Subprime Casualties
American Mortgage Network no longer takes applications for subprime loans, according to a company spokeswoman. Market conditions prompted the decision, which will result in 94 layoffs.

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Biggest Mortgage News During December
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2005 Countrywide Fundings Nearly Half Trillion
For all of 2005, Countrywide said residential production was $490.9 billion, significantly higher than 2004 and "higher than any number previously reported by any residential lender in the U.S." Fourth quarter fundings were down $13 billion from the previous quarter.

Nonprime Wholesaler Launched
HomeView Lending Inc. has started business as a mortgage wholesale lender. The Calif.-based company will serve the subprime, Alt-A and option ARM markets, the company's founder told MortgageDaily.com. "People are attracted to the energy of a startup," he said.

Ocwen Hit With Biggest Judgment Ever
A jury has hit Ocwen Financial Corp. with a $11.5 million verdict for attempting to force a woman to leave her childhood home. That verdict is the largest loss so far for the servicer of about 350,000 home loans. However, Ocwen has vowed to fight the decision.

Mortgage Company Loses Lawsuit
A Colorado mortgage company, which touted itself in its ads as providing financially distressed homeowners with a second chance, engaged in deceptive trade practices, a court found in a class action against the company. In a strongly worded 35-page opinion, the court said the company used "bait and switch" techniques, gave out "false and misleading" information and provided a disclosure of the program's practices so "voluminous and complex" that it acted more as an inducement for consumers under time and financial pressures to participate in the program rather than to clarify any questions about itself.

MortgageIT Cutting Subprime Jobs
Subprime fundings fell from the third quarter to about $972.4 million and are expected to continue decreasing this quarter, according to an announcement from MortgageIT Holdings Inc. MortgageIT said it consolidated the unit by reducing the number of subprime branches from six to three, which also resulted in related job reductions.

Dead Fraud
Two previously convicted mortgage brokers were indicted for allegedly using phony information to secure more than $1 million in mortgages from InterFirst Mortgage Lenders. "Through their criminal activity they obtained dozens of fraudulent loans," an Ohio county prosecutor said in a statement. "Twelve of these loans were on behalf of people who were actually dead at the time of the transactions."

Big Texas Producer
Phebe Ellis of PrimeWest Mortgage Corp. was recently named the Top Producer of the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association. "I just couldn't believe it," Ellis told MortgageDaily.com, adding she felt "very excited to beat out some of the bigger cities."
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Best Managed Mortgage Companies
Forbes magazine recently released its Platinum 400, also known as the list of America's Best Big Companies. Forbes recognized M&T Bank as the best-managed company in the banking industry. With a 17.0% five-year return, the parent of M&T Mortgage ranked 225 amongst all companies and eighth within banking companies.

Lender Sued Over Inflated Appraisal
The state's highest court has ruled that a West Virginia woman should be allowed to present evidence that the home loan she received from Washtenaw Mortgage was based on an inflated appraisal. The borrower's attorney said the case brings together almost all of the elements of predatory lending -- broker bait and switch, inflated appraisals and an abusive yield spread premium.

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Sam Garcia
Publisher
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Mortgage Industry News


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