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April 2011 Archive


D.C. Alliance Tackles 3 Pressing Issues
new alliance combines the forces of the highest-paid lobbying firm in Washington with a previous Federal Housing Administration commissioner and the former chief of the Government National Mortgage Association. Services being offered include helping lenders interpret and implement the loan officer compensation rule, risk-retention requirements and new suitability rule.

COFI Falls for 9 Straight Months
As West Coast banks continue to pay lower rates on their interest expenses, some borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages are getting a huge break.

New Activity Edges Higher as Rates Slip
Business was a little better this week as interest rates retreated.

Mortgage Market Index 203 for the week ended April 29, 2011

HUD $100 Down In Effect
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is selling properties that require a cash investment of only $100.

Defiant Foreclosure Lawyer Won't be Stopped by Lost License
An attorney who advised borrowers to break into their foreclosed homes has lost his license to practice law in the Golden State. But the defiant lawyer said he'll continue to practice law -- a move that could have him defending his own criminal case.

M.I. Volume Bounces
Mortgage insurance volume rebounded from the record low set in February. Defaults also improved.

Rates Ease, Could Hold
Mortgage rates improved and could stay at this level through next week. The hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage declined again and has fallen 27 basis points over the past two weeks.

New GSE Servicing Guidelines Out by September
Mortgage servicers on conventional agency loans are being provided with a new set of guidelines that are in line with the recent servicer settlement. The guidelines are expected to be delivered by September.

Fannie Holds Delinquency, Secondary Volume
Fannie Mae managed a slight improvement last month in secondary activity and home-loan delinquency. The company also increased its outstanding guarantees.

FHA Purchases Soar
New purchase production at the Federal Housing Administration was up 22 percent last month, while purchase applications jumped 48 percent. But purchase volume could fall as fast as it rose. As the FHA book of business inched closer to a trillion dollars, delinquency was down around 60 basis points.

Fairway Business Down Over Half
As overall business tumbled at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. production from the new wholesale operation leapt. The company has expanded its government wholesale programs and plans to add non-agency jumbo loans to the wholesale menu.

Citi Cutting 100s of Production Jobs, Hirings 100s in Servicing
Hundreds of production employees are being laid off from Citigroup Inc.'s mortgage unit as a result of declining originations. But some of the impacted employees might land in servicing as the company moves to expand the department in light of its recent settlement with federal regulators.

Flagstar Originations Down By Nearly Half
A 47 percent drop in quarterly home-loan production was reported by Flagstar Bancorp Inc., and the current quarter is likely seeing further declines. But the bank-holding company grew its mortgage servicing portfolio, unloaded $80 million in non-performing mortgages and substantially cut its losses.

Compliance is Top Issue in LOS Development
Whether it's the loan officer compensation rule or other mortgage compliance issues, the technology behind loan origination systems is evolving to help lenders keep up. Other recent LOS innovations tackle social media, cloud computing and a growing number of portable devices.

Bank Execs Promoted, Recruited and Released
A new rule will require banks to disclose how their executives are incentivized. The proposed regulation comes as dozens of recent banking executive appointments have been announced.

Legendary CEO Warns About QE2
The former chief executive officer of General Electric Co. is warning that the U.S. central bank's second round of quantitative easing is leading the country into a disaster. He said that in addition to Wall Street -- financial crisis culprits included mortgage bankers, borrowers and ratings agencies.

CA Firm Acquires FHA Lender, Plans Hirings
A company in Southern California that originated $500 million last year has acquired a firm that specializes in government mortgages.

Bidding Ends Soon on Agency Servicing Portfolio
Bidding ends in two days on a $262 million servicing portfolio of agency loans. Most of the loans are secured by properties in the West.

PMI Loosens Requirements in Distressed Markets
PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. is raising its loan-to-value ratios and lowering its minimum credit score requirements in distressed markets. But two distressed states got some bad news.

$100 Million Fraud Case Yields 7 Sentences
A real estate appraiser, a First Horizon Home Loans employee and a Wachovia Bank employee are among seven people who have been sentenced in a $100 million mortgage fraud case in North Carolina. Two lawyers are also among the defendants.

Improving Delinquency Trend Developing at Freddie
It's been five months since home-loan delinquency at Freddie Mac has risen -- an early sign that the economic recovery is gaining strength. Secondary marketing activity, however, was lower.

The Credit Report
Regulators keep lobbing new rules and requirements related to credit histories at lenders, but just as quickly -- services are introduced to address the regulations. Other recent activity in credit reporting includes the release of an updated credit-scoring model, a report to Congress about a federal study on credit-reporting errors, and a list of the five states with the highest average credit scores.

More Good News for CRE as Government Support at 36%
Following a rosy estimate in February that had last year's commercial mortgage production up a third over 2009, the final tally came in even better. The outlook is for further improvement. The latest data indicate that the U.S. Government was associated with 36 percent of commercial mortgage fundings.

Investor Seeks Non-Performing Notes
A San Francisco-based buyer of mortgage notes is now acquiring non-performing loans.

Chase Hiring Up to 1,000 in Ohio
As many as a thousand planned mortgage hirings in Ohio by JPMorgan Chase & Co. will help the company deal with issues brought up in a recent settlement between the biggest mortgage servicers and federal regulators. But the jobs aren't expected to last more than a couple years.

Senate Report Analyzes WaMu's Downfall
A Senate report released last week said that a concentration of Florida mortgages and risky loan programs helped bring down Washington Mutual Bank. Without the sale of the bank to JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- the entire Deposit Insurance Fund could have been wiped out.

Low VA Bank Failure Rate Could Change
Just two Virginia banks have failed during the past decade. But several recent regulatory actions suggest deteriorating mortgage portfolios could spell the end of a growing number of the state's community banks. One problem is raising capital when the bank is operating under a regulatory order, while another issue is the rigorous due diligence performed by prospective investors.

Repurchases Lead to Resignation of Bank CEO
The founder and chairman of the biggest Baltimore-based bank is resigning. The institution is scrambling to raise capital following four years of losses. It was repurchased, no-income-verification loans that brought the bank to its current state.

Mortgage Portfolio Grows at 5/3
Fifth Third Bancorp has managed to increase its residential assets and servicing portfolio. But the same can't be said for home-loan production -- which was down by nearly half.

Purchase & FHA Activity Tumbles
Mortgage rates improved ahead of Easter Sunday.

Mortgage Market Index 198 for the week ended April 22, 2011

Secondary Marketing Tools
Whether it's residential or commercial mortgages acquired on a whole-loan basis or through mortgage-backed securities -- a wide range of services promise to predict performance, prevent defaults and identify other issues involved in secondary trades.

Mostly Good PNC Results
The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. managed a quarterly increase in its servicing portfolio, though its mortgage assets declined. Residential delinquency was lower, but late payments on commercial mortgages worsened. Residential production was down 9 percent during the quarter.

BB&T Performance Improves, But Not Originations
It was the lowest level of delinquency for BB&T Corp. in three years as its servicing portfolio and mortgage assets grew. But home-loan fundings tumbled 31 percent.

Hybrid ARM Leads Rates Lower
Mortgage rates were better this week -- with a hybrid product exhibiting the biggest decline. The outlook is for the same rates next week, a growing adjustable-rate share and a shrinking proportion of refinances.

SunTrust Reports Lower Delinquency, New CEO
As SunTrust Banks Inc. announced the execution of a succession plan for its top executive slot -- it separately reported an improvement in delinquency, a reduction in mortgage assets and a one-third decline in originations.

Wells 2011 Mortgage Layoffs Climb to 4,500
As mortgage originations sank at Wells Fargo & Co., the company said it has reduced its mortgage staffing by 4,500.

Servicer Performance Rises as Portfolios Plunge
Last year, mortgage servicing portfolios fell by nearly a third, delinquency declined and loans serviced per employee jumped.

Secondary Marketing Earnings, Originations Rise
Fourth-quarter data indicate that mortgage bankers saw originations rise and secondary marketing income improve from a year earlier.

2 Months of Delinquency Improvement
Consecutive monthly improvements in home-loan defaults have recently been reported by three data sources. The latest findings have delinquency lower for two months in a row.

Guilty Conviction for Taylor Bean Founder
It's been a blockbuster year for the U.S. Department of Justice -- with guilty pleas coming from six defendants in the Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Corp. fraud case. Now, the mastermind behind the $2.9 billion scheme has been convicted by a jury.

U.S. Bank Business Tumbles from Record High
After reaching an all-time high in the fourth quarter, residential originations at U.S. Bancorp plummeted. But the company has made progress in reducing residential late payments.

Mortgage Delinquency Drops
It has been four consecutive months of improvement for first-lien delinquency.

New Reg Z Rule Defines Qualified Mortgage
WASHINGTON -- Changes to Regulation Z that are required under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 have been released for public comment.

Wholesaler Settles With HUD
A wholesale lender based in Virginia has settled allegations that it ignored bad credit, excessive debt-to-income ratios and improper broker fees on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Business Eases at Ginnie
The Government National Mortgage Association reported that monthly issuances eased.

Origination Outlook Increased
The latest mortgage production forecast for the third quarter was increased $10 billion -- though at the expense of second-quarter activity. After years of declines, U.S. mortgages outstanding are expected to grow in 2013.

Bad Business Climate for Banks in WV
The chairman and chief executive officer of the biggest bank based in West Virginia says that doing business in the state is far less profitable than in neighboring Virginia because of excessive litigation and a burdensome regulatory environment. One magazine ranking had the state dead last in growth prospects.

MortgageDaily.com Provides Assistance for Displaced Mortgage Workers
Thousands of mortgage employees at Bank of America Home Loans and Wells Fargo & Co. have lost their jobs so far in 2011. The staffing cuts are the result of rising interest rates and falling loan originations. Mortgage Daily is providing help for these displaced employees.

HUD Restricts Use of Logo
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued requirements that impact the use of government logos when advertising Federal Housing Administration programs.

Citi Production Down Over a Third
Home-loan production at Citigroup Inc. was down 35 percent from the fourth quarter, though the company managed a year-over-year gain. Delinquency improved and repurchase costs fell.

Bill Would Cut TN Foreclosure Costs
A bill making its way through Tennessee's legislature would reduce the number of newspaper advertisements required for a foreclosure. Critics of the legislation say that it would eliminate one of the few remaining safeguards in the state's relatively simple foreclosure process.

9-Month High for Purchase Activity
New purchase activity has not been this high since August of last year.

Mortgage Market Index 214 for the week ended April 15, 2011

2011 Death Toll Jumps to 50
Six bank failures on Friday are expected to cost the country more than a half billion dollars, and one of two credit unions that were seized had $1.6 billion in assets. Including a wholesale lender that called its quits -- this year's casualty list for banks, credit unions and non-bank mortgage lenders has grown to 50.

Shares of Ellie Increase
After reducing its initial public offering price to $6 from $10, Ellie Mae saw its shares rise on the first day of trading.

Mortgage Fraud Index Falls to 11-Quarter Low
The Mortgage Fraud Index from MortgageDaily.com has fallen 69 percent over the past year to the lowest level since early 2008, while the dollar volume of associated loans was off by more than half. But the lull might only be temporary.

Mortgage Fraud Index Falls to 11-Quarter Low

FL Foreclosure Case Being Closely Watched
A state supreme court has agreed to hear the case of a Florida borrower who claims bad foreclosure paperwork should enable him to keep his property. The court said that the case is a matter of "great public importance."

May Loaded With Mortgage Events
More than 25 mortgage conferences and events are scheduled for next month, while June is even busier. The conferences tackle trendy new topics such as social media and technology solutions as well as more serious issues like reverse mortgages, mortgage compliance and the implementation of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

BoA Originations Sink
Home-loan fundings at Bank of America Corp. were down a third in the first quarter of this year. The lender, however, has made progress on delinquency.

100% LTV is Back
A financial institution out of Maryland is touting 100 percent loan-to-value ratios on homes costing more than a half million dollars. Refinances with cashout are available up to 95 percent.

Big Consolidation at BoA
In anticipation of a huge downturn in mortgage originations, Bank of America Corp.'s mortgage unit will close production offices and layoff more than a thousand employees. The layoffs are another huge blow to jobs in real estate finance.

CMBS Lates Improve
It's not often lately when delinquency on securitized commercial mortgages falls.

NY's Huge Shadow Inventory Analyzed
A ratings agency report takes a look at why New York's shadow inventory is three times worse than the nation's.

Refis Push Mortgage Forecast Higher
For the second month in a row, mortgage bankers boosted their funding forecast. A drop in the purchase-money outlook was more than offset by strengthening refinance activity.

Rising Rates Ready to Retreat
Mortgage rates rose again but might relent. Borrowers out shopping for shorter-term or jumbo mortgages increased their advantage this past week.

Report IDs Financial Crisis Culprits
A congressional probe into the financial crisis found that Washington Mutual Inc., its federal regulator and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. all played a big role in the financial crisis. Criminal charges could emerge as a result of the report.

Chase Hiring Thousands
Thousands of jobs are being added at JPMorgan Chase & Co., which is beefing up its foreclosure process. But one analyst sees the staffing increase as temporary.

Chase Volume Sinks on Correspondent Closings
The correspondent channel dragged quarterly home-loan fundings down at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Servicers Hit With Federal Orders
Federal banking regulators have taken formal enforcement actions against the nation's biggest mortgage servicers. The servicers are required to improve their foreclosure and modification processes, hire outside firms to verify if any borrowers unjustly faced foreclosure and compensate victims.

Outlook Increased for Q2
The estimate for first-quarter residential production was scaled back, though the forecast was bumped for the remaining three quarters of this year.

IPO to Fund Acquisition of Subprime Loans, Agency MBS
A real estate investment trust plans an initial public offering that will fund the acquisition of subprime real estate loans and agency mortgage-backed securities. A government filing indicated that the time was right to invest in residential assets.

Former BoA VP Sentenced
HARTFORD, Conn. -- A former executive at Bank of America Corp. was sentenced after he pled guilty to conspiring with an attorney and a developer to rig the auction of distressed loans.

AGs Press BoA on Servicer Settlement
The parent of Bank of America Home Loans is being pressured by state attorneys general to be the first to buy into a potential settlement with the nation's biggest mortgage servicers. One big issue that has yet to be resolved is the amount of principal reductions on loan modifications.

Doing Time for Mortgage Crimes
A former executive for Citigroup Inc.'s finance unit has denied charges that she embezzled $100,000 from the lender, while several recent guilty pleas have been received from former executives of Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. and its bank. Other mortgage crime cases to see recent activity involve a mortgage broker who pretended to be an attorney, defendants who were motivated to break the law because of gambling addictions and a hard-money lender who took hefty up-front fees and did nothing else.

National Closing Services Firm Done
A service provider that offered appraisal, settlement and title insurance services has ended business. The national operator had previously faced a federal raid into alleged attorney kickbacks, though that case ended with no charges filed.

NY Broker Pleads Guilty in Insider Trading Case
A mortgage broker from Long Island, N.Y., has admitted that he acted as a middleman between a mergers-and-acquisitions attorney and a trader to help conceal an insider trading scheme that netted the trio more than $30 million. By the time that the jig was up, insider trades had occurred on 15 deals.

New Reverse Wholesale Leader
In a little more than a year, five companies have held the volatile title of biggest reverse mortgage wholesaler. It was the first time at the top for the latest leader.

Mortgage Investors Deceived by Servicer, Lender
A new report from the State of New Hampshire looked at how a hard-money lender and a mortgage servicer colluded to carry out a Ponzi scheme by misleading investors, auditors and regulators.

MBS Investors Walk from Loan
A Florida man who stopped making payments on his mortgage in 2008 was prepared to lose the house. But as the bondholder took a closer look at the property, a decision was made to abandon the loan -- giving the borrower a free-and-clear property.

Mortgage Hirings Slammed
Mortgage sector jobs went from a net gain in 2009 to a net loss last year, according to the Fourth-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Employment Index from MortgageDaily.com. A huge drop in hirings was responsible for the overall deterioration.

Fourth-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Employment Index

3 Deceased Institutions
It was a story that's been told many times lately; a small bank that survived the Great Depression fell victim to the Great Recession. In all, three institutions met their demise last week.

CFPB Chief Discusses 1-Page Disclosure
DALLAS -- The person charged with establishing the new consumer financial regulator sees a one-page disclosure that is delivered earlier in the process and makes it easy for prospective borrowers to understand whether they can afford the loan or if they can get a better deal elsewhere.

Activity Slows
Overall new mortgage activity eased this week as purchase and refinance transactions were lower and adjustable-rate activity held up. Jumbo borrowers got a break.

Mortgage Market Index 200 for the week ended April 8, 2011

Wells Sued Over Flood Insurance
Wells Fargo & Co.'s mortgage unit is accused in a federal lawsuit of requiring borrowers in federally designated flood zones obtain unnecessary flood insurance.

Biggest Lenders Vary on FHA Shutdown Plans
Among the country's biggest mortgage lenders, some will continue making Federal Housing Administration loans if a government shutdown occurs, while others plan to halt government originations.

HUD Settles with MA Lender
Poor underwriting on Federal Housing Administration loans cost a Massachusetts mortgagee more than $70,000. A proposed rule seeks to hold all FHA lenders liable when they don't follow guidelines.

Mortgage Firm Acquires Bank, Avoids Licensing
A Chicago family with a $1.2 billion residential mortgage company has acquired a Kansas bank. The move was made to sidestep burdensome licensing requirements at non-bank lenders.

Reverse Activity Up
Government-insured reverse mortgage production managed an improvement last month.

88 Bank Orders Issued
Bank regulators haven't let up on the financial institutions they oversee -- with 88 new regulatory orders identified during the past month.

Fixed Rates Up, 1-Year Down
The one-year adjustable-rate mortgage, unlike fixed and hybrid mortgage rates, was lower. Interest rates might move higher.

NAMB: "Fight is Far From Over"
One of the two trade groups that sued the Federal Reserve Board over the loan officer compensation rule has vowed to fight on after a crushing defeat in a federal appeals court.

Biggest LOs
Michigan fans will be happy with the results of a ranking of individual loan originators -- though there was plenty of action in Illinois.

Getting More Out of Mortgage Leads
A common theme in recent marketing by mortgage lead services is the improvement of conversion rates. Several service providers are offering diverse systems and novel ideas to do just that. Meanwhile, a recent report says consumers are migrating to lead-generating Web sites that increase their control of the process.

Branches Continue Growth
Many mortgage branch operations are maintaining a brisk pace of expansion, with several capitalizing on their government programs. Mortgage branch growth is also being pursued by financial institutions.

Irreparable Harm In Effect
Yesterday's decision by a federal appeals court will cause "irreparable harm" to small mortgage brokerages. The potential impact of the decision was compared to the implementation of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.

CA Program Expanded to Cashout Loans
Following its recent launch, a $2 billion federal program in California has been expanded to mortgages that included cashout and loans that were recently originated. But the relaxed requirements don't apply to principal reductions.

Chase Hiring in Ohio
JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to expand its mortgage lending staff in Ohio.

Personal Bankruptcies Explode
Between February and March, personal bankruptcies increased more than 40 percent. It was the second month in a row that the number of U.S. consumers to file bankruptcy rose.

CMBS Performance Worst On Record
Late payments on loans included in commercial mortgage-backed securities climbed to the highest level ever recorded -- though the pace of deterioration is losing steam.

Appeals Court Rules on LO Compensation Rule
A federal appeals court has rendered its decision about whether to continue to delaying the implementation of the loan originator compensation rule while mortgage brokers battle it out with the Federal Reserve Board in federal court.

Commercial Mortgage Lenders Ranked
The results are in, and the biggest commercial mortgage lender has been named.

Wells Settles Over Wachovia MBS Sales
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Wells Fargo & Co. has settled for $11 million allegations that subsidiary Wachovia Inc. improperly peddled mortgage investments before being acquired by the West Coast banking giant.

Home Equity Delinquency Mixed
Late payments on home-equity products managed to avoid an increase.

Brokers Respond to Fed Filing
U.S. mortgage brokers delivered their response to the Federal Reserve Board's filing yesterday in the brokers' lawsuit seeking to lift the stay on the loan originator compensation rule. The brokers, who are pleading to stop the rule from "decimating the mortgage brokerage industry," might have a chance changing one aspect of the rule, according to one expert.

Fed Fires Back in LO Comp Rule Lawsuit
The Federal Reserve Board filed its response to an appeal by mortgage brokers to have the loan originator compensation rule delayed. The Fed says that the brokers have not shown that they have a reasonable chance of winning their case and is asking to have an emergency order lifted.

MTA Breaks 0.30% Floor
It was the first time on record that the Monthly Treasury Average has fallen below 0.30 percent.

Chase Adding 1,500 California Jobs
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is building on its acquisition of Washington Mutual Bank and expanding its presence in the Golden State.

FDIC Faces Uphill Battle in Lawsuit against WaMu Execs
In its lawsuit against former senior executives of Washington Mutual Inc., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. accuses WaMu's chief of warning about an overheated real estate market while taking on more risk to boost his own compensation. The FDIC has on its side a well-funded legal team and access to all records of the failed banking subsidiary. But the bank's former regulator gave it a satisfactory rating, and cases against the former management of failed institutions are difficult to prove and usually settle before going to trial.

Fewer Banks Failing
A 37 percent year-over-year decline in bank failures has the number of mortgage-related operations to close or fail down steeply during the first quarter at the Mortgage Graveyard from MortgageDaily.com. Despite the subdued banking activity, the reverse mortgage sector took a beating.

Servicers Dominate Hirings
Despite thousands of refinance-related layoffs recently reported by some large originators, Mortgage Daily has identified more than a thousand mortgage-related positions that are being filled by several firms. Much of the recent activity is in mortgage servicing.

Purchase Action Leaps
It was a positive week for originators who handle purchase transactions -- which jumped and overcame a retreat in refinances to push overall activity up.

Mortgage Market Index 206 for the week ended April 1, 2011

Agency Issuance Yanked Down by Freddie
While issuance picked up at the Federal National Mortgage Association, volume eased at the Government National Mortgage Association and sank at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

COFI Continues to Fall
It's been eight months since an increase was reported for the Cost of Funds Index and nearly a year-and-a-half since it has been this low.

New FHA Chief has Quarter Century in Mortgage Lending
The new assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development who will oversee the Federal Housing Administration has more than a quarter century under his belt in real estate finance.

Robert Ryan appointed FHA commissioner

Another Weak Month for HAMP Production
Monthly activity under the federal loan modification program waned and stands at less than a third of the level a year ago.
17,583 HAMP modifications in February

Mortgage Jobs Worse As U.S. Improves
Following a rough January, when the number of people working in real estate finance sank by 4 percent in a single month, further contraction occurred in February. But beyond mortgage lending, overall U.S. employment strengthened.

LO Comp Rule Delayed
A federal appellate judge has delayed the implementation of the loan officer compensation rule. But the ruling only delays implementation while an appeal is considered by the court.

Florida Brokers Decline 80% Since 2007
The number of mortgage brokers licensed in Florida has fallen from more than 80,000 four years ago to less than 5,000. While the number is likely to grow as the rest of the more than 15,000 pending license applications make their way through the regulatory process -- it shows how the broken housing market has worn down the sector.

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