjtabai was formerly the head of Wells├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó technology and operations, and his new role will encompass mortgages, home-equity, and student loans under the Wells Fargo Consumer Lending division.

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Big Second Quarter for BOK

Better credit and revenue health seem to be the influencing factors behind strong quarterly earnings reports from BOK Financial Corporation. The company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós net interest revenue rose by nearly $4 million between the first and second quarters of this year, while revenue from fees and commissions also increased by over $4 million.

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