News from the mortgage front

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Refinance transactions down

Third quarter refinance transactions totaled around $69 billion, according to Freddie Mac’s quarterly refinance survey. Refinance activity fell from approximately $97 billion during the second quarter. Home equity loans and other cashout transactions of $60 billion were down nearly 25 percent from the prior period.

Letter designed to help subprime victims

Mortgagechronicle.com also reported this week that the HOPE NOW alliance has sent letters to more than 200,000 delinquent borrowers that will include a toll-free number borrowers can call for free help. The mailing, expected to start Nov. 19 and be complete by Nov. 30, will be the first of several outreach efforts to take place over the next few months.

Borrower language clarified

In response to many subprime borrowers getting in over their heads, the Federal Trade Commission this week recommended agencies test whether newly-drawn consumer information disclosures actually help high-risk borrowers make better informed decisions. So far language proposed by the Federal Trade Commission has resulted in a 66 percent increase in the respondents who correctly identify actual total upfront charges on their loans.