Foreclosure Cloud Grows Darker
The foreclosure fiasco that erupted last week has grown even more complicated with the Ohio secretary of state calling for a federal investigation. At issue in the Buckeye State are notarizations.
All Time Lows for Fixed Rates
A new 15-year fixed-rate record was set, while the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage matched its previous low. But fewer borrowers are taking advantage of the record-low rates. A big improvement in jumbo rates trimmed the jumbo-conventional spread.
GMAC Dumps Florida Foreclosure Firm
GMAC Mortgage LLC no longer uses one of the law firms that handled its foreclosures in Florida. The law firm, which is being investigated by the state, has been withdrawing Florida affidavits on behalf of the servicer.
Big Signs of Improvement in M.I. Sector
Monthly business picked up last month for private mortgage insurance companies and was likely higher during September. At the same time, mortgage insurance defaults were lower. Both metrics were better than 12 months ago.
Increased Production Fuels Hirings at Chase
As many as 300 people are being recruited for production positions in Ohio by JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s mortgage unit. A projected rise in originations is behind the hirings.
High Cost Loan Limits Extended
Congress has approved a bill that extends loan limits on homes in high-cost areas and provides additional funding for apartment loans.
Chase Freezes Some Foreclosures
Chase Home Finance has decided to suspend some of its foreclosures as the company investigates its foreclosure process and thousands of affidavits that were signed monthly by so-called "robo-signers." Chase is the second such company this month to become embroiled in such a controversy.
Warning On Chase Rating
Problems with Chase Home Finance's foreclosure process has left its prime and nonprime servicer ratings on review for a possible downgrade.
New Advertising Rule Proposed
Mortgage originators, lenders and servicers will be subject to new advertising requirements under a new rule being proposed.
|Rates, Activity Fall
Mortgage rates improved this week but not mortgage activity. Refinance share declined, as did the jumbo spread.
Great Month at Fannie
|Wells Exec Testifies About Replacing Fannie, Freddie
A top executive for the nation's biggest mortgage lender testified that the government-sponsored enterprise model used with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be replaced by a new model that supports several secondary players. Part of his proposal involves the Government National Mortgage Association.
Fannie Mae managed a monthly gain in secondary activity, a decline in home-loan delinquency and an improvement in apartment loan late payments.
PMI Raises LTV
The maximum loan-to-value ratio on purchase transactions has been increased by PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.
FL Supreme Court Rules on Foreclosures
Florida's highest court has ruled on a U.S. congressman's request to halt foreclosures in the state while three foreclosure law firms are being investigated.
Shadow Inventory Exceeds 3 Years
A new report indicates that the nation's shadow inventory took a turn for the worse. It would now take more than three years to clear it out.
UG Offers New Premium Option
Private mortgage insurer United Guaranty said borrowers now have more options for up-front and monthly premiums.
Bank Duped in $26 Mil Secondary Fraud Scheme
An Arizona mortgage banker allegedly diverted more than $26 million in funding from a Bismarck, N.D., bank that was intended to fund loan purchases then issued bogus financial statements to cover up the fraud. The lender has since collapsed, and the bank is asking a judge to appoint a receiver and attempt to recover some of the assets.
Studies Support Use of Exotic Loans
Two industry reports released this week suggest that some of the exotic mortgage products that were blamed for the housing crisis are actually useful tools for the right borrowers. One of the studies placed the blame squarely on lenders who made loans to borrowers who had already proven that they were too risky for such mortgages.
CT Investigating GMAC Foreclosures
The State of Connecticut is investigating GMAC Mortgage LLC's foreclosure process and threatening possible legal action against the servicer. Other servicers are also on the state's radar.
Servicers Sued Over Denied Mods
Big mortgage servicers are the target of lawsuits by borrowers who claim they were unfairly denied a loan modification. Class-action certification is sought in some of the cases.
Mod Firms Hit With Over $30 mil in Judgments
Judgments totaling more than $30 million have recently been obtained by state and federal agencies against loan modification companies that collect up-front fees -- some as high as $5,000 -- then do nothing to help the borrower avoid foreclosure.
Big Bank Rule Postponed, Another Adopted
WASHINGTON -- A new rule impacting ailing mega-banks has been postponed, while a rule requiring skin in the game has been adopted.
Servicing Drags Down Company
After years of operating successfully as an originator, a mortgage banking firm operating from Oregon decided to get into distressed servicing. But a deal with a hedge fund, a failed acquisition and dissatisfied insiders helped bring down the company -- which still hopes to salvage its production operations through an asset sale.
Quicken Touting Million Loans
Quicken Loans Inc. is making a fuss about reaching 1 million closed loans.
Bank Delinquency Holds, REOs Worse
Financial institutions saw their collective mortgage servicing portfolio contract by around $39 billion in the second quarter. Delinquency held steady, but the number of completed foreclosures has increased each quarter since late 2008.
Credit Unions Dominate Failures
Bi-coastal bank failures last week are expected to cost more than $100 million. But the big news is three corporate credit unions that were seized and the government's plan to dispose of their assets.
Assets from Credit Union Failures to Be Securitized
Three corporate credit unions seized by the National Credit Union Administration could cost more than $9 billion. Assets from Friday's failures will be combined with assets from two corporate credit unions that failed last year as part of a securitization by the government.
Florida Foreclosure Alert
In the wake of the foreclosure debacle at GMAC Mortgage LLC, Florida's top court is being asked to halt around 80 percent of all foreclosures in the state. The practices at three law firms are at issue. One foreclosure defense attorney estimates "thousands and thousands" of final judgements could be reopened.
IL AG Demands GMAC Meeting
The attorney general in Illinois has sent Ally Financial Inc. a letter demanding a meeting about whether state laws were broken by its mortgage servicing unit. The U.S. government stands to be impacted by the growing foreclosure issue given the size of its investment in Ally and the potential for other local and state governments to follow with similar or worse actions.
Foreclosure Issue Threatens GMAC Ratings
The residential servicer ratings of GMAC Mortgage LLC might be downgraded as a result of problems with its foreclosure process that were reported this week.
Freddie Lifts Secondary Purchases as Lates Retreat
Monthly secondary acquisitions were higher at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. It's been six straight months since home-loan defaults have increased, though the same can't be said for multifamily delinquency.
Beazer FHA Fraud Settlement Questioned
A settlement between the parent of Beazer Mortgage Corp., a lender that was closed down in February 2008, and the U.S. Department of Justice was not enough to cover the losses suffered, according to a letter to a Republican senator from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
House Passes Flood Extension Bill
Legislation that will extend the federal flood insurance program beyond its scheduled expiration this month is headed to the president's desk.
Broker Count Tumbles
It's been a rough time for mortgage brokers, who have been exiting the business as originations have fallen and lending has become more difficult. In Connecticut, nearly half of the brokers that were operating two years ago are no longer originating -- though the decline isn't limited to mortgage brokers.
Cause of Crisis at Heart of Hearings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The president's panel on the financial crisis heard California experts who had plenty of blame to pass around. Mentioned as cultprits in testimony made at the state's capitol were appraisers, originators and investment bankers.
New Record Low Ahead for 15-Year?
The 15-year fixed rate is sitting at its lowest level on record, and that record could be broken next week. The 30-year is also poised for a new low.
BofA Consolidating Servicing Platforms
The nation's biggest residential servicer is consolidating two subprime servicing operations into its primary platform.
Billionaire Invests in Mortgage Coop
Wilbur L. Ross, a billionaire who already has a big interest in subprime mortgage servicing, has invested in a Florida mortgage cooperative whose members originate more than $25 billion a year.
GMAC F/C Employee Had Little Experience
Senate Approves Bill to Extend Flood Insurance
A clerical employee in Pennsylvania with little experience is at the heart of the GMAC Mortgage Co. foreclosure debacle. Faced with processing more than 10,000 foreclosure documents each month, he had around 90 seconds to verify documentation on each file -- prompting the shortcuts that led GMAC to hold up foreclosures while it investigates the matter.
A bill that will extend federal flood insurance for another year was approved by U.S. senators.
New HECM Option Slashes Up-Front M.I. Premium
A new option for federally insured reverse mortgages nearly eliminates the up-front mortgage insurance premium.
Alt-A Downgrades Exceed $40 bil in Past 2 Weeks
During the past two weeks, more than $40 billion in Alt-A residential mortgage-backed securities had their ratings lowered.
Florida is Hotbed of Foreclosure Litigation
A number of delinquent borrowers have had success using litigation to stop foreclosures. In addition, lenders are up against errors that they might or might not be able to overcome in court. Several of the latest foreclosure cases were in Florida. A mistake by one servicer landed it in hot water with the court.
Foreclosure Attorneys in Hotseat
Florida is investigating three law firms that might have used fabricated documents to speed up foreclosures. California successfully sued an attorney who collected fees to file frivolous lawsuits on behalf of his clients then strung them along while he earned more fees. Illinois is the home of an attorney who was recently convicted of a foreclosure rescue scheme.
Positive Delinquency Trend Developing
It has been nine months since late payments on home loans have increased, and junior lien improved after spiking.
FHA Business Drops
Over the past year, the monthly number of loans endorsed by the Federal Housing Administration has fallen by a quarter. But driven by a 25 percent increase in refinances, overall new loan applications turned higher last month. Federally insured reverse mortgage volume was stronger and so were reverse mortgage applications.
The HMDA Report
Government data on mortgage lending indicate that loan originations and government share were higher last year, while the number of mortgage bankers and the share of higher-priced loans were down.
GMAC: Foreclosures Not Suspended
GMAC Mortgage LLC says it has not instituted a foreclosure moratorium in 23 states, as has been reported. But the company is addressing an internal issue on some of its loans.
New California Firm Hiring 500
A growing California lender has already hired more than 400 employees since launching earlier this year and has plans to add in excess of 500 more by the end of next year. The company says the new jobs will carry on beyond the current refinance cycle.
Firm Settles YSP Discrimination Charges
A California mortgage firm that originates more than $2 billion annually settled for $5.5 million allegations that it charged Hispanic borrowers higher interest rates and split the yield spread premiums with its loan originators.
More than $300 million in losses are projected from the failure of six banks Friday. Three of the failed banks survived the Great Depression.
Deadline Looms for CA
Several thousand loan
originators in California
still haven't applied for
state licensing and will
either be out of business or
moving to a bank.
Ginnie Business Fades
Business was weaker last month at the Government National Mortgage Association, though the company said its multifamily issuance was maintaining a "strong pace."
Date Set for Transition of Authority to CFPB
WASHINGTON -- It's official; Elizabeth Warren has been formally tapped to establish the new bureau that will police mortgage lenders and banks on behalf of consumers. First on the agenda are changes to mortgage loan disclosures. A firm date has been set for when current regulators give up their authority.
Texas Sees Over 400 Chase Hirings
Mortgage recruitment efforts in Texas by JPMorgan Chase & Co. involve more than 400 positions including sales and production jobs. The hirings are in addition to 300 originators being recruited in the Northeast.
HVCC Being Replaced
Appraiser independence requirements being developed to replace the Home Valuation Code of Conduct will go into effect next month.
HUD to Auction Nonperforming Loans
A portfolio of nonperforming loans is scheduled for auction by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Consumer Watchdog Announcement Coming
WASHINGTON -- In an effort to avoid resistance from the financial services sector and Republicans, President Barack Obama plans to announce a new staff position that will enable Elizabeth Warren to set up the new consumer protection agency while avoiding a painful Senate confirmation. Here is a closer look at the woman and her mission.
Fannie, Freddie See Mortgages Moving in Different Directions
Fannie Mae predicts fixed rates will stay near where they are now through next year, while Freddie Mac has them increasing. Fannie also expects the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage to remain at its current level for a while, and Freddie predicts a decline. ARM share is headed higher, according to Fannie, though Freddie sees no near-term changes. Meanwhile, the two secondary lenders also disagree about whether refinance share will rise or fall.
More Tools to Fight Repurchase Demands
A new service helps lenders establish the income of a borrower at a given point in time -- providing ammunition for battling repurchase demands.
GSE Repurchase Demands Nearing $20 Billion
WASHINGTON -- The regulator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac testified yesterday that the two government-controlled enterprises have issued nearly $20 billion in repurchase demands to seller-servicers. But some banks are resisting -- forcing the two companies to consider harsher measures.
California Leads National Increase in Foreclosures
While foreclosure filings and the foreclosure rate deteriorated from July, conditions have improved from a year ago. One out of every five U.S. foreclosures was filed on a California property.
Freddie Steps Up Fraud Fight
Mortgage firms that sell loans to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. have new procedures to follow as part of the company's efforts to police and reduce mortgage fraud.
Q4 Originations Expected to Elevate
Mortgage loan originators will see home-loan business jump by a third during the final quarter of this year based on the latest origination forecast. The rosy outlook is being prompted by a spike in refinance transactions.
Delinquency Lower but Foreclosures Rise
A decline in delinquency was reported for last month despite rising foreclosures.
Flagstar Forecasts Fading Fundings
|New Loan Activity Jumps
New mortgage activity was up 17 percent this week based on the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index. But there was no improvement in interest rates, and the jumbo spread fattened.
Home loans fundings are expected to fall by more than a quarter this year at Flagstar Bancorp Inc.
2010 Production Projection: $1.4 Trillion
A new economic outlook has this year's residential originations coming in at $1.4 trillion.
Servicer Earnings Tumble
An analysis of performance by small and medium-sized mortgage servicers indicated that quarterly servicing income deteriorated by 87 basis points. While the share of government mortgages in servicing portfolios was higher, government loans still account for a relatively small portion of outstanding U.S. mortgages.
FHA Share Up, Broker Share Down
Compared to last year, mortgage lenders are closing fewer loans with more employees -- cutting profits in the process. But production metrics improved on a quarterly basis. The share of government originations has jumped over the past 12 months -- though smaller firms and bank subsidiaries are seeing a smaller proportion of government activity. Jumbo and adjustable-rate share strengthened, while mortgage broker and correspondent originations accounted for a lower share of activity.
Service Provider Prevents Repurchases
A mortgage technology service provider has launched a service that it claims reduces repurchase demands.
Short Sale Fraud Rises in Golden State
California mortgage lenders have been warned about a surge in real estate transactions involving short sale fraud. Heightened activity is due, in part, to the implementation of a government program for short-sale transactions.
3 Settlements Among Investor Litigation Activity
Several settlements have been reached with mortgage-related corporations accused of deceiving investors, though court approval has yet to be granted in some cases. Among plaintiffs in investor lawsuits with recent activity were cities, states and the United States. Subsidiaries of Bank of America Corp. were dominant in the latest round of litigious investor actions.
Agency Vs. Private Label
A regulatory report released by the government found some big differences between the profile and performance of privately issued mortgages and loans issued by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
|HUD IG Leaving
The inspector general at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is leaving to pursue a career with a national CPA firm.
Few Bank Failures Lately
|Mortgage Litigation Index Tumbles
As the government shifted its resources from civil to criminal mortgage-related cases, the Mortgage Litigation Index sank by more than half.
Following a lull in bank failures, Florida regulators stepped in to seize a small institution on the Gulf Coast. More than 17,000 depositors were impacted the recent failure of a Wisconsin credit union.
Trade associations are urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to use the formal rulemaking process instead of less formal channels to impose changes that impact implementation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Updates to a federal banking regulator guide address recent revisions to the Truth in Lending Act. A compliance service provider is warning that disclosures on most adjustable-rate mortgages are faulty.
Texas Congressman Proposes to Abolish GSEs
WASHINGTON -- Legislation has been proposed by a Texas Republican who wants to do away with the government sponsored enterprises.
Mortgage Compliance Sector Busy
A trio of financial institutions and a mortgage banker recently implemented various mortgage compliance systems, while a compliance vendor said it added more than two dozen new customers this year. The service providers, along with many more, have been busy addressing a host of new mortgage regulations imposed as a result of various laws. A national branching operation continues to beef up its compliance staff, while a recently established trade group that counts mortgage compliance professionals among its membership reported the formation of several new committees.
Hotel Delinquency Up More Than 1000 BPS
Performance of securitized commercial mortgages was worse last month. Over the past year, the rate of delinquency on all securitized mortgages has climbed more than 400 basis points -- while the ascension was more than 1,000 BPS on just hotel loans.
Fed Holding HMDA Hearings
Public hearings are being held on potential changes to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
Record MTA to Fall Further
Although mortgage rates are rising, the Monthly Treasury Average is falling and will likely continue lower.
Mortgage Market Turns Worse
Rising rates and a holiday week really put a dent in mortgage activity.
Growing Firm Hiring LOs, Production Personnel
A fast-growing lender based in Georgia is adding 170 employees in three Southeast states this year. Loan officers and other production positions are among the open jobs.
LendingTree Sues Competition
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Several mortgage lead generation firms are named in a complaint filed by LendingTree LLC. The mortgage comparison firm claims in the lawsuit that its patented technology changed mortgage shopping forever, and the defendants are infringing on the patent.
Risk of Delinquency Eases Again
The risk of default improved for the second quarter in a row, according to a new report that also found lower risk in towns with universities.
FHA v. Conventional
In addition to product, pricing and points -- one pricing engine helps originators compare mortgage insurance premiums on government-insured loans with premiums on conventional mortgages.
Wave of Distressed Asset Sales Ahead
RALEIGH, N.C. -- As banks become more aggressive in managing real estate owned, many are planning to unload distressed assets in the near future. The activity suggests that the disparity between what loan sellers are willing to accept and what secondary buyers are willing to pay has narrowed.
HUD Considering Cutting Up-Front HECM Fees
An option being considered for federally insured reverse mortgages would cut the upfront premium. But loan-to-value ratios might also be cut, and monthly premiums will likely escalate. Expanded counseling requirements go into effect in two days.
AMC Appraiser Experience Touted in Report
|Mortgage Activity Sinks, Rates Rise
It was the lowest level for the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index in almost three months as activity tumbled more than a quarter during the holiday week. Meanwhile, mortgage rates moved higher.
A survey of appraisers who do work for appraisal management companies was done in an effort to dispel rumors about AMCs and their appraisers. But an appraisal trade group said the report should be viewed with caution.
$762 Million Portfolio Sells
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unloaded a $762 million mortgage portfolio at a 69 percent discount. The loans were previously owned by 20 failed banks.
Another Billion Headed to States
More money has arrived to help clean up the excess inventory of real estate owned by banks. Nearly $8 billion has been recently allocated to help prevent or eliminate foreclosed properties.
Wholesale Biz Drags Down Reverse Originations
Over the past year, reverse mortgage production has tumbled. While retail activity has fallen nearly a quarter during the period, wholesale volume has plunged by more than half -- though business from both channels was up from the previous month. The No. 2 spot for overall activity changed hands, and the biggest wholesaler widened its lead.
$45 Billion in Alt-A Downgrades
More than $45 billion in Alternative-A residential mortgage-backed securities have been recently downgraded, and nearly half of the securities were issued by one issuer.
FHA Short Refis Go Live
Conventional borrowers whose mortgage balances exceed their home values can now refinance at today's low interest rates through a Federal Housing Administration program.
PNC Adding Hundreds of Servicing Jobs
The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. is hiring hundreds of servicing employees in Florida.
Deterioration in Delinquency Projected
Bank executives who are responsible for risk expect the level of late payments on home mortgages to rise. The group predicted that strong loan demand will be met with tougher underwriting.
LOS Offerings Integrate Servicing Systems
Two providers of loan originations systems have linked their products to loan servicing systems -- enabling mortgage bankers to add servicing fees to their revenue streams. Enhancements for compliance, documents and pricing were among other recent LOS developments. As small financial institutions have seen an increase in market share, one LOS provider has seen its business spike.
2010 Bankruptcies Top 1 Million
After bouncing higher in July, consumer bankruptcy filings retreated last month. The latest activity pushed year-to-date bankruptcies past 1 million.
Public Debate on Revisions to FHA Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is making changes to credit and equity requirements on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and hundreds of comments have been received both supporting and opposing the planned changes.
Reverse Originations Gaining Steam
Home-equity conversion mortgage production jumped 13 percent last month and has been up each of the past three months. At the biggest retail reverse mortgage lender, volume soared more than a third.
Wachovia Vs. WaMu Debated by Regulators
Shareholders of Washington Mutual Inc. were wiped out when its banking unit was seized, while Wachovia Corp. shareholders were afforded the less costly option of an acquisition. Regulators yesterday testified about the why there was disparate treatment in the resolution of the two institutions.
Surprise Increase in Mortgage Jobs
Record low rates appear to be having a positive impact on mortgage employment, with much of the growth happening on the East Coast. But mortgage broker jobs didn't fare so well.
$1 Bil Lawsuit Filed against Credit Union Execs
The failure of a $23 billion corporate credit union last year was the result of fraudulent activity by executives at the company, according to a federal lawsuit. Former directors are also named as defendants.
CMBS Delinquency Leaps
Delinquency on securitized commercial mortgages soared more than a hundred basis points in the second quarter. But performance improved on loans owned by life insurance companies.
Delinquency Improves, Though Foreclosures Worse
Monthly foreclosures were worse, but delinquency improved -- pulling the overall rate lower.
Loan Risk to Continue Increasing
An annual bank report on underwriting standards found that even though banks have reined in mortgage lending policies, risk continues to rise. The report included findings on residential loans, home-equity loans and commercial mortgages. The share of banks that continue to tighten guidelines, however, is falling.
New FHA Premiums Released
New mortgage insurance premiums that take effect next month on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration have been released.
Fannie, Freddie Goals Released
More than a quarter of purchase-money mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must be to low-income borrowers under a new rule established by the two companies' regulator. The duo cannot purchase private-label securities to reach new housing goals.
Record Rates Rising
Interest rates again fell to new lows but failed to stimulate an improvement in new lending activity. Mortgage rates are likely to be higher in next week's reports.
Credit Agencies Sued Over Bankrupt Account Reporting
RICHMOND, Va. -- A group of consumers in Virginia who have previously filed bankruptcy are suing the credit repositories because their former debts don't show as discharged on their credit reports and instead show as outstanding and delinquent. In other credit-related litigation, one borrower claims that after two of the credit agencies settled a lawsuit she filed against them, she began receiving calls from creditors trying to collect someone else's debt. So she is back in court.
Over 1,000 Layoffs as Servicer Offices Close
HomEq Servicing offices in California and North Carolina are shutting down -- impacting more than 1,000 employees. The office closings follow the sale of the company by Barclays bank PLC.
Bank Performance Improves
Over the past year, banks and thrifts have reduced their mortgage holdings and improved their earnings. More recently, the number of bank employees rose -- though so did the number of troubled institutions.
Behind-the-Scenes Look at Collapse of Wachovia, WaMu
|Activity Eases as Fixed Rates Fall
More downward movement in mortgage rates -- which were already at record lows -- wasn't enough to lift the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index higher.
It was nearly four years ago that Washington Mutual Bank and Wachovia went into a tailspin and were eventually deemed insolvent. A behind-the-scenes look at the demise of the two companies by a regulatory insider reveals two different strategies used in resolving the institutions.
Agency Issuance Rises 5th Straight Month
A jump in securitization activity at the Federal National Mortgage Association was enough to offset a decline at the Government National Mortgage Association. It was the fifth consecutive month that agency issuance was higher.
Employees Await Fate as Subprime Servicer Acquired
The acquisition of a servicer in California has hundreds of employees wondering whether they will be laid off. The deal involves servicing rights on more than 100,000 mortgages.
Lender's NFL Tickets Auctioned by IRS
A Texas-based mortgage lender's problems with the Internal Revenue Service landed six prime NFL season tickets on the auction block. An affiliate of the company also faces accusations by state regulators of defrauding consumers.