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February 2007 Archive


Citi Still Haunted by Associates
Citigroup Inc. is being investigated for accounting related to its 2000 acquisition of Associates First Capital Corp.

Subprime Relief from Fannie
Fannie Mae will not follow Freddie Mac's lead in tightening its purchases of subprime loans.

Bank Delinquency Highest Since 2002
Residential loan delinquency at banks rose to the highest level in four years.

Tighter OH Subprime Lending Regulations
Non-bank mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers in Ohio who originate subprime loans are now subject to stiffer regulations and criminal background checks.

No Subprime Recovery Soon
One of Wall Street's top investment banks is telling subprime mortgage bonds investors to take profits because the sector's problems aren't going away anytime soon.

LIBOR Retreats
The 6-month London Interbank Offered Rate defied two consecutive monthly decreases.

Central Pacific Shuts Down
The net branch operation run by the former chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association has run out of money and closed down.

Mismanagement Kills Mortgage Firm
Arizona regulators are shutting down a mortgage company with over 80 branches because of extremely lax hiring practices, poor record keeping and incompetent management.

Investors Sue NovaStar
An Arkansas law firm is going after NovaStar Financial Inc. on behalf of investors who have seen their shares fall $30 during the past year.

Freddie Tightens Subprime
Secondary mortgage giant Freddie Mac has overhauled its subprime purchases.

Fannie Purchases Fall
Secondary mortgage purchases turned lower at Fannie Mae.

Groups Disagree About Subprime Hybrids
Dozens of consumer groups have written a letter to banking regulators recommending underwriting standards on subprime 2/28 and 3/27 adjustable-rate mortgages be tightened. But mortgage bankers say such a move would only curtail the ability of nonprime borrowers to graduate into conforming loans.

Unlicensed Software Kills Firm
A home equity originator will close its doors after losing a copyright infringement lawsuit to a mortgage software provider.

Fixed Rate Defaults Jump
Rising defaults on subprime mortgages aren't limited to adjustable-rate loans and are weighing on new issue spreads, according to a new investment banking report.

Business Settled
During the latest week, mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity were dominated by executive shuffling, earnings charges and a shareholder settlement.

Impac Originations Up
As mortgage volume increased for the third consecutive quarter, Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. has successfully shunned seconds and embraced Alt-A and option ARM loans.

Pres Candidate Sued Mortgage Lender
A front-running presidential contender has previously filed a class action lawsuit against a mortgage lender that allegedly discriminated against African Americans.

CFO Robs Mortgage Company
The misappropriation of company funds by the former chief financial officer of a Montana mortgage company has resulted in layoffs.

Bank Activity Worse
Quarterly delinquency rose while loan growth slowed at federally-insured banks.

Mortgage Broker Plans
In a conference call outlining its upcoming plans, the country's mortgage broker trade group criticized the use of trigger leads and projected the recent nonprime meltdown will have little impact on the broker share of business.

Wells Cuts Grow
In addition to South Carolina employees, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage will cut several California workers as a result of changes to its nonprime credit policy.

Rates, Apps Dip
Amid an uncertain pace of economic growth, mortgage rates headed downward. But so did application activity.

Freddie Business Off
Freddie Mac began the year with lower monthly purchases.

Subprime Servicer Ratings May Fall
The ratings of several subprime servicers may be headed for a downturn.

Thrift Business Drops
Quarterly residential originations tumbled at thrifts. The decline, in part, was due to a falling number of charters under the thrift regulator.

Subprime Still Essential
Despite recent problems with subprime mortgages, the increase in the number of U.S. homeowners from nonprime lending represents a net gain, according to two recent Federal Reserve speeches.

Mixed Views on License Registry
Mortgage bankers support states' proposed rules for a national mortgage licensing registry. But licensing requirements for mortgage banking originators are still excluded, leaving the mortgage broker community feeling singled out.

Rogue Exec Costs Bank $10 Mil
A Georgia-based bank isn't talking about how many residential loans may have been made outside the bank's guidelines by a former executive.

NovaStar Reports Loss, Lower Fundings
Despite improved annual originations, quarterly volume was lower at NovaStar Financial Inc. -- which is considering a structural change. But tighter underwriting and fewer competitors have the company improving its outlook.

Nonprime Wells Cutbacks
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage tightened its nonprime underwriting guidelines and gave notice to hundreds of employees.

Servicers Assemble in San Diego
As early payment defaults soar, mortgage servicers and their vendors have convened in California this week to discuss current issues.

Overreaction to Subprime Woes?
Mortgage company stocks recently took a hit following announcements of worsening subprime earnings. But one investment publication suggests a bombardment of news headlines regarding concerns over the portfolios are contributing to a market overreaction.

Top Producers Use Assistants
One of the most important rules of synergy marketing is to determine which tools are more effective than others -- including assistants. You may have the best marketing plan in the world, but if you are spending your day stuffing envelopes and do not have the time to speak to customers as a result, you are unlikely to achieve your goals.

Bank Sued by Criminal Defendants
A lawsuit has been filed against a Missouri Bank for yanking a couple's construction financing and terminating their home equity line-of-credit. But a lawyer for the bank said it had to take the action after the wife disclosed that felony charges had been lodged against the couple for fleeing police.

Subprime Market Reshaping
The current fire-sale environment among subprime companies will lead to some market changes that could include discount points on wholesale loans and a bigger role for banks.

Mergers Create Bigger Lenders
A number of pending mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures promise to make their principals much bigger mortgage players. And one of the acquiring companies says it is on the prowl for more deals.

Subprime Problems Isolated
Problems in nonprime lending are unlikely to spill over into the broader mortgage market or general economy, according to two Wall Street veterans.

World Decline Goes On
Mortgage volume fell for the fifth consecutive month at World Savings Bank.

More Mortgage Mergers
A $5.7 billion portfolio and a wholesale mortgage operation will trade hands in two upcoming acquisitions.

Reverse Programs Improved
Several reverse lenders recently improved their reverse mortgage product offerings.

Pay Per Funding Leads
A new mortgage lead generation company is only charging originators for leads that convert to closed loans. But one competitor questions the business model's compliance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Bankruptcy Lawsuits
Trustees in the bankruptcy cases of two failed mortgage lenders are taking other mortgage lenders to court -- hoping to collect more money for distribution to creditors.

Delinquencies to Peak in 2008
Mortgage loan delinquency is rising quickly and is not expected to peak until this time next year, according to recent research.

Rates, Apps Up
Rates started up again -- but so did mortgage application activity.

Subprime Outlook Extremely Challenging
A Goldman Sachs analyst blamed the recent surge in early payment defaults on relaxed underwriting guidelines by lenders eager to make up lost volume.

Subprime Layoffs at WaMu
There was no Valentine's Day celebration for hundreds of Washington Mutual Inc. subprime employees.

Wholesalers Stop Seconds
Two California-based subprime wholesalers have further tightened their underwriting guidelines, including the elimination of some second mortgage and other high-risk programs.

Downey Declines Again
Downey Financial Corp. started the new year with continued decreasing production.

Bankers' Secondary Activity Off
Community bankers reported the share of fixed-rate mortgage production increased while secondary activity fell. The outlook is optimistic for home equity fundings.

Accredited Activity, Earnings Deteriorate
Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. ended the year with weaker mortgage production, negative quarterly earnings and $42 million more in loan repurchase reserves. But the lender remains optimistic that business will improve during the second half of this year.

Wachovia Assembles Option ARMY
Wachovia Corp. is moving forward on an aggressive plan to boost its option-ARM originations.

Wholesale Closings Enhanced
Two big wholesalers have enhanced the process of loan closings for mortgage brokers.

ResMAE Files for Bankruptcy
ResMAE Mortgage Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection and reached an agreement to sell assets.

NY Lender Adding 100 Jobs
A New York-based mortgage lender is looking to add about 100 new employees to its staff base within the next 10 months.

State Licensee Actions
Several states have taken a range of actions against individual and company mortgage licensees.

NV Foreclosure Rate Highest
While monthly foreclosure activity rose to the highest level in two years, the worst may be over.

Fraud Fuels Early Defaults
Preventable mortgage fraud has played a role in the rash of early defaults plaguing mortgage lenders, according to a recent analysis.

Jumbo Delinquency Elevates
Delinquencies on prime jumbo residential mortgage-backed securities continued to climb -- albeit at a slower pace.

Mortgage M&A
The acquisition of a troubled subprime wholesaler wasn't the first deal of its kind, but it did top the latest week's mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity.

Shareholders Sue New Century
Several law firms filed litigation against New Century Financial Corp. following a big decline in shares of its stock after it disclosed last week it would restate financials.

Subprime Default Analysis
Another report on rising subprime mortgage default rates blamed marginal buyers with little commitment to owning a home for poor recent performance.

Warehouse Margin Calls
Subprime mortgage bankers who have managed to survive the recent rash of repurchase requests now face warehouse lending margin calls.

Another Wholesaler Falls
A California-based nonprime lender has closed its wholesale operations and laid off 150 people.

Countrywide Originations Fall
Countrywide Financial Corp.'s monthly volume decreased, but its pipeline of mortgages suggests fundings will improve.

Fines Over Discarded Files
Two mortgage companies in North Carolina have been fined for improperly disposing mortgage applicant's personal information.

Fla. Co. Hiring
At least 50 new mortgage positions are being created this year as a new Florida-based company prepares to go nationwide.

Subprime Shares Sink
Shares of publicly-traded subprime mortgage lenders took a beating Thursday.

ID Fraud Rises
More borrowers are using someone else's identity to obtain real estate loans.

Rates Improve
Job market news led to better mortgage rates, but traffic at mortgage shops did not pick up pace.

HSBC Increases Impairment Charges
HSBC Holdings plc warned investors that slowing volume and worsening performance with its subprime and second mortgages forced it to set aside more money for bad loans.

Steady Rise for MTA
The Monthly Treasury Average rose for the 33rd consecutive month.

New Century to Restate
New Century Financial Corp. started the new year with lower monthly fundings and said it now expects full-year fundings to be less than previously projected. The subprime giant will restate financial statements because of loan repurchases.

Predatory, Foreclosure Hearings
Mortgage bankers and brokers testified before Congress on predatory lending, foreclosures and steps that can be taken to prevent these events.

Hard Money Lender Expands
A Chicago-based hard money lender is expanding its programs.

N.Y. Mortgage Trust Unloading Ops
The New York Mortgage Trust Inc. is selling its retail operations and plans to do the same with its wholesale unit.

Sales Team Exit Spawns Lawsuit
American Home Mortgage Corp. has filed a lawsuit against one of its former sales managers alleging that he violated an employment agreement by going to work for First Horizon Home Loan Corp. and taking several loan officers with him.

New CEO at Reverse Lender
An IndyMac Bank executive has taken the reigns at subsidiary Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corp. -- which reported record production.

Cashouts Fall
During the latest quarter, borrowers refinanced into higher rate loans to access home equity -- pushing the share of refinances higher. But the dollar volume of cashout transactions still managed a decline.

Reverse Wholesaler Launched
A new wholesale lending operation catering to reverse mortgage brokers promises to provide its customers "with a continuous pipeline of high quality leads."

RMBS Ratings Actions Down
Positive ratings actions on residential mortgage-backed securities fell last year and are expected to continue to decline due, in part, to nontraditional loans. But downgrades also declined.

Banks Tighten Underwriting
Banks' credit standards on mortgages have gone through more tightening during the past three months than they did in over a decade, according to a Fed survey.

Mortgage Lead Consolidation
Two mortgage lead companies have been acquired.

HEL Fraud Risks
Unlike conventional mortgage lenders, home equity lenders face a unique set of fraud risks.

HUD Budget Disappoints Lenders
Mortgage bankers are disappointed over some provisions of President Bush's proposed 2008 budget, which indicated the number of federally-insured home loans will drop this year.

Subprime Defaults Soar
Subprime default rates rose to their highest levels in six years, according to an investment banking report.

Banks, Fraud Firms Merge
Two mortgage fraud prevention firms are merging while a Louisiana-based bank has acquired two mortgage lenders.

5 Bad Attorneys
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore has had her hands full with real estate lawyers going wild in her suburban New York City community.
read news story
200 Unlicensed Loans Made
Illinois' Attorney General last week filed a lawsuit against three Chicago-area mortgage companies and their president for operating without a license. But a company representative said the lawsuit is a misunderstanding that will be straightened out.

Weak Mortgage Outlook
The mortgage industry's leading trade group forecasts possible further weakening in the subprime sector. Overall new originations as well as refinancings will continue falling until 2008 -- though adjustable rate resets present some opportunity.

Brokers Better for Subprime Borrowers
Subprime borrowers who use a mortgage broker pay less than when obtaining their mortgage from a mortgage banker, according to a joint study from economists at George Washington and Oklahoma State Universities. But a mortgage banking group questions the consistency of the findings.

Mortgage Jobs Decline
Mortgage employment fell below 500,000 for the first time since January 2006.

Bulk Deals Drive M.I. Surge
Private mortgage insurance volume jumped at yearend 2006.

Rates Jump Higher
Requests rose for mortgages, while signs of steady economic growth pushed mortgage rates higher.

COFI, LIBOR Higher
The 11th District Cost of Funds Index and the 6-month London Interbank Offered Rate continued climbing.

Most Expensive States
When it came to closing costs last year, New Yorkers still paid the most. But Beaver State residents saw the biggest increase in mortgage costs.

Former Exec Sues Ameriquest
A lawsuit filed against Ameriquest Capital Corp. by a former senior executive alleges the subprime giant owes him $30 million it agreed to pay him as a consultant so he wouldn't compete against the company. But an attorney for the lender calls the complaint "fiction."

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