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By Paul A. DiSegna | Real Estate Pro in Rhode Island
  • United States Sues Deutsche Bank for $1B over Defaulted Mortgages

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Baltimore, Financing in Baltimore  |  May 4, 2011 9:42 AM  |  499 views  |  No comments

    05/03/2011BY: CARRIE BAY Printer Friendly View

    The United States government has filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and its MortgageIT subsidiary, claiming that Germany’s largest bank “repeatedly lied” to get into a federal program that allowed the company to select mortgages to be insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) against default.

    Once part of the program, U.S. authorities say Deutsche Bank “recklessly” selected mortgages that violated the program rules “in blatant disregard” of whether borrowers could make their mortgage payments.

    According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in a federal court in Manhattan, the German bank and its mortgage unit reaped profits from reselling these government-backed mortgages to investors even as thousands of borrowers faced default and eviction.

    The U.S. government says it has already paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims as a result of Deutsche Bank’s actions and expects to be out hundreds of millions more on future defaults.

    The United States is seeking triple damages and penalties to the tune of $1 billion on the grounds that Deutsche Bank violated the federal False Claims Act and common law.

    The federal program referred to in the suit is FHA’s Direct Endorsement Lender program, which gives private lenders the authority to endorse mortgages that qualify for FHA insurance. In reviewing mortgages for eligibility, the complaint says participating lenders are required to review each mortgage to ensure compliance with HUD rules and implement a mandatory quality control plan, which includes an audit of mortgages that default soon after closing.

    According to the complaint, between 1999 and 2009, MortgageIT was an approved Direct Endorsement Lender and endorsed more than 39,000 mortgages for FHA insurance, totaling more than $5 billion in underlying principal.

    Deutsche Bank acquired MortgageIT in 2007. The suit states that the two entities “had powerful financial incentives to invest resources into generating as many FHA-insured mortgages as quickly as possible for resale to investors,” as these loans were highly marketable since they were insured by the “full faith and credit of the United States.”

    According to the complaint, Deutsche Bank and is subsidiary consistently lied to HUD to maintain MortgageIT’s status as a Direct Endorsement Lender, failed to implement the quality controls required by HUD, did not audit early payment defaults, and neglected to address deficiencies in its quality control system even though these deficiencies were reported to upper management.

    As of February 2011, HUD has paid more than $386 million inFHA default claims resulting from Deutsche Bank and MortgageIT’s approval of mortgages for FHA insurance and the “false statements” made by the two entities to obtain U.S.-backing on thousands of individual loans, according to the lawsuit.

    Deutsche Bank’s New York office did not immediately return requests for comment.

  • 10 Simple Ways to Get More Vegetables in Your Diet

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Baltimore, Going Green in Baltimore, How To... in Baltimore  |  March 10, 2011 2:30 PM  |  611 views  |  1 comment

    10 Simple Ways to Get More Vegetables in Your Diet

    By Meredith CohnPrint Article Print Article

    RISMEDIA, March 10, 2011—(MCT)—Vegetables are important for a good diet—they can reduce risk of stroke, heart disease and some cancers and can contribute to healthy weight. The people at TOPS (Take Pounds Off Sensibly), a nonprofit weight-loss support group, came up with a top 10 list of ways to get more veggies in your diet. Some you may already do and some may be new ideas:

    1. Make a “pasta” dish with spaghetti squash instead of noodles.

    2. Puree cooked vegetables and add them to stews, gravies and soups.

    3. Add raw spinach leaves and an extra-ripe banana to a fruit smoothie. It may sound strange, but the sweetness of the banana masks the taste of the spinach.

    4. Baking? Add shredded carrots to muffins or bread.

    5. Instead of cheese and meat, pile your morning omelet with onions, mushrooms and red and green peppers. Chop vegetables the night before to save time in the morning.

    6. Add chopped spinach to meat when preparing meatballs or hamburgers.

    7. Try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Experiment with different flavorings such as garlic, a dab of butter and Parmesan cheese.

    8. Add salsa to a breakfast burrito, pile it on a veggie burger, or use it in place of high-fat, creamy vegetable dips.

    9. Puree pasta sauce with vegetables such as winter squash or chopped broccoli.

    10. Add chopped carrots to casseroles or meatloaf.

    (c) 2011, The Baltimore Sun.

    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

    RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to:realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

    Have you heard about RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN)? RREIN is an elite network of leading real estate companies dedicated to providing consumers and their agents with leading real estate information, and committed to the belief that Information Share Equals Market Share. Having only launched this past June 2010, the RREIN network is already comprised of 40 leading brokerages, which make up 575 offices, 30,000 agents, 167,000 closings and represents over $41 billion in transactions. How can RREIN help your recruiting efforts and differentiate your company today? For more information, email rrein@rismedia.com

  • Working with a Real Estate Professional is More Important Than Ever in Today’s Real Estate Market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Baltimore, Home Selling in Baltimore, Agent2Agent in Baltimore  |  February 17, 2011 4:23 AM  |  527 views  |  2 comments

    Working with a Real Estate Professional is More Important Than Ever in Today’s Real Estate Market

    Print Article Print Article

    RISMEDIA, February 17, 2011—In a landmark study examining the home buying and selling preferences of consumers in the Mid-Atlantic region, 95% reported that working with a real estate professional is just as important, if not more important, than it was just a few years ago. The survey results were released in a new research paper entitled Keepin’ it Real, by MRIS, the area’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a leading developer of real estate informationtechnology.

    According to the report, which can be found on www.MRIS.com, today’s consumers recognize this is not the time to complete a real estate transaction on their own, and are placing a stronger emphasis on the agent’s professional skills. As such, trustworthiness was ranked as the most critical factor in choosing an agent, followed by experience, willingness to look out for a client’s interest, expertise in negotiating contracts, responsiveness, familiarity with contracts and knowledge of the local community. These requirements are evidence that consumers are seeking more than simple guidance, they are looking for an expert they can trust to execute a step-by-step process throughout the entire transaction.

    “In today’s housing market especially, this is no time to go it alone,” noted John L. Heithaus, Chief Marketing Officer of MRIS. “With 95% of all buyers and sellers reporting that working with a professional real estate agent or broker is important, it is evident that consumers understand how vital they are to the process. A real estate professional has the industry knowledge, networking ability and expert guidance on home buying and selling to deliver top notch customer service and advice, and provide a successful experience for consumers.”

    Additionally, the Keepin’ it Real report reveals that 68% of buyers and sellers rated their agent with a six or seven, on a 7-point satisfaction scale. This high level of consumer confidence reinforces the credibility of the real estate professionals in the Mid-Atlantic area. Nearly half of the consumers surveyed, or 48%, found their agent by way of referral. Moreover, 80% of consumers stated that they would recommend their agent to a friend or family member, especially those that purchased or sold a home in the past twelve months.

    Whereas in years past, the agent was the first step in the home buying or selling process, today, Internet-savvy consumers can gather information and educate themselves, long before contacting an agent. The Internet empowers consumers to search for homes and neighborhood information, compare pricing and explore financing options on their own. Yet, despite all of the tools and resources available, when it comes time to actually buy or sell a home, there is nothing more valuable than the industry knowledge, expertise and guidance a real estate professional brings to the table.

    The Keepin’ it Real research paper is confirmation that today, more than ever, a real estate professional is an invaluable resource in the home buying and selling process.

    For more information, visit www.mris.com.

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