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May 2014 Archive


Another New Low for COFI
Just when it seemed that the Cost of Funds Index couldn't move any lower, another record was established. But COFI isn't the only index hovering near zero altitude.

Alleged Mortgage Compliance Breaches Lead to Litigation
As home lenders defend themselves against alleged violations of Federal Housing Administration policy and credit reporting errors, one non-compliance case is being considered by the highest court in the land.

Chase Latest Firm to Face Discrimination Litigation
Mortgage-related firms are fighting a swarm of actions alleging discriminatory practices. The latest target is JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Improvement in CMBS Loan Performance Continues
More borrowers who were delinquent on their securitized commercial real estate loans brought their loans current as loan resolutions continued to outpace newly delinquent loans.

LOS Enhancements Promise Increased Workflow, Access
One service provider upgraded its loan origination system to aid with compliance preparation, and another enhanced access to mortgage insurance. Meanwhile, a Michigan company observed that technology providers seem to be limiting software delivery methods.

Interest Rates on Home Loans Continue to Fall
For several weeks now, fixed interest rates on residential loans have continued to improve. Mortgage rates could ease further.

Pending Home Sales Turn in Weak Performance
Contracts on existing homes moved higher for the second month in a row. But the increase was weak, and activity sank compared to a year earlier.

BofA Moves Past Most Major Mortgage Litigation
Bank of America Corp. has whittled down major mortgage-related litigation to one pending settlement, according to its chief executive officer.

Home Loan Performance Better, But Far From Optimal
Residential loan delinquency and foreclosure rates continued to improve last month. But pre-crisis mortgage performance levels have yet to return.

Bank Earnings, Mortgage Assets Lower as CRE Loans Rise
The banking sector posted a rare year-over-year drop in earnings as interest rates increased and residential assets declined. Commercial mortgage holdings, however, grew.

Lending Metrics Change as Refis Evaporate
As refinance share dropped to the lowest level in years, refinance credit scores have tumbled and high loan-to-value lending has diminished.

Fannie Updates Impact Cashouts, Large Deposits
Changes to Fannie Mae's policies on cashout refinancing, large deposits and seller requirements were added to the government-sponsored enterprise's selling guide.

GSE Refinances Take a Pounding
The last time government-sponsored enterprise refinance volume was this slow, the country was digging its way out of a dark financial crisis.

Business Turns Higher at Freddie But Still Dismal
Just a month after sinking to the lowest level in at least 13 years, new business at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. increased -- though activity remains painfully low. Home loan performance continued to improve.

11 Consecutive Quarters of Home Price Gains
A pair of housing reports indicate that U.S. home prices continued to rise, though at a somewhat weaker pace.

FHA New Business and Delinquency Improves
Monthly origination of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration strengthened, and signs point to further improvement ahead. The rate of delinquency, meanwhile, moved lower.

Home Price Gains Taper
A closely watched barometer of U.S. home prices showed moderation in the nation's housing market.

FHA Loans Behind Rise in Risk Index
The level of risk on last month's overall home loan originations was higher thanks to government-insured mortgage production.

Big Breaks For Cooperative Mortgage Fraud Defendants
Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh-area mortgage fraud cases have been found to give bigger-than-usual breaks to defendants whose help leads to more prosecutions.

Wells Fargo Settles Allegations of Foreclosure Abuse
Wells Fargo & Co. has disclosed that it reached a civil settlement resolving alleged abuses in the way that it handled foreclosures.

2 Financial Institutions Closed by Regulators
Two financial institutions that were located west of the Mississippi were closed down last week by financial regulators.

Jumbo Rates Fall Further Below Conforming Rates
Loan originators downshifted heading into the holiday weekend, with conventional activity taking the biggest hit. The already negative jumbo-conforming spread widened further.

Mortgage Market Index 186 in week ended May 23

President Announces HUD Secretary Nominee
President Barack Obama is making some changes in his administration that include a new chief for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Current HUD chief Shaun Donovan nominated to be OMB director

Systems Enhance Recruiting, Onboarding Processes
Mortgage firms that are recruiting mortgage originators can turn to multiple service providers to make recruiting and onboarding easier. Some lenders have developed internal systems to enhance the process.

New Home Sales Jump, But Not in Northeast
With the Midwest leading the way, sales of new homes increased last month. But sales in the Northeast were down by more than a quarter.

Home Sales, Inventory and Time on Market Increase
For the first time this year, existing home sale were higher. Also rising were sales prices and housing inventory.

30-Year Fixed Rates at Lowest Level Since October
Thirty-year mortgage rates improved again and now sit at their lowest level in seven months. But all indications are that mortgage rates will increase for the rest of the year.

Mortgage Production Profits Plummet
Mortgage bankers saw their per-loan profits plunge last year, and the deterioration likely continued into the first quarter of this year. Servicers fared better.

Can Debt Forgiveness Jumpstart Economic Recovery?
The lack of a non-agency secondary market, the inventory of distressed and negative-equity properties and restrictive lending standards are restraining the U.S. economy.

Rate of Foreclosures Falls, Delinquency Deteriorates
A monthly decline in the rate of foreclosures was more than enough to offset a seasonal increase in early stage delinquency.

Movie Actor Alleges Jumbo Predatory Lending
Armand Assante has played many roles in his esteemed acting career. But it's the role of predatory lending victim that has garnered him notoriety lately.

Armand Assante fighting Eastern Savings Bank foreclosure

Cordray to Keynote Regulatory Conference
The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will speak at a regulatory conference next month. Other upcoming events will tackle technology, litigation and servicing.

Realtor Incomes Rise
The nation's real estate agents and brokers, who largely escaped blame for the housing crisis, earned more again last year.

Community Banks Warn of MSR Migration to Non-Banks
The same day New York's top bank regulator warned of potential harm to borrowers and investors from an increase in non-bank servicers' market share, community bankers called on regulators to make it easier for financial institutions to hold on to mortgage servicing rights.

Fannie Mae Trims U.S. Origination Outlook
The Federal National Mortgage Association lowered its expected residential lending estimate for this year and next year, with 2015's projected refinances taking the biggest hit.

Massive HUD Portfolio Up for Sale
A portfolio of nearly $5 billion in Department of Housing and Urban Development home loans is up for sale.

Executive Changes Include Ocwen, Nationstar
Among several firms that recently saw changes among their management ranks were Ocwen Financial Corp. and Nationstar Mortgage.

Mortgage Servicers Under Attack in New York
Whether through legislation or regulation, mortgage servicers in New York -- especially non-bank servicers -- are increasingly facing a hostile environment.

Mortgage Employment Litigation Journal
Unpaid overtime, gender discrimination and ERISA-related claims are among the employment issues being litigated by mortgage firms. Arbitration is also an issue.

Post-Crisis Low for 1st Mtg Serious Delinquency
Serious delinquency on first mortgages fell to the lowest level since before the subprime mortgage crisis erupted. Performance deteriorated, however, on second mortgages.

Retail and Wholesale HECM Volume Declines
Deterioration in government-insured reverse mortgage production hit both the retail and wholesale channels. In the non-government sector, Ocwen Financial Corp.'s subsidiary was the leader.

Mortgage Bankers Raise Refi Forecast, Cut Purchase
An increase in this year's expected refinance volume by mortgage bankers was more than offset by a cut to the outlook for purchase financing.

2 Midwest Financial Institutions Fail
A pair of financial institutions operating in the Midwest were seized last week by state regulators and shut down.

Monthly Loan Modification Activity Ticks Up
The number of loan modifications completed on home loans jumped to the highest level in five months. Although government-supported modifications increased from a year earlier, proprietary activity plummeted.

2014 Mortgage Origination Forecast Cut
Expectations for this year's residential loan originations were lowered, with refinancing and purchase financing both taking a hit.

Mortgage Servicer Concentration Diminishes
As mortgage originations maintained three consecutive quarterly declines, some formerly fast-growing players have stopped disclosing production data altogether. In the servicing sector, the market share of the biggest servicers was lower.

Monthly Ginnie MBS Issuance Turns Higher
After slowing to the lowest level in six years, mortgage securitizations turned higher at the Government National Mortgage Association. Reverse mortgage issuance, however, declined.

Refi Activity Strengthens for 3rd Consecutive Week
For the third week in a row, refinance activity has strengthened as interest rates on home loans have moved lower. Jumbo mortgage rates, meanwhile, fell further below conforming rates.

Mortgage Market Index 194 for week ended May 16

Genworth Enhances Options on Construction Loans
Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. announced that it is expanding options for lenders on loans used to finance new home construction.

Special Servicer Expands Into Originations
A special servicer of residential loans is jumping into mortgage originations -- a market sector that is already overcrowded. The move will create a new correspondent lender.

New Mortgage Insurer's Business Climbing
National Mortgage Insurance Corp., which began insuring home loans last year, reported that its quarter-over-quarter business more than doubled.

Mortgage Delinquency Down, VA Rate Worse
A number of factors helped pull down delinquency on residential loans to the lowest level in years. Loan performance on Veterans Affairs loans, however, deteriorated.

Mortgage Rates Set to Drop
Fixed rates on home loans were little changed over the past week, but a significant drop is likely in the next report.

Servicers Make Progress on Foreclosures, REOs Rise
Residential loan servicers made progress on reducing new foreclosures while moving more mortgages that were in the foreclosure process into the real-estate-owned category.

54,613 foreclosures started in April

Housing Reform Bill Advances in Senate
Bi-partisan legislation to reform the U.S. housing finance system, which had previously stalled, has moved forward in the Senate. At least three industry trade groups were happy to see the bill advance.

Mass. AG Threatens FHFA With Litigation
Massachusetts' attorney general is pressing the Federal Housing Finance Agency to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce principal on distressed loans in her state through nonprofit programs and loan modifications, and she is prepared to use litigation to advance her agenda.

Walter Investment Explains Green Tree Performance
Walter Investment Management Corp. provided some insight into why its mortgage servicing subsidiary got such low marks on the servicer settlement evaluation.

Quicken Vs loanDepot
Quicken Loans Inc. lost an appeal in a lawsuit against former employees who left to join loanDepot and took co-workers with them.

Mortgage Lenders Expand Through New Branches
With an eye toward more business, mortgage firms have recently opened dozens of new branches in a number of states.

Biggest Challenges of New Integrated Disclosures
Although mortgage lenders have more than a year to prepare for implementation of new integrated disclosures, many challenges could leave some ill prepared.

High Grades for 5 in Servicer Settlement, 1 Falls Short
Nearly a half-dozen mortgage servicers scored high in an evaluation of how they are meeting the terms of the servicer settlement. But one didn't.

Stonegate Lifts Mortgage Originations
Stonegate Mortgage Corp. has become the only residential lender to report an increase in first-quarter production. Its staffing and servicing also expanded.

NMLS Registrations Climb in Final Quarter of 2013
During the final three months of 2013, the number of state-licensed and federally registered loan originators ascended. But a decline is likely to follow.

Genworth Biz Slows as Income, Delinquency Improve
New quarterly business moved lower at Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. But income and home loan performance were better.

HUD Cutting M.I. Costs for Counseled Borrowers
Borrowers on government-insured mortgages will get a break on the cost of mortgage insurance if they complete counseling before closing on a home purchase.

Watt Lays Out FHFA's New Strategy
The director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency has outlined a new set of objectives for the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Impacted areas include loan limits, guarantee fees and market share.

GSE Repurchase Framework Enhanced
Changes being made to repurchase requirements on government-sponsored enterprise loans will provide sellers with some relief from repurchase liability.

Large USDA Lender Shutting Down
A company that ranks high among originators of home loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has closed its doors.

Housing Reform Bill Back on the Calendar
Legislation to overhaul the U.S. housing finance system is back in play after stalling in a Senate committee.

Quicken Originations Hold Up, Servicing Grows
While home loan originations were lower at Quicken Loans Inc., the decline was half as bad as the overall industry's. The firm's mortgage servicing portfolio, meanwhile, increased in size.

Another Round of Texas Mortgage Job Cuts at BofA
Just a month after it eliminated more than a hundred mortgage positions in North Texas, Bank of America Corp. is planning another round of job cuts in the state.

Impac Fundings, Servicing Decline as Losses Continue
Home loan originations were off by nearly a third at Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc., while the servicing portfolio was down by more than a quarter. Losses were also lower.

Digital Risk Scales Back Florida Layoffs
Previously disclosed reductions in staffing by Digital Risk in the Sunshine State turned out to be far less than originally expected.

Walter Explores Nonconforming As Originations Drop
Walter Investment Management Corp. continued to expand its mortgage servicing portfolio, though it suffered a setback in home loan originations. The lender is pondering nonconforming business.

Weekly Refis Creep Up as Rates Drift Lower
A modest decline in mortgage rates prompted more borrowers to consider refinancing their home loans. Also moving higher was jumbo and adjustable-rate activity.

Mortgage Market Index 191 in week ended May 9

Cole Taylor Mortgage Loses Pres After Abandoning Sale
Cole Taylor Bank has abandoned plans to unload its mortgage banking unit and lost the president of the business.

FHFA Needs to Step Up M.I. Oversight Activity
A new report is critical of the Federal Housing Finance Agency's oversight of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's monitoring of mortgage insurance companies -- though the regulator doesn't totally agree with the findings.

Monthly M.I. Performance Improves Again at MGIC
MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. turned in its second consecutive month of improvement for new business. Delinquency, meanwhile, is at the lowest level in years.

Mortgage Lead Firm Settles Deception Charges
A company that generates mortgage leads has settled allegations that it deceived prospective borrowers about the rates and products it was advertising.

GSE Profits to Diminish
Another profitable quarter was turned in by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Future profits are expected to be nowhere near last year's levels.

U.S. Bancorp Discloses Investigations
U.S. Bancorp is facing investigations into its mortgage lending practices on government-insured loans, mortgages it sold to the government-sponsored enterprises and loans it services.

Nationstar Originations and Servicing Down, Income Up
Quarterly business was lower at Nationstar Mortgage LLC -- though the drop was less than that of its peers -- and a further decline is likely. The servicing portfolio contracted, but delinquency and income improved.

Mortgage Rates at Lowest Level Since November
The last time 30-year fixed rates were this low was in November of last year, and they aren't likely to move much over the next week.

PennyMac Plans to Expand Correspondent Lending Network
Although quarterly mortgage originations slowed at PennyMac Financial Services Inc., the lender sees an opportunity to grow its correspondent lending market share through more clients.

Mortgage Credit Remains Very Tight
Despite some nominal fluctuations over the past six years or so, the availability of mortgage credit has plummeted nearly 90 percent from the peak period and is down by more than 70 percent from more normal times.

PHH Mortgage Losses Widen as Production Diminishes
Mortgage losses continued at PHH Mortgage as home loan originations diminished and the primary servicing portfolio shrank. A decision on the sale of the mortgage business is likely to come soon.

Experienced Mid-Level Mortgage Managers Make Moves
The current crop of mortgage executive recruits have decades of experience in real estate finance. Some have more than 30 years' experience.

QM Legislation Would Benefit Small Banks
Legislation that has advanced in the House would ease the regulatory burden on community banks trying to comply with new mortgage rules.

Stearns Lending Issues Revised Production Numbers
A mistake in reporting by Stearns Lending Inc. understated fourth-quarter 2014 mortgage production by more than $2 billion.

Radian Reports Favorable Operating Metrics, Merger
New business was better, earnings swung to a healthy profit and delinquency declined at Radian Guaranty Inc. In addition, an acquisition is in the works.

Residential Delinquency Down Each Quarter Since 2011
Mortgage delinquency improved again and has moved lower each quarter since 2011. The outlook is for further improvement.

Stearns Stages Massive Improvement in Originations
After turning sharply lower in the final three months of last year, new business staged a turnaround at Stearns Lending Inc.

Criminal Charges Filed Against FHFA COO
After spending much of his tenure as acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency being verbally assaulted by his foes in Washington, Edward J. DeMarco was threatened with physical assault by the agency's own chief operating officer.

Chase Eliminating NY Mortgage Jobs
JPMorgan Chase & Co., which has been sharply cutting its mortgage staff over the past year, is laying off more than a hundred mortgage employees in the Empire State.

Business Tumbles at United Guaranty
The quarterly volume of new policies written by United Guaranty turned lower, although so did the amount of delinquent policies. The firm's book of business expanded.

CRE Originations Dip to 2-Year Low
Quarterly production for the nation's commercial real estate lenders fell to the lowest level in two years, with conduits and government sponsored enterprises driving much of the recent decline.

Banks Tighten Lending Despite Diminished Demand
Banks have tightened their guidelines on residential lending products even as demand has dropped off. But the story was different for commercial real estate lending.

Record Low MTA is Nothing New
In what has become a routine, recurring headline, the Monthly Treasury Average declined to the lowest level ever recorded.

MGIC Making Investor Properties Insurable
Under certain circumstances, MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. will provide mortgage insurance coverage on residential properties that are owned by investors.

Bankruptcy Filings Ease Up
After pushing up activity for three months in a row, U.S. consumers eased up on filing new bankruptcy cases.

Supreme Court Rules on Mortgage Fraud Restitution
A decision was handed down on Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court on how to quantify restitution in mortgage fraud cases.

BofA Executives Face Shareholders This Week
Among issues facing Bank of America Corp. this week as its holds its annual shareholders meeting is how much more its legal costs will rise beyond the $60 billion it has already spent.

Servicing, Staffing and Closings Down at Ocwen
Ocwen Financial Corp. was not immune to the drop in first-quarter mortgage production that swept the industry. Although its U.S. employment has been reduced, offshore staffing was stable.

Fast Growing Servicers Use Different Operating Styles
An analysis of three of the fastest growing mortgage servicers finds that the firms have different priorities that garner different results.

Jumbos and Refis Lead Rise as Rates Retreat
A dip in interest rates prompted more prospective borrowers to shop around for loan products. Leading the rise were refinance and jumbo activity.

Mortgage Market Index 185 in week ended May 2

FHA Originations, Outstandings and Delinquency Down
The bad news is that government-insured loan originations and outstandings declined. The good news is that so did the delinquency rate.

One Company Dominating Reverse Mortgage Market
The biggest originator of government-insured reverse mortgages did more business last month than the next three biggest lenders combined. But a huge drop at Ocwen Financial Corp.'s reverse subsidiary dragged down volume for the entire sector to the worst level since 2012.

Mortgage Jobs Down, Mortgage Rates Up
A solid showing for U.S. employment wasn't enough to bolster monthly mortgage employment numbers, but it was enough to push mortgage rates higher.

New Business Off at Provident Funding
Provident Funding Associates LP's mortgage lending moved lower -- in line with the industry as a whole. There was little change in the servicing portfolio and staff size.

Mortgage Rates Improve, Might Fall Again
It was a good week for fixed mortgage rates, and another improvement might be ahead. Adjustable rates, however, were worse.

CMBS Delinquency Falls Nearly Each Month in Past Yr
The performance of loans included commercial mortgage-backed securities has improved almost every month during the past year. The most recent month was aided by a big decline in the late payment rate on apartment building loans.

Weak Mortgage Results at EverBank
Residential loan originations declined at EverBank Financial Corp. and are likely to come in even lower for this quarter. The mortgage business had a quarterly loss, though not as bad as in the previous period.

Downward Spiral in Agency MBS Issuance Ends
After sinking to levels not seen in years, the issuance of agency mortgage-backed securities turned higher last month. Leading the resurgence was the Government National Mortgage Association.

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