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January 2007 Archive


Chase Dumps Subprime Loans
JP Morgan Chase & Co. has sold off much of its subprime mortgage holdings as the industry continues to struggle through a brutal downturn. But given the right deal, the financial giant would again take a big position.

Warehouse Lender Collects $65 Million
A small New York bank has paid $65 million to settle warehouse lender litigation over the fraudulent activity of a now defunct mortgage lender.

Flagstar Firms
Flagstar Bancorp Inc. improved production in the last three months of 2006, though earnings nosedived.

Subprime Storm Isn't Over
The co-founder and chief of America's largest originator told Wall Street analysts Tuesday that as many as 50 subprime lenders are going down a day -- a trend that he expects to continue though this year.

RMBS Report Card
While Alt-A activity partially offset jumbo and subprime declines last year, the volume and quality of overall residential securitizations will continue to worsen, according to a new report. Meanwhile, the effect of investor purchases and broker fraud on the performance of recent vintages is being examined.

FTC Touts '06 Mortgage Actions
Actions by the Federal Trade Commission last year led to a bankruptcy filing by a subprime mortgage executive and an expansion of educational material for mortgage prospects.

Licenses Lost
Mortgage fraud is at the heart of several mortgage license revocations spanning two states.

Execs Play Musical Chairs
The latest merger and corporate activity in real estate finance includes a new home lender in Utah and another investment banker's purchase of a private lender. And there was no shortage of executive appointments.

AVMs Reduce Fraud
Guaranteed automation value models can help reduce the risk of mortgage fraud.

Servicing Jobs Trimmed
The sale of a mortgage servicing rights portfolio will impact 50 Illinois workers.

Foreclosure Data Mixed
The number of foreclosure filings last year was higher than previous data indicated, according to recent research.

Fannie Business Off
A boost in Fannie Mae's monthly volume wasn't enough to improve quarterly numbers but was enough to improve annual purchases.

BoA, Countrywide Deal
Speculation that Bank of America is negotiating an acquisition or alliance with Countrywide Financial Corp. could be one reason why Countrywide's chief postponed his retirement last year.

Record IndyMac Volume
IndyMac Bancorp continued to break mortgage origination records last year, though its pipeline of applications suggests a downturn is on the way. The company's chief sees opportunity in the current rocky environment.

Mortgage Fraud Index Worsens
Overall mortgage risk was low in 2006, compared to previous years -- although fraud risk is on the rise.

Wachovia Closes Wholesaler
Broker options continue to dwindle as Wachovia Corp. has closed the doors to the alternative-lending wholesale subsidiary.

TIL Errors Lead to Class Action
A federal judge recently ruled that a Wisconsin couple can rescind the payment option adjustable-rate mortgage they obtained from a Maryland-based bank. And, in granting class action status to the couple's claims, the judge opened the door to potential claims from an estimated 7,000 homeowners who have obtained "option ARMs" from the bank since 2004.

Bank Closes Mortgage Subs
A Virginia-based bank holding company has decided to exit the mortgage-lending business.

Apps Off, Rates Diverge
The spread between short- and long-term rates widened amid data indicating future steady economic growth. Meanwhile, mortgage requests fell.

Nonprime Wholesaler Exits
Mandalay Mortgage has notified its brokers that it won't take any more of their subprime business.

Lender Nets More Branches
Three mortgage brokers have joined a growing network branches with a Texas-based lender.

Record Originations at American Home
Quarterly mortgage production edged to a record high at American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.

Crooked Lawyers
A former Kansas elected official who is in trouble along with her attorney husband for alleged mortgage fraud highlights the latest edition of Lawyers Gone Wild.

Mortgage Lead Operation Closing
HouseValues Inc. is getting out of the mortgage leads business -- resulting in layoffs.

PHH Production Down
PHH Corp., which said fundings worsened and are expected to decline a little more in 2007, has begun trimming operations.

Production Employees Wanted
About 50 new mortgage jobs are coming to Massachusetts.

Secondary Dispute
A federal credit union has filed a lawsuit against two companies and their owner for allegedly failing to sell mortgages on the secondary market and keeping the money for herself.

Executive Shuffle
Executive changes dominated recent corporate activity in mortgage finance -- though at least one wholesale mortgage unit is trading hands.

National City Business Up
While National City Corp. managed to maintain the pace of quarterly originations as annual fundings sunk, it will lose about a third of its volume due to the sale of its subprime unit.

Freddie Activity Lifts
Freddie Mac saw fourth quarter business improve.

IL Predatory Law Suspended
A recently enacted Illinois law that placed cumbersome requirements on prospective subprime borrowers was suspended by the governor.

Acquisition Increases Wachovia Originations
Boosted by business from a recent acquisition, residential originations rose at Wachovia Corp.

BoA Business Better
Bank of America Corp. improved its quarterly and annual mortgage production.

Exotics Create More Borrowers
The president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank recently said exotic and nonprime mortgages make it possible for borrowers to obtain financing when they otherwise couldn't.

E-LOAN Settles With Originators
E-LOAN Inc. has entered into a multimillion-dollar settlement for unpaid overtime to mortgage consultants.

RMBS Performance, Outlook
The volume of residential mortgage-backed securities is expected to fall as loans from last year's securitizations begin to default. And purchase money mortgages to stated income borrowers with high combined loan-to-value piggyback loans appear to be driving the poor performance.

Worsening Foreclosures Present Opportunities
No matter how you slice it, conditions are intensifying for residential property foreclosures across the country and mostly point upward to significantly higher rates this year -- led by Michigan. But panelists at a conference last week identified opportunities that exist with delinquent borrowers.

OR Tightens Mortgage Regulations
Oregon regulators have implemented tougher originator education requirements, a mortgage industry newsletter and guidelines for dealing with borrowers seeking exotic loans.

Record SunTrust Activity
SunTrust Banks Inc. ended 2006 with record mortgage volume.

Citi Acquiring ABN AMRO Mortgage
Citigroup's planned acquisition of ABN AMRO Mortgage Group could create the third largest residential mortgage banker in the United States and boost its servicing portfolio to more than a half trillion dollars.

Order Issued Against MLN
Connecticut banking regulators have issued a temporary cease and desist order to beleaguered Mortgage Lenders Network USA Inc. But the company says the action is just part of its recovery process.

ResMAE Negotiating Sale
Another investment banking firm is negotiating the acquisition of a subprime wholesale lender.

Citi Maintains Production
While quarterly mortgage volume slipped, annual fundings increased at Citigroup Inc.

Foreclosures Fall
Monthly foreclosures fell, according to the latest tracking report.

Freddie's Hiring
Freddie Mac's new regional technology center in Illinois has created hundreds of job openings.

Calm Before Storm
Rates edged higher and loan applications edged lower. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve chairman warned that a looming long-term budget deficit is only being preceded by "the calm before the storm" despite mid-term projections of a stabilizing budget.

FHA Approvals Terminated
Five mortgage company offices had their approval to originate federally-insured loans revoked by HUD.

First Horizon Holds
First Horizon National Corp. sustained the pace of quarterly production, but annual originations sank. The company is tightening its origination operation to prepare for further contraction -- although mortgage acquisitions aren't out of the question.

WaMu Worse
Quarterly mortgage production slowed at Washington Mutual Inc., which said subprime delinquency shattered its mortgage earnings.

Chase Fundings Up
JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased mortgage production in the last quarter of 2006 -- but not enough to improve annual volume.

Originators, Processors Wanted
Mortgage originators and loan processors seeking employment on the East Coast can look to a New York-based lender planning to expand in the area.

Legislative Outlook
Reform legislation for FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is forthcoming, according to the country's mortgage bankers. But pending anti-predatory legislation could hurt the fragile real estate market.

1000 ResCap Layoffs
Continued deterioration in the subprime sector is contributing to the elimination of 1,000 jobs at Residential Capital LLC.

Tough Mortgage Banking Outlook
Mortgage bankers see continued subprime consolidation, slow adoption of wholly online lending and declining residential originations. But the commercial mortgage market is seen as a bright spot.

Wells Fundings Fall
Despite improved annual production, quarterly originations took a downturn at Wells Fargo & Co. and appear headed lower.

Branch Operation Expanding
A New Jersey-based mortgage company is branching out.

IndyMac Lowers Q4 EPS
IndyMac Bancorp Inc.'s chairman and CEO warned investors about quarterly earnings today -- though annual income should be a milestone.

CT Fines Lenders
Connecticut regulators fined one mortgage company for omitting a lawsuit with IndyMac Bank F.S.B from its lender license applications, while another was fined for closing loans with an unregistered originator, in unlicensed names or with fees in excess of the state's maximum.

Wells Does 2 Deals
Bank deals, including a joint venture and acquisition by Wells Fargo, dominated the latest mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity.

Biggest & Best
The best publicly traded mortgage-related companies in America are tied to homebuilders.

TN Predatory Law in Effect
Tennessee mortgage brokers helped enact predatory legislation that prohibits balloon payments, doesn't allow negative amortization and requires borrowers to receive a notice that they may be able to get better terms on their high-cost loans.

New Century Unit Downsizes
A branch reduction at a New Century Financial Corp. subsidiary resulted in hundreds of mortgage employee layoffs.

AZ Co. Shutting Down
An Arizona-based company has defaulted on its debts and is winding down mortgage operations -- leaving over 100 people unemployed.

Executive Vs Lender
A former executive has won an $894,000 judgment against a Florida-based mortgage firm. The man alleged his former employer wrote to him that his salary would be cut by two-thirds, then later -- in an effort to avoid severance liabilities -- claimed it was all a mistake.

Small-Medium Acquisitions Sought
Small and mid-size mortgage companies are the acquisition targets of a boutique financial services firm that seeks to create a diverse integrated operation.

Countrywide Business Better
Last years' mortgage market "reflected excess capacity and strong competition," according to the chief of Countrywide Financial Corp. -- which saw its fourth quarter production rise. And with subprime wholesalers dropping like flies, Countrywide's subprime and broker business saw double digit monthly gains.

Mini Bulk Program Launched
Sellers of $3 million prime residential mortgage portfolios are the target of two newly launched programs.

Mixed Rate Outlook
Amid good employment news, mortgage requests surged and rates edged higher. Meanwhile, Freddie Mac is predicting fixed rates will stay near their current levels this year while adjustable rates will become less attractive.

Jumbo Hybrid IO
A new 5/6 Option ARM product being offered by a New York-based jumbo lender offers interest only for up to 10 years and then becomes a fully amortizing 30-year loan when the interest-only period ends or negative amortization occurs.

Ameriquest Trademark Lawsuit
Ameriquest is being sued over alleged trademark infringement. The plaintiff in the case claims to be a former broker customer of an Ameriquest affiliatte.

Broker Named to Fed Council
A mortgage broker is one of 10 new members of a Federal Reserve Board council.
read news story
Reverse Certification Proposed
Reverse mortgage counselors may be required to earn certification.

Subprime Wholesaler Out
The parent company of E-LOAN will exit subprime wholesale lending -- a move that will leave more than 600 employees out of work.

Hard Money Correspondent Lender
Mortgage bankers have a new correspondent lender to sell their hard money loans to.

Funding For MLN Loans
Brokers and borrowers who were left hanging when Mortgage Lenders Network's shut down its wholesale operation may still have a chance to fund their loans.

Credit Unions Can't Use AVMs
The regulator of federal credit unions is no longer allowing the use of automated valuation models.

HEL Delinquency Decreases
More borrowers paid their home equity and mobile home loans on time, but the results were different amongst homeowners with open-end-access to their equity.

Best Mortgage Employers
The best mortgage-related company to work for last year paid its mortgage bankers an average of $82,000, provided employees with professional sports entertainment and brought in a major pop band for a big company celebration.

FHA Limits Announced
The Federal Housing Administration-loan limits for 2007 have gone into effect.

New Century Off
Despite a decrease in quarterly volume, New Century Financial Corp. achieved milestone annual production. But the company's CEO sees this year's business flattening.

Wholesaler Closes
Another California-based wholesale operation has shut down.

Southwest Leads Foreclosures
The annual volume of borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosures skyrocketed, with activity being heaviest in the Southwest.

Branch Operation Doubling
Aggressive growth plans have one New England mortgage company doubling its production, offices and employees this year.

e-Mortgages Delayed
Fewer mortgage executives see paperless mortgages happening soon.

New Owners for 2 Mortgage Units
Two mortgage deals with big players topped the latest mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity in real estate finance.

ING Adding Mortgage Jobs
ING DIRECT has hundreds of mortgage jobs up for grabs.

RMBS Investors Win N.C. Case
North Carolina's top court has decided against hearing a lawsuit brought by a couple who claim they were victims of predatory lending. In a narrowly decided opinion, the court ruled it does not have jurisdiction over the out-of-state trust holding the couple's second mortgage.

Repurchases Stinging Subprime Sector
Mortgage loan buybacks are exacting a devastating toll on subprime lenders -- even forcing some companies out of business.

Mortgage Employment Weakens
Mortgage employment has begun to reflect the consolidation in the industry.

'06 Foreclosures Climb
Loans made to subprime borrowers were the main contributor to skyrocketing foreclosures last year.

Apps Strengthen
More mortgage hunters visited originators as rates were flat.

MTA, LIBOR Higher
The Monthly Treasury Average and the 6-month London Interbank Offered Rate increased again.

Layoffs as Unit Closes
As one subprime unit of National City Corp. was sold, another closed its doors and laid off workers.

Start Rate Discounts Climb
Lenders offered deeper start rate discounts on adjustable-rate mortgages last year.

RMBS Activity Climbs
Residential mortgage-backed securities volume improved last year.

Nonprime to be Hardest Hit
The performance of residential mortgage-backed securities is expected to continue decline in the new year -- though the deterioration is expected be more prominent in the subprime sector than in Alt-A, according to a recent study. And the growth of subordinate financing isn't helping things.

MI Volume Off
Monthly private mortgage insurance volume decreased.

Mortgage Shakeups
The latest corporate activity in mortgage banking was topped by Merrill Lynch & Co.'s acquisition of a subprime mortgage lender.

MLN Dumps Brokers
A major originator and servicer of Alt-A and subprime mortgages says it has stopped funding loans and accepting applications for new loans at its wholesale units as it seeks a buyer of its wholesale operations.

COFI Climbs
The 11th District Cost of Funds Index started up again.

Weak Industry Forecast
Leaders of two of the country's top mortgage bankers are warning that 2007 will likely be as tough on the industry as 2006 -- though some opportunities do exist.

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