Mortgage Insurers Turn in Weak Performance
|HAMP Activity Falls
The overall volume of loan modifications under the government's program waned last month. But one mortgage servicer's recent decision to move thousands of loan originators into loan modifications is starting to pay off.
Mortgage insurers issued fewer policies last month, though the dollar volume rose. Business for all 12 months worsened from 2009, and a monthly deterioration in defaults was noted.
Quicken Turns In Record Production
Quicken Loans Inc. managed an increase in both its quarterly and annual home-loan fundings. In fact, it was the biggest year on record for the retail lender. Employee count eased at the company.
Platform Promises Improved Results
A new platform that links a pricing engine with origination and underwriting systems promises to shorten the amount of time it takes to process and underwrite a mortgage while increasing the likelihood of final approval.
Lawyers Challenge OH Foreclosure Requirements
Six lawyers are challenging Ohio requirements that they "personally certify the authenticity and accuracy" of all foreclosure documents. A complaint filed in the state's supreme court against three judges requests a writ of prohibition.
Lenders Overruled in R.I.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A federal bankruptcy judge has overruled objections to a state-mandated mediation program.
Another Costly Week for Bank Failures
It was a costly week for bank failures, with total related losses expect to come in around $0.5 billion for the second week in a row. Three of the four banks that were closed down had survived the Great Depression. In this week's round, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stopped disclosing terms of the deals it made with the acquiring banks.
$33 Billion in Junior Lien Downgrades
Ratings on more than $33 billion in junior-lien residential mortgage-backed securities were lowered by one ratings agency during the past year. Another ratings agency reported that HELOC transactions tend to be better performers than closed-end seconds.
Best Year for Fannie Since 2003
Like its government-controlled cousin Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae reported two consecutive monthly increases in secondary acquisitions as monthly volume reached a 2010 high. But unlike Freddie, the secondary lender was able to grow its annual activity -- to the highest level since 2003. Lates on home loans retreated, though apartment delinquency deteriorated.
FHA Continues Waiver on Flipping Rule
Rates Might Relent
A waiver by the Federal Housing Administration on an anti-flipping rule has been extended.
Given no economic event before then, mortgage rates are poised to come in lower in next week's reports. But this week's rates inched higher.
FCIC Report Highlights Players in Crisis
WASHINGTON -- The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission issued a report that found subprime mortgage bankers issued limited- or no-documentation loans to unqualified borrowers, investment bankers repackaged the mortgages into exotic securities and ratings agencies gave their a seal of approval. The commission spotlighted a few companies.
Countrywide Sued Over Pension Fund Losses
Pension fund losses have landed Countrywide Financial Corp. in an Oregon courtroom.
14 Sued Over Poor Bank Management
Former executives and directors of a failed California bank blatantly disregarded prudent lending principles on commercial real estate loans, according to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. So far, the FDIC has authorized similar suits against more than a hundred individuals for around $2.5 billion.
Brokers Need More Time to Comply with Compensation Rule
|A Look Back at Ameriquest
A new book by a seasoned journalist provides a behind-the-scenes look at subprime wholesale lending and Wall Street through the eyes of Ameriquest Mortgage and Lehman Brothers.
Mortgage brokers have asked the Federal Reserve for more time to deal with game-changing compensation rules. They warn that the rules unfairly favor mortgage bankers.
Mixed Mortgage Performance for Flagstar
Flagstar Bancorp Inc. increased its serviced-for-investors portfolio while trimming its mortgage investment portfolio and sales staff. Quarterly home-loan fundings increased 21 percent, but annual activity was off 18 percent.
Another Blockbuster Month for Freddie
|Purchases Pick Up
Purchase transactions pushed new mortgage activity higher this week. The improvement came even as interest rates and refinance share took a turn for the worse.
After reaching the highest level of secondary purchases during any month last year, Freddie Mac managed to top that performance. Commercial and residential delinquency were both better.
PHH Performance Outshines Competition
PHH Corp. was one of only three major players so far to report that it lifted 2010 originations from 2009's levels, and its increase was the biggest.
Refis Pull Down Origination Outlook
A more than one-third drop in projected U.S. production this year begins with nearly a one-third decline in first-quarter activity. Leading the decline are refinances.
Nevada Borrowers Most Likely to Walk
Borrowers in Nevada with the ability to pay their mortgages are more likely to pass on home value losses to their lenders than in most other places in the country, a new study indicated. Few of the borrowers surveyed blamed homebuyers for the foreclosure problem, and the biggest culprits of strategic defaults were older borrowers.
RBC Bank Seeks LOs to Increase Originations
An expected one-third increase in production this year has RBC Bank recruiting for dozens of new loan originator positions.
BofA Fighting NV Foreclosure Ruling
A Bank of America Corp. subsidiary has been ordered by a Nevada judge to stop non-judicial foreclosures until late next month because it is not properly licensed. But the bank is fighting the ruling, arguing that federal pre-emption exempts the subsidiary from state licensing requirements.
$1 Billion Regions Loan Sale
A $1 billion residential loan sale helped Regions Financial Corp. cut its mortgage assets. Serious delinquency got more serious, and mortgage income was down from the third quarter. Quarterly originations were higher, though annual fundings fell.
More FHA Actions
Just one day after its disclosure that 15 mortgagees lost approval to originate loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, the agency reported that the direct-endorsement authority at eight mortgagees was revoked.
BofA Disputes NOD Issues
A news report about Bank of America's suspension of foreclosures in non-judicial states has it wrong, according to the bank.
GSE Providing Up to Half of Down Payments
One of the government-sponsored enterprises is helping first-time homebuyers in the Southeast with up to half of their down payments.
Auto-Refi Bill Reintroduced
Legislation that would automatically qualify borrowers on existing agency loans for a refinance has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Healthy Pace of Executive Promotions
Many of the executives recently named to senior management posts at mortgage lenders have been promoted from within. A distressed loan servicer has brought on an executive who worked for both government-sponsored enterprises, and a growing Florida firm has hired two executives -- including one with time at two of the big-three mortgage lenders.
15 Mortgagees Lose FHA Approval
During the final two months of last year, 15 Federal Housing Administration lenders lost their ability to originate government-insured mortgages because of poorly performing production. Several of the firms recently faced other FHA actions.
Fairway Lifts Annual Originations, Recruiting LOs
Despite a decline in quarterly volume, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. closed more loans in 2010 than during any other year in its 14-year history. This year, the company will turn its attention to recruiting loan originators.
MA Bill Could Invalidate 1000's of Foreclosures
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- A Massachusetts bill proposes to set up a special court to resolve questions raised by a recent court ruling. If signed into law, the legislation could invalidate thousands of foreclosures in the Bay State.
4 Failed Banks to Cost FDIC $0.5 Billion
Four bank failures Friday are expected to result in Deposit Insurance Fund losses of nearly $0.5 billion. Most of the losses are tied to a single Colorado institution that had more than $2 billion in assets.
Fifth Third Results Better
The mortgage servicing portfolio grew, earnings improved and quarterly originations strengthened at Fifth Third Bancorp. The lender said it saw a rush to close loans during the last three months of last year.
BB&T Mortgage Assets Up, Mortgage Earnings Down
As has become the trend this earnings season, quarterly production was higher and annual activity was lower at BB&T Corp. But the company has managed to grow its mortgage investments and its servicing portfolio -- though mortgage earnings have deteriorated.
Mixed Performance at SunTrust
SunTrust Banks Inc. managed a quarterly gain in residential originations, but annual activity dropped 42 percent. Earnings from the mortgage unit were better, and delinquency was mixed.
BofA Repurchase Charges & FHA Delinquency Worse
Even though residential originations last year at Bank of America Home Corp. topped $300 billion, business was off more than 20 percent from 2009. Repurchase charges nearly quadrupled -- cutting deeply into quarterly earnings. Delinquency improved during the fourth quarter and would have been better than the previous year had it not been for government-insured loans.
Mortgage Rates Rising
Mortgage rates moved within a narrow range this past week but will likely be higher in next week's reports. One forecast has fixed rates nearly 100 basis points higher by next year.
PNC Performance Better, Employees Added
|FHA Business Drops in 2010
Last year, the number of Federal Housing Administration endorsements fell 20 percent, and this year's volume is projected to fall further. FHA loans outstanding nearly reached $1 trillion and will likely surpass the threshold this year. FHA late payments edged up last month but were still 70 basis points better than a year earlier.
Quarterly loan production improved at The PNC Financial Services Group Inc, though annual originations sank by nearly half. As the company cut its servicing portfolio and mortgage holdings, residential delinquency has improved. Late payments on commercial mortgages have tumbled over the past year. The mortgage staff grew by 200.
December Delinquency Decline is 2nd Drop
For the second month in a row, a decline in new defaults significantly offset a rise in foreclosures.
Solid Production Gains at U.S. Bank
|Rates Retreat, But So Does New Activity
A marginal improvement in mortgage rates wasn't enough to push new loan activity higher. Jumbo shoppers, meanwhile, were greeted with more competitive pricing this week.
Quarterly home-loan fundings jumped 18 percent at US Bancorp and were up more than three quarters from a year earlier. While earnings were weaker, residential and commercial delinquency showed an improvement.
Servicing Up, Originations Off at Arvest
Annual mortgage production at Arvest Bank slipped 9 percent last year. But the mortgage servicing portfolio grew 7 percent.
Strong Quarter at Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Co., already the biggest U.S. residential lender, reported its best production in six quarters. But business doesn't look so strong going forward. Delinquency and earnings, meanwhile, improved.
GMAC Halts Hundreds of Maryland Foreclosures
|Hedge Fund Founder Named President of Citi
The founder of a $4.5 billion hedge fund has been named president of Citigroup Inc. The Harvard alumnus was just one of three executives named to senior management posts.
Hundreds of foreclosures are being dismissed in Maryland by Ally Financial Inc.'s mortgage unit as the company seeks to ensure its affidavits are properly processed. Foreclosures will be re-filed with valid affidavits only after new foreclosure requirements in the state are met.
Delinquency Resumes Improvement
After what appears to have been a bump in the road, defaults continued to improve.
Rebound Forecasted for 2013
The outlook for first-half 2011 originations by all residential lenders has been reduced more than $60 billion by the Federal National Mortgage Association. But a rebound is projected for 2013. The forecast has nearly one-in-five borrowers opting for an adjustable-rate mortgage by the end of next year.
Mixed Results at Citi
Quarterly fundings at Citigroup Inc. more than doubled from a year ago, though production for the full year tumbled. An increase at the consumer banking unit's mortgage assets and servicing portfolio was more than offset by a trimmer balance sheet at its legacy operation. Commercial mortgage assets have fallen considerably.
Lawsuit Prompts Military Refunds by Chase
A lawsuit filed by a U.S. Marine captain prompted JPMorgan Chase & Co. to refund $2 million in overcharges to military borrowers. The company has also reversed around a dozen improper foreclosures.
Possible Changes for Servicer Compensation on NPLs
The current compensation structure for agency servicers on non-performing conventional mortgages is not working, and changes are being considered.
Secondary Policy Updates
Depository and mortgage bankers have called on financial regulators to allow residential originators to close loans that are exempt from the risk-retention requirements of recently enacted legislation. As it enhances disclosures on reverse-mortgage issuances, the Government National Mortgage Corp. has taken several steps to follow the lead of its government-controlled counterparts.
Foreclosure Litigation Ledger
As the attorney general in the Buckeye State aggressively tackles poor documentation on foreclosure actions, cases in California, New Jersey and Vermont also challenge servicers' attempts to foreclose.
Fake Files Fooled Mortgage Investors
Some of the more than $100 million that investors sank into Meridian Group's mortgage funds allegedly funded an extravagant lifestyle for the company's formerly rich and now infamous founder -- who is facing prison time. Investors, who were deceived by fake loan files, also funded his luxury bus line and the biggest Ponzi scheme in Washington's history.
Failed Bank Loans Provide Opportunity for Lennar
A Lennar Corp. subsidiary scooped up construction loans from a failed bank and is playing hardball with the borrowers -- sometimes ending up with prime sites for future development at a nice discount. But some Washington builders claim the gains are being made at their expense.
GA Bank Becomes No. 3
A Georgia bank found its way to the Mortgage Graveyard and became the third federally insured casualty this year.
Investors Sue Hard Money Lender
A Nevada-based hard-money lender that has originated more than $2 billion has been sued by investors over claims of conflicts of interest and allegations investors' best interests weren't at heart. But the company blames the recession for investment losses.
FHA Chief Says Industry Needs Tighter Regulation
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- The chief of the Federal Housing Administration told mortgage lenders at a Northeast convention that a tighter regulatory rein on the industry is necessary to restore its tarnished image. He called on mortgage brokers -- whose numbers have dwindled by more than 16,000 in Connecticut -- to show the same concern for borrowers that they would for family members.
Ginnie's 2010 Issuance off 12%
|Res Lender Funds $300 mil in Year 1
After affiliating his loan production team with three big-name lenders, a residential mortgage banker decided to go it alone. Despite many obstacles in today's lending environment, the new organization pumped out $300 million in production during its first year in operation. With further growth planned, several dozen new employees will be recruited.
The issuance of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities was down 12 percent last year. Despite a monthly downturn in the overall guarantees, issuance of securities backed by reverse mortgages and multifamily loans was higher.
Correspondent Volume Up 1/3 at JPMorgan
Driven by a one-third leap in correspondent originations, residential loan production was up nearly a quarter at JPMorgan Chase & Co. But business will likely turn lower this quarter. The volume of repurchase demands at the venerable institution grew -- especially for 2007 vintage loans.
Across-the-Board Decline in Rates; Refis Rise
Fixed rates were lower, the hybrid adjustable rate fell and even the one-year adjustable rate managed an improvement. While increased refinance share helped boost this week's new mortgage activity, the outlook is for a substantially smaller share this year.
Risk-Based Requirements Among Top Compliance Issues
While plenty of new mortgage regulations are getting lots of airplay, it is new risk-based pricing disclosures that have recently garnered the most attention. Mortgage compliance service providers have also been touting solutions to other new regulatory requirements.
|Another Good Week for Mortgage Market
It was the second good week in a row for the mortgage market. Rates eased, refinances rose and new activity picked up. In addition, the jumbo-conforming spread saw a big improvement.
CMBS Lates Rise, But Outlook Improves
|Over 1 Million REOs in 2010
Although foreclosure filings fell last year, the number of properties that faced a filing climbed to a new record and would have been higher had it not been for the foreclosure affidavit crisis. Completed foreclosures climbed past a million. An East Coast state had the best foreclosure rate, while it was a state on the West Coast that had the most filings.
During December, delinquency on securitized loans backed by commercial real estate moved 16 basis points higher. Poor performance on apartment building loans helped drag down overall performance. But the ratings agency that reported the numbers sees better times ahead.
Congress Questions Repurchase Settlements
Democrats in the House of Representatives have sent a letter to the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac questioning the two government-sponsored enterprises' repurchase settlements with two of the nation's biggest mortgage lenders.
Growing Lender Has New Chief
PrimeLending has named a new senior management team -- including a new chief. The company reported that last year's originations were up nearly half from 2009.
Reverse Production Strengthens
Retail originators of government-insured reverse mortgages managed a monthly production gain of more than a third. Even wholesale originators saw an increase as the No. 1 title changed hands again. Based on both retail and wholesale volume -- the two biggest lenders saw substantial monthly gains.
Origination Forecast Slashed
Despite an uptick in projected government originations, a decline in the outlook for conventional business has this year's overall residential production $150 billion lower than last month's prediction. Next year's forecasted volume was slashed by $450 billion.
Government Sued Over LO OT Ruling
A federal lawsuit has been filed against the government over the reversal of its position on originator overtime.
Chase Exec Convicted
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A former Chase Bank servicing official saw an opportunity to help a borrower who was suspected of mortgage fraud -- and collect a $10,000 cash bribe in the process. Now that official could face nearly a hundred years in prison.
Firms Expand in MN
Although nearly 4,000 mortgage shops have disappeared from the Twin Cities over the past three years, two mortgage companies have opened new local offices -- with one planning to add nearly three dozen originators in the state.
From Startup to $1 Billion in 1 Year
A company founded barely more than a year ago did more than $1 billion in agency originations during its first year of business. This year's production is expected to triple.
Mixed Outlook for RMBS Market
Losses on non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities are predicted to increase as issuance remains flat. But an improvement in RMBS delinquency is forecasted.
Banks Outline Improvements to Foreclosure Process
As required by a New Jersey court order, reports from six major mortgage servicers outline shortcomings in their foreclosure processes and the steps they took to eliminate the deficiencies.
Predatory Lending Settlement for Homebuilder
The State of Nevada has extracted a settlement from a national homebuilder over alleged predatory lending practices at its mortgage lending unit. In addition to a payment of more than $400,000, the settlement calls for improved disclosures. A similar settlement was reached last year with the State of Arizona.
HEL Delinquency Higher, HELOC Lates Lower
Quarterly loan performance on home-equity products was mixed, with closed-end defaults rising and credit-line late payments improving.
Appraisal Rulebook Revisions
Appraisal guidance released by federal banking regulators will force financial institutions to cut back on their use of automated valuation models, according to one technology provider. On some agency loans, mortgage servicers will no longer be allowed to utilize only one real estate broker for all of their price opinions. Real estate appraisers wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve demanding that appraisal management companies be required to disclose their fees to consumers.
Boost in Tech Spending Seen
Mortgage technology spending is forecasted to rise 15 percent this year, while technology service providers are expected to have a "good year."
Origination Technology Integrated, Enhanced
The business of advancing the technology used by mortgage loan originators has recently been dominated by integrations and alliances with other mortgage service providers. As product enhancements were unveiled, two developers of loan origination systems touted recently added customers.
Exec Changes at Service Providers Include Option One Figure
The former chief of Option One Mortgage Corp.'s parent company has landed at a servicing technology firm. Several appraiser companies were among service providers to recently announce executive appointments.
Florida Bank First to Fail in 2011
A Florida bank was the first casualty of the new year. A Pennsylvania bank, meanwhile, decided to shutter a mortgage banking operation with more than a hundred employees.
Sharp Rise in Bank Cease-and-Desist Orders
A jump in monthly cease-and-desist orders against banks could indicate a bump ahead for failed institutions. Overall regulatory actions were heavier.
Net Worth Requirement Jumps for Ginnie HMBS Issuers
After suspending the approval of new mortgage-backed securities issuers for federally insured reverse mortgages, the Government National Mortgage Corp. beefed up its net worth requirements and resumed approvals.
Florida Firm Seeks Mortgage Brokers
With residential originations expected to exceed $0.6 billion this year, a Florida-based mortgage banker is looking beyond the Sunshine State for mortgage brokers to help it grow. Last year it added more than 70 employees and more than doubled its branch count.
Massachusetts Decision "Far-Reaching"
A high court in Massachusetts has decided to uphold a lower court's reversal of two foreclosures because of inadequate proof that the lenders owned the notes. The Massachusetts court is the most significant court to date to make such a decision -- which one legal expert calls "far-reaching."
Goldman Faces Mortgage Securities Lawsuit
WASHINGTON -- A lawsuit filed by mortgage securities investors against Goldman Sachs seeks $120 million and accuses the venerable Wall Street giant of setting them up to fail.
Lenders Cut Jobs
October's job expansion in real estate finance was short-lived.
Rates, Business Improve
Mortgage rates fell this week but might be higher in the next set of weekly reports. For the time being, refinance applications propped up overall business.
Most Reports of Fraud Involve Under $500k
Quarterly reports of mortgage fraud grew, but most of the activity involved under $500,000. Borrowers were the culprits in more than half of the filings
PA Touts Actions Against Lenders
More than a hundred actions were taken by Pennsylvania regulators against lending firms and individuals during the fourth quarter.
FHA Third-Party QC Requirements Released
Va. Firm Resolves Repurchase Claims
Now that correspondents are no longer being approved to originate loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, mortgagees that do accept third-party business are subject to a new set of quality control requirements.
A mortgage lender has paid more than $1 million to resolve repurchase liabilities on loans acquired more than two years ago. It's the third time in the last 10 days that such an agreement has been disclosed.
Firm Adding 100 LOs in 7 States
Originators in seven Southwest states are being recruited by the dozens as a retail mortgage firm executes its ambitious hiring campaign.
$0.1 Billion 2nd Lien Portfolio Trades
A portfolio of junior lien mortgages for more than $0.1 billion has been acquired by an institution. The broker in the transaction noted stronger demand for second-lien pools.
Correspondent Lender Growing
The correspondent lending subsidiary of a Dallas-based bank is recruiting Louisiana staff to handle its growing business. At the heart of the unit is a group of several dozen employees who have operated as a team for a quarter century.
Reverse Volume Eases, Wells Strengthens
Government-insured reverse mortgage business slipped last month, while annual activity was down more than a third. The wholesale channel appears to have performed worse during December than the retail channel. But at the biggest retail originator, business was better.
Encompass Pricing Engine Launched
As a result of the recent acquisition of technology assets, Encompass360 now includes an optional pricing engine. The move might not bode well for other pricing players who could be squeezed from the widely used platform.
Mortgage Event Planner
More than 60 mortgage-related conferences are scheduled during the first half of 2011. Several events address regulatory, fraud and legislative issues at the national and regional levels.
FHA Mortgagee Report
Among some recent changes for Federal Housing Administration lenders are flood zone requirements, electronic certification and new disclosures for negative-equity borrowers. Government testimony and a trade group paper offer a few suggestions about improving FHA, including improving the government reverse mortgage program.
State & Federal Regulators Agree to Consistency
State regulators and the new federal regulator of mortgage lenders have agreed to maintain consistency in the way they conduct examinations.
National Expansion Follows Acquisition
Now that it has closed on the purchase of a regional mortgage lender, a New York investment banker plans to take the business national by recruiting and making further acquisitions.
Monthly, Yearly Bankruptcies Climb
Borrowers filed more bankruptcies last month, pushing 2010's filings past 1.5 million.
2010 Agency Issuance Off a Quarter
Fixed-rate agency issuance increased last month but was down 24 percent for the year.
Record MTA Streak Coming to End
While the Monthly Treasury Average managed a new record low, its free-falling days are numbered.
The Shadow Inventory Report
The U.S. housing recovery was hindered by a growing backlog of distressed real estate during the third quarter. Among major metropolitan areas, the Big Apple had the biggest backlog of distressed assets. But a Florida market was the only area in the country to see a reduction.
BofA Resolves Repurchase Liability on $131 Bil in Loans
It was the second time during the past seven days that a major residential lender disclosed an agreement to resolve repurchase claims on originations securitized through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. While the agreements resolve potential repurchase disputes on more than $200 billion in mortgages, the two secondary agencies own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in loans.
Rates Mixed, Activity Down
|Mortgage Casualties Fall
Fewer firms with ties to the mortgage industry closed their doors during 2010 than in 2009. The latest casualty, a firm that was unable to obtain government approval, pushed the annual total past 200.
For five months now, the 11th District adjustable-rate index has fallen, while the one-year ARM tumbled 14 basis points during the most recent week. Although mortgage rates generally moved higher in the last week of 2010, some signals indicate a possible decline during the first week of the new year. But the jumbo-conforming spread grew wider, and an indicator of new loan activity fell to the lowest level of 2010.
Hirings Planned at Billion Dollar Originator
A mortgage firm based in Michigan generated $1.1 billion in home-loan fundings last year, and expectations for 2011 are that originations will increase by another half. In line with the growth, nearly 50 production positions are expected to be filled this year.
M.I. Volume Off 15% in 2010
By the time the final tally is in, annual volume at private mortgage insurers will likely be off around 15 percent from 2009. In comparison, government mortgage insurance volume during the first 11 months of 2010 already exceeded activity for all of 2009. Still, November was the best month in the private sector since the summer of 2009.