General World News

A fight over Trump’s SALT tax cap is threatening to derail Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan

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Summary List Placement A congressional battle line was forming last week over former President Donald Trump’s SALT tax cap, which is threatening to derail President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. A bipartisan group of more than two dozen lawmakers, calling itself the SALT Caucus, formed to push for Trump’s cap on tax deductions be […]

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A New York City investment manager has been charged with stealing over $2.4 million through PPP loans

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Summary List Placement A New York City investment manager was charged Friday with stealing more than $2.4 million from five lending institutions through Payment Protection Program loans, prosecutors said in a statement. Gregory Blotnick, 33, is accused of applying for five separate PPP loans between April 2020 and August 2020, and lying about the number […]

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An Obama administration economist says the pandemic destroyed a long-held myth about unemployment

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Summary List Placement Throughout the pandemic, Washington Post economics correspondent Heather Long has been providing indispensable context to the Department of Labor’s monthly unemployment announcements in thoughtful Twitter threads. As soon as lockdowns began last March, job losses skyrocketed to literally unprecedented levels, and Long’s analysis helped explain the reasons behind the numbers, what those […]

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is downplaying record debt levels. These are the 15 countries that hold the most US debt.

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Summary List Placement Fed Chair Jerome Powell said this week that while US government borrowing at current levels is “unsustainable,” the current debt level is “very sustainable” and won’t be a concern in the near-term. “The US federal budget is on an unsustainable path, meaning simply that the debt is growing meaningfully faster than the […]

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Final Ruling on Trump Facebook Ban Delayed

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A final ruling on whether to overturn Facebook’s ban on former U.S. president Donald Trump will take a bit longer than anticipated, an independent oversight board said Friday. Critics of the social media company and even strong advocates of unfettered political discourse called on Facebook’s oversight board to endorse the decision to boot Trump from […]

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Blend, valued at $3.3B, plans to go public

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Blend Labs filed a confidential registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, signaling its intent to enter the public markets. The dropping of the S-1 closely follows the mortgage tech firm’s big venture capital raise in January, in which it raised $300 million in a Series G round from Tiger Global Management […]

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Higher mortgage rates symbolize an economy rejuvenated

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In 2020, housing was an economic bright spot for a nation shuttered inside. Globally speaking, things look much different roughly a year later –  jobs are returning by the millions, a series of viable vaccines are being deployed across America, stimulus checks have hit bank accounts and mortgage rates are ascending rapidly from nearly a […]

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4 things that might explain the labor shortage hitting the reopening American economy

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Summary List Placement The pandemic cost millions of Americans their jobs, and while the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 9.7 million of them are actively seeking work, businesses are reporting significant labor shortages.  Weekly jobless claims are at a pandemic-era low just this past Thursday, but businesses, particularly in the restaurant and service industries, […]

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The vaccines keep giving consumer sentiment a shot in the arm. It just set another pandemic-era high.

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Summary List Placement Everything’s coming up roses for Americans. As more vaccine shots go into arms, consumer optimism is the strongest it’s been in a year — they also have stimulus and low interest rates to thank. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 86.5 in a preliminary April reading, from 84.9. That level signifies a new […]

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Republicans say less than 6% of Biden’s plan is traditional infrastructure. BofA says it’s more like half.

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Summary List Placement The leaders of the Republican party have argued that President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan funds too many things that aren’t physical, or traditional, infrastructure, saying that less than 6% of its spending goes to rebuilding roads and bridges. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the plan the same day Biden […]

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Most CEOs at S&P 500 companies got paid $13 million or more in 2020, thanks to median pay climbing 15% on stock rises and bonuses

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Summary List Placement CEOs at more than 300 of the top public companies in US received median pay of $13.7 million in 2020, up 15% from $12.8 million the year before, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.  Executive pay rose thanks to a revived stock market and changes to compensation structures. Less […]

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Zuckerberg Urged to Nix Kids’ Version of Instagram

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Advocates for children from around the world urged Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday to ditch plans for a version of Instagram geared toward preteens. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Electronic Privacy Information Center were among nearly 100 groups and individuals from North America, Europe, Africa and Australia to make the plea in […]

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Manchin balks at GOP’s smaller infrastructure plan — and says he can back $4 trillion as long as it’s paid for

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Summary List Placement Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is open to a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan. He just wants to see the bill covered. That could be bad news for Republicans hoping he’ll break with his party on the next massive plan from President Joe Biden’s desk. Manchin — a moderate Democrat with incredible influence […]

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All Eyes on Purchase at Engage Marketing event June 17

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HousingWire’s fourth-annual Engage Marketing event will feature experts focused on the specifics of mortgage and real estate in a purchase market. While appetite for refinance loans will plunge in the second half of the year, a huge demographic wave of first-time homebuyers is looking to join the market —  assuming they can find a house […]

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McConnell reportedly wants GOP senators to praise Manchin and Sinema, so they won’t move to scrap filibuster

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Summary List Placement Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly pushing GOP senators to praise Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona as they come under pressure to support scrapping the filibuster. Politico reported that McConnell told Republicans during their Wednesday caucus lunch that the Democratic pair could “save this institution” […]

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One chart shows how difficult it will be for Gen Z to make money off the stock market — twice as hard as for millennials

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Summary List Placement It’s going to be twice as hard for Gen Z to build wealth as it was for millennials. At least, through stock and bond investments. The generation can expect average annual real returns of just 2% on their investment portfolios, according to Credit Suisse’s global investment returns yearbook. That’s a third less than the […]

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Mortgage rates move down to 3.04%

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The average U.S. mortgage rate fell for the second consecutive week, down nine basis points to 3.04%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Despite rates mirroring mid-march levels, Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, doesn’t expect them to hold. “The economy is improving on the demand side and on the supply side, a variety of […]

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The 6 richest Americans are worth more than the GDP of 13 US states combined, including Delaware, Maine, and Hawaii

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Summary List Placement America’s richest keep getting richer. The six richest Americans are worth more than the GDP of 13 states combined, including Delaware, Maine, and Vermont, according to data from Forbes and the US Department of Commerce. The publication’s rich list contains six “centibillionaires” — people worth at least $100 billion each. In a […]

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RoundPoint revs up retail operations with new leadership

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RoundPoint Mortgage has added three new senior executives to its management team, as it prepares to ramp up its retail operations. The mortgage subservicer’s board of directors appointed Patrick McEnerney as chief executive officer. McEnerney was a managing director at Deutsche Bank for 14 years before Freedom Mortgage brought him on in August 2020 as […]

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South African Telecom App Helps Gender-Based Violence Survivors

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South African mobile communications company Vodacom South Africa, with British parent company Vodafone and charity Hestia, has launched a free mobile phone application to support targets of gender-based violence, which has soared during the coronavirus pandemic.  The application, “Bright Sky,” provides information for people to identify gender-based violence and get counseling and emergency help. Franco Puglisi reports from Johannesburg. […]

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Republicans turn to the socialism playbook on Biden’s infrastructure bill, labeling anything other than roads and bridges as ‘Soviet’

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Summary List Placement Republican lawmakers are responding to President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill with a litany of misleading and even false statements. The GOP’s longstanding strategy of attaching the socialism label to any Democratic policy proposal is not new. It’s been the go-to move for the party ever since the rise of the […]

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JPMorgan Chase’s mortgage margins narrow in Q1

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JPMorgan Chase increased originations by 21% over the fourth quarter of 2020, but compressed margins ate away at the bank’s mortgage profits in the first quarter of 2021. The New York-headquartered bank originated $39.3 billion in home loans during the first quarter, a big jump from the $32.5 billion originated in the prior quarter. Notably, […]

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The Biden administration reportedly spent months preparing for an inflation spike that hasn’t come yet — and it’s still worried

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Summary List Placement The Biden administration spent much of its first days in office testing how further stimulus might drive inflation higher. No modeled scenario saw price growth surge out of control, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Still, the report said repeatedly that White House and Treasury officials are “worried” about the issue. […]

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Senate Democrats want to replace most of your lost paycheck with permanently boosted unemployment benefits

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Summary List Placement A pair of Senate Democrats introduced a plan on Wednesday to permanently boost unemployment benefits, making state checks larger to cover most of a worker’s lost wages. The plan from Sens. Ron Wyden and Michael Bennet would also set up a $250 “jobseeker allowance” for gig workers and contractors — essentially a […]

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NewRez to acquire Caliber in $1.7B deal

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Acquisitions-hungry New Residential Investment Corp. (NewRez) has agreed to acquire multichannel lender Caliber Home Loans in a deal valued at $1.675 billion, the firms announced on Wednesday. The agreement with NewRez, a publicly traded mortgage REIT, comes roughly six months after Lone Star Funds attempted to take Caliber public. Since the independent public offering fell […]

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Mortgage applications continue to fall, inventory remains low

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Mortgage applications declined for the week ending April 9, according to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. It’s the sixth consecutive week of falling mortgage applications. Applications were down 3.7% from the week ending April 2, with rising mortgage rates and low inventory contributing to the slowdown and leading to a decline in purchase […]

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The purchase mortgage market is back on top

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The share of refinances in mortgage origination volume dipped below 50% for the first time in 15 months in March, according to Black Knight‘s new monthly data report, the Originations Market Monitor. With interest rates continuing to tick up, the purchase mortgage market is where most lenders will focus operations over the next year. Since […]

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GOP senator says bipartisan infrastructure group wants to double Biden’s spending on roads and bridges

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Summary List Placement Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, indicated another major infrastructure plan was being drafted by lawmakers searching for another option besides President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal. “I’ll be meeting with governors and bipartisan group of senators and [representatives] on a bill which will be an alternative to […]

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Biden wants to go after the wealthy on taxes with a $1.2 billion increase in IRS funding

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Summary List Placement President Joe Biden’s $1.5 trillion budget proposal on Friday proposes a ramp-up in spending for education, health, climate initiatives, and more. It also included over $1 billion in increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service to hold the wealthy accountable. According to a White House fact sheet on Biden’s budget proposal, Biden […]

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Nonbank lenders profited $4,200 per loan in 2020

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Across the mortgage industry, revenues swelled to record highs in 2020. Nonbank lenders and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reaped the rewards – they nearly tripled their profit per loan last year. According to recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, IMBs and mortgage subsidiaries averaged around $4,202 profit on each loan in 2020, compared […]