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July 2012 Archive

Credit Outlook Strengthens
Risk managers at U.S. financial institutions are optimistic about upcoming mortgage demand, according to a new survey. But a decline in subprime lending is expected by a big share. Most of the group are in agreement that mortgage delinquency rates are unlikely to increase.

New Record for CMBS Delinquency
Past-due payments on the nation's portfolio of securitized commercial real estate loans deteriorated, setting a new record in the process. Following a big jump in the rate of hotel delinquency, the category was the lone one to see improvement in the latest month.

Foreclosure Inventory Could Bloat
While there hasn't been any increase in the volume of foreclosures completed during the past couple months, the sale of real estate owned has slowed -- placing pressure on the foreclosure inventory. California, the state with the most repossessions, is home to three of the country's worst major areas.

Ally Hit With ResCap RMBS Suits
The parent of bankrupt Residential Capital LLC is being sued because of alleged fraud by units of ResCap and other parties involved in the issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities from at least five years ago. Former ResCap executives were also named in the lawsuit.

Capital One Settles Servicemember Act Violations
Alleged illegal foreclosures on loans to members of the military by Capital One Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries will cost the company millions. Impacted borrowers will each net more than a hundred thousand dollars.

Wells Reducing Correspondent?
Wells Fargo & Co.'s mortgage unit won't confirm whether or not it is closing its non-financial institution correspondent lending next year, as a source with knowledge of the matter has indicated. But the company did say that people working in the unit are doing a "great job."

Office Defaults Lead CMBS Delinquency Rate Higher
Delinquency on securitized commercial real estate loans climbed higher during the latest quarter with mortgages secured by office buildings leading the increase. Still, the pace of deterioration is a little better than projected earlier this year.

News Reports Misinform About CFPB Disclosures
News accounts of the new mortgage disclosures coming out of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are not completely accurate, according to an Op-Ed piece from a Duke University law professor.

2 Financial Institutions Fail Last Week
Two financial institutions failed last week. One of the casualties, a $217 million bank, was in Georgia -- which already had more failed banks during 2012 than any other state in the country. The other entity is in Colorado, and a big share of its customers apparently speaks Spanish.

Jumbo Business Leads Rise in New Activity
New mortgage activity inched higher this past week with jumbo loans leading the gain. The boost in jumbo business was fueled by a drop in the spread between jumbo and conforming pricing. Demand for government-insured loans and adjustable-rate mortgages, however, turned lower. A sudden surge in long-term Treasury yields today points to higher mortgage rates and lower overall demand next week.

Mortgage Market Index 241 for week ended July 27

Chase Mortgage Chief Promoted
The executive in charge of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s mortgage business is being promoted less than two years after settling into the role. The move is one of several executive changes announced by the venerable financial services gain.

FHA Refi Plan Proposed for Underwater Borrowers
The Obama administration supports a proposed plan that would have the government acquiring up to 8 million negative-equity mortgages, reducing the principal balances for eligible borrowers and refinancing them into lower-rate government-insured loans at no cost to taxpayers.

Chase Cuts SC Mortgage Jobs
Dozens of mortgage jobs have been eliminated in South Carolina by the mortgage lending subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Investor Group Confident Eminent Domain Plan Will Survive Legal Challenges
The founder of the investor group that stands to profit from a plan to utilize eminent domain to force private-label investors to take a loss on securitized performing mortgages is confident that the controversial plan will survive a legal challenge.

Quicken Shatters Origination Record
Quarterly residential loan production at Quicken Loans Inc. blew past the online lender's prior all-time record to cement its standing as one of the nation's biggest originators of home loans. Quicken is hiring new employees as fast as it is increasing production.

Fixed Rates Set New Records, ARMs Rise
Fixed mortgage rates fell to a new low this week and could hold their positions until next week's reports. On the other hand, adjustable-rate mortgages climbed higher, while jumbo mortgages and 15-year loans became less competitively priced.

Serious Residential Delinquency Rises
The rate of serious delinquency moved higher for the second consecutive month. But a decline in early stage late payments points to a lower serious delinquency rate in the coming months. Home-equity lending is making a slow comeback -- even in some of the worst housing markets -- which could benefit local economic conditions.

The Secondary Insider
More than $6 billion in recent secondary marketing trades included transactions involving servicing, whole loans and mortgage-backed securities. The residential and commercial mortgage deals were made on portfolios backed by both performing and non-performing assets.

Freddie's Business at Highest Since 2010
Monthly secondary marketing activity at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. climbed to the highest level since 2010. Residential delinquency, meanwhile, has not increased during any month in 2012. But delinquency on apartment loans was worse.

Mortgage Crimes Run the Gamut
Although crimes against mortgage lenders are frequently related to mortgage fraud -- including one case involving a former federal bank examiner -- the latest rage is real estate investors conspiring in bid-rigging schemes. But mortgage firms aren't the only victims in mortgage-related crimes.

Crooked Executives Behind Several Failed Banks
While the financial crisis was responsible for hundreds of bank failures, a fair share of failures were caused by crooked bankers. Some of the defendants worked with other executives within their financial institutions, while others colluded with clients and borrowers.

Residential Delinquency Turns Lower
Following a bump in May, the rate of late payments on residential loans settled back last month. The improvement was felt both with newly delinquent mortgages and loans in foreclosure.

Fannie Revises Foreclosure Requirements
The Federal National Mortgage Association is making changes to its requirements on foreclosures. One update involves which title companies can be used, while another impacts the maximum legal fees allowed on judicial and non-judicial foreclosures.

United Guaranty Improves Premiums, Market Classifications
Updates at United Guaranty Corp. will result in lower mortgage insurance premiums for borrowers with high-risk characteristics, wholesale originations and refinance transactions. In addition, dozens of markets are being favorably reclassified.

Indiana Lender Reports Phenomenal Growth
With quarterly residential loan originations nearly tripling over the past year, an Indiana-based lender has moved to a bigger office to accommodate a growing staff. A recent investment by a private-equity firm will be used to increase third-party originations and acquire new branches.

Reprieve from CMBS Deterioration Might Not Last
Thanks to improvement in the performance of industrial and healthcare property loans, delinquency on securitized commercial mortgages reversed some of the hefty deterioration during the previous month. But the share of past-due loans remains at the second-highest level in at least two years and has to potential increase further.

10-Year Treasury Yield Breaks Record
After teetering on the verge of a new record low on Monday, a benchmark Treasury yield that is closely tracked by mortgage rates broke new ground on Tuesday. The latest Treasury market activity points to a new low for mortgage rates later this week in a closely watched survey.

Residential Lending Performance Strong at Regions
Home-loan originations at Regions Financial Corp. jumped by nearly a third and were up by half from a year ago. Residential delinquency, meanwhile, was lower as mortgage income rose. But one area that didn't improve was commercial mortgage delinquency.

Ginnie MBS Issuance Off for First Time in Four Months
Issuers of securities that are guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association saw their first monthly volume decline in four months. While the securitization of loans backed by apartment buildings was stronger, it wasn't enough to offset a decline in residential issuance.

Best HAMP Performers
Based on the number of overall requests received for government loan modifications, Nationstar Mortgage LLC and GMAC Mortgage LLC have the highest rates of denial. Among mortgage servicers with the highest share of approvals is CitiMortgage Inc.

Regulatory Requirements Evolve for Lenders
The nation's regulator of financial services companies that deal directly with consumers has recently been getting an earful from the firms it oversees. Among their biggest concerns are the revival of disparate impact and the speedy implementation of combined disclosures before related regulations have been developed.

GSEs More Bullish than Mortgage Bankers
Mortgage banking economists are less optimistic about this year's expected mortgage originations than economists for the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Mortgage bankers scaled back on their projections for purchase financing, while next year's refinances are expected to fall by more than half.

Weak Quarter at Fifth Third
Fifth Third Bancorp was among a small group of large lenders to report a decline in linked-quarter home-loan production. In addition, the rate of past-due payments increased from the first quarter on residential loans, while outstanding repurchase demands grew.

Euro Crisis Drives 10-Year Yield to Record Low
Mortgage rates, already lingering at all-time lows, are poised to set new records based on Treasury market activity. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is trading below its record low as the financial crisis in Europe escalates.

Origination Forecast Lifted by $150 Billion
The annual outlook for home-loan originations by U.S. lenders just keeps getting better. The latest improvement impacted both refinance and purchase financing. The runoff in the nation's collective mortgage portfolio is expected to hit bottom this year as outstandings turn higher in 2013.

5 Bank Fatalities Friday
Friday was a busy day for bank regulators with the failure of five financial institutions from Florida to Kansas. Two of the casualties were based in Georgia -- where more than a fifth of this year's bank failures have occurred. The Federal Bureau of Investigation released photos of a former bank director who is on the lam after being accused in a scheme that helped bring down a Georgia bank earlier this month.

California Company Growing and Hiring
A mortgage lender based in Southern California has moved to a new facility big enough to house a rapidly growing staff. The expansion follows the recent launch of a reverse mortgage business and a wholesale lending subsidiary.

ARM Activity Expands Despite Lending Slump
New mortgage activity took a dip this week, with inquiries for jumbo mortgages leading the pack. The decline came despite a new low for mortgage rates -- which could fall even lower. But one category -- adjustable-rate mortgages -- actually experienced an uptick.

Mortgage Market Index 236 for week ended July 20

Ratings Agencies Revise Ratings Methods
Two leading ratings agencies have announced changes to how their ratings are determined. One is revising its approach to rating mortgage servicers, while the other is updating its criteria for rating mortgage securities.

Mortgage Performance Improves at SunTrust
Home-loan production picked up at SunTrust Banks Inc. as a bigger share of activity was funded through third-party channels. But new applications suggest a decline in the current quarter's activity. Mortgage production income improved and residential delinquency declined, but servicing income turned lower.

Radian Streamlines HARP Process
A number of requirements designed to support lending under the Home Affordable Refinance Program were outlined by mortgage insurer Radian Guaranty Inc.

Forecast Calls for Rise in Record Rates
While fixed-rate mortgages fell to new lows this week, the latest data suggests a small increase by next week and an even bigger increase over the next couple months. Standard and hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were identically priced this week -- making the hybrid product a more attractive option.

Originations Decline at BB&T
While most of its competitors have reported an increase from the first quarter in home-loan production, BB&T Corp. actually originated less. Mortgage earnings were also worse. But the bank continued to make headway on residential delinquency and reported record earnings at the corporate level.

Strong Quarter at Flagstar
Quarterly home-loan production increased at Flagstar Bancorp Inc. and more than doubled from a year ago. Rate lock commitments point to continued improvement during the current quarter. While the bank returned to profitability following a string of quarterly losses, repurchase activity deteriorated.

Mortgage Servicers Doing a Better Job
Improvements made in mortgage servicing have increased borrower satisfaction. The biggest gains have been made with distressed borrowers.

Lawsuit Seeks Fees from GSEs for TN Counties
Campbell County, Tenn., has filed a federal lawsuit against the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. alleging that the two secondary lenders have been wrongfully skirting transfer fees in the state. Class action certification is sought on behalf of all 95 counties in the state.

Realtor Beats Foreclosure, Jeopardizes MERS in Oregon
Oregon realtor Rebecca Niday borrowed $236,000 from GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Inc. in August 2006. When she defaulted, the foreclosure process was initiated on her property. But more than three years later, Niday has successfully fended off foreclosure and thrown the registry system into jeopardy on non-judicial foreclosures in the state.

PNC Reports Small Improvement in Production
The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. managed a small gain in quarter-over-quarter residential production, though mortgage earnings were hurt by repurchases. Mortgage delinquency was lower.

Record Originations at U.S. Bancorp
U.S. Bancorp closed more residential loans than during any other quarter in its history. In addition, residential and commercial real estate delinquency was lower.

Serious Delinquency Continues Improving
Serious residential loan delinquency has improved every month this year. Late payments on first mortgages have fallen back to where they stood five years ago, while the rate on second mortgages stands lower than at any other point during the past eight years.

2012 Refi Outlook Second Highest Since 2007
The latest boost to forecasted mortgage originations means that this year will blow past 2011 to rival 2010. All of the improvement was with refinance activity -- which is now expected to be the second-highest on record during the last six years. The outlook for purchase production, however, was cut to the lowest level in more than a decade.

BofA's Mortgage Unit Turns In Mixed Performance
Quarterly home-loan production grew at Bank of America Corp., though the lender will likely never recover from the loss of its correspondent lending business. Mortgage delinquency was worse as the company continues to reduce its assets. While repurchases continue to eat into earnings, repurchase losses were dramatically lower than a year ago.

Distressed FHA Loan Sales Expanded
Applications are being taken from investors who are looking to bid on severely distressed government-insured mortgages.

Loan Quality Rises as Closing Ratios Slip
The share of applications that are converting to closed loans has fallen two months in a row, with refinances responsible for the latest downturn. But purchase transactions stretched out the amount of time it is taking to process loans. Credit scores and equity levels, meanwhile, improved on new loan production.

Servicer Mistakes Lead to Litigation
Many of the lawsuits that mortgage servicers are defending themselves against are the result of their own mistakes. A lawsuit against the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. sought to collect lost servicing fees after the secondary lender backed out of a servicing agreement.

Forced Placed Insurance Litigation Heats Up
A host of lawsuits and class actions accuse some of the nation's biggest mortgage servicers of needlessly obtaining overpriced forced-placed insurance policies and backdating the coverage in order to maximize kickbacks for insurance premiums.

Biggest Reverse Lender Overcomes Industry Slump
While government-insured reverse mortgage originations were down for both retail and wholesale lenders during May, the biggest player -- MetLife Bank, N.A. -- pushed production higher. But with a more than 20 percent market share, MetLife's upcoming exit from the business is going to leave a gaping hole.

Trustees Sued Over REOs in Disrepair
US Bank, N.A., is being sued by the city of Los Angeles over 150 real-estate-owned properties that have fallen into disrepair even though it is only the trustee on the foreclosed mortgages.

Relief for Elevated Originations
As increased refinance business tests the limits of mortgage origination firms, service providers are promoting offerings that promise relief. One has a call center for new incoming loans prospects, while another promises to reduce the number compliance service providers involved in the production process.

Army of HARP 2.0 Service Providers
Mortgage originators targeting refinance prospects for the enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program can get help identifying prospects, managing capacity issues and complying with program requirements. A wholesale lender is hosting a HARP 2.0 webinar this week, while another company has developed a video for loan prospects.

Monthly HARP Activity Jumps More than a Third
The latest monthly production of government-supported refinances increased 36 percent from the previous month and was up 165 percent from a year earlier.

Mixed Mortgage Performance at Citi
Quarterly mortgage production and corporate earnings were down at Citigroup Inc. The financial services conglomerate, however, did reduce its risky mortgage investments and it overall first mortgage delinquency. The rate of repurchases, meanwhile, is up significantly from last year.

10-Year Yield Treading in Record Territory
New government data on retail sales had the stock market lower and the benchmark Treasury yield trading in record territory. Treasury market activity points to a new record-low for mortgage rates.

160-Year-Old Bank Fails
A Missouri bank that survived the Civil War and made it through the Great Depression was unable to withstand the Great Recession.

Multifamily MBS Issuance Improves from 2011 at Fannie
While quarterly issuance of multifamily mortgage-backed securities at the Federal National Mortgage Association slipped from the first-three months of this year, year-to-date activity has improved by more than a third from last year.

Appellate Ruling Could Impact Tens of Thousands of GA Foreclosures
Tens of thousands of Georgia foreclosures processed in 2008 and 2009 could be impacted by a decision this week from the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia.

Economist Says Record Rates Could Fall Further
The chief economist for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. says that it is possible record-low mortgage rates haven't yet found a bottom. And he's not the only economist who acknowledges that there is a small chance rates could fall further.

New Mortgage Activity Jumps
Thanks to rates that continue to defy prior lows, mortgage activity shot up by nearly half coming out of the holiday week -- with refinances and jumbo activity leading the way.

Mortgage Market Index 251 for week ended July 13

Wells Positioned for Record Production
Mortgage production more than doubled from a year ago at Wells Fargo & Co., though the quarter-over-quarter increase wasn't so spectacular. But the ending mortgage pipeline has the nation's biggest residential lender poised to establish an all-time record in the third quarter. Meanwhile, thousands of mortgage jobs were added in the latest quarter.

Mortgage Metrics Strong at Chase
While year-over-year earnings were hurt by scandalous trading losses at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the bank increased residential originations, beat down delinquency and raised mortgage earnings. The growth in home-loan fundings appears to be continuing into the current quarter.

Bankers Develop Website to Unload Foreclosed Properties
Lenders in North Carolina were inspired by an iconic seventies rock band in developing an online platform to unload foreclosed properties.

New Reverse Lending Business Opens
An established provider of traditional mortgages has announced the launch of a new reverse mortgage lending division.

Record Rates Ready to Repeat
Fewer borrowers are choosing adjustable rates as fixed rates continue to sink to depths never before recorded, and a new record could be in store next week. Even jumbo mortgages are participating in the rally.

Wave of Underwater Borrowers Move Into the Black
More than 700,000 mortgages moved from a negative-equity position to less than 100 percent loan-to-value during the latest quarter as the outlook for the real estate market improved. More than a million more are poised to join them if market momentum continues.

Wells Settles Discrimination Claims; Closes Wholesale Channel
Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to fork over more than $175 million to settle claims of lending discrimination. In conjunction with the settlement, the company will no longer accept mortgage broker business through its wholesale lending division.

Foreclosure Crisis Deepens in California
Despite a national slowdown last month, foreclosures in California climbed for the second consecutive month and were more than double the next-worst state. California wrestled the worst foreclosure rate away from Georgia. So far this year, more than a million U.S. homes have been hit with a foreclosure filing.

U.S. foreclosures fall 4% in June

MGIC Volume Rises, Delinquent Policies Decline
New business continued to grow at MGIC Investment Corp. as the number of delinquent mortgage insurance policies retreated for the 23rd consecutive month. But the rate of delinquency might have turned higher.

California Foreclosure Bill Signed Into Law
Many of the provisions outlined earlier this year in a settlement between the country's biggest mortgage servicers and state attorneys general have become law in California. The legislation expands protections for borrowers who seek a loan modification. But some in the mortgage industry warn that the new law will delay California's housing recovery, raise the cost of credit for the state's residents and increase litigation.

Taylor Bean Unit Files Bankruptcy, Seeks Subpoenas
Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp.'s conduit funding facility has filed bankruptcy nearly three years after the lender, itself, collapsed and filed bankruptcy. The subsidiary claims that the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. allowed Taylor Bean to continue a fraudulent scheme for more than a year after a news reporter alerted Freddie Mac's regulator about the crime -- allegedly costing the subsidiary more than $0.8 billion. Subpoenas are sought for the government-controlled enterprise and its regulator.

Mortgage Fraud Rising on New Originations in NJ, CO
The latest mortgage fraud data suggest increasing problems in the states of New Jersey and Colorado. Another area of growing concern is collusion between industry professionals. Fraud on new originations in Florida, however, appears to be past its peak.

CoreLogic Named as Defendant in Antitrust Lawsuit
The same day that CoreLogic Inc. launched a new credit product, it was sued over alleged antitrust practices. Attorneys in the lawsuit hope to make the case a class action.

Default Services Firm Reports Continued Growth
Nearly a hundreds jobs will be added in Louisiana as a result of an expansion in the state by a default services provider. It's not the first time the company has been in expansion mode.

NY Bank Launches Portfolio Mortgage Unit
A new residential lending unit at a New York-based bank will originate loans to be held in the bank's own portfolio.

Deficiency Judgments Outlawed on California Refis
A new law in California prohibits mortgage servicers from collecting deficiency balances on foreclosed refinance loans.

Combined TILA-RESPA Disclosure Released
A long-awaited form that combines disclosures required under the Truth-in-Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act has been released for public comment. In addition, a new closing disclosure has been unveiled.

Reverse Production Picks Up
Government-insured reverse mortgage originations improved last month, with much of the growth coming from a company that is getting out of the business. The number of active reverse mortgage lenders has plunged over the past year.

FHA Production Inches Up, Delinquency Eases
Originators of loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration managed a monthly gain even though the previous month's applications sank. New applications have since declined even further, and the drop was most pronounced with refinance activity. But reverse mortgage production is gaining steam. The reported delinquency rate was unchanged, though the rate actually declined based on the number of past-due loans.

Extensive Litigation Would Precede Implementation of Eminent Domain
As the financial services community has more time to digest a proposal that would have two cities and a county in California seizing ownership of negative-equity loans included in private-label mortgage-backed securities, it appears likely that a mountain of litigation would precede any actual implementation. In addition, such a strategy would likely prevent the return of private investors to impacted markets and raise the cost of credit.

Strong Performance Continues at Radian
Radian Guaranty Inc. extended its streak of monthly gains in new business and continued to drive down delinquency. The mortgage insurance company noted a shift in new business to monthly premiums.

Borrowers Suing Servicers Over Forced-Placed Insurance
Mortgage servicers are issuing more forced-placed insurance on loans secured by Florida properties than any other state. But some borrowers in the state claim that the coverage and premiums are ridiculously high and are taking their grievances to court.

Mortgage Casualties Fall as Fewer Financial Institutions Fail
The number of mortgage-related businesses to fail or close down during the first six months of this year is down by more than a quarter from the same point in 2011. Despite an increase in mortgage bankers to call it quits, including some high-profile firms, fewer banks and credit unions are failing.

52 mortgage casualties in 1st-half 2012

Bank Failure Follows Indictment, Disappearance of Director
State banking regulators in Georgia seized a $174 million financial institution following the criminal indictment of one of its directors who hasn't been seen for nearly a month. Acquaintances were warned by the director of his plans for suicide.

MBS Case Activity Dominated by BofA, Chase
Investors continue to battle issuers and underwriters of mortgage-backed securities over claims of misrepresentation in the sale of billions of dollars in MBS investments. Many of the cases are being fought in New York courtrooms, and units of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. are frequently named as defendants.

Holiday Activity Tumbles
Depressed by the Fourth of July holiday, new loan activity plunged by more than a fifth this week. Adjustable-rate and government mortgages were hardest-hit. Rates reached a new low and appear poised to establish another record thanks to dismal employment data.

Mortgage Market Index 172 for week ended July 6

HAMP Activity Edges Higher
The number of government-supported permanent modifications increased more in May than in the previous month. But growth lags far behind a year ago.

2012 Bankruptcies on Track for Post-Crisis Low
Last month, 9 percent fewer non-business bankruptcies were filed than during the previous month. At the current rate, overall bankruptcy filings are on track to fall to the lowest level since the financial crisis erupted in 2008.

Broker Employment Continues Growth
The number of people employed as mortgage brokers increased from the previous month, has been higher for four consecutive months and was up from a year earlier. But the metrics weren't so good for the rest of real estate finance and other industries.

Risk Ahead for HELOC Portfolios
A new regulatory report indicates that a big share of outstanding home-equity lines of credit are expected to reach the end of their draw periods during the next few years, and banks face risk from payment shock and lower home values on this book of business.

Just Another Week of Record Mortgage Rates
During nearly every week for almost three months the 30-year mortgage has established a new all-time low. The latest record was the result of more weak economic data.

Offerings Target Distressed Loans
Mortgage servicers wading through a sea of distressed loans are being courted by default service providers that promise to assist with foreclosure documentation, property preservation and other aspects of servicing delinquent mortgages. Some of the offerings help mortgage firms manage the multitude of vendors involved in distressed servicing. One of the services targets vendor education, while another focuses on compliance with Federal Housing Administration requirements.

Services Capitalize on REO-to-Rental
As the first batch of real-estate-owned properties held by the Federal National Mortgage Association is readied for sale and conversion to rental properties, several firms are providing assistance for investors interested in buying such assets.

Service Providers Assist in Short Sales
A host of recent offerings promise to help mortgage servicers manage short-sale transactions. Newly developed short-sale platforms connect service providers with servicers and help all parties keep track of their transactions.

Public Purpose Requirement Not Met in Eminent Domain Proposal
A proposal under consideration in San Bernardino County, Calif., to use eminent domain to take over negative-equity properties at the expense of private-label mortgage-backed securities investors doesn't serve a public purpose as required by the state constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court, according to legal experts.

Report Criticizes Oversight of GSE Contractors
The Federal Housing Finance Agency failed to conduct targeted reviews of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's foreclosure management programs or the roughly 10,000 contractors hired to maintained foreclosed properties from 2008 through most of 2011, according to a report from the FHFA Office of Inspector General.

HEL Performance Contrasts HELOC
Late payments retreated on closed-end home-equity products. But the level of past-due payments on home-equity credit lines was worse and is expected to keep deteriorating.

First REO-to-Rental Transactions Ready to Close
The first transactions in a pilot program to convert foreclosed properties into rental properties are set to close.

Digital Connections Can be Liability for Lenders
In the digital age of working wirelessly the lines become blurred between work and personal life. This can turn into a liability for companies with hourly employees.

Governor Expected to Sign California Foreclosure Bill
Legislation passed Monday by California lawmakers is modeled after the multi-state mortgage servicer settlement announced earlier this year.

MTA Ends Record Run
June was the first month in more than three years that the Monthly Treasury Average didn't come in at its lowest level on record. It was also the first time in more than five years that the index increased.

Lodging Loans Drive Record CMBS Delinquency
The rate of past-due payments on securitized commercial mortgages reached an all-time high last month. The worst performing property type was lodging. But late payments on mortgages secured by industrial properties had a huge improvement.

Distressed Loan Updates
Bank regulators and the Federal National Mortgage Association have recently provided updated information for foreclosed loans, distressed loans and loan modifications.

Freddie Issuance Soars
While monthly issuance of mortgage-backed securities was lower at both the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Government National Mortgage Association, a surge in activity at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. was enough to drive overall agency securitizations higher.

Stevens to Stay On at MBA
In a dramatic reversal, David H. Stevens has decided not to leave his leadership post at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

MERS Wins Florida Fee Case
A lawsuit filed by the Duval County Clerk of Court last October alleged that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System avoided public recording laws and deprived the county of recording fees. The MERS system also allegedly harmed the public because the true mortgagee of a property couldn't easily be determined.

Servicers Boost Employee Productivity
Small and mid-sized mortgage servicers have been increasing the number of loans handled per employee. Net income per loan serviced swung from a loss to a profit, and firms are seeing big benefits from economies of scale.

Retail Metrics Better than Wholesale as Overall Originations Slip
Retail originators earned about 45 basis points more than their wholesale counterparts in the first quarter, according to new industry data. Credit scores on retail originations were about 7 points higher than on wholesale originations. Regardless of the origination channel, average loans closed per sales employee slipped from the final three months of last year.

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