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Archive for ◊ January, 2016 ◊

Four teens were arrested overnight after a chase with police. Investigators said they were tied to at least five overnight robberies.

Thats on top of accusations the teens stole a car that has ties to law enforcement, and an attempt to run officers off the road.

Our cameras caught the chase in action. It all started when an officer attempted to pull over the suspects.

They fled at a high rate of speed. Lead us on a chase for several miles from the Loop and north Main area, all the way over to the Museum District, back around downtown over to Montrose and the Heights over to the Garden Oaks area, said Sergeant John Nickell.

Nickell said during chase the suspects threw out purses, possibly weapons and at the final stop, cash. The suspects are also accused of driving a stolen vehicle, which happens to belong to a relative of a police officer.

They ran two other officers off the road and another officer they ran off the road, they actually hit his vehicle during the pursuit, said Nickell.

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The truth is the Administration could be much more forceful with its debt collectorsincluding ECMC, the largest federal contractor in charge of pursuing defaulted loansin attempting to ease up what have become exceedingly ruthless and drawn-out debt collection tactics, as well as encouraging settlements with borrowers that provide a modicum of relief.

Our treatment of student loans in bankruptcy is based on a persistent myth that college students will get rich quick by filing bankruptcy right after graduationsomething that has never been allowed, nor would be under a sensible bankruptcy policy. The Administration has substantial leeway in enforcing the current law and leverage over its debt collectors, and could set a good example in its final year.

Meaningful, quick debt relief for defrauded students

Since the implosion of Corinthian Colleges last year, the Department of Education has been trying to untangle a web of debt relief claims made by students who attended the now-defunct for-profit chain. Under the Higher Education Act, students can see their debts canceled in cases where schools close or break state law. And yet, nearly a year after Corinthian Colleges closed their doors (due to mounting financial and legal pressure from the Department of Education, SEC, and several state attorneys general), and despite the Department of Educations insistence on fast-tracking applications for relief, minimal progress has been made in granting debt forgiveness even in the most obvious of circumstances.

Today, the Department of Education is beginning a rule making process to determine how to deal with these cases in a timely and effective mannernot just for former Corinthian students, but for the next (likely inevitable) school collapse. But in the meantime, the State of Massachusetts has helped more students apply for relief than the US Department of Educationsignaling that the Department has done an insufficient job making certain everyone who has a claim to relief knows they can apply for it.

The State of the Union provides an opportunity for the President to use this as a cautionary tale, to hit broader themes of what happens when we fail to protect consumers, provide insufficient public funding for education, and ask little of colleges whose business model is built entirely on federal aid. Tonight could be an acknowledgment that, for this year at least, the White House is still looking out for vulnerable students and borrowers.

This post originally ran on the Demos blog Policyshop. Demos is a nonpartisan think tank working for an equal say and equal chance in our economy. We welcome your comments at

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Texans’ Credit Scores Are Tanking
Saturday, January 30th, 2016 | Author:

Despite the Texas Miracle and incomes that are above the national median, Texans are doing a crappy job of maintaining their financial health. At least, thats what a new report from says. Those aforementioned incomes are about 2 percent higher than the national median. Because incomes and credit scores are generally thought to be correlated,Matt Schulz, creditcards.coms senior analyst, says Texans incomes would lead one to believe that their credit cards would be right in the same range.

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Editorial: Overseeing RI debt
Thursday, January 28th, 2016 | Author:

Those of us who have borrowed a significant amount of money, such as for a home mortgage, know that it#x2019;s a big decision, with plenty of hoops to jump through. Borrowers must weigh the benefits of getting the money immediately against the cost of paying it back, plus staggering amounts of interest.

Borrowing can be beneficial. But it#x2019;s not free.

It#x2019;s hardly a leap, then, to say that government decisions to borrow money are also a big deal and should be treated as such. Public officials who think it is in the public#x2019;s interest to borrow must be every bit as judicious as each of us #x2014; even more so, because of the vast sums involved.

In Rhode Island, the mere mention of 38 Studios #x2014; whereby the state guaranteed the repayment of private bonds for a video game company #x2014; is all it takes to remind us that our state has a flawed record on borrowing. Without question, there are some deals that never should have happened.

But as General Treasurer Seth Magaziner noted on these pages (#x201c;RI needs to watch debt,#x201d; Commentary, Jan. 3), it#x2019;s not just the state that has the power to borrow and put taxpayer dollars at risk in Rhode Island. It#x2019;s also quasi-public state agencies, cities and towns, and local fire, water and sewer districts. In all, #x201c;more than 100 entities#x201d; have the power to borrow, and in many cases they can do it without voter approval.

In light of this, Mr. Magaziner is pushing for stronger safeguards and better #x201c;debt management.#x201d; He has reactivated the Public Finance Management Board, created by lawmakers during the 1980s to oversee the state#x2019;s debt management. He is also urging lawmakers to create an #x201c;Office of Debt Management,#x201d; which would be staffed with a #x201c;small number of debt management professionals#x201d; and be charged with making sure #x201c;all debt proposals are thoroughly vetted#x201d; and #x201c;all public debt is managed#x201d; in accordance with #x201c;national best practices.#x201d;

Given recent history and all the dollars at stake, it#x2019;s clear that Mr. Magaziner is correct when he says Rhode Island can do better #x2014; from the debt approval processes across state and local agencies to actual debt management. Such safeguards might have prevented the 38 Studios fiasco that left taxpayers on the hook for more than $100 million, all of it on a deal that never should have been made. Or perhaps they would have prevented a decision by the City of Woonsocket, in 2002, to approve a $90 million bond that was supposed to cover the city#x2019;s pension liability.

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Is a FICO Score the Best Credit Score?
Thursday, January 28th, 2016 | Author:

FICO scores are credit scores, but not all credit scores are FICO scores. Sounds like one of those confusing logic puzzles, right? But its a basic must-know when it comes to understanding credit scores.

There are many different credit scoring models and FICO is a company that actually provides several different versions to lenders. In fact, you may be surprised to find you have more than one FICO score. FICO released FICO 9 in 2014, the ninth generation and most recent version of its FICO credit scoring model. But — and this is a big but — that doesnt mean that the FICO score you get every month from your credit card company is FICO 9. Lenders who use FICO scores to make their decisions may use FICO 8 or FICO 7 or even a custom FICO score theyve asked the company to create just for their needs.  For example, an auto lender may want to weigh borrowers car payment histories more heavily in a custom scoring model.

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So Is FICO the Best?

Are there credit scores that are better or worse than one another? It depends on who you ask. Of course, a credit scoring company, whether its FICO, VantageScore or another competitor, will generally tout that they have the best credit scores, citing their ability to predict consumer defaults and delinquencies accurately and how widely theyre used by lenders. A consumer, however, might be perturbed by one credit scoring models decision to count a paid medical collection account on their credit report, for example, and prefer a score that doesnt ding them for that mark on their credit. Lenders may say that theyre using the best credit score if that allows them to make money without taking on too much risk.

Its important to note that consumers dont get to pick which credit score a lender uses when reviewing an application. In fact, many lenders dont even tell you which score theyre using to make the decision or which credit bureaus report theyve pulled for you. Thats why its important to make sure your reports are accurate and that youre focusing on the basics of what builds a good credit score.

First, you need to understand the data points that comprise your credit score and that can be easily found on your credit reports. You are entitled to a free annual credit report (heres how to get yours) from each of the major credit reporting agencies. You need to know what is on those reports so you can better understand your credit scores, especially since there can be errors on your credit reports that might be unfairly hurting your scores.

The Basics of Good Credit

The vast majority of credit scoring models revolve around five basic factors:

  • Payment History
  • Amounts Currently Owed
  • Length of Credit History
  • Types of Credit
  • Searches for New Credit

You can check your free credit report card on to see what your grade is on those five factors (it can help you make sense of those credit reports youve just pulled) and get a look at two of your credit scores for free as well. Focusing on improving in these major areas can help you improve all of your scores over-time.

More on Credit Reports amp; Credit Scores:

  • The Credit Reports Learning Center
  • How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?
  • What’s a Bad Credit Score?

Image: gpointstudio

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recently: The lottery gives you a one-in-two hundred million chance of
not going in to work tomorrow. Alcohol gives you one-in-five. What are
the odds that the person sitting next to you in the movies could
benefit from refinancing, even after years of low rates and being
bombarded with lower your rate flyers? According to Black Knight,
still pretty good: there are millions of borrowers out there who could still benefit.

Plenty of smart folks in our business think that the credit box
has to expand. It is probably more like a credit amoeba but
nonetheless lets take a look at credit score trends and lenders
approaches to evaluating credit. Rep. Royce and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), have introduced HR 4211, the Credit Score Competition Act of 2015, which will allow Freddie amp; Fannie to use other credit scoring models besides Fair Isaacs FICO.
Royce and Sewell based their legislation on the problems faced by
would-be homebuyers (like low- and middle-income Americans) who can
responsibly pursue homeownership but dont have a FICO score. The
authors also noted that the GSEs maintain a near-monopoly on the
secondary market and relying on FICO solely reinforces this dominance.

TransUnion released a new report forecasting the state of the credit and mortgage lending industries in 2016.
The report reveals that the consumer lending market will have fully
recovered by the end of next year from the mortgage crisis and ensuing
Great Recession. TransUnion
forecasts that the mortgage delinquency rate will decline from 2.50% at
the end of 2015 to 2.06% at the end of 2016. The 2016 projection is in
the range of delinquency rates seen before the mortgage crisis. Mortgage
debt per borrower has also slowly gained in recent years, which is
partly due to a rebound in housing prices. Debt levels are expected to
increase to $192,512 at the end of 2016, from a projected $189,917 in Q4
2015. Credit card delinquency rates are expected to be 1.46% at the
conclusion of 2016 – the fourth consecutive year with delinquency rates
below 1.5% and a nearly 50% decline from the end of 2009. Credit card
debt per borrower is expected to remain flat in 2016, moving from an
estimated $5,281 in Q4 2015 to $5,262 in Q4 2016.

Recently Ellie Mae published its Origination Insight Report, finding that credit scores on closed loans have dropped to the lowest level
since Ellie Mae began tracking the data in August 2011.The average FICO
scores on all loans fell to 723, while refinance transactions accounted
for 42 percent of overall loan volume in September, up 5 percent from
August. The drop in interest rates has contributed to the greater share
of refinances. Purchase transactions represented 57 percent of overall
loan volume in September, compared to 62 percent in August. Other
findings from the report include, the average 30-year rate for all loans
fell to 4.280, the first decline since May and the average time to
close all loans dropped to 46 days.

The average days to close a loan increased by 3 in November,according to Ellie Mae. Blame TRID? Sure, why not. Average FICO slipped a point to 721.

As of December 12th, United Wholesale Mortgage began offering Fannie Maes HomeReady product. The
HomeReady mortgage allows us to offer an unbeatable competitive
advantage for buyers with a low down payment and decent credit scores,
said Anthony Bird, owner of Riverbank Finance, a partner of UWM.
Combining this program with lender paid mortgage insurance blows away
the competition with lower payments and lower costs. Click the link to learn more about UWM and HomeReady.

Angel Oaks has jumbo loans available with features such as, interest only, up to 90% LTV/CLTV, no MI, and down to 500 credit scores.

Citi Correspondent has published its most recent credit policy updates and clarifications to be viewed by its clients.

And back in December Ditech
spread the word it would no longer require clients to send in a check
for principal curtailments. The principal curtailment amount will be
netted from the wire when the loan is purchased. As a reminder, the
curtailment amount must meet program parameters. Ditech also announced
the reinstatement of its Jumbo AA High LTV Fixed Rate Product. Effective
immediately it will accept loan registrations and locks on this
product. Be aware that there have been changes to the credit score and
DTI requirements. The minimum LTV for the Jumbo AA High LTV Products is
80.01%. This minimum LTV has been implemented to ensure that each loan
is placed in the correct product and receives the appropriate pricing.

Walter Investment told us about the fate of Ditechs retail group, of course, but prior to that Ditech
announced the reinstatement of the Jumbo AA High LTV Fixed Rate
Product. Ditech began accepting loan registrations and locks on this
product. Be aware that there have been changes to the credit score and
DTI requirements.

National Homebuyers Fund (NHF) has opened up the Sapphire Grant
program to the state of Nevada. Some highlights include: down payment
and closing cost assistance in the form of a forgivable grant, not
restricted to 1st Time Homebuyers and Minimum Credit Score of 620 (680
for manufactured housing). View MWF product matrix for full program details.

Sun West
has updated its guidelines for VA IRRRLs submitted on or afterJanuary
4, 2016. The maximum recoupment period limited to 120 months and income
documentation requirement no longer applicable. The borrower must be
current at the time of closing with no 30 days past due payments in the
past six months. The minimum FICO of 620 remains unchanged.

Correspondent National Bulletin 2015-23 includes information on Product
and Guideline Updates, Clarifications and Reminders including removal
of overlays. Log into the FAMC website to view the bulletin for additional information and all lock, delivery and purchase by dates, if required.

NYCB Mortgage
has posted expanded product information. One such example relates to
its non-occupant borrower income/liabilities requirements. Effective for
loans with an initial AU submission date on or after 12.13.15, Gemstone
AU will be updated to consider the income and liabilities of all
borrowers on all principal residence mortgage transactions, including
two to four unit properties. Effective for loans with an initial AU
submission date on or after 12.13.15, Gemstone AU will be updated to
consider the income and liabilities of all borrowers on all principal
residence mortgage transactions, including two to four unit properties.

On the vendor side of credit information, a while back Chronos Solutions,
a national real estate finance services provider, has agreed to acquire
Cogent Road, a San Diego-based mortgage technology company. Cogent Road suite includes LOS, verification and credit/data platforms. The
acquisition will allow Chronos to expand its suite of products and
services supporting mortgage lenders as well as add a deep bench of
mortgage technology talent. According to Chronos Solutions CEO, Matt
Martin, Chronos intends to grow the Cogent Road, acquisition into a
mortgage and real estate technology lab, based in San Diego. We expect
to announce multiple new products and services in the coming year with
the help of Cogent Roads talented team.

What about document news in the last several weeks?

In order to provide better clarity on document eligibility, Wells Fargo Fundings
Seller Guide Section 508.02: Document Eligibility will be updated to
include a list of documents that are not eligible for eSignature and/or
eDelivery (in addition to the existing list of eligible documents).

following documents are ineligible for eSignature and/or eDelivery:
Note, Security Instrument, Notarized documents, Final Closing Disclosure
and Notice of Right to Cancel. Wells Fargo Funding considers the final
closing disclosure the closing disclosure signed by the borrower(s) at
consummation. Also, take note of the current Audit Trail requirements
in Seller Guide Section 508.03: eSign Technology Standards and
Submission Procedures.

with all loan applications dated 01/13/16, Mamp;T will adhere to the
updates per Agency Underwriting Eligibility Standards (UES). (The
Agency UES serves all Fannie and Freddie registered loans, but does NOT
include Mamp;T Treasury product). The updated guide will be posted to
MEME. A comparison document highlighting the old policy versus the new
policy is also being provided.

Mountain West Financial clients are reminded that LendingQB and BOLT performed an additional system security enhancement on November 6th.All
userswill be required to change their password at any time after 11/6
to activate the enhancements. If their password is not updated by
2/12/2016, it will be expired on that date and users will be prompted to
update it at next login.

Franklin American Mortgage
removed the requirement for the use of the Age Restricted Property
Form on its conventional products. In addition, the guidelines will be
enhanced to allow the use of the Home Energy Score option for existing
construction homes on FHA products in order to utilize the EEH stretch
ratios for manually underwritten loans.

The markets? There is more attention on stocks, which managed a small rally yesterday, oil prices, which made
new multi-year lows, and Chinas rebalancing act. Arent you glad you
dont have to worry about problems in Europe!? But with Morgan Stanley
putting a fresh price target for oil at $20/barrel we could see some
real problems – and if oil prices head farther south the Fed wont be
raising rates any time soon.

there isnt much in the way of scheduled economic news – some job
opening figures and a $24 billion 3-year note auction by the Treasury. We saw a 2.16% close on the 10-year and this morning it is at 2.18% with agency MBS prices a shade worse.

Jobs and Announcements

correspondent channel news, Does your correspondent investor send you a
lead anytime a payoff demand is ordered on your loan? Does it waive the
EPO if you sold the loan back to them? If not, maybe its time to look
for the right partner. The Money Source
is just that type of lender. With managements unique approach to
treating their correspondent lenders as partners, The Money Source has
given back 8093 leads to their correspondent lending partners in 2015.
To find out more about what a Partnership looks like compared to a
transactionship, please email the EVP of Correspondent Lending Jeff Vanderluit.

the retail side, Are you a successful Loan Officer or Branch Sales
Manager who wants to take your career to the next level but it wont
happen unless your branch manager gets promoted? As a well-established,
privately held company, Network Funding
has the opportunities and the support structure for you to reach your
goals. For example, we have a plug and play branch ready for the right
candidate in Scottsdale, AZ with processing, underwriting and closing
on site. Our growth is focused in the western states (AZ, CA, CO, OR amp; WA) but we have opportunities all over the country. Learn more about us atjoin.nflp.comor contact Executive VP Brett Snortland (832.545.4653) or VP of Sales/Branch Ops Richard Jefferson (480.370.3600) for more information.

In Ops job news, Michigan Mutual, Inc.,
an agency direct/seller/servicer/issuer based in Port Huron, Michigan,
continues to expand its wholesale platform in the West and is excited to
announce that management will be opening a fulfillment center in
Roseville, California. Theyre currently looking for an experienced underwriting manager, wholesale underwriters, a processor, and a closer.
Our underwriters are key members of our sales support team and are
responsible for ensuring timely and accurate responses to our valued
customers. To learn more about our underwriting and company philosophy, visit our underwriting web page at https://michiganmutual.squarespace. com/. And to learn more about joining the team please contact HR Generalist Nicole Francois or Director of Wholesale Lending Al Crisanty or visit our careers page to complete an application.

sweeping through the Southeast, Was your New Years resolution to
close more loans this year and increase your loan production? Assurance Financial says it can help you realize both. The company is looking to broaden its footprint, hiring top producing branch managers and MLOs
in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi,
Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina and South
Assurance Financial is an established full service retail mortgage
banker with a 15-year history of consistently closing loans on time. As
an example, Paul Peters, CMB, Sales Recruiting Manager, reports that
Assurance is several hundred loans into TRID and has not encountered any
significant closing delays. For more information, contact Paul Peters
at 225-239-7948 or visit www.LendTheWay. com.

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Reisterstown Credit Scores Top Owings Mills: Study
Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Author:

Despite their proximity, Reisterstown and Owings Mills residents have a little distance between them when it comes to credit scores.

According to WalletHub, Reisterstown residents have an average credit score of 683.68, while their counterparts in Owings Mills have scores averaging 660.81.

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Two executives in charge of First Niagara Financial Group Inc.’s insurance and indirect automobile segments are set to retain those posts when the pending acquisition of First Niagara by KeyCorp closes later this year.

Kirk Jensen, managing director and senior executive of First Niagara Risk Management, and N. Craig Stickney, senior vice president and managing director of dealer finance, have been tapped by KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) to continue leading their respective divisions, according to a KeyCorp spokesperson. Chris Gorman, president of Key Corporate Bank, told employees late last month that leaders have been named for both businesses, but he did not provide names.

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Here’s How Winning the Lottery Makes You Miserable
Monday, January 25th, 2016 | Author:

Donna Mikkin
My life was hijacked by the lottery
Donna Mikkin won $34.5 million in the New York State Lottery in 2007. She said the big win ruined her life and led to emotional bankruptcy. Most of us think that winning the lottery is the ultimate fulfillment. But I found that wasnt the case, she wrote a blog post in 2014. Most people look at winning the lottery as some magic pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the rainbow.

The Long Island woman said she considered herself a happy person before the win. When we won the lottery, my inner dialogue was manic. I became more concerned about how I was being judged and perceived, not realizing I was the one doing the judging in the first place, she wrote. If you asked me, my life was hijacked by the lottery.

Richard Lustig
Ive been rich and Ive been poor, and I like rich a whole lot better.
Richard Lustig is one of the rare exceptions. The 65-year-old Florida man is a seven-time lottery game grand-prize winner who is still basking in riches after hitting it big about two decades ago. Obviously its changed my life big time, he told TIME on Tuesday. Ive been rich and Ive been poor, and I like rich a whole lot better. Weve lived in big, fancy houses. I drive a Jaguar. Weve gone on cruises. I cant complain.

The former professional drummer, who banked his largest payout of $842,000 playing Mega Money, has kept most of his earnings and wrote the book, Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery, in 2010 after his latest lotto win of $90,000.

The book has been flying off shelves in the last two weeks. Its been insanity. Weve sold thousands of dollars because of all the publicity, he said. We wait for these kinds of moments, when jackpots get really high. When it happens, boom!

Lustig, who has two children with his wife of 30 years, said the key to staying happy is to hire a good financial planner and a good accountant after paying off all debts. Im smarter than that, he said. People, they just dont think. You have to secure your future. The reason why you hear those horror stories about people who win huge amounts like that and all of a sudden theyre filing bankruptcy is because its usually from people who have never had that kind of money before in their lives, he added. They just go through it like crazy. They think theres no tomorrow. Well, there is a tomorrow and eventually it will run out.

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Here’s how secured credit cards work
Monday, January 25th, 2016 | Author:

Using a secured credit card can be a useful step in establishing your credit history and a great bridge to using more traditional, unsecured cards.

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