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Th e M Rep o RT | 57 O r i g i nat i O n s e r v i c i n g a na ly t i c s s e c O n da r y m a r k e t SECONDARY MARKET The laTesT a strong note with its highest an- nualized growth rate for a single month in five years, according to the enterprise's December 2014 Monthly Volume Summary released Thursday. The mortgage portfolio expanded by 4.5 percent—an increase of $7.14 billion—up to an estimated $1.91 trillion in December. It was the highest annualized growth rate for any one month seen in Freddie's portfolio since December 2009, when it grew by 5.7 percent. The portfolio has expanded for four months in a row and five out of the last six after contracting for six straight months to begin 2014. From January 2010 until September 2014, when the cur- rent four-month expansion string began, the portfolio contracted in 48 out of 56 months. December's substantial gain for the total mortgage portfolio was still not enough to bring the year- to-date annualized growth rate into the positive, however—for the 12 months combined, it was -0.2 percent. Year-to-date, the dollar value of Freddie Mac's mortgage portfolio has declined by about $4.55 billion, down from $1.914 trillion at the end of 2013. Driven by higher loan purchas- es, Freddie Mac's mortgage-related investments portfolio jumped by $6 billion from November to December up to $408 billion, according to spokesman Tom Fitzgerald. December was only the second month of the year in which the mortgage-related investments portfolio increased month-over-month. The portfolio ended 2013 at $461 billion. Bank of america loses Bid to Overturn 'Hustle' verdict Judge tosses out company's request to reverse decision, launch new trial in controversial case. B ank of America lost its bid to overturn a jury verdict that resulted in a $1.27 billion civil penalty over the packaging and selling of toxic residential mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to media reports. The bank's bid to reverse the jury decision was rejected by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan. The bank's request for a new trial was also denied by Rakoff. The U.S. Department of Justice sued Bank of America in August 2013, accusing the bank's Countrywide division of misrep- resenting the mortgage-backed securities it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the years leading up to the financial crisis through a program known as the High Speed Swim Lane (HSSL, or "Hustle"). The government said the program emphasized speed over quality of the loans sold, and staff members were rewarded ac- cording to sales volume. Larry Grayson, a spokesman for Bank of America, declined to comment on the verdict but did say that the bank planned to ap- peal the underlying decision. Bank of America was ordered to pay a $1.27 billion penalty in July 2014 as a result of its al- leged role in the "Hustle" case. The bank had been fighting to overturn that verdict since, claiming that the HSSL program ended prior to its acquisition of Countrywide. Charlotte, North Carolina- based Bank of America ac- quired Countrywide in 2008 for $4 billion but has since had to pay many more billions in settlements, legal costs, and loan buybacks as a result of that acquisition. In December, it was announced that former Countrywide executive Edward O'Donnell will collect $57 million for his role in filing a whistle-blower lawsuit against Bank of America in the HSSL case. O'Donnell filed his suit under the False Claims Act. In a separate case, Bank of America agreed to a record $16.65 billion settlement with the Department of Justice in August 2014 over the packaging and sell- ing of toxic residential mortgage- backed securities. The single-family serious delinquency rate declined to its lowest level since January 2009, according to Freddie Mac. In December, 1.88 percent of all Freddie-backed single-family mortgage loans were seriously delinquent, compared to 1.91 percent in November. Freddie Mac's seriously delinquent rate of 1.88 percent is less than half the national average, which was reported at 4 percent for November, according to CoreLogic's November 2014 National Foreclosure Report. "This is good news, meaning that fewer and fewer homeown- ers with mortgages backed by Freddie Mac are 90 days past due on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure," the GSE said on its blog. "Keeping families in their homes continues to be a top priority for Freddie Mac, and we exhaust every workout option to do so. We have helped more than 1 million struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure since the crisis." The number of homeowners who received permanent loan modifications also increased month-over-month. The total number was 5,371 in December, compared to 4,518 in November. The total of loan modifications completed for the entire year of 2014 was 67,152, or an average of 5,596 per month. Single-family refinance loan volume also increased substan- tially month-over-month, totaling $13.1 billion in December (56 per- cent of total volume) compared to $10.7 billion in November (48 percent of total volume). "This is good news, meaning that fewer and fewer homeowners with mortgages backed by Freddie Mac are 90 days past due on their mortgage payments or in foreclosure." — Freddie Mac

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