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Industry Voices Concern over New Securitization Rule

The FDIC has requested comments from the industry on a new regulation that would limit safe harbor protections for assets, including mortgages, which have been securitized by failed banks. FDIC officials say the rule would return some confidence to the tenuous secondary market, but industry trade groups argue that it could have a counter effect of creating ""substantial uncertainty"" for investors and stifle an important financing channel.

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Debate Continues over Fannie and Freddie’s Future

The debate over the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continues to heat up. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released an unpublished proposal to DS News this week that advocates converting the two GSEs into government-chartered, non-profit corporations. Fannie and Freddie's own supervisory agency acknowledges that operating in conservatorship is not a long-term solution for the two companies, but the administration says it will not unveil its plan for the GSEs until 2011.

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Trepp Announces Acquisition of Foresight Analytics

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, New York-based Trepp, LLC, an independent provider of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and commercial mortgage information, confirmed Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Foresight Analytics, LLC, an Oakland, California-based provider of real estate market consulting services.

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Commercial Mortgage Defaults Hit 16-Year High

The default rate on commercial real estate mortgages held by U.S. banks closed out 2009 more than double what it was a year earlier. Real Capital Analytics has reported that the default rate on loans made for office, retail, hotel, and industrial spaces shot up to 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to 1.6 percent for the same period in 2008. Defaults on multifamily mortgages soared even higher - a staggering 250 percent - with the rate jumping from 1.8 percent to 4.4 percent.

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National Creditors Connection Expands Sales Team

To keep pace with rapid growth in its client base, National Creditors Connection, Inc. (NCCI) is expanding its sales force. The Lake Forest, California-based company just announced that it has promoted Justin Meece to East region director of sales. Upon his promotion, Mark Shapiro was added to the team as a new national account manager.

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Encore Retail Names VP and Director of Leasing

Encore Retail, LLC, a privately held real estate development firm and subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., recently announced the appointment of Michael Nelson as VP and director of leasing for the company. Nelson brings over 25 years' experience in retail, office, medical, and industrial assets to his new position.

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Commercial Real Estate to Begin Recovery in 2011

Despite current reports of stabilization within the economy, commercial real estate sectors continue to be negatively impacted by fallout from the recession, but according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there is hope for some improvement by next year. Vacancy rates are expected to stay elevated throughout 2010, but NAR says with the job market anticipated to turn for the better later this year, the industry should see rising demand for office and warehouse space in 2011.

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Commercial Real Estate Prices Post Record Monthly Gain

Prices of commercial properties in the United States rose 4.1 percent in December, Moody's Investors Service said Monday, further feeding the debate over whether the sector's unpredictable crash has passed or still lies in the cards. It was the largest month-to-month increase in the 10-year history of Moody's commercial index, and marked the second consecutive month of price gains reported by the credit ratings agency. On top of those positives, transaction volume rose more than 75 percent from the previous month.

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U.S. Subprime Prices Down Nearly 6%: Fitch

Subprime is a word that's now ostracized within the industry, but the repercussions of the housing boom days when subprime loans were commonplace are still resounding. Heightened concerns about the valuation of subprime assets backing U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) has manifested in an across-the-board drop for all vintages, Fitch Solutions reported last week.

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Regulators Shut Doors on Four Banks

Last week came and went without the typical news of several FDIC-assisted bank closures, but the reprieve was short-lived. This weekend, regulators shut down four institutions - one each in California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. These latest bring the number of failures on the FDIC's list to 20 for the year, and nearly all of the crashes have been linked in some way to bad mortgages or construction and development lending.

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