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February 2012 Archive

400 Servicing Jobs Open in Texas
Mortgage servicing employees are being recruited for 400 positions in North Texas. Some of the job opportunities are also for area production employees.

No Increase in Fannie Delinquency for Nearly 2 Years
New business acquisitions tumbled 20 percent last month at Federal National Mortgage Association. But late payments on residential loans improved again and have been lower each of the past 23 months. Past-due payments on apartment loans also fell.

Freddie Raises G-Fee to Cover Payroll Taxes
The cost of recently passed legislation that extends a payroll tax cut will be paid by borrowers on agency loans, and Freddie Mac is now notifying its approved sellers of increased guarantee fees.

Distorted M.I. Data Indicate Decline in New Business
Business was slower for the third consecutive month at the nation's mortgage insurers, while delinquency was lower. But the numbers were distorted by the exit of another mortgage insurer from the sector's primary trade group.

R.E. Fraud Complaints Diminish as ID Theft is Top Category
More complaints were filed by consumers for identity theft than any other type of fraud last year as the number of complaints in the category grew 5 percent. One good sign is that the share of complaints about real estate fraud is diminishing.

L.O. Ranks Grow
The ranks of mortgage loan originators grew by 3 percent during the final three months of last year. The growth came despite that one state suspended nearly a hundred originator licenses. Another state revoked the licenses of 15 companies.

FHFA Director Resists Democrats' Demands for Writedowns
The acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been asked to resign, was pressured by senators during a hearing and has been sent more than a hundred letters from House representatives. But the regulator stood his ground on principal reduction by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie Sellers Could Have to Return Premiums
Sellers approved by the Federal National Mortgage Association that have excessive prepayment activity could be required to reimburse the secondary lender for the premiums they earned. Another policy update includes an increase in the fee to review condominium projects.

Mortgage Fraud Cases Fall, Reports Rise
Last year saw fewer federal cases of mortgage fraud than the government's prior fiscal year as lender losses dropped off. But the number of suspected mortgage fraud reports filed by banks and credit unions grew.

Banking Performance Strong
The banking sector has improved earnings, while residential delinquency was down from a year ago. But compared to the prior quarter, delinquency has deteriorated. Although the total number of banks has declined, the number of institutions with a concentration in home loans grew.

N.J. Servicers Avert Potential Disaster
New Jersey's highest appellate court decided that foreclosure filings can't be thrown out because the mortgage owner's name is missing. A different decision could have impacted thousands of foreclosures that have already been filed.

Jumbo RMBS Issuer Closes on First 2012 Deal
Jumbo issuer Redwood Trust has already closed on its first securitization this year and hopes to complete a half dozen before the year is out.

BofA Laying Off Default Servicing Employees
Mortgage servicing employees who handle distressed loans at an office in Maine are being laid off by Bank of America Corp.

FHFA Asked to Suspend CA Foreclosures
A letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency from California's attorney general requests the suspension of foreclosures on conventional agency loans while the regulator analyzes the benefit to taxpayers and borrowers of writing down principal.

FHA Raising Premiums to Bolster Capital
In a move to shore up its ailing capital position, the Federal Housing Administration is raising mortgage insurance premiums.

MetLife CRE Originations Up More Than 1/3
Commercial mortgage production shot up more than a third last year at MetLife Inc. But the life insurer lagged the overall industry in new volume.

REO-To-Rental Pilot Transaction Announced
The next step is being taken in a plan to convert repossessed residential real estate into rental properties.

BofA Disputes HUD Charges of Discrimination
Bank of America Corp. says that charges by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that it discriminated against disabled borrowers are just plain wrong. The company claims that in the cases cited by HUD, it used the more strict standards required on government-insured loans.

CMBS Delinquency Rises, Could Jump Higher
Securitized commercial real estate loans saw an increase in delinquency last month, and concerns about denials of loan modifications and debt restructurings this year could have the rate of late payments up nearly another 100 basis points.

Radian Rolling Out Construction-to-Perm
Radian Guaranty Inc. said it will begin offering a one-year commitment on mortgages used to finance the construction of a residential property.

Billionaire Says Now is Time for Residential Investments
The Oracle of Omaha says that now is the time to invest in residential real estate.

Television interview with Warren Buffett

HUD Charges BofA With Discrimination
Just weeks after agreeing to a massive servicer settlement with federal and state officials, Bank of America has been charged with discriminatory lending.

CitiMortgage Whistleblower Tells Her Story
When Citigroup Inc. agreed to pay more than $150 million to settle charges that it failed to follow Federal Housing Administration guidelines, former CitiMortgage Inc. employee Sherry Hunt netted more than $30 million.

Bank with Big Mortgage Branch Operation Fails
A $400 million bank was among two federally insured financial institution failures Friday, and no other firm was interested in acquiring the bank -- impacting a hundred mortgage branch managers that are part of a national branch acquisition business operated by the bank.

SunTrust in Second Wave of Servicer Settlements
SunTrust Banks Inc., which wasn't among the five mortgage servicers to settle with multiple state attorneys general earlier this month, has set aside more than $100 million to cover potential settlements in the states it operates.

Residential Delinquency Deteriorates at Freddie
There are two stories about Freddie Mac's delinquency. There is the story about how multifamily late payments have fallen each of the past five months. And there is also the story about residential delinquency, which has managed to increase during each of those same months. In contrast, Freddie's government-controlled cousin hasn't reported an increase in residential delinquency during any month in nearly two years.

Flagstar Settles With HUD
A lawsuit that accuses Flagstar Bank of disregarding Federal Housing Administration guidelines and falsely certifying government-insured mortgages has been settled for more than $100 million.

Presidents Put Dent in Mortgage Business
President's Day left fewer prospective borrowers inquiring about a new loan this week, though higher rates didn't help. The decline was most evident with nonconforming inquiries. One positive sign is that upcoming mortgage rates are leaning a little bit lower.

Mortgage Market Index 210 for the week ended Feb. 24

FHA Reports Settlements with Several Mortgagees
A government filing Friday outlined actions taken against approved Federal Housing Administration mortgagees that included hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, indemnification on FHA-insured loans and even the loss of FHA approval. Many of the recent settlements involved deficiencies in remitting mortgage insurance premiums.

Nationstar Hires Citi, Fannie Execs as Preps for IPO
As it prepares for an initial public offering, Nationstar Mortgage disclosed that it has recruited former executives of Fannie Mae and Citigroup Inc. to fill senior management slots. The company sees opportunity in building and refinancing its servicing portfolio.

USDA Pilot Program Targets Negative-Equity
A little north of where the Mortgage Bankers Association is wrapping up its annual mortgage servicing conference, the secretary of the Department of Agriculture is promoting a streamline refinance program for negative-equity borrowers.

BofA Stops Sending Fannie New Business
Fed up with erratic repurchase demand activity, Bank of America Corp. has decided not to sell new business to the Federal National Mortgage Association.

ARMs Improve as 30 Year Bounces Off Low
Adjustable-rate mortgages improved over the past week. But the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bounced off of its record low, though it might be lower in the next report. Top housing economists are mixed over where they expect mortgage rates will move.

FHA Limitations on Seller Concessions Revised
A proposed policy that cuts the maximum seller concessions in half on residential transactions financed with government mortgages has been revised in response to strong public feedback.

Ginnie MBS Issuance Grows Despite Multifamily Decline
The new year started off strong at the Government National Mortgage Association, with the issuance of mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the Washington, D.C.-based company climbing 9 percent from the previous month. Multifamily business, however, slumped.

Default Service Providers Promote Products
Default service providers are busy this week touting their wares as mortgage servicers converge in Florida. Products being promoted include those that identify property association liability and platforms for the entire default loan process.

Expected 1st Half Originations Upped
Thanks to a stronger refinance outlook, more business is expected during the first six months of 2012 than was forecast last month.

Mortgage Market Needs Changes
A leading analyst sees many changes needed in the mortgage market. One of those changes is higher interest rates.

Video of discussion with Meredith Whitney

GSE Execs Rack Up Tens of Millions in Legal Expenses
An inspector general report examined legal fees being paid on behalf of former senior executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. One way that the two government-controlled enterprises can cut back on legal expenses is to stay all litigation until they are out of conservatorship since neither will ever be in a position to pay such fees.

HUD Clarifies HAMP Credits Toward Settlement
While some principal reduction on mortgages with government loan modifications can be credited towards the recent mortgage servicer settlement, the vast majority of loans modified under the federal program won't be eligible.

Mortgage Bankers Raise Origination Outlook
Home lenders cut their outlook for the volume of home purchases expected to be financed this year. But an increase in projected refinance production was enough to push the overall forecast higher.

Apartment Loan Performance Leads CMBS Improvement
Led by improving multifamily performance, past-due payments on securitized commercial mortgages retreated -- though so did the overall amount outstanding.

What's Next for Fannie and Freddie?
The next phase in conservatorship for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been laid out for legislators.

Serious Delinquency Retreats
Serious home-loan delinquency relented after ascending each of the prior four months. The rate in Dallas declined, while Miami's delinquency climbed.

Distressed Loan Servicer Reports Phenomenal Growth
A mortgage servicer that specializes in distressed loans has seen its staff nearly triple over the past six months.

Quarterly Production Outlook Lifted
A key outlook for home-loan originations during the first three months of 2012 was raised, though business is expected to fall for the rest of the year. There is no end in sight for continued contraction in the country's collective outstanding mortgages.

Home Loan Performance Improves in January
The first month of 2012 was a good month for homeowners, with fewer borrowers falling behind on their payments. A reduction in the rate of newly delinquent borrowers more than offset a bump in the foreclosure rate.

Appraisal Compliance Key to New Offerings
A spectrum of new appraisal services has recently hit the market, and the one common theme among the offerings is compliance. As the number of appraisal management companies seems to continually be increasing, many are enhancing their services with technology. Meanwhile, affordable alternatives to full appraisals that promise more than broker price opinions are springing up.

Activity in MBS Lawsuits Continues
Several investors in collateralized-debt obligations have been busy litigating their losses in court. Many of the actions involving mortgage bonds are tied to loan originated by Countrywide Home Loans. Plaintiffs in several of the cases are insurance firms. Criminal charges were recently filed in one case.

Mortgage Fraud Defendant Claims Lender Lost Nothing on Securitized Loan
One of two defendants who have already pleaded guilty to defrauding Countrywide Home Loans on a $760,000 mortgage claims that because the loan was securitized, Countrywide didn't face any losses. The strategy is intended to avoid a prison sentence.

Nearly 50 Mortgage Conferences in March
The premier event for the mortgage servicing industry starts on Tuesday and includes presentations by the commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration and the president of the Government National Mortgage Association. The former chairmen of both major political parties were speakers at a recent commercial mortgage event. A look at the Mortgage Daily conference calendar indicates that nearly 50 mortgage-related events are being held next month alone -- though more than 70 conferences and meetings have been identified so far for the second quarter.

Police Notified Private Data Might Have Been Stolen
A Texas-based mortgage banker disclosed that one of its computer servers was broken into, with the alleged criminals gaining access to customers' social security numbers and other private data.

Home Purchase Financing Picks Up
More people inquired about a mortgage to finance a home purchase this week, as was the case for government mortgages. Strength in the two categories was enough to drive overall activity higher. But inquiries for refinances, adjustable-rate mortgages and jumbo mortgages all declined.

Mortgage Market Index 242 for the week ended Feb. 17

Deal Approved for WaMu to Exit Bankruptcy
In 2006, Washington Mutual Bank was the third-biggest residential lender in the country. Within two years it would become the biggest bank failure in U.S. history. Now a deal has been approved for the former parent of the bank to exit bankruptcy.

American Home Expands into Correspondent Lending
American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc., a big player in the mortgage servicing arena, has recently expanded into correspondent production, warehouse lending and home valuation services and is changing its name.

HAMP Fees Raised on Non-Agency Loans
The amount of incentive paid on non-agency mortgages with principal reduction under the government's loan modification program has been raised. Second-lien investors are also being paid more to reduce or eliminate principal.

30-Year at Record Low for 3 Consecutive Weeks
There was no movement with fixed rates this week. Yet 30-year mortgages sit at their lowest level ever recorded. But fixed-rates are likely to be higher in next week's report. Borrowers who have a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage can expect their payments to start moving higher based on an increase in the one-year index.

U.S. Delinquency Improves as FHA Performance Tanks
Mortgage bankers reported that delinquency and foreclosures were lower during the final three months of last year. Even subprime performance improved. But the picture gets much darker when zeroing in on government-insured mortgages. The latest data reflected a two-month delinquency rate that conflicts with statistics reported earlier this week.

Mortgage Market Report Card
Signs of life are emerging in the mortgage securities market and home building as late payments and credit standards are beginning to ease, according to the Federal Reserve. Even the commercial mortgage market, which remains in the doldrums, has exhibited some signs of improvement.

CA Foreclosures Fall Despite National Increase
U.S. foreclosure filings increased last month, though year-over-year performance has been on the mend each month for more than a year now. New filings fell, however, in California -- the state with the most activity. Meanwhile, U.S. mortgage servicers completed fewer foreclosures than in December.

210,941 properties face foreclosure filing in January

Mortgage Firms Wade through Bankruptcies
A settlement is being sought with former executives by a former financial giant that is in corporate bankruptcy. Investors in a hard-money lender in Maine are spooked by the cost of legal representation, while one 'big bucks' filing is being fought tooth-and-nail by the company's creditors.

Citi Settles Charges of Fraud on FHA Loans
Citigroup Inc.'s mortgage subsidiary has agreed to settle a government lawsuit for more than $150 million. The unit is accused of falsely certifying federally insured mortgages, not reporting mortgage fraud and pressuring quality control employees to ignore loan defects.

Risk of Appraisal and Income Fraud Rises
Fewer people are likely to lie about whether they will occupy a property, while the probability of borrowers using someone else's identity is also falling. But the likelihood of appraisal fraud has recently worsened, and more people are prone to deceive lenders about their income. The overall risk of mortgage fraud in the country hasn't changed much.

Florida Firm Recruiting 1,000
A mortgage compliance firm based in Florida plans to increase its staff by a thousand people. The open positions include appraisers, attorneys and underwriters.

More Details Emerge About Massive Servicing Settlement
Following last week's huge settlement between the nation's five biggest mortgage servicers and 49 state attorneys general, more details have been released about the amounts being paid by the servicers and collected by the states. While the settlement erases much of the uncertainty surrounding the industry's liability, the banks are not out of the woods and still face plenty of legal challenges.

Mixed January Performance at Radian
The volume of mortgages insured last month by Radian Group Inc. eased from December. But compared to a year prior, volume nearly doubled. Delinquency, however, improved from one month earlier and 12 months earlier.

Deadline Set for Mandatory SARs Filings by Non-Bank Lenders
A deadline has been established for a new requirement that mortgage brokers and other non-bank residential lenders file reports when mortgage fraud is suspected.

West Outperforms East as U.S. Delinquency Deteriorates
The level of late payments on mortgages secured by Arizona and California properties has declined at least 200 basis points over the past year -- the best performances of any states. But New Jersey and Vermont put in the worst performance. U.S. delinquency, meanwhile, rose in the final quarter of 2011 and might rise again.

Proposed Servicer Statement Addresses Settlement Issues
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has developed a proposed standardized statement for mortgage servicers to use.

Appraisal Firms Litigate and Defend
A trio of lawsuits previously filed on behalf of a failed bank against national appraisal firms have seen mixed decisions by the courts. Two other lawsuits filed by appraisal firms against two big mortgage firms unsuccessfully alleged that being removed from the lenders' approved appraisal lists damaged their businesses.

More MetLife Employees Find New Homes
Hundreds of MetLife Home Loans employees have been recruited as another Texas-based lender expands its operations in the eastern half of the country. It's the third mass hiring of employees impacted by MetLife's decision to get out of the business.

MGIC Cuts M.I. Rates for Higher Credit Scores
Borrowers with higher credit scores will now be eligible for lower mortgage insurance premiums at Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. Meanwhile, guidelines have been relaxed for debt-to-income ratios, loan-to-value ratios and second homes.

121-Year-Old Bank Among 2 to Fail
Two midwest banks were closed by the national regulator of banking institutions, including one that was more than a century old. Meanwhile, a net branch operation that had previously touted a planned transition from mortgage broker to mortgage banker has since vanished.

Investor Loan Losses Prompt BofA Subpoena
Bank of America Corp. is being investigated by the commonwealth of Massachusetts over the possible overvaluation of collateralized-loan obligations. The investigation could spread to more banks.

Business Slows in Super Bowl Week
Hurt by weakened refinance activity, fewer mortgage inquiries were made during Super Bowl week. But refinance inquiries were well above the level a year ago. Purchase activity slipped from last week and was off more than a third from a year earlier.

Mortgage Market Index 240 for the week ended Feb. 10
Average Credit Score Falls Last Year
The average credit score was lower last year. Three out of the five states with the highest credit scores are in the West. But among the 10 states with the worst scores, just one was in the West.

Smaller Players Fill Correspondent Void
While several major lenders have cut back on correspondent lending or shuttered correspondent operations altogether during the past year, nearly a dozen smaller players have sprung up to service the sector. On Friday, another firm joined the fray.

Settlement Cop Had Been Obama's Pick for FHFA Director
When President Obama nominated North Carolina's banking commissioner more than a year ago to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Republicans in the Senate -- which would need to confirm such an appointment -- dissuaded the official from completing the confirmation process. But now the president has found a spot for the state regulator that isn't subject to partisan posturing.

Oklahoma is Lone Holdout in Servicer Settlement
Unlike his 49 counterparts, the attorney general of Oklahoma opted out of the national servicer settlement because it went too far.

Record Low 30-Year Rate Might Rise
While the 30-year mortgage retained its record-low standing this week, it could be higher in next week's report. Meanwhile, pricing on 15-year loans and jumbo mortgages was less competitive this week relative to the conforming 30-year mortgage.

Record Mortgage Fraud Settlement
Allegations that the Federal Housing Administration was defrauded on mortgages it insured have been settled for $1 billion. The settlement, which is the biggest of its kind, also resolves allegations of inflated appraisals and abuse with the government's loan modification program.

BofA Requiring Reservations for Refis
Borrowers who telephone Bank of America Home Loans about a refinance during busy times are being asked to reserve a spot two to three months down the road.

California Sees Huge Chunk of Servicer Settlement
A multi-state settlement reached between the nation's biggest mortgage servicers, state attorneys general and federal agencies goes beyond the $25 billion that had been reported. A big share of the settlement is earmarked for California, which had been a stumbling block in final negotiations.

Government Share of Mortgage Market Falls
Residential loan originations fell in 2011, and some lenders saw more of a decline than others -- though a few firms eked out a gain. The government's role in residential finance was reduced last year as private capital crept back into the market. Half of all the U.S. mortgage market last year was controlled by three lenders.

Some CRE Lenders See Strength
The origination of commercial real estate loans was higher at several firms last year, and much of the strength came from multifamily production. One firm reported that annual volume more than doubled.

Some Lenders Lift Business Despite Industry Slowdown
Although residential originations for the industry as a whole were down around 15 percent last year, gains were made by a lender that is exiting the mortgage business and a growing Oklahoma firm. Quarterly activity at the nation's credit unions reached the second-highest level ever.

PHH Paring Correspondent Production
In an effort to strengthen liquidity, PHH Corp. plans to reduce its correspondent business. The company's chief talked about impacted employees.

SAFE Exam Guidelines Released
Examination guidelines for non-bank loan originators have been issued to state mortgage regulators.

Loan Performance Improves in 2011
Last year saw a decline in the rate of seriously delinquent home loans and a reduction in the number of completed foreclosures. In addition, mortgage servicers are managing to speed up the time it takes to resolve distressed assets.

PennyMac Becomes Billion Dollar Player
Quarterly correspondent fundings and the mortgage investment portfolio at PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust have each reached nearly a billion dollars.

Worst HAMP Month on Record
During the final month of 2011, the number of loan modifications completed under the government's program saw the smallest gain in the history of the program.

12,901 HAMP volume in December

DocX, Founder Indicted
A grand jury has indicted DocX and founder Lorraine Brown, who could spend up to seven years in prison if she is convicted.

Bank Picks Up MetLife's Northwest Production Ops
A Seattle bank has picked up a majority of the production personnel employed in the Northwest by MetLife Home Loans.

Regulation Requires SARs Filings by Non-Bank Lenders
Mortgage brokers and non-bank mortgage lenders will soon be required to file reports when mortgage fraud is suspected. The additional compliance burden is likely to lead to an increase in filing statistics even though actual fraud activity could retreat.

Biggest Reverse Lenders in 2011
While retail originators of federally insured reverse mortgages made production gains last year, wholesale lenders struggled to keep up. As three formerly prominent players exited the reverse lending arena, two firms have established themselves as the new retail and wholesale leaders.

Servicer Settlement Won't Stop States from Filing Criminal Charges
The state of California is contemplating signing on to the proposed mortgage servicer settlement that would still enable the states to pursue criminal charges against bank officials.

AGs in Final Stages of Servicer Settlement
The lead attorney general in the states' settlement with the country's biggest mortgage servicers says that negotiations have progressed to the "final stages."

New MTA Record Even as 1-Year Yield Drifts Higher
Record lows have become routine for the Monthly Treasury Average, and last month was no exception. But the underlying yield has started creeping higher.

Apartment and Hotel Loans Help CMBS Delinquency Rate
The rate of delinquency on securitized commercial real estate loans was lower last month, and a big drop in late payments on loans secured by apartment buildings and hotels was responsible for the improved performance.

Biggest CRE Loan Servicers
For three consecutive years now, Wells Fargo & Co. has been ranked as the biggest servicer of commercial real estate loans. Its dominance in the sector was made possible through an acquisition more than three years ago. The ranking was released from an annual commercial mortgage convention.

Growth Projected for CRE Production
Commercial mortgage originations increased last year, and the nation's mortgage bankers project growth for each of the next three years. Quarterly activity, however, was off.

Reverse Lender Has Top-10 Aspirations
The founder of a company that has claimed the No. 1 reverse lending spot in Maryland, along with dozens of his loan officers, has been recruited by a growing New Jersey firm. It's the second such round of recruiting for the reverse lender since October. A southeast wholesale hub is additionally being established.

BofA Mortgage Chief Stepping Down
The president of Bank of America Home Loans is leaving the company. Having been handed the reins at the previously biggest mortgage company in the country, the exiting executive was once thought to be a contender for the top job at the parent company.

Mortgage Activity Up Again
Falling mortgage rates motivated an increasing number of borrowers this week to inquire about a refinance, though inquiries for purchases were also higher. Rates, however, are poised to deteriorate. Refinance activity more than doubled compared to a year ago. Despite a widening spread over conforming rates, more jumbo borrowers were out shopping for a loan.

Mortgage Market Index 270 for the week ended Feb. 3

Borrowers Successfully Stave Off Foreclosure
Borrowers in more than a dozen foreclosure actions in 10 states have recently received favorable rulings from the courts. Several of the cases either involve the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. Foreclosure processing services were named as defendants in lawsuits filed by the states of Illinois and Nevada.

New York Sues MERS, Members
New York's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the three biggest lenders and the Mortgage Electronic Registration System Inc. alleging that the registry is a sham designed to deceive borrowers and the public and avoid recording fees. The state wants the system declared illegal and all resulting title defects cured.

Mortgage Jobs Hold as U.S. Data Point to Economic Recovery
An increase in the number of mortgage brokers was offset by a decline in non-broker mortgage jobs. However, the government revised the prior month's mortgage industry headcount up by more than 28,000 jobs. But the bigger news was an improvement in the U.S. employment situation last month. The latest data are a sign of an improving economy -- though it might also signal the end of record-low interest rates.

Record Low Rates Likely to Hold
Most mortgage rates fell to the lowest levels ever recorded, and it looks like they could hang near those lows through next week. The one exception is the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage.

Survey: Strip Off Jr Liens in Chapter 13 BKs
A majority of people in the legal community believe that a borrower should be able "strip off" a junior-lien mortgage in a bankruptcy payment plan even if the bankruptcy is not discharged.

Servicing Business Becoming Unprofitable
The cost of servicing residential mortgages has gotten so out of hand that it is starting to make sense for some firms to get out of the business.

Record Production at Fairway
In the final three months of 2011, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. originated more loans than in any other quarter in its history. The company increased its staffing and plans to continue recruiting this year.

California Bank Picks Up MetLife Production Employees
A California bank saw an opportunity to hire several dozen employees, including top producing loan originators, who work for MetLife Home Loans.

Multifamily Business Strengthens at Freddie
Apartment lending took off last year at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., with the volume of multifamily activity leaping by nearly a third. Delinquency also improved.

Ally Struggles With Mortgage Ops
Losses from mortgage operations took a big bite out of Ally Financial Inc.'searnings. Still, the lender managed to increase quarterly originations and keep delinquency from rising.

Shrinking Pool of Reverse Lenders Lift Originations
The number of companies originating federally insured reverse mortgages may have fallen by more than half compared to a year ago, but the remaining pool managed to increase business last month.

Citi Abandons Broker Business
Citigroup Inc.'s mortgage lending unit is getting out of wholesale lending.

Keeping Mortgage Profits in the Family
A firm that is a little more than a year old is boasting about its growing production of mortgages financed by family members.

Mass Refi Plan Unveiled for Non-GSE Borrowers
A massive refinance program for borrowers who don't have conventional agency mortgages was one of several initiatives announced Wednesday by President Obama. But the multi-billion-dollar tab for the program will be picked up by the nation's lenders.

COFI Bounces Up from All-Time Low
After falling for four consecutive months to the lowest level on record, the Cost of Funds Index reversed course.

REO-to-Rental Program Takes Shape
The much-anticipated program that will convert real-estate-owned properties into rentals is now underway.

Freddie Issuances Surge
The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. gave a stunning performance in the first month of 2012 with issuance soaring 51 percent. While the Government National Mortgage Association also saw a gain, securitizations dropped by nearly a quarter at the Federal National Mortgage Association.

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