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September Mortgage Headlines
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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.

H&R Block Inc. reported in an earnings announcement today that it still has not met certain closing conditions of the agreement to sell the subprime lender to Cerberus Capital Management L.P. As a result, it is trying to negotiate a modification to the sale that includes just selling the servicing operation.

"H&R Block would be responsible for divesting or winding down Option One's remaining origination business, which would be pursued immediately," the statement said. "As a result, certain shutdown costs may be incurred."
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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.

End of the Line for Fla. Firm
A national mortgage company with about 1,000 employees working from 400 offices will shut down by next month. A cross town rival is slated to pick up some of the company's branch and headquarters staff.

Hard Money Wholesaler Acquired
A hedge fund manager is bailing the country's biggest hard money wholesale lender out of bankruptcy.

Wholesaler Done
A national wholesaler that specialized in Alt-B programs and launched just last year is gone.

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



Countrywide Warns of Massive Layoffs
Countrywide Financial Corp. warned it will lay off as many as 12,000 people this year.

The job cuts, estimated at between 10,000 and 12,000, will occur over the next three months, according to an announcement today. The figure represents about 20 percent of its workforce.

The Calabasas, Calif.-based company, which had a $2 billion investment from Bank of America during August, said the job cuts will occur in the areas that have seen the biggest decline in originations.
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How to Find New Mortgage Job
Laid off mortgage employees who are searching for new mortgage jobs typically go about it in the wrong manner. An outplacement firm has put together a presentation to help unemployed workers do a better job finding new mortgage positions.



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

Help for delinquent, foreclosed borrowers
Acknowledging the strain the subprime sector has placed on the mortgage market, the administration called on Congress to pass pending reform legislation for the Federal Housing Administration, according to a summary of his plan released by the White House.

In addition, "FHA-Secure" will be launched. The program will help borrowers who have good credit but have become delinquent on their mortgage as a result of an increase to their mortgage payments. It would also utilize risk based pricing on FHA premiums.
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FHA To The Rescue
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided more details on President Bush's plan to help delinquent borrowers.



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