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July 13, 2011

In the wake of the unprecedented back of foreclosures, housing values are often now determined through a process known as the broker's price opinion ("BPO").

BPOs are popular in the foreclosure process because they are cheaper than an appraisal. A regular appraisal might cost $500.

A BPO costs only a fraction of that amount and it can be done quickly. Those factors explain both its popularity and its pitfalls. The

July 12, 2011

Perhaps because of the field's relative infancy, many people are still searching for a way to differentiate between "good" and "bad" prepaid cards. Few cards offer the same services and there is even some disagreement on which features are good and which are bad for consumers.

July 11, 2011

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has postponed the due date for comments on it recent guidance about deposit-related credit products.

The action is notable because it pushes the rule-making process off until after the start of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB has said that it intends to play

July 8, 2011

Jackson Hewitt's business model will change once it exits from bankruptcy. The only question is how.

I will not speculate on the likelihood that some potential possibilities -

July 6, 2011

Government pulls back on jumbo mortgages:  It appears certain that come October, HUD will stop offering backstops for FHA loans of more than $625,000. The new size would occur save for a decision to extend the temporary loan limit rules that Congress expanded in 2008. Fannie and Freddie, in turn, will cease to buy loans above the new loan limit amount.

This is bad news for anyone that owns a home worth more than $729,750 in high-cost

July 5, 2011

Republic Bank announced an extension of its program agreement with Jackson Hewitt in an 8-k released after market close on Friday.

The new agreement extends the ongoing agreement to provide refund anticipation loans.

July 3, 2011

It is more than clear that the qualified residential mortgage will stifle access to home mortgages, but the Federal Reserve is pressing ahead with its campaign to ramp up the standard for down payments. The QRM is a part of the Dodd-Frank bill that implements a risk retention standard for loans. The idea is to make sure that borrowers have "skin in the game" when they take out a

July 1, 2011

A tax preparer in Texas tells me that Republic is telling its ERO partners that they will be able to offer refund loans for part of the 2012 tax season.

Republic is telling aggregators - the folks that provide middle-path services that help EROS file to the bank - that the FDIC has decided to push back their final hearing with Republic until the first week in February of 2012.

On Friday, I spoke with a Republic salesperson who said that as of last week, they were instructed to tell EROs that they would have bank products in 2012.

A Republic spokesperson emphasized that the most recent 10-q stated that the hearing would take place in September. Republic would indicate any change to that hearing date with the next 10-q, due out before the end of July.

If the hearing is pushed back, then Republic would be able to offer loans through part of the busy

July 1, 2011

Testimony from the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs' hearing on how GSE reform will influence the capacity and ongoing viability of small banks:

June 30, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service says that it will not allow consumers to direct any part of their tax refund to pay to settle their tax preparation fees.

The new split refund proposal would have cleared the way to solve a pending problem for consumers. With the likely elimination of refund anticipation loans, consumers will have fewer

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