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Biggest Mortgage News of 2011

Sales survey is No. 1 story of last year

Dec. 31, 2011

By staff

Mortgage lawsuits, executive compensation and actions against government mortgage lenders were all subjects that were among Mortgage Daily's 10-biggest stories of 2011. The loan originator compensation rule was the topic of three of last year's blockbuster articles. But it was a story about top-selling loan originators that grabbed the most attention.

Out of more than 2,000 pages of news published by Mortgage Daily last year, a story about the 2011 Loan Originator Survey was the most active.

The survey was conducted in July on 80 mortgage loan officers who are among the nation's top producers. The full report was issued in October, and a story about the report generated the most activity at last year.

The super producers indicated that three elements of customer satisfaction are most important. These loan originators manage to maintain high levels of production despite frustration with growing regulatory requirements.

No. 2 on the Mortgage Daily Top 10 was the First-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Litigation Index.

The report, which reflects mortgage litigation activity on cases tracked by Mortgage Daily, found that mortgage servicing litigation had increased 88 percent from the fourth-quarter 2010. The index also indicated that investor-related litigation activity eased, fewer loan modification actions occurred and the overall level of mortgage-related litigation held steady.

A story about the compensation of Wells Fargo & Co.'s top mortgage executive landed in the third spot.

Total compensation for the executive nearly reached $10 million during 2010.

After that was an article about Allied Home Mortgage Corp., which claims to be the "the nation's largest privately held mortgage banker and broker."

The story, from November, indicated that Allied had lost its ability to originate and securitize loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration and had been sued by the government over allegations of fraud.

Claims on FHA loans funded by Allied were reportedly on track to exceed $1 billion. The company is accused of operating its offices as net branches in violation of FHA requirements.

But Allied is challenging HUD in court, claiming that the entity that was suspended was different from the entity that had the problems on FHA loans.

A federal judge has since granted the branch operator's motion for a preliminary injunction preventing the FHA suspension.

No. 5 on the list was a news piece about the loan officer compensation rule.

The story, from March, indicated that the rule had mortgage firms rushing to comply with the deadline.

The story noted that the Federal Reserve addressed yield spread premiums, clarified compensation to mortgage brokers with multiple locations and offered an alternative to borrower-paid fees.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development disclosed FHA Mortgagee Review Board actions against 240 mortgagees that failed to meet the board's requirements over the prior year. It was the next busiest story of last year.

The mortgagee actions included a $15,000 civil money penalty against a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, a $46,000 civil money penalty against Allied Home Mortgage Corp. and withdrawal of Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp.'s FHA approval.

Several service providers that help mortgage firms comply with the loan originator compensation rule were covered in the next most-active story. Those firms included AllRegs, Mortech Inc. and QuestSoft.

The topic of the next biggest article was a surprise announcement by MetLife Inc. that it would sell its mortgage business. The mortgage business, which ranked among the top 15 residential lenders last year, was originally acquired from First Horizon National Corp. in 2008.

During a speech in May before the Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh told legislators that as many as 20 new mortgage lending requirements are in the regulatory pipeline.

Walsh noted that the increased burden is in addition to recently implemented requirements for appraiser independence, loan originator registration and loan originator compensation.

The 10th biggest story of 2011 was about a U.S. Court of Appeals decision to lift a stay on the loan officer compensation rule.

The lawsuit was consolidated from separate actions filed by the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals Inc. and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

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