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May 2007 Archive


COFI Improves
Indexes on adjustable-rate loans headed in different directions.

Select Rating Boosted
The company formerly known as Fairbanks Capital Corp. saw its servicer rating upgraded.

Mixed M.I. Activity
Monthly mortgage insurance volume tumbled -- though activity was better than a year ago.

ARM Yields Diverge
Positive economic news pushed fixed rates up once again and dragged down demand for mortgages. The share of variable-rate loans declined as yields on the 1-year and 5-year headed in opposite directions.

Nonresidential Mortgage Transactions
Recent commercial mortgage activity included a refinance on a New York office tower, a loan on a Maryland mall and the defeasance of 50 loans that enabled the acquisition of a chain of upscale extended-stay hotels.

Production Drives Impac Layoffs
Waning production and poor market conditions prompted Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. to reduce its workforce by 10 percent.

NovaStar Servicer Rating Cut
NovaStar Financial Inc.'s servicing arm saw its rating downgraded.

Thrift Production Jumps
Thrifts pumped out more originations in the first quarter amid rising delinquencies.

Choose the Right Customers
Salespeople could increase their sales volume by dumping time-consuming clients with little hope of a sale and focusing on those who inspire and energize, according to a new sales and marketing book.

REIT Structure Sank Lenders
A flaw in the structure of real estate investment trusts proved to be fatal for some subprime lenders, according to analysts and executives surveyed by MortgageDaily.com. They noted required cash distributions during good times robbed the companies of much needed cash when things got rough.

Mortgage Technology Insider
Updated technology for loan closings, loan origination and automated underwriting was topped by a new lead service that promises more committed and exclusive prospects.

Robbing the Grave
Attorneys in two states have been accused of taking advantage of deceased people -- including the father of one of the lawyers. Meanwhile, another attorney was busted for running a mortgage fraud scheme using private information he obtained while working for the government.

read story
Foreclosure Data Disputed
In a recent report, consumer watchdogs claim foreclosures have yet to peak. But a new study contradicts that report and warns against any legislation that could curtail subprime credit availability.

Wholesaler Suspends Operations
One of North Florida's fastest growing companies has run out of funding.

Fraud Inc.
The government plans to hit the road in an attempt to engage banking executives in its massive campaign to fight mortgage fraud.

LOS Advancements
Recently launched loan origination technology promises to provide approved brokers with wholesale loan options as they input the application, though one competitor criticized the intrusive nature of the offering.

Mergers and Boardroom Business
Deals involving reverse and commercial mortgage companies complimented a host of banking mergers.

Wells Exec Running for Office
A California executive for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage also has a political career.

read news story
Stressed Servicers Speak
Subprime servicers, who saw the first signs of trouble last fall, are going "old school" in their approach to heading off defaults and foreclosures. But some sub-servicers need more experienced employees to administer increasing activity from overwhelmed lenders.

Home Prices Fueled Subprime Meltdown
A new ratings agency study found a link between property values and subprime mortgage defaults.

Rates Jump
Comments from the Federal Reserve helped send mortgage rates soaring during the latest week. And as interest rates move higher, more adjustable-rate borrowers are refinancing into fixed rate loans.

Loan Program Updates
Changes have been announced for a popular lower-income mortgage program. Meanwhile, a federal banking regulator is calling for tighter limits on stated income loans.

ACC Lays Off Thousands This Week
The parent of Ameriquest Mortgage will complete this week the layoff of over 500 Illinois employees and thousands more throughout five other states.

Mortgage Licensees Diminish
New laws designed to make it tougher for mortgage brokers and loan officers to be licensed are living up to expectations in at least two states -- leading to fewer licensed originators. And mortgage industry consolidation is also having an impact on the number of licensees.

Mixed Subprime Activity
The performance of subprime loans backing residential mortgage-backed securities with variable interest rates worsened, according to a recent investment report. But spreads improved on new transactions for the fifth consecutive week.

Outsourcing Leads to Layoffs
National City Mortgage Co. will be offshoring more Ohio jobs.

Reset Wave Coming
LAS VEGAS -- The effectiveness of loan modifications on the wave of rate resets expected to hit subprime borrowers -- many who lied on their loan applications -- was questioned by panel of secondary market experts.

Freddie Purchases Tumble
After climbing almost $10 billion in March, Freddie Mac's new business purchased retreated last month. But business was better than a year earlier.

Foreclosure Help On The Way
In addition to proposed legislation, a series of programs have recently emerged to combat a projected wave of foreclosures.

Mortgage Bankers Blame Brokers
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Mortgage bankers said mortgage brokers are responsible for the rash of foreclosures facing the industry. They also criticized a report which "disingenuously" overstates the degree of subprime problems. Meanwhile, the group is taking proactive steps to deal with overextended borrowers.

read news story
Fraud at Core of Repurchases
NEW YORK -- Mortgage fraud, which cost lenders more than $4 billion last year, could be at the heart of the recent wave of repurchases, according to panelists at a mortgage banking conference.

S.C. Layoffs at NetBank
NetBank Inc.'s exit from the correspondent and wholesale mortgage market will be accompanied by South Carolina layoffs.

Wholesaler Winding Down
NetBank Inc. is selling its deposits, shutting down its wholesale mortgage operations and taking a loss of more than $50 million.

Brokers Blame Bankers for Subprime Mess
Mortgage bankers support sturdier subprime lending standards -- but not at the expense of credit access, according to a joint statement from six financial trade groups. The pronouncement was blasted, however, by mortgage brokers and consumer groups.

Underwriting Innovations, Constrictions
NEW YORK -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have recently tightened their underwriting guidelines, according to executives speaking at an industry conference yesterday. And tighter underwriting was among factors cited for a resurgence in mortgage insurance.

Mortgage Technology Advances
Pricing and secondary marketing dominated a busy week in mortgage technology.

Bulk REO Buyer Launched
An Oklahoma-based company has created a new division that is looking for bulk acquisitions of REOs.

Credit Score Evolves
Fair Isaac is making some changes to the formula used for its FICO credit scoring system. Meanwhile, the competition isn't saying anything about the updates.

Nonprime Performance Worsens
Quarterly nonprime performance deteriorated.

Bill Tackles Fannie, Freddie Regulation
Both the Bush Administration and the speaker of the house support tighter regulation proposed in a reform bill for the government sponsored housing enterprises -- though one mortgage group is concerned about over regulation. But the federal government's executive and legislative diverged when it came to supporting a provision of the bill that calls for an affordable housing fund.

White Paper Analyzes Key Sales Principles
Some essential principles are necessary to succeed in sales, according to a new White Paper on improving personal sales.

Ameriquest Sued Over Refis
About 30 Missouri homeowners have taken Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and Argent Mortgage Company LLC to court, claiming that the two mortgage finance companies engaged in predatory lending and, through hard sell tactics, persuaded them to repeatedly refinance their home loans.

Reverse Options Expand
Brokers can originate reverse mortgages through a newly launched program without being FHA approved. While it isn't the only product of its kind, required counseling was hailed by one trade group.

Success Contrasts Mess
As banks and lenders struggle to survive amid a mortgage market mess, one nonprime mortgage company is boasting about its success. Meanwhile, there was no shortage of restructurings, delisting warnings or acquisitions in the latest mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity.

Crimes Jeopardize Licensing
A Florida-based lender is under increased scrutiny over the management role of an employee because of his criminal record and involvement with a failed savings and loan in 1988. Two other employees with felony records have already cost the company a Georgia license while an Ohio originator for the company lost a license due to a mortgage fraud indictment.

World Volume Down
Although Wachovia Corp. finished its acquisition of Golden West Financial Corp. last year, it continues to report the residential production from the company separately.

Subprime Lender Shuts Down
Significant operating losses have forced a New Jersey bank holding company to shut down its subprime mortgage subsidiary.

FDIC, Fed Discuss Subprime
CHICAGO -- The Federal Reserve is "currently undertaking a thorough review of all of its options under the law" to deal with subprime lending problems, its chief said Thursday, and it may use its rule-making authority to prohibit certain specific practices. He noted more buyers have entered the secondary market for subprime mortgages.
read story
Fixed Rates Worsen
Mortgage demand dwindled while long-term mortgage rates increased for the first time in four weeks.

Fieldstone Struggling
Fieldstone Investment Corp. is fighting several lawsuits, including one claiming it fired a whistle blower. Meanwhile, mortgage originations fell, losses increased and the company in jeopardy of violating covenants in it warehouse line agreements.

Investment Banks Blamed for Subprime Woes
The Ohio attorney general's organized crime task force and other task forces are investigating subprime lenders and the Wall Street investment banks that funded them -- with the intention of bringing a lawsuit against them.

Fraud Flourishes in Florida
Mortgage fraud grew by almost one-third last year, with the Sunshine State dethroning Georgia as the state with the most fraud problems, according to an annual review prepared for mortgage bankers. The report indicates it could be five years before fraud from the 2006 subprime vintage is uncovered.

Option One Lays Off 100s
Option One Mortgage Corp. will layoff about one-fifth of its staff -- mostly production jobs, as it consolidates operations and exits the correspondent business.

Commercial Deals Announced
An Illinois multifamily property, a New Jersey retail center and a Minnesota office building all found commercial mortgage financing this week.

States Suspend, Punish Licensees
North Carolina is holding a mortgage broker liable for putting borrowers into loans they could not afford. Meanwhile, regulators in other states are cracking down on deceitful and unlicensed originators.

MBA, Senators Oppose Higher FHA Premiums
The Bush administration's proposal to increase insurance premiums for government-insured mortgages on multifamily properties was met with substantial opposition in Washington, D.C.

Countrywide Hiring Salespeople
Despite lower profits and a turbulent mortgage market, Countrywide Financial Corp.'s chief said it is adding thousands of new sales jobs this year in an effort to increase its already dominant market share. He forecasted a 50 percent decline in subprime originations industrywide.

New Wholesalers, Programs
Mortgage brokers are the target of several new wholesaler programs. Among the latest initiatives are a reverse mortgage product for pricier homes and the launch of two wholesale lenders.

Sales, Secondary Technology
Some of the latest mortgage technology offerings promise to reduce risk, double originations and increase secondary marketing profits. Meanwhile, technological advancements in residential lending are now spreading to commercial mortgages.

Foreclosures Ease, Jumbos Falter
Foreclosure activity eased in April nationally -- although Ohio escalated, according to one report. Another report indicates an earlier month saw serious jumbo delinquency worsen.

Unpaid OT Cases Continue
Mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers continue to be plagued by litigation and government actions over originator overtime and minimum wages. But several large lenders have opted to settle and move on.

Broker, Originators Busted for Fraud
Several loan originators have been busted by Illinois state regulators and law enforcement officials in a major south side Chicago mortgage fraud ring involving 120 properties.

Furiously Fighting Foreclosures
An expected wave of foreclosures is being met with a wave of foreclosure prevention programs.

Banks Tighten Nonprime Guidelines
Domestic banks have tightened their mortgage guidelines and seen a decline in loan demand.

Another Blow to Downpayment Assistance
A proposed rule for federally-insured mortgages would wipe out seller paid downpayment assistance. The proposal follows a related IRS ruling one year ago.

CA Job Cuts Deepen
Mortgage related layoffs in the Golden State are continuing at an ugly pace.

Downey Business Eases
Downey Financial Corp. reported lower monthly mortgage volume.

Layoffs at LendingTree
LendingTree slashed about 20 percent of its workforce in an effort to align costs with the current mortgage market environment.

Nonprime Originations Sink
U.S. nonprime mortgage production has recently tumbled by nearly a quarter, a new analysis indicates.

4 Commercial Mortgages Arranged
Four commercial properties in three states have all been financed by one New York-based company.

Mortgage Brokers Wanted
As lending executives were shuffled and mortgage bankers were acquired, one company exited mortgage lending altogether while another expanded funding capabilities in anticipation of mortgage broker acquisitions.

3 Bad Lawyers
A North Carolina estate lawyer has not only gone wild, he's also gone overseas. Meanwhile, attorneys in Florida and New York are accused of stealing real estate funds from clients.

NovaStar Numbers Nosedive
Residential originations tumbled at NovaStar Financial Inc. -- which is dumping its real estate investment trust status.

Impac Sinks
Quarterly originations sank at Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. The primarily Alt-A company said its focus was on liquidity -- though distressed loan purchases could present an opportunity.

Developing Realtor Business
Developing productive relationships with real estate brokers or agents begins with becoming educated about them. Among originators, this group shares the distinguished title of "customer" with prospective borrowers.

Delinquent Borrowers Sought
A national mortgage branch operation has launched a program aimed at helping existing borrowers avoid foreclosure -- a market it says is untapped.

FHA Activity Jumps
Applications for Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages led a small increase in overall activity. Meanwhile, mortgage rates held steady.

Lead Generation Scrutinized
Aggressive lead generation tactics are prompting regulatory inquiry at both state and federal levels, according to a recent industry report.

Borrower Education Endorsed
Lenders endorsed a set of standards for professional mortgage counselors. The standards, intended to help borrowers avoid the expected onslaught of foreclosures, come on the heels of a set of servicer principles promoted by a U.S. senator and supported by most big mortgage bankers.

ABCs of REITs
A new report outlines important factors in the analysis of mortgage real estate investment trusts.

REIT Secures $1 Billion Line
A mortgage real estate investment trust based in California announced it struck a deal for a $1 billion warehouse facility.

Eckerd Plaza Loan Set
A New York-based commercial mortgage broker lined up a loan for a shopping center that will include a branch of CitiFinancial, an Eckerds store and a supermarket as tenants.

Row House Exclusion Litigated
NovaStar Financial Inc. is being accused of discriminating against minorities and people with disabilities.

PNC Boosts Commercial Presence
PNC Financial Services Group Inc. has agreed to buy a California-based commercial mortgage originator that funded more than $2 billion last year.


Secondary Subprime Hearings
WASHINGTON, D.C., For the second time in weeks, Congress has delved into the role the secondary market plays in subprime lending.

read news story
Countrywide Off
Countrywide Financial Corp. saw its monthly originations fall.

Servicer Fraud Unlikely
The likelihood that smaller seller-servicers are falsely reporting loan performance -- including making delinquent payments themselves to avoid repurchases -- is remote, according to a survey of the three major ratings agencies. But it could happen and not be detected, an official at one agency told MortgageDaily.com.

Bigger is Better in Offshoring
Data security, company size and cost are big factors in deciding to offshore mortgage functions, according to a recent survey of mortgage providers.

Net Branch Exec Running Again
A net branch corporate executive is taking another crack at politics.

Profits, Record Fundings at Delta
Delta Financial Corp. continued to be among the few nonprime lenders to report a quarterly profit.

LOS, AU & Servicing Technology
While there was plenty of activity in servicing technology, improvements to front end applications dominated mortgage technology business during the latest week.

HEL ABS Activity Worsens
Home-equity asset-backed securities accounted for most of the quarterly downgrades at one New York-based ratings agency.

2nd Lien Wholesaler Shuttered
A North Carolina lender has closed its subprime wholesale lending arm.

We're Still Here
The president of First Consolidated Mortgage Co. says last week's confirmation that the company had shut down was just a mistake.

Mortgage Broker Trends
As the share of jumbo and subprime mortgages declined, prime loans represented a bigger portion of monthly broker originations, according to a new report.

PHH Hiring Deadline Looms
PHH Mortgage stands to lose $2 million if it doesn't hire enough Florida employees.

315-Unit Courtyard Financed
Permanent financing of $75 million has been procured for a six-story Pasadena, Calif., Courtyard.

Foreclosure Breather
Monthly foreclosure activity fell.

Big Business Goes Down
As one large Irvine, Calif.-based subprime lender received an extended lifeline, another completely collapsed. Among other recent deals are a Canadian branch operation's attempt to infiltrate U.S. markets and the formation of a bulk REO buyer.

Florida Office Complex Financed
Nearly $100 million in financing has been arranged for General Services Administrations office buildings in Florida that will be leased to Citizenship & Immigration Services.

Mortgage Employment Drops
More than 5,000 people were eliminated from the ranks of mortgage employees, according to the latest monthly government report. And preliminary data indicate next month's data will be way worse.

Foreclosure Focus Intensifies
Two states and several Democratic U.S. senators are actively pursuing solutions to the projected onslaught of foreclosures resulting from loose subprime lending standards last year. Some of the proposed legislation would hold lenders accountable for policing mortgage brokers and real estate appraisers.

Group Targets Argent, Wells
A Cleveland, Ohio-based housing advocacy group claims Argent Mortgage Co., Wells Fargo Bank and a local mortgage broker targeted predominantly black neighborhoods for predatory loans. But both lenders deny any role in predatory transactions.

Homewood Suites Financed
A California firm recently arranged $13.5 million in first mortgage financing for a Homewood Suites property in Michigan.

Rates Stable, Apps Edge Up
Purchase money demand rose as rates stayed where they are forecasted to hold throughout the quarter.

Texas Wholesaler Closes
A Dallas-based subprime wholesaler is shutting down.

Record 2006 Commercial Production
Commercial mortgage originations increased 10 percent last year to the highest level ever.

Groups Agree on Foreclosure Plan
A group of mortgage bankers, a Democratic U.S. Senator and consumer groups have voluntarily agreed to a new set of principles designed to mitigate the fallout from ballooning foreclosures.

ResCap Tumbles
Nonprime fundings continued to tumble at Residential Capital LLC -- which saw nearly $1 billion in quarterly losses. Following word of the loss, ratings agencies immediately lowered their outlook for the lender.

Nation One Ceases
A Massachusetts-based wholesale lender has stopped funding mortgages.

MTA Rise Uninterupted
While the Monthly Treasury Average barely moved in April, it has risen every month for three years.

Attorneys Guilty in $40 Million Case
Lawyers in Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey are guilty of breaking the law in a cadre of mortgage fraud schemes -- including one case in excess of $40 million.

Wholesale Program Changes
New wholesale offerings include flexible construction to permanent lot loan financing and a high debt ratio program. But brokers will soon lose a stand alone second lien product.

Technology Activity
The latest activity in mortgage technology included enhanced document systems, one lending giant's move away from a DOS-based servicing system and another company's adoption of improved pricing technology.

MI Soars
A big jump in bulk activity helped monthly mortgage insurance volume soar.

Cashouts Maintain
More than four out of five refinances included cashout during the latest quarter.

RMBS Investors Sue Investment Banker
Credit Suisse Group is facing multiple lawsuits from mortgage-backed securities investors for allegedly enabling fraudulent mortgages with bad underwriting to pass through the securitization process.

COFI Continues Decline
As the cost of borrowing has declined the past 90 days at West Coast savings institutions, so have their deposits and other debt.

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