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Short Takes: Hedge Fund Reduces (Slightly) its Stake in Ellington / Ocwen Reps Will Speak Japanese / U.S. Bank Likes HELs / DocMagic Signs Up Mid America / CMLA Names New Chair

Mon, 08/31/2015

By Brandon Ivey, Paul Muolo

Bay Pond Investors Bermuda LP has reduced its stake in Ellington Financial to 5.01 percent from 5.21 percent, according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ellington, meanwhile, is a buyer of residential loans that don’t meet the qualified mortgage test. Bay Pond’s backers include – among others – the state of New Jersey, which has invested several million dollars with the hedge fund…

Ocwen Financial announced on Tuesday that it started a pilot program where its servicing representatives will speak in Japanese and Tagalog with troubled borrowers. The program was prompted by suggestions from Ocwen’s consumer advisory council. The servicer already provided such service for Spanish speakers, while translation services are provides for other languages via third-party interpreters who are conferenced into calls. Most of Ocwen’s back-office workers are in India and the Philippines, where call center workers make much less than their U.S. counterparts.

DATA POINT: U.S. Bank had $36.40 billion in home equity-related holdings at the end of June, up 1.5 percent from the first quarter of 2015. The increase to the bank’s portfolio was driven by HELOCs and HELOC commitments. For an exclusive ranking of the top 50 banks by HEL holdings, see Inside Nonconforming Markets, now available online.

VENDOR UPDATE: DocMagic has signed up Mid America Mortgage for its SaaS-based compliance and mortgage loan document engine together with other products, including its eSign system. Mid America President Jeff Bode said the lender’s goal with these technologies is to close loans electronically.

MORTGAGE PEOPLE: The Community Mortgage Lenders of America named Brooke Anderson-Tompkins the trade group’s chair for the 2015-2016 term. She is president of 1st Priority Mortgage, an affiliate of RealtyUSA, one of the largest independent real estate brokerage firms in New York state. New Residential Investment Corp. named Nicola Santoro chief financial officer and treasurer effective this week. Prior to joining the company, Santoro worked for FXCM, Inc., as chief accounting officer.

As featured by Inside Mortgage Finance, September 2015