Articles by Ben Lane

JLL buying HFF in $2 billion deal that will create multifamily real estate giant

Two of the largest multifamily operators are joining forces
In a deal that will combine two of the biggest names in multifamily and commercial real estate, Jones Lang LaSalle announced Tuesday that it is buying HFF for approximately $2 billion. Both JLL and HFF are consistently among the top lenders in the multifamily real estate space, with both companies placing in Freddie Mac’s top 10 lenders of 2018.
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Facebook making massive changes to ad platform after being accused of enabling housing discrimination

Fair housing groups spur changes to housing, employment, lending ads
Facebook is making significant changes to its advertising platform after the social media monolith was accused of enabling discrimination in housing, employment, and lending. The changes come after years of scrutiny into Facebook's ad practices, which appeared to allow advertisers to purposefully exclude certain people from seeing housing, employment, or lending ads.
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Citibank to pay $25 million for violating the Fair Housing Act

OCC fines bank $25 million as Citi shells out $24 million in reparation to customers
Citibank will pay a fine of $25 million for violating the Fair Housing Act, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Tuesday. According to the OCC, an investigation showed that Citibank did not equally offer certain mortgage discounts to all Citi customers, thereby "adversely" affecting some customers based on their "race, color, national origin, or sex."
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New York man admits to playing key role in massive multifamily real estate scandal

Scam defrauded M&T Bank, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, others
A New York man has admitted to taking part in a massive multifamily real estate scandal that harkens back to some of the darkest parts of the housing crisis, including fake residents, fake incomes, and inflated mortgages. The charges stem from an investigation that the Wall Street Journal previously called “one of the biggest mortgage-fraud probes since the financial crisis.”
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PwC reaches $335 million settlement with FDIC over Taylor, Bean & Whitaker/Colonial Bank audits

Auditor settles damages claim for more than half of original amount
PricewaterhouseCoopers will pay $335 million to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in a settlement that ends claims that the auditor failed in its duties by not discovering the accounting malfeasance that led to the late-2000s collapse of Colonial Bank, which funded the mortgages originated by Taylor, Bean & Whitaker.
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Confusion reigns over whether government is backing mortgages for DACA Dreamers

HUD claims nothing has changed, lenders are hearing differently
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Housing Administration, and Department of Agriculture told HousingWire recently that their policies have not changed in regard to mortgages to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. But multiple lenders and mortgage industry participants tell HousingWire that HUD seems to be saying one thing and doing another.
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MBA: Commercial, multifamily mortgages continue performing historically well

Delinquencies remain near historic lows
It was basically the same song, different verse for commercial and multifamily mortgages at the end of 2018, with those mortgages continuing to perform at historic levels throughout the fourth quarter. According to newly released data from the MBA, delinquency rates on commercial and multifamily mortgages remained near historic lows during the fourth quarter, just as they did all year.
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Blueground raises $20 million to turn apartments into luxury medium-term rentals

Leases units, furnishes them, rents them out for 30 days or more
Property owners and managers have a new outlet if they’re looking to get their empty apartments rented out on a long-term basis: Blueground. Blueground, which launched in the U.S. last year, is now ready to expand, thanks to $20 million in new funding. Blueground works with “prominent” landlords in the U.S. to turn apartment units into luxury-appointed rental units that are rented out to “vetted” renters for 30 days or longer.
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HUD to lenders: We are not denying mortgages to DACA Dreamers

The status quo remains, for now
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Housing Administration, Department of Agriculture, and Fannie Mae are not denying mortgages to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, the agencies told HousingWire this week. That’s in spite of what some in the mortgage industry are claiming the agencies are saying about lending to DACA recipients, also called Dreamers.
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