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Biggest February News
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Massive Foreclosure Plan Unveiled
The Obama administration plans to throw $75 billion at the country's foreclosure problem. As many as 9 million mortgages could be impacted, including conforming loans that have been paid on-time and at-risk mortgages. The plan -- which could be a boon for laid-off mortgage employees -- includes loan-to-value exceptions on conforming refinances, bankruptcy cramdowns and cash payments for successful modifications.

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan was announced today by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The program starts on March 4, at which point details about eligibility will made available.

The Treasury indicated that 4 million to 5 million borrowers with LTVs between 80 and 105 percent who have made on-time payments on loans managed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will be able to refinance to at today's lower rates. Borrowers with second mortgages are eligible as long as the first mortgage doesn't exceed 105 percent.

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan unveiled by Obama administration

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UK Knight Plans to Conquer US Wholesale Lending
Less than two years after launching his U.S. mortgage venture, Sir Richard Branson wants to conquer the country's ailing wholesale lending sector. But his firm is keeping mum about its lending capacity.

Branson-owned Virgin Money USA Inc. announced yesterday that is diving "headfirst" into wholesale lending.

"At a time when others are exiting the mortgage space, leaving consumers with fewer financing options, Virgin Money is jumping in with its wholesale mortgage program," Branson, who is founder and chairman of parent Virgin Group, said in the statement.

Virgin Money commits to broker business

Lenders Plead for Help on Warehouse Lending
Mortgage bankers testified before Congress that U.S. warehouse lending capacity has declined by 90 percent over the past year -- a change that threatens the mortgage sector.

John A. Courson, president and chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association, told lawmakers today that many of the trade group's independent members have been hamstrung from the lack of available warehouse lines-of-credit from commercial banks, according to a transcript of his prepared testimony.

BoA Hiring 1,000
Bank of America Corp. is hiring originators and loan processors as it retires the Countrywide brand.

On April 27, BoA plans to re-brand its legacy mortgage operation and the Countrywide Home Loans business as Bank of America Home Loans, a spokesman told in a statement today.

Lender Seeks Loans
An East Coast mortgage banker said it has $4 billion sitting in its general account available to fund commercial mortgages. Another $3 billion is available through financing.

Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. said it wants to fund $7 billion in commercial mortgages this year, according to an announcement today.

Chase Closes Warehouse Unit
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has shut down a warehouse lending division. While the move impacts relatively few employees, it comes at a time when many mortgage bankers are struggling to find financing for new originations.

Credit Line Loss Kills Company
A 20-year-old Mississippi-based company with nearly 300 employees operating out of offices in five states halted originations and plans to file bankruptcy after losing its line-of-credit. But around 70 Tennessee employees hope they already have a new home.

PNC to Cut 6,000 Positions
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. plans to eliminate nearly 6,000 jobs now that it has taken over National City Corp. The acquisition makes PNC a player in the residential mortgage market.

Wholesalers Raise Minimum FHA Credit Scores
Two wholesale lenders are increasing the minimum credit score required on government loan programs.

Modification Statistics and Programs
As mortgage companies commit to an increasing number of loan modifications, more modification firms are popping up. Two groups testified before Congress last week that funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program she be used to modify loans -- with one of the groups calling for cramdowns on as many as 5 million mortgages that are not even in bankruptcy.

Read the full text of these articles and many more at:


Sam Garcia
Mortgage Industry News

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