Biggest Mortgage Industry News During 2005; Mortgage Stories from

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DALLAS, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameriquest Mortgage, which faced several hurdles during 2005, dominated mortgage industry news headlines during the year, according to an analysis of reader data by, the dominant online news source for the mortgage industry.

Ameriquest, founded by the President Bush's current nominee for ambassador to the Netherlands -- billionaire Roland Arnall, is on the verge of a $325 million settlement with 33 states over its lending practices. (

The Orange, Calif.-based company was stung by its own employees in Kansas City, Mo. Two former wholesale account executives pleaded guilty to "obtaining money from the mortgage lender by means of fraudulent loan applications and inflated appraisals between May and December of 1999," according to the U.S. Attorney. (

Ameriquest and Option One Mortgage Corp. were named as defendants in class action complaints filed by Texas borrowers. The two companies allegedly made illegal home equity mortgages, according to the complaint -- though neither company has admitted to doing so. (

The biggest news in the net branch sector was an operation that only charges its managers a flat monthly fee. NuPlace Lending, which charges a flat monthly fee of $1,395, targets mortgage professionals with at least two years' experience.

But NuPlace competitors question the practicality and legality of its program. (

Several mortgage-related companies made FORTUNE magazine's latest list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The highest ranking company was Republic Bancorp, at No. 3, followed by Quicken Loans, at No. 12, and HomeBanc Mortgage, at No. 20. (

The growing problem of mortgage fraud surfaced in Detroit, where 20 people were charged in a $10 million mortgage fraud ring under investigation for over two years. More than 100 FBI agents fanned out across the city in October and rounded up "loan officers, straw buyers, collusive sellers, real estate appraisers and closing agents," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office. (

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Sam Garcia
Mortgage Industry News

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