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July 2008 Archive

COFI Defies Mortgage Rates
The cost of funds index will not stop falling.

RESPA Backlash
Several housing groups have issued a joint letter in opposition to proposed changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

ResCap Earnings, Originations Worsen
Residential Capital LLC saw net income deteriorate and mortgage production erode. But one bright spot was a surge in government originations.

Help With Building FHA Business
Mortgage service providers are going all out to help lenders manage the origination and servicing of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Freddie Steps Up Foreclosure Prevention Fees
Freddie Mac is doubling the fees it pays to save mortgages from foreclosure.

M.I. Volume Near Decade Low
As new mortgage insurance activity fell to its lowest point in nearly a decade, the amount of primary insurance in-force reached an all-time record. Defaults improved for the second straight month.

Refis, 1-Year ARM Yield Tumble
The yield on the 1-year adjustable-rate mortgage tumbled, while fixed rates also fell. Refinance applications, however, also tumbled.

Mortgage Leads Trends
As one of the biggest mortgage lead generation companies loses more than $150 million, government loan leads are rising to prominence. Meanwhile, a new report discusses how the business of mortgage leads is evolving.

Bankruptcy Filings Fall
Monthly bankruptcy filings decreased, though first-half activity was up nearly a third from 2007.

Another Wholesaler Drops HEL Programs
A wholesale lending subsidiary of Residential Capital Corp. has confirmed that it eliminated wholesale home-equity programs. The move follows similar actions recently by several other lenders.

First Horizon Cutting Servicing Jobs
First Horizon National Corp. will outsource some of its mortgage servicing functions -- leading to a number of layoffs.

Hopeful Signs in Foreclosure Battle
A new report indicated quarterly delinquency and foreclosures worsened. But the same report also indicated monthly foreclosure activity improved, subprime delinquency improved and quarterly and monthly workouts reached a record.

Mixed Results at Fannie
Fannie Mae saw quarterly mortgage purchases rise. But monthly volume fell as delinquency rose for the 12th consecutive month.

Housing Bill Now Law
President Bush has signed a massive housing bill into law. The legislation includes provisions for a stronger agency regulator, a first-time homebuyer tax credit and foreclosure assistance.

H.R. 3221 signed by President
Mortgage Technology Boom
Some recent mortgage technology offerings promise to improve business and cut costs, while other digital advancements aim to improve wholesale lending operations.

Lender Dumps Brokers, Expands FHA Retail
A New York-based company is closing its wholesale operations as it steps up its retail government business.

Mergers, Losses and Executive Shakeups
Two healthy banks took over three troubled institutions during the past week, with one of the acquirers looking to build a commercial lending powerhouse. Two new chief executives were named, while massive losses have apparently forced out another senior bank executive.

Investor Class Action Surge Continues
A new report indicates investor class actions against financial services firms continued to surge this year.

FHA, Commercial Wholesale Business Sought
Wholesale commercial broker programs are becoming more aggressive, while wholesale FHA lenders are becoming more abundant. Other wholesale activity includes the requirement of an IRS form at the outset of the loan process.

KeyCorp Unit Eliminating Employees
A KeyCorp mortgage unit in Texas is eliminating more than 100 employees. But job additions at another location will offset some of the layoffs.

Covered Bonds to Boost Liquidity
Government regulators are promoting covered bonds to help shore up mortgage market liquidity.

Foreclosure Prevention is Widespread
The increase in foreclosure is matched only by the increase in foreclosure prevention activity. The efforts are being take by public and private organizations inside and outside the mortgage industry at both the state and federal level.

Biggest Mortgage Lenders
A new company has emerged as the biggest U.S. mortgage lender.

Housing Bill Approved
Landmark housing legislation has made it through both houses of Congress and is now on its way to the president's desk.

Mixed MBS Ratings Activity
More than 200 classes of Alternative-A residential mortgage-backed securities were downgraded due to deteriorating performance. Commercial MBS ratings, however, were mixed.

Jumbo FHA Securitizations Soaring
Securitizations of government-insured jumbo mortgages have soared.

SunTrust Closes HEL Broker Unit
SunTrust Mortgage Inc. is closing its wholesale equity lending channel. But the company has no plans to end its wholesale lending business.

Lenders One Activity Falls
The collapse of some members of Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative has pushed quarterly fundings lower. Still, the organization continues to add new members at a record pace.

Freddie Volume Better, Delinquency Worse
Secondary purchases continued to improve at Freddie Mac, but residential delinquency continued to deteriorate.

Foreclosures More Than Double from Year Ago
Quarterly foreclosure activity surged and was concentrated in California and Florida, though Las Vegas and Phoenix were among the worst cities. However, states where foreclosure filings are rising fastest include Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

$1 Billion in HELs Sold
Irwin Financial Corp. has reached a deal to unload $1 billion in home-equity loans.

Cashout Share Rises, Dollar Volume Falls
The quarterly share of refinances that included cashout increased, though the dollar volume decreased.

Exec Shakeup, Soaring Delinquency at Downey
Downey Financial Corp. reported a big loss, soaring delinquency and higher originations. Sweeping management changes were also announced.

30-year At Highest Level in Nearly 1 Year
As the yield on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed to its highest level in nearly a year, the volume of 1003s fell.

Results Worsen at National City
Loan originations tumbled, mortgage banking income worsened and delinquency deteriorated at National City Corp. But some improvement was made in the remaining portfolio of nonprime loans.

City Sues Countywide to Stop Foreclosures
The city of San Diego is suing Countrywide Financial Corp. in an effort to slow foreclosures.

Losses, Lawsuits and Solvency
With earnings season in full force, losses continued to mount, more lawsuits were filed and executive appointments were announced. Meanwhile, other firms are acquiring or investing in mortgage-related companies as solvency is becoming a growing issue.

Majority of Subprime Borrowers Single
The majority of subprime borrowers in 2006 were not minorities, according to a new report. But nearly two-thirds were single.

$500k Fine, License Revocation for Calif. Co.
A California-based mortgage company is being kicked out of Washington because, the state claims, of deceitful advertising, faulty disclosures and unlicensed originators. The company, which collected average fees of more than $5,100 per loan, was criticized for failing to include required information in sponsored search engine ads.

New ResCap CEO
The chief executive officer of Residential Capital LLC being replaced.

FHLB Activity Holds
Earnings at the Federal Home Loan Banks held up as assets climbed.

WaMu Results Tank
Stung by the loss of mortgage broker business, Washington Mutual Inc. saw quarterly mortgage production plunge. Losses, meanwhile, more than doubled from the prior quarter.

New MBA President
After seven years in his job, the president and chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association is leaving. Taking his place will be the former CEO of a net branch operation that collapsed early last year.

HUD Hiring
The growth in the volume of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration has the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development looking to add more employees.

SunTrust Performance Declines
SunTrust Banks Inc. reported declining originations, with new application activity indicating that further declines are ahead. Mortgage earnings worsened and delinquency was mixed.

Wachovia to Eliminate More Than 10,000 Jobs
Job losses at Wachovia Corp., which today reported a massive loss, are expected to exceed 10,000.

States Boost Lending Oversight
Mortgage professionals in Pennsylvania, Alaska, Indiana, New York and Arizona now face new laws regarding licensing, background checks and lending practices.

Wachovia Wanes
Wachovia Corp. saw originations fall by nearly $10 billion and earnings tumble by more than $10 billion from a year earlier.

Lawsuit Alleges Countrywide Joint Venture a Sham
A class-action lawsuit recently filed against Countrywide alleges a joint venture it operated with a major homebuilder was just a sham created to circumvent the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Wachovia Closing Broker Channel
Wachovia Corp. is exiting its wholesale lending business. The lender is not the only lender to abandon the broker channel.

Countrywide Activity Deteriorates
During its last quarter as an independent company, Countrywide Financial Corp. saw production tumble and losses soar. While the firm will continue its indirect business channels, some programs are being eliminated.

BoA Struggles With Mortgages Ops
Driven by a decline in home-equity loan activity, quarterly mortgage production tumbled at Bank of America Corp. The company saw a loss of nearly $1 billion from its consumer real estate operations.

Acquired Mortgage Companies Increase as Failures Decline
Mortgage-related company failures have fallen as the number of acquisitions has grown.

Executive Summary of New TILA Rule
Most provisions of the new rule become effective on Oct. 1, 2009. The requirement to establish an escrow account for property taxes and insurance in connection with higher-priced mortgage loans (a new category of loans added by the rule) is effective on April 1, 2010, (or Oct. 1, 2010, for higher-priced mortgage loans that are manufactured home loans).

Anti-Broker Campaign Sparks Anger
An "I hate mortgage brokers" campaign has been launched by a former real estate professional who is afraid to reveal her true identity over fears for her safety.

California Expands Lawsuit Against Countrywide
The state of California claims it has uncovered "shocking new details" about how Countrywide Financial Corp. disregarded prudent underwriting and deceived borrowers.

Flagstar Earnings, Originations Improve
Flagstar Bancorp Inc. saw quarterly earnings and mortgage volume improve, though non-performing assets worsened.

Citi Performance Sinks
Citigroup Inc. revised its 2007 residential production up by more than $11 billion and reported a big decline in quarterly volume. Mortgage delinquency soared and another massive loss was reported.

Delayed Payments at Issue in Countrywide Settlement
Countrywide has settled with a chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee over allegations that it overcharged some borrowers as a result of delayed payment processing.

Digitally Improving Mortgage Banking
A new mortgage technology offering will help mortgage brokers and lenders avoid steep penalties for noncompliance with a new rule to be implemented later this year. Other innovations include a loan pricing solution that has incorporated mortgage insurance searches, digital document enhancements and improved servicing technology.

For Sale: CTX Branches
Centex Corp. is shopping retail branches of its mortgage subsidiary.

OCC Supports Subprime
The Comptroller of the Currency said today that subprime lending done right enables many minorities to purchase homes. He warned that overreaction to the subprime crisis, however, may eliminate homeownership for that same group.

Interests of MBS Originator Can Conflict with Investors
The interests of originators who retain a financial interest in a loan securitization are not always aligned with the interests of other investors.

Refis Rise, Rates Tumble
A jump in refinance applications more than offset a decrease in purchase activity, pushing overall 1003s higher. A healthy decline in mortgage rates helped fuel the activity.

Mortgage Earnings, Volume Improve at JPMorgan
Fueled by a big jump in correspondent and negotiated transactions, mortgage production increased at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Net income at the mortgage unit also improved.

Banks Underestimate Home Price Declines
Some big financial institutions vary widely on how much they estimate real estate prices will drop and, consequently, how much their mortgage-related losses will be. A new study indicates some banks can expect further declines in the price of their stocks until they "get real" about the market.

Wholesaler Fined $1 Million Over Broker Fees
Capital One Financial Corp.'s defunct wholesale lending subsidiary has paid $1 million to New York to settle allegations that minority borrowers paid higher fees than non-minorities. The state is now targeting the mortgage brokers who originated the loans.

FDIC Lets ResCap Parent Keep Bank
Residential Capital LLC's parent has secured a cheap source of financing for another decade.

Commercial Delinquency Soars at Wells
Quarterly mortgage production and earnings eased from the prior period at Wells Fargo & Co. But delinquent commercial mortgages soared.

Groups Criticize Servicers, States Pass Foreclosure Laws
The governors of three states announced new programs and legislation designed to reduce foreclosures. Meanwhile, mortgage servicers were criticized by two groups who claim too little is being done to prevent foreclosures.

First Horizon Mortgage Earnings Improve
First Horizon National Corp. saw quarterly originations ease and mortgage earnings increase. The company eliminated 171 mortgage sales employees during the latest period. Serious delinquency more than doubled from a year earlier.

New TILA Rules Create HMDA Urgency
While the Federal Reserve Board's final unfair mortgage practices rule under the Truth in Lending Act is an important development, there is a related regulatory development of more immediate concern -- a board proposal to amend the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rules to conform with the new TILA rules effective for loans closed on or after Jan. 1, 2009.

Bank Pays $1.8 Mil Over Poor Lending Practices
A Rhode Island thrift run by two brothers and their father has agreed to pay $1.8 million over allegations of unsafe lending. The bank's mortgage unit shut down its wholesale operations last year.

US Bank Production Holds
U.S. Bancorp saw quarterly mortgage originations dip from the prior period, but business was better than a year ago.

New First Horizon CEO
First Horizon National Corp. is replacing its president and chief executive officer.

The Ratings Report
As the government released a report critical of ratings agencies, hundreds of classes of residential mortgage-backed securities were downgraded. Among the affected issues were deals backed by jumbo, Alt-A and subprime loans. Classes of commercial MBS, however, saw a mix of upgrades and downgrades.

Mixed Foreclosure Data
A new foreclosure report indicated foreclosure filings fell last month. But repossessions increased.

Mods Up, But So Are Re-Defaults
A new report found that while subprime loan modifications are increasing, a bigger share of borrowers are defaulting again after their loans are modified. But a recent change in the profile of modified loans may lead to fewer re-defaults.

SunTrust Exits Construction-Perms
SunTrust Mortgage Inc. is eliminating its construction-to-permanent program.

New Rules on High-Cost Loans
Under new rules announced today, subprime lending has been dramatically altered. On high-cost loans -- stated-income loans are prohibited, escrow accounts are mandatory and prepayment penalties are limited.

Fannie, Freddie Get Emergency Help
The Bush administration acted over the weekend to prop up confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Fraud Surges
Second quarter mortgage fraud activity doubled from a year earlier.

Schumer Letter Leads to Collapse of Biggest Thrift Ever
Troubled IndyMac Bank F.S.B. was shut down today by federal banking regulators. The government said a June 26 letter from Sen. Charles Schumer sparked the crisis that led to the collapse.

Fannie, Freddie Shares Stabilize
Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stabilized following comments from Sen. Christopher Dodd and reports that they may be able to turn to the Federal Reserve for financing.

Survey Points to Stagnant Mortgage Market
A new survey suggests borrowers, who now find it more difficult to obtain a mortgage, plan to hunker down and avoid purchasing or refinancing a home in the foreseeable future.

GSE Shares Continue Spiral
As shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to disintegrate, the Bush administration is trying to dispel rumors that a government bailout of the two mortgage giants is imminent.

Mortgage Co. President Hid $35 Million in Losses
For 18 years, the president of a Missouri-based mortgage company was able to hide losses from the parent company -- a bank-holding company that has acquired more than 10 banks over the past three years. When his scheme was finally uncovered, losses amounted to $35 million.

GSEs Overshadow Mortgage Sector
As the mortgage sector grapples with stormy financial markets, all eyes are on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which saw their shares traded at their lowest levels in more than 15 years. Meanwhile, a bank executive is retiring, a secondary lender has a new chief and a mortgage banking cooperative is growing.

Mortgage Leads Insight
A new lead analysis service helps originators determine which leads are most likely to convert to closed loans, while another offering promises to increase self-generated leads. A settlement between the government and two lead companies centered on how the companies advertised their services.

FHA 1003s Surge
Following a brief reprieve, mortgage rates continued higher. A surge in FHA loan activity, however, helped overall loan applications improve.

Broker Finds Business at Collection Agencies
A mortgage broker operating in eight states is targeting prospective borrowers with unpaid collection accounts and home equity. The company has identified several wholesale lenders that still have loan programs available for these customers.

Foreclosures Filings Lower
June Foreclosure filings eased from the prior month, though activity was still much worse than 12 months earlier. California continued to dominate among the worst states for foreclosures, while the Dakotas had the most favorable rankings.

New Wachovia CEO
Wachovia Corp. has found a new leader. The company warned, however, that its option adjustable-rate mortgage portfolio took a quarterly hit of more than $3 billion.

Wells Cuts LTVs
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage units have cut loan-to-values and tightened other guidelines on wholesale conforming and home-equity loans.

Lehman Unit Stops New Business
Another Lehman Brothers mortgage unit has halted new business. This time around, commercial lending was impacted. In all, more than 3,500 employees at Lehman mortgage units have been laid off since last summer.

Secondary Market Activity
As one firm unloaded a $64 million delinquent construction portfolio another acquired an $8 million servicing portfolio. Meanwhile, a new fund has been launched to acquire mortgage securities and a new service promises to reduce price fade between initial bid and settlement.

Nonconforming Wholesaler Hiring, Lending
A California-based wholesale lender is adding account executives to meet demand for a wide array of nonconforming, conventional and government programs.

IndyMac Sells Retail Branches
IndyMac Bancorp has agreed to sell the majority of its retail operation.

Subprime Still Needed
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. today told bank regulators that home prices will continue to fall, foreclosures will continue to rise and some borrowers should not be saved. He did note, however, that although subprime lending needs to be fixed -- it shouldn't be eliminated.

Lawsuit Targets Credit Report Re-Aging
A mortgage lender and the three credit bureaus have been sued by a former borrower because, she claims, a delinquent loan she previously paid off continued to reflect as past due well after the payoff date.

Digital Enhancements Improve Originations
Recent technological advancements are helping lenders prevent mortgage fraud and enhancing the ability of originators and applicants to identify the most appropriate wholesale programs. Other innovations include improved ease of compliance with new conforming appraisal standards, FHA credit reports and correspondent loan disclosures.

600 Indiana Brokerages Face Loss of Licenses
More than 600 Indiana mortgage brokerages face license revocation because of failing to comply with new licensing laws in the state.

IndyMac Halts New Business
The company formerly owned by Countrywide is taking drastic steps to survive, including laying off nearly 4,000 employees.

MTA Decline Continues
The monthly Treasury average index continued its decline despite several months of rising Treasury yields.

REIT & Exec Shakeups
Two mortgage real estate investment trusts are teetering in the brink of insolvency, the president of a nonprime lender has been ousted and IndyMac is facing its fifth investor lawsuit since last month. But another REIT is optimistic after restructuring a repurchase agreement, while a servicing operation has successfully traded hands.

Servicers Report Stabilizing Subprime Performance
A new report from the Office of Thrift Supervision indicates that delinquency dropped from January to March. Even as serious delinquency on prime mortgages rose, nonprime loans saw serious delinquency drop and accounted for a shrinking share of new foreclosures initiated.

Mortgage Employment Stabilizing
Second-quarter jobs losses in the real estate finance sector fell by more than half from the prior quarter and the prior year.

NIMs, Alt-A RMBS Clobbered
The latest ratings activity involved downgrades to several net interest margin notes and Alt-A residential mortgage-backed securities. Commercial MBS, meanwhile, saw mixed activity.

Bank Shuts Down Mortgage Unit
A Maryland bank has disclosed that it will close its mortgage unit. The move follows the ouster of the company's chief executive after the company reported losses tied to loan fraud.

Radian Improves in Q2
Radian Group Inc. said its quarterly claims were less than previously projected, its market share has increased and its financial standing is solid.

Market Conditions Improve
The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell for the first time in six weeks. Applications for new loans were also better.

Mortgage Employment Improves
Jobs in the real estate finance sector improved.

The Foreclosure Journal
The latest foreclosure prevention news indicates some progress is being made in the war against foreclosures.

Home-Equity Delinquency Mixed
Late payments on home-equity mortgages was mixed, with open-end loans worsening and closed-end loans improving.

MBS Volume Spirals
Led by a 93 percent decline in residential mortgage-backed securities volume, mortgage loan securitizations have tumbled so far this year.

Wholesale Operation Re-Emerges
A significant portion of National City's former wholesale lending unit has been acquired and launched as part a new California-based company.

New CitiMortgage CEO
A former Citigroup executive is returning to head CitiMortgage.

Sanjiv Das to assume role on July 16
Wholesaler Boosts Lending Capacity
A Florida-based wholesale lender hopes a new $1.75 billion will help it expand its third-party originations.

Acquisition, Collapse & Regulatory Actions
A California credit union collapsed and an Ohio bank expanded its mortgage operations with the acquisition of another bank. Dozens of other financial institutions are dealing with a host of legal and regulatory actions, while a hard-money wholesale lender is streamlining operations with the help of a third party.

Another Improvement for COFI
Defying most other adjustable-rate mortgage indices, the cost of funds index continued its descent -- falling to its lowest level in nearly three years.

Accredited Parent Acquires $9.3 Billion in Loans
The parent of Accredited Home Lenders Inc. and the world's richest man are diving deeper into non-conforming mortgage lending.

Countrywide No More
Under a cloud of litigation, Bank of America Corp. has closed on its acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. The merger creates a company that is the biggest U.S. bank and largest residential mortgage lender.

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