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May 2010 Archive

RESPA Rescue
Much of the recent activity in mortgage compliance has been focused on keeping up with the changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. One law firm issued an outline of the RESPA changes for mortgage lenders. Mortgage compliance on government loans is expected to be easier as a result of a procedural change.

Agency Issuance Up
Agency issuance edged up for the second month in a row, though volume sank by more than half from a year ago. It was also the second month in a row that the Government National Mortgage Association was busier than the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Fifth Third Has New Chairman
The board of directors at Fifth Third Bancorp has elected a former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman as its own chairman.

5 Banks, 1 CU Fail
Among six financial institutions to recently go belly up were a New York credit union and five banks located throughout California, Florida and Nevada.

Las Vegas Bank Collapses
Nevada regulators Friday closed a Las Vegas-based bank with roots going back nearly three decades.

COFI Improves
After jumping a quarter percent the previous month, the Cost of Funds Index eased in April.

Select Portfolio's Servicer Ratings Raised
A strong management team was cited for an improvement in the servicer rating of Select Portfolio Servicing.

Ocwen Acquiring Servicer
One of the top performing Home Affordable Modification Program servicers will acquire another top HAMP performer.

GMAC Wading Back into Wholesale Waters
After nearly two years of being out of the wholesale lending business, the mortgage subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc. is opening up a mortgage broker channel.

4th Delay in Red Flag Implementation
Implementation of the Red Flags Rule has been delayed for the fourth time.

Amendment Targets former IndyMac Customers
An amendment to financial reform legislation that targets former customers of failed IndyMac Bank F.S.B. has been re-introduced by U.S. lawmakers. More than $200 million is at stake.

Servicer Rating Upgraded at SunTrust
SunTrust Bank Inc.'s servicing subsidiary saw its servicer rating raised.

Fannie Reports Improved Business
Secondary market purchases improved for the second month in a row at the Federal National Mortgage Association. In addition, defaults declined.

Oregon Lender Acquired
The company that claims to be the oldest independent mortgage firm in Oregon has been acquired.

6-yr Low for 1-yr ARM, But Falling Rates Reverse
It's been six years to the day since the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage has been this low, though the news wasn't so good this week for the jumbo spread. The return of a bull market in the stock exchanges today has placed upward pressure on mortgage rates, and purchase activity is at its lowest point since the 90s.

Small Firms Unlikely to Hire
Small businesses in real estate finance include around 15,000 mortgage brokerages and countless service providers. The results of a new survey indicate that more than half of small business owners would be unlikely to step up hirings because of government incentives.

Rates, Mortgage Market Index Continue Improvement
As mortgage rates improved by around 7 basis points this week, the Mortgage Market Index increased more than 7 percent.

Mortgage Market Index for the week ended May 19 rose 6 percent

Appeals Judges Rule in Favor of Servicers
A federal appellate court has ruled in favor of servicers in a case where an unauthorized sub-servicer collected payments on behalf of mortgage borrowers without completely passing them on to the lender.

A new study attempts to answer how mortgage bankers could have gotten it so wrong before the bubble burst. Among the biggest culprits were silent second mortgages and bad risk models.

Biggest Independent Lender Says Housing Recovery Here
The owner of the company that claims to be the biggest independent mortgage firm in America says the housing market is already in recovery mode.

Video of interview with Leif Thomsen

SAFE Relief for GA LOs
Thanks to the help of a state senator, loan officers in Georgia will have more time to comply with the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008.

Mixed Results at Freddie
Secondary marketing purchases sank to the lowest level in more than a year at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. But delinquency improved for the second month in a row.

Ginnie Updates Approval Process
Changes face mortgage lenders that are seeking to become approved with the Government National Mortgage Association.

Appraisal Firms Showcase Wares
NEW YORK -- Appraisal management companies, appraisal technology providers and firms that provide broker price opinions are a dominant force at this week's secondary conference.

Secondary Marketing Conference Attendees Exceed 1,000
NEW YORK -- Attendance at the secondary conference this week shot past 1,000 as mortgage executives turned up the wheeling and dealing.

MBA event ends tomorrow

Half of HAMP Mods Fail
The rate of failed modifications under the government's program is around half, according to one ratings agency.

HUD Adding Requirements on Recent Sales
Federal Housing Administration mortgagees could be subject to new requirements on properties in purchase transactions that have been owned by the seller for less than one year.

No. 73 Fails
A Minnesota bank was the 73rd federally insured bank to fail this year.

Mortgage Software Firm Ranks as Top Employer
MEQUON, Wis. -- Faced with recent changes to mortgage regulations, employees at one mortgage software firm were working overtime to implement the updates. But the company kept complaints down by listening to employees and implementing their suggestions.

Biggest Bank Lenders
Financial institutions account for around 85 percent of the nation's residential originations, and the biggest bank lenders saw quarterly originations tumble, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Secondary Market Insider
Three cooperatives have negotiated deals that expand the secondary offerings available to their respective members, and a New York lender announced agency approval. Next week, New York will host the secondary mortgage market's annual event, while next month marks the end of business for a warehouse lender.

June 1 Deadline for Quality Initiative
Several service providers have updated their offerings to help mortgage lenders meet Fannie Mae's new loan quality initiative. Fannie also tightened qualification requirements for short-term adjustable-rate products, while Freddie Mac announced changes to a rural program.

Secondary Marketing Deals
Based on the latest secondary mortgage transactions, the federal government is by far the biggest player in the secondary market. Less stellar players include a portfolio broker and a California-based investor. Two firms are touting their growing trading platforms.

FDIC Chair Talks About Tenure, Mortgages
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said she and her staff were in disbelief in 2006 when they discovered the types of loans that were backing private-label residential mortgage-backed securities. She wants to limit who can originate mortgages.

Q&A: Sheila Bair on rising to prominence in time of crisis
FHA Waives Flip Rule
The Federal Housing Administration has temporarily waived its restriction on financing recently sold properties.

Big Banks Recover as Small Institutions Struggle
LOS ANGELES -- First-quarter profits tripled for the nation's banking industry as big banks recovered their footing, the government reported Thursday.

Deadline Extended for GA Originators
Some unlicensed loan officers in Georgia will have a little more time to originate before needing a license.

Regulatory Bill Could Pass Senate this Week
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Thursday broke through Republican opposition and voted to close debate on the most sweeping reform of financial rules since the Great Depression, paving the way for passage of the landmark bill by week's end.

VA Lending Needs Improvement
In testimony before Congress today, bankers and mortgage bankers alike talked about what needs to be improved at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Realtors Seek to Block Lenders from Collecting Deficiencies on Refis
Realtors in California are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit mortgage lenders in that state from collecting deficiency balances on refinanced loans that have been foreclosed.

Hard Money Lender Loses License
A hard-money lender operating from Las Vegas has lost its license. The action is just one of several recently by the state and follows a disclosure Wednesday from Desert Capital Real Estate Investment Trust, another Las Vegas-based hard-money lender, that it might not be able to continue in business.

Great Week for Mortgage Market
Mortgage rates tumbled this week and are likely headed even lower, while mortgage applications jumped. In addition, it's been nearly six years since the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage has been this low.

Thousands of UT Licensees Haven't Met May 31 Deadline
SALT LAKE CITY -- Close to 7,200 mortgage brokers, originators and companies -- 72 percent of Utah's total -- could find themselves unable to work if they don't meet a May 31 deadline to transition their mortgage license onto a new federal database.

HVCC Changes Coming
Changes to the Home Valuation Code of Conduct take effect in just a few weeks.

FHA Delinquency Down 3rd Consecutive Month
Late payments on government-insured mortgages have fallen each of the past three months. New originations fell and appear headed even lower, but declining volume on home-equity conversion mortgages is likely to reverse.

MBS Law Journal
As the ratings agencies manage to navigate one lawsuit accusing them of providing top-notch ratings on risky residential mortgage-backed securities, another action emerges. Two defendants in MBS lawsuits managed to get their cases dismissed, one defendant settled and several face an uphill battle.

Mortgage Market Index Jumps to 4-Month High
Coming off of the Mortgage Bankers Association's report that overall loan applications were dragged down last week by purchase activity which fell to a 13-year low, the Mortgage Market Index for the week ended May 19 rose 5 percent. In addition, mortgage rates tumbled.

Mortgage Market Index for the week ended May 19 rose 6 percent

600 Indiana Licenses in Jeopardy
More than 600 mortgage licensees in Indiana have still not passed the test required under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008. An upcoming deadline could leave many of them facing the same fate as more than 300 Indiana brokers did two years ago.

New Requirements for AZ Reverse Mortgages
Arizona recently enacted various new provisions regulating the origination of reverse mortgages.

Mixed Delinquency Data
After adjusting for seasonal differences, delinquency deteriorated. But the unadjusted rate showed an improvement. Delinquency in one West Coast state was lower, but its two coastal neighbors faced a higher rate.

More Warehouse Financing Available
Since the darkest days of the recession when available warehouse line-of-credit financing nearly disappeared, a number of players have either entered the market to finance new loan originations or expanded their presence.

Improper Payments to Former Taylor Bean Execs Alleged
Former executives of Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. are accused of improperly taking more than $50 million from the failed company.

Jumbo Cut from Citi Broker Menu
It's more bad news for mortgage brokers who utilize CitiMortgage Inc. The wholesale lender has eliminated jumbo loans from its program menu. But retail clients will still have access to a portfolio jumbo product.

Hard Money Lender on Brink of Failure
It might be the end of the line for a Nevada-based hard money REIT.

Commercial Mortgage Originations Slide
Quarterly lending on commercial real estate dropped by more than a fourth, though office building financing improved and life insurers and retail property originators helped boost overall business from a year ago. But health-care originations evaporated, hotel loan production plummeted and multifamily business was also lower.

Paulson Steps Up BoA Stake
Hedge-fund manager John Paulson has increased his investment in Bank of America Corp.

Another Record for HAMP Servicers
Approved servicers completed more modifications under the government's program than during any other month since it started. One huge servicer was responsible for more than one-third of last month's activity.

67,426 HAMP modifications completed in April

Friday's Bank Failures Mostly Confined to Midwest
Three of the four federally insured banks to fail last week were in the Midwest.

Q1 Origination Outlook Cut, But Q2 Boosted
Fannie Mae has lowered its estimate for first-quarter fundings by all residential lenders. But projections have been pumped up for the current period's production.

Mortgage Jobs Manage 2nd Consecutive Gain
Mortgage employment expanded in the First-Quarter 2010 Mortgage Employment Index from It was the second consecutive quarter that mortgage jobs improved. Florida emerged with the biggest gain.

Legislation Zeros In on MBS Ratings Conflicts
The U.S. Senate last week passed an amendment to the financial regulation reform bill that tackles head-on the conflict of interest inherent when issuers pay ratings agencies for ratings. Another amendment attacks the special status accorded the ratings agencies by Depression-era legislation.

Community Banks Lead Wave of Failures
As law enforcement agencies and regulators investigate the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and lawmakers debate legislation to revamp financial regulations, it's become conventional wisdom that big investment and commercial banks caused the crisis and small community banks are paying for the sins of others.

Mortgage Job Wire
Former bankers and mortgage bankers are finding work helping the government sift through the rash of bank failures. But the pace of hirings at financial institutions and mortgage lenders is less brisk -- though one default service provider has been busy.

Big Chicago Bank Emerges from Failure
After warning of its imminent failure last week, a $3 billion Chicago bank was seized by regulators. But an Ohio-based bank has stepped in -- increasing its balance sheet to more than $12 billion and enhancing its Chicagoland presence in the process.

Appraisers Face Tougher Times
During the past year, real estate appraisers have endured a new appraisal code, pressure to provide quicker appraisals and disgruntled borrowers who are disappointed with estimated values for their homes. Also impacting appraisers are fewer orders and a smaller cut of the fee.

LPS Unit Suspected of Fraud
A subsidiary of Lender Processing Services is suspected of forging assignments, prompting an investigation by Florida's attorney general.

Bank Layoffs Continue
Recent layoffs at financial institutions have been geographically diverse but concentrated among the big banks. Mortgage employees, however, were spared in much of the latest round.

PHH Mortgage President Resigns
PHH Mortgage replaced its president.

Strength in Credit Union Numbers
By avoiding subprime and exotic mortgages, most credit unions -- which aren't under shareholder pressure -- have largely avoided the same fate as many of their banking brethren. U.S. credit unions originated nearly $100 million in mortgages last year. Georgia credit unions in particular are having more luck than banks in the state luring new accounts.

2nd Guilty Plea in $136 million Secondary Scheme
A second person has pleaded guilty in a case where a lender sold Fannie Mae $136 million in mortgages that it didn't own.

$15 Billion in Alt-A Downgrades
More than $15 billion in securitized Alternative-A mortgages faced ratings actions during the past month as a result of deteriorating performance. While California's level of Alt-A delinquency doesn't vary much from the nation's as a whole, regions of the state vary widely.

Several CMBS Deals Being Well ReceivedVIDEO: RBS MBS chief Brian Lancaster says activity improving
The head of mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities for the Royal Bank of Scotland said five or more commercial MBS deals are currently in the works. He noted that CMBS deals are being well-received.

VIDEO: RBS MBS chief Brian Lancaster says activity improving

Chicago Bank Likely Among Today's Failures
A Chicago-area bank has warned that it could be seized by regulators as early as today. The bank's problems began when its investments in the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Bank Corp. evaporated after being taken over by the government.

Rates Off Although ARM Indices Up
Borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages were dealt a blow this week as indices for two ARM products jumped. But prospective borrowers were happy as mortgage rates improved this week -- though next week might be another story. Announces Expanded Content
Subscribers of, a leading online news publication for the mortgage industry, will now have access to significantly more content as a result of a new agreement.

DocMagic Expands Lawsuit Against Ellie
After reviewing Ellie Mae's registration statement, DocMagic Inc. has expanded its lawsuit against the mortgage technology provider. DocMagic claims the public filing shows how Ellie has profited by stealing DocMagic's intellectual property.

Broker, Employees Face Prison Over Expense Reimbursements
Employees of an Ohio mortgage broker have pleaded guilty to attempting to avoid tax liabilities through a scheme where they accepted expense reimbursements in lieu of wages. The broker pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Senate Backs Off Risk Retention Requirements
The U.S. Senate has compromised on a requirement that would require mortgage bankers to maintain an interest in the loans they originate after securitization.

CA, FL Foreclosures Improve, VT Best
Led by the Golden State, the nation saw fewer foreclosures last month, while Florida led an improvement in the foreclosure rate. But there was no improvement in repossessions. Vermont had the most favorable foreclosure performance of any state in every category.

2 Mortgage Firms Acquired, 1 Scores $8 mil Investment
A California lender has been acquired by a Louisiana bank, $8 million is being invested in an Ohio lender and PNC Bank, N.A., has unloaded a big commercial mortgage lender.

Regulators Receive Over 30 Bank Merger Applications
During the past month, federal banking regulators have received nearly three dozen applications to acquire banks.

Mortgage Market Index Down in Week Ended May 12
The Mortgage Market Index for the week ended May 12 declined by 1 percent.

Bill That Would Prohibit YSPs, NIVs Advances
The U.S. Senate today voted to eliminate yield-spread premiums and no-income-verification loans.

Issuance Up, Delinquency Down at Ginnie
Business improved and defaults declined at the Government National Mortgage Association. Apartment loan guarantees climbed to more than $1 billion.

Mortgage Banking Issues
At a recent conference about legal issues, U.S. Department of Justice officials announced plans to step up enforcement against lenders that discriminate. Mortgage bankers discussed concerns that pending legislation, which would require them to retain an interest in securitized mortgages, could have severe consequences if passed.

Commercial Defaults Deteriorate
The performance of securitized commercial mortgages took another big hit last month.

Mortgage PR Firm Lands Service Provider Account
A Georgia-based public relations firm that counts mortgage lenders among its prospective clients has landed an account with an international provider of payment processing solutions to the financial services industry.

CONIX Systems Selects DepthPR for Full Service Public Relations

Originators Wanted
An East Coast bank-holding company has added more than 100 mortgage originators and has plans to hire 100 more.

LO Compensation Gets Complicated
A number of issues have arisen as a result of a new government opinion on mortgage originator overtime -- including the overtime rate for super-producing originators. A Webinar on the subject provided insight into employer liability and offered some advice about dealing with potential overtime litigation.

Q1 Repurchases Top $3 Billion
Seller-servicers for the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. repurchased more than $3 billion in mortgages during the first quarter. But even more repurchase demands have yet to be met -- with some of the country's biggest lenders among those who are holding back.

Reverse Wholesaler Rises to Top Spot
As third-party reverse mortgage originations sank for the second consecutive month, one wholesaler managed two consecutive monthly gains -- rising to become the new biggest reverse mortgage wholesaler.

Defaults Decline
Another report suggests loan defaults might have bottomed out. But mortgage originations have tumbled over the past year, with three states seeing production down by more than half.

Fannie Requests $8.4 Billion ShotWall Street Journal video on additional bailout funds
Fannie Mae has requested another $8.4 billion from the U.S. Government.

Wall Street Journal video on additional bailout funds

U.S. LTV Improves
The number of U.S. borrowers whose loan-to-value exceeded 100 percent eased in the first quarter.

Nonprime Performance Improves, Jumbo Worse
Subprime performance improved for the second consecutive month, while delinquency on Alternative-A residential mortgage-backed securities improved for the first time in four years. But securitized jumbo loans didn't follow suit. The nonprime improvement, however, could be offset by re-defaults on loan modifications.

2010's Bank Casualties Reach 68
Four banks in four states failed last week. Resulting losses are expected to exceed $200 million. Since the beginning of this year, 68 federally insured banks have failed.

Mortgage Firms Hire New Leaders
Senior managers have recently been hired by some big and growing names in mortgage lending. Among them is a big commercial mortgage firm, a servicing operation and Wells Fargo & Co. -- which is beefing up its residential mortgage-backed securities team. Still, several smaller players have also been busy recruiting new leaders.

Executive Strategies at Service Providers
Among mortgage-related service providers to announce new executives were a default technology firm, a structured securities company and a due diligence firm.

Management Changes at Regulators
Executive appointments were recently made at the board that disciplines Federal Housing Administration mortgagees, the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the nation's credit union regulator. A big mortgage trade group made some appointments of its own.

Bank Executives Depart
Chief executive officers have recently exited from a Denver bank, a Connecticut bank and a North Carolina institution. The CEO of a Federal Home Loan Bank also recently jumped ship. But with every departure comes a new hiring.

Signs of Strength at Fannie
Secondary activity jumped by more than half at the Federal National Mortgage Association, while the company's managed loan portfolio increased by more than $30 billion. Residential and apartment late payments, however, have yet to show an improvement.

Countrywide Agrees to Massive Settlement
Countrywide Financial Corp. has agreed to settle allegations of investor fraud with New York for $600 million.

Contraction Returns to Mortgage Employment
Following a strong showing in February, the number of mortgage jobs retreated.

Mortgage Market Strengthens
Mortgage rates fell and could fall further, while mortgage activity improved for the second week in a row. As the jumbo spread narrowed, adjustable-rate mortgages became more attractive.

FDIC Steps Up Regulatory Actions
Regulatory actions by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation against banks and thrifts jumped more than a third on a monthly basis and have more than doubled on a year-over-year basis.

Mortgage Market Index For Week Ended May 5
The Mortgage Market Index for the week ended May 5 rose 6 percent.

Valuation Policy and Compliance
The Federal Housing Administration recently implemented several changes to its appraisal process for government-insured loans. A number of new offerings address new agency appraisal requirements as well as the new FHA requirements.

Appraisal Help
Recent offerings by service providers are aimed at helping appraisals improve their reports and helping lenders maintain adequate oversight. The new offerings include a consulting service and a book.

The AMC Insider
Appraisal management firms have been defending their appraisers and touting new customers. Two are catering to commercial mortgage holders, while reverse mortgage lenders are the target of two more. One new offering includes a certification of the appraiser's local expertise.

HSBC Eliminating NY Mortgage Jobs
HSBC has cut a number of mortgage positions in Western New York. But the company hopes to place some of the impacted employees in other positions.

Q1 Mortgage Volume Tumbles, 2 New Top-10 Players
Residential originations continued to decline in's First Quarter 2010 Mortgage Lender Ranking. Two top-10 originators were unseated.

Quicken Emerges as Top-10 Originator
Quicken Loans Inc., which only originates mortgages through retail channels, has become a top-10 residential lender.

Wisconsin Lender Closing, 100 Losing Jobs
A Wisconsin company that recently ended wholesale operations is now throwing in the towel on retail business. Around 100 employees are impacted from the company's upcoming closing.

Citi Steps Back on FHA Broker Business
CitiMortgage Inc. has advised some mortgage brokers that they cannot submit loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Bankruptcy Breather
After reaching a five-year high, consumer bankruptcy filings eased last month.

MetLife Servicing Portfolio Grows but Fundings Sink
As the servicing portfolio grew at MetLife Home Loans and earnings increased at its parent, residential originations have fallen more than 40 percent in the past three months and by more than half during the prior 12.

HELOC Demand, Standards Ease
Underwriting standards on lines-of-credit secured by residential properties eased for the first time in two years, but that wasn't enough to prompt more borrowing. Demand for commercial mortgages fell to the lowest point since financial markets went into a global tailspin.

Reverse Originations Continue Slide
Reverse mortgage production fell for the fourth consecutive month and has fallen by more than half from a year ago. The leading retail reverse lender closed more than twice as many reverse mortgages as No. 2.

MTA Ekes Out Decline
The monthly treasury average managed to decline last month.

Increase in Ginnie Issuance Offsets Freddie's Decline
Agency issuance picked up last month but still sits well below year-ago levels. A big monthly decline at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. was more than offset by a big jump in issuance of Government National Mortgage Association mortgage-backed securities.

COFI Jumps 25 BPS
The cost of funds index climbed nearly a quarter percent higher.

FHA Fundings Drag GMAC Business Lower
During the past year, government originations tumbled as conforming activity increased at GMAC Financial Services. Income from mortgage operations saw a dramatic improvement. The company has virtually eliminated mortgages held-for-investment, and a name change is planned for next week.

IPO for Ellie
The time is apparently right for Ellie Mae Inc. to turn to the equity market for capital. A public filing disclosing its intent to make an initial public offering presented an interesting look inside a company that touches one out of every five home loans. It also presented some valuable data about the mortgage industry.

Huge FDIC Losses from 7 Bank Failures Friday
Seven bank failures Friday are expected to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in excess of $7 billion -- more than the losses from the failure of Washington Mutual Bank, Colonial Bank or IndyMac Bank. Collectively, Friday's failures impacted more than 4,000 employees.

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