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April 2013 Archive


COFI Teetering Near Record Low
The Cost of Funds Index fell to within a single basis point of its lowest level on record. Also improving was the yield on the one-year Treasury note.

Hotels, Industrial Properties Pull Down CRE Originations
Commercial real estate loan originations tumbled on a quarter-over-quarter basis thanks to plunging production on hotel and industrial loans. Agency apartment loans also took a big hit.

FHFA Provides Update on Common Securitization Platform
A progress report on the creation of a common securitization platform for private-label mortgage-backed securities has been issued, and this year's agenda was outlined.

Healthy March for Mortgage Insurers
Mortgage insurance companies wrote more new business in March, while they managed to put a nice dent in defaults.

Initiative to Improve Secondary Marketing Certainty
A new initiative has been launched by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. that is intended to provide approved sellers with more certainty about the deliverability of loans they originate.

The Real Estate Report
While existing home sales and housing inventories recently exhibited month-over-month weakness, year-over-year activity and new home sales were up.

California Real Estate Continues to Outperform Nation
Real estate prices continue to rise, and housing markets in the West are leading the way. Some East Coast markets are exhibiting weakness.

Mortgage, Appraisal Business Improve With Home Market
The country's recovering real estate market and rising home prices mean more business for a slew of housing-related businesses.

Old School Subprime Slowly Returns
A mortgage lender operating from California is providing home loan financing for subprime borrowers. The program is based on the pre-securitization portfolio model.

HomeStreet Mortgage Production Down
Home loan originations and production income were lower than in the fourth quarter at HomeStreet Inc. But the servicing portfolio, residential assets and servicing income were all higher.

Former Mortgage Chief Departs Chase
The executive who was in charge of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s mortgage business until just a few months ago has left to run a related company.

Over $100 mil in Losses from Friday's Bank Failures
Two financial institutions were seized by bank regulators last week, and the cost to clean up the pair of bank failures is expected to exceed $100 million.

Provident Pushes Servicing Portfolio Past $100 Billion
While quarterly mortgage production slid at Provident Funding Associates LP, the lender added more employees and pushed its mortgage servicing portfolio past $100 billion.

Improvement in Rates Fails to Lift New Mortgage Business
Mortgage rates improved this week and could be even better in next week's report. But that wasn't enough to stimulate new mortgage business. The biggest drag on this week's activity were jumbo mortgages and government-insured loans.

Mortgage Market Index 265 for week ended April 26

Mortgage Originations Drop at PrimeLending
New mortgage loan originations were down by nearly a quarter during the first three months of this year at PrimeLending.

Another Record Quarter at Quicken
After breaking its all-time quarterly record for residential loan originations, Quicken Loans Inc. has done it again. The fast-growing lender has also beefed up its staffing and grown its mortgage servicing portfolio.

PRMI's Servicing Portfolio Climbs Past $1 Billion
Home loan originations slowed during the first quarter of this year at Primary Residential Mortgage Inc., while staffing was reduced. But the company's mortgage servicing portfolio climbed past $1 billion.

Multifamily Performance Helps CMBS Delinquency Rate
With a little help from favorable performance on multifamily loans, the past-due rate on securitized commercial real estate loans managed to decline despite an increase in corresponding delinquent loan balances. Delinquency on hotel loans, however, deteriorated by 120 basis points.

Rates Likely to Hold Near Lows
Long-term mortgage rates moved little this past week but stayed near all-time lows, while short-term fixed rates established a new record. The near-term outlook is for no increase.

Mortgage Business Contracts at Regions Bank
Quarterly originations slowed at Regions Financial Corp. as the company continued to pare its mortgage assets. Loan performance improved.

GSEs, MERS and Lenders Fight Fee Litigation
Municipalities are now taking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to court, citing the conversion from government-sponsored enterprises to a private companies as grounds for the loss of the exemption from paying taxes and fees. Lawsuits against MERS continue with many municipalities citing a ruling from a Michigan-based federal trial court as precedent. And a government fraud investigator has prevailed in his lawsuit accusing a mortgage lender of fraud.

Good Month for Freddie
While quarterly business was slower at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., secondary marketing activity picked up last month. Delinquency, both for residential and commercial real estate, hasn't seen an increase in at least six months.

Flagstar Invests in Purchase Business
Nearly a dozen new mortgage centers were opened by Flagstar Bancorp Inc. in an effort to finance more home purchases. But the move didn't come soon enough to head of a quarterly drop in new business.

HUD Restructuring Multifamily Business
Hundreds of government employees are impacted by a restructuring at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The move, made in response to sequestration, affects multifamily positions.

New M.I. Firm Insures 1st Loans
Armed with more than a half billion dollars in capital and easy access to the human resources of a former mortgage insurance giant, a new mortgage insurer has issued its first policies.

Appraiser Business Better
A majority of real estate appraisers who participated in a recent survey indicated that home values have increased, while more than half said they were mostly confident about the current state of the U.S. housing market. Most have seen an increase in order volume.

Judgment Stalls in BoA Lawsuit Against FL Squatter
A judge has put off a final judgment in the case of a squatter who moved into a $2.5 million South Florida mansion owned by Bank of America Corp.

New Business Slows at PennyMac
The quarterly volume of correspondent acquisitions at PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust was lower. But the distressed loan investor projects a significant pickup by the end of 2013.

Further Improvement in Delinquency Rate
The number of U.S. mortgages that were at least a month past due or in foreclosure slipped just below 5 million last month from just over 5 million. Delinquency has declined for six straight months.

Originators Expect Improved Business Despite Regulations
Despite the challenges from an upcoming wave of regulations, a plurality of mortgage loan originators expect their business to improve this year, according to a survey of loan officers.

Business Off at New American Funding
Quarterly mortgage production at New American Funding slowed on a quarter-over-quarter basis, though business was better on a year-over-year basis. Staffing and the servicing portfolio both continued to expand.

QM Clarifications Issued
Proposed clarifications have been issued for the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage rule as well as the mortgage servicing rule.

New Business Declines at Guaranteed Rate
The first quarter of this year saw fewer new home loans originated at Guaranteed Rate Inc. But the company grew its mortgage servicing portfolio and increased its staffing.

Mortgage Bankers Increase Expected Refi Originations
Expectations for this year's refinance production were raised by more than $50 billion, while next year's forecast was lifted by the same amount.

Wholesaler Wins Appeal in Mortgage Fraud Case
A California appeals court has ruled in favor of a wholesale lender that was a victim of mortgage fraud. At issue was the settlement agent's failure to advise the lender of an unauthorized disbursement.

100% LTV Program
A financial institution operating from the capitol region is now offering a mortgage product with a 100 percent loan-to-value ratio.

3 Bank Failures in 1 Day
Friday was a brutal day for federally insured banks, with three financial institutions failing. Losses at one of the banks are expected to be three times worst than at either of the other two.

FHA, Refis Drag Down New Mortgage Business
Despite a drop in interest rates this week, new mortgage activity slowed. Leading the decline were government-insured loans and refinances.

Mortgage Market Index 268 for week ended April 19

Originations Off at Stearns Lending
New business was slower at Stearns Lending Inc. on a quarter-over-quarter basis, though year-over-year activity was up. The company's mortgage servicing portfolio grew.

Secondary Policy Updates
Several policy updates have recently been made to the Federal National Mortgage Association's refinance programs. Similar changes occurred at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Other ripe items include a market report, new information availability, and Federal Housing Finance Agency policy response. One headliner proposed a state-level, non-profit mortgage company.

Quicken Hiring Hundreds (Again)
Quicken Loans Inc., which has grown its staff size by more than 7,000 people over the past four years, is hiring hundreds more.

SunTrust Sees Best Quarter Since 2009
Residential loan originations at SunTrust Banks Inc. climbed to the highest level since 2009. Delinquency was also better. Mortgage earnings, however, were lower.

Stocks Drive Rates Lower
A stock market selloff had mortgage rates lower this week, and it looks likely that they will hold at their current levels.

BB&T Expanding Correspondent
BB&T Corp. reported record quarterly originations and a solid improvement in its purchase financing business. The company plans to expand its correspondent lending channel.

MN Supreme Court Voids Criminal's Foreclosure
A ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court in a case involving a borrower who is a convicted criminal provides delinquent borrowers with more ammunition to stall the foreclosure process and could result in more litigation for mortgage servicers.

Foreclosure Settlement Checks Bounce
A settlement for billions of dollars earlier this year between federal banking regulators and 10 of the biggest U.S. residential mortgage servicers funded checks to borrowers whose loans were foreclosed. But a glitch by the company distributing the funds had the checks being returned due to non-sufficient funds.

PNC Originations Slip
Thanks to its participation in the government-supported refinance program, The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. kept quarterly mortgage production from significantly sliding. While delinquency crept up on its conventional mortgage investments, a big improvement was made on its government-insured portfolio. Mortgage earnings swung to a profit thanks to lower repurchase provisions.

Business Rises at Mortgage Master
Residential loan production was higher at Mortgage Master Inc. and has improved for three consecutive quarters. The lender has taken steps to keep the momentum going.

Fannie Scales Back Origination Forecast
In contrast to Freddie Mac which this week raised its outlook for residential originations from all lenders, Fannie Mae has scaled back its forecast.

Multifamily Drives Increase in CRE Loan Originations
Thanks to a robust market for apartment loans, overall commercial real estate loan production jumped last year and is expected to continue expanding.

Ocwen, Quicken Acquire MSRs on Over $100 Billion in Loans
Ocwen Financial Corp. is continuing its rapid growth with the acquisition of mortgage servicing rights on more than $80 billion in home loans. In a related deal, Quicken Loans Inc. also made an MSR acquisition.

Refi Outlook Jumps
The latest economic forecast has this year's refinance originations $34 billion more than was predicted last month. Next year's outlook for refinances was increased by nearly $90 billion, while the purchase projection was cut.

CEO, EVP Sued for Bank's Failure
The founder and former chief executive officer of a failed Washington bank, along with one of his lieutenants, have been sued over their role's in the bank's failure. At issue are construction-and-development loans made after the real estate market soured.

Mixed Outlook for Ability to Repay Rule
While the ability-to-repay rule will eliminate risky loans that were so prominent during the housing boom, the rule could keep even more consumers from qualifying for mortgages.

Looser Lending Standards in March
Average credit scores on closed-loan production fell last month, while loan-to-value ratios rose. Meanwhile, mortgage lenders cut five days off the amount of time it takes to close a loan.

Repurchase Claims Tumble at BofA
Mortgage originations improved at Bank of America Corp., though -- with more than nine-out-of-10 new loans being refinances -- production is poised to plummet when rates rise. The size of the mortgage servicing portfolio has been reduced by $500 billion over the past year. BofA saw a huge reduction in new repurchase demands.

Wholesaler Seeks More Business
A mortgage banker operating from Florida is taking a number of steps to grow its mortgage originations through the wholesale channel.

HELOC Losses Tumble
The amount of write-offs on credit lines secured by residential properties has plummeted over the past year. Even closed-end loans have seen a respectable decline. Overall, write-offs have fallen to the lowest level in years.

Radian Updates Pricing
New monthly pricing announced by Radian Guaranty Inc. means that borrowers with better credit scores will have lower rates on mortgages with little equity.

Serious Mortgage Delinquency Falls
The rate of serious delinquency on first-lien home loans and home-equity loans was lower last month. New York was the only large city to see deterioration in its overall consumer delinquency rate.

U.S. Bank Boosts Mortgage Servicing, Investment Portfolios
U.S. Bancorp's mortgage servicing portfolio expanded, as did its residential and commercial mortgage assets. Residential delinquency, meanwhile, saw an healthy improvement. But residential originations and home-equity assets were lower as home-equity delinquency increased.

Bankruptcy Judge Approves ResCap Exec Bonuses
Despite opposition from the U.S. Trustee in the Residential Capital LLC bankruptcy case, a judge has ruled that millions of dollars can be paid to executives.

Decline in Possible Mortgage Fraud
The possibility of mortgage fraud on new loan originations took a turn for the better. But several metropolitan areas including San Francisco experienced deterioration.

Citi Reports Strong Performance
Quarterly earnings increased, delinquency declined and mortgage production picked up at Citigroup Inc. In addition, the current quarter's mortgage business might be even better based on rate lock activity.

Mortgage-Related Failures On Track for 7-Year Low
This year is on track to see the fewest number of mortgage-related casualties in seven years. First-quarter bank failures were the slowest of any quarter since prior to the financial crisis. But quarterly credit union casualties exceeded the number of bank failures and climbed to the highest level in a year.

15 mortgage-related closings in Q1

New Mortgage Business Slips, Jumbo Activity Up
Pricing inquiries for prospective borrowers were off slightly this week, with government-insured activity leading the decline. But jumbo business was stronger. Mortgage rates fell and could decline further.

Mortgage Market Index 277 for week ended April 12

Office Loan Performance Deteriorates
An improvement in the performance securitized commercial real estate loans backed by apartment, industrial, hotel and retail properties wasn't enough to offset an increase in late payments on loans secured by office properties.

Warehouse Lender Takes Hit from Fraud
A Wyomissing, Pa.-based bank that provides warehouse lines of credit to mortgage bankers suspects that it was defrauded by one of its warehouse clients who colluded with a title insurance company.

Correspondent Business Drags Down Wells Originations
Home loan originations at Wells Fargo & Co. fell for the second quarter in a row, and a third consecutive decline is in the offing. A 20 percent drop in correspondent business drove the overall reduction.

Solid Quarter at JPMorgan
JPMorgan Chase & Co. kicked off the first-quarter earnings season for the mortgage industry with increased originations, lower delinquency and record earnings.

Mortgage Rates Improve Again But Might Rise
Interest rates on residential loans were down for the second consecutive week -- with the latest improvement outpacing last week's decline. But market data suggest that mortgage rates might move higher.

HUD Discloses Settlements With Homeward, Flagstar
Among several mortgagee actions disclosed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development was a settlement for more than $1 million with Homeward Residential Holding Inc. Flagstar Bank, FSB, also agreed to a settlement. While many of the latest actions involve new originations, mortgagees were also penalized for servicing violations.

Multifamily Issuance Off at Fannie
The securitization of apartment loans at the Federal National Mortgage Association fell during the first three months of this year. The company also unloaded some of its multifamily securities.

HARP Deadline Extended
For the second time, the end date for the government's refinance program has been extended. In addition, a marketing campaign is being launched to reach more prospective program participants.

HUD Chief Says HECMs Hurt FHA's Finances
The Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which could require a nearly $1 billion bailout, would be in much better shape if it weren't for home-equity conversion mortgages, according to the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Foreclosures Fall, But Turnaround Stalls
New and completed foreclosure filings fell last month. Even the worst state saw improvement. But the time to complete a foreclosure deteriorated.

March filings off 1% from February

HUD Seeks Increased Spending
In its fiscal-year 2014 budget, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking to increase spending by 10 percent. HUD also outlined statistics for government-insured mortgages.

Former Chase Mortgage Chief Joins Freddie
The former head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s mortgage business has been hired by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. to oversee its residential business.

Ability-to-Repay Guide Includes ARM Refi Exemption
A new regulatory guide is designed to help mortgage lenders comply with the ability-to-repay/qualified mortgage rule issued earlier this year. It also outlines requirements for refinances of adjustable-rate mortgages that aren't subject to the rule.

Florida Foreclosure Cases Get Crazy
Among some of the strange recent rulings emanating from Florida courts was a decision that Florida lenders can withdraw a foreclosure action in order to avoid penalties for submitting fraudulent documents. In another case, the judge -- on her own -- dismissed a lawsuit after hearing testimony from the lender's first witness. A mortgage servicer in yet another case asked that a foreclosure be reversed because it had made an error, while a trial court judge's denial of a lender's request to dismiss a foreclosure on a loan that was cured was reversed at the appellate level.

Walter Grows Reverse Business With Acquisition
Walter Investment Management Corp. is carving out its place in the reverse mortgage business with an aggressive acquisition strategy. The latest investment involves mortgage servicing rights. Staffing at the company has surged by 2,200 employees during the past six months.

Editorial: Captive Reinsurance
While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's view that mortgage insurers' captive reinsurance arrangements with lenders are really kickbacks, the regulator is wrong to suggest that eliminating them will reduce costs to borrowers. It's possible that eliminating such arrangements could increase consumer costs.

Refis Partially Recover from December
Conventional agency refinance production partially recovered from a steep drop in December. Non-owner occupied loans account for more than 10 percent of refinances that have been processed through the Making Home Affordable program.

Foreclosure Settlement Payments On Way
Payments of as much as $125,000 are being mailed out to foreclosed borrowers covered under an agreement reached earlier this year.

Fannie Recognizes 5 Superior Servicers
Five residential loan servicers have been recognized by the Federal National Mortgage Association for achieving better results in foreclosure prevention and customer service.

Robust Month at Radian
New business climbed last month at Radian Guaranty Inc., while the rate of delinquency has retreated each of the past 15 months.

Top-5 Mortgage Lender Has New President
A new president has been named at the home lending unit of U.S. Bancorp. The new leader was promoted from within and takes over a business that was among the top five lenders last year.

 U.S. Bank Home Mortgage announces promotion

The LOS Ledger
A giant in the world of loan origination systems is touting a study that identified hundreds of dollars in per-loan benefits from its offerings. While a few LOS providers integrated with other systems, several announced that lenders have made recent investments in their technology. One LOS service provider has ventured into servicing technology.

Multifamily Issuance at Ginnie Up Despite Overall Slump
The volume of apartment loans securitized for the Government National Mortgage Association jumped last month and has improved from a year ago. But residential securitizations slowed -- pulling down overall activity.

Credit Unions Keeping Pace With Bank Failures
There have been just as many credit union failures so far this year as bank failures -- though the credit unions tend to be much smaller than the banks. Credit union losses, however, are being tempered by recoveries from bad mortgage securities.

Mortgage Fraud Case Activity Slows
The holidays took a toll on mortgage fraud prosecutions, as the fourth-quarter 2012 Mortgage Fraud Index sank to its lowest level in nearly five years. However, the drop appears to have only been temporary. California saw a big improvement, while the dollar volume in Florida spiked.

Mortgage Fraud Index 758 in Q4 2012

HAMP Activity Rises
Mortgage servicers lifted the number of active modifications that were processed through the Making Home Affordable program. While Ocwen Loan Servicing had the biggest increase, its gains were offset by losses at an affiliate.

862,636 active permanent modification in place as of February

Mortgage Approvals Likely to Loosen
In the face of lawsuits, penalties and regulatory actions -- mortgage lending guidelines have tightened considerably over the past few years. But with the easy money from refinances potentially drying up, easier lending requirements are likely in the offing.

Jumbo Business Jumps, FHA Activity Falls
Mortgage rates eased this week, prompting a surge in refinance and jumbo activity. But government-insured business was lower.

Mortgage Market Index 246.334 for week ended April 5

NY Firm Sued Over Fraudulent FHA Certifications
A lawsuit has been filed against a company based in the Empire State alleging that the mortgagee falsely certified government-insured mortgages.

Mortgage Lenders, Servicers Expand Payrolls
Mortgage firms increased their staffing in February, according to government data released Friday. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell to the lowest level in more than four years. But the news wasn't so good for jobs added among all industries, and the dismal report is already having a big effect on interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Could Fall More
Interest rates on residential loans improved this week, and all signs point to further decreases by the time the next report is released.

Stellar Month at MGIC
New business increased to the highest level in seven months, while the delinquency rate has improved for eight consecutive months at MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp.

M.I. Firms Settle But Claim HUD OK'd Reinsurance Arrangements
Four national mortgage insurers have agreed to settlements totaling more than $15 million over alleged improper kickbacks paid to mortgage lenders in exchange for business. But the companies say the arrangements had the blessing of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Fannie Delinquency at 4-Year Low
The Federal National Mortgage Association reported that new business slumped in February, while market data indicate that issuance slowed even further last month. Residential delinquency fell to the lowest level in four years.

Mortgage Servicers Frequently Victims of Crime
Thanks to a chaotic distressed loan marketplace, criminals are seizing opportunities to deceive mortgage servicers and line their own pockets. Servicers are being misled about the condition, maintenance and sale of distressed assets. Other recently active mortgage-related criminal cases include a mortgage broker who collected illegal up-front fees, a subprime lending employee who used mortgage fraud to increase his commissions and a registered broker-dealer who misled buyers and sellers of residential mortgage-backed securities.

Borrowers Duped by Promises of Debt Reduction
The promise of debt reduction lures in unsuspecting borrowers who fork over thousands of dollars in up-front fees to criminals that never deliver lower or eliminated loan balances. In some cases, defendants take the scheme to the next level by using mortgage fraud to strip equity from the properties involved.

Credit Unions Prominent in Bank Crimes
Federal and state prosecutors are prosecuting a host of alleged crimes by employees and executives of financial institutions that include of mortgage fraud, bribery and embezzlement. While customer accounts are often the target of the crimes, it's the banks that take the hit. Credit unions figure prominently into the latest spate of criminal activity.

Bankruptcy Filings Soar
The number of non-commercial borrowers who resorted to bankruptcy last month leapt by more than a quarter from the previous month.

Hotels Hurt CMBS Delinquency
A big increase last month in delinquency on hotel loans helped push the rate higher on all securitized commercial real estate loans. But the increase wasn't as bad as the numbers suggest.

No M.I. Up to 95% LTV
A new wholesale offering enables mortgage brokers to offer purchase financing at loan-to-value ratios up to 95 percent with no mortgage insurance.

Reverse Production Jumps to Highest Level Since 2011
It has been almost two years since the Federal Housing Administration has endorsed as many home-equity conversion mortgages as it did last month. A unit that was acquired by Ocwen Financial Corp. has ascended to the top spot and turned in record monthly production.

Ocwen Acquires Biggest HECM Lender
Ocwen Financial Corp. has completed its acquisition of a reverse mortgage lender that originated more government-insured reverse mortgages last month than any other company.

Servicer Profits Rise
Although employee efficiency was off in the fourth quarter at the nation's residential mortgage servicers, per-loan earnings from servicing were better.

Mortgage Production Profits Drop
A nearly one-quarter jump in issuance at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. wasn't enough to overcome a month-over-month slump at the Federal National Mortgage Association and Government National Mortgage Association.

Mortgage Firms Branch Out
Several firms are continuing to expand by recruiting existing local branches and their managers. Others are fueling expansion by opening brand new locations and hiring new employees to run them.

Home Equity Delinquency Down
Late payments on home-equity products declined during the final three months of last year. But while the rate on closed-end loans was lower than 12 months prior, delinquency on lines of credit increased on a year-over-year basis.

Record Earnings at Fannie
The highest earnings on record at the Federal National Mortgage Association have enabled the secondary lender, along with its government-controlled cousin Freddie Mac, to collectively dish out nearly $60 billion in dividends so far to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Uniform State Licensing Tests in Effect
Mortgage loan originators in 20 states won't necessarily need to take multiple state licensing tests when obtaining multiple state licenses as a result of a new uniform test.

MTA Moves Lower
A slight downward movement left the Monthly Treasury Average lower last month. One of the components used to determine the index had an even bigger decline.

Appraisals Blamed for Holding Back Real Estate Recovery
Appraisers are being blamed by builders and realtors for restraining a real estate recovery. But the industry is defending its valuation methods and the use of distressed properties as comparables.

USDA Rural Definition Briefly Extended
Communities that have outgrown the population limits for government-financing on rural properties will have a short reprieve from new requirements that will be based on more recent Census data thanks to an act of Congress.

Freddie Issuance Surges as Fannie, Ginnie Slow
A nearly one-quarter jump in issuance at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. wasn't enough to overcome a month-over-month slump at the Federal National Mortgage Association and Government National Mortgage Association.

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