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Refinance activity leads to increase in mortgage applications

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:55
Mortgage application volume started the year on the upswing because of higher refinance activity, even with a slight increase in rates.

With housing markets staying strong, Washington state set to boom

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:55
Residential market values will continue their overall upward trends during the next 12 months, with the state of Washington set to explode.

Zillow ranks Raleigh the second-hottest housing market in 2018

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:55
This is the year to invest in the Raleigh, N.C., housing market, according to Zillow's Hottest Housing Markets for 2018.

Warren, Warner propose 'massive' fines for breaches at credit bureaus

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:55
The two senators are set to introduce a bill that would force such firms to pay $100 per customer whose personal information was compromised.

Rising equity helps appraisers, homeowners agree more on prices

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 08:55
Increased equity levels are resulting in higher appraisals that are closer to owners' view of home prices now than they have been since March 2015.

Foreclosures hit historic low in North Texas

National Mortgage News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 05:53
A decade after the housing market crashed, foreclosures in Dallas-Fort Worth have slowed to a trickle.

MoneyGram to test payments with Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 14:35
``MoneyGram, based in Dallas, Texas, will use XRP to speed up and reduce the cost of transferring money through Ripple's payment network xRapid... Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that, by using XRP, MoneyGram would be able to move money "as quickly as information."

Sam's Club is closing and converting dozens of locations

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 14:34
Sam's Club, the membership warehouse owned by retail giant Walmart, is shutting down or converting 63 stores, a Walmart official confirmed Thursday.

Of those locations, about 50 will be going out of business for good... Additionally, about 10 to 12 Sam's Club stores are slated to be closed temporarily as the retailer converts them to regional distributional centers to help ramp up its ability to fulfill online purchases. While those stores will reopen in a new role, workers previously employed at those locations are not necessarily guaranteed a role in the new positions.

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"We've decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy,'' he wrote. "We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today. We'll convert some of them into eCommerce fulfillment centers - to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business.''

Early-stage mortgage delinquencies jump after hurricane season

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 14:24
Despite the overall mortgage delinquency rate being down in October, early-stage mortgage delinquencies increased following an active hurricane season, according to CoreLogic.

Less mortgage credit available for lower-end borrowers

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 14:24
There were fewer mortgage programs available to borrowers at the lower end of the credit spectrum in December, resulting in an overall decrease in credit availability.

Metro Denver home sales and prices hit new high in 2017

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:16
Home sales and prices in metro Denver once again hit record highs in 2017, but the pace of price gains slowed as the market reached a higher altitude.

Santa Fe housing market most robust in decade

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:16
JThe Santa Fe-area housing market in 2017 saw the largest number of sales in more than a decade, and average home prices were some of the highest since the national housing bubble burst in 2008.

Laurie Maggiano, HAMP architect, CFPB program manager, dies at 64

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:16
Laurie Maggiano, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's program manager for servicing and secondary markets, died on Sunday.

6 critical questions as housing finance reform heats up

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:16
The Senate Banking Committee is expected soon to release a bipartisan bill that would significantly reshape the housing finance market, but key issues remain unresolved.

FHFA should resist calls to weaken mortgage standards

National Mortgage News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:16
The alternative credit scoring model VantageScore would not increase access to credit, says Joe Smith, the former monitor for the 2012 national mortgage settlement.

Trump hits Amazon with another "internet tax" threat

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:48
"There's always been a fear for players like an Amazon or a Google that something like this could actually get through," Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, told CNBC. "We believe it's more noise than a real threat."

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Amazon already collects sales tax on products it sells directly to consumers, but has faced challenges from states over its policy of allowing third-party vendors to charge varying levels of sales tax.

There's actually no real legal basis for an "internet tax" -- trying to tax interstate sales tax generally runs into jurisdictional legal issues.

China moves to shutter bitcoin mines

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:43

China is moving to eradicate the country's bitcoin mining industry over concerns about excessive electricity consumption and financial risk, reflecting authorities' judgment that cryptocurrencies are not a strategic industry.

A multi-agency task force has instructed provincial governments to "actively guide" companies in their respective regions to exit the cryptocurrency mining industry, according to a document seen by the Financial Times. The move to pressure miners follows China's shutdown of local bitcoin exchanges and its ban on initial coin offerings.

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Many bitcoin miners have established operations in remote areas without even registering a company. Some have also skirted Chinese regulations that forbid end users from purchasing electricity directly from power producers rather than grid operators.

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Bitcoin mining "consumes a large amount of electricity and also encourages a spirit of speculation in 'virtual currencies'", according to the document. Mining operations contradict efforts to prevent financial risk and to discourage activities that "deviate from the needs of the real economy", it added.

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The order does not call on regional authorities to shut mining operations directly, but rather to squeeze them out by strictly enforcing policies on electricity consumption, land use, tax collection and environmental regulation.

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Chinese miners are now seeking ways to transfer their operations abroad, either by physically moving factories or selling their expertise. Cheap electricity and a cool climate, which helps prevent computers from overheating, are the main requirements. Canada, Iceland, eastern Europe and Russia are seen as the most promising destinations.

China Weighs Slowing or Halting Purchases of U.S. Treasuries

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:40
China added to bond investors' jitters on Wednesday as traders braced for what they feared could be the end of a three-decade bull market. Senior government officials in Beijing reviewing the nation's foreign-exchange holdings have recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasuries, according to people familiar with the matter. The news comes as global debt markets were already selling off amid signs that central banks are starting to step back after years of bond-buying stimulus. Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose for a fifth day, touching the highest since March.

... It isn't clear whether the officials' recommendations have been adopted. The market for U.S. government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, and trade tensions with the U.S. may provide a reason to slow or stop buying American debt, the thinking of these officials goes...

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"With markets already dealing with supply indigestion, headlines regarding potentially lower Chinese demand for Treasuries are renewing bearish dynamics," said Michael Leister, a strategist at Commerzbank AG. "Today's headlines will underscore concerns that the fading global quantitative-easing bid will trigger lasting upside pressure on developed-market yields."

Sh-- or get off the pot! It's obvious by now that China is stuck in the same pattern of interdependency it has been with the US for a couple decades now. They've made noises about dumping US government securities loudly since 2008, and even despite short reductions, have always come back to the same high level of holdings...

Japan will trigger ‘the great unwind': Edwards

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:51
``The prominent SocGen strategist says surprise monetary tightening in Japan could be the trigger that finally upend what has been an protracted and unrelenting global rally for assets considered risky... "This could be far more important than the Fed. A lot of major trends start with Japan. People don't focus on Japan enough in my view," he added.''

South Korea could ban cryptocurrency trading

IEHI News feed - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:59
South Korea's presidential office said that any potential bill "is not a measure that has been finalized," according to News1, a South Korean news site.

Reuters further reported that a press official said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after "enough discussion" with other government agencies including the nation's finance ministry and financial regulators.

The news wire later added that once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months -- or even years.

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Bitcoin tumbles on talk of South Korea preparing a crypto trading ban

2 Hours Ago | 02:59

South Korea's justice minister said on Thursday that a bill is being prepared to ban all cryptocurrency trading in the country.

That news is a major development for the cryptocurrency space, as South Korea is one of the biggest markets for major coins like bitcoin and ethereum.

According to industry website CryptoCompare, more than 10 percent of ethereum is traded against the South Korean won -- the second largest concentration in terms of fiat currencies behind the dollar. Meanwhile, 5 percent of all bitcoin are traded against the won.

"There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges," Park Sang-ki said at a press conference, according to the ministry's press office.

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Bitcoin tumbled more than 12 percent following Park's remarks, before recovering. It was down 1.6 percent on the Coinbase exchange.

Ethereum tanked on the news and remained 11 percent lower on Coinbase.

Park added that he couldn't disclose more specific details about proposed shutdown of cryptocurrency trading exchanges in the country, adding that various government agencies would work together to implement several measures.

Later in the day, South Korea's presidential office said that any potential bill "is not a measure that has been finalized," according to News1, a South Korean news site.

Reuters further reported that a press official said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after "enough discussion" with other government agencies including the nation's finance ministry and financial regulators.

The news wire later added that once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months -- or even years.

Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea is very speculative and similar to gambling. Major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum are priced significantly higher in the country's exchanges than elsewhere in the world. For example, bitcoin traded at $17,169.65 per token at local exchange Bithumb, which was a 31 percent premium to the CoinDesk average price.

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6:30 PM ET Fri, 27 Oct 2017 | 06:23

That difference in price is called a "kimchi premium" by many traders.

In fact, earlier this week, industry data provider CoinMarketCap tweeted that it would exclude some South Korean exchanges in price calculations due to the "extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world" and for "limited arbitrage opportunity." The exchanges that were removed from the price calculation included Bithumb, Korbit and Coinone.

CoinMarketCap

@CoinMarketCap

This morning we excluded some Korean exchanges in price calculations due to the extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world and limited arbitrage opportunity. We are working on better tools to provide users with the averages that are most relevant to them.

1:02 PM - Jan 8, 2018

1,493 1,493 Replies 2,817 2,817 Retweets 6,103 6,103 likes

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Last month, the South Korean Financial Services Commission said it was prohibiting cryptocurrency exchanges from issuing new trading accounts. If an exchange does allow new accounts, the government has the ability to take action to either stop trading or shut the exchange down, the commission said in a statement.

The commission added that, since much of the cryptocurrency trading was being done anonymously, users must use their real names.

The government also indicated it would closely monitor banks and would "swiftly" step in to limit fund flows into cryptocurrencies if necessary.