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March 2014 Archive

New Record Low for COFI
A new record low was established for the Cost Of Funds Index based on more than three decades of data.

Fannie Reports New 5-Year Low in Business
Secondary activity at the Federal National Mortgage Association declined to the lowest level in more than five years, as did the delinquency rate.

Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Guide Published
A guide has been issued to help small lenders comply with new Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act disclosure requirements.

Mortgage Branch Growth Busy in East Half of U.S., TX
Among a number of recently added mortgage branches, a majority are in the eastern half of the country. Three companies opened locations in Texas.

Sale of MSRs on $40 Billion in Loans Closes
The sale of mortgage servicing rights on $40 billion in home loans has closed. The buyer plans more acquisitions this year.

New Mortgage Activity Holds as Rates Little Changed
With refinance activity having subsided, the overall level of new mortgage business has been fairly consistent. Government activity fared worst this past week, while the conventional category had the biggest gain.

Mortgage Market Index 173 in week ended March 28

Fannie to Penalize Servicers for Late Reporting
Mortgage servicers could be slapped with a fee by the Federal National Mortgage Association if they are late reporting account information on time.

Fmr 1stPlus CEO: Mob Got Control W/False Accusations
The former chief executive officer of FirstPlus Financial Group claimed in testimony that the mob used a false accusation to seize control of the company.

Bank Servicing Portfolios Shrink as Performance Improves
Banks and thrifts have been busy reducing the size of their mortgage servicing portfolios. At the same time, loan performance on the remaining loans has been improving.

BofA Wins Battle in MBS Litigation War
Among many mortgage-backed securities lawsuits that Bank of America Corp. has been fighting is one filed on behalf of the United States, and the bank got a favorable ruling on it this week.

Mortgage Executives Promoted, Recruited
Several executives at mortgage banking firms have been promoted, while several more have been recruited from competing companies.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Could Retreat
Fixed rates on home loans rose this past week on comments from the new Federal Reserve chief but could ease back. A popular adjustable-rate product improved.

FHA Production Rises, Delinquency Down
Government-insured mortgage originations edged higher during the first month of this year and appeared to hold up in February. The delinquency rate dropped.

Fifth Third Wins Top Fannie Servicer Designation
Fifth Third Bancorp's banking subsidiary was recognized as the top mortgage servicer by the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Huge MBS Settlement Disclosed by BofA
A massive settlement revealed late Wednesday by Bank of America Corp. will resolve all of its liability from multiple lawsuits filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency over residential mortgage-backed securities.

United Guaranty Expanding Programs
A host of upcoming changes have been unveiled that are designed to expand the loans insured by United Guaranty Corp. Property flips, rural property appraisals and minimum borrower contributions are impacted.

Residential Rental Investors Form Trade Group
Several firms that have purchased billions of dollars in non-owner occupied homes have banded together to form a trade group in the nation's capitol.

Servicers Increase Portfolios and Profitability
At the same time residential loan servicers are increasing the size of their mortgage servicing portfolios, they are improving how much they earn per loan.

Staff Cuts Have Yet to Match Drop in Originations
Profits deteriorated at independent mortgage shops as production was pared and employee expense increased. Although new business has declined by more than a quarter over the past year, staffing levels have risen by nearly a fifth.

Freddie's New Business at 13-Year Low
It's been at least 13 years since secondary mortgage activity at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. has been this slow. Also declining was residential loan delinquency.

HSBC Accused of Discrimination, Predatory Lending
Predatory and discriminatory lending and servicing practices by HSBC led to foreclosures and harmed minority borrowers and communities more than their white counterparts, according to a new lawsuit.

New Fannie Guidelines on Rural Appraisals
Fannie Mae has established new guidelines for appraisals on properties in low-population areas. The company also clarified its policy on using appraisal management companies.

Home Prices Off But Up After Seasonal Adjustments
Monthly home prices moved lower based on a popular home price index, though at least one of the minds behind the index remains optimistic about full-year activity.

Property Inspection Reports Require More Scrutiny
A watchdog report recommends that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac take steps to ensure pre-foreclosure property inspection reports are legitimate.

FHA Share Drives Dip in Mortgage Risk
A subtle shift in market share away from government-insured business had a positive effect on the overall risk for new purchase financing.

1st Mortgage Outstandings Reach 2 Year High
It has been more than two years since the amount of first mortgages outstanding has been this high. Home-equity products, however, saw a decline.

30-Day Mortgage Delinquency Improves in February
On a month-over-month basis, distressed residential loans accounted for a smaller portion of the U.S. book of business.

Older Borrowers Have Higher Credit Scores
Studies have found that older consumers have better credit scores than their younger counterparts, and student loans are a factors in the disparity.

NC Lender Acquired
The owner of a company based on the East Coast has sold the firm. He was partly motivated by regulatory changes that are "handcuffing" him.

DeMarco Resigning from FHFA
The person that oversaw the government-sponsored enterprises' transformation from businesses with nearly $100 billion in combined annual losses to companies that earned more than $100 billion is officially resigning.

Wholesaler Dumps Conv, Jumbo Programs and Expands Subprime
Carrington Mortgage Services LLC said it will reallocate its resources by eliminating conventional and jumbo products from its wholesale menu and expanding subprime lending.

Federal Regulators Rein In AMCs
Federal financial regulators have announced that they hare taking steps to impose minimum requirements on appraisal management companies.

Quarterly Mortgage Job Losses Worst in 6 Years
Job losses continued to mount in real estate finance, reaching the highest level in six years. But mortgage layoffs are quickly slowing.

Flood Bill Now Law
Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding will continue to have the government subsidize their insurance premiums thanks to legislation that has become law.

FHA Business Increases
New mortgage business was relatively flat this week despite an improvement in government-insured activity. Also moving higher were purchase financing inquiries and jumbo business.

Mortgage Market Index 174 in week ended March 21

Hotel Loans Lead Improvement in CMBS Delinquency
With hotel loans leading the way, the past-due rate on securitized commercial real estate loans fell to the lowest level since 2009.

FHFA MBS Settlements Surpass $10 Billion
The latest settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency brings to more than $10 billion the amount the regulator has collected from parties that allegedly sold faulty securities to the government-sponsored housing enterprises.

Mortgage Insurers Update and Enhance Offerings
Several mortgage insurance companies have updated their master policies and enhanced their offerings. A new directory provides useful information about mortgage insurers, while a lender-paid premium section has been added to a popular product-and-pricing-engine.

Mortgage Broker Wins Appeal in Wholesaler's Lawsuit
A mortgage broker that was found liable for a fraudulent power of attorney used in a refinance transaction appealed the decision -- and won.

Mortgage Rates Retreat But Set to Increase
Fixed interest rates on home loans took a nice dip this week but look ready to bounce back up in the next report.

Fannie Cuts 2014 Mortgage Origination Forecast
Economists at the Federal National Mortgage Association have scaled back their forecast for residential loan originations this year.

Refi Volume Falls to Lowest Level Since at Least 2010
Despite an uptick in refinance activity at Freddie Mac, monthly conventional refinance originations declined to the slowest pace in at least three years.

Florida Firm Reaches Do-Not-Call Settlement
A Florida mortgage lender that recently stopped originating new loans has reached a settlement with the state of Florida over alleged do-not-call violations.

Small Banks: Dodd-Frank Wouldn't Have Prevented Crisis
Many small bankers don't think that the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would have prevented the 2008 financial crisis.

Impac Quarterly Fundings Off, Swings to Annual Loss
Quarterly loan originations at Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. moved lower, though annual activity improved. The company swung from an annual profit to a loss.

Agency MSRs Up for Bid
Mortgage servicing rights on as much as $2.7 billion or more in agency home loans are up for grabs.

Q1 Refinance Forecast Raised
Expectations for refinance originations during the first quarter were lifted -- though at the expense of projected purchase loan production.

Mortgage Fraud Prevention Tool Launched
Home lenders can reduce their exposure to mortgage fraud at the point of the application with a newly launched offering.

Bond Yields Jump on FOMC Statement
The Federal Reserve disclosed plans to again pull back its investments in agency mortgage-backed securities -- sending bond yields higher. But the level of tapering is smaller than the decline in agency MBS issuance.

New Low for FHA Credit Scores
Credit score requirements on government-insured closings fell to the lowest level in at least two-and-a-half years. Meanwhile, originators cut five days off the amount of time it took to close a loan to finance a home purchase -- helping to push the closing rate on purchase loans to the highest level since at least 2011.

Chase Transferring Servicing on Distressed Loans
JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s banking subsidiary is looking at transferring sub-servicing on thousands of distressed securitized mortgages and continuing to do so.

Mortgage Firms Recruit Executives
Among several mortgage executives who have recently secured new jobs is the former head of Bank of America Corp.'s mortgage business.

Jumbo RMBS Deal Hits Market
A lull in the new issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities is being broken by a prime jumbo deal.

New Construction Slips, Though Permits Surge
U.S. housing starts came in slightly worse last month than was expected, while new residential building permits surged.

Mixed FHA Performance
In the final month of last year, Federal Housing Administration originations and delinquency increased from November. Compared to a year earlier, however, production and delinquency sank.

90-Day Mortgage Delinquency Declines
The share of residential loans that are considered seriously delinquent retreated to the lowest level since last summer.

Servicers Exceed National Settlement Requirements
More than two years after five of the biggest U.S. banks agreed with state and federal officials to settle charges of servicing abuses, the terms of the settlement have been exceeded.

Details About Housing Finance Overhaul Emerge
Details have emerged from the Senate about a proposed overhaul of U.S. housing finance. Among other things, the proposed legislation includes servicer regulation and a provision for refinancing negative-equity properties in a bad housing market.

Mortgage Bankers Cut Annual Refinance Forecast
Mortgage bankers have reduced their forecast for this year's refinance originations by more than $20 billion, while next year's refinance outlook was cut by a similar amount.

Proprietary Loan Modification Volume Plunges
The pace of loan modifications changed little between the final month of 2013 and the first month of this year. But proprietary activity has tumbled by nearly half over the past year.

First FHA E-Mortgage Closes
Less than two months after the Federal Housing Administration began accepting e-signatures on loan documents, the first electronically closed FHA loan has completed.

Nonprime Borrowers Finding More Options
As weakening demand for mortgages has recently driven down anticipated originations, lenders are making it easier for nonprime borrowers to qualify.

Former Fannie Foreclosure Specialist Found Guilty
A former foreclosure specialist at Fannie Mae has been found guilty by a federal jury of illegally accepting a bribe.

Kyle Bass Ups Bet on Nationstar
Recent regulatory scrutiny hasn't deterred Kyle Bass' Hayman Capital Management from increasing its bet on Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc.

Big Banks, Service Providers Dominate Mortgage Layoffs
Big banks continue to dominate mortgage layoffs occurring around the country, though service providers are playing a growing role.

Mortgage Activity Rises 3rd Consecutive Week
For the third week in a row, new mortgage activity has moved higher. Purchase financing activity led the weekly increase.

Mortgage Market Index 174 in week ended March 14

Services Help With ECOA Valuations Rule Compliance
A host of new and existing services are designed to help mortgage firms comply with a new appraisal rule. Meanwhile, appraisal management companies are teaming up with technology firms to offer enhanced services.

Senate Passes Flood Legislation
The real estate industry has successfully lobbied both houses of Congress on putting off increases in flood insurance premiums.

Guidelines Improved at Radian
Radian Guaranty Inc. is making several changes to its guidelines that include new jumbo lending options, rate premiums that accommodate Qualified Mortgage requirements and one-time closings for construction-to-permanent loans.

Mortgage Risk Firm Acquired
The previously announced acquisition of a mortgage service provider that helps home lending companies manage risk is now a done deal.

OIG Says Mortgage Fraud Low Priority for DOJ
A new report indicates that the Department of Justice has been doing less to combat mortgage fraud while overstating it prosecution activity.

Mortgage Rates Increase But Could Drop
As fixed rates and hybrid adjustable rates moved higher, one-year adjustable rates declined. Fixed rates, however, could move significantly lower by the next report.

Wholesale Channel Fuels Rise in HECM Production
On a month-over-month basis, proprietary reverse mortgage lending turned in the biggest gains, while it was government-insured activity that was stronger compared to a year earlier. The wholesale channel outperformed the retail channel on both counts.

Fmr Fannie Foreclosure Employee on Trial for Bribe
A Fannie Mae employee arrested in a sting operation for taking a bribe claims that he was just doing his best to fulfill his employer's mission.

Dodd Frank Drives Some Small Banks Out of Mortgages
Some small banks with relatively low mortgage originations are finding that new regulations are making it unprofitable to continue making home loans.

LendingTree Loses Lawsuit
A jury has decided in favor of competing lead providers in a lawsuit filed by LendingTree over alleged infringements on its patents.

Recently Acquired Servicer Heavily Recruiting
A special servicer of home loans is expanding its recruiting efforts following its acquisition by a real estate investment firm.

New Foreclosure Filings Sink, Repos Rise
Despite harsh weather conditions and a shorter month, more foreclosures were completed last month than in January. But year-over-year performance, as well as other foreclosure metrics, improved to the lowest levels in years.

Total filings down

New Wholesaler Adding Brokers, Employees
While mortgage brokers have recently lost access to a number of wholesale lenders, one new entrant is quickly ramping up its staffing and client base.

Conferences Address Range of Mortgage Issues
As mortgage executives prepare to attend a pair of trade shows on the West Coast next week, plans are also being made for a host of other upcoming events. The meetings focus on a range of topics including mortgage fraud, technology and government regulation.

New Radian Product Cuts Risk of Policy Rescission
A new product expected to be available later this year from Radian Guaranty Inc. will reduce lenders' risk of losing mortgage insurance coverage.

Former AIG Unit Selling $1 billion in Mortgages
A consumer finance lender formerly owned by American International Group Inc. is unloading a billion dollars in mortgages.

FDIC Allegations in Failed Bank Lawsuit Disputed
Former directors and executives of a failed Georgia bank are rejecting allegations in a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. lawsuit that poor commercial mortgage lending practices, lavish spending on themselves and excessive directors fees were behind the bank's collapse.

The Mortgage Recruiter
As employment in the mortgage industry continues to contract, there are still a few firms that are adding jobs.

REO Discriminatory Action Against U.S. Bank Expanded
An administrative complaint alleging that U.S. Bank neglects real estate owned located in minority areas has been expanded and could be converted to a civil complaint.

More GSE Resolution Legislation Emerges
The latest federal legislation to emerge that would reform U.S. housing finance protects community banks, maintains Qualified Mortgage standards and establishes servicing standards.

Green Tree Wholesale AEs Find New Home
Just a month after learning that their employer was getting out of the wholesale lending business, dozens of account executives at Green Tree Servicing LLC have been hired by a growing lender.

3/1 ARM Offerings Diminish
In response to new regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, lenders are moving away from 3/1 adjustable-rate mortgages to loans that don't adjust for at least five years.

OneWest Unloading Reverse Mortgage Unit
OneWest Bank FSB hopes to unload a subsidiary that at one time was the second-biggest originator of reverse mortgages.

New Business Worse, Delinquency Better at MGIC
New business at MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. fell to the worst level in two years. Delinquency, however, was at the most favorable rate in at least more than four years.

TX Jobs Cuts Bring BofA YTD Mortgage Layoffs to 1,000
Bank of America Corp. is continuing to reduce its mortgage headcount, with the latest round of layoffs in the Lone Star State bringing the year-to-date total to at least a thousand.

Fifth Third Closing Wholesale Division
Just months after cutting back its wholesale lending business, Fifth Third Mortgage is closing down the entire wholesale division. The current regulatory environment was cited.

Privacy Breach at Small Mortgage Servicer
The malfunction of a mailroom machine is being blamed for a mortgage servicer's breach of privacy for some of its borrowers.

LendingTree Vs Zillow
Zillow is among three competitors that are being sued by mortgage lead generator LendingTree LLC over alleged patent infringement.

Mortgage Insurers Launch New Trade Group
Not long after shuttering its 40-year-old trade group, the mortgage insurance industry has launched a new association. The formation comes as new business in the sector is diminishing.

Q4 Business Was Dismal for Mortgage Lenders
The largest mortgage lender last year did more than twice as much new business as the next biggest player. In the final three months of 2013, almost all mortgage bankers saw a sharp drop in originations.

Select Portfolio Leads Increase in HAMP Activity
Government-funded loan modifications grew at the fastest pace in three months, and the biggest gain was made by Select Portfolio Servicing Inc.

933,900 active permanent modifications in place during January

Weekly Jumbo Mortgage Business Improves
There was little change in new mortgage activity as rate remained near their week-earlier levels. Jumbo business, however, accelerated.

Mortgage Market Index 165 in week ended March 7

Ginnie Issuance at 6-Year Low
The last time business was this slow at the Government National Mortgage Association was before the financial crisis exploded.

CRE Lending at Failed Bank Focus of FDIC Lawsuit
Former directors and executives of Bradford Bank are accused in federal lawsuit of disregarding prudent lending practices on commercial real estate loans.

Wells Fargo to Appeal Angry Judge's Decision
Wells Fargo & Co. has indicated that it will appeal a decision by a New Mexico judge that will cost it more than $3 million because of how it applied life insurance proceeds to a mortgage.

Mortgage Jobs Plummet
The mortgage industry lost more than 2 percent of its workforce during a single month. The news, however, was better for other U.S. industries -- sending interest rates higher.

Mortgage Rates Improve But Could Rise
Mortgage rates improved this past week as investors were spooked by the crisis in Eastern Europe. Fixed rates are likely to rise in the next report, though the jobs report could change that.

Mobile Banking Drives Financial Sector Job Cuts
Although mortgage bankers are among the financial services firms planning to cut jobs this year, a bigger impact is being felt from banks that are responding to a customer shift from branches to mobile banking.

Nationstar CEO Says Will Comply with NY Request
The chief executive officer of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. has indicated that the company plans to comply with a request for information from New York's top banking regulator.

Average U.S. LTV Deteriorates
When comparing the amount of home loans to the properties securing them, the ratio deteriorated in the final three months of 2013. Still, the number of negative-equity borrowers continued to trend lower.

28-Month Low for New Radian Business
New business at Radian Guaranty Inc. hasn't been this bad in nearly two-and-a-half years. Insured loan performance, however, has improved each of the last 14 months.

Service Providers Help Financial Institutions Originate
Several mortgage service providers are offering financial services firms help originating home loans, and many are targeting banks and credit unions.

Winning Streak Continues for MERS in Recording Fee Cases
In the war between numerous counties across the country and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., MERS is winning.

The Mortgage Production Journal
A hard money lender, a commercial real estate lender and even a U.S. government agency all reported record annual mortgage originations. Several lenders claimed the top spots in their respective cities.

Bankruptcies Rise 2 Consecutive Months
Although consumer bankruptcy filings have fallen from a year ago, they have increased two months in a row on a month-over-month basis.

Florida Biggest Beneficiary of Flood Premium Delay
Members of the House were able to overcome hard-line Republicans to pass legislation that would soften the blow of a surge in flood insurance premiums. More properties are impacted in Florida than any other state.

No Appropriations Expected for FHA in FY 2015
Based on the expected capital reserve balance at the Federal Housing Administration, President Obama's budget projects that no mandatory appropriations will be required for the agency.

Stonegate Adding Hundreds of Mortgage Jobs
With a recent initial public offering, multiple acquisitions and an expansion of its staff, Stonegate Mortgage Corp. had already established itself as a high-profile growth company. Now the firm has even more growth plans.

CMBS Delinquency Down for 9 Straight Months
The sale of distressed assets was behind a big drop last month in delinquency on loans included in commercial mortgage-backed securities. Performance improvement was greatest on industrial property loans.

Record Low MTA Likely to Go Lower
The record streak of months for the Monthly Treasury Average continued last month and could go on for several more.

CRE Loan Performance Maintains Positive Trend
All types of lenders except the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. saw a decline in delinquency rates on commercial real estate loans.

Month-Over-Month Mortgage Originations Edge Up
Despite a sharp decline in residential loan originations over the past year, the final month of 2013 saw an uptick. The mortgage market continued to wean itself off of government support.

New Penn Financial Acquires Mortgage Servicer
The acquisition of a mortgage servicing firm by New Penn Financial LLC is increasing the company's servicing portfolio by around $13 billion.

Ocwen Unit Drives Reverse Mortgage Production Higher
For the second consecutive month, lenders lifted production of federally insured reverse mortgages higher. Ocwen Financial Corp.'s subsidiary was responsible for the improvement.

Number of Credit Unions Declines as Mortgages Grow
Even as the number of credit unions has been falling, the amount of outstanding first mortgages they hold continues to grow.

Walter Investment Subsidiary Cutting Servicing Jobs
A mortgage servicer owned by Walter Investment Management Corp. is laying of employees in North Texas. The move comes just a month after the unit decided to end wholesale lending.

PNC Among Several Lenders Targeted by DOJ
The PNC Financial Services Group has become the third financial institution in the past week to disclose that it is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lennar Closing Wholesale Unit
Lennar Corp.'s wholesale lending business is calling it quits, bringing to four the number of wholesalers that have closed down this year. Among other recent mortgage-related casualties were two banks, one credit union and a mortgage trade group.

Agency MBS Issuance Tumbles to 7-Year Low
It has been more than seven years since the monthly issuance of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginne Mae mortgage-backed securities has been this low.

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