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January 2012 Archive


Fannie Outperforming Freddie by a Long Shot
For five consecutive months now, Fannie Mae has managed to increase its secondary activity, contrasting last month's activity at rival Freddie Mac. Annual business, however, was lower at both firms. Fannie's residential delinquency didn't increase a single time last year, while late payments at Freddie have deteriorated each of the last several months.

Default Service Providers Step Up Offerings
While many providers of services for distressed mortgages focus on unloading and managing real-estate-owned properties, an emerging group is helping servicers comply with quickly escalating regulations. Technology is becoming a growing tool in the sector.

Mortgage Insurer Runoff Continues
Loans outstanding that are insured by private mortgage firms have been on the decline every month for three years now as new policies issued were down 15 percent last year. Looking at just last month, outstandings were off from November, and defaults on insured loans jumped.

Class Action Targets NV Foreclosure Processors
Six companies that process foreclosures in Nevada have been named as defendants in a lawsuit that seeks class-action certification.

States Face Servicer Settlement Deadline
State attorneys general have been given a deadline of this week to decide whether or not they are on board with a proposed settlement with the nation's biggest mortgage servicers.

Outlook Improves for Nontraditional Loans
While lending officers at financial institutions reported little change in how well they expect prime mortgages and home-equity lines to perform this year, expectations improved significantly for nontraditional loan quality. On the commercial side, mortgage terms eased for the first time in several years.

FHFA Addresses Freddie's Bets Against Refinances
Claims that the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.'s investments gave it an incentive to keep borrowers in high-rate mortgages were addressed by its regulator.

Servicers Navigate Courts
While foreclosures and loan modifications have been the top stories in mortgage servicer litigation, the firms still face legal actions on other fronts. Among the other issues that the sector is dealing with are flood insurance coverage, homeowners insurance claims and repurchases.

FHA Lending Insight
A number of recent enhancements and updates to Federal Housing Administration programs impact loans to finance energy-efficient improvements, the sale of foreclosed properties and rehabilitation mortgages. FHA mortgagees looking to avoid enforcement actions might want to participate in an upcoming conference call.

Generating and Managing Mortgage Leads
In addition to residential mortgage leads, loan originators now have access to leads for commercial mortgages, loan modifications and the federal refinance program. One lead generation firm recently started offering exclusive leads and a lead-scoring engine, while another is guaranteeing quoted rates for prospective borrowers. Two other lead firms recently merged.

Week's Bank Failure Costs Exceed $600 Million
This week's bank failures -- including a financial institution with more than $1 billion in assets -- more than doubled the number of federally insured banks that have been shut down so far during 2012. Losses from the latest round of closings are projected to exceed $600 million.

HAMP Revitalized
A new round of enhancements to the government-funded loan modification program has been unveiled. In addition to extending the program by one year, the improvements include modifications on nonowner-occupied properties, more flexible debt-to-income ratios and a tripling of payments for mortgage investors.

FHA, Jumbo & Purchase Activity Drive Business Higher
Led by an increase in inquiries for purchase financing, government-insured loans and jumbo mortgages -- overall mortgage activity was higher this week. Both jumbo and 15-year loans were priced more competitively in the latest report, and overall mortgage rates are poised to come in lower in the next report.

Mortgage Market Index 259 for the week ended Jan. 27

No Improvement in FHA Delinquency for 8 Months
The Federal Housing Administration managed to lift its mortgage volume last month, though annual volume fell and upcoming activity appears headed lower. Serious delinquency has not improved for eight months.

Quicken Recruiting in Detroit
Quicken Loans Inc. is bringing on 800 people. But there is a catch to some of the additions.

RMBS Fraud Task Force Rapidly Takes Shape
It has only been three days since the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group was made public, and several subpoenas have already been handed out.

U.S. Originations Off 13% in 2011
It looks like U.S. mortgage bankers closed 13 percent fewer loans last year than they did in 2010. Monthly volume was also lower.

Rates Increase But Might Retreat
After falling to all-time lows last week, mortgage rates had nowhere to go but up -- which they did. Now it looks like they might be headed back down.

BofA, Chase Each Could Lose Over $60 mil in HAMP Incentives
More than $100 million in payments due to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. for modifications completed under the Home Affordable Modification Program could be withheld -- possibly permanently.

FHA Refi Plan Has Little Chance Congressional Approval
The $10 billion tab for the administration's proposed plan to provide Federal Housing Administration refinances for up to 4 million borrowers whose existing loans are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would be charged to mortgage lenders.

Proposed Servicer Settlement Not Good Enough for California
The latest rendition of a proposed settlement between servicers and state attorneys general just doesn't cut it, according to California's attorney general.

Litigating Secondary Trades
Several recent lawsuits tied to secondary marketing involve criminal activity. The alleged schemes often involve selling loans that are lower quality than what is being marketed, while other cases involve trading mortgages that didn't even exist.

Condo Communities Grapple With FHA Certification
During the past three months, more than a third of condominium communities that were submitted for certification to the Federal Housing Administration have been rejected.

Critics Question Timing of RMBS Fraud Unit
Critics of President Barack Obama's plan to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and state attorneys general say that such a move should have been done early on in his presidency and not now, long after the events were fresh in the minds of potential witnesses.

Ratings Agency Sued Over Bad MBS Ratings
A lawsuit has been filed against one of the largest U.S. credit rating agencies by the state of Illinois.

HUD Releases Revised Regulation
More than a year ago, a rule was proposed that would impact mortgagees on loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Among issues addressed by the proposed rule were indemnification requirements and mortgagee termination. A final rule addresses some of the concerns that have since been raised including indemnification on loans with mortgage fraud.

Fed Chairman Addresses Questions on Mortgages
The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board addressed a number of mortgage issues including principal forgiveness and the potential servicer settlement. He also discussed how the ailing housing market has curtailed the central bank's ability to bolster the economy.

Flagstar Reports Strong Originations
Unlike many of its competitors, Flagstar Bancorp Inc. was able to increase residential loan production from a year earlier. The company grew its servicing portfolio while selling off branches and cutting staff.

4 Months of Higher Delinquency at Freddie
New secondary business was down Freddie Mac as residential delinquency was higher for the fourth consecutive month. Past-due payments on multifamily loans, however, were better.

Federal Unit to Tackle Lending, Securitization Abuses
In his state of the union address Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, President Obama took aim at mortgage lending abuses and announced plans to investigate origination and securitization practices. He also talked about an enhanced refinance program.

Obama discusses mortgage lending in state of the union speech

House Republicans Grill CFPB Chief
Republicans grilled the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week, though the hearing was less intense than similar prior events featuring the former acting director of the regulator.

MGIC Obtain Waivers
Losses mounted at MGIC Investment Corp., though at a slower pace. The mortgage insurance company said that regulators have approved waivers to its risk-to-capital ratio.

Radian Unloads Policies in Capital Move
A deal that will reduce Radian Asset Assurance Inc.'s policies is expected to help the mortgage insurer with its capital position.

Multifamily Issuance Leaps at Fannie
The annual issuance of mortgage-backed securities backed by apartment loans and guaranteed by the Federal National Mortgage Association shot up 45 percent last year.

Regions Residential Originations Better, Delinquency Worse
Home-loan fundings improved from the prior quarter at Regions Financial Corp., though there was deterioration in residential delinquency. But late payments on commercial mortgages have shown improved performance. Regions has been scaling back its staffing and assets.

Over 1000 Chase Hirings in Calif Include LOs
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is investing more in California, and some of that investment is in mortgage production.

AGs Receive Draft of Servicer Settlement
A draft of a potential settlement with mortgage servicers has been distributed to state attorneys general, according to two sources.

BofA, Chase & Ally Work Through MBS Litigation
Three financial institutions -- Ally Financial Inc., Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- have recently been battling several lawsuits alleging that investors were misled about mortgage-backed securities issued by the companies, their subsidiaries and firms they acquired. But the three firms are by no means the only defendants in MBS litigation.

Help Executing Secondary Marketing Strategies
Service providers have been busy developing products and establishing relationships that will help mortgage bankers execute their secondary marketing strategies. Some of the vendors are providing services that not only streamline those activities, but also reduce risks. Others have created or expanded programs for the trading of whole loans and loan pools.

Ginnie Business Slows
Mortgage securitizations by Ginnie Mae issuers slipped from the prior month and have fallen by 18 percent over the past year. Securitization activity for apartment loans is holding up relatively well.

Wholesaler Growing Originations, Adding Staff
A wholesale mortgage lender operating from Michigan expects to increase originations by more than two thirds this year. The company is adding new products and recruiting more than a hundred people a year to help it meet the aggressive growth plans.

Best Performing Servicers
Two of the country's biggest servicers of residential loans got low marks based on the volume of delinquent loans that were cured and cash flow from their loans. An emerging servicing giant has been modifying at a much faster pace than its peers.

California Congressman Caught in Countrywide VIP Web
A California congressman was caught off guard when he learned he was among a group of legislators who received a home-equity loan at special terms from Countrywide Financial Corp. VIP program.

Originations Up, Delinquency Down at Fifth Third
Quarterly home-loan originations were stronger and residential delinquency was lower at Fifth Third Bancorp, which has increased its investments in residential loans.

Best Mortgage Employers
Only a few mortgage-related firms were among the highest-ranking employers in an annual review of the best places to work in America.

CMBS Delinquency Up Despite Hotel, Multifamily Improvement
The delinquency rate on securitized hotel loans was down 58 basis points, and the rate on securitized apartment building loans tumbled 43 BPS. But deterioration in other types of securitized commercial mortgages helped push the overall rate higher.

1st Bank Failure in More than Month
It had been more than a month since a federally insured bank had failed. But that streak ended Friday with a trio of bank failures. Costs from one of the three banks are expected to exceed $200 million.

Low Rates Fail to Stimulate; Might Rise
Mortgage rates, which were already perched at historical lows, fell further this week. But that wasn't enough to motivate mortgage shoppers to check in with their local loan originators about financing a home purchase or refinancing an existing loan. While a look at Treasury market activity suggests rates could be higher in next week's reports, eurozone volatility could impact that outlook.

Mortgage Market Index 237 for the week ended Jan. 20, 2012

WMC Probe Focuses on Fraud
Federal authorities have launched an investigation into defunct subprime lender WMC Mortgage Corp. to determine whether senior managers condoned mortgage fraud, sources said.

Serious Delinquency Rises in December
It's the second recent report that indicated serious delinquency on residential loans has deteriorated.

Fundings, Defaults Improve at SunTrust as Earnings Injured
Delinquency and originations improved from the third quarter at SunTrust Banks Inc., but repurchases and HARP 2.0 put a dent in earnings.

FHA Mortgagees Face Stiffer Requirements
Federal Housing Administration mortgagees will be subject to more rigorous peformance standards under new regulations that will also revise the process of reimbursing the cost of insurance claims when FHA rules weren't followed. Another change is being proposed that will reduce the incentive to inflate values on appraisal reports.

30 Year Falls But Might Increase
The 30-year mortgage was reported this week at its lowest level ever recorded. But Treasury market activity suggests that long-term mortgages could cost more in the next report.

PRMI Projects Huge Growth This Year
New quarterly production at Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. was up by nearly a quarter, though annual originations eased. The company expanded its compliance management staff. PRMI sees growth exceeding 40 percent this year.

BB&T Performance Strengthens
Quarterly mortgage banking earnings and home-loan production picked up at BB&T Corp.

BofA Suspends Cashouts
Refinance activity is so busy that Bank of American Home Loans has made the decision to turn off the spigot for cashout refinancing. It's the second time in four months that such a move has been made.

Mortgage Bankers Raise Origination Outlook
The latest forecast for home-loan production during the first half of this year has been revised $24 billion higher, with the majority of the improvement coming from refinance business.

Early Delinquency Retreats
Despite recent troubling signs of rising delinquency, a new report indicates that the one-month late-payment rate on residential mortgages eased last month.

BofA Slows Originations
Mortgage production plummeted at Bank of America Corp.as it winds down a key origination channel. The company shed some of its mortgage and servicing assets, while delinquency and earnings improved from a year earlier. But compared to just three months earlier, losses and delinquency deteriorated.

BofA Moves Backwards With HAMPs
JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s servicing subsidiary turned in the best performance among mortgage servicers participating in the federal modification program. But somehow Bank of America Corp.'s servicing unit managed to lose more than 10,000 permanent modifications.

Servicers increase active permanent modifications during November

PNC Turns In Mixed Mortgage Performance
Annual originations increased at The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., while delinquency on conventional mortgages decreased. But government-insured delinquency deteriorated -- as did mortgage earnings.

Mortgage Complaints Top All Others in Massachusetts
Massachusetts consumers complain more about mortgage-related issues than about any other subject.

First-Half 2012 Outlook Lifted as Purchases Seen Rising
Expectations for residential originations during the first six months of this year have been raised by more than $45 billion. By the second quarter, financing for home purchases is expected to leap by nearly a third and not look back.

Strong Quarter at US Bancorp
Earnings were strong at US Bancorp as home-loan originations grew and delinquency retreated.

LOs Recruited at Brisk Pace
Loan originators are often approached about joining another organization, some as often as every month, according to a survey of mortgage salespeople. Regulation and legislation are seen as challenges for 2012.

Citi Delinquency & Earnings Worse, Production Up
Home loans funded by Citigroup Inc. grew in the final quarter of last year. Past-due payments, however, were worse, as were earnings.

Fundings Up at Wells, But Delinquency Deteriorates
Wells Fargo & Co. saw its quarterly home-loan production jump by more than a third, while both its servicing portfolio and mortgage assets grew. But late payments on its mortgages were worse.

Serious Mortgage Delinquency Up 4th Consecutive Month
For four months in a row now, serious delinquency on first mortgages has increased. Among the nation's biggest cities, a Texas town has the lowest level of late loans.

Record Production at Quicken
More home loans were closed last year at Quicken Loans Inc. than in any other year since the company has been in business. It was also a record quarter.

Bank Expands Correspondent
A bank-holding company with subsidiaries operating throughout the Southwest has plans to expand its correspondent lending business.

Feds, States Stomp Out Foreclosure Rescue Services
Federal regulators are going all out to put a halt to firms that collect hefty fees while their clients still lose their homes. States including California, Florida and Illinois have also been busy eradicating companies that collect up-front fees in return for promises that foreclosures will be halted. Many of the schemes purport to provide an investor who will buy a distressed homeowner's property then instead use straw buyers and mortgage fraud to strip the equity.

United Guaranty Expands Guidelines
Underwriting requirements for loan-to-value ratios, credit scores and loan amounts were all expanded at United Guaranty Corp.

Colorado Lender Adds 150 Mortgage Jobs
During the past three years, Peoples Mortgage Corp. has hired 150 people.

Appraiser Used IDs of Other Appraisers
An Ohio appraiser will spend four years in prison over admittedly using the identities of other appraisers on inflated reports.

New Mortgage Business Leaps
With the holidays out of the way, mortgage shoppers were out in droves this week inquiring about new mortgages. Rates are likely to be lower in next week's report, possibly leading the way for activity to escalate further.

Mortgage Market Index 247 for week ended Jan. 13

Purchase Financing Soars Past Forecast
The volume of estimated home-purchase loan production in the fourth quarter came in 21 percent higher than was expected just last month -- a good sign the housing market is strengthening. The outlook for the current quarter, including both purchases and refinances, is for volume to plunge by 29 percent from the final quarter of last year.

Opportunity Lurks in MetLife Shutdown
The decision to close down MetLife Home Loans is obviously a big blow to the thousands of employees who work at the company.

Chase Fundings, Delinquency Better
Quarterly home-loan originations at JPMorgan Chase & Co. were slightly higher but appear to be headed lower this quarter. Mortgage delinquency was decisively better, and mortgage headcount was up by nearly 3,000 employees. However, mortgage earnings took a big hit.

Rates Fall to Record Lows (Again)
Mortgage rates declined to the lowest levels on record this week, while jumbo and 15-year mortgages improved versus the conforming 30-year mortgage. It's possible rates could ease some more.

Jumbo RMBS Pose Greatest Risk
A ratings agency outlook for the private-label market in residential mortgage-backed securities indicates that securitized jumbo mortgages pose the greatest risk of strategic default. In fact, nonprime loans pose less of a risk than jumbo mortgages. The report indicated that the level of re-defaults on modified loans is tapering off.

Republican Among Potential Choices for FHFA Chief
A boost to the housing market has bi-partisan support, according to a Wall Street investment banking economist. He also noted that it has been suggested a Republican could be Obama's choice to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Video interview of Morgan Stanley economist David Greenlaw

CFPB Outlines Procedures for Non-bank Mortgage Examinations
A new examination manual for mortgage origination firms was unveiled this week. The procedures cover the origination process from advertising to closing.

Servicers Move Hawaii Foreclosures to Courts as Filing Leap
Hawaii's state legislature last year passed a law that requires mortgage servicers to give delinquent borrowers on owner-occupied properties the option of having a dispute resolution professional assist with foreclosure mitigation in front of a lender representative before a non-judicial foreclosure sale can proceed.

MetLife Texas Layoffs Exceed 800
More than 800 Texas employees will lose their jobs as a result of MetLife Inc.'s decision to close down its home-loan business.

LendingTree Negotiates New Warehouse Lines
Despite its planned exit from mortgage originations, LendingTree LLC has increased its warehouse lending capacity. It the second time that the company has recently scored a new line.

Employees Impacted by MetLife Move
The closing of MetLife Home Loans will result in 4,300 layoffs, and some of those layoffs are in Washington state.

Foreclosures Fall to Four-Year Low
Foreclosure filings fell last month to the lowest level in more than four years as annual activity also improved. But completed foreclosures were worse on both a monthly and annual basis. While it took nearly a year for the average U.S. foreclosure to complete, one state had an average timeline of nearly three years.

205,024 properties hit with filing in December

Fannie Follows Freddie in Foreclosure Forbearance
Less than a week after Freddie Mac announced a forbearance program for unemployed borrowers, the Federal National Mortgage Association has followed suit.

DC Firm Postures to Help FHA Mortgagees
A consulting firm operating from the nation's capitol has made an acquisition that will help Federal Housing Administration mortgagees avoid and deal with enforcement actions.

Forecast for Top Originators
Top mortgage producers will be on the move this year seeking mortgage companies that have the most to offer for their own originations. This group is concerned with potential employers' strong leadership teams and capital positions.

State Mortgage Licensing Requirements Evolve as Licensee Count Drops
As state authorities continue to increase mortgage license requirements and take actions against alleged license violations, the number of license holders continues to fall in some states and cities as a result of the decline in housing activity.

CMBS Issuance Projected to Increase
The latest outlook has the issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities increasing this year.

MGIC Updates Underwriting Requirements
Changes to MGIC's underwriting guidelines impact adjustable-rate mortgages, condominiums and refinances. The mortgage insurance company also revised its requirements for co-borrowers who use non-traditional credit.

MetLife to Shut Down
Less than three years after it was launched, MetLife Home Loans is going out of business.

Fannie CEO Done
The chief executive officer of the Federal National Mortgage Association has apparently had enough.

PHH Pondering Correspondent Cutbacks as Liquidity Dries Up
PHH Corp. reported increased home-loan production and said business could strengthen if it closes on a pending deal with a new outsourcing client. But the company warned that liquidity has become an issue, and options on the table to shore up its cash position include a plan to reduce its correspondent lending. PHH also disclosed a federal investigation tied to mortgage insurance premiums.

Wholesalers Step Up Reverse Business
Third-party originators stepped up their monthly production of federally insured reverse mortgages, though the same couldn't be said for retail originators. But the improvement in wholesale was enough to offset the retail decline and push overall activity up.

Banks Recruiting Mortgage Employees Despite Layoffs
While many banks have been cutting their staffs, hirings are still happening -- and many are in mortgage lending.

Time to Plan for 2012 Conferences
Several upcoming mortgage conferences and meetings will deal with compliance, sales and technology, among other issues. Nearly two dozen events are planned so far for March.

Group Warns Ally of "Significant Litigation" if ResCap Files Bankruptcy
While the possibility of a Residential Capital LLC bankruptcy has been around for years, several bond investors are so concerned about an imminent filing that they have formally organized to protect their positions.

Treasury's View as Countrywide Sank
As problems at Countrywide Financial Corp. began to surface in 2007, regulators had a sense of what was ahead both for the company and for the mortgage industry.

Servicers Battle Modification Litigation
Legal actions have recently been taken by several states against mortgage servicers that have allegedly abused the loan modification process, while law firms representing borrowers have been aggressively filing class actions over alleged abuses. Large servicers are the targets of the state and private actions.

CFPB Director: Shadow Banking System Didn't Work
Much of the blame for the financial crisis can be ascribed to financial service providers who were not regulated, according to the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Video of Richard Cordray discussing non-bank regulation

MBS Actions Drive Mortgage Litigation Index to Record High
Mortgage lawsuits ascended to the highest level since the Mortgage Litigation Index was first issued for 2007. While foreclosure and investor litigation played a role in the surge, cases involving mortgage-backed securities had the biggest impact.

Third-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Litigation Index 218

State Supreme Court to Hear Foreclosure Case
New Mexico's supreme court will hear the foreclosure case of a couple who claim that they were bamboozled by their lender into taking a refinance loan they couldn't afford and didn't understand as the lender allegedly churned their mortgage.
Holiday Hangover Hampers New Business
Business picked up from the Christmas week but was still anemic. Refinance and adjustable-rate loan inquiries turned in the strongest week-over-week performance, while purchase financing continues to sag compared to a year ago.

Mortgage Market Index 183 for week ended Jan. 6

Foreclosure Forbearance at Freddie ordered by FHFA
Unemployed borrowers whose loans are owned or guaranteed by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. will soon be eligible for as much as one year of forbearance. The move is likely the result of stepped up pressure on the secondary lender's regulator by the Obama administration.

Mortgage Complaint System Launched by CFPB
A mortgage complaint system has been launched by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

American Home Ordered to Pay Fine to Bankrupt Borrowers
When escrow charges increased on a mortgage to an Iowa couple in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. increased their monthly payment but neglected to notify the borrowers about the increase. The bankruptcy judge in the case said that American Home was out of line and ordered the company to pay $50,000 in damages to the couple.

CFPB Chief Warns Lenders
The financial industry played a big role in the financial crisis, and the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is already busy warning lenders and investigating alleged violations of the law.

Middle-Income Borrowers Hardest Hit by Decline in Home Equity
A Federal Reserve report this week indicated that U.S. home equity has declined by $7 trillion since 2006, and middle-income consumers were among the hardest-hit.

Subprime MBS Trader Kills Self
A trader of subprime mortgage-backed securities who was on trial for allegedly deceiving small investors about the risks associated with the securities has been found dead of an apparent suicide.

Mortgage Employment Expands Again
It was the second consecutive month that more people entered the mortgage industry than exited. The positive report was complimented by news about lower U.S. unemployment and higher job growth across all industries.

Wells Agrees to Option ARM Settlement
Wells Fargo & Co. has reached a settlement with the state of Maryland over borrowers in payment-option adjustable-rate mortgages originated by two companies it previously acquired.

Rates Hit Bottom, Could Bounce Up
The conforming 30-year mortgage again fell to its lowest level ever recorded but could wind up higher next week. The premium for jumbo mortgages, meanwhile, jumped from last week.

Non-Agency MBS Killed Corporate Credit Unions
The costly failure of five corporate credit unions can be attributed to their investments in non-agency mortgage-backed securities, according to the congressional watchdog agency. Another issue identified was the slowness with which regulatory actions were taken against the institutions.

HEL Delinquency Down, HELOC Lates Up
Fewer borrowers on closed-end home-equity loans missed their payments during the latest quarter. But delinquency on home-equity lines of credit took a turn for the worse.

Non-Bank Mortgage Firms Now Fall Under CFPB Oversight
The new regulator of consumer financial products is now implementing a supervisory program for mortgage firms that are not owned by a bank.

Ginnie Business Grows
Issuers for the Government National Mortgage Association securitized more mortgages on a monthly basis, but business has contracted on a year-over-year basis.

LendingTree Settles with SC Over Broker Disclosures
A settlement has been reached between LendingTree and South Carolina officials over allegations that the Charlotte, N.C.-based company brokered loans without the proper disclosures.

Recent Secondary Policy Updates
Recent guideline changes at the three housing finance agencies impact repurchase fees, digital documents and financing for certain types of hospitals. Other updates affect pool numbers, subordinated loans and automated underwriting.

Move by Obama Gives CFPB Authority Over Brokers
President Obama is making a controversial move by appointing the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency during a Senate recess to avoid partisan opposition. The move will empower the agency to use its new authority to oversee mortgage brokers.

MTA Reaches New Low
During the 58 years for which Treasury yield data is available, the monthly treasury average has never been as low as it was last month.

CMBS Delinquency Rises and Headed Higher
Despite improving performance on loans backed by apartment buildings, hotels and industrial properties -- delinquency on securitized commercial mortgages moved higher last month. Behind the deterioration were loans on office and retail properties. The forecast is for even more defaults.

Consumer Bankruptcies Fall in 2011
Last year, 11 percent fewer consumers filed bankruptcy than in 2010. Impacting the decline was deleveraging by U.S. households.

Foreclosure Victims Wanted
A huge outreach campaign is being launched to identify victims of faulty foreclosures. The effort follows a direct-mail campaign to million of prospective victims.

Biggest Retail HECM Lender in 2011
The origination of federally insured reverse mortgages was lower last year as three of the sector's players announced plans to exit the business. As its swan song, one of the departing trio grabbed the title of biggest reverse lender of 2011.

HUD Revises Guidelines on Large Multifamily Loans
Large, federally insured commercial mortgages that are secured by multifamily properties are subject to new requirements. The revisions impact the maximum allowable ratios and property owner requirements.

Mortgage Scam Makes Top-10 List
Among the worst scams to hit U.S. consumers in 2011 was one that targets distressed mortgage borrowers.

Little Demand Seen for Home Purchase Financing
Negative equity, weak credit and unemployment are standing in the way of many prospective homebuyers who would like to take advantage of today's historic mortgage rates. While most economists don't have a bright outlook for 2012, at least one believes the market is poised to rebound.

Mortgage and Bank Failures Fall in 2011
The U.S. mortgage industry saw a marked decline in business closings last year. Non-bank casualties fell to the lowest level since before the financial crisis, while bank failures fell for the first time in six years. The biggest players in reverse mortgage lending called it quits.

Q4-2011 Mortgage Graveyard Report

Fannie Outperforms Rival Agencies
Secondary activity surged last month at the Federal National Mortgage Association, while business was down at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. and the Government National Mortgage Association. On an annual basis, overall agency issuance was off 16 percent, though the decline was far smaller at Fannie Mae.

New Record for COFI
It just keeps getting better for borrowers whose adjustable-rate mortgages are tied to the Cost of Funds Index. A more widely used ARM index has ended each of the past three months unchanged.

BoA Short Sales Get Mixed Reviews from FL Realtors
A short-sale program offered exclusively in Florida to 20,000 delinquent borrowers by Bank of America Corp. provided as much as $20,000 in relocation expenses to avoid the foreclosure process.

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