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May 2013 Archive


COFI Increases
It was a small increase, but an increase all the same for the Cost of Funds Index. Also rising was the index used on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages.

Solid Month at Fannie Mae
New business picked up at the Federal National Mortgage Association, while the secondary lender's book of business increased and serious home loan delinquency dropped to the lowest level in more than four years.

Purchase Business Persists Despite Holiday Week
Even a holiday week wasn't enough to slow down home purchase financing -- which increased for the third consecutive week. But refinance business was a different story. Rising mortgage rates moved above 4 percent for the first time in more than a year and are likely to be even higher in the next report.

Mortgage Market Index 251 for week ended May 31

New CEO at United Shore
A lender that ranked among the 25-biggest lenders in Mortgage Daily's first-quarter originator ranking has named a former college basketball player as its new chief executive officer.
photo of Mat Ishbia

134 Events Scheduled for Next 6 Months
Topics to be covered at upcoming conferences include mortgage field services, mortgage fraud and mortgage technology. Presentations will be made by some fast-growing mortgage firms during an upcoming mortgage investor conference. More than 130 industry events are scheduled during the next six months.

Continued Improvement for Mortgage Insurers
New business continued to build at U.S. mortgage insurers, and another monthly improvement appears to be on the horizon.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Surge
Fixed mortgage rates surged this week, and market data indicate that there is little chance they will retreat by next week's report. One adjustable-rate product, however, was lower.

HAMP Program Extended
Home loan borrowers will have an additional two years to take advantage of the government's loan modification program thanks to an extension announced by the Obama administration.

Fannie Employee Busted for Kickback
A California employee of Fannie Mae was arrested when he allegedly tried to collect a kickback for steering foreclosure sales, and he might not be the only recipient of such kickbacks.

Servicers Win NC Robo-Signing Lawsuit
A North Carolina judge this week dealt a blow to a county register of deeds by dismissing a lawsuit against mortgage servicers. The judge determined that robo-signing didn't violate state law.

Stearns Lending Sued By Victim in Modifying Scheme
A former loan originator at Stearns Lending Inc. is accused of referring clients to her husband, who allegedly took up-front fees from around 90 victims but provided only broken promises.

Appraisal Outfit Adding Employees
A real estate valuation firm that operates from the Lake Tahoe area is adding dozens of employees at an office near California's capitol.

PHH Mortgage Subpoenaed
The mortgage subsidiaries of PHH Corp. have been subpoenaed over its production process on government-insured loans and its foreclosure expenses on agency loans.

CFPB Eases QM, LO Comp Requirements
Small lenders are getting a break on qualified mortgage requirements issued earlier this year. In addition, some concessions have been made on requirements for loan origination compensation paid by mortgage brokers.

Housing Market Healing
Based on the number of homes lost to foreclosure, the monthly total has slowed more than 16 percent over the past year. Still, the pace of foreclosures stands at more than double the level before the housing crash.

Guaranteed Wins Dismissal of LO Lawsuit
A loan originator who was employed for only four months at Guaranteed Rate Inc. sued his former employer in federal court claiming the company retaliated when he complained about slow processing by not providing him with the same compensation perks as other originators. But Guaranteed Rate has prevailed.

Citi Settles RMBS Lawsuit With FHFA
Nearly two years after it was sued by the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Citigroup Inc. has reached an agreement to settle the action.

Jumbo Transactions Dominate 2013 RMBS Issuances
Around $3 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities issued this year mostly consisted of jumbo mortgages to prime borrowers, and a Chicago-based bank originated a significant share of the underlying loans. Other RMBS activity includes the planned sale of securities backed by Alternative-A mortgages.

LPS to Be Acquired by Former Parent
Nearly five years after it was spun-off as a separate company, Lenders Processing Services Inc. is being brought back into the fold of its former parent.

Small Institutions Fear Non-QM Lending
Community bankers and credit unions are leery of stepping outside the qualified mortgage designation, with some planning on scaling back originations. Among their concerns are aggressive bank examiners and eager attorneys.

Advancements in Mobile Mortgaging
A digital business card, a mortgage payment tool and a mortgage insurance rate finder are among recent mobile applications made available for mortgage professionals. Lenders can look to multiple studies from federal regulators about providing services through mobile devices. Meanwhile, two lenders upgraded existing application capabilities and another developed its own new product.

Home Purchase Financing Picks Up
Loan originators managed to overcome the slowdown that normally precedes a holiday week and pushed activity higher. Leading the way were purchase transactions and government-insured business.

Mortgage Market Index 264 for week ended May 24

Former CEO of Failed Bank Convicted
A federal jury has reached a guilty verdict in the criminal case of the former chief executive officer of a failed bank. Also convicted were a former vice president of the bank, the CEO's son and a former customer of the bank.

Appraisers Go After Chase for Fees from Failed AMC
In January, Evaluation Solutions/ES Appraisal Services declared bankruptcy, leaving thousands of real estate appraisers, agents and brokers with unpaid invoices for work performed. With close to nine million dollars in unpaid invoices for appraisals and broker price opinions, it is the worst of a growing number of appraisal management company failures that have left appraisers stiffed and steaming.

Delinquency Falls to 4-Year Low at Freddie
It has been almost four years since residential loan performance has been this good at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., while it's been more than four years since the rate of late payments on apartment loans has been this low. New business, however, slowed.

Hotel Delinquency Leads CMBS Rate Down
The rate of delinquency on securitized commercial mortgages tumbled during April. While most categories of commercial real estate experienced a decline in delinquency, it was the hotel property category that saw the biggest drop.

Mortgage Rates Worsen
Interest rates on residential loans moved higher this week and could continue the upward trend into the next report.

Ally Discloses ResCap Settlement Amount
Ally Financial Inc. has unveiled the terms of its proposed settlement with creditors of its bankrupt former subsidiary, Residential Capital LLC.

AMC to Pay Some Appraisers Up Front
A new program from a national appraisal management company will enable appraisers to be paid when they do the inspection -- eliminating liability for mortgage lenders.

FHLMC Modified Loans to be Securitized
Modified home loans that are owned outright by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. are now being securitized. Excluded are loans modified through the Making Home Affordable initiative.

Rising Home Sales Limited by Credit, Inventory
Home sales were better last month even as the distressed share of activity diminished. The news was good given that new construction and housing starts slumped.

Phoenix Leads Home U.S. Prices Higher
Home prices are continuing to climb, and multiple sources indicate that some of the biggest gains are being made in Phoenix. The national outlook is for ongoing increases.

CFPB Coordinates Regulation With States
An agreement two years ago between federal and state regulators to coordinate supervision of companies that provide consumer financial products and services took a step forward this week.

Private Investors Fund Growing Firm
Private investors have ponied up more than $100 million to help a growing mortgage firm fund further growth in originations and servicing.

Home Loan Performance Better 7 Straight Months
Not only did the rate of mortgage delinquency decline in April, it has retreated for seven consecutive months. The latest reading reflected a drop in both new delinquencies and foreclosures.

Lawsuits Allege Compliance Breaches
Among recent decisions in mortgage compliance actions, a California state appellate court decided in favor of the borrowers in a case involving missing disclosures, yield spread premiums and an inflated appraisal on a subprime mortgage. A federal court on the East Coast recently ruled that another couple failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under what some have termed an obscure federal law now finding use in mortgage compliance lawsuits.

Mortgage Bankers More Optimistic About Refi Originations
For three consecutive months now, mortgage bankers have raised their forecast for this year's refinance originations while maintaining their outlook for purchase production.

Serious Delinquency Improves 4 Straight Months
It's been five months since serious delinquency has increased on first mortgages, while the second mortgage rate hasn't worsened in three months.

Servicer Settlement Yields Over $80k in Relief Per Borrower
Report cards issued on two separate settlements with residential loan servicers indicate that borrowers have received more than $50 billion in relief. The bigger of the two settlements has yielded an average of more than $80,000 in benefits per borrower.

GSEs Win Appeal in Big Fee Case
An appeals court has rendered a decision in a closely watched lawsuit against the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. But the loser in the decision has vowed to take the case to the nation's highest court.

Special Servicers Recruiting Originators
At least two fast-growing special servicers are adding employees, and both are targeting mortgage loan originators -- though for different reasons.

CitiMortgage CEO Departing
The head of Citigroup Inc.'s mortgage business is bidding adieu to the company. In addition to replacing the mortgage chief, the company also named a new chief to its troubled asset unit.

HELOC Originations Up, But Still Lag Pre-Recession Levels
Lines of credit secured by residential properties have seen increased production lately but still lag historical levels. The slower activity has put pressure on student loan originations.

Mortgage Leads Target Reverse, Hard Money Prospects
Recent mortgage lead rankings rate both and mortgage lead providers and the mortgage firms that buy the leads. Several services are focusing on the reverse mortgage sector, while one is targeting hard money loans and another is zeroing in on Home Affordable Refinance Program prospects.

2013 Refinance Outlook Improves
Just a month after it was lowered, the forecast for residential refinance originations was lifted for this year. Mortgages outstanding are on track to exceed $10 trillion again.

Production Jobs Dominate Mortgage Hirings
Two years ago, it was mortgage servicers that were doing most of the recruiting in real estate finance. Today, however, it is increased mortgage originations that are driving mortgage recruiting efforts.

Purchase Financing Defies Overall Weekly Slump
Although overall new mortgage activity was slower this week, purchase financing was up, albeit only slightly. Adjustable-rate mortgage activity also ticked higher.

Mortgage Market Index 256 for week ended May 17

RESPA Violations Prove Costly for Bank, Builder
A Texas bank has been fined, and a Texas builder has agreed to a settlement over alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act tied to joint ventures.

Company Ordered to Stop Servicing
Regulators in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have ordered a mortgage company to stop servicing loans in the state as a result of mishandled escrow accounts.

Flagstar CEO Replaced After Less Than a Year
After spending less than a year on the job, the president and chief executive officer of the eighth biggest residential lender has been replaced.

Mortgage Rates Jump But Could Retreat
Strong economic reports this week pushed mortgage rates higher. But Treasury market activity suggests that most of the increase could be wiped out in the next report.

Refi Outlook Raised, Purchase Forecast Trimmed
The outlook for this year's refinance volume has been increased at the expense of purchase production. Expectations for government share were lifted for 2013.

New Kids on the Block
Since early March, at least 20 mortgage companies saw executive-level management changes. Over a dozen of the changes involved senior-level executives -- including two high-level company departures. The majority of appointments involved new hires as just one person was promoted.

USDA Mortgages Misunderstood
Many mortgage originators are not aware that a government lending program for rural properties can also be used to finance homes in not-so-rural areas.

Cost of Compliance
A recent survey of credit unions found that complying with the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 means that interest rates on loans will be higher, hiring will be reduced and third-party servicing will increase. Some financial institutions even intend to scale back mortgage originations.

Videos Created for New Mortgage Rules
Several of the mortgage rules that were finalized in January are discussed in a set of new videos from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Mortgage Compliance Actions
A federal regulatory letter outlines last year's mortgage-related enforcement activity tied to noncompliance with mortgage rules and regulations. Prominent among the defendants were firms that promise to help distressed borrowers.

Mortgage Lenders Continue Easing Approval Requirements
For much of this year, mortgage lenders have been loosening their lending standards. On government-insured refinances, average credit scores have tumbled nine points over the past year.

Ohio Supreme Court Decision Bodes Well for Servicers
Ohio's supreme court has ruled that mortgage servicers are exempt from the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act -- a decision that bodes well for residential servicers.

Robust Originations Drive Hirings at KC Firm
Mortgage business has been stronger than expected at a thrift that operates a national mortgage business from the Kansas City area.

New Digs, More Employees for United Shore
United Shore Financial Services LLC has consolidated its Detroit-area locations and moved into a new headquarters location -- clearing the way for hundreds of hirings.

Settlement Relieves Ally of Mortgage Liabilities
A settlement reached with creditors of its former mortgage subsidiary will free Ally Financial Inc. from most of its mortgage liability to third parties.

Appraisal Services Expand
Though no new standalone products have recently been introduced, the appraisal business was abuzz with partnerships, product upgrades and new product features. Two companies reported financial growth, one of which celebrated a ten-year anniversary, and two more underwent identity changes.

Mortgage Crimes Prosecuted
Many mortgage-related crimes are committed by people who don't necessarily work for a mortgage lender -- though it is often the mortgage firm that takes the hit. Defendants include attorneys, investment bankers and real estate investors.

More Bank Executives Headed to Prison
Whoever said that nobody has gone to jail for causing the financial crisis hasn't been following the numerous criminal cases against former executives of failed banks. Defendants are accused of a range of crimes including mortgage fraud, embezzlement and accounting fraud.

Streamlined Mods for Delinquent Borrowers
Freddie Mac has rolled out a streamlined loan modification program for delinquent loans that is expected to help potentially thousands of borrowers.

HAMP Pace Slows
The government's loan modification program generated fewer new permanent modifications that earlier comparison periods. One servicer shifted much of its activity between operating entities.

Failed Bank's Former President Indicted Last Year
Losses at one of last week's bank failures are expected to exceed 40 percent of its assets. The former president at the bank had been indicted for loan fraud that allegedly occurred while he was at the firm. Two other financial institutions are also no longer in business.

Pomona, CA Council Approves Deal W/Eminent Domain Firm
A company that has made waves in the mortgage bond world over a controversial plan to use the power of eminent domain to seize securitized non-agency mortgages has landed an agreement with a California town.

Shift in Mortgage Servicer Concentration
Although the three-biggest mortgage servicers reduced their servicing portfolios during the first quarter, a trio of rising stars each added mortgage servicing rights on more than $100 billion in loans to their own portfolios. While overall mortgage originations were off from the fourth quarter of last year, several players still managed to grow their businesses. The second-quarter forecast is for stronger mortgage production.

Q1 Mortgage Originations Slow at Several Lenders
Several mortgage bankers reported slower activity in the first quarter. But one home lender reported a record quarter, another has since seen a record month and third is poised to capitalize on refinancing a $200 billion mortgage servicing portfolio.

Mortgage Business Slows as Rates Rise
Loan originators were a little less busy this week as interest rates moved higher. The hardest-hit categories were adjustable-rate mortgages and refinances. Mortgage rates look to be headed higher.

Mortgage Market Index 276 in week ended May 10

New Business Eases at Churchill
The mortgage business was little changed from the final three months of last year at Churchill Mortgage, though loan closings were slightly better on a year-over-year basis.

Correspondent Business Soars at Stonegate
Quarterly mortgage originations increased at Stonegate Mortgage Corp., with correspondent lending activity surging even as new retail business floundered. The mortgage servicing portfolio jumped by nearly half over the past three months.

BOK Business Slips as Servicing, Staffing Edge Up
Despite a modest improvement in correspondent mortgage originations, overall mortgage production was slower at BOK Financial Corp. Staffing and servicing, however, edged higher.

Wholesale Business Slows at Fremont
New loan production slowed at Fremont Bank as a result of a decline in third-party originations. The mortgage servicing portfolio, however, leapt past $10 billion.

Acquisition Shakes Up CRE Servicer Standings
Two deals announced this week will create a new No. 3 servicer of commercial real estate loans and substantially reduce the CRE servicing portfolio of a mega-bank.

Community Bankers Call for More QM Flexibility
Mortgage rules implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will reduce access to credit, according to a survey of community banks. Residential originations by the sector are mostly maintained as portfolio loans outside the secondary mortgage market.

HUD Racks Up Another Maternity Settlement
In the past two years, eight mortgage firms have settled charges that they discriminated against loan applicants who were on maternity leave. A ninth action has now been announced.

Rates Rise, While 15-Year More Attractive
Mortgage rates moved higher this past week thanks to a strong employment report. Jumbo mortgages lost some of their luster this week, while short-term loans were more competitive.

Subprime ARMs, VA Loans Push Mortgage Delinquency Up
Thanks to deteriorating performance on adjustable-rate subprime loans and veteran mortgages, one-month delinquency on home loans, excluding foreclosures, was worse. The foreclosure inventory rate, however, was better -- pulling overall delinquency down.

Liquidation Rate Slows on Distressed Loans
A new ratings agency report on the performance of residential mortgage-backed securities found that despite the increased use of short sales, the liquidation rate on distressed home loans has slowed. It will take more than twice as long to clear out the distressed inventory in the Big Apple than in any other large city.

Record Earnings, Improved Performance at Fannie
Thirty-day delinquency at Fannie Mae continued lower for the ninth consecutive quarter as earnings soared to the highest level on record. The company made progress on some of its litigation, and now that Bank of America Corp. has settled it repurchases requests -- outstanding requests have plummeted. The secondary lender reported who its biggest servicers and mortgage insurers are.

Foreclosure Filings Fall to 6-Year Low
It has been 74 months since the number of total foreclosure filings has been this low. There were some states, however, where new legislation caused a bounce in new filings.

5% fewer properties face foreclosure filing in April

Mortgage Servicers Tackle Compliance
An uncharacteristic cold front, complete with wind and drizzle, greeted National Mortgage News' seventh annual Mortgage Servicing Conference attendees on April 23 at the Westin Galleria Dallas hotel.

Originations Off at United Shore
Loan originations slipped from the fourth quarter of last year at United Shore Financial Services LLC. Employment, however, expanded.

Mortgage Fraud SARs Filings Fall
The number of reports filed by banks and credit unions that suspect mortgage fraud slid more than a quarter last year. Also lower were the number of instances involving appraisal insiders.

MGIC Delinquency Down Again
There was no change last month in the volume of home loans insured by MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. Delinquency, however, continued to improve.

Mortgage Delinquency at 4-Year Low
The last time mortgage delinquency was this low was at the height of the financial crisis. The outlook is for the delinquency rate to fall further by the end of the year.

Freddie Q1 Earnings 2nd Highest Ever
Earnings were up more than a third on a quarter-over-quarter basis at Freddie Mac, while the year-over-year improvement exceeded 700 percent.

Radian Reports Stellar Performance
New monthly business jumped to the highest level in nearly three years at Radian Guaranty Inc., while delinquency fell to the lowest level in more than three years.

Freddie and HARP Higher Despite Refi Slowdown
Although overall monthly refinance activity slowed, refinances processed for the Home Affordable Refinance Program and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. turned higher.

Nationstar Expanding
Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. reported record originations, grew its mortgage servicing portfolio and expanded its workforce. Thanks to the acquisition of another lender as well as the purchase of additional mortgage servicing rights -- the outlook is for further growth.

MTA Falls, Could Move Lower
With the recent rally in the Treasury market, the Monthly Treasury Average moved lower and is already well on its way to another decline this month.

Banks Expect to Trim Non-Agency MBS Holdings
Mortgage demand is holding up for bank loan officers, while approval requirements have changed little. Banks expect to reduce their holdings of private-label mortgage-backed securities over the next year.

Caliber Assembles Full-Service Shop
A mortgage banker that already generates mortgage originations through retail and wholesale channels is now opening a correspondent lending channel.

Another Huge Countrywide-Related Settlement for BofA
Bank of America Corp. has agreed to yet another settlement tied to its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. But just as it puts out one fire, another one is lit.

MBA CEO Proposes GSE Path Out of Conservatorship
The head of the Mortgage Bankers Association has proposed a single security for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lower guarantee fees for sellers with a bigger risk appetites, and more input from lenders on secondary marketing rulemaking.

NY AG Vs BoA, WFC
The attorney general for the state of New York has given notice that he intends to sue Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. for not keeping up their end of the mortgage servicer settlement. At issue are response times on loan modifications.

MBS Issuance Picks Up at Ginnie
Increased guarantees of mortgage-backed securities by the Government National Mortgage Association was driven last month by stronger residential activity, as multifamily issuance was lower.

Bankruptcy Filings Ease
Following a surge in bankruptcy filings during March, filings fell last month. Three southern states have the worst bankruptcy rates.

Fannie, Freddie to Only Buy QMs
The Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. have been directed by their regulator-conservator to begin buying only loans that meet the definition of a qualified mortgage.

Borrowers Face Wave of MSR Sales
During the past few months, mortgage servicing rights on nearly $500 billion in loans have changed hands. One estimate has MSRs on as much as a fifth of all U.S. mortgages changing servicers.

Mortgage Activity Jumps as Borrowers Rush to Refi
As mortgage rates moved lower, new mortgage activity moved higher. But a jump in bond yields could mean higher mortgage rates and slower new business.

Mortgage Market Index 304 for week ended May 3

Flagstar Settles Repurchase Lawsuit
Following its recent loss in a similar case, Flagstar Bancorp Inc. has decided to settle a lawsuit filed by a bond insurer.

Distressed FHA Loans Up for Bid
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is auctioning off government-insured mortgages this summer. The sales are likely to involve more than $3 billion in distressed home loans.

Guides Released for Several CFPB Rules
Guides have issued for small mortgage firms on three rules that were published earlier this year. The guides address compliance with the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Truth in Lending Act.

Obama Nominee Has Ties to Failed Bank
President Obama's choice for commerce secretary might face some resistance in her confirmation process as a result of her role two decades ago as chairman of a bank that subsequently failed under the weight of subprime lending.

Mortgage Employment Expands 10%
Staffing among mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers has expanded by more than 10 percent over the past year. Meanwhile, positive government data about overall U.S. employment took an immediate toll on mortgage rates.

Former Wells Chief Says GSEs Should be Eliminated
The former chief of Wells Fargo & Co. says that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must go. He sees the Federal Housing Administration as the government's ongoing tool for housing subsidies.

Mortgage Rates Teeter Near Record Lows
Fixed mortgage rates settled at or near their all-time lows this week, and there is little indication that they will increase in the upcoming report.

Ally Winding Down Mortgage Business
Mortgage originations were off more than a third during the first three months of 2013 at Ally Financial Inc., which is effectively exiting the home loan business.

Hotels, Multifamily Lead CMBS Delinquency Decline
Delinquency on commercial mortgage-backed securities hasn't been this low in more than two years, and the degree of improvement was the best on record. While past-due payments in every property category were lower, it was loans secured by hotel properties that had the biggest improvement.

Mortgage Servicing Portfolio Quadruples at Ocwen
The size of the mortgage servicing portfolio at Ocwen Financial Corp. more than doubled during the first quarter and was up more than 300 percent from a year earlier.

CBO Sees Principal Reduction Saving Billions
A government study has found that billions of dollars could be saved by providing principal forgiveness on loans owned or guaranteed by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Corp.

Reverse Originations Off as Lender Count Holds
Government-insured originations by reverse mortgage lenders slowed in April. Business was better, however, than during the same month last year, while the number of active lenders in the sector moved slightly higher.

Fed to Hold Rates Down
Mortgage rates aren't likely to be pressured by the Federal Reserve, with the nation's central banker continuing to maintain its policy of keeping interests rates ultra-low.

Agency MBS Issuance Highest Since 2009
It was the best month since 2009 for issuers of agency mortgage-backed securities. Business would have been even better if it weren't for a drop in activity at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Principal Reduction Ahead for Agencies?
A member of the House of Representatives has been nominated to take over the regulator that oversees the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. If the nominee makes it through the confirmation process, negative-equity borrowers on agency home loans could see principal reduction.

Melvin Watt nominated to be FHFA director

Big Catch for Branch Operator
A mortgage branch business operating from Colorado has picked up hundreds of employees and nearly two dozen branches from another mortgage company operating from the Northwest.

Maternity Settlements Continue
The latest settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development brings to at least eight the number of companies that have collectively forked over more than $2 million during the past two years to settle allegations of discriminating against women who are on maternity leave.

Business Slows at Fannie
It was the slowest month for new business at the Federal National Mortgage Association in eight months. The good news, however, is that home-loan delinquency fell again and stands at the lowest level in more than four years.

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