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Mortgage Industry News
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CitiMortgage President Departing
The president of CitiMortgage is leaving the company.

Bill Beckmann will resign at the end of June, according to a copy of an internal Citi announcement dated May 27 from Steven J. Freiberg.

Beckmann is reportedly leaving to spend more time with his family.
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Lawsuit Targets Countrywide Execs, Directors
Institutional shareholders of Countrywide Financial Corp. are proceeding with litigation against current and former executives and directors who are accused of insider trading and turning a blind eye to blatant disregard for underwriting standards.

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System is acting as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, against 14 current and former directors and officers of the Calabasas, Calif.-based company, according to a case summary prepared by Sandra Vipond of Weiner Brodsky Sidman Kider PC -- a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that provides mortgage banking litigation analysis. The case is known as a shareholder derivative action because the shareholders are suing company executives on behalf of the company.

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Investor Lawsuits Filed, Dismissed
Two mortgage companies announced planned public offerings. And as an investor class-action lawsuit was dismissed against one mortgage lender, another investor lawsuit was filed against a different company. Meanwhile, an acquisition of The Bear Stearns Companies Inc. that was brokered by the Fed in emergency negotiations was approved by the beleaguered firm's shareholders.

Rates Rising
Most mortgage rates rose and may be headed higher.

The cost of funds index has fallen to its lowest level since 2005.

Technology Boosts Mortgage Lead Conversions
A new offering promises to help loan originators convert more mortgage leads by delivering prospect data to mobile phones and other wireless devices as soon as the customer makes an inquiry.

Best Home Equity Lenders
As home-equity lines-of-credit become harder to access, borrower satisfaction is climbing.

M.I. Volume Tumbles as Defaults Reach Record
The volume of mortgage insurance policies written last month tumbled as new applications fell to a 14-month low and mortgage insurance defaults soared to an all-time high. But the sharp rise in defaults was attributed to a one-time adjustment at a major lender.

OTS Proposes Bank Regulation for Lenders, Brokers
The nation's thrift regulator wants to regulate mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. He suggested the credit crisis might not have been so severe if mortgage companies had been regulated like banks.

YSPs Don't Reduce Fees
A new study found that government-insured mortgages with higher rates due to yield-spread premiums didn't generally have lower closing costs. Other findings included a disparity in closing costs for identical borrowers.

Bank Earnings, Originations Up from Q4
Earnings and production jumped from the fourth quarter at federally insured banks and thrifts.

Biggest U.S. Mortgage Lenders
First quarter mortgage originations tumbled from a year earlier but were better than the fourth quarter, according to an analysis of earnings data by

Among 14 of the largest U.S. primary lenders, residential volume was $370.6 billion during the first quarter 2008, down about 22 percent from the first quarter 2007 but up approximately 3 percent from the fourth quarter.

Countrywide Financial Corp., which is expected to be acquired by Bank of America Corp. during the third quarter, retained its No. 1 spot. While planned program cutbacks will likely push volume lower, total business from the merged operation should still leave the combined entity as the country's biggest mortgage lender.
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First Horizon Mortgage Unit to Either Be Sold or Closed
Executives of First Horizon National Corp. told investors they were committed to either selling or shutting down the mortgage unit this year.

Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. said it hosted a "well-attended" investor meeting with First Horizon management in Memphis, where the company is headquartered. Executives of the lender provided updates on credit, focusing on the ongoing performance of the troubled home-builder finance and home-equity portfolios.
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Former Delta Execs Launch New Firm
The founder and former chief of bankrupt Delta Financial Corp. told that a new mortgage company he is heading will utilize Delta's former management team. The firm plans to hire some of the former subprime lender's prior employees.

8 Lose FHA Approval
Several lenders lost their approval to originate loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration -- including a branch of a rapidly growing Colorado-based company that has thrived on FHA-related activity. The terminations were prompted by excessive defaults.

New Breed of Wholesalers
Hard-money wholesale lenders have stepped in to fill the void left by failed subprime wholesalers. Among loan programs being marketed are those that allow stated incomes, no minimum credit scores and commercial properties.

Mergers Progress as Industry Struggles with Liquidity
The financial sector continued to scramble in an effort to shore up capital, with two public offerings raising more than $7 billion and two major mortgage lenders facing mounting pressure to complete a number of transactions. In other corporate activity, several acquisitions made their way through the merger pipeline.

Chase Dumps Broker Subprime, HEL
JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s mortgage broker unit has closed the door on subprime and home-equity lending. While a number of employees are impacted by the move, the figure is well below the more than 1,300 job cuts already made in the units since October.

Mortgage Bankers Highlight Broker Role
Mortgage bankers issued a new 33-page report suggesting that borrowers who use mortgage brokers do less research and comparison shopping, even though brokers don't necessarily look out for the customer's best interest. The paper recommended better yield-spread disclosures, more rigorous regulation and stronger oversight for brokers -- who have much less at stake in loan transactions.

Pair Accused of Secondary Fraud
A pair of former executives of a New York-based mortgage banker have been charged with duping secondary market lenders on mortgage purchases exceeding $40 million.

MGIC Cuts, Restricts Eligible Loans
MGIC said it will halt mortgage insurance on some properties, no longer insure a number of loan programs and significantly restrict several other programs.

Read the full text of these articles and many more at:


Sam Garcia
Mortgage Industry News

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