Articles by Jessica Guerin

Cook & James expands with new attorney hire, Georgia office

Stacey Besser joins the real estate law firm
Atlanta-based real estate law firm Cook & James is expanding, announcing the opening of a new office in Woodstock, Georgia, and welcoming a new attorney to its team. Stacey Besser has joined the firm to help managed its increased transaction volume in South Carolina, Cook & James announced recently.
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USA Today blasts reverse mortgages, industry fights back

Trade association says reporters jumbled the facts, skimmed over rule changes
Last week, USA Today released a scathing investigative story that took aim at reverse mortgages, blasting lenders for targeting impoverished, elderly homeowners and leading a substantial number of them into foreclosure. Then, it followed it up with an even more damning op-ed by its Editorial Board. The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association fought back with its own op-ed on the matter, calling out the publication for failing to tell the full story.
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Homeowners are more realistic about their home's value

Gap between appraised values and homeowners' expectations finally narrows
It seems homeowners are finally coming to terms with the fact that their properties aren’t appreciating like they used to. The difference between an appraiser’s value estimate and a homeowner’s expectations has narrowed as owners come to accept a slower rate of home-price growth, according to the latest Quicken Loans Home Price Perceptions Index.
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Fitch: Home price growth slowest in 7 years

Slows "from a gallop to a trot"
Home price growth has clearly slowed down in recent months as the housing market cools after a near six-year hot streak. Now, a report released by Fitch Ratings this week details just how much the market has slowed, and predicts where prices will go from here.
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Waterstone Mortgage names new general counsel

Promotes Stephanie Ziebell
Waterstone Mortgage has promoted Stephanie Ziebell to senior vice president, general counsel. As such, Ziebell participate in the development and execution and management of Waterstone Mortgage’s strategic plans from its Pewaukee, Wisconsin, corporate office.
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Quicken Loans Vice Chairman Bill Emerson: Government used "extortionist tactics" to pursue "bogus" claims

"This case was dismissed and there was zero finding of fault"
On Friday, Quicken Loans and the DOJ reached a resolution over allegations that the nonbank’s FHA lending practices violated the False Claims Act. Quicken Loans Vice Chairman Bill Emerson told HousingWire in an exclusive interview that the nonbank did not admit to any guilt and that the government realized its "bogus" claims were baseless.
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Quicken Loans agrees to pay $32.5 million to resolve FHA loan allegations with DOJ

Mediation finally brings 4-year battle over False Claims Act violations to an end
Quicken Loans is now finally able to move past its beef with the DOJ over the nonbank’s FHA lending practices, as a mediator for the two parties announced Friday that they have finally reached a resolution. Without any admission of guilt or determination of wrongdoing on either side, Quicken agreed to pay the government $32.5 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act for submitting hundreds of "improperly underwritten" loans for FHA mortgage insurance. Click the headline for more.
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Alabama-based Hometown Lenders launches HECM division

Adopts ReverseVision technology to support new channel
Alabama-based mortgage lender Hometown Lenders announced Thursday that it’s launching a reverse mortgage division, employing ReverseVision’s HECM technology to support its effort. This makes Hometown the second lender in the last month to launch a HECM division using ReverseVision technology, apparently finding merit in the "generational lending" strategy RV promotes.
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Older homeowners are spending big on home improvements

Harvard study says aging homeowners will drive this market
Home improvement spending continues to trend upward, with the latest data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies putting the aggregate total at a new high of $424 billion. The home improvement sector can thank the Baby Boomers for that, as research shows older homeowners are spending big on home renovations and aren't expected to slow down anytime soon.
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House committee passes bill to make FHA loans less expensive

Aims to limit mortgage insurance premiums for FHA borrowers
The House Financial Services Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would limit mortgage insurance payments on loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. The bill would repeal FHA's policy that requires borrowers to pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan – something housing industry participants have lobbied for for years.
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