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Families, Foreign Nationals Take Millions in Mortgage Fraud

The phrase family business found a new meaning this week as arrests and jail sentences followed for two men and their children that authorities corralled for bilking lenders and homeowners. Also making the mortgage fraud blotter Friday: five businessmen from Iowa and over a dozen defendants from Miami. The victims included a widow, homeowners in distress, and lenders. MReport pooled the latest in mortgage fraud news from cases nestled in the pages of newspapers from around the country.

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FDIC Closes Midwest Office Over Fewer Bank Failures

Chatter about a sudden sweep of bank failures may be all the rage in Europe, but fewer closures for financial institutions stateside led the FDIC to shutter a temporary office in the Midwest on Friday. The glacial crawl for U.S. bank failures makes good on FDIC predictions that fewer institutions would fail over 2011 as more ledgers stay in the black - a change of pace for an era in which the federal agency closed a record number of banks. The FDIC said Friday that it would close the Midwest Temporary Satellite Office in Illinois.

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Latest Suit Adds to MBS Woes for JPMorgan Chase

In another twist for the nation's largest mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo upped the ante against JPMorgan Chase & Co. by filing a suit in a Delaware court to order the latter to buy back over $558 million in bad mortgage-backed securities. Multiple news outlets offered up the latest tizzy Thursday, with Wells escalating the case after JPMorgan refused to budge on the repurchases. The loans stem from the Bear Stearns Mortgage Funding Trust 2007-AR2, otherwise known as the EMC unit, which JPMorgan acquired in 2008.

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CFPB Architect Officially Launches Bid for Senate

It's official: Elizabeth Warren will mount a bid for the Senate as a Democratic candidate. If she makes it through a crowded primary, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau architect, onetime presidential advisor, and political lightning rod for the right will face off against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) over the 2012 election year. News that Warren will officially run for the Senate follows months of speculation and her ejection from a high-profile nomination process.

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Clopton Capital Expands Commercial Offerings

Changes are on the way for Clopton Capital, with the company's recent announcement that it would launch a small-balance mortgage plan for minimally-sized loans. Primarily focused on commercial mortgages, SBA loans, commercial real estate loans, and niche financing, Clopton's new program is a rarity among similar lenders Clopton's offering will target single applicant loans between $25,000 and $400,000.

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International Partnership to Enhance Reconciliations

An international partnership between the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation and Clearstream is set to enhance operations for bilateral loans. The companies plan to combine DTCC's Loan/SERV and Clearstream's collateral management platform to streamline the registration and reconciliation of loans, as well as facilitate the use of loans as collateral. DTCC and Clearstream will the collaboration to support credit claims and syndicated loan markets, with Clearstream initiating the leveraging of DTCC's Loan/SERV reconciliation service during the first half of 2012.

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Dodd-Frank Chugs Forward for Feds Despite Political Hay

As Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) made waves this week with legislation to curb voting rights for Fed governors, key provisions under his namesake law, the Dodd-Frank Act, manifested themselves in decisions by major federal regulators. The FDIC and Federal Reserve rubber-stamped a rule that require the nation's largest banks to send up blueprints for bankruptcy, while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau steadily moved forward with the uniform mortgage disclosure form.

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Mortgage Rates Smash New Records on Europe Debt Fears

A rush by overseas investors to the safe haven of U.S. Treasury debt helped whittle away at yields and force mortgage rates to all-time lows, a short-term boon to creditworthy homebuyers. With the 30-year benchmark loan smashing new records, analysts for mortgage giant Freddie Mac and finance Web site Bankrate.com chalked up the favorable rates to a wobbly Greece and unsettled concerns over euro zone markets. Bankrate.com and Freddie Mac report the latest mortgage rates each week.

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Mortgage Applications Jump to Seasonal 6.3%

Mortgage application volume jumped from the previous week by 6.3 percent, reflecting the highly attractive plunge by interest rates to record lows, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Even so, the good news comes amid a fall in home valuations and cash buyer interest, which Capital Economics says will likely depress sales activity across the housing market. Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, spoke to MReport about the forces behind anemic demand for home purchases at the Five Star Conference and Expo in Dallas.

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Mega Banks Team Up to Give Homes to Vets

Three of the largest U.S. financial institutions are teaming up to fund a major home giveaway for injured veterans, in collaboration with the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are making donations to provide seven mortgage-free homes to American soldiers hurt in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The banks are partnering with other industry entities to create the housing gift, which part of MWSF's Homes4WoundedHeroes program.

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