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  • Tue, Apr 7 2009
  • 11:29 AM » RBS to shed 9,000 jobs worldwide
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:29 AM by
    Royal Bank of Scotland, which is majority owned by the taxpayer, has announced the reduction of 9,000 jobs in its call centres, property division and technology group
  • 11:29 AM » IMF to warn on spiraling toxic debt: report
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:29 AM by Reuters
    TOKYO (Reuters) - Toxic debts racked up by banks and insurers could spiral to $4 trillion, new forecasts from the International Monetary Fund are set to suggest, British daily The Times reported on its website without citing sources.
  • 11:29 AM » Citigroup chairman: bankers being 'vilified'
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 11:29 AM by Washington Post
    HONOLULU -- Citigroup Inc.'s new board chairman, Richard Parsons, said financial institutions are being targeted for creating the nation's financial crisis, but they aren't the only ones responsible.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 10:11 AM » Fed Minutes Look Back, Not Ahead
    Published Tue, Apr 07 2009 10:11 AM by WSJ
    From today’s column: Signs of nascent optimism have scattered across the economy in recent weeks, from better-than-expected housing starts to retail sales that surprised prognosticators. But don’t expect to see much of that reflected in the latest Federal Open Market Committee minutes the Federal Reserve releases Wednesday. Instead, Fed watchers will parse the minutes for better understanding of the Fed’s decision to expand its balance sheet by buying a variety of securities, including long-term Treasurys, an unorthodox policy. “This will be the most comprehensive view of the decision,” says Lou Crandall , chief economist at Wrightson ICAP , a research firm analyzing Federal Reserve operations. “Some FOMC members in public have made the pitch for planned balance-sheet expansion, as opposed to having the size of the balance sheet be a byproduct of the various initiatives to support the markets.” For investors more concerned about today’s economy, these minutes mightn’t offer a contemporary view. The minutes chronicle the Fed’s March meeting, colored by lousy economic news during January and February. “We saw glimmers of hope in March,” says Larry Meyer , vice chairman at Macroeconomic Advisers . Speeches by Fed pooh-bahs might show more about current views. Friday, Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn warned of continued stress in financial markets.
  • Mon, Apr 6 2009
  • 1:50 PM » Warsh, The Panic of 2008
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 1:50 PM by Federal Reserve
    Speech at the Council of Institutional Investors 2009 Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 12:31 PM » A Hope Now employee says, “There is no hope for homeowners.”
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 12:31 PM by
    Hope Now Employee - I would have to agree not to call HOPE. I actually work there. From the day I started I felt so guilty because there is no help. I feel HOPE was set in place for people to leave the banks alone. We are like an escape goat for the banks. I [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:28 AM » Fannie Mae Refinance Volume Highest Since 2003
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 11:28 AM by
    It’s like the mortgage refinancing boom (that led to this mess) all over again. Mortgage financier Fannie Mae said refinance demand last month hit its highest point since 2003, with skyrocketing volume of $77 billion in March. That’s nearly twice the refinance volume experienced in February and more than five times the amount in January, thanks to [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:45 AM » Former California Homeowners Lash Out at Builder
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:45 AM by
    A major home builder that helped fuel the country’s building boom is now under attack for what some homeowners and builders say was its role in the bust that followed.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:42 AM » Treasury Department Provides Updated Guidance on Legacy Securities Public-Private Investment Program
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:42 AM by US Treasury
    As part of an ongoing effort to refine the guidelines and enhance the effectiveness of the Financial Stability Plan programs, the Treasury Department today released additional guidance for potential investors in the securities portion of the Public Private Investment Program (PPIP).
  • 10:41 AM » What to Watch: Fed’s Warsh to Address Financial Crisis
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:41 AM by WSJ
    Federal Reserve governor Kevin Warsh gives a speech at 1 p.m. today in Washington at the Council of Institutional Investors spring meetings, and fields questions afterwards. It’s his first speech since . At that time, he said, “I see more promise than peril over the horizon.” Warsh A lot has happened since — including Warsh not being picked to succeed Timothy Geithner as president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank . Warsh, whose speeches bear his distinctive style as opposed to the cautious writing of career Fed staffers, is likely to touch on recent developments in financial markets and the economy as well as the debate over maintaining the rule of law at a time of a crisis and public outrage. Warsh, 38 years old, worked in the Bush White House until 2006 when he was named to the Fed shortly after Ben Bernanke became chairman. A former Morgan Stanley investment bankers, he has been a player in the Fed’s rescues of various financial institutions. Warsh’s term extends to 2018, if he decides to stick around that long.
  • 10:41 AM » John Hancock Tower Foreclosure Sale, a 65% Haircut In 3 Years
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:41 AM by Google News
    Commercial property values are down a lot more than people realize, especially when considering the implied value of financing. Please consider . March 31, 2009 10:33 AM - The John Hancock Tower was sold today for $660.6 million at a foreclosure auction in New York City. The signature Back Bay building was acquired by a partnership between Normandy Real Estate Partners and Five Mile Capital Partners. The partnership was the only entity to bid for the Hancock during the auction, which lasted less than 10 minutes. The firms initiated foreclosure after the Hancock's previous owner, Broadway Partners of New York, defaulted on some of the loans it used to buy property for $1.3 billion in late 2006. This property sold for $1.3 billion in 2006 and $935 million in 2003. Today's price is $660 million, a 50% haircut. But that's only part of the story. A friend writes " Don't forget the value of the financing that Normandy now gets to assume: $640 million mortgage at a rate of 5.6%. " Assuming the building is worth $660, Normandy managed to get 97% financing on an enormous sum of money, at a rate impossible to get in this market, at least starting from scratch. Financing 97% now on that size a loan would entail combined rates at 11% or higher. The value of that cheap financing might be worth $190 million or more. Thus the real price the Hancock sold at foreclosure is more like $470 million not $660 million. That is a 65% haircut in three years. Mike "Mish" Shedlock Mike "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Visit to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
  • 10:41 AM » Bubbles and depressions
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:41 AM by
    In this in today's Wall Street Journal, economists Steven Gjerstad and Vernon Smith offer a theory about why we could again be going from a bubble into a depression. Over the years, there have been quite a few bubbles, but not all of them cause the sort of economy-wide damage that was seen in the 1930s or over the last year or so. Why? Why does one crash cause minimal damage to the financial system, so that the economy can pick itself up quickly, while another crash leaves a devastated financial sector in the wreckage? The hypothesis we propose is that a financial crisis that originates in consumer debt, especially consumer debt concentrated at the low end of the wealth and income distribution, can be transmitted quickly and forcefully into the financial system. It appears that we're witnessing the second great consumer debt crash, the end of a massive consumption binge. Most people forget that it wasn't just a stock market bubble in 1929 that led to America's last lost decade. There was an enormous housing and credit bubble in the mid-1920s during which Groucho Marx and others lost a good deal of money on Florida swampland. As has been the case thoughout history, you can't get a really good bubble going until you get broad participation from the public - preferably lots of people at the lower end of the socio-economic scale levered up courtesy of a banking system that is gushing with easy money. That pretty much described the situation in the 1920s and in the 2000s. The entire piece is worth a look as they go through the recent history of financial bubbles in the U.S., a sequence that really accelerated about 20 years ago when you-know-who started sitting in the big chair at the Federal Reserve boardroom. Interestingly, they touch on one of my all-time favorite subjects since this blog began a few years ago - how owners' equivalent rent duped the Fed. During the 1976-79 and 1986-89 housing price bubbles, the effective federal-funds interest rate...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:26 AM » Government debt prices rally
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:26 AM by CNN
    Government debt prices were mostly higher Monday as stocks opened lower and investors awaited the next round of purchasing from the Federal Reserve.
  • 10:26 AM » TARP Watchdog Calls for Bank Management Changes
    Published Mon, Apr 06 2009 10:26 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From The Obersver: (ht several!) Elizabeth Warren, chief watchdog of America's $700bn (£472bn) bank bailout plan, will this week call for the removal of top executives from Citigroup, AIG and other institutions ... "The very notion that anyone would infuse money into a financially troubled entity without demanding changes in management is preposterous." The report will also look at how earlier crises were overcome - the Swedish and Japanese problems of the 1990s, the US savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and the 30s Depression. "Three things had to happen," Warren said. "Firstly, the banks must have confidence that the valuation of the troubled assets in question is accurate; then the management of the institutions receiving subsidies from the government must be replaced; and thirdly, the equity investors are always wiped out."
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Sat, Apr 4 2009
  • 6:37 PM » Lawmaker sees Fannie, Freddie bonus "insult"
    Published Sat, Apr 04 2009 6:37 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Continuing bonuses paid to employees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offensive since taxpayers are helping keep the mortgage-finance companies afloat, a leading Senate Republican said on Friday.
  • Fri, Apr 3 2009
  • 4:35 PM » Texas Instruments sues banks over $524 million debt
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:35 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Texas Instruments Inc has sued Citigroup Inc , Morgan Stanley and Bank of New York Mellon Corp , accusing the banks of misleading the chipmaker into buying $524 million of auction-rate securities that have become illiquid.
  • 4:34 PM » Fannie, Freddie regulator stands behind bonuses
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:34 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Ongoing bonuses paid to employees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offensive since taxpayers are helping keep the mortgage-finance companies afloat, a leading Senate Republican said on Friday.
  • 4:34 PM » Bair pitches hedge funds on bank plan
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:34 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, is in New York on Friday to meet with hedge funds, private equity funds and pension groups to promote the government's plan to cleanse banks' balance sheets of toxic assets, a source familiar with the meeting said on Friday.
  • 4:34 PM » Fed 'extremely uncomfortable' about bailouts
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 4:34 PM by Washington Post
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- While acknowledging that the Federal Reserve was "extremely uncomfortable" about last year's bailouts of big financial companies, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday the central bank's strategy to ease the financial crisis is working.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 2:59 PM » Bernanke, The Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 2:59 PM by Federal Reserve
    Speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond 2009 Credit Markets Symposium, Charlotte, North Carolina
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 2:59 PM » New York Fed purchases $2.672 billion in agency coupons
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 2:59 PM by NY Fed
    New York Fed purchases $2.672 billion in agency coupons
  • 10:34 AM » U.S. Office Vacancies Hit 15.2% -- and Rising
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 10:34 AM by WSJ
    The office vacancy rate nationwide rose to 15.2% in the first quarter and likely will surpass 19.3% over the next year, a tracking firm said.
  • 10:34 AM » Property Bust Threatens Condo 'Death Spiral'
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 10:34 AM by CNBC
    Posted By: Reuters Florida's condominium and homeowners' associations are facing what experts call a trickle-down disaster from the property crisis. Dozens and perhaps hundreds of condo buildings have budget shortfalls as thousands of owners, under water on their mortgages or in foreclosure, stop paying monthly fees. Topics: | | | | MEDIA:
  • 9:54 AM » The Radicalization of Ben Bernanke
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:54 AM by Washington Post
    Bernanke has become the country's economist in chief, the banker for the United States and perhaps the world, and has employed every weapon in the Federal Reserve's arsenal. He has overseen the broadest use of the Fed's powers since World War II, and the regulation proposals working their way through Congress seem likely to empower the institution even further. Although his actions may be justified under today's circumstances, Bernanke's willingness to pump money into the economy risks unleashing the most serious bout of U.S. inflation since the early 1980s, in a nation already battered by rising unemployment and negative growth.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 9:51 AM » Mark-to-Market Rule Gives More Clarity, Not Less: John M. Berry
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:51 AM by Bloomberg
    Mark-to-market accounting rules are being brought a little closer to economic reality -- accompanied by misplaced howls of outrage. True, the ostensibly independent Financial Accounting Standards Board yesterday agreed to alter a portion of the rules only under extreme pressure from Congress, and that’s unfortunate. Still, the standards have forced many financial institutions to overstate losses on trillions of dollars worth of assets, intensifying the global financial crisis.
  • 9:50 AM » Failure Rate Rises on Mortgages Revised in Late 2008, U.S. Says
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:50 AM by Bloomberg
    Mortgages modified in the third quarter failed at a faster pace than those revised in the first, and the delinquency rate on the least risky loans doubled, signs of deteriorating credit quality, U.S. regulators said. Loans modified in the first quarter to help borrowers keep their homes fell delinquent 41 percent of the time after eight months, and second-quarter loans had a 46 percent default rate, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision said in a report today. Third-quarter trends “are worsening,” the agencies said.
  • 9:49 AM » Fed Struggling to Win Over Investors Wary of ‘Sharks’ in TALF
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:49 AM by Bloomberg
    The Federal Reserve’s $1 trillion effort to restart the market for securities backed by loans is encountering resistance from investors, undermining Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s attempt to further drive down borrowing costs. The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility may next week fail to see a big rise from its $8.3 billion first round of investor commitments in March, said Reed Auerbach, co-chief executive officer of law firm McKee Nelson LLP in New York. Hedge funds and other investors are balking because of visa restrictions on workers and possible efforts to tax earnings.
  • 9:47 AM » Kohn, Policies to Bring Us Out of the Financial Crisis and Recession
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:47 AM by Federal Reserve
    Speech at the Forum on Great Decisions in the Economic Crisis, College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • 9:47 AM » The Full Picture: Broader Unemployment Hits 15.6%
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:47 AM by WSJ
    Americans are giving up on their job searches at a faster pace. The nation’s official unemployment rate jumped to 8.5% in March from 8.1%, putting U.S. joblessness at its highest since November 1983. But the Labor Department ’s most comprehensive gauge of unemployment surpassed even its early 1980s levels. The government’s broader measure, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification, hit 15.6% in March — a big leap from 14.8% in February. The comprehensive measure of labor underutilization accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs. The March figure is the highest since the Labor Department started this particular data series in 1994. It’s also above a discontinued and even broader measure that hit 15% in late 1982, when the official unemployment rate was 10.8%. (That data series goes back to the 1970s.) The 8.5% unemployment rate is calculated based on people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The “actively looking for work” definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The U-6 figure includes everyone in the official rate plus “marginally attached workers” — those who are neither working nor looking for work, but say they want a job and have looked for work recently; and people who are employed part-time for economic reasons, meaning they want full-time work but took a part-time schedule instead because that’s all they could find. Many forecasters expect the official unemployment rate to top 10% by early next year. If the path of the broader unemployment rate continues, it’s likely to top 18%. For people in this group, comparisons to the Great Depression (when 25% of Americans were out of work) may not look so wild even if overall economic activity is holding up better.
  • 9:47 AM » CBO: TARP May Be More Costly Than First Thought
    Published Fri, Apr 03 2009 9:47 AM by WSJ
    The Congressional Budget Office has quietly altered its estimate of the ultimate cost to taxpayers of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program — and now figures it’ll be much more expensive in the long run than it previously figured. Some TARP outlays eventually will be returned to the government as banks return capital that the Treasury has invested in them or as the government sells loans or securities that it acquires as part of the financial rescue. In January, CBO put the ultimate cost to taxpayers of the $700-billion TARP at $189 billion. When it issued revised numbers in late March in its “” it revised that up to $356 billion with little comment, a change that drew little attention. The larger estimate reflects, among other things, the Treasury’s move to use the TARP to help avoid foreclosures as well as the changing details of its aid to American International Group and the deterioration of financial conditions and of banks in which the Treasury has invested TARP money. CBO estimates the ultimate cost of TARP using techniques similar to those generally applied to federal loans and loan guarantees and adjusts for market risk. More precisely, it puts the net cost to taxpayers at the difference between what Treasury pays for investments or lends to firms and “the present value, adjusted for market risk of any future earnings from holding purchased assets and the proceeds from their eventual sale.” The White House budget office doesn’t use the present-value technique in booking the cost of the TARP. Instead, it records the outflows of cash now, and says it’ll record inflows of cash in the future. But in his 2010 budget, President Barack Obama estimated that if Congress approved another $750 billion for the banks, the government eventually would get about $500 billion of that back for a net cost of $250 billion. CBO’s new figures suggest that its estimate of the ultimate cost to taxpayers of coming up with $750 billion for financial institutions would be closer...
  • Thu, Apr 2 2009
  • 7:01 PM » Wells Fargo Plans Foray Into Warehouse Lending
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 7:01 PM by
    San Francisco-based bank and mortgage lender Wells Fargo is reportedly looking to venture into warehouse lending, according to Bloomberg. The paper, which cited two people familiar with the matter, said the business would be based out of Atlanta, and headed by Kenneth Lognan, who was acquired via the Wachovia merger. Back in February, Wells chief John Stumpf [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 5:28 PM » Top Jumbo Mortgage Lenders in Fourth Quarter 2008
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 5:28 PM by
    Most mortgage rates we see advertised are for conforming mortgages, which for sake of simplicity, are good for loan amounts up to $729,750. But what about those of us looking for larger loans, otherwise known as jumbo mortgages? Who’s offering them and at what price? Well, as I recently noted in an article, Return of the Jumbo, [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 3:55 PM » ABA Statement On House Financial Services Committee Markup Of H.R. 627
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:55 PM by American Bankers Assoc.
    Washington April 2, 2009 "The American Bankers Association continues to have concerns about H.R. 627, the 'Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights.'
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: American Bankers Assoc.
  • 3:50 PM » ABA: Consumer Delinquencies Continue Rise as Recession Intensifies
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:50 PM by American Bankers Assoc.
    Job losses continued taking their toll on consumer finances during the fourth quarter of 2008 as evidenced by rising delinquencies in almost every loan category, according to the American Bankers Association's Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. The composite ratio, which tracks eight closed-end installment loan categories, rose 32 basis points to a record 3.22 percent of accounts (seasonally adjusted). ABA has tracked the composite ratio since the mid 1970's. ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said the figures are the latest sign that the U.S. economy is experiencing the worst recession since the mid 1970's.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: American Bankers Assoc.
  • 3:48 PM » ABA: FDIC Special Assessment Would Impede Banks Role in Recovery
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:48 PM by American Bankers Assoc.
    When considering a significantly burdensome assessment to the industry, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation should strike the right balance to assure there are enough funds to meet its obligations without impairing banks' ability to meet the needs of their local communities, according to the American Bankers Association. "The special assessment is completely at odds with banks efforts to help communities rebuild from this economic downturn," said Edward L. Yingling, ABA president and CEO in a letter to the FDIC. "This assessment makes the cost of raising new deposits much higher, and therefore, acts as a disincentive to raise new deposits. Fewer deposits will hinder banks' ability to lend."
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: American Bankers Assoc.
  • 3:45 PM » ABA: Welcomes FASB Guidance on Mark-to-Market Accounting
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:45 PM by American Bankers Assoc.
    The American Bankers Association commends the Financial Accounting Standards Board today for finally offering new guidance on mark-to-market accounting and impairment. ABA expressed concern however, that FASB has not done enough to fully repair the accounting rules for securities classified as "held to maturity." The FASB voted this morning to approve new guidance that will provide much needed clarification in estimating market values in illiquid markets. This guidance will allow banks and their auditors to use judgment when valuing illiquid assets that are required to be marked down to market prices under current accounting rules.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: American Bankers Assoc.
  • 3:44 PM » HUD: Announces Plans to Reduce Fraud and Risk in FHA
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:44 PM by
    U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told a Senate appropriations subcommittee today that the Federal Housing Administration needs additional resources to ensure FHA can continue to meet the needs of underserved borrowers during the current mortgage crisis. Donovan also testified that he recently reactivated a program to dispatch teams of investigators to conduct on-site reviews of lenders, especially those whose refinance portfolios are showing signs of distress and abnormally high default rates.
  • 3:28 PM » Fed purchases $32.9 billion Agency MBS
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:28 PM by NY Fed
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  • 3:24 PM » G20 eyes global regulator for hedge funds, credit rating agencies
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:24 PM by Market Watch
    Hedge funds that are large enough to pose a potential threat to the world’s financial system should be regulated in a similar way to other systemically important institutions, say leaders of the Group of 20 nations.
  • 3:20 PM » NY Fed: A Look at Upstate New York’s Subprime Mortgages in Foreclosure
    Published Thu, Apr 02 2009 3:20 PM by NY Fed
    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released , the latest article in the Bank's series, Community Affairs Forum: Facts & Trends . An examination of upstate New York's owner-occupied subprime mortgages reveals that the region has fewer subprime mortgages per 1,000 housing units than New York State as a whole or the United States. Additionally, subprime loans analyzed in the study were performing better than those in the state and the country. The share of subprime mortgages in foreclosure in upstate New York is 7 percent—considerably less than 14 percent for New York State and 12 percent for the nation.
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More From MND

Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 2.81%
  • |
  • 15 Yr FRM 2.38%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 3.65%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 107-18 (0-00)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 109-13 (0-02)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 110-12 (0-02)
Recent Housing Data:
  • Mortgage Apps -0.81%
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  • Refinance Index -0.44%
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  • Purchase Index -1.54%