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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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RE/MAX Sees Home Price Drop Over July

Over July, home prices fell 0.18 percent lower than over the month before, following a four-month upshot, according to a RE/MAX national housing report released Friday. RE/MAX said that 11 metropolitan areas around the country also registered higher prices in July than over the same period last year. RE/MAX said that homes lasted on the market for a total of some 88 days, starting with the initial listing to the receipt for a sale. The company chalked up the number of months' inventory supply to 7.2.

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CFPB Architect Formally Explores Senate Bid

Elizabeth Warren is moving closer to confirming her 2012 Senate bid. The controversial professor-turned-politico took formal, exploratory actions in Massachusetts recently, indicating that Warren's rumored plans to run for office are more than speculation. Officially developing an exploratory campaign committee, Warren has also initiated a donation website, elizabethforma.com, and she seems to be the likely liberal candidate vying to unseat Republican Sen. Scott Brown next November.

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Prudential Enhances Hospitality Holdings

Outrigger Hotels and Resorts has new ownership, following the closing of Prudential Mortgage Capital Company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós $137.8 million acquisition of the hospitality entity. Prudential Mortgage provided the major, seven-year fixed-rate mortgage loan on behalf of Prudential├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós general account.

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Dow Falls on Banks, Homebuilders. Again

Spurred by ongoing fears about a global economic slowdown and the spreading European debt contagion, the Dow Jones Industrial Average replayed the daytime drama previously seen last week by plunging by over 400 points. As before, the nosedive crashed a party exclusive to mortgage banks and homebuilding companies, gutting their stocks and closing shares at new lows. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo saw their stocks drop, mirroring sharp losses for Beazer Homes, D.R. Horton, KBH Homes, and Lennar Corp.

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Existing-Home Sales Plunge by 3.5% in July

Dashing hopes for a more moderate fall, existing-home sales rolled downhill by 3.5 percent in July, with single-family sales hitting a seasonally adjusted 4.67-million annual rate. The National Association of Realtors ascribed the new numbers to tight underwriting practices, a crimped credit supply, and sluggish job creation. The NAR, which released an existing-home sales report Thursday, held that single-family townhomes, condominiums, and coops dropped from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.84 million units over June.

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Jittery Markets Send Mortgage Rates to 50-Year Lows

Mortgage rates slammed into a 50-plus-year low Thursday, reflecting continuing concerns over European sovereign debt crises, the potential for defaults overseas, and an overall economic slowdown. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted a 4.15-percent average for 30-year fixed-rate loans, racing past the record 4.17-percent drop it registered in 2010. Citing the same reasons for new lows, Bankrate followed suit by revealing declines in fixed-rate mortgages for a third straight week. The rates continue on fears of a recession.

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