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August 2010 Archive

ARM Indices Abate
Four indices for adjustable-rate mortgages -- including the cost of funds index -- fell last month, and one was lower this month.

Improvement in Delinquency Driven by Mods
A just-released ratings agency report indicates that loan modifications are having a positive impact on residential delinquency.

Lenders Litigate Title Claims
Title insurers and mortgage bankers are battling in court over title insurance claims. One mortgage lender is using litigation to secure a superior lien position on a loan it refinanced after a judgment was issued against the borrower.

Merger Creates Top-10 Subprime Servicer
An upcoming acquisition of a default servicer is expected to create a new top-10 servicer of subprime mortgages and boost demand for servicing portfolios.

The Mortgage Educator
The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act seems to be keeping at least two education providers busy. One educational offering provides a good dose of mortgage compliance training.

M.I. Volume Falls, Default Rise
After five months of rising volume, mortgage insurers wrote 7 percent fewer policies last month. But when compared to the frenetic pace set earlier in the decade -- monthly M.I. business is down by more than 90 percent. Defaults rose for the second consecutive month.

Credit Union Growth Slows, Delinquency Mixed
Credit unions saw quarterly growth in outstanding loans, deposits and membership -- albeit at a nominal rate. Late payments rose on fixed-rate mortgages but improved on loans with adjustable rates.

Furious Pace of Regulatory Actions Continue
There were no shortage of regulatory actions against financial institutions over the past month. Officials are meeting this week to discuss regulation of the largest financial services companies.

American Home Sued Over Servicing Practices
A lawsuit filed by the Texas attorney general alleges violations of the state's mortgage servicing laws byinsurance and taxes even though they didn't owe such expenses.

Wholesale Conditions Better, But U/W Still Tough
A wholesale lending "renaissance" is on, according to one executive. And improving rates have forced at least one wholesale lender to increase minimum lock periods to 45 days. Meanwhile, wholesale lender underwriting overlays are a troubling trend for third-party originators.

Wholesaler Launching
A company that originates more than $3 billion a year in retail business is launching a third-party channel that will focus on government programs. The expansion into the mortgage broker arena follows similar moves recently by other wholesale lenders

Credit Union Consolidation Ahead in SoCal?
SAN DIEGO -- The chief executive of a credit union in Northern California is leaving to run a smaller institution in Southern California. Some see the move as a signal that a wave of credit union mergers is ahead.

Servicer Rating Lowered at Goldman Unit
The subprime mortgage servicing subsidiary of Goldman Sachs was hit with a servicer rating downgrade.

Purchase Activity Drags Down FHA Volume
Origination of federally insured mortgages was lower in July. An increase in refinance and reverse mortgage production was not enough to offset a drop in purchase endorsements. But a surge in refinance applications is likely to boost overall business this month.

Bank SAFE Deadline in Limbo
Exactly when banks will be required to comply with registration requirements under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 or which regulator will initially oversee the process is not clear.

Mixed Results at Fannie
The good news is that residential defaults were lower for the fourth consecutive month at Fannie Mae. The bad news is that secondary purchases declined and commercial mortgage delinquency deteriorated.

More Improvement in Mortgage Market
Mortgage rates fell to fresh record lows, and mortgage activity continued higher this week.

Regions Loses Best Servicer Title
The mortgage banking subsidiary of Regions Financial Corp. lost its place at the top of a servicer ranking. Ocwen Financial Corp. Inc. fared poorly in the ranking.

US LTV 70%
The nation's collective loan-to-value ratio is 70 percent. Home equity in the Golden State is higher than any other state.

MetLife Launching Warehouse Operation
MetLife Bank has hired two former Sovereign Bank executives to run a new warehouse lending operation.

Subprime & FHA Foreclosures Fall, Prime Inventory Rises
Residential loan delinquency improved, as did the overall foreclosure rate. But even as subprime foreclosures tumbled more than a hundred basis points, prime foreclosures increased. An increase in late payments on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration was more than offset by a decline in the FHA foreclosure inventory. More than one-in-four Florida mortgages is delinquent or in foreclosure.

Delinquency, Portfolio & Secondary Volume fall at Freddie
Home loan delinquency has declined four out of the last five months at Freddie Mac. Also lower were secondary marketing activity and the balance of its massive mortgage portfolio.

Troubled Credit Union Looking to Be Acquired
SAN DIEGO -- A credit union based in Southern California has run out of cash and is searching for another firm to acquire it. The head of the $600 million institution said that the company was simply a victim of the economy.

4 Weeks of Rising Mortgage Activity
It was a small increase but an increase all the same. It was also the fourth consecutive week that the Mortgage Market Index was higher. Purchase activity was up and rates were down. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended Aug. 25, 2010

High-Fraud States also Have High Foreclosures
In's latest mortgage fraud index, California had the worst state index and the highest dollar amount of fraudulent loans. California also had the most foreclosures during the period. In fact, seven of the 10 states with the highest amount of mortgage fraud were also among the 10 states with the most foreclosures.

Law Eliminates Federal Pre-emption
One of the many things the financial reform law does is eliminate federal pre-emption for mortgage lending subsidiaries -- leaving banks with two options.

Servicing Firm Sees Continued Growth
During the past year-and-a-half, a growing sub-servicer has added 150 employees. Executives at the firm forecast even more hirings. The company noted particularly high growth at its seller finance unit.

HAMP Activity Fading
After peaking a few months ago, the pace of government loan modifications has slowed considerably. But as servicers weed out ineligible loans, the conversion ratio continues to improve.

32,606 HAMP modifications completed in July
Strategic Recruiting
A number of executive announcements were recently made by mortgage bankers and loan servicers, and much of the latest activity occurred at commercial mortgage firms.

Management Shuffled at Service Providers
Recent management changes at mortgage service providers included several in sales and marketing positions and several at default service providers.

Banks Replace Executives
A $22 billion bank based in Connecticut has named a new chief, while a Michigan-based institution lost one if its directors to a hedge fund. Several other sizable institutions also made changes among their executive ranks. After a quarter century at the banking sector's primary trade group, the top executive is leaving.

Regulatory Recruiting
Federal banking regulators have been busy accepting resignations and recruiting replacements.

Commercial Servicing Portfolios Shrink
Four of the top-five servicers of commercial mortgages have seen their servicing portfolios retreat. The biggest servicer of loans secured by commercial real estate shows no signs of giving up its title.

Mortgage Rates Poised for New Lows
Mortgage rates could fall to new lows as the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly traded below the 10,000 mark.

Banks Face Less Competition as Brokers Exit
In Indiana, the number of licensed mortgage brokers has fallen by nearly three quarters during the past five years. The decline was precipitated by falling home values and rising regulations. Banks appear to be the beneficiaries of the fallout.

Over $20 Billion in Subprime RMBS Downgraded
Three vintages of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities have continued to see deterioration in loan performance. Based on the worsening performance as well as economic conditions, one ratings agency downgraded more than $20 billion in securities.

The Conference Calendar
Issues being addressed at upcoming mortgage events include loan officer compensation, the future of mortgage servicing and selling loans to the Federal National Mortgage Association. The premier mortgage banking event of the year is just around the corner.

William Mills Lands Lenders One
William Mills Agency has added Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative to its list of clients.

Mortgage Fraud Cases Jump 55%
A big surge in the number of active mortgage fraud cases helped push the Second Quarter 2010 Index higher. The heavier caseload follows increased efforts by the Obama administration to prosecute mortgage crimes.

Half of Friday's 8 Bank Failures in California
State and federal banking regulators seized eight financial institutions with more than $4 billion in assets last week, and four were in California. Florida was home to two more. More than $400 million in losses are projected as a result of the latest round of bank failures.

Allied Settles Branch Billing Discrepancies with HUD
Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. has agreed to settle allegations by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of billing discrepancies at its branches. The settlement by the self-proclaimed biggest mortgage broker follows the loss of FHA approval at one of its branches earlier this year and a scathing news story last month about the branch operator.

Mortgage Crimes Yield Prison Time
In separate cases, two women have been sentenced to prison for defrauding their bank employers by manipulating accounting records and reducing the amount owed on loans. A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to advertising a fraudulent mortgage scheme.

Brokers Liable for Fees on Early Payoffs at Wells
Mortgage brokers can be required to return the fees and overages they earned on a closed loan if that loan is paid off or refinanced shortly after origination, according to a new policy from Wells Fargo & Co.'s wholesale lending unit.

Half of HAMPs Cancel
Half of all government loan modifications started have canceled, according to the latest government report that showed a decline in the monthly volume of permanent modifications. The fallout is tied to borrowers who either didn't qualify or missed trial payments.

Bank M&As Active
China is seeks a stake in Morgan Stanley, while Wilbur Ross has an interest in a New Jersey bank. Federal banking regulators have received more than 60 applications during the past two months for bank acquisitions.

Mortgage Firms For Sale, Sold
A New York-based investment management firm that already owns multiple mortgage firms is taking a stake in two more. Several other mortgage acquisitions are in the works and bids are reportedly being made to acquire one big player.

Service Providers Grow Through Acquisitions, Investments
A big law firm that services financial firms made a recent acquisition that included two former congressmen and signals aggressive growth planned at the firm. An investment in an income verification company is expected to enable an expansion into other services, while another mortgage service provider hopes to expand from investments it has received.

Record Low Rates Have Further to Fall
Fixed mortgage rates -- which are already at the lowest levels on record -- are still falling, according to one market indicator. And while low interest rates have yet to attract more homebuyers to the market, an increase in traffic has been noted with existing borrowers who are seizing upon a rare refinance opportunity. Meanwhile, over the next year, a growing share of borrowers are projected to choose loans with variable rates.

Buybacks Balloon at Big 4
Repurchase demands have recently ballooned at the four biggest banks, and Fitch Ratings is trying to determine whether the increase is only the result of higher defaults or if secondary investors are expanding their interpretation of which loans can be sent back for repurchase. In an extremely adverse scenario, the four biggest banks could face as much as $180 billion in mortgage repurchases. But repurchase risks aren't limited to the biggest lenders.

Government Solutions to Negative Equity
A host of government-insured programs have been unveiled to help borrowers with negative equity.

3rd Straight Week of Increased Mortgage Activity
It was the third straight week that the Mortgage Market Index has improved. Rates continued lower, the refinance share rose and the jumbo spread was trimmed. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended Aug. 18, 2010

In-Depth Look at New Rules
A dizzying number of mortgage rules issued this week impact disclosures, compensation and servicing. Proposals were also made for reverse mortgages. Here is a comprehensive review of the rules.

15-Year Refi Wave
Tempted by fixed mortgage rates less than 4 percent, a growing share of borrowers are refinancing into 15-year loans.

CA Foreclosures Hit Minorities Hard
A new study by a group that fights abusive lending practices found minorities are bearing the brunt of California's foreclosures. But the study doesn't adequately consider California's high unemployment, according mortgage bankers in the state.

Return of USDA Program Helps Rural Sales
The return of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural mortgage program will help end the home sales slump that hit some rural counties when the program was suspended in June.

Industry, Gov Discuss Future of Fannie, Freddie
WASHINGTON -- Public and private officials met today in the nation's capitol to debate the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The seizure of the two secondary lenders has so far cost the country nearly $150 billion. Political partisans as well as private-sector speakers promoted their positions on how to deal with the two government-controlled enterprises.

Summit Yields Varied Proposals
WASHINGTON -- Tuesday's mortgage summit yielded a number of ideas, including the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction and an automatic refinance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. The Treasury secretary declared that Fannie and Freddie won't return to their former business models.

Former Fannie Executive Offers Insight
Fannie Mae's former chief credit officer says many problems at Washington, D.C.-based company and its government-controlled cousin Freddie Mac began in the late nineties.

Defaults Rise on 2nds, Fall on 1sts
The monthly default rate climbed on second mortgages, though first mortgage late payments continued lower for the seventh consecutive month.

Risk of Mortgage Fraud Subsides
U.S. mortgage loans are less likely to involve mortgage fraud than they were three months ago, according to a quarterly index released Tuesday. But the risk of identity fraud was worse.

Future of Mortgage Lending Debated
Some of the biggest names in mortgage banking traveled to Washington Tuesday to discuss the future of real estate finance and what role the U.S. government should have in the mortgage market.

Video of Conference on the Future of Housing Finance

Favorable Delinquency Trend Developing
Consumers continue to resist the most affordable home-buying conditions in a half century. But the good news is that quarterly delinquency declined again and is expected to continue improving -- though not in Florida.

HSBC Mulling Sale of Mortgage Unit
Employees of HSBC's U.S. mortgage subsidiary have been notified that strategic options are being considered for the lender. The news comes more than a year after the company announced plans to liquidate HSBC Finance Corp.

Brokers Cheer Fed Rule
Mortgage brokers hailed the Federal Reserve Board's final rule on loan originator compensation.

Fannie Increases Outlook
Last month, Fannie Mae predicted that the current quarter's originations by U.S. residential lenders would fall from the prior period. This month the secondary lender sees an increase in third-quarter production, while it raised its annual estimate and predicted adjustable-rate share will more than double over the next two years. The refinance outlook also perked up.

The Great GSE Debate
WASHINGTON -- Many Democrats and Republicans each have their own ideas about what should be done with the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. But members of both parties have come to a consensus on some issues.

ARM, Reverse Rules Released
WASHINGTON -- In just a few months, mortgage lenders will be required to provide new disclosures for adjustable-rate mortgages. New disclosure requirements for reverse mortgages are also on the horizon.

Banks Report Stronger Home-Loan Demand
An increase in demand at banks for home loans was led by small and mid-sized banks. Big banks, meanwhile, were the only ones to ease lending guidelines. Nonprime and commercial mortgage lending has been mostly unchanged.

New Comptroller
An interim comptroller of the currency has been named.

John Walsh named acting comptroller

Closing Costs Jump
The cost of obtaining a purchase-money mortgage has shot up more than a third over the past year. New compliance requirements were blamed for the rise. Arkansas is the least expensive of all states to close a loan.

2010 Bank Toll: 110
The failure of an Illinois bank last week brought to 110 the number of federally insured banks that have been declared insolvent this year.

Anatomy of a Subprime RMBS
A closer look at some of the subprime loans packaged into residential mortgage-backed securities reveals loans with poor credit scores, silent second mortgages and unverified income that were already delinquent before issuance and garnered triple-A ratings. Many involved mortgage fraud. But investors who are looking to litigation have little hope of recovering their losses -- though secondary lenders are pushing losses back to the originator.

Fannie Clarifies Credit Reports Required Before Closing
Fannie Mae said lenders misinterpreted a previous letter about the need to pull a credit report just before closing and has clarified its stance.

Net Branches Among 30 Mortgagees to Lose FHA Approval
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has terminated the approval of more than 30 mortgagees. Among the terminations were branches of Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. and Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services.

Fannie Can Buy Repurchased Loans
In some cases, Fannie Mae will acquire loans that have been repurchased by the seller.

Business Holding Up Navy FCU
If July and August are any indication, Navy Federal Credit Union has a good chance of meeting an annual funding commitment it made earlier this year.

1-in-3 U.S. Mods Done by BofA
TAMPA -- The top executive at Bank of America Corp. says that one out of every three permanent modifications in the country are now done by his company. In an interview, he also talked about how the company has weathered the economic crisis.

Record Rates Poised for Further Decline
Mortgage rates continued their trek further into record territory -- prompting an increase in new activity. One indicator suggests mortgage rates will be even lower in the next set of reports.

CMBS Delinquency Deteriorates
Delinquency on loans issued as commercial mortgage-backed securities was worse last month, but the rate of increase eased. Loans secured by hotel and retail properties had the biggest impact on the latest figures.

Residential Originations Rise with Refis
An increase in refinance share and stronger Federal Housing Administration activity are accompanying an overall increase in quarterly loan fundings.

BofA Mortgage Unit Launches New Program for Banks
A new program for banks has been introduced by Bank of America Home Loans.

Lavish Quicken Headquarters Inspired by Google
Retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans Inc. looked to Google Inc. for ideas about designing its new headquarters in Downtown Detroit.

Big Names to Headline Mortgage Summit
Some of the biggest names in mortgage banking are scheduled as panelists at the upcoming mortgage summit sponsored by the Obama administration. Two members of the president's cabinet will moderate the panels. The event is part of a strategy to submit a mortgage overhaul plan to Congress by early next year.

CA Foreclosures Improve; US Deteriorates
As new foreclosure filings across the country moved higher last month, activity in California slowed.

Upgrade to Select's Servicer Ratings
A host of factors contributed to an improvement in Select Portfolio Servicing Inc.'s servicer ratings for subprime mortgages and second liens. The company saw its average loan size jump by more than a quarter over the past year.

Citi's Subprime Servicer Rating Raised
Citigroup Inc's mortgage banking subsidiary saw its servicer rating upgraded for subprime mortgages.

Rates Drop, Mortgage Activity Higher
Mortgage rates headed lower this week, prompting an uptick in new activity. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended Aug. 11, 2010

Federal Foreclosure Programs Unveiled
Another $2 billion in federal funds is being handed out so that states can help unemployed borrowers avoid foreclosure. In addition, a second foreclosure prevention program was unveiled today.

Changes in FHA Premiums Delayed
Strong feedback from the mortgage industry prompted the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to delay the implementation of new mortgage insurance premiums.

Nearly 1,500 FHA Actions in 2010
So far this year, lenders have faced nearly 1,500 actions by the Federal Housing Administration. Two Texas mortgagees face millions of dollars in FHA fines over lax underwriting practices and loan approvals for borrowers whose loans quickly defaulted.

Why Record Rates aren't Moving Mortgage Market
When interest rates hit record lows in 2003, mortgage bankers originated a record level of loans. Today's rates are even lower -- yet volume this year is expected to come in at less than half of 2003's level.

15-Month Low for 10-Year Yield
The Federal Reserve's decision to buy more Treasury bonds sent the yield on the 10-year Treasury to the lowest level in 15 months. The stock market also reacted favorably.

New PHH Exec Key to Expansion of Indirect Channel
The president of PHH Corp.'s mortgage banking subsidiary says a new executive hired to oversee loan production is "invaluable" to a planned expansion in its wholesale and correspondent lending.

HVCC Being Replaced
A new appraisal rule that replaces the current appraisal code is expected to increase the cost of appraisals and the risk of liability for non-compliance.

New Regulator Approved for Massive Institutions
On July 21, President Barack Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Empowered by the new law, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has created a special regulator to oversee massive financial institutions.

MetLife Top Reverse Wholesaler
For the second month in a row, MetLife Bank's wholesale division has closed more reverse mortgages than any other reverse mortgage wholesaler. But factoring in retail volume, another lender has dominated the top spot most of this year.

No. 3 CRE Servicer has New No. 1
The third biggest commercial mortgage servicer has a new chief executive officer. His resume includes founding partner at BlackRock Inc.

Cease & Desist Orders Issued Against MA LOs
Cease-and-desist orders have been issued against dozens of mortgage loan originators in Massachusetts.

Monthly Orders Jump
Monthly matters processed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. increased 29 percent. Civil money penalties and cease-and-desist orders dominated the latest FDIC activity, while formal agreements kept the Federal Reserve busy.

Decline in Share of Loans Above 100% LTV
The latest meter reading on the share of borrowers whose loan balances exceed the value of their homes showed an improvement. The good news came despite a decline in home values.

FHA LTVs Updated
Loan-to-value requirements for borrowers with subordinate liens are being reined in by the Federal Housing Administration.

Help Wanted: Production Employees
A mortgage service provider is hoping to immediately fill more than a hundred openings for mortgage production jobs. The recruitment campaign follows the recent hiring of more than 300 employees and is part of a bigger plan to create more than a thousand jobs.

Mortgage Business Increases, Could Continue Higher
Residential mortgage originations improved from the first quarter, and early signs indicate the positive trend is continuing in the current period, according to the Second Quarter 2010 Mortgage Lender Ranking from Mortgage Daily. But FHA and reverse mortgage business was softer, and a top-ten originator has been replaced.

Lenders Report Rising Originations
Nearly all originators saw in improvement in business from the first quarter. While most have seen home loan fundings decline, however, from a year ago -- a few pushed activity higher. By switching from retail to wholesale originations, one lender saw annual originations soar 600 percent.

Over 600 Mortgage-Related Casualties Since Crisis Began
Last week was a mild one for mortgage-related firms that failed; just three financial institutions succumbed to the epidemic that has already afflicted over a hundred other institutions this year. More than 600 mortgage-related operations have failed or been closed since the subprime crisis began.

22 Indiana Foreclosure Firms Face Lawsuits
Including three complaints filed Friday, Indiana's attorney general has sued 22 foreclosure firms so far this year -- and more will likely follow. The latest spate of litigation was enabled by recently passed legislation.

New Warehouse Program for Small-, Mid-Sized Firms
Small- and medium-sized originators are the target of a financial services company that has a new warehouse lending product. The new offering helps mortgage brokers make the transition to mortgage banker.

HUD Releases Short Refi Details
The Federal Housing Administration is helping upside-down borrowers with conventional mortgages -- as long as their lenders agree to a discount.

Thousands of NY LOs Can't Originate
Originations have been idled for thousands of loan officers in New York while they attempt to meet education and testing requirements. A state deadline looms for the group.

Underwriters Suing Employers
Several lawsuits alleging unpaid overtime have been filed against mortgage lenders by underwriters and loan originators. A single law firm is responsible for much of the litigation.

Mortgage Sector Loses More Jobs
For the past few years, the government has reported nearly every month that the mortgage industry contracted. This month was no different. But ridiculously low mortgage rates and a growing backlog of loans in process are placing pressure on lenders to add production personnel.

15-year Under 4%
For the first time on record, the 15-year fixed rate slipped below 4 percent. Still, prospective borrowers don't seem very interested.

2 FHA Bills Passed
An act of Congress will enable the Federal Housing Administration to increase mortgage insurance premiums. In addition, the federal legislature approved a bill that keeps FHA's multifamily program in business.

Reverse Lenders Manage Another Gain
It was only the second time in the past eight months that U.S. lenders improved reverse mortgage production. Volume at the second-biggest retail lender was less than half of No. 1's.

WR Starkey's New CEO Speaks Out
WR Starkey Mortgage LLP has named a new chief executive officer who sees this week's settlement with North Carolina as having made the lender a "better, stronger company."

Slight Gain in Quicken Production
As Quicken Loans Inc. completes its move to the Motor City, quarterly retail production edged higher. Quarterly reverse mortgage originations were also higher.

Activity Idles, Rates Fall & Jumbo Spread Improves
Another decline in mortgage rates didn't prompt an increase in mortgage activity. But an improvement was noted in the jumbo spread. Mortgage Market Index for the Week Ended Aug. 4, 2010

MERS Outsources Member Services
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems hopes that an outsourcing arrangement will improve service for its members.

Another Record Low for MTA
For the umpteenth time, the Monthly Treasury Average reach the lowest level on record.

VA RESPA Guidance Issued
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued guidance long-awaited by the mortgage industry regarding the disclosure of fees, particularly fees that may not be charged to the borrower, with a VA guaranteed loan in view of the revised approach to disclosing fees under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Review of Final SAFE Rule
The federal banking agencies including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Farm Credit Administration, and the National Credit Union Administration jointly issued their final rule regarding the registration requirements for mortgage loan originators of financial institutions and certain affiliates of those institutions.

PennyMac Chief Talks about NPL Securitizations
A former senior executive of Countrywide Financial Corp. is investing in non-performing loans through his current venture, PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust. He sees possible securitizations for non-performing loans.

Video interview of Stan Kurland

$600 Mil for Hard-Hit States
Five states will get $600 million in federal funds to help an estimated 50,000 borrowers who are facing foreclosure.

HOEPA Threshold Raised
The dollar amount of loan fees that trigger a high-cost loan classification is being increased.

PennyMac Sees Correspondent Opportunity
As earnings improved from the first quarter, PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust reported that it picked up distressed mortgage loans at a 50 percent discount. The company's chief said he sees a "growing opportunity" in correspondent originations.

FHA to Launch Short Refi Program
With nearly one-quarter of financed homes above 100 percent loan-to-value, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to roll out a short refinance program. The chief of the housing agency touched on the program in a speech to Texas real estate brokers.

LOS Provider Moving
A rich pool of technology talent, lower license rates and the local lifestyle convinced the founders of a mortgage technology provider to move its headquarters to a South Carolina community. Around 700,000 transactions are handled through the firm's loan origination system each year.

Fast Growing Fraud Detection Firm Adding 200
Rapid growth at a technology firm that helps lenders identify potential mortgage fraud has it expanding by 200 employees in Florida. The company has doubled in size each of the past three years and expects to do so again this year.

HFF Sees Soaring Activity
Whether comparing it to the prior quarter or a year earlier, commercial transaction volume leapt at HFF Inc. The company's chief is cautiously optimistic about upcoming activity.

Non-Bank Originators On SAFE
Mortgage operators in California see good and bad to the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008.


Chapter 13 Bankruptcies Jump
Bankruptcy filings by consumers increased 9 percent last month. The rise was even more pronounced for Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

PHH Correspondent Strong, Delinquency Higher
Driven by growth in its correspondent channel, PHH Mortgage managed a quarterly production gain of nearly 30%. The company's servicing portfolio has steadily increased over the past year, though delinquency has deteriorated.

ResCap Earnings, Originations Improve
A quarterly decline in conforming business at Residential Capital LLC was more than offset by gains in government and jumbo lending. Warehouse assets increased around $600 million. The mortgage unit saw two consecutive profitable quarters -- a dramatic improvement from billions of dollars in losses each of the past three years. A settlement with Freddie Mac impacted year-over-year variances in repurchase expense.

Settlement Includes CEO's Exit
A settlement with North Carolina will cost a Texas-based mortgage firm more than $4 million and the resignation of its chief executive officer. The company is accused of playing a roll in a scheme to sell manufactured homes at inflated prices.

Fannie Updates Servicing Guidelines
Fannie Mae addressed a host of issues, including vendors used by attorneys and trustees and fees charged, in a communication to mortgage servicers. A clarification was issued on foreclosure actions in the name of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

A new chief administrative officer has been appointed by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Closer Look at Elizabeth Warren
WASHINGTON -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will have a major impact on mortgage lending, and a leading candidate to head the new regulator is Elizabeth Warren.

Radian Eases Guidelines, Rates
Non-retail originations, high-balance loans and condominium financing are all impacted by upcoming changes to guidelines and rates at Radian Guaranty Inc. The mortgage insurer is also easing its requirements on recently listed properties.

Third Parties Increase Due Diligence
A new government report on mortgage fraud indicates that post-origination reviews by parties other than the lender have grown. More than two-thirds of mortgage fraud reports were filed by institutions overseen by one federal regulator.

Mortgage Funds, Founder Bankrupt
Several mortgage funds fell into bankruptcy amid allegations of missing money and questions about the past of the founder -- who also filed bankruptcy.

SAFE Rules Vary between Fed & State
Under new rules announced last week, federal regulators have a single set of standards for originators at the institutions they oversee. State-regulated originators are subject to different criteria. But originators regulated by both state and federal agencies are being required to participate in a national registry.

City Still Feels Sting of Colonial's Collapse
Civil and criminal cases tied to the collapse of Colonial Bank remain active, with more actions likely to come. Among the victims of the bank's demise is the City of Montgomery, Ala.

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