Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

A look at the stories on HousingWire’s weekend desk…with more coverage to come on bigger issues: The real estate industry buzzed over the weekend with the late breaking news on Friday that DocMagic, a developer of compliant mortgage loan document preparation filed a state and federal lawsuit in United States Northern District Court, in San Francisco, against former ePASS and Reseller partner Ellie Mae for antitrust violations, intentional interference with contractual relationships, interference with prospective economic advantage and unfair competition. DocMagic is seeking a permanent injunction against Ellie Mae alleging misuse of the company’s intellectual property. According to claims filed, Ellie Mae began notifying ePASS Network users that DocMagic will no longer be available on ePASS or Encompass Closer (Ellie Mae platforms), and that DocMagic users would be moved to Ellie Mae’s loan document service instead. Speaking of the lawsuit, Dominic Iannitti, CEO of DocMagic stated that in his company’s opinion, Ellie Mae cause unnecessary market disruption by promoting its own document services without providing transparency on the action to DocMagic. “Quite simply, we had no choice but to stand up for our customers, service providers, fair competition and fair play in our marketplace,” he said. Regulators shut down three banks Friday, bringing the total number of banks shut down in 2009 to 84. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) estimates the latest closing will cost more nearly $2bn. Representing half of that loss is California-based Affinity Bank, with total assets of $1bn and total deposits of approximately $922m. Pacific Western Bank of San Diego assumed all of the deposits of Affinity. Mainstreet Bank of Forest Lake, Minnesota, become only the second bank in the state to make this list. Mainstreet Bank held total assets of $459m and total deposits of approximately $434m. The last FDIC-insured institution to be closed in the state was Horizon Bank, Pine City, on June 26, 2009. The third bank closure, in order of largest-to-smallest assets, is Bradford Bank, Baltimore, Maryland. The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M&T), Buffalo, New York to resolve the closing. Bradford held total assets of $452m and total deposits of approximately $383m. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, M&T agreed to purchase essentially all of the failed bank’s assets. After a near halt in originations, agency hybrid ARM issuance is showing signs of resurgence, reaching $4bn in July, according to analysts at Barclays Capital. However, the researchers are bearish on whether the market will improve to higher levels in the coming months in the current credit-tight environment. At any rate, why should the American mortgage finance market be the only ones who get kicked around? Texas-based JMJ Holdings announced the intent to purchase the Italian AS Bari soccer club from the Matarrese family. JMJ is a player in the commercial real estate and hotel sector stateside and its founder and CEO Tim Barton was in Southern Italy exploring opportunities with green energy projects, according the Dallas Business Journal, when the deal began to take shape. JMJ now confirms that Barton signed an exclusive agreement to buy the team pending due diligence over the next 30 days. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however Vincenzo Matarrese will remain president of AS Bari until the transaction is complete. At that time, Mr. Barton will become president of the franchise. “For all who have sent congratulations and warm greetings, we thank you,” said Barton. “We have received thousands of emails and the warmest welcome from the fans and the city.” Write to Jacob Gaffney.

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