Articles by Ben Lane

Union Home Mortgage acquires Arizona’s Alliance Home Loans

Claims deal will push Union Home’s loan production to more than $4 billion
Ohio-based Union Home Mortgage, a lender with more than 130 branches in 36 states, is set to grow its business after it acquired Alliance Home Loans, a lender based in Phoenix. According to its website, Alliance Home Loans currently has more than 200 employees, including 100 loan originators who are licensed in 27 states. The company states that it funds more than 3,000 loans annually.
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Direct homebuyer OfferPad secures $150 million in funding to power growth

Targeting $1.5 billion in volume in 2018
There certainly appears to be no shortage of money interested in investing in the burgeoning direct homebuyer segment. Opendoor has been raising money hand over fist, a newcomer named Perch launched last week with $30 million in funding, plus Zillow and Redfin both recently expanded into direct buying. The other growing player is OfferPad, which announced this week that it recently secured $150 million in new funding to continue growing its direct buyer business.
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Trump administration officially nominates Michael Bright to lead Ginnie Mae

Bright has been leading Ginnie Mae on an interim basis since July 2017
Ginnie Mae has been without a permanent leader since January 2017, but that could soon change, as the Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is formally nominating Michael Bright to serve as president of Ginnie Mae. If confirmed, Bright would take over officially for former Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer, who stepped down at the beginning of the Trump administration.
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New York suing HUD, Ben Carson to enforce Obama fair housing rule

State joins fair housing advocates lawsuit against Trump administration
The state of New York is moving to join a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD Secretary Ben Carson over Trump administration recently moving to delay a controversial Obama-era fair housing rule meant to address segregation in housing.
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California landlords fined for housing discrimination

Allegedly discriminated against testers based on race and national origin
The owners of two California apartment complexes will pay a four-figure fine to settle charges that they discriminated against prospective tenants on the basis of their race or national origin. “Denying someone an apartment because of how they look or where they come from not only deprives them of a home, it is against the law,” said Anna María Farías, HUD assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.
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Direct homebuyer Perch raises $30 million to fund expansion

Currently available in San Antonio, Texas
The move towards institutionalizing the home-flipping business has another player: Perch. The company, which is based in New York, launched recently and is currently buying houses directly from homeowners and selling those houses in San Antonio, Texas. The company plans to grow beyond San Antonio and has secured $30 million in funding to power that growth.
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HUD signals changes could be coming to disparate impact rule

Invites comment on whether HUD rule is “consistent” with Supreme Court ruling
Changes could be on the way for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s disparate impact rule. The rule, which was enacted by HUD during the Obama administration, is used as a method of enforcing the Fair Housing Act. Now, HUD is planning to invite comment from the public on whether its rule is "consistent" with a landmark Supreme Court ruling from 2015.
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RBS reaches $4.9 billion settlement with DOJ over pre-crisis mortgage bonds

Proposed settlement would be far less than originally estimated
For the second time this year and at least the seventh time in recent memory, the Royal Bank of Scotland is about to cut a massive check as part of a settlement over the bank’s mortgage practices in the run-up to the housing crisis. Back in March, it was a $500 million settlement with the state of New York. Now, RBS is preparing for a nearly $5 billion settlement with the DOJ that would cover the bank’s issuance and underwriting of mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007.
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Amazon pushes further into real estate with Lennar smart home deal

Launches “Amazon Experience Centers”
Over the past few months, Amazon has hinted at expansion into real estate in various ways. Well, consider Wednesday’s news another sign of Amazon’s encroachment into housing and real estate. Amazon announced Wednesday that it is partnering with Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, to launch what it calls “Amazon Experience Centers,” which are basically showrooms for all of Amazon’s smart home products.
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