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June 2010 Archive

Mortgage Activity Soars
The Mortgage Market Index shot up nearly 30 percent in the report for the week ended June 30. It was highest level ever for the index. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended June 30, 2010

COFI Improves
The Cost of Funds Index eased, as did another index used for adjustable-rate loans.

Fannie Updates Appraisal Requirements
Appraisal requirements have been updated by Fannie Mae. Among the areas impacted are photograph requirements, lender changes to appraisal values and foreclosure comparables. Fannie also said that appraisers cannot use the Home Valuation Code of Conduct as an excuse not to communicate with parties to a real estate transaction and noted that HVCC does not mandate the use of appraisal management companies.

Improving Trend Continues at Mortgage Insurers
The number of mortgage insurance policies written improved for the fourth consecutive month as did defaults. Still, year-to-date activity is down by nearly half when compared to same time last year.

Countrywide Sued Over Discriminatory Pricing, Predatory Lending
A lawsuit has been filed against Countrywide alleging the company steered prime Illinois borrowers into subprime mortgages. The company is also accused of charging minorities in the state more than equally qualified whites.

$10 mil Subprime Bet Worth $3 Billion
WASHINGTON -- A senior executive for Goldman Sachs has acknowledged that the investment banker used its own money to bet against subprime mortgages through American International Group -- reversing its oft-repeated position that it was acting only on behalf of its clients. A package of deals that possibly cost Goldman less than $10 million had a face value of $3 billion.

Foreclosure Firms Face Civil, Criminal Actions
Many of the latest legal actions relating to foreclosures involve defendants who promise, for an up-front fee, to stop foreclosure but actually end up stealing all remaining equity utilizing mortgage fraud. Recent activity on two recent civil cases involves challenging the ability of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems to foreclose.

Fannie Business Better, Lates Lower
It was the third month in a row that purchases picked up and the second month that delinquency declined at the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Mortgage Profits, Quality Jump
Last year, mortgage bankers saw an increase in loan production, a bigger share of their applications close and more earnings per loan. In addition, average credit scores rose and average loan-to-values fell, while the application conversion rate improved.

Secondary Profits Higher, Warehouse Lower
Despite a doubling of repurchase reserves, secondary marketing profits were higher last year. Profitability with warehouse lending, however, deteriorated.

Servicers Earn More Per Loan
As mortgage servicers saw their portfolios sink by more than 40 percent last year, profits per loan more than doubled. Profits at the biggest servicers were about 12 times greater per loan than at the smallest operations.

REO Times
Several default service providers have upgraded their offerings to help servicers unload their real estate owned. In other REO activity, a subsidiary of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. was recognized as a top REO sales firm.

The Short Sale Wire
With the expansion of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative to conforming loans, a host of companies have expanded their short-sale services.

Walkaways Decline
A new report suggests the number of strategic defaults might be well past the peak.

Rise in Regulatory Orders Against Banks
Regulatory actions against U.S. financial institutions continued higher during the first quarter, albeit at a slower pace.

Mortgage Bankers: Legislation Could Have Been Worse
Legislation agreed to by both houses of Congress could have been much worse for the industry, according to mortgage bankers. But, as one trade group executive said, the devil is in the details.

FL, GA & NM Banks Fail
Regulators shut down banks in Florida, Georgia and New Mexico Friday -- all of which had only a small share of their assets tied up in residential loans. In addition, a credit union with nearly $1 billion in assets was thrown into conservatorship.

Bill Impacts Appraisals, Alt-A Loans and Originator Compensation
Originator compensation, the appraisal process and mortgage compliance would all be affected by proposed financial legislation that moved forward in Congress last week. In the long run, the proposed law would also have a significant impact on Alt-A lending and prepayment penalties.

Minimal Impact to Banks From Legislation
REPORTING FROM WASHINGTON AND LOS ANGELES -- After all is said and done, some speculate that the impact to the country's financial institutions from financial reform legislation might not be all that big.

100 Default Services Jobs Coming to Texas
A default service provider based in California is expanding its Texas operations in a move that will create 100 new jobs.

The Mortgage Branch Pulse
A newly launched branch program promises mortgage brokers the opportunity to operate as mortgage bankers and keep 100 percent of loan profits without any net worth requirements. Another company claims its program will still let originators earn overages despite potential new legislation prohibiting such fees for mortgage brokers. Meanwhile, a host of other firms announced new branches.

End of the Small Bank?
The U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the White House have agreed on financial regulatory legislation. But bankers warn that the proposed law could force many small institutions to throw in the towel.

Freddie Purchases at 18-Month Low
The last time monthly mortgage purchases were this low at Freddie Mac was in January 2009.

The Bright Side of SAFE
Although new federal licensing requirements can be costly and require loan officers to train and study for a lengthy exam, some originators now see the move as a boon for the battered reputation of mortgage brokers and originators.

Big Morgan Stanley Subprime Settlement
Morgan Stanley has settled for more than $100 million allegations that it helped put subprime borrowers in unaffordable mortgages and soaked investors in the process.

Top Mortgage Execs Testify at Foreclosure HearingVideo of House Oversight Committee hearing
The chief executives of the nation's biggest mortgage firms testified before Congress about problems with the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Video interview of House foreclsoure hearings

Activity Rises as Fixed Rates Fall to Record Lows
Fixed mortgage rates fell to a record low, mortgage activity improved and the average mortgage loan amount increased. But the jumbo spread deteriorated further.

HAMP Disparities Between Servicers
A new government report indicates that borrowers who are trying to modify their loans under the Home Affordable Modification Program are receiving different treatment from different servicers.

Credit Score Crisis to Linger
While over-extended borrowers might find immediate relief from loan modifications, foreclosure alternatives or even foreclosures -- they are likely to be haunted by lower credit scores for years to come. Some lenders, however, are looking beyond credit history -- a move that could even impact borrowers who have maintained their payments. Panelists at a credit-risk conference discussed the implications and other alternatives.

Mortgage Activity Higher, Rates Lower
Mortgage activity increased 7 percent as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage tumbled 11 basis points in the Mortgage Market Index report for the week ended June 23. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended June 23, 2010

$1.5 Billion Borrower Bailout Fund
The Obama administration has approved funding for five hard-hit states from a $1.5 billion bailout fund for borrowers.

Fannie Gets Tougher on Prior Foreclosures
Borrowers who walk away from their upside-down mortgages even though they had the ability to pay will have to wait longer to get a loan under new guidelines from Fannie Mae

Bank Delinquency Better, Foreclosures Worse
A new report on financial institutions indicated foreclosures deteriorated, though an improvement was reported in the rate of loan delinquency and the rate of re-defaults on loan modifications. Prime mortgages saw the biggest increase in repossessions.

OneWest CEO Exiting
The top executive of the company that formerly operated as IndyMac is leaving for a bigger bank.

HUD Considers Easing Mfg Housing Requirements
A new procedure being considered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would ease requirements for completing the construction of manufactured housing at the property site.

CitiMortgage CEO Downplays Role of Negative Equity
CitiMortgage Inc. has stepped in to provide modifications itself for borrowers who don't qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program. The company's chief says negative equity has much less to do with defaults than affordable payments, and he weighed in on the moral obligation of borrowers to repay their loans.
watch full video

Video interview of Sanjiv Das

Mortgage Litigation Rises
A surge in legal actions tied to foreclosures and investors helped push the Mortgage Litigation Index to an all-time high during the first quarter. Criminal cases more than doubled and mortgage insurance is emerging as an area of growing litigation. Bank of America was named as a defendant in more cases than any other company.

HAMP Volume Sinks
The number of completed modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program sank by a third during last month. But volume held up at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., which completed more monthly modifications than any other HAMP servicer. Meanwhile, GMAC Mortgage Inc. has converted the biggest share of its HAMP-eligible borrowers.

Firm Claims Mortgage Industry Overly Optimistic
A new report from a market research outfit has this year's residential originations coming in between $300 billion and $400 billion less than projected by the industry. The company making the prediction claims the mortgage industry is being too optimistic.

U.S. CRE Loans Fall $31 Billion, Multifamily O/S Rise
Dragged down by commercial bank holdings, U.S. commercial mortgage debt fell $31 billion from the prior quarter. But the story was better for thrifts, the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Bad Bank List Growing
Federal banking and credit union regulators recently doled out nearly 60 regulatory orders. More than a third of the orders require the institutions to improve capital, operations, management or all of the above.

600 Mortgage-Related Jobs Coming to Oregon
A subprime mortgage servicer is expanding a servicing center in Oregon in a move that is expected to bring 600 jobs to the state.

F/C Comps, HVCC Hurting FMVs
The Home Valuation Code of Conduct and a high number of foreclosure sales are placing downward pressure on fair market values determined by appraisers.

Mortgage Insurers Continue Easing Guidelines
Mortgage insurance companies are easing guidelines, increasing loan amounts and eliminating declining market status for many metropolitan areas. The relaxed standards are emerging as the sector is seeing improved conditions.

Rough Second Half AheadNews video interview of Meredith Whitney
Banks face hard times in the second half of 2010, according to financial guru Meredith Whitney. She warned that borrowers who are waiting for modifications are spending the money that was intended for their mortgage payments on unsecured debts and activities that had been curtailed with the onset of the recession -- making the situation even more difficult for banks.
watch full video

No. 83 Fails
The "Biggest Little City in the World" was home to this year's 83rd bank failure.

National City Brand Laid to Rest
A re-branding of National City impacted 6 million customers doing business at more than a thousand branches. The move was just one of several recently by mortgage-related firms looking for a new name.

Builders Blast HVCC
Residential home builders in Oklahoma, faced with lost sales on new properties that appraise for less than the sales price, are blaming the appraisal code for low value estimates that sometimes are less than the cost to build the property. A group of builders in Oklahoma City recently faced off with a panel of appraisers and lenders.

Flood Zone Home Sales On Hold
As the federal flood insurance program has expired, real estate sales in some coastal areas of Texas have been put on hold. But Texas beach communities aren't the only areas impacted by the loss of the program.

FHA Delinquency Down Again, Refis Sink
For four months in a row, delinquency has decreased on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Despite an increase in purchase activity, refinances dragged down overall endorsement volume -- which appears headed even lower. Reverse mortgage endorsements tumbled, but new reverse applications were higher.

$300 Million CMBS Closes
A commercial mortgage securitization was issued for more than $300 million.

Servicer Rating Raised for Former CIT Unit
The mortgage servicer that formerly operated as part of CIT Group Inc. saw its subprime servicer rating raised. The company's technology, balance sheet and management were cited in the upgrade.

Fannie Hikes Q2 Origination Outlook
Economists at the Federal National Mortgage Association have boosted by a quarter their prediction for loan originations during the second quarter. They also forecast that next year's business will exceed 2010's. But mortgages outstanding are expected to decline by more than $300 billion during the next 18 months.

The $2 Billion Mortgage Fraud Sting
More than a thousand defendants who helped close more than $2 billion in fraudulent mortgages have been charged as part of a federal crackdown. Among the defendants were many who are mortgage brokers.

Mixed Mortgage Market
Loan activity was lower, refinance share fell and the jumbo spread was wider this week. But adjustable rates were lower and fixed rates were mixed.

Origination Outlook Increases
The latest prediction of what mortgage originations will be has increased. The report indicates that loan officers can look for fewer refinance applications and more adjustable-rate activity.

Government Agency Says Lenders Must Use AMCs
One government agency claims that all conforming appraisals must be ordered through an appraisal management company in order to comply with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.

FHA Flipping Waiver Opposed by FBI
The Federal Housing Administration is at odds with another government agency over its flipping rule.

Mortgage Fraud Rose and Getting Worse
An annual report from the government indicates mortgage fraud continued to increase last year, is even worse this year and is expected to deteriorate further. Areas of rising concern are schemes tied to reverse mortgages, commercial mortgages and distressed mortgages.

FL Mortgage License Apps Being Suspended
New license applications are being suspended for prospective mortgage originators in Florida.

Activity Falls, Rates Ease
Despite an improvement in conventional mortgage rates, activity declined in the Mortgage Market Index report for the week ended June 16. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended June 16, 2010

Burst of Foreclosure Litigation
In one recent foreclosure case, the lender and borrower had agreed to a loan modification -- but the judge wouldn't let them cancel the foreclosure. Several foreclosures have been reversed, though one was affirmed despite a gross error, and many cases are being litigated in Florida.

Foreclosure Criminals and Defendants
Many of the latest legal actions tied to foreclosure rescue activity involve firms or individuals -- some ruthless -- charging up-front fees to stop foreclosure but doing little or nothing for the borrower. Some of the cases result in prison time for the defendants. In one groundbreaking case, the judge awarded attorneys fees to the plaintiff borrower before the case had even been tried.

Taylor Bean Chairman Arrested for $400 Million Mortgage Fraud
The former chairman of Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. was indicted, has been arrested and faces a civil lawsuit by the government. Through the defunct lender, he allegedly used $400 million in warehouse financing to fund fake loans.

Lee Farkas arrested, sued by SEC

Commercial Delinquency Doubles, Record CMBS Rate
Late payments on securitized commercial mortgages climbed to the highest level in at least a decade. Commercial mortgages held by most other types of investors have seen defaults double over the past year.

Fannie, Freddie Stock to be Delisted
At the direction of their regulator, the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. will delist their shares from the world's biggest stock exchange.

GMAC Sued over Mismanaged Servicing
An investor of distressed mortgages has filed a lawsuit against GMAC Mortgage Corp. alleging that the company mismanaged hundred of loans its owns. GMAC is also accused of pressuring the investor to accept a loan modification as a political favor.

FHA Net Worth Timeline Released
A timeline outlining the implementation of new net worth requirements for originators of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration has been released.

Ky Broker Didn't Fund Closings
A Kentucky mortgage broker has been banned from doing business in the state over allegedly offering unrealistically low interest rates then closing -- but not funding -- the loans. Other allegations include unlicensed origination activity and illegal fees.

Growth in Nonprime Negative Equity Slows
A report from the government indicates that following a two-year surge, the share of nonprime borrowers with loan-to-values above 100 percent has leveled off.

Wholesaler Expands to Texas
With fresh venture capital in hand, a mortgage firm that has primarily operated in the Midwest is expanding its wholesale footprint in Texas.

Mortgage Merger Madness
Potential suitors have been found for a huge commercial mortgage servicer. Meanwhile, an Illinois bank has expanded its market with the acquisition of a Wisconsin lender, and two Maryland brokers are combining forces to become a mortgage banker.

Bank Merger Fever Spreads to Credit Unions
Sprinkled among dozens of bank deals over the past month were merger transactions involving credit unions. One of the credit union deals would create an institution with nearly $5 billion in assets, while another involves the acquisition of a bank. Still, there was no shortage of banks buying banks.

Fremont Emerges From Bankruptcy
Fremont General Corp. has exited bankruptcy with a new name and a new strategy.

Bank's New Owner Scales Back Mortgage Lending
A New Mexico bank that failed earlier this year and was taken over by Beal Financial Corp. has backed away from mortgage lending and, in the process, eliminated around 80 mostly mortgage positions. The bank, however, does see other lending opportunities.

HUD Hires REO Asset Managers
Nearly two dozen companies were awarded contracts to serve as asset managers on foreclosed properties owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, while even more contracts were handed out to field service managers. In excess of a thousand jobs are expected to be created as a result of the contracts.

Mortgage Execs Recruited to Build Business
Many of the recent management positions filled at mortgage companies have been sales, production or marketing executives. One fast-growing mortgage branching firm announced a new director of operations, and a billion-dollar loan originator has found a new home.

Banks Update Executive Ranks
Several changes were recently announced to the boards of directors and executive ranks of some big-brand and billion-dollar banks. The former president of bankrupt Fremont General Corp. has landed at a Spokane, Wash., institution -- assuming a planned recapitalization completes.

Regulatory Executive Moves
Executive additions at the country's housing agency and the primary trade group representing mortgage lenders will help the two organizations improve interactions with elected officials. Three regulators that are responsible for financial institutions announced several appointments.

Service Providers Make Executive Decisions
From the boardrooms to the front lines, firms that provide services to the mortgage industry have been strategically building their organizations with seasoned executives.

Bank Health Barometer
One indication of a bank's health is its troubled asset ratio. With the onset of high unemployment and depreciating home values, some community banks have seen their ratios deteriorate.

Judge Rules for BoA in Utah Foreclosure Case
A federal judge has ruled in favor of Bank of America Corp. -- clearing the way for the bank to resume foreclosures in Utah.

Bank Failures Double
Bank failures are running at more than twice the pace of last year, when 140 federally insured banks failed. An increase in the pace of credit union failures isn't far behind.

CA Firm Staffs OK Office for FHA REOs
A California-based company has an Oklahoma City operation that oversees mortgagee compliance on foreclosed properties exclusively for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 70 people are currently employed at the location, and there is room for another 50 jobs.

Mortgage Firm Owners Tied to Big FBI Case
UPLAND, Calif. -- A California mortgage firm, its owner -- who is also mayor of a California town -- and the owner of another mortgage firm were among those who are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service in a case that shut down city hall for an entire day.

PNC Defends TARP, Bankers
The Troubled Asset Relief Program was a great idea that benefited The PNC Financial Services Group Inc., the U.S. government and the financial system, according to PNC's chairman and chief executive officer. He also thinks that bankers have gotten a bad rap despite all the good that comes from the sector.

PNC Chairman and CEO James Rohr

Closer Look at Financial Reform Legislation
WASHINGTON -- As the House and Senate move closer to reconciling two major financial regulatory bills, partisan posturing is prominent ahead of upcoming elections. The legislation is aimed at overhauling financial regulation and preventing a repeat of the crisis that cost taxpayers billions in federal bailouts.

Wachovia Execs Opposed Golden West Acquisition
Before Wachovia Corp.'s acquisition of the parent of World Savings four years ago, a senior Wachovia executive pressed for more scrutiny of World's mortgage portfolio but was told to "stay out of it," according to a new filing in an investor lawsuit. Another executive was so concerned about the acquisition that he sold his stock and left his job.

BoA Attorneys Make Case for Restarting Utah Foreclosures
After being forced to stop foreclosure sales in Utah, lawyers for Bank of America Corp. Thursday presented their case to a federal judge.

Appraiser Settles Subprime Fraud Lawsuit
An appraiser has reached a tentative settlement with a defunct subprime lender over work he did on transactions that are under investigation for mortgage fraud. Plea deals have been reached with defendants in an associated criminal case.

House Passes FHA Reform
Mortgage bankers and the Obama administration praised House passage of legislation to reform the Federal Housing Administration. But lenders cautioned the Senate not to include provisions in companion legislation that would stifle the FHA market.

Over 60 Upcoming Conferences
More than 60 mortgage and banking events are scheduled between June and October, with several in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Market Improves Except Jumbo
Mortgage rates eased and might have done even better if the stock market hadn't surged. This week's new loan activity was better than last week's, though the jumbo spread deteriorated.

REOs Worse, New Filings Better, Vermont Best
Total foreclosures improved on a monthly basis and edged up compared to last year. It's a different story, however, for completed foreclosures -- which have climbed more than 40 percent from a year ago. Vermont solidly has the fewest foreclosure problems of any state.

Conventional Rates Ease, Activity Up
Fixed mortgage rates improved in the Mortgage Market Index report for the week ended June 9, though jumbo rates worsened. After adjusting for a programming glitch, the index itself was up from last week.

Nationstar Rating Removed from Watch
The subprime servicer rating at Nationstar Mortgage LLC has been removed from a watch list.

Institutions Endure Regulatory Actions
Monthly regulatory activity eased at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Including matters at other federal banking regulators, however, more than a hundred actions have been announced during the past month against financial institutions.

2010 Mortgage Insurer Business Down by Half
An analysis of year-to-date volume at the nation's mortgage insurers shows that business is down by nearly half from last year. Also down significantly are defaults.

M.I. LTVs Expanded
Updated guidelines just released by one mortgage insurance company include expanded loan-to-values. The most generous changes impact loans that don't involve a mortgage broker and utilize a risk-based premium.

Obama's Favorite Banker
The chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp. has been spending a good deal of time in the nation's capital with top administration advisors and other high-profile players. During his latest trip, the company unveiled expanded health-care coverage for dependants of its employees.

Wholesaler Goes Correspondent
A wholesale lender that also operates nearly 40 retail branches has opened up a new correspondent lending business. At the top of its product list is a government renovation program.

Ambac Bankruptcy?
Ambac Financial Group Inc. has disclosed a financing package and a possible prepackaged bankruptcy.

Valuation Fraud a Growing Problem
A spike in the risk of appraisal fraud has pushed the overall risk of mortgage fraud higher, according to the latest quarterly index. Five states were identified as potential problem spots for mortgage lenders. Chances that a borrower is lying about occupying a property, however, have declined.

New Reverse Wholesale Leader Emerges
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., maintained its grip on the No. 1 spot for reverse mortgage lenders. But when factoring in only wholesale originations -- another leader has emerged.

Utah Judge Halts All BoA Foreclosure Sales
A Utah judge has temporarily suspended all foreclosures sales in the state by Bank of America Corp. The attorney who requested the order claims that the bank -- as well as other lenders in the state -- have not properly registered to do business there.

New Low for MTA
Adjustable-rate borrowers whose loans adjust with the Monthly Treasury Average had a pleasant surprise last month.

Another Huge Countrywide Settlement
Amid allegations of excessive servicing fees and mishandled bankrupt borrowers, Countrywide Home Loans Inc. has agreed to a settlement of more than $100 million. The latest settlement is just one of several since 2007 by the former lending giant.

Chase Hit with LO OT Lawsuit
A lawsuit has been filed by a Florida loan originator against JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s mortgage unit alleging unpaid overtime. The plaintiff's lawyers hope to add other similarly situated originators as plaintiffs.

Mistaken Foreclosures Becoming Growing Liability
Mortgage lenders, foreclosure law firms and companies that help lenders clean up and secure real estate owned all face growing litigation over actions on properties that shouldn't have been foreclosed on.

Winner, Losers Emerging from Financial Legislation
Proposed legislation that includes the creation of a consumer financial protection agency is taking shape in Congress and has bankers balking and mortgage lenders looking at more limited offerings. But consumer advocates are optimistic, and auto dealers are likely to be exempt.

Trio of Bank Failures Push 2010 Closings Past 100
Three banks that were each more than a century old and made it through the Great Depression were unable to survive the Great Recession. The failures pushed the number of mortgage-related closings this year past 100.

BoA to Waive Deficiency for Some Short Sellers
AUSTIN, Texas -- Bank of America Corp. said it has decided to waive its right to collect a deficiency for some borrowers who utilize short sales to get out of their mortgages.

Major Action Against National Mortgage Firm
A national mortgage firm is the target of big legal action by the government.

Colonial Directors Seek Defense Funds
Directors of the former parent of failed Colonial Bank are asking the bankruptcy court for more money to pay their legal defense fees as litigation mounts.

Mortgage Jobs Tumble
During the 30 days ended April 30, the number of people employed in the mortgage industry contracted by more than 2 percent. Compared to a year ago, mortgage employment was down nearly 7 percent.

Signs of Strength in Mortgage Market
Mortgage activity jumped, the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage is at its lowest point in more than six years and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is at its lowest level on record.

2nd Month for Bankruptcy Decline
Consumer bankruptcy filings fell for the second consecutive month.

HUD Coming Down on Builder Affiliate Referrals
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to step up enforcement against builders and other firms that violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act prohibition against the required use of affiliated settlement service providers.

Wave of Deficiency Lawsuits Ahead
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Borrowers who let lenders take the losses on their negative equity properties may be surprised with a lawsuit down the road as servicers emerge from a sea of foreclosures and collection agencies move full force ahead. But some servicers are letting some borrowers off the hook.

Inside a Modern-Day Bank Failure
LOS ANGELES -- The seizure of a small California bank last year involved a team of more than 100 specialists. A close look at the bank's failure provides insight into how financial institutions become insolvent and the process of liquidating them.

Bill Blocks Issuers from Choosing Ratings Agencies
WASHINGTON -- A provision in legislation floating through the U.S. Senate would put a government-regulated clearinghouse in charge of choosing which ratings agencies are assigned to rate mortgage-backed securities. Such a provision could be a boon for Ohio in its pending litigation against the agencies.

Weekly Mortgage Activity Surges
New mortgage activity shot up 20 percent in the Mortgage Market Index for the week ended June 2.

Origination of 100% LTV Loans Doubles
Loan originations through a federal loan program with 100 percent loan-to-value nearly doubled in at least one state last year and are headed for a record this year. But government purchases under the rural program have been put on hold as the agency responsible for the program looks to Congress for additional funding.

Reverse Originations Evaporating
Monthly reverse mortgage production has fallen to the lowest level in at least two years. The decline came despite in increase in retail activity at two of the five biggest retailers.

FHA Updates
The Federal Housing Administration has revised its requirements for streamlined refinances, mortgagee net worth and FHA loan correspondents. Also on the table is a digital lender certification process. Despite findings to the contrary, the nation's Realtors claim that FHA is healthy. The group is against proposed moves that would strengthen the agency, and it is calling for tighter oversight of FHA lenders.

BB&T Closing Wholesale, Expanding Warehouse
Branch Banking and Trust Co. plans to exit the mortgage broker channel. By making the move, the company hopes to free up resources for secondary marketing activity.

Billionaire Backs Ratings Model
NEW YORK -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said rating agencies got it wrong during the financial crisis, but he nevertheless defended the basic business model, which had come under fire.

New NC Rules Delay Foreclosure Process
New rules in North Carolina make it easy for delinquent borrowers to delay the foreclosure process. But only non-bank servicers are impacted.

Mortgage Compliance Association Debuts
A new trade group hopes to help mortgage compliance service providers improve communication with lenders and borrowers.

CA Bill Would Ban Foreclosures During Mod Process
A bill making its way through California's legislature would prohibit foreclosures while borrowers attempt to obtain a loan modification. But opposition to the bill is focused on unnecessary redundancy and how the prospective law would make a complex process even more difficult. Lenders that fail to meet the new requirements could face big legal liabilities.

Layoffs, Reorganization at Citi Unit
The consumer lending arm of financial giant Citigroup Inc. plans to cut more than 500 jobs as it pares down its branch network. The move involves the conversion of local branches to servicing units.

Forensic Auditors Accused of Scam
A lawsuit by the government has been expanded against a company that allegedly promised to help borrowers extract better modification or short-sale terms from lenders by finding mortgage compliance errors.

Ginnie Eases Pooling Requirements
Pooling requirements have been eased for issuers of securities guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association.

GSEs to Boost Mfg Housing, Rural Property Activity
The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is proposing that the two government-controlled enterprises increase their purchases of loans secured by manufactured housing and rural properties.

April Late Payments Lower
The level of delinquent mortgages improved in April, though roll rates remain a problem.

Jumbo Reverse Program Launched
A new reverse mortgage program targets homes valued at more than $1 million.

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