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March 2010 Archive

Actions On Nearly $70 Billion in Alt-A RMBS
A "rapid deterioration" in the performance of the Alternative-A residential mortgage-backed securities has prompted downgrades on $21 billion in securities this month and warnings on $48 billion more.

Borrowers Fight Foreclosures, Servicer Sues City
As borrowers continue to challenge foreclosures in court, servicers are fighting back -- though some more successfully than others. One servicer is suing a city over its foreclosure procedures, while another is accused of profiting from foreclosures.

Mortgage Fraud Used in Foreclosure Schemes
Once they convince a delinquent borrower to transfer title in order to stop foreclosure, some rescue firms then use mortgage fraud to obtain a loan and strip out all of the equity.

COFI Improves
Borrowers in adjustable-rate mortgages that move with the cost of funds index are in for a pleasant surprise.

Freddie Eases FL Condo Requirements
Sellers on some Freddie Mac mortgages will be exempt from condominium project requirements.

Record Low M.I. Volume, But Defaults Improve
Just when it looked like mortgage insurance volume couldn't fall any further -- a new record was set. In addition, the balance of insured mortgages has dropped around $100 billion from a year ago. But new applications rose, suggesting an increase in upcoming volume, and defaults tumbled.

High-Yield Bonds Rally
Investors are thirsty for high-yield "junk" bonds.

Fannie Business Off, New Delinquency Record
Home loan delinquency has nearly doubled during the past year at Fannie Mae and sits at an all-time high. Secondary marketing activity, meanwhile, was lower.

Chase Sued Over Underwriter Overtime
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is accused in a federal lawsuit of not paying its underwriters overtime.

Top-5 Reverse Wholesaler Being Acquired
A reverse mortgage firm that recently ranked among the five biggest reverse wholesalers is being acquired by a secondary player that hopes to capture a bigger slice of revenues from origination to distribution.

BoA Faces Mod Lawsuits in Several States
Borrowers in California, Massachusetts Ohio and Washington have filed lawsuits against Bank of America Corp. because their loans haven't been modified. One law firm that targets big lenders like BoA for litigation has already added 30 employees and is adding even more now.

Mod Firms Face Civil, Criminal Legal Actions
Much of the recent litigation against modification firms is happening in California and Florida. But Nevada and Oregon have also seen some action. While some of the defendants face civil charges -- many face criminal prosecution.

GMAC Cash Management Issue to be Resolved
While GMAC Inc.'s financial position has improved and its servicing unit has been addressing cash-management issues, its servicer rating remains on review for a downgrade. But that might change next month.

Financial Institutions Face FDIC, Fed Actions
Recent regulatory actions against U.S. financial institutions eased on a monthly basis but were still well above a year ago. Most of the latest activity was reported by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, though the Federal Reserve processed a few actions itself.

Growing Lender Promotes Senior Executives
A national lender that saw business increase by more than two-thirds last year promoted two executives to president of their respective departments.

Fairway promotes 2 executives

FHA Commissioner Comments on HAMP, FHA & Market
The commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration said the U.S. housing market has stabilized under the Obama administration. He talked about the cost of a new FHA refinance program and enhancement to the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Ambac Subprime Contracts Seized by Regulator
Subprime mortgage-related contracts were seized from Ambac Financial Group Inc.

Over 50 Firms Fail This Year
The failure of four banks Friday brought to 53 the number of mortgage-related firms to close this year. In excess of $300 million in losses are expected from the latest round of bank failures.

Mortgage Litigation Bulletin
Among issues that mortgage-related firms are grappling with in court are consumer bankruptcy, advertising and employment. An appraiser filed a lawsuit against a mortgage lender and an appraisal management company because she was blacklisted.

The Mortgage Compliance Litigator
Alleged mortgage compliance errors are landing some of the biggest names in the mortgage business in court. A bankrupt lender was held liable for mortgage fraud committed by a convicted real estate agent, and a former senior executive tied to the failure of a big FHA lender has been banned from any association with government lending.

Loan Commitment Ledger
Two recent lawsuits, one residential and one commercial, illustrate the liabilities that lenders face when issuing verbal or written loan commitments. In one of the cases, a former professional athlete alleges he was a victim of predatory lending on a $12 million loan.

Angry Investors Litigate
The owner of a California mortgage company and his father-in-law were sued by the government over allegations they misappropriated $10 million earmarked for loan fundings and used it to cover losses at other companies owned by one of the defendants. In other mortgage-related investor litigation, a $38 million settlement has been proposed in the bankruptcy of mortgage firm that collapsed well ahead of the financial market crisis.

MBS Lawsuits See Action
Investors of residential mortgage-backed securities have been using the U.S. legal system to recover losses. But at least one ratings agency recently scored a victory against its own investors over allegations of faulty MBS ratings, while a hedge fund scored its own victory in a case against a big mortgage servicer.

Insurers Defy Lenders in Court
Mortgage bankers are suing mortgage insurers over denied claims on defaulted loans. Even bankrupt lenders are getting into the game. Insurance companies, meanwhile, are filing their own litigation.

Criminal Cases Against Broker, Secondary & Accounting Employees
Recent activity in mortgage-related crime cases includes a mortgage broker who pled guilty to diverting $0.6 million intended to fund mortgages for his own benefit. In another case, a former secondary marketing manager is accused of overstating loan amounts so she could collect more than $0.3 million, while a former accounting employee stole more than $4.4 million by using her position at a bank to create fraudulent mortgages and delete accrued interest.

NY Case Could Create Mortgage Advantage for Credit Unions
A lawsuit pending in New York's supreme court could give credit unions a huge advantage over banks when it comes to mortgage originations. At issue are taxes charged on mortgage loans.

M.I. Stocks Rise on HAMP Plan
Shares of mortgage insurers rose as the Obama administration announced enhancements to the Home Affordable Modification Program.

HAMP Expanded for Unemployed, Underwater & 2nd Liens
The Obama administration has unveiled its much anticipated update to the Home Affordable Modification Program. In addition, a new government refinance program was announced. The enhancements are targeted at unemployed borrowers, underwater borrowers and second-lien investors -- though servicers will also benefit.

PennyMac Making Acquisitions, Launching New Conduit
PennyMac, the company launched two years ago by a former senior executive of Countrywide Financial Corp., reported three recent secondary transactions. The company plans to launch a new conduit for prime mortgages shortly.

Staggering Re-Default Rates on Modified Loans
A spike in seriously delinquent loans pushed overall residential delinquency higher at financial institutions. Deterioration on subprime loans, however, was less severe than on other loan types. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of modified loans are re-defaulting within nine months of modifying -- though the re-default rate significantly subsides for modified portfolio loans.

Details Emerge About HAMP Changes
More details have emerged about the Barack Obama administration's plan to expand the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Guidance Issued on High-Rate, Short-Term Balloons
The government has clarified its stance on short-term mortgage lending at high interest rates by banks.

MetLife Axes Fees on Some Reverse Mortgages
MetLife Bank is eliminating origination and servicing fees on one of its government reverse mortgage programs.

Activity Up as Rates Shoot Past 2009 Levels
As fixed rates have climbed more than 10 basis points over the past year, adjustable rates soared more than 60 BPS. During the past week, meanwhile, mortgage activity strengthened.

Clarification Issued on LO Overtime Pay
The government has issued guidance -- the first of its kind -- about overtime and minimum wages for originators.

More Clarity on RESPA Rule
The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently addressed a number of issues that have arisen under changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Among the issues addressed were using a worksheet in lieu of a good faith estimate, rules on refinance transactions and the disclosure of yield spread premiums.

CitiFinancial Settles With 35 States
CitiFinancial Inc. has agreed to a settlement with 35 states over its failure to report tens of thousands of mortgages as required by the government.

BoA Steps Up Principal Reductions
In its ongoing campaign to stem foreclosures, Bank of America Corp. is becoming more aggressive with principal balance reductions on loan modifications.

Conference Draws Record Attendees
A mortgage banking conference this month in Florida attracted a record crowd. Attendees included mortgage lenders, investors and service providers. Among topics addressed were mortgage compliance, the national mortgage registry and government lending.

Lenders One hosts Orlando event

New Class of MBS Proposed
A new class of mortgage-backed securities proposed to lawmakers would be guaranteed by the government.

Former Regulator Sees Ongoing Need for Fannie, Freddie
The former regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said that the two government-controlled enterprises are still needed in the mortgage market.

AMC Adding 50 Positions
An appraisal management company based in Pennsylvania hopes to hire 50 employees this year.

Nearly $2 Billion in Secondary Transactions
Nearly $2 billion in secondary mortgage transactions recently offered or closed included residential, commercial and reverse mortgages. Performing, sub-performing and non-performing loans were among those traded.

Services Cater to Secondary Players
A pricing engine claims that it is the only company to offer both servicing-retained and servicing-released pricing for Freddie Mac programs. The operator of a mortgage trading platform has enhanced its offerings with additional details about loans traded through its service. And credit scoring options have increased for loan investors.

Secondary Policies, Solutions and Conference
Loan forms, loan programs and loan guidelines have been impacted by recent secondary marketing changes at government-owned and -controlled entities. While some firms hope to help secondary players better navigate the current market -- secondary mortgage market participants will have ample opportunity to learn all about secondary marketing issues at an upcoming New York conference.

Recent secondary marketing policy updates and services

American Home Addresses Servicing Issue
Holders of some Aaa-rated notes sponsored by American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. face a possible downgrade over concerns about its servicing performance. But the company is working on a solution and has committed $20 million in the meantime.

First American Accused of Wrongly Denying Claims
In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, one of the nation's biggest residential lenders has accused First American Title Insurance Co. of unjustly denying thousand of claims. But the title insurer still hopes it can still resolve the matter outside the courtroom.

Citi Looks to Correspondent Channel for Growth
After suspending then returning to correspondent mortgage lending last year, CitiMortgage Inc. is now looking to the channel for growth.

Regulatory Actions Double
U.S. Financial Institutions faced more than twice as many regulatory actions last year than in 2008, according to the Fourth-Quarter 2009 Regulatory Actions report from The latest list of troubled institutions suggests bank failures might increase before they slow.

Friday's Bloodbath Yields 8 Casualties
On Friday, eight federally insured financial institutions were closed. Nearly $1.3 billion in losses are projected to the Deposit Insurance Fund as a result of Friday's failures, which included three Georgia banks. No buyer was found for a Utah bank -- impacting more than 100 employees.

Corporate Bankruptcy Journal
Two mortgage-related firms have plans to emerge from bankruptcy, while former executives of one lender were sued by its bankruptcy trustee and former executives of another bankrupt lender scored a victory.

Orders Against Institutions Ongoing
Several credit unions, or their former employees, were among financial institutions recently hit with regulatory orders. Formal agreements dominated the latest actions. In all, dozens of orders were issued.

Tax Credit Creating Subprime Loans
While the Fed's exit as a buyer of mortgage-related securities won't have a big impact on mortgage rates, the sale of the securities it already owns could, according to one market expert. And the first-time homebuyer tax credit has effectively introduced "a new wave of subprime loans."

Alt-A is Back
A new Alt-A program was announced for government loan modifications.

CA Firm Nails HUD Compliance Contract
A company headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., has been tapped by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure mortgagee compliance on foreclosed properties. Around a hundred jobs will be added to accommodate the contract.

Promoted PR AE Handles Mortgages
An employee who was promoted to senior account agent at a public relations firm counts mortgage firms among her clients.

2nd Lien Warning
Expected losses shot up on second liens securitized between 2005 and 2007. The deterioration was impacted by the higher share of negative equity among second-lien borrowers.

$1 Billion Bet Against Subprime was Good
A few investors were savvy enough to bet against subprime mortgages before it all went bust. One of them began betting against subprime loans in 2005 and eventually upped his bet to $1 billion.

Branch Managers Indicted
Four more defendants have been indicted in a mortgage fraud case against former branch managers of a mortgage firm that lost its Federal Housing Administration approval in January and subsequently halted new business.

Activity Lower as ARMs, Jumbos Improve
The spread between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages widened, and ARM share is expected to double. As the jumbo spread narrowed, fixed rates edged up but might be headed lower. Mortgage activity fell for the second consecutive week.

Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage 4.96%

CRE Loans Outstanding Tumble $100 Billion
Loans secured by U.S. commercial real estate have declined nearly $100 billion over the past year. Much of the reduction came from securitized mortgages, though a big chunk was lopped off of commercial bank holdings. But agency and government holdings have increased.

Impact on Mortgage Rates From Fed's MBS Exit
The Federal Reserve is nearly through with its plan to purchase nearly $1 trillion in mortgage debt. The purchases had helped mortgage rates to remain low.

Bill Favors Settlement Agents Over Lenders
A proposed federal law would require mortgage lenders to provide loan documents at least four days before a loan closing while not requiring settlement agents to provide their costs to lenders -- even if the information would be needed to complete the required documents.

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Lender in RESPA Case
A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a mortgage lender that was accused of charging excessive fees in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Q1 Production Projection Pared
The latest first-quarter mortgage origination forecast was cut by $37 billion.

Whitney Warns About Banks, Mortgage Assets
Meredith Whitney says U.S. banks have a structural problem, and the bank model is broken. She also warned about mortgage-related assets.

Mortgage Leaders Lost, Hired and Replaced
GMAC Financial Services recently lost two high-level executives as a compensation deal was approved for its chief executive. Meanwhile, a New Jersey bank has hired a new president for its mortgage division, a compensation plan was reportedly approved for one of Wells Fargo & Co.'s senior mortgage executives and Morgan Stanley's mortgage unit is hiring new managers to help it capitalize on default servicing.

Recent mortgage executive activity

Bank Executive Insider
A Tennessee bank has hired a new chairman and chief, and one of its directors is stepping down. Other institutions to announce executive activity included Umpqua Bank, IBERIABANK and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

Big Service Providers Make Big Executive Changes
A mortgage securitization executive was hired by a big investment house, while two big appointments were announced by The First American Corp.

Default Service Provider Hiring 100
Rapid growth at an Arizona firm has created 100 job openings. The default service provider said its success is tied to the government's new program that provides incentives for mortgage servicers to utilize short sales.

Wave of Repurchases Ahead
Mortgage bankers can expect an increase in repurchase demands and denied mortgage insurance claims, according to an attorney with a Washington, D.C.-based law firm.

Reverse Firm Closing, Warns of Massive Consolidation
The president of a Chicago-based reverse mortgage firm is shutting down operations and warning that the reverse mortgage market is too crowded with mortgage brokers. He predicts that just a handful of firms will survive.

Fairway Independent Mortgage Exec Hires PR Firm
My Team of Experts Inc. has been retained as public relations agency of record by Tom Tousignant of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.

Dodd Unveils Financial Regulation Reform
At a press conference today, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) unveiled plans to overhaul financial regulation. The senator highlighted that today is the 2nd anniversary of Bear Stearns & Co.'s collapse.

Impac Restarts Originations
Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. has wiped out more than $100 million in debt, erased its equity deficit and started originating mortgages again. The company also earned more than $15 million in loan modification fees last year.

Ginnie Issuances Tumble
Issuance of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities dropped by nearly a quarter last month. Apartment activity also ebbed.

Nearly 1-in-4 FL Mortgages Delinquent
Late payments on home loans jumped 20 basis points during January, according to a new report that indicated nearly one-in-four loans were delinquent in the Sunshine State. Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration have seen more severe deterioration in new delinquency than overall mortgages. The national foreclosure rate, meanwhile, was unchanged.

Mortgage Originations Jump in 2009; Wells is Biggest
Residential mortgage production increased by more than a third last year, according to's Fourth Quarter 2009 Mortgage Lender Ranking. Wells Fargo & Co. was 2009's biggest lender.

No More Approval Letters Without Properties
As part of the changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, borrowers can no longer shop for a home with a firm loan commitment in hand. While that might not be a big deal in today's buyer's market -- it could give cash-rich buyers an advantage when sellers are back in the driver's seat.

2 NY Banks Fail
Among four bank failures last week were two institutions in New York City. Both were scooped up by a big New Jersey-based bank.

FHA Delinquency Down, Purchase Apps Up
Endorsements by the Federal Housing Administration fell for the second month in a row. But a recent surge in purchase applications means business will be better this month. FHA delinquency, meanwhile, fell.

Huge RMBS Sale
A group of investors has acquired notes -- which are backed by more than $3 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities and guaranteed by the government -- for a purchase price of less than $2 billion. The assets were accumulated from failed banks.

Completed HAMPs Grow
The number of permanent modifications completed under the Obama administration's program increased by nearly half last month.

168,708 permanent HAMP mods completed as of February

Hotels Continue to Drag Down CMBS Performance
Deteriorating performance on loans secured by hotel properties led the delinquency rate higher on commercial mortgage-backed securities. While late payments also increased on loans secured by office buildings and apartments, one type of commercial property saw an improvement.

ResCap Sale?
GMAC Inc. has reportedly hired an investment banker to help it unload Residential Capital LLC. But the majority of GMAC's residential originations would not be impacted from a sale of the struggling mortgage unit.

Growing Firm Scores Venture Capital Investment
A growing mortgage lender and servicer announced an equity investment by a venture capital firm. During the last few years, the Indiana-based mortgage company has acquired two other companies, expanded its retail branch program and pushed headcount past 100.

Small Cut in LTV Could Have Big Impact on FHA
The head of the Federal Housing Administration warns that lowering the loan-to-value on FHA loans -- even just a little -- would wipe out 40 percent of FHA originations.

FHA Testimony Addresses LTVs, Suspensions
Mortgage bankers cautioned Congress today about suspending Federal Housing Administration mortgagees on a national basis because of regional performance. Lawmakers were also warned about increasing downpayment requirements on FHA loans.

2006 & 2007 Vintage Drive Jumbo Deterioration
Delinquency on prime jumbo loans securitized during 2006 and 2007 is three times as bad as the rate on pre-2005 issuances.

Rates Better But Activity Worse
Despite an across-the-board improvement in mortgage rates, mortgage activity eased this week. In an unusual alignment, the yield on the one-year Treasury and the six-month LIBOR were exactly the same this week and last week.

CA REOs Tumble
A big drop in California repossessions fueled a national improvement. Overall foreclosure filings improved on a monthly basis but were still higher than a year ago.

Connecticut Suing Ratings Agencies
The state of Connecticut is suing ratings agencies over allegations that their ratings on subprime mortgage-backed securities were tainted by huge conflicts of interest.

Parody of Former Quicken Executive
A former executive of Quicken Loans Inc. has launched his own company.

Mortgage Lending Goes on the Road
Mortgage fraud, mortgage compliance and reverse mortgage lending are among topics being addressed at mortgage conferences. Mortgage licenses, mortgage leads and mortgage legislation are the areas of focus at several other events. Much of the latest activity is happening in the nation's capitol.

Former Quicken Executive Launches New Firm
A former executive of Quicken Loans Inc. -- whose altercation with the company's founder prompted a police investigation -- has launched his own company.

Hall Financial opens in Michigan

Risk of Default Drops
A new report indicates that the risk of mortgage default has fallen to the lowest level in five years.

University of Michigan report cites improvement in home depreciation

Berkshire Unit Settles With NC
A growing manufactured home lender settled charges by North Carolina that it violated several laws in the state. The unit is owned by billionaire Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway -- which is on the cusp of becoming one of the biggest players in mortgage lending.

Wells Adds 6,000 Servicing Jobs in 6 Months
The servicing staff at Wells Fargo & Co.'s mortgage unit has increased by more than 6,000 employees during the past six months. Many of the hirings supported the government's loan modification program.

FHA Faces Federal Bailout
A report from a university professor warns that the Federal Housing Administration has "massively understated" the risk it faces on its portfolio of insured loans.

AMCs, BPOs and Appraisal Compliance
Two solutions have emerged as alternatives to unreliable broker price opinions, including a hybrid model that utilizes both technology and experienced people. Appraisal firms claim they are prepared to comply with new appraisal requirements -- though one warns that lenders are not. Meanwhile, a survey conducted for an appraisal management company said that a majority of appraisers indicated prices and turnarounds are impacted little by the use of AMCs.

Fifth Third Expanding in Tennessee
After adding more than 100 mortgage loan originators during the past 90 days on a national basis, Fifth Third Bank has turned its attention to Tennessee.

Quicken Maintains Healthy Pace of Hirings
Quicken Loans Inc. has hired hundreds of new employees over the past two quarters. Today it is recruiting 75 more.

Appraisers Oppose Short-Sale Plan
U.S. appraisers warn that a government plan to encourage short sales will only raise the risk of mortgage fraud. The groups noted that scammers have turned their attention from flipping to "flopping."

No. 1 Reverse Wholesaler Title Changes Again
As retail reverse originations slid, monthly wholesale activity continued rising. The title of biggest reverse wholesaler changed hands again.

Credit Union Offers 100% LTV
A huge credit union on the East Coast reported an increase in annual production and said it now provides 100 percent loan-to-value on properties up to $650,000.

HFF Business Sinks
Despite a quarterly uptick in business, commercial real estate financing at HFF Inc. was down by more than half last year. The company sees weak fundamentals in the commercial real estate market continuing for up to another two years.

Fairway Boasts Boosted Business
Annual originations improved by more than two-thirds at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. Two Massachusetts branches were credited with originating more than $0.4 billion.

Lenders Issue SAFE Warning
Mortgage bankers claim the government is going too far by applying the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act to servicing employees who handle loan modifications. They are also concerned that federally insured institutions, which are not subject to the same requirements as state-licensed entities, will have an unfair advantage in attracting employees.

Banks Continue to Acquire Mortgage Firms
Two more mortgage firms have been swallowed up by banks. But bank merger activity was still dominated by the acquisition of other banks. Three mortgage service providers, meantime, announced acquisition deals.

No Buyers for 2 of 4 Failed Banks
Buyers couldn't be found for two of last week's four bank failures -- pushing projected losses to more than $300 million.

Modification Actions Drive Record Mortgage Litigation
Legal actions against mortgage modification firms continued to surge -- pushing overall mortgage litigation activity to the highest level yet.

HAMP Activity Video
Freddie Mac produced a video explaining the Home Affordable Modification Program and how it has used the program for loans it owns or guarantees.

Biggest Retail and Wholesale Lenders
Recently released government data revealed last year's biggest wholesale and retail residential lenders. Meanwhile, an increase in quarterly wholesale originations by banks and thrifts wasn't enough to offset a decline in retail business -- though business soared compared to 2008.

More Mortgage Job Losses
More jobs slipped away from the mortgage sector.

Citi Fundings Fall
Home loan activity fell at Citigroup Inc., though so did losses.

Wholesaler Liable for Broker Discrimination
The government has essentially settled with itself over alleged discriminatory practices by mortgage brokers on loans closed and funded through a defunct subprime wholesaler. The government claims the settlement marks the first time a wholesale lender has been held accountable for such broker behavior.

Top MetLife Executives Quit
The president of MetLife Home Loans and one of his top lieutenants has resigned.

Pricing Engines Enhanced, Integrated
Integration is the name of the game lately when it comes to loan product and pricing engines. Recent alliances with loan search services involved providers of loan origination systems, mortgage compliance services and appraisal management software.

Report: GMAC's Cash Management Could Hurt RMBS
Billions of dollars in residential mortgage-backed securities serviced by a GMAC Inc. subsidiary could be negatively impacted in bankruptcy proceedings because of cash management practices at the company, according to a new ratings agency report.

Improvement Seen in Mortgage Market
Fixed mortgage rates fell, loan applications rose and the jumbo spread narrowed. But the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage was worse.

Uptick In Commercial Mortgage Values
Despite weaker commercial real estate markets, commercial mortgage prices in the secondary market recently improved.

Fannie Performance Sinks
Monthly purchases sank, delinquency delved further into record territory and losses skyrocketed at the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Reverse Originations Sink as Originators Exit
As the number of players in the reverse mortgage market continues to dwindle, monthly reverse mortgage originations fell to the lowest level based on nearly two years' data. But one retail lender saw volume more than triple from January while two retail lenders pushed monthly production to the highest level yet.

Executives Recruited, Replaced
A Georgia woman has gone from being a mortgage broker customer of a local bank to a manager of the bank. An executive who left a New York-based mortgage firm three years ago is back. Other recent mortgage executive activity involved positions in sales, technology and foreclosures.

Recent mortgage executive activity

Banks Realign Boards, Management
Several banks reported changes in their boardrooms, while smaller institutions focused on activity outside the boardroom. Two former National City executives found jobs at other institutions.

Exec Changes at HUD, Fed
As a federal housing official was sworn in, a Federal Reserve official announced his intent to resign.

Default Service Providers Add Executives
Around a dozen service providers, including several that offer default services, recently announced executive appointments. One of those companies was a big mortgage insurer that also announced its president was recognized as one of the 75 most powerful women in business.

Changes to GMAC Correspondent Program Insignificant
Prospective changes to GMAC's correspondent lending program aren't expected to amount to a hill of beans, according to the company.

PHH Expanding Wholesale Channel
PHH Mortgage plans to increase its market share through third-party originators -- who it sees as underserved.

GA Firm Expanding, Hiring
Expansion at a mortgage outsourcing firm will result in dozens of new Georgia jobs.

Initiative Tackles Rising Repurchases
The Federal National Mortgage Association has undertaken a new initiative that it hopes will reduce repurchases by lenders. The initiative includes "substantially" rewritten quality-control policies.

Originations Higher at Credit Unions
As annual home loan production increased at U.S. credit unions, delinquency rose. The agency that oversees credit unions said it plans to step up regulation.

Correction: Assurity Financial
Assurity Financial Services LLC has identified inaccuracies in a story published by

MTA Nearing Bottom
A bottom is forming for the Monthly Treasury Index -- but possibly not before it drops a few more basis points and breaks a few more records.

HARP Extended
The government's refinance program has been extended. Nearly 200,000 loans have already been refinanced through the initiative.

Agency Issuance Weaker
A monthly increase in securitizations at Fannie Mae wasn't enough to overcome a decline at its two government-controlled cousins. All three issuers, however, were down from a year ago.

BoA Closes on Sale of Servicing Unit
Bank of America Corp. has closed on the sale of a nonprime servicing unit it acquired at the end of 2008.

PHH Performance Improves
Under the new management of its parent company, PHH Mortgage has boosted yearly loan production and pushed up quarterly and annual earnings. While residential originations eased from the third quarter, they might be headed higher as the company projects an increase in market share.

Net Branch Update
In addition to the stability afforded by bigger organizations -- net branch recruiters are promoting search engine help, government loan programs and high commission rates for prospective branches. Attendees to a recent net branch conference were highly optimistic about originations because of reduced competition.

FDIC Orders More Than Double
Monthly regulatory orders and other matters handled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have more than doubled from last year. The Federal Reserve has also been busy with its own orders.

2 Banks and 1 CU Fail, Net Branch Implodes
A bank that had nearly $300 million more in assets than in deposits was seized by state regulators last week as a result of heavy losses in collateralized-debt obligations. Also last week, a national net branch company that recently ranked as a top "non-imploded" lender ended operations.

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