Monday, March 16, 2009

Mortgage Fraud--What You Talking Willis?

by D. Babbs

WASHINGTON — The mortgage industry, applying far more scrutiny after a tidal wave of defaults, reported a record number of mortgage fraud incidents last year, with Rhode Island making its first appearance as the nation's top fraud hot spot.

The number of mortgage fraud reports among loans made last year grew 26% from a year earlier, according to a study released Monday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

The increase came as lenders dramatically tightened their standards, making it more difficult for borrowers to qualify for home loans without large down payments, solid credit and proof of their incomes. With credit far tighter, about $1.4 trillion in home loans were made last year, down about a third from a year earlier, according to trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

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