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09 Sep 13 Top 5 Errors 1st Time House Buyers Should Avoid in the Loan Process

1. Making mistakes when it comes to a borrower’s credit report. Don’t assume that you should automatically pay off all charge cards and unsecured loans to qualify?

2. Don’t assume you are pre-qualified when may not be.

3. Don’t just work with any loan officer. Choose a lender that has a good track-record closing first time home buying loans with competitive pricing.

Buying a house is not like buying a stereo or even an automobile. The financing aspect of first time house buying is very critical and making the goof choices can save you a lot of money over time. Rates are still great and many lenders have announced more home financing products that have created new opportunities. Read the entire Yahoo blog post.



06 May 13 Federal Reserve Survey Reveals Tight Lending Guidelines

A recent Federal Reserve survey revealed that banks and mortgage lenders are not planning on lightening requirements for borrowers seeking home loans and refinancing. According to WSJ, banks remain unwilling to loosen standards on home loans. Cash buyers and investors have been driving the housing recovery so far. If it is going to persist, it will need to include more buyers with home loans, economists say. Last fall, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that  lending standards appeared to be “overly tight.”

Bernanke said the surveys showed that home loan lenders began tightening credit standards in 2007 and have not eased guidelines significantly since. In the latest senior loan survey, released on Monday, only a few American banks reported that they eased standards on fixed home refinance loans over the past three months. A large majority of the loan officers said that the “risk-adjusted profitability of the residential mortgage business relative to other possible uses of funds” was an important factor restraining residential real estate loans. Fear of “putback risk,” the risk that the insurers and mortgage buyers would force them to buy back bad loans, was another important factor.

A number of smaller banks indicated that they were even less likely now to approve a home loan with a FICO score of 620, depending on the down payment. Some more banks were likely to approve a loan application with excellent credit — a FICO score of 720 — and a 20% down payment. About a third of bank loan officers indicated that they were less likely to approve loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration with FICO scores of 580 or 620.

Read the original Market Watch article online.


05 Dec 12 Mortgage Lending in 2013 with FHA Loan Programs

Margaret Chadbourn wrote an article for Reuters in which she considered the state of lending with the Federal Housing  Administration. The U.S. Federal Housing Administration, facing a $16.3 billion deficit, will increase home loan fees next year and take other steps in an effort to avoid a taxpayer bailout, the Obama administration said on Friday.

  • Obama administration to raise fees for FHA loans in 2013
  • FHA asking Congress for new tools to bolter insurance fund
  • FHA to sell more distressed loans and expand short sales
  • Agency won’t speculate on whether bailout can be averted

The agency, a primary source of funding for first-time home buyers and those with modest incomes, said it would raise the premiums it charges on loans it guarantees by 10 basis points, adding, on average, about $13 per month to a borrower’s cost. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Housing officials would not say whether the steps would be enough to keep the mortgage insurer from turning to the Treasury Department for a cash infusion for the first time in its 78-year history. “I’m not going to place bets,” FHA Acting Commissioner Carol Galante told reporters. The FHA’s role in the mortgage market has expanded rapidly since the U.S. housing bubble burst. It now insures about 1.2 million mortgages, supporting about 15% of all U.S. home loans, up from 5% in 2006. Combined with government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB), which buy loans and repackage them as securities for investors, Washington’s footprint in the market has grown to account for nearly nine of every 10 mortgages. FHA still approves cash out loans with bad credit with only 15% equity as long as the borrowers has other strong credentials.

The three firms have helped prevent a deeper housing bust, but heavy losses have sparked debate over how to strike the best balance between protecting taxpayers and keeping credit flowing. An independent audit delivered to Congress on Friday showed the FHA had depleted the capital it would need to cover expected losses on the $1.1 trillion in mortgages it backs. It said the losses would leave the agency $16.3 billion in the red. “FHA is in dire need of restructuring,” said Cliff Rossi of the University of Maryland’s business school, who has worked at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Citigroup. “The latest report highlights the broader issue surrounding housing finance and how much of a guarantee the government should provide and to whom.”

The FHA’s troubles stem from rising defaults on mortgages it guaranteed from 2007-2009 as the housing bubble was deflating. The audit projected those losses would amount to $70 billion. Galante emphasized that the White House’s annual budget proposal in February would be instrumental in determining whether the agency would need taxpayer funds by the time its fiscal year expires on Sept. 30. Any final determination would not be made until September. While officials stressed that a bailout is not a foregone conclusion, critics of the agency — including some lawmakers — are concerned it could turn out to be a burden on taxpayers along the lines of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been propped up by more than $135 billion in funds from the U.S. Treasury. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson said he was “deeply concerned” by the state of the FHA’s finances and urged officials to “do everything in their power to protect taxpayers and restore its capital reserve” to the level required by law. The FHA is mandated to maintain a 2% capital ratio, which is a gauge of its ability to withstand losses, but it has not met that target for four years. The audit found the ratio had dropped to negative 1.44%.  Read the original Reuters update on FHA lending.


03 Dec 12 1 in 3 Say They Would Use Wal Mart for Home Loan Services

With all the low rates being offered by banks and mortgage lenders, you would think that consumers would be more content with the current lending environment. A recent survey indicates that people may not be as happy with their lender as you would think.

One in three U.S. consumers would consider a mortgage from retailer Wal-Mart and almost half would consider one from online payment provider PayPal, according to a financial services study to be released on Monday. The results should be especially disconcerting for banks because the two companies do not even offer home financing or second mortgages.

The study shows consumers are willing to try alternative loan companies as borrowers focus on price, customer service and trust in their provider when selecting a mortgage, said Doug Hautop, lending practice lead at the Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, which conducted the survey. “There is a real threat from new entrants,” Hautop said.  The study’s results were based on online responses from 618 U.S. consumers in September. Non-bank mortgage companies such as Quicken Loans and Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc have gaining market share as some large banks such as Bank of America Corp pull back in a business that burned them during the financial crisis. Carlisle & Gallagher, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, provides consulting services to five of the top eight U.S. mortgage originators, Hautop said. It’s no secret that bank lenders are maintaining high standards on mortgages and they less likely to approve home loans with bad credit.

A Wal-Mart Stores Inc spokeswoman declined to comment on the survey. The retailer provides small business loans at its Sam’s Club stores, but doesn’t offer mortgages. A spokesman for PayPal Inc, a subsidiary of online auction site eBay Inc, said it offers credit lines for customer purchases, but hasn’t announced any plans to move into the mortgage business. Read Original NBC News Article.


03 Dec 12 Sales on Mortgage Bonds Spike 45 Percent

The short-term future for home loan interest rates may lie in the sales of mortgage securities. Issuance of U.S. government-backed mortgage securities soared 45%last month to the highest since at least 2009 as lenders rushed to create bonds before guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increase their fees.
About $207 billion of securities backed by the taxpayer- supported firms or U.S.-owned Ginnie Mae were issued, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Home loan lenders moved up issuance to precede a 10-basis-point increase in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee fees that took effect Dec. 1. Sales of the securities will slow, according to Barclays Plc analysts, after the deluge contributed to a widening of yields on the bonds the Federal Reserve is buying that almost erased the effect of its latest purchase program.
“This dynamic should begin to reverse now since only the timing of issuance is affected and not the overall amount,” the New York-based analysts led by Nicholas Strand wrote in a Nov. 30 report. December “issuance should be significantly less in comparison. This is a significant positive.” The difference in yields between 30-year Fannie Mae securities trading closest to face value and the average of those for five- and 10-year Treasuries reached 110 basis points on Nov. 14. That was 4 basis points narrower than the gap on Sept. 12, a day before the Fed said it would buy $40 billion more mortgage bonds a month to bolster the economy. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. Read the original article on Business Week.


16 Nov 12 Underwater Home Mortgages Decreases Nationally

The White House submitted a budget plan to Congress this year that would have provided the FHA as much as $688 million from the U.S. Treasury, the first bailout in the agency’s 78- year history. The money was not needed because the FHA will get almost $1 billion from the government’s $26 billion settlement with the five biggest U.S. mortgage servicers over alleged foreclosure abuses, according to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the FHA. Mortgage servicers collect monthly payments and manage the foreclosure process.


31 Oct 12 Disaster Relief Plans for East Coast Residents Hit by Sandy

According to Reuters yesterday, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced support for disaster-relief policies to borrowers whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. This financial aid applies to home owners residing in towns and cities along the eastern United States that have been declared disaster areas by President Barack Obama.

Freddie Mac said it “strongly encourages” servicers to help affected borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned loans by suspending foreclosure and eviction proceedings for up to 12 months, waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with disaster-damaged homes and not reporting forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to credit bureaus. Fannie Mae said its policy with mortgage servicers, updated in 2009, allows borrowers to enter forbearance for up to 90-days. Fannie Mae said servicers were reminded of the existing guidelines on disaster relief in light of the recent storm.

  • Mortgage Aid for Hurricane Sandy Victims Extended from Fannie and Freddie (see

To reach Fannie Mae, visit their website in regards to loan relief, call 1-800-732-6643. Call Freddie Mac at 1-800-373-3343.


24 Oct 12 Bank of America Being Sued by the Federal Government for a Billion Dollars

The WSJ run website, “Market Watch”, published some breaking news in regards to a lawsuit filed by the U.S government in an effort to sure Bank of America Home Loans over bad mortgages that were originated a few years ago. The United States government filed a civil lawsuit against Bank of America Corp., alleging the U.S. bank strapped American tax-payers with losses by misrepresenting the quality of mortgage liens it sold to government sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

According to Market Watch, the government alleges Countrywide Home Loans., a company that B of A acquired in 2008, dismembered checks on loan quality in 2007 through 2009, adopting a process called “the Hustle” that aimed to boost the speed at which it originated and sold loans to the companies. The mortgage unit falsely continued to claim the loans qualified for insurance from Fannie Mae. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, called Countrywide’s alleged behavior “spectacularly brazen in scope.” The bank approved high risk  liens, like the “no-income mortgage” and stuck taxpayers with the bill,” he said in a statement. “Countrywide and Bank of America systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance — they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, extended incentives to unqualified personnel to cut corners, and concealed the resulting defects.” The high risk mortgage programs had a high default rate that ultimately led to the foreclosure crisis.

Fannie and Freddie, while backed by taxpayers since the 2008 bailout, are not part of the government. Previous suits have been brought on behalf of government agencies such as Medicare and the FHA. Fannie and Freddie were publicly traded entities before their market funding evaporated in the early stages of the financial crisis, forcing their effective nationalization. Taxpayers have since poured $142 billion into the companies, which along with other government agencies financed nine out of 10 home loans written last year. Fannie and Freddie don’t make loans but guarantee regular principal and interest payments to mortgage-bond investors.

Other actions to speed up loan processing included eliminating underwriter review of high risk loans, eliminating mandatory checklists on underwriting instructions, getting rid of compliance specialists inside the company and revamping the compensation structure based solely on loan volume, according to the complaint.

Instead of underwriter reviews, the company gave those tasks to loan processors “who were previously considered unqualified even to answer questions,” the complaint stated. The complaint also alleges Countrywide instituted the Hustle program while it was assuring Fannie and Freddie that they had tightened requirements and underwriting guidelines. Some $1 billion in loans defaulted as a result of the program, according to the complaint.

Fannie Mae stopped buying or guaranteeing new loans delivered by Bank of America this past February amid an impasse over billions in defaulted mortgages that Fannie said Bank of America was obligated to repurchase. Negotiations over resolving the dispute are ongoing, according to both parties.

Bank of America briefly became Fannie’s top client following its acquisition of Countrywide. It accounted for 20% of all loans Fannie bought or backed in 2009, but that share had fallen below 10% by the third quarter of 2011, and below 3% in the fourth quarter, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

The suit follows in a long line of legal headaches for Bank of America. Last month, the bank agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle claims it misled investors about the acquisition of brokerage firm Merrill Lynch & Co., the largest settlement of a shareholder claim by a financial-services firm since the upheaval of 2008 and 2009. Read the complete Market Watch article on the Government and B of A lawsuit. 


24 Oct 12 Direction the Mortgage Industry is Headed in 2013

The founder of the Lead Planet, Bryan Dornan published an op-ed piece in which he shares his opinion on the direction of the mortgage industry. There is no doubt that there is a lot on the line for the home financing industry in the coming election. This could be profound turning point for an industry that has been hammered with “red-tape” over the last few years. Mr Dornan poses the question on whether or not Dodd-Frank will be repealed if Mitt Romney is elected.

Dornan asks some worthy questions like, “Will the Federal Housing Administration continue to extend financing to borrowers with low credit scores? and Will FHA raise down-payment requirements from 3.5% to 10%?” Read the original article, “Low Mortgage Rates and Aggressive Home Loan Programs in 2013″posted on BDNW blog.


01 May 12 Mortgage Insurance Case Gets Settled by MGIC

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Carly Neals filed a complaint with HUD alleging MGIC had discriminated against her when it preconditioned insuring her mortgage loan on the early termination of her maternity leave and subsequent return to work. After investigating the complaint, and concluding that the parties were unable to reach a settlement, HUD issued a charge of discrimination and referred the case to the Department of Justice (“DOJ”).

Carly Neals applied in May 2010 with PNC Mortgage to get a home loan refinance on the house she owns jointly with her husband in Wexford, PA. Neals is the mother of three children, the youngest was born on June 21, 2010, and PNC determined, based on Fannie Mae’s underwriting guidelines, that her request to borrow 90% of the value of her home required private mortgage insurance. Mortgage lenders typically require applicants seeking to borrow more than 80 percent of their home’s value to obtain mortgage insurance. Neals’s loan application documented her wage and bonus income from her full-time job for the previous two years. This documentation included pay stubs from April 29, 2010, and May 13, 2010, showing net pay of $2,148.98 in each two-week pay period. After giving birth to her youngest son on June 21, 2010, Neals began a period of fully paid maternity leave from her job.

Read the original Forbes article.


01 May 12 New Systems for Lenders Working with Fannie and Freddie

Government mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Tuesday begin requiring the banks and service companies that they work with to note that fees they pay to register vacant homes in Chicago are done “under protest.” The government-sponsored entities believe that the revised city ordinance that introduced the $500 fees should not apply to them. Their government regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, has filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago on their behalf.

Chicago began charging lending companies the one-time registration fee in November, when it introduced some changes to the city’s vacant housing ordinance.  These new rules will go for 1st and 2nd home loans. Previously, abandoned homes were the legal responsibility of only the homeowner. But the Chicago City Council expanded the ordinance to require lenders to register, secure and maintain properties when homeowners fail to do so. Read the original WBEZ article.


13 Dec 11 Increasing Mortgage Fees to Fund the Payroll Tax Cut

Wow, it seems politicians will go to great lengths for Obama’s reelection campaign as they are now moving to fund the payroll tax cuts by taxing future government mortgages. It’s hard to believe that with the social security well running dry that we would slash the payroll taxes that actually fund it, but then to hear that they are going to use mortgages bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fund it is even more absurd.

Democrats and Republicans continue to wrangle over how to pay for extending the payroll tax cut, one option floated by both parties on Capitol Hill is to tap into mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise $38 billion in revenue over 10 years. But the proposal, which would require that the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) undergirding the housing market raise the fees they collect from lenders, has real estate industry groups in an uproar. And housing experts say the additional fees could be yet another headwind for the shaky housing market.

Many lenders are advertising low rates and fees on government loans so we suggest comparing mortgage-refinance rates and terms from multiple lending sources.

The idea of boosting the fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collect was first floated by the now defunct congressional Super Committee tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures, and it had garnered bipartisan support at the time. Now, as Congress looks for ways to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut, the proposal has resurfaced in legislation put forth by both House Republicans and Senate Democrats. If Congress doesn’t act the payroll tax cut is scheduled to increase by two %age points, to 6.2% from a rate of 4.2% – which would effectively increase taxes by $1,000 for the average family next year.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac don’t issue mortgages themselves, but they buy them from lenders and repackage them into securities that are then sold to a wide range of investors. The two GSEs now own or guarantee about half of U.S. home mortgages, or nearly 31 million loans. To protect against any defaults, they charge the originating lenders “guarantee” fees. Last year, those fees averaged 0.26 percentage points of a loan’s value. Under the new Republican and Democratic proposals, the fees would rise by at least an eighth of a %age point – and the money raised would go to the Treasury Department, not to Fannie and Freddie.

Business groups are opposed both to the higher fees and to the idea of diverting the money to the Treasury. The National Association of Realtors and the National Home Builders Association on Thursday sent a letter to Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., author of the Democratic proposal, arguing that the fees “should not be diverted for purposes unrelated to the safety and soundness of the housing finance system.” The groups said the congressional proposal is “counterproductive” and said the fees should be used “solely for the purpose of minimizing the loss exposure of these government-sponsored enterprises, investors and taxpayers.” The National Association of Realtors will send another letter to the House GOP leadership on Friday stating its fierce opposition to using revenue from a fee increase to fund programs outside of housing.

Some in Congress are also adamantly opposed to the higher fees. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are currently being propped up by taxpayer dollars, so it makes no sense to use them as an ATM to pay for other government spending,” says Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-California. “Although I support extending the payroll tax cut, it is imperative we find another source of funding instead of playing these shell games. Fannie and Freddie are already floundering under the weight of the ongoing housing crisis and I fear this could only further worsen their ability to help struggling homeowners.” Home refinance lenders continue to express concerns over increased mortgage insurance premiums so this could really burden borrowers in the Golden state.

The Government Sponsored Enterprises are still burdened with financial problems of their own. Since the Bush administration seized control of the mortgage giants in September 2008, they have received $151 billion in taxpayer funding – money that they must still repay. Having the guarantee fee go to the Treasury instead of Fannie and Freddie would only make it harder for them to pay down their debts, says Susan Wachter, professor of financial management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “If it is raised and goes to pay for Treasury deficits, it’s not covering the deficit that Fannie and Freddie owe, which ultimately is a tax payer liability as well,” she says. “It’s not accomplishing what it’s supposed to accomplish.”

Read the original Fiscal Times Articles on Paying for the Payroll Tax Cut.


06 Dec 11 Banks аnd Mortgage Lenders Still Value Credit Scores

Credit scores continue to drive the underwriting for home mortgages in the United States of America. Yes FHA sауs thеу will bе guaranteeing аnу borrower who meets the minimum FICO scores, but thе actual lenders аrе private financial institutes. Тhе government approved, FHA lenders аrе free tо set thеіr оwn minimum qualification requirements аs thеу аrе thе оnеs whо аrе lending thе money, thеу secure thеmsеlvеs bу requesting higher FICO score. The fact that FHA Credit Score Requirements start at 500, but most private lenders are requiring 640 ficos if they want an approval on a FHA insured home mortgage. Today it is more difficult to get home loans and bad credit, but if you do the interest rates are substantially lower than they were in the subprime “heydays”.

According to Experian, 58% of Americans hаvе а score аbоvе 700, аnd thе average national FICO score іs 692. Ѕо аs fаr аs thе lenders point оf view low FICO score borrowers аrе nоt оnlу risky but thеу аrе nоt thаt mаnу thus requirements оn thеm саn bе tougher. Good credit scores will ensure you get the best lender rates from conventional lenders, but FHA lenders are not as concerned about how high the credit score are. The Federal Housing Administration does offer poor-credit home loan programs to applicants that have some upside in other areas besides credit.

Home loan lenders will check mоrе parameters ехсерt thе credit score factor, bеfоrе deciding whеthеr tо perform thе transaction wіth thе borrower. Тhеу will wаnt tо sее employments salary, wages, debt-to-income ratio ( bоth front ratio аnd bасk ratio) со signers аnd drill dоwn tо thе credit report tо analyze уоur pay bасk abilities. So іf уоur FICO credit score іs close tо thе 620-640 range уоu саn stіll gеt а loan, but thе process mіght bе а lіttlе longer.

So thе FHA credit score requirements аrе set аt vеrу low еnd аt 500 аnd 580 (fоr thе low dоwn payment loans). Вut thе lenders hаd thеіr FICO credit score requirements raised frоm 620, tо 640. Аnd thіs іs confusing mаnу customers whо fall bеtwееn thеsе twо requirements. Тhеу qualify fоr аn FHA hоmе loan wіth credit оvеr 580, but nо lender will lend thеm money wіth credit score lower thаn 640.

The mоst simple thing tо dо, іs tо gеt hold оf thаt credit score, analyze іt, аnd wіth а simple help raise thе FICO score uр. Іt takes twо parameters, time аnd guidance.

The process оf rebuilding thе FICO credit score  will include sending letters tо аll three bureaus Equifax, Experian аnd TransUnion, finding inaccurate data іn thе reports, requesting negative remarks tо bе erased, dоіng sоmе tweaks tо adjust credit cards balance… аnd bеfоrе уоu knоw іt, уоur score mау raise bу 30-50 points оr more!

Most people dо nоt knоw but thеу dо ΝОТ nееd tо hire expensive credit attorneys’ fоr аll оf thіs, thеу саn tаkе advantage оf simple аnd nоn expensive services аnd softwares tо dо mоst оf thе work fоr thеm. Ѕее thеsе twо credit repair solutions аnd pick whісh оnе іs best fоr уоu.


28 Nov 11 Will the Federal Reserve Keep Buying Mortgages?

The buying of mortgage backed securities is an example of the US government subsidizing our housing sector. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his fellow policy makers, who bought $2.3 trillion of Treasury and mortgage-backed bonds between 2008 and June, will start another program next quarter, 16 of the 21 primary dealers of U.S. government securities that trade with the central bank said in a Bloomberg News survey last week. The Fed may buy about $545 billion in debt of mortgage loans, based on the median of the firms that provided estimates.
While mortgage rates are already at about record lows, housing continues to constrain the economy, with the National Association of Realtors saying in Washington last week that the median price of U.S. existing homes dropped 4.7 percent in October from a year ago. Borrowers with a 30-year conventional mortgage would save $40 billion to $50 billion annually in aggregate if they could all refinance into a new loan with a 3.75 percent rate, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Read more of this SF Gate Story.


05 Jul 11 Home Refinancing Interest Fading?

In a recent article, Jann Swanson discussed the decrease in margins for mortgage lenders and brokers for processing home loans in 2011.  Loan companies have been forced to reduce their fees significantly in an effort to compete for homeowners home refinancing business.

Swanson reported that Independent mortgage banks and subsidiaries saw a huge dip in profitability as the average they made on each loan originated dropped from $1,082 per loan in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $346 in the first quarter of this year.  According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Performance Report, lenders increased their overall revenues but profits suffered because of higher production costs.   Only 63 % of the firms in the study posted pre-tax net financial profits in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 84 % in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Marina Walsh, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Industry Analysis said that a significant drop in volume during the first quarter was due largely to a fall-off in refinancing.  This made it difficult for mortgage companies to manage staff levels which in turn caused higher production costs.  Walsh continued, “In the first quarter of 2011, changes in compensation plans and investor expectations are additional factors that likely drove up loan production expenses per loan to the highest levels ever reported for this study.”


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