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  • Tue, Dec 9 2008
  • 8:36 AM » Internal Warnings Sounded on Loans At Fannie, Freddie
    Published Tue, Dec 09 2008 8:36 AM by Washington Post
    Internal Freddie Mac documents show that senior executives at the company were warned years ago that they were offering mortgages that could pose dangers to the firm, hurt borrowers and generate more risky loans throughout the industry.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 8:36 AM » Foreclosure Reduction Effort Yielding Mixed Results, Report Says
    Published Tue, Dec 09 2008 8:36 AM by Washington Post
    A new government report released yesterday underscored the limited success of industry efforts to reduce foreclosures by modifying mortgage loans, offering fuel for both sides in the debate over whether modification efforts should be redoubled or abandoned.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 8:21 AM » AIG Fesses Up to Handing Out More Non-Bonus Bonuses
    Published Tue, Dec 09 2008 8:21 AM by Google News
    By way of background, we posted on November 27: How can you give cash compensation to an executive, yet claim it is not a salary or bonus? You call it a "retention bonus," No, I am not making this up. Note that AIG chose to make this disclosure the day before Thanksgiving, selecting a time when it would attract the least notice. Not that it really matters. The talk about restricting executive compensation to bailout recipients has been just that, talk. It turns out that AIG was less than forthcoming in its pre-holiday revelation, and is now having to admit to more bonus payments during a busier news period. Did AIG really not have a good count two weeks ago, or did it think it could get cute and not admit to the full scope of executive largess? Or perhaps it decided, not having gotten as much flack as it feared, to expand the program. From : American International Group Inc., the insurer whose bonuses and perks are under fire from U.S. lawmakers, offered cash awards to another 38 executives in a retention program with payments of as much as $4 million. The incentives range from $92,500 to $4 million for employees earning salaries between $160,000 and $1 million, Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy said in a letter dated Dec. 5 to Representative Elijah Cummings. The New York-based insurer had previously disclosed that 130 managers would get the awards and that one executive would get $3 million. “I remain concerned, as do many American taxpayers, that these retention payments are simply bonuses by another name,” Cummings said in letter responding to Liddy. AIG, which received a U.S. rescue package of more than $152 billion, has been criticized for saying it will eliminate bonuses for senior executives while still planning to hand out “cash awards” that double or triple the salaries of some managers. The payments are designed to keep top employees at AIG while Liddy seeks to sell units and pay back the federal government, which owns 79.9 percent of AIG........
  • 8:21 AM » Barron's: Laing's Mortgage Relief Plan Could Actually Work
    Published Tue, Dec 09 2008 8:21 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Three cheers for Jonathan Laing for this weekend for how to solve the mortgage crisis. Laing’s entire article is definitely worth reading. In a nutshell, though, his plan boils down to four basic actions. Laing says the federal government should: Offer to refinance every U.S. homeowner’s mortgage at a 4.5% fixed rate. Make similar mortgages available to home buyers (just as the Treasury is said to have considered this week). Use Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) to repackage all new loans as safe securities for investors. Modify the $500 billion of subprime and Alt-A loans in arrears. Extend their maturities to 40 years; in certain cases, pay down principal, as well. Laing’s plan would provide three huge benefits. First, it would help delinquent borrowers who want to stay in their homes by substantially reducing their monthly payments. Second, risk of moral hazard would be reduced since all borrowers, not just delinquent ones, would be eligible for rate relief. Lastly, the entire economy would get a needed jolt, as borrowers’ reduced monthly payments would cause disposable income to soar.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • Mon, Dec 8 2008
  • 4:53 PM » Chinese Trolling Streets of US for Bargains
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 4:53 PM by
    As U.S. housing prices continue to plummet, wealthy Chinese citizens are cruising the streets of America in Hummers and Lincoln Navigators looking for cheap real estate, according to a report in the LA Times. Per the publication, “home-buying trips to America” are becoming a more sought after tour package for the Chinese, thanks to an easing [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:53 PM » Barney Frank takes on Bush over bailout money
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 4:53 PM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- A top House Democrat threatened Monday to tie up the remaining half of the $700 billion financial industry rescue money unless the Bush administration provides some of it for borrowers facing foreclosure.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 3:34 PM » Small banks want their bailout
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 3:34 PM by CNN
    The Treasury Department better order some new checkbooks.
  • 3:34 PM » Half of modified mortgages in default again
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 3:34 PM by CNN
    Read full story for latest details.
  • 2:47 PM » New Jersey Gov Wants Foreclosure Freeze
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 2:47 PM by
    New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine today called for a three-to-six month foreclosure moratorium to give borrowers more time to modify their existing mortgages. While speaking at a housing conference hosted by the Office of Thrift Supervision in Washington, Corzine also pleaded that TARP funds should “absolutely” be used for loan modifications. His sentiment supports a recent plan [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 2:47 PM » Cuomo: Merrill CEO bonus is 'shocking'
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 2:47 PM by CNN
    New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the $10 million bonus reportedly being considered for Merrill Lynch's chief executive John Thain is "nothing less than shocking."
  • 10:19 AM » Banking Regulator Played Advocate Over Enforcer
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:19 AM by
    When Countrywide Financial felt pressured by federal agencies charged with overseeing it, executives at the giant mortgage lender simply switched regulators in the spring of 2007. The benefits were clear: Countrywide's new regulator, the Office of Thrift Supervision, promised more flexible oversight of issues related to the bank's mortgage lending. For OTS, which depends on fees paid by banks it regulates and competes with other regulators to land the largest financial firms, Countrywide was a lucrative catch. But OTS was not an effective regulator. This year, the government has seized three of the largest institutions regulated by OTS, including IndyMac Bancorp, Washington Mutual -- the largest bank in U.S. history to go bust -- and on Friday evening, Downey Savings and Loan Association. The total assets of the OTS thrifts to fail this year: $355.7 billion. Three others were forced to sell to avoid failure, including Countrywide. In the parade of regulators that missed signals or made decisions they came to regret on the road to the current financial crisis, the Office of Thrift Supervision stands out. This article is striking in how it illustrates the effect of bad direction and permissiveness from nominal regulators: OTS did not force the company to address the problem with reserves, though agency examiners worked full-time inside Washington Mutual's Seattle headquarters. Polakoff said OTS closely monitored the company's allowance for loan losses and considered it sufficient. "They had good models in place calculating expected losses on the loan portfolio," he said. But the agency did not fix a basic problem with how Washington Mutual predicted future losses. According to a confidential internal review in September 2005, the company had not adjusted its prediction of future losses to reflect the larger risks associated with option ARM loans. The review described those loans as "a major and growing risk factor in our portfolio."...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:18 AM » The Next Foreclosure Wave: Large Percentage of Small Business Owners Have Toxic Mortgages
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:18 AM by
    “While Wall Street firms can comfortably borrow billions at 2.28 percent of interest, their smaller counterparts have no such arrangement. Tens of thousands of small businesses will fail this year due to government inaction and lack of credit availability. With 60 percent of national jobs to its credit, small business industry is clearly an economic [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:17 AM » Merrill's Thain seeking 2008 bonus of $10 million: report
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:17 AM by Reuters
    (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch & Co Chief Executive John Thain has suggested to directors that he get a 2008 bonus of as much as $10 million, but the battered company's compensation committee is resisting his request, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.
  • 10:17 AM » Former CEO Raines Says Fannie's Woes Not of His Making
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:17 AM by Washington Post
    A few months ago, Franklin D. Raines was traveling in Italy when he received an e-mail saying that Republicans were trying to tie Barack Obama to him in the presidential campaign. Raines had left the helm of Fannie Mae in 2004 amid controversy, and now Fannie was faltering, taken over by the government and blamed by some critics as a cause of the financial crisis. A McCain campaign ad featured Obama and Raines side by side and suggested Raines had instigated a financial fraud at Fannie.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 10:17 AM » HSBC to double mortgage lending
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:17 AM by
    The bank announces plans to increase loans to UK homeowners next year, bucking the trend of its rivals to continue pulling back from the shrinking mortgage market
  • 10:02 AM » Two Mortgage Markets Emerging From the Crisis
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:02 AM by Seeking Alpha
    Hundreds of mortgage lenders have disappeared, and banks are leery of taking their traditional place again as mortgage lenders. Many homebuilders and banks have noted a marked increase in FHA or government loans taking the place of traditional mortgage lenders for buyers with lower credit scores. High end builder Toll Brothers (TOL) has seen a rise in FHA-backed loans, but says it won’t really be impacting its business in the future. Likely because they don't really have lower end buyers. Perhaps two mortgage markets are emerging from this crisis. Private lenders such as life insurance companies and the finance arms of homebuilders that will only take a chance and lend on the highest FICO score borrowers. In particular, those who are willing, at least in practice, to put 30% down to buy a house. And then there's the government—the only lender who will take a chance on the lower end buyer.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 10:02 AM » The Banker Magazine: World's Best Banks of 2008
    Published Mon, Dec 08 2008 10:02 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: One of the worst performing sectors in the current bear market is the financial sector. Many bank stocks are down over 50%. The financials sector in the S&P 500 Index is down 56.3% year-to-date. On the international level, many well known banks have had to raise capital to stay in business. Others have been gobbled up by their competitors. In this scenario, magazine presented its Ninth Bank of the Year Awards for 2008.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • Sun, Dec 7 2008
  • 9:29 PM » Ohio: One in Eight In Foreclosure
    Published Sun, Dec 07 2008 9:29 PM by
    Nearly one of eight homeowners in Ohio with mortgages were behind on their payments or in foreclosure at the end of the third quarter. That's worse than the national rate of more than 10 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, which released its quarterly delinquency survey Friday.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:29 PM » Closing on Mortgage by Dec. 31 Could Earn Big Deductions
    Published Sun, Dec 07 2008 9:29 PM by Washington Post
    Weak housing prices are a seller's nightmare, but a boon for buyers able to scoop up a bargain. Although most expenses connected with buying a home are not deductible, there's a big exception when it comes to points paid to get a mortgage. Each point is 1 percent of the mortgage amount. So if you pay two points on a $200,000 mortgage, that's $4,000.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 9:14 PM » Countrywide Class Action: What’s a Good Sale?
    Published Sun, Dec 07 2008 9:14 PM by The Big Picture
    Just catching up on some other things that need attention. Over the past year or more we have been writing about the Countywide Financial saga and the refusal of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to do the right thing and explicitly state that the Countrywide bonds were money good. See a couple of comments: After a couple of lawsuits and a lot more behind-the-scenes communication, it looks like most of the bond holders are whole or holding an explicit representation from BAC on that count. But the story continues. A few months ago, CFC, then controlled by BAC but prior to the close, negotiated a settlement with a number of states attorneys general for various alleged violations of law. Unfortunately for holders of the pass throughs, the company formerly traded under the ticker CFC agreed to stick the $8.4 billion cost of the settlement to them via a haircut on all pass throughs. Now two units of BAC have been sued by a group of bold holders seeking to essentially undo the settlement, with potentially destabilizing effects on what remains of CFC, a direct sub of BAC which still, in turn, owns Countrywide Bank FSB. We long speculated that CFC might be pushed into a liquidation, even after the close with BAC, and the litigation seemed the wild card. But this development is certainly a novel example of corporate debtor litigation. “To settle allegations of widespread predatory lending made against it by the Attorneys General of at least 15 States, Countrywide Financial Corporation has agreed to reduce payments due on hundreds of thousands of mortgage loans by a total of up to $8.4 billion,” states the class action lawsuit filed against BAC by Greenwich Financial Services et al in the southern district of NY. What is remarkable about this litigation is two things. First, the Plaintiffs are bondholders suing directly and seeking class status in New York Supreme Court (the Court of Appeals is the highest court in NY State), without either obtaining or compelling action by the indenture...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 9:13 PM » How credit cards become asset-backed bonds
    Published Sun, Dec 07 2008 9:13 PM by The Big Picture
    from on . Mortgages aren’t the only financial instruments that get turned into securities. In this video, Marketplace Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch explains how companies make money by buying credit card debt and bundling it. All of “The Marketplace Whiteboard” videos can be accessed at and are part of “Fallout: America’s Financial Crisis,” Marketplace’s comprehensive coverage of the current financial crisis. hat tip
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:26 PM » Getting Mortgage Fraud Down to an Art
    Published Sun, Dec 07 2008 8:26 PM by The Big Picture
    Astounding: Orson Benn, once a vice president at the nation’s largest subprime lender, spent three years during the height of the housing boom tutoring Florida mortgage brokers in the art of fraud. From his office in New York, he taught them how to doctor credit reports, coached them to inflate income on loan applications, and helped them invent phantom jobs for borrowers. While prosecutors looked at roughly $100 million in loans written by Benn and a cadre of co-workers, that represents just a portion of the loans they approved during his aggressive expansion into Florida. The Miami Herald found that Benn’s network approved more than $550 million in home loans from Tampa to West Palm Beach to Miami, according to an analysis of court records. In Miami-Dade County alone, Benn’s office approved more than $349 million in loans on 1,913 homes — more than one in three have since fallen into foreclosure, the analysis shows. Valdes brokered at least 100 of those loans worth $22 million — nearly all based on false and misleading financial information, the newspaper found How did they doctor loan apps? Simple mortgage broker fraud: “non-existent employers, grossly inflated salaries and sudden, drastic increases in the borrower’s net worth.” There apparently was an art to falsifying the documentation, and Benn taught his brokers precisely how, falsifying income and employment data: He taught one of those brokers, Scott Almeida, a convicted cocaine trafficker, to prepare phony income statements and doctor credit reports. A few months later, Almeida introduced Benn to Tampa brokers David Tuggle and Eric Steinhauser. After Benn taught them to prepare phony documents, they began to write millions of dollars in loans. The accompanying is a must see, and the entire article definitely worth reading. Nothing on predatory borrowers, though . . . > Previously: (January 2008) Source: JACK DOLAN, MATTHEW...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:11 PM » How Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac Waged a War of Influence that Co-opted Congress
    Published Sun, Dec 07 2008 8:11 PM by
    When the Washington Nationals played their first-ever baseball game in the nation's capital in April 2005, two congressmen who oversaw mortgage giant Freddie Mac had choice seats -- courtesy of the very company they were supposed to be keeping an eye on.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Fri, Dec 5 2008
  • 4:49 PM » President Bush Purchases $2.1 Million Dallas Estate
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 4:49 PM by
    President Bush has purchased $2.1 million four bedroom four-and-a-half-bath home in Dallas where he will reside after his retirement in January, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:49 PM » Even With All The Programs, Many Home Borrowers Beyond Help
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 4:49 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: As one industry-type put it to me, we thought we were going to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel by 2009, now we see a runaway freight train coming back at us. Topics: | | Sectors: | MEDIA: |
  • 11:03 AM » Late mortgage payments and foreclosures hit record
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 11:03 AM by Washington Post
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Late mortgage payments and the rate of home loans in foreclosure rose to record highs in the third quarter, threatening to escalate as the recession erases jobs and further strains homeowners, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Friday.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 11:03 AM » Kashkari: Taxpayers will see return from bailout
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 11:03 AM by Washington Post
    WASHINGTON -- Taxpayers will get money back from the government program providing up to $250 billion in capital to banks around the country, a Treasury Department official said Friday.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 10:29 AM » Dodd, Frank Warn Paulson May Not Get TARP’s Next $350 Billion
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 10:29 AM by Bloomberg
    Two top U.S. lawmakers warned Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that he may not get the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue fund, joining Republicans upset with how the program is being managed.
  • 9:59 AM » A Bank, and a Banker, Flush With Honor
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:59 AM by Washington Post
    With no disrespect meant to Capital One, yesterday's sale of Chevy Chase Bank was a sad day for Washington and the Washington business community.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 9:59 AM » Merrill shareholders OK Bank of America takeover
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:59 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shareholders of Merrill Lynch & Co on Friday voted to approve the company's acquisition by Bank of America Corp , Merrill said.
  • 9:44 AM » Zombie Banks & Gold Trigger
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:44 AM by
    by Jim Willie. "The USGovt and financial system is growing deep commitments to support dead entities. Their business models have failed. They are bankrupt. Although with faulty business model, often l aced with fraud, they have been fully adopted by the USGovt and US Federal Reserve."
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:29 AM » Bernanke Says Mortgage Servicers Are Not Modifying Mortgages When They Should
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:29 AM by
    Looks like we now have the Fed, the FDIC and Moe on the same loan modification and mortgage servicing page. Today I watched Ben Bernanke on CNBC and listened in a trance as he said that mortgage servicers are incapable of coping with the crisis on their own and called for action for addressing the [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:28 AM » Countrywide to Issue Refunds to Overcharged Borrowers
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:28 AM by
    Former lending giant Countrywide Financial has agreed to refund $11.5 million in cash to overcharged borrowers as part of a settlement with the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks. An investigation launched in 2007 found that a total of 3,800 borrowers were illegally overcharged on first mortgages, and another 1,000 on second mortgages. Those affected [...]
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:28 AM » Treasury says bank rescue a success so far
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:28 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Treasury's program to give banks billions of dollars in fresh capital has been a success in helping stabilize financial markets, a senior Treasury official said on Friday.
  • 9:28 AM » Taxpayers: Furious over homeowner bailouts
    Published Fri, Dec 05 2008 9:28 AM by CNN
    Ask most Americans whether they're in favor of spending taxpayer dollars to help delinquent mortgage borrowers and you're likely to get an emphatic "No!"
  • Thu, Dec 4 2008
  • 5:02 PM » Mortgage Refinancings Soar
    Published Thu, Dec 04 2008 5:02 PM by The Big Picture
    via Merrill Lynch’s Rich Bernstein adds: “The weekly percent change of the Mortgage Bankers Association Index of Applications was the greatest since at least 1990. However, a report last night on National Public Radio might lend some insight behind the numbers. The report suggested that mortgage applications, especially for refinancing, were rising. However, the report noted that the gap between applications and approvals was widening because home values have fallen. Situations in which applicants had extremely high credit scores and were up-to-date on mortgage payments were being denied refinancing without going through the full home appraisal process… If this NPR report is accurate, then it suggests that the stock market has greatly over-reacted to today’s mortgage data. Rather than showing a consumer sector that is ready, willing, and able to purchase a home, it might reflect a consumer sector that is increasingly strapped for cash flow and making multiple applications in hope of being accepted for refinancing. > Source: TARA SIEGEL BERNARD NYT, December 3, 2008
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 5:02 PM » Frank: More rules on mortgage securitization, CEO pay
    Published Thu, Dec 04 2008 5:02 PM by Market Watch
    A key lawmaker outlines a broad agenda to hike regulations on securitized mortgage products, hedge funds and beef up controls on executive compensation.
  • 5:02 PM » Did Someone Leak Treasury 4.5% Mortgage 'Plan'?
    Published Thu, Dec 04 2008 5:02 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: It’s truly amazing to me that a lobbyist who really needs something from the government would leak just the possibility of that something to the media, when that leakage would only harm their industry. Of course, I’m talking about the Treasury proposal/possibility/plan to buy mortgage debt at a rate that would allow lenders to offer buyers a 4.5 percent interest rate on the 30-year fixed. Topics: | | Sectors: | MEDIA:
  • 4:00 PM » Bernanke on Housing, Mortgage Markets, and Foreclosures
    Published Thu, Dec 04 2008 4:00 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: Home sales and single-family housing starts held unusually steady through the 2001 recession and then rose dramatically over the subsequent four years. National indexes of home prices accelerated significantly over that period, with prices in some metropolitan areas more than doubling over the first half of the decade. One unfortunate consequence of the rapid increases in house prices was that providers of mortgage credit came to view their loans as well-secured by the rising values of their collateral and thus paid less attention to borrowers' ability to repay. However, no real or financial asset can provide an above-normal market return indefinitely, and houses are no exception. When home-price appreciation began to slow in many areas, the consequences of weak underwriting, such as little or no documentation and low required down payments, became apparent. Delinquency rates for subprime mortgages--especially those with adjustable interest rates--began to climb steeply around the middle of 2006. When house prices were rising, higher-risk borrowers who were struggling to make their payments could refinance into more-affordable mortgages. But refinancing became increasingly difficult as many of these households found that they had accumulated little, if any, housing equity. Moreover, lenders tightened standards on higher-risk mortgages as secondary markets for those loans ceased to function. ... As house prices have declined, many borrowers now find themselves "under water" on their mortgages--perhaps as many as 15 to 20 percent by some estimates. In addition, as the economy has slowed and unemployment has risen, more households are finding it difficult to make their mortgage payments. About 4-1/2 percent of all first-lien mortgages are now more than 90 days past due or in foreclosure, and one in ten near-prime mortgages in alt-A pools and more than one in five subprime mortgages are seriously delinquent. Lenders appear to...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 4:00 PM » How to Buy and Sell Real Estate with ETFs
    Published Thu, Dec 04 2008 4:00 PM by
    Ron Rowland is president of Capital Cities Asset Management, and an expert on mutual funds, ETFs, and sector rotation strategies. As the co-editor of Weiss Research's International ETF Trader service, he has been helping subscribers increase their wealth with exchange-traded funds. And starting today, I've asked him to share some ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

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More From MND

Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 4.87%
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  • 15 Yr FRM 4.32%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 4.40%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 102-31 (0-02)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 104-28 (0-02)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 106-11 (-0-02)
Recent Housing Data:
  • Mortgage Apps -2.60%
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  • Refinance Index -3.69%
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  • Purchase Index -1.98%