Investments

U.S. to continue investigating money laundering by foreign real estate buyers

Title companies required to reveal identities of high-end cash buyers
The federal government will continue investigating whether foreign buyers are using high-end U.S. real estate to launder money after an expanded investigation found that potentially illicit activity is behind as many as one in three cash purchases from foreign buyers in select markets.
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Rising Stars entry deadline extended!

Fine, twist our arms…
A favorite saying of ours is “deadlines spur action,” and in the case of our Rising Stars awards program, it’s proving true. Quite a few of you are waiting until the last minute to get your nominations in. We’ve heard from quite a few folks that are feeling the pressure of that impending deadline, and we feel you. We get it. And we’re not monsters around here. We’re here to help.
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Redwood Trust CEO: We're ready for Trump to bring private capital back to mortgages

Tells investors that REIT will be "aggressive" when time comes
During an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Steven Mnuchin, the newly minted Secretary of the Department of the Treasury, reiterated the Trump administration’s pledge to pursue reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And if that happens, Marty Hughes, the CEO of Redwood Trust, says that the real estate investment trust will be ready and willing to step further into the market.
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Ocwen SEC filing reveals details of CFPB mortgage servicing investigation

Nonbank set aside $12.5 million for potential settlement
During Ocwen’s investor call, CEO Ron Faris was asked about the company’s disclosure in its fourth-quarter earnings that it set aside $12.5 million for “potential” regulatory settlements. Faris responded by directing observers to the disclosures in the company’s upcoming 10-K filing with the SEC. Well, Ocwen filed its 10-K on Thursday, and as it turns out, that $12.5 million is for a potential settlement with the CFPB.
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Fitch: Is there a housing bubble in these hot, hot markets?

Texas is hotter than ever, but is it sustainable?
Housing in the state of Texas was hotter in 2016 than it’s ever been before, but is real estate in the Lone Star state getting too hot? A new report from Fitch Ratings suggests that Texas is one of a few states where home prices are not only unsustainable, they’re overheating.
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[WATCH] Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says expect GSE reform during Trump administration

Not number one priority, but on the agenda
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat down with CNBC for his first television interview since being confirmed to lay out some of the administration’s economic priorities. Among the items discussed, Mnuchin mentioned GSE reform, confirming that a change in Fannie and Freddie’s current status is still high on the administration’s list of priorities.
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Ocwen expects another loss in 2017 thanks to NYDFS, CFPB regulatory issues

CEO: We believe we have earned the right to acquire MSRs again
Despite the California Department of Business Oversight removing the state's mortgage servicing restrictions on Ocwen Financial, the nonbank is still prohibited from acquiring mortgage servicing rights in bulk, thanks to the company’s previous settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services. And those restrictions and other "regulatory challenges" will likely lead to another yearly loss for the nonbank.
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Ocwen falls back into the red in Q4, but results are much better than last year

Posts net loss of $10.4 million compared to loss of $224.3 million in 2015
Ocwen Financial surprisingly returned to profitability in the third quarter of 2016, breaking a four-quarter streak of losses, but the company’s time in the black appears to be short-lived. The nonbank reported Wednesday that it posted a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2016, but the loss is far smaller than the company reported during the same time period last year.
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B. Riley Financial acquiring FBR & Co. in $160 million deal

Combined firm will provide research coverage for 600 companies
B. Riley Financial, a financial services firm, announced Wednesday that it is acquiring FBR & Co., an investment banking and brokerage firm, in a deal that values FBR at $160.1 million. “B. Riley Financial and FBR combined will become a clear leader in small cap investment banking and brokerage in the U.S. with 600 names under research coverage,” the companies noted in a release.
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Want to be on the cover of HousingWire Magazine? Here's your chance

One Rising Star award winner honored with magazine cover
Have you ever wanted to be on the cover of a magazine? You get to show off to all your friends, family, and colleagues – many of whom will likely come traipsing into your office and begrudgingly ask for your autograph. Have you ever wanted to the envy of the entire housing industry? Well, here’s your chance to do both.
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