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June 2013 Archive


COFI Sets New Record Low
Although mortgage rates have been on the rise recently, the Cost of Funds Index managed to move to its lowest level on record.

Home Purchase Financing Jumps, ARM Activity Surges
Rapidly rising rates weren't enough to hold back a jump in new home purchase financing activity. But the rate increase did drive more prospective borrowers into adjustable-rate products.

Mortgage Market Index 293 for week ended June 28

Fannie Improves Performance in May
Monthly secondary marketing activity inched up at the Federal National Mortgage Association, while residential delinquency fell to the lowest level in more than four years and the book of business moved higher. Even delinquency on commercial real estate loans was lower.

Servicer Rating Downgraded at Select Portfolio
Deteriorating subprime loan performance and a downgrade at its parent were among the factors behind a reduction in Select Portfolio Servicing Inc.'s servicer rating.

New M.I. Business Reaches Nearly 5-Year High
It's been almost five years since members of the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America have written as much new business as they did in May. Performance on insured loans, however, deteriorated.

Skyrocketing Mortgage Rates Could Retreat
After taking a break from ongoing weekly increases, mortgage rates rose with a vengeance -- increasing by the highest amount in more than a quarter century. But mortgage rates could tumble by next week's report. Fifteen-year mortgages became much more attractive this week.

Non-bank Servicers Pick Up $500 Billion in MSRs
Mortgage servicing rights on more than a half-trillion dollars in residential loans have been sold by financial institutions to non-bank mortgage servicers during the past year. While the acquisitions have been dominated by larger servicers, smaller players have started buying.

FHFA Nominee Would Consider Principal Reduction
President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency told senators at a confirmation hearing that he might consider reducing the amount of principal on underwater mortgages if he is confirmed as director of the regulator.

New Correspondent Lender Recruiting Staff
The recent launch of a new correspondent lending business is expected to result in the addition of dozens of new jobs in South Carolina.

Mortgage Broker Hit With $7.5 Million Penalty
A mortgage broker that specializes in home loans for veterans has been hit with a $7.5 million penalty because of alleged illegal telephone calls and deceptive advertising.

FHFA Director Nominee Set for Confirmation Hearing
President Barack Obama's pick to head the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac faces an uphill battle at this week's confirmation hearing, with the GOP preferring the certainty of the current chief.

Servicing Revenues Down
While independent mortgage servicers have grown their servicing portfolios, revenues as a percentage of loans serviced were lower.

Per Loan Earnings Subside at Mortgage Lenders
Not only did average quarterly loan production fall for independent mortgage bankers, but average revenue per loan was also lower as personnel expenses rose.

Events to Address Regulation, Litigation
Mortgage regulation and litigation are among the topics to be covered at mortgage-related conferences planned during the next four months. Other upcoming events will address alternative investments, credit unions and banks.

New Business Falls to 2013 Low at Freddie
The bad news is that new business at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. fell to the lowest level this year. The good news is that delinquency, which was already at a four-year low, improved again.

Freddie Backs Off Low Activity Fee
After considering feedback from its clients, Freddie Mac has made it much easier to avoid a low-activity fee that was recently implemented.

Mortgage Credit Index Launched
A brand new index attempts to measure the availability of mortgage credit based on changes to underwriting guidelines. The inaugural report indicates that credit availability stands substantially lower than prior to the financial crisis.

FEMIC to Replace GSEs?
Federal legislation has been introduced to replace the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. with a secondary market regulator.

Continued Improvement in Home Loan Performance
Residential loan delinquency has now improved for eight straight months, while the nation's foreclosure inventory has fallen for 13 consecutive months.

Former Flagstar CEO Joining United Shore
The board of directors at United Shore Financial Services has appointed the former chief executive officer of Flagstar Bancorp Inc. as its new co-chairman. It's the second senior appointment in as many months for the growing lender -- which now has two families among its executives.

CFPB Proposes Changes to Mortgage Rules
A host of proposed changes to recently issued mortgage rules is expected to help ease compliance for mortgage firms -- though some of the proposals call for earlier implementation. Among the changes are the definition of a loan originator and rural lending requirements.

Healthcare, Office Properties Pull CMBS Delinquency Lower
A huge drop in delinquency on healthcare property loans and improved performance on loans backed by office properties supported a reduction in overall delinquency on securitized commercial real estate loans. Industrial property loans continue to be a problem.

U.S. Bank Loses $1.2 mil Condo Due to Missed Deadline
U.S. Bank, N.A., lost its interest in a $1.2 million condominium in South Florida to the home owners association because it missed the statute of limitations.

BofA Cutting Hundreds of Texas Jobs
Hundreds of servicing positions are being eliminated in North Texas as Bank of America Corp. continues to make progress on distressed home loans. The latest round of layoffs are on top of nearly 2,000 mortgage positions that have been eliminated so far this year.

Mortgage Industry Outlook Mixed
The mortgage industry suffered some serious setbacks over the past six or so years -- with hundreds of mortgage firms wiped out and close to half of employees in the industry losing their jobs at one point. While some segments of the business have experienced a partial recovery, real estate finance is likely to remain a shell of its former self for the foreseeable future.

Refis Tumble, ARM Share Higher
New loan activity dropped this week, with refinance business leading the decline. As mortgage rates continue to climb, more loan prospects are electing to go with an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Mortgage Market Index 273 for week ended June 21

California Mortgage Firm Recruiting Dozens
A mortgage banker based in the Sacramento region of California is holding a job fair to recruit dozens of new employees.

Mortgage Bankers Lift Q3 Outlook Despite Rising Rates
Interest rates on residential loans have increased six out of the last seven weeks. But that wasn't enough to stop mortgage banking economists from raising their outlook for residential originations during the third quarter.

Mortgage CUSO to Hire Hundreds
A new operations center in Kansas is expected to create as many as 500 jobs at a credit union service organization.

Signs Point to Bernanke's Exit
Recent statements by President Obama and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke suggest that the end of his reign is approaching.

Firms Boast Agency Approvals
Several firms recently touted their approvals as issuers, sellers or servicers for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. Approvals were granted to residential lenders and commercial real estate lenders.

Rates Fall, But Likely to Soar
Following six straight weeks of increases, mortgage rates took a breather this week. But the reprieve looks to be only temporary as financial markets violently react to coming changes in Federal Reserve policy.

N Las Vegas Council Approves Eminent Domain Plan
The city council of North Las Vegas, Nev., has voted to move forward with a controversial plan to use the power of eminent domain to seize loans held in private-label mortgage-backed securities and write down the balances.

New Penn Rated Below Average as Non-Agency Originator
New Penn Financial LLC has been rated below average as an originator of non-agency loans. The rating reflects, among other things, the relative youth of the mortgage firm.

New Branches Fuel Growth
Nearly a dozen lenders recently announced growth through the addition of more than two dozen new mortgage branches in areas ripe for growth, while a recruiting firm is actively hunting for managers and loan officers to farm out to branches across the country. The new crop of branch lending outposts and job opportunities offer some tangible insight into where some of the recent mortgage employment growth is occurring.

10-Year Treasury Yield Surges
A benchmark for mortgage rates surged to its highest level in more than a year following comments by the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board indicating that an end may be in sight for the central bank's bond buying strategy.

Top 10 Servicer Settlement Complaints
It might not make the Late Show With David Letterman, but a list of the top 10 complaints for borrowers impacted by the national mortgage servicer settlement has been released. Problems with single points of contact topped the list.

Another Good Reading on Serious Mortgage Delinquency
There has not been any deterioration in the rate of serious mortgage delinquency in more than a year. A pair of states on the East Coast boasted the highest delinquency rates in the nation.

Hundreds of HARP Hirings at PennyMac
An effort to generate new business through the Home Affordable Refinance Program has PennyMac Loan Services opening a new California location and recruiting employees to staff it.

Purchase Closing Ratios Rise, Turnaround Slows
As a growing share of refinance applications are failing to close, purchase applications are closing at the highest rate in four months. But the improved productivity on purchase financing is taking a toll on turnaround.

HUD Warns Servicers
Abuses by some of the country's biggest mortgage servicers "shamefully endure," the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development said in response to a progress report on the national servicer settlement that found fewer than 10 failed servicing standards out of more than 300. He put the firms on notice.

Improved Mortgage Performance Holds
Serious delinquency on first lien mortgages maintained its post-recession low status, while the rate on junior liens fell to the lowest level in at least nearly a decade.

Outlook Improves for Home Purchase Financing
Last year's estimate of loan originations to finance home purchases has been revised up by more than $100 billion. This year's projected purchase production was also pushed up by more than $100 billion, as was next year's purchase outlook. Improved purchase expectations offset a weaker forecast for refinances.

Congress Warned About QM
The country's mortgage lenders are warning Congress that implementation of the Ability-To-Repay rule as it stands will take an especially hard toll on low-income borrowers. But that's not the only concern the industry has.

Senate Holds Hearing on HECMs
Proposed changes to guidelines for federally insured reverse mortgages are expected to stabilize the program while protecting consumers, according to congressional testimony.

Tool Aids in Shift from Refis to Purchase
Although the U.S. refinance wave recently crested, the prospect of new refinance business is quickly fading. So one firm is helping lenders make a transition from refinance originations to purchase business.

Supreme Court to Hear Disparate Impact Case
After narrowly avoiding a brush with the nation's highest court, the issue of disparate impact will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

OneWest Laying Off Hundreds in Texas
Hundreds of jobs in Texas are being eliminated by OneWest Bank FSB. The disclosure of the layoffs follows last week's revelation that the bank would sell a substantial share of its mortgage servicing rights.

NMLS Webinar to Cover Making Changes to License Info
Two upcoming webinars being hosted by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System will help mortgage firms meet state requirements when making changes to their license information.

Former Employees Accuse BofA of Deceiving HAMP Applicants
Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees.

More Firms Show Interest in Displaced Chase Employees
What was initially dismal news for employees at a JPMorgan Chase & Co. mortgage servicing facility in New York has turned brighter now that two companies hope to recruit hundreds of the impacted staff.

Mortgage Fraud Prosecution Activity Up
Federal, state and local prosecutors picked up the quarterly pace of activity in mortgage fraud cases -- though actions were still low based on standards established since the financial crisis.

Elevated Interest Rates Fail to Slow Mortgage Activity
Mortgage rates have increased for six consecutive weeks, but that wasn't enough to slow down new mortgage activity. Next week's interest rates are likely to be lower.

Mortgage Market Index 313 for week ended June 14

Another FHFA Victory in Fee Litigation
The conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has scored another victory in litigation filed by local governments seeking unpaid fees.

Small Bank Failures Driven by 1 Loan Type
A government report identified less than a dozen states with an elevated number of bank failures and found that one category of loans was frequently at the heart of their problems. The report also found that credit losses should have been recognized earlier.

Employee Recruitment Prompts Litigation
When a loan officer and an entire branch were recruited by one mortgage broker from a competing broker, a federal lawsuit ensued.

OneWest Selling Big Chunk of Servicing Portfolio
The banking subsidiary of OneWest Bank Group LLC has reached an agreement to sell a substantial portion of its mortgage servicing portfolio.

Fannie Foreclosure Executive Fired
The executive who oversaw an office in Irvine, Calif., where a Fannie Mae foreclosure specialist used his position to collect a bribe for a foreclosure listing agreement has been fired.

Employment Drives Mortgage Rates Higher
A strong employment report for May pushed fixed mortgage rates higher for the sixth consecutive week. Adjustable-rate products, however, were less impacted by the positive economic news.

Servicer Admits Stealing from Wells Fargo
A servicer of loans held in mortgage-backed securities has admitted that he withheld proceeds from Wells Fargo Bank on fully paid loans and instead made monthly payments while providing bogus monthly statements showing the loans as unpaid.

Free Purchase Leads for Mortgage Brokers
A mortgage lead provider out of California has developed a proprietary mortgage lead algorithm that it is promoting by giving away free leads for purchase financing.

Fannie Raises 2013 Origination Outlook
This year's forecast from Fannie Mae for primary residential originations has been raised by $76 billion, though the improvement came at the expense of the 2014 outlook. On just purchase financing, annual expectations improved across-the-board.

Central Resource Page for CFPB Rules
The mortgage industry has been barraged with new rules this year, and the regulator behind the rules has created a centralized resource page.

Florida Foreclosures Intensify
As U.S. foreclosure activity expanded, Florida has established itself as the absolute worst state for foreclosures no matter what metric is applied.

U.S. foreclosures up 2% between April and May

Negative Equity Diminishing
U.S. homeowners with financed residential properties improved their collective equity position thanks to a recovering real estate market.

Monthly HARP Activity Up Despite Slip in Total Refis
While increasing mortgage rates put a damper on overall monthly refinance volume, an uptick was reported for home loans refinanced through the government's refinance program.

loanDepot Doubles Texas Hiring Plans
Less than three months after announcing that it would add 500 Texas jobs, loanDepot.com LLC has doubled its forecast.

Impact of QM Designation on Projected Performance
A new study found that the Qualified Mortgage designation doesn't impact projected defaults. But the QM label does have an effect on projected severities.

Progress Report on Dodd Frank Rules
Fewer than half of the rules required by the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act have been finalized, according to a progress report.

Hard Money Lender Charged
Criminal charges have been filed in federal court against a Washington man who allegedly used hard money lending practices and mortgage fraud to acquire residential properties.

Eminent Domain Vote Set for North Las Vegas
A controversial plan by a San Francisco company to use the power of eminent domain to seize mortgages and provide borrowers with principal reduction has already been approved by a few small California cities. The North Las Vegas, Nev., council is now considering the proposal.

OH Supreme Court Rules Against Former Evergreen President
After being convicted and sentenced, the former president of Evergreen Corp. appealed his sentence -- and it was reduced. But now the Ohio Supreme Court has overturned the appellate court decision.

Compliance Alliances Address Regulations
While there are some new mortgage compliance offerings emerging, many enhancements to such services are being accomplished through strategic alliances and integration.

Different Drivers for Elevated Mortgage Fraud Risk in CA, FL
Potential identity fraud and income fraud have placed California at an elevated risk of mortgage fraud. In Florida, lenders face more risk of being deceived about occupancy and home values.

Chase Closing Distressed Loan Service Center
Hundreds of jobs are impacted by the closing of a JPMorgan Chase & Co. unit that handles distressed loans. A U.S. senator has talked to chief executive officers at two companies, including Chase, to identify opportunities for employees.

Wholesale HECM Originations Rise
While government-insured reverse mortgage production slowed at retail lenders, wholesale activity soared to the highest monthly level in more than two years.

MGIC Business Rises, Delinquency Falls
Monthly new business and delinquency at MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. reached their most favorable levels in at least two years.

2 Bank Failures Last Week
Two bank failures last week included a financial institution with more than $400 million in assets and a small bank with related losses that are expected to exceed half of its total assets.

Florida Foreclosure Bill Signed Into Law
A foreclosure bill emerged from Florida's legislature and found its way to the governor's desk. The new law expedites foreclosures on abandoned properties and reduces the window of time for lender to obtain a deficiency judgment.

Ginnie Issuance Up Despite Multifamily Decline
The issuance of mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae increased last month despite the second consecutive monthly slowdown in multifamily activity.

Refinances Rise Despite Rising Rates
A surge in conventional refinance activity helped push up overall activity to the highest level in more than a year-and-a-half despite deteriorating interest rates.

Mortgage Market Index 313 for week ended June 7

LO Comp Guide Released
More regulatory guides have been released on recently finalized rules including the loan officer compensation rule. The guides are designed to make compliance simpler.

Walter Investment Discloses Restatement
Financial statements for a reverse mortgage lender recently acquired by Walter Investment Management Corp. are being restated, the company disclosed Friday.

HAMPs Keep Going
The federal loan modification program, which faces the prospect of becoming irrelevant in a recovering real estate market, continues to generate activity.

870,038 active modifications in April

Bankruptcy Filings Slow
Fewer consumers resorted to bankruptcy last month, as was the case for commercial enterprises. Both categories were also lower on a year-over-year basis.

Nationstar Hiring Over a Thousand AZ Employees
Faced with hundreds of billions of dollars more in loans to service, Nationstar Mortgage is executing a recruiting campaign in the Grand Canyon State to hire more than a thousand employees.

Mortgage Jobs Highest Since Bush Era
Mortgage employers expanded their monthly payrolls, making a significant gain over the past year. The last time mortgage staffing was this strong was during the George W. Bush administration.

Mortgage Rates Climb Higher
It was another bad week for interest rates on home loans. Mortgage rates have now deteriorated for five consecutive weeks.

Genworth Cutting Staff
A staff reduction and other strategic spending cuts are expected to yield Genworth Financial Inc. millions in expenses. Hundreds of employees are impacted.

Oregon Supreme Court Rules on MERS Cases
A decision delivered by Oregon's highest court impacts foreclosures on loans utilizing the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. But MERS, itself, said the decision was consistent with its role and authority in the state.

Lower Delinquency Holds
An early reading on last month's loan performance indicates that after falling for seven months in a row, home-loan performance maintained in May.

Outlook for Mortgage Insurers Brightens
Despite some risks ahead for the nation's mortgage insurance companies, the industry's outlook has improved considerably as market conditions have turned more favorable.

Wells Settles REO Issues With HUD
The banking subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co. has reached an agreement to settle issues tied to its handling of real-estate-owned assets. Area's near President Obama's current residence and his home town were big beneficiaries.

Loan Origination Systems Insider
As several providers of loan origination systems tout new clients, a recent survey indicates that a significant share of mortgage firms are re-evaluating their systems. For those considering a new LOS, a number of system enhancements and new features are likely to make offerings more enticing.

Industrial Properties Drive CMBS Delinquency Higher
Thanks to deteriorating performance on industrial property loans, early stage delinquency on all securitized loans backed by commercial real estate rose in May. Delinquency on loans for all other property types was lower.

Another Strong Performance by Radian
New business at Radian Guaranty Inc. improved for the third consecutive month, while the delinquency rate has improved 17 months in a row.

Triad Files Bankruptcy
Triad Guaranty Inc. has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in a federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

Exam Procedures Published for Mortgage Rules
Examination procedures for two new mortgage rules have been published. With the procedures in hand, lenders have advance notice of exam expectations.

4-Year Low for CRE Delinquency on Freddie, Bank Loans
Quarterly delinquency fell to a more than two-year low on loans included in commercial real estate securitizations, while it was a four-year low for delinquency on Freddie Mac multifamily loans and bank-owned commercial mortgages. But CRE performance was worse on Fannie Mae multifamily loans and life insurer's CRE assets.

HSBC Sued Over NY Foreclosure Filings
HSBC has been sued by the state of New York because it allegedly failed to file a required form on foreclosures. Other mortgage servicers could be the target of further litigation.

Cole Taylor Acquires MSRs, Servicing Platform
The mortgage division of the bank owned by Taylor Capital Group Inc. has acquired servicing rights on home loans from another bank and picked up a servicing platform in the process.

New Wholesaler Looks to Grow Servicing
A retail branch lender that has been growing its branch network has announced its entry into the wholesale lending business. The move is expected to help it expand its portfolio of mortgage servicing rights.

Walter Unit Top HECM Originator in May
The reverse mortgage subsidiary of Walter Investment Management Corp. originated more government-insured reverse mortgages last month than any other lender. As reverse production was off for the sector as a whole, the fifth-biggest player ascended from no production a year ago.

Mississippi Has Highest LTVs on Purchases
A new report indicates that the average U.S. loan-to-value ratio on purchase financing has increased over the past two years. Mississippi ranked as the state with the highest LTV.

MTA Lower, Poised to Fall Further
Another decline was logged for the Monthly Treasury Average, and it looks like at least one more drop is ahead.

Financial Institutions Go Down
May was a busy month for the nation's federal credit union regulator -- though there was at least one success story. Two banks recently succumbed to hard times.

Nationstar Acquisition to Increase Production, Staffing
A new acquisition by Nationstar Mortgage LLC will expand its already fast-growing staff and substantially increase residential loan originations.

Freddie Holds Back Agency Issuance
After reaching a nearly four-year high in April, the issuance of agency mortgage-backed securities slipped last month thanks to a decline at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Biggest Mortgage Job Expansion in Nearly 4 Years
The first three months of this year proved to be the best since 2009 for jobs in real estate finance. Much of the gain was in the states of Arizona and Michigan.

Layoffs at Several Mortgage Service Providers
While banks dominate recent mortgage-related jobs cuts, at least five mortgage service providers have also been scaling back their staffing.

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