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FHA, Conforming Limits Boosted
President Bush has signed into law emergency legislation that will temporarily increase the conforming limit by 75 percent. In addition, the limit for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration will also see a temporary boost.

H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, was signed by Bush last week.

The bill is intended to jumpstart the ailing U.S. economy and help the country avert a recession -- though some suggest a recession is already in place.
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$729,750 limit effective July 1 to Dec. 31

Emergency Action May Boost Loan Limits
House and Senate Democrats have worked out an economic stimulus package with the president that includes an increase to conforming and government loan limits.

FHA Limits May Rise in March
Borrowers may be able to apply in March under the expanded loan limits for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Political Mortgage News
Mortgage people in politics. Political contributions by
mortgage companies. Coverage of political support
by lenders and executives. GSE lobbying and issues.

Net Branch Companies Tout Growth
As firms collapsed and more than 100,000 employees left the mortgage industry last year, three net branch companies are reporting growth.

Since the beginning of 2007, has tracked the demise of more than 150 mortgage firms -- including several net branch companies. In addition, approximately 114,600 people employed in mortgage lending exited the industry last year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But three national branch operations show no sign of disappearing.
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Wholesaler Hiring, Growing
A California-based wholesale lender should have no problem finding qualified employees for its planned expansion this year.

Countrywide Accused of Firing Whistleblower
A former regional vice president of a Countrywide Financial Corp. affiliate has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that he was fired for alerting executives that he wouldn't approval fraudulent loans.

Mark Zachary, who managed the Houston division of Countrywide KB Home Loans, has charged in the suit that he was dismissed for failing to meet loan approval deadlines that would have required that he engage in illegal and fraudulent practices, practices to which he had unsuccessfully alerted Countrywide executives.

These practices, Zachary alleges, include the encouragement and acceptance of inflated appraisals, the overstating of income of at least one borrower by a Countrywide loan officer, the flipping of full documentation loan applications into stated income or no income-no assets subprime loans, approving loans that lack the "critical documentation and information," and setting and enforcing a 10 percent daily quota for approving a backlog of loan applications so that KB Home could start construction of homes under contract.
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Broker Sued for $6 Million in Fraud
A Maryland-based wholesale lender has sued a Virginia-based mortgage broker over claims it fabricated and altered files on nearly $6 million in mortgages. A judgment of more than $15 million is sought.

2 Wholesalers Close Shop
The closing of two wholesale lending operations topped the latest corporate activity this week.

Embezzlement Topples Net Branch
A nationwide mortgage banking company, with some 650 employees in 85 branches, has stopped funding loans and paying employees in the wake of the alleged embezzlement of $4 million by the chief financial officer, a branch manager told

2007 Mortgage Litigation Report
Mortgage lawsuits last year were dominated by investors accusing companies of financial fraud, according to a new mortgage litigation report. Other types of lawsuits frequently filed against lenders involved mortgage fraud, secondary marketing and employment.

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


Sam Garcia
Mortgage Industry News

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