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February 2007 Archive


Ameriquest Shutting Down
ACC Capital Holdings has sold its wholesale subsidiary and will close down Ameriquest Mortgage Co. The demise of the once mammoth subprime lender seemed to fulfill predications a year and a half ago by the chief of the nation's biggest mortgage banker.

National Branch Operation Consolidates
A California-based mortgage company that, at its peak, employed more than 1,500 people, maintained a network of more than 100 branches and operated a national wholesale operation, will consolidate down to just two production offices. The company did, however, find a new home for its remaining branches and some wholesale employees.

M.I. Activity Worse
Mortgage insurance activity eased last month and appears headed lower, while defaults and cures worsened.

President Outlines Mortgage Plan
President Bush has proposed a plan to help delinquent borrowers avoid foreclosure.

Help for delinquent, foreclosed borrowers
FL Lender Struggling But Alive
Despite the demise of its sister companies, a Florida-based lender will weather the current storm -- though with a few less hands.

Deals Downgraded
Negative ratings actions were taken on residential mortgage-backed securities by one agency because of changes to loss forecasting, while another agency cited a stressed market for its downgrade of a collateralized debt obligation.

$105K Judgment Against Net Branch
Two Maryland loan officers have been awarded $105,000 by a Baltimore federal judge in a case alleging their net branch employer failed to pay them overtime. But collecting on the judgment is not assured.

Biggest Commercial Servicers
Wachovia Securities has been dubbed the biggest servicer of loans backing commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Fixed Rates Decrease, ARMs Increase
Short term mortgage rates shot higher -- sending the share of variable rate applications tumbling. Meanwhile, fixed rates saw a nice improvement.

NOO Leading Defaults in 4 States
Serious delinquency on non-owner occupied residential properties is driving defaults in states with the fastest rising delinquency. Interestingly, the ratio of rental properties on delinquent loans is lower for subprime than for prime.

Option One May End Operations
Eager to stop the bleeding at the unit, the parent of Option One Mortgage Corp. is trying to speed the sale of the subprime lender by winding down the origination business and selling just the servicing platform.

FHLB Volume Strong
Federal Home Loan Bank system executives report increased cash advances to member institutions.

Mortgage Law Insider
Among two lawsuits recently dismissed was one filed by Wachovia Corp. against a real estate investment trust. But a settlement by another REIT with borrowers in Washington state was only met with a similar lawsuit filed by California borrowers.

Wave of Investor Lawsuits
While recent corporate activity in the mortgage sector included at least one merger, investor lawsuits overshadowed the latest news. Meanwhile, IndyMac could see some big write downs of its held-for-sale inventory this quarter.

Successful Sales Goes Beyond Price
Successful salespeople make it easy for prospective customers to deal with them, according to a new sales book. They go well beyond price to create and deliver value.

Mortgage Industry Lobbying
The mortgage industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars during the past decade lobbying members of Congress. Some of the issues being lobbied could benefit multiple sectors of mortgage lending.

Deceptive Mailers Cost Broker
A California mortgage broker who was accused of trying to deceive prospects with a mailing piece that appeared to be government sponsored will pay a $15,000 penalty.

CMBS See Upgrades
Despite a deluge of recent negative ratings actions that continue to plague investors of residential mortgage-backed securities, some commercial deals have seen upgrades.

A Few Bad Apples
Three real estate attorneys are accused of stealing money from transactions they closed, with one helping 20 other defendants dupe lenders on loan files.

IndyMac Beefs Up Retail Staff
IndyMac Bank F.S.B. confirmed it has hired hundreds of former American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. employees and may hire hundreds more.

Rising Delinquency Headed Higher
The performance of nonprime residential mortgages backing mortgage-backed securities continued to deteriorate in June and is headed higher, according to an investment banking report. Even prime loan performance is worsening.

HOEPA Trigger Raised
The fee threshold for loans considered to be high cost was raised.

CIT Done With Mortgage Lending
CIT Group Inc. has abandoned the mortgage lending business. More than 500 employees were affected by the move.

Florida Firm Facing Bankruptcy
Creditors of a Florida-based mortgage lender are trying to force the firm into bankruptcy. The company is accused of holding back more than $2 million from investors on loans it services.

Back to Retail
A California company that was still expanding earlier this year is quitting wholesale and reorganizing into a small retail operation. Secondary buyers who backed out of commitments forced the drastic measures.

Curse of The Fastest Growing
Frequently inscribed on the epitaphs of failed mortgage lenders is the phrase, "was among the fastest growing." Two magazines have released their latest ranking of the "fastest growing" companies -- including dozens that are mortgage-related.

Investment Scams Halted
Two mortgage investment scams have been uncovered in Maryland and California.

Servicers, MBS Downgraded
Fitch Ratings was busy last week with downgrades.

Wachovia v. Thornburg
A late payment on derivatives contracts, which Thornburg Mortgage Inc. has promised to pay today, is being litigated.

Help Wanted
A Michigan firm is looking to boost its staff by 150 employees.

Fannie Business Rises
Monthly business was better at Fannie Mae, which has a new chief financial officer.

Bankrupt Firms Face Employee Lawsuits
Two lawsuits seeking class action status have been filed against two bankrupt mortgage lenders. At issue is the notice employers are required to give states 60 days ahead of employee layoffs.

Wholesaler Holds Off on New Business
An Ohio-based mortgage wholesale lender is reassuring customers that it has not closed down -- even though it has suspended field operations.

Builder Forced Lender Challenged
For years, loan originators have had to compete against the in-house mortgage units of homebuilders -- with borrowers often being penalized for going outside. But one builder that forced borrowers to use its in-house mortgage company is now facing a class action lawsuit over the controversial practice.

Execs, Boards Struggle in Chaotic Environment
As mortgage banking firms struggle with liquidity and access to capital, a wave of investor lawsuits are being filed. Meanwhile, one mortgage insurer is boasting about how the mortgage crisis is helping its business and two mortgage mergers are in the works.

Technology Helps Mortgage Companies
Tough times have mortgage companies squeezing more productivity out of their operations through improvements to their technology. Two companies are promising to help originators boost the credit scores of prospective borrowers, while the developer of a popular loan origination system is helping brokers grow into mortgage bankers.

Business Tumbles at Freddie
Monthly business purchases tumbled at Freddie Mac.

Rates Improve, Apps Worsen
As rates improved this week, mortgage application volume fell -- possibly reflecting a withdrawal of applicants previously caught in the pipelines of some failed originators.

Commercial Originations Strong
Quarterly commercial mortgage originations jumped -- led by a spike in hotel originations. Meanwhile, plenty of multifamily properties have recently found financing.

Recent commercial mortgage lending activity
Mortgage Market Needs $250 Billion Capital Infusion
The mortgage market needs an infusion of up to a quarter trillion dollars to return back to normal, according to an investment banking report.

Hard Money Wholesaler Bankrupt
A hard money lender has filed for bankruptcy protection but continues to operate.

More Impac Layoffs
In its struggle to survive, Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. cut hundreds of jobs.

Ratings Downgrades Abundant
Warnings were issued on the ratings of billions of dollars of subprime transactions and on the ratings of four subprime servicers.

BoA Invests $2 Billion in Countrywide
In a surprise announcement today, Countrywide Financial Corp. said Bank of America made a $2 billion investment in the nation's biggest mortgage lender.

Bank Earnings Down, Delinquency Up
Federally insured banks and thrifts saw quarterly earnings drop and delinquency rise.

BNC Closes Shop
The parent of BNC Mortgage LLC is shutting down the subprime lender.

Delta Fires 20% of Employees
Delta Financial Corp., which was able to dodge liquidity concerns when the subprime meltdown broke out in March, will lay off 20 percent of its workforce in conjunction with the closure of wholesale operating centers in three states.

National Branch Operation to Close
A national mortgage company that operated as many as 149 branches will be closed down by its parent.

Bankrupt Firm's Owners Establish Employee Fund
Owners of a bankrupt mortgage lender have established a $1 million fund for some of its nearly 6,000 laid off employees.

HSBC Closing Retail Loan Center
HSBC Finance Corp. plans to close down an Indiana mortgage operation -- leaving the office's 600 employees unsure about their future.

National Wholesaler Done
An Arizona-based national wholesale lender that specialized in Alt-A lending has abandoned mortgage broker business. While a direct lending unit will remain, more than 500 employees will be laid off.

Riskiest Mortgage Lenders
The rapid succession of mortgage banking failures is nearing an end, according to a new study.

Dramatic Downsizing at Accredited
Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. is closing its retail operation, eliminating half of its wholesale operation and temporarily halting all new business. The moves will result in more than 1,000 layoffs.

Thrift Production Higher
The nation's thrift industry posted higher quarterly loan volume. But delinquency worsened.

States Revoke Licenses, Issue Fines
Regulators in New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut have been busy blocking mortgage businesses from abusing borrowers and loan applicants.

Regions Axes Warehouse Biz, Boosts Sales
Regions Financial Corp. is closing its warehouse lending operation -- though it is boosting its mortgage sales force.

Countrywide Cuts Subprime Jobs
MortgageDaily.com has confirmed that Countrywide Financial Corp. laid off more than 500 subprime employees last week.

HEL Performance Worsens, Jumbos Flat
Nonconforming mortgages gave a mixed performance in June.

Bankruptcy, Litigation Dominate Market
Bankruptcy activity, massive secondary loan sales and a crumbling acquisition deal overshadowed the latest mortgage mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity. Several mortgage firms saw their debt ratings downgraded while a number of law firms are busy with growing mortgage litigation.

Foreclosures Ascend
Monthly foreclosures almost doubled from a year earlier. Michigan and Detroit respectively ranked among the states and cities with the worst foreclosure rates -- although Georgia made a surprise showing.

Texas Layoffs at Option One
Option One Mortgage Corp. is eliminating jobs in Texas as it executes a cost-cutting restructuring plan laid out by its parent earlier this month.

Delayed Recons Spur Class Action
A Texas-based mortgage company is facing a class action lawsuit from as many as 40,000 California borrowers who say the lender failed to clear the title to their homes when they paid off their loans or refinanced.

Lawyers Stung by HomeBanc Bankruptcy
Closing attorneys in three states who had funded loans after receiving $10 million in checks from HomeBanc Corp. may have to come up with the funds themselves after the checks from the bankrupt mortgage lender bounced.

GreenPoint Shuts Down
Capital One Financial Corp. is closing its wholesale lending subsidiary.

Fannie Reports Nonprime Business
Fannie Mae disclosed its level of nonprime business in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Defaults Force Luminent into Deal
Luminent Mortgage Capital Inc. has struck a potential deal that could provide it with $60 million in cash. The move could significantly dilute shareholder equity but will help it manage outstanding repurchases and defaulted notes.

Thornburg Unloads $20 Billion MBS
In a move to shore up liquidity, Thornburg Mortgage Inc. unloaded more than $20 billion in mortgage-backed securities -- taking a nearly $1 billion charge in the process.

Billions of Dollars in Deals Downgraded
Downgrades on residential securitizations and collateralized debt obligations accelerated during the past week. But a commercial deal saw an upgrade.

More Help Arrives for Former AHM Employees
Countrywide Financial Corp. has joined a growing list of entities reaching out to former employees of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.

Florida Firm Alive Despite Rumors
Rumors surrounding the shut down of wholesale operations for a privately held Florida-based mortgage bank were dispelled, but not before causing some chaos.

Layoffs at Bear Units
In addition to market conditions, e-mortgage technology led Bear Stearns Companies Inc. to layoff hundreds of mortgage employees this week.

NovaStar Nixes Wholesale, Employees
NovaStar Financial Inc. cut more than one-third of its workforce today. The move was made in conjunction with a decision to halt wholesale business -- again.

Countrywide Trims Wholesale Subprime Staff
The closing of two regional centers has Countrywide Financial Corp. cutting its wholesale subprime workforce.

Chevy Chase Cuts Correspondent Channel
Chevy Chase Bank has stopped doing new correspondent business.

Commercial Deals Still Get Done
Three of the latest multifamily deals found more than $50 million in financing while one commercial lender boasted about the billion dollars in hospitality secured mortgages it has closed over the past three years.

Recent commercial mortgage financing activity
Wholesaler to Hibernate
A California-based Alt-A wholesaler has gone into hibernation. The company plans to emerge from its sleep after the market shakes itself out.

First Magnus Finished
An Arizona-based firm -- which was among the fastest growing U.S. companies in 2004 and added hundreds of new employees last year -- and its subsidiary are out of business. As a result, thousands of employees are without a job.

Thornburg Hopes to Resume Locks
Jumbo lender Thornburg Mortgage Inc. plans to reopen its lock desk and resume locking in rates on potential new loans on Monday, Aug. 20, after halting all new locks for four days.

National City Closes Home Equity Unit
National City Corp. will fold its home equity unit into its mortgage subsidiary -- resulting in hundreds of layoffs.

Apps, Rates Rise
As mortgage rates slightly worsened over the past week, retail lending activity helped push applications higher.

Georgia Wholesaler Gone
The demise of a Georgia-based wholesaler has been confirmed by MortgageDaily.com.

The Ratings Journal
Turmoil in the credit markets has the ratings agencies reshaping their assumptions and methodologies on mortgage-related securities. Meanwhile, a second mortgage servicer saw its servicer rating downgraded.

Countrywide Moves to Boost Liquidity
Countrywide Financial Corp., which yesterday saw its shares pounded over comments from a Merrill Lynch analyst who raised the possibility of bankruptcy for the nation's biggest mortgage lender, today disclosed it has tapped an $11.5 billion credit facility.

Calif Company Dumps Wholesale Ops
The credit liquidity crisis has forced a California-based company to shut down its wholesale operations -- leading to the collapse of two subsidiaries.

Mortgage Technology Journal
A provider of mortgage company Web sites has slashed prices while a number of other mortgage technology firms have partnered up to improve their offerings.

Carnage Continues
A Massachusetts mortgage company is among the latest casualties of the mortgage crisis of 2007.

Downey Continues Declines
Downey Financial Corp. saw its volume tumble, loans held for investment decline, and mortgage servicing portfolio drop.

Accredited Acquisition Extended
Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. has won valuable time in its attempt to be acquired -- though the potential acquirer claims conditions of the merger still have not been met.

Alt-A Liquidity Injection
Freddie Mac has stepped in to help the ailing secondary market for Alt-A loans.

$5 Billion Portfolio Trades
More than $5 billion in residential mortgages has traded hands and nearly $6 billion more is on the block.

Impac Production Sinks
Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc.'s quarterly fundings sank, and the company's exit from Alt-A originations only points to a bigger decrease on the horizon.

Another Wholesaler Gone
An Indiana-based wholesale lender is abandoning broker business.

Lender Loses Lawsuit
A decision on a lawsuit involving mortgages originated by institutions in receivership could have implications for loans from firms wiped out from the current mortgage crisis, according to the attorneys that won the case.

Bankruptcies Burgeon, Credit Lines Negotiated
A number of recent bankruptcy cases have been filed by nonprime lenders -- including one that is allegedly using pledged collateral to fund business operations. But the turmoil hasn't stopped one company from buying discounted loans nor has it stopped another from renewing its credit lines.

Nonprime Wholesaler Stops New Business
A Nevada-based subprime wholesaler said it is taking a break from lending as it assesses its position in the mortgage market.

Analysts Warn of Citi's Subprime Exposure
An investment banking report on Citigroup indicates the financial conglomerate's exposure to subprime losses could be as much as $3 billion -- though hedging activity would offset a good portion of that amount. At risk are unsold subprime loans originated by the company's warehouse customers.

Delta Originations Up, Earnings Evaporate
Delta Financial Corp. was able to boost quarterly originations, but earnings were down by more than 80 percent. The subprime lender took out new financing in an effort to maintain liquidity.

Countrywide Volume Falling
Monthly loan originations fell at Countrywide Financial Corp. and may be headed lower. A year-over-year increase would have turned to a decline had it not been for a jump in correspondent purchases.

Better Borrower Bureau
More delinquent borrowers are turning to foreclosure help hotlines earlier as proposals to boost foreclosure assistance funds grow. Even the Better Business Bureau has established help for struggling borrowers. At the same time, several companies are being accused of duping financially-strapped borrowers out of their homes.

MUD, Multifamily Deals Arranged
Commercial loans were arranged for several multifamily properties -- though loans secured by two mixed use properties were among a host of other financing deals announced in the latest installment of commercial mortgage transactions.

Recent commercial mortgage activity
Subprime Demand Sinks
A survey of banking institutions by the Federal Reserve indicates demand for subprime loans has dried up as guidelines have become more restrictive.

Wholesale Lending Innovations
A Georgia-based wholesaler has added government programs to its menu while the government has eased appraisal requirements on one of its programs offered through wholesale lenders. Other wholesale activity includes commercial mortgages workshops being offered in several states and recent technology advancements.

Firms Aid Ailing Lenders
An entire industry has sprung up to help ailing mortgage companies. Among the latest services touted are non-performing mortgage acquisition, repurchase consultation and asset protection.

FHA Agreements Terminated
More lenders, including three Texas companies, saw the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development take away their approval to originate government-insured programs.

Acquisition Emerges from Litigation
A lawsuit between two Virginia banks has turned into a merger agreement.

Accredited Sale Collapsing
The deal to acquire Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. appears on the verge of collapse. The ailing entity has filed a lawsuit to try and force the merger.

N.Y. Reaches Out to Laid Off AHM Employees
More help has arrived for former employees of bankrupt American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.

Volatility Looms Over Mortgage Market
Beleaguered mortgage lenders continue to struggle with liquidity, litigation and mergers while hedge funds internationally continue to be stung by U.S. subprime investments. One federal agency is stepping up scrutiny of reported subprime exposure by investment banking houses while another is stepping in to provide liquidity.

Deutsche Closes Correspondent Unit
Deutsche Bank is closing its correspondent lending group slightly more than three years after it was formed to purchase closed nonprime loans from originators on a bulk and loan-by-loan basis.

Wholesale, Bank Technology Advances
Several enhancements to banking technology were overshadowed by wholesale lending technology advancements during the latest week of mortgage technology activity.

Nonconforming Downgrades Continue
Ratings agencies have busy downgrading classes of nonconforming residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.

Fundings, Cash Down at NovaStar
Loan production and available cash continued to fall at NovaStar Financial Inc.

Secondary Conditions Saddling Countrywide
Countrywide Financial Corp. warned that secondary market conditions have become so volatile it has to hold more home equity and nonprime loans on its books -- leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in charges.

President Comments On Mortgages
President Bush currently does not want to consider expanding buying limits for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. He said the real estate market is headed for a soft landing.

No plans for foreclosure bailout or GSE limit increase
Fixed Rates, Apps Improve
Mortgage shops generated more traffic as long-term mortgage rates continued decreasing on U.S. employment data. Rates on jumbo loans and adjustable rates, however, worsened.

More Option One Layoffs
The parent of Option One Mortgage Corp. warned about new cost cutting measures -- including more employee layoffs.

Dems Outline Mortgage Solutions
As they slug it out across the nation vying for their party's presidential nomination, Democratic candidates have turned their attention to the mortgage industry.

Big Retail Mortgage Deals
The financing of several multifamily properties was trumped by more than $100 million in mortgages negotiated for two retail properties in the latest installment of commercial mortgage activity.

Recent commercial mortgage activity
Another Alt-A Operator Out
MortgageDaily.com has confirmed the demise of yet another Alt-A lender. The California wholesaler said the level of its originations was in a downward spiral.
Attorney Busted in Subprime Fraud Scheme
Three criminal cases in New York each involve attorneys accused of mortgage-related crimes. One of the cases involved at total of 26 people in a massive subprime mortgage fraud scheme.

IndyMac Hiring AHM Employees
IndyMac Bancorp is hiring some former employees of American Home Mortgage, which filed for bankruptcy Monday but had begun closing offices last week.

The Case for Seller Paid DPA
The country's mortgage bankers warned that a proposed rule on seller assisted downpayments for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration could have significant consequences for borrowers, the FHA insurance fund and Ginnie Mae if implemented as is. The group called for continued use of the controversial practice -- albeit under stricter guidance.

Impac's Survival Plan
Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. hopes its recent acquisition of a conforming retail lender, as well as its entry into reverse mortgage lending, will enable it to survive.

Saxon Closes Correspondent Channel
Saxon Mortgage has stopped buying business from correspondent customers.

Aegis Abandons Originations
Aegis Mortgage Corp. has exited mortgage lending, laid off a significant portion of its staff and decided to operate solely as a servicer.

The Mortgage Crisis of 2007
As several firms warned about earnings and liquidity, Countrywide Financial Corp. touted its cash position. The lending giant was one of two companies this week to negotiate a mortgage lending acquisition essentially at a purchase price of nothing.

Refis Wane, Cashouts Maintain
While the portion of loan applications for refinances has declined and is headed lower, the share of conforming refinances used for cashout held up.

Nonprime Ratings Actions
Ratings agencies this week warned about the ratings on nearly $1.0 billion in alternative-A transactions and more than $1.5 billion in subprime transactions. Meanwhile, liquidity issues and a troubled subprime sector contributed to a negative action on one subprime servicer's rating.

Alt-A Lender Halts Alt-A Loans
Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. has suspended new Alt-A business but will continue to fund conforming loans.

Countrywide to Make Retail Acquisition
Countrywide Financial Corp. will acquire the retail operations of HomeBanc Corp.

Foreclosure Chronicle
Foreclosures are most likely to increase in the Midwest, with nonprime loans originated last year just now making their way to foreclosure. But the many of the markets with the lowest risk were in Florida.

Alt-A Availability Erratic
The availability of nonprime wholesale programs has become extremely erratic because of terrible secondary markets conditions -- with wholesalers jumping in and out of Alt-A programs. NovaStar Financial Inc. briefly halted its broker business while Option One Mortgage Corp. dumped investor financing, repriced pending loans and stepped up pre-closing audits.

Alt-A Wholesaler Winding Down
A Minnesota-based wholesale lender has sold off its production operations and appears to be winding down.

American Home Bankrupt, Winding Down
American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. has taken a major step in winding down operations.

Foreclosures Keep Rising
The number of mortgages entering foreclosures rose while real estate owned climbed to the highest level this year.

Broker, Lenders Fight Court Battles
Two mortgage companies continue to defend themselves against employment-related lawsuits while a mortgage broker won a legal victory over alleged unauthorized faxes. Three former Countrywide executives have pleaded guilty to charges of insider trading and the Securities and Exchange Commission is currently conducting a dozen subprime lending investigations.

Jumbo, HEL Performance Deteriorates
The monthly performance of nonconforming loans worsened.

Alt-A Programs Quickly Diminish
The secondary market is forcing nonconforming wholesalers to shift their efforts to conforming business that can be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Several Alt-A programs were curtailed this week.

FTC, Servicer Settle Again
A $40 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over subprime servicing practices has been modified to include more concessions from the servicer.

Mortgage Employee Exodus
Mortgage jobs continue to decline and are headed even lower.

First NLC Lays Off Nearly Half of Staff
On the brink of being acquired, First NLC Financial Services has consolidated operations and laid off almost half of its staff in the process.

American Home Mortgage Lays Off Over 6,000
American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. has laid off most of its staff of more than 7,000.

Rates Drop on Subprime Woes
Mortgage hunters were mostly interested in refinancing as the subprime market meltdown contributed to lower mortgage rates this week.

ARM Indexes Improve Again
Along with other adjustable-rate mortgage indexes, the Monthly Treasury Average and the 6-month London Interbank Offered Rate continued descending.

Accredited Ongoing Viability in Doubt
In a delayed annual report filed today, Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. painted a bleak picture of current and future operating conditions. The company said employee morale is shot, executives have been sidetracked with the integration of a recently acquired company and the prospects for its continued survival are in doubt.

Troubles Linger After Firm's Collapse
A defunct Las Vegas-based lender and its owners face a looming deadline from Nevada's employment commission over $319,413 in unpaid wages. The company, an apparent victim of repurchase requests, also faces a host of lawsuits from its former lenders.

Despite Devastation, Some Firms Grow
Despite a turbulent market that has devastated subprime lenders -- as well as the funds that had been investing in the riskiest slices of subprime mortgage securities, one company sees opportunities in buying the loans. Another mortgage firm continues to grow with the acquisition of mortgage branches in three states.

Best Loan Servicers
Residential loan servicers could boost the value of their portfolios by making key improvements to their servicing processes.

Fieldstone Halts New Business
Following Monday's disclosure of its new parent's potential insolvency, Fieldstone Mortgage Co. has stopped accepting new applications.

Digital Mortgage Activity
Mortgage technology providers were busy this week launching new products, enhancing existing technology and acquiring other vendors.

2/28, 2nd Lien Performance Worsens
Ratings on $2.4 billion in subprime residential mortgage-backed securities were downgraded today. The actions reflect the particularly poor performance of 2/28 adjustable-rate mortgages and loans with junior liens.

Mortgage Insurance Activity Holds Up
Monthly mortgage insurance activity maintained its healthy pace.

Flagstar Fundings, Delinquency Higher
Residential loan originations shot up at Flagstar Bancorp Inc. But so did delinquency.

Investment Banker Phases Out Wholesale
A Colorado investment banking firm specializing in acquiring mortgage brokers has scuttled its wholesale lending operation and changed strategies amid the continuing challenges of the subprime market.

Commercial Fills Subprime Void
The nonprime market for mortgage brokers continues to contract, with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage -- at least temporarily -- suspending Alt-A wholesale business. But commercial mortgage wholesalers are stepping up their broker programs.

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