Mark-To-Market Guidance Issued
Guidance issued today on mark-to-market accounting was cheered by bankers.
COFI Bottoming Out?
The cost of funds index appears to be nearing the end of its unstoppable decline.
M.I. Business Tanking
Mortgage insurance activity sank to its lowest level in more than eight years and is headed even lower. The dismal disposition has one company looking to dump its mortgage insurance unit.
Serious Delinquency Climbs as 30-Day Lates Ease
Payment resets appear to have little impact on nonprime defaults, according to a new report that also indicates fewer loan modifications are being started as serious delinquency is rising. But delinquency of between 30 to 59 days has moderated.
Favorable Ruling in Option ARM Case
A 2007 class action certification against Chevy Chase Bank, FSB, was reversed last week by a federal appeals court. The case, which centered around inadequate disclosures on option adjustable-rate mortgages that had one-month teaser rates, would have potentially had the bank rescinding thousands of loans.
Foreclosure War Goes On Despite Lost Battle
Despite the collapse of the bailout bill, billions of dollars are still being thrown at foreclosures, politicians are still promoting their own agendas and political groups are still engaging in name calling -- all in the name of foreclosure prevention. Meanwhile, more services have emerged to help servicers manage a growing inventory of defaulted loans.
Nationstar Manager Accused of Fraud
Nationstar Mortgage LLC has been sued over allegations that one of its star branch managers prodded borrowers into bad investments, committed mortgage fraud and failed to maintain proper compliance. The company is also accused of operating without a license.
Bailout Defeat Sends Stocks Crashing
The Bush administration's mortgage bailout bill has been defeated in the House -- sending the stock market crashing. Republicans blamed a viscous partisan speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the collapse.
Countrywide Forecloses on Wrong Property
After mistakenly foreclosing on the wrong Nevada property and disposing of all the personal belongings, the homeowners sued Countrywide Home Loans and were awarded $3 million. But the state's Supreme Court has reduced that judgment by more than half.
Citi Acquiring Wachovia
The federal government has stepped in to prevent a failure of Wachovia Bank.
Agreement Reached on Bailout
The White House and lawmakers say they have reached an agreement on legislation to establish a program for the U.S. Treasury to purchase up to $700 billion in toxic mortgage assets infecting U.S. financial institutions. The latest version significantly strengthens oversight of the program, breaks up the $700 billion in acquisitions into at least three installments and enables the potential suspension of mark-to-market accounting. A vote could come as early as today.
Democrats Berate Fannie, Freddie Regulator
In an video that was apparently motivated by politics, Democratic congressmen and congresswomen are chronicled berating the former director of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's regulator.
New and updated mortgage origination software offerings dominated the latest mortgage technology activity. Two companies announced services that help lenders better analyze their loan portfolios.
Freddie Mac has restructured its organization and shuffled some of its executives. Among the casualties are its in-house lobbyist and its chief financial officer.
Bailout Deal Possible by Next Week
Lawmakers' discussions on the housing bailout package remain fluid, and all sides are now negotiating and making public statements indicating that they are working together. So, it appears that some sort of agreement will eventually be reached and passed -- possibly by this Sunday.
Lawsuit Alleges Predatory Servicing
A Massachusetts borrower claims that although he had insurance on his property, his servicer tacked on its own policy then proceeded to foreclose on him when he didn't pay the premium. The servicer is accused of compliance violations and attempting to extract endless fees and equity. In a lawsuit, he alleges that the fiasco ended up costing him more than $50,000.
Freddie Performance Soured in August
As Freddie Mac faced a financial collapse, its business purchases dropped to the lowest level in more than seven years, its total mortgage portfolio declined and delinquency continued to accelerate. One bright spot was a decline in multifamily delinquency.
In the biggest bank failure in history, Washington Mutual Bank has been shut down by federal regulators.
Wachovia Launches Option-ARM Project
Wachovia Corp. is outsourcing the refinancing of its option adjustable-rate mortgages into government and conforming loans. One of the companies hired to handle some of the refinances is looking for more originators.
Mass. Cracks Down on Reverse Lenders
Mortgage regulators in Massachusetts have issued cease-and-desist orders against four reverse mortgage companies. Among the charges were mortgage fraud, deceptive advertising and failure to comply with reverse lending requirements.
GSE Nonprime Performance Disproportionately Bad
|Behind the GSE Meltdowns
The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offered lawmakers a interesting behind-the-scenes look at the collapse of the two secondary lenders as independent companies.
Had Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac avoided subprime and Alt-A mortgages, delinquency and foreclosures would have been cut in half. While subprime and Alt-A loans account for just 17 percent of the loans serviced for the two government sponsored enterprises, they account for around one out of every two foreclosures.
Rates Stagger, Apps Ease
Mortgage rates rose as fast as they fell recently -- abruptly ending a brief refinance wave.
800 Pound Gorilla Entering Secondary Market
As the U.S. government positions itself to become the biggest secondary mortgage market player in the history of the universe, recent entrants to the market who had hoped to capitalize on bargain basement prices may find the game more expensive to play. But at least one private equity firm sees opportunity in the government's participation.
ResCap Servicing Unit Downgraded
Borrowers Allege Closing Documents Forged
Residential Capital LLC's master servicing unit is under more stress -- potentially impairing its ability to operate effectively.
A Nevada couple alleges that they are the victims of fraudulent lending practices by IndyMac Financial Services and a scheme to shield IndyMac from liability by transferring the fraudulent mortgage to a knowing purchaser to foreclose on the loan. Lawyers in the case allege compliance violations and seek class action certification.
Bailout Legislation Bogged Down
House Democrats have drafted their own mortgage bailout plan that calls for more oversight of the Treasury in its purchase of mortgage assets. As Congress grapples with the legislation, Republican presidential nominee John McCain is suspending his campaign to return to Washington, D.C., to deal with the crisis.
Mortgage Bankers Warn of Cramdown Consequences
Mortgage bankers have sent a letter to Congress warning that a proposal to allow bankruptcy judges the ability to modify mortgages could raise the cost of mortgages and stifle the recovery effort.
Bank Chaos Continues
The fallout from the seizure of the government sponsored housing enterprises continues -- with class action filings, more banks' disclosures of losses from their GSE holdings and a banking trade group's call for help from regulators. Meanwhile, three more banks are facing regulatory actions because of their poor capital positions, and two banks have agreed to merge.
Record Ginnie Issuance
The Government National Mortgage Association securitized more loans last month than at any other time in its history.
Chase Consolidating Wholesale Unit
Chase Wholesale Lending is closing four regional centers and laying off more than 170 employees.
Bailout Goals Clouded
There is a significant controversy ensuing between the administration and various factions in Congress over warrants and related issues such as executive compensation.
Commercial Mortgage Outstandings Rise
Despite a decline in commercial mortgages held in securities, overall outstandings increased.
MILA Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Former CEO
The bankruptcy trustee for Mortgage Investment Lending Associates Inc. is suing the firm's founder and former chief executive officer, alleging he looted the company as it collapsed.
Treasury Clarification Satisfies Bankers
|Aggressive Growth Planned at New Firm
The founder of Wilmington Finance Inc. has launched a mortgage banking firm that specializes in government lending. By next year, the new venture hopes to be originating nearly $0.5 billion with 200 employees.
The Treasury Department has moved to alleviate concerns by bankers about unfair competition from money market funds under a guarantee plan unveiled last week.
FHA Moves to Prevent 'Buy and Bail'
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is taking steps to thwart borrowers who commit mortgage fraud in order to buy another home at today's discounted prices then let their current residence fall into foreclosure.
Shakeup, Reorganization at Fannie
Four senior executives are leaving Fannie Mae as the company reorganizes.
IndyMac Not Liable for Bad Appraisals
A recent ruling by a federal judge in Manhattan dismissed class-wide claims against failed IndyMac Bancorp, declining to hold it liable for alleged inflated appraisals. Violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act were alleged.
Fed Takes Emergency Actions on Investment Banks
Two of the last remaining major investment banking houses will convert to bank holding companies under emergency action taken by the federal government Sunday night.
RMBS Ratings All Bad, CMBS Mixed
Recent negative ratings actions were spread across securitizations backed by second liens, home-equity lines-of-credit, Alternative-A loans and prime mortgages. One servicer boasted of its improved servicer status and another saw its rating downgraded. Commercial mortgage-backed securities saw a mix of ratings actions.
No. 12 Shut Down
A federal savings bank based in West Virginia has become the 12th institution to fail this year, with risky construction loans at the center of its collapse. A mortgage subsidiary was marketing no-documentation loans as recently as May.
BankUnited Slashing Workforce
|More Details Emerge on Mortgage Bailout
More details have emerged on the Bush administration's legislative proposal to acquire mortgage assets and prevent a full-scale collapse of the U.S. financial system. The latest move is the biggest yet among a host of historical actions by the government this year.
As its regulator issued an order against it, BankUnited Financial Corp. is cutting more than 10 percent of its workforce. The layoffs primarily impact mortgage jobs.
Several S.C. Lawsuits Filed Against LendingTree
The number of South Carolina Circuit Solicitors who have sued LendingTree Inc. now totals nine. The latest action focuses on the mortgage lead generator's violations of mortgage broker rules and fee disclosure requirements.
Bankers Upset Over Money Market Move
Fraud Lawsuits Tied to Net Branch Collapse
U.S. bankers consider the move by the Treasury to guarantee money market funds to be grossly unfair.
The collapse of a New Jersey-based net branch has some branch managers considering a class action lawsuit. In a lawsuit by one of its wholesale lenders, the company is accused of submitting more than $2 million in fraudulent loans that resulted in more than $1 million in losses.
Jumbo Performance Deteriorates
The performance of loans behind jumbo residential mortgage-backed securities has diminished, and one ratings agency sees potential downgrades ahead.
Mortgage Market Surges
|HUD Outlines Reverse Originator Requirements
Under new legislation, reverse mortgage originators are prohibited from selling other financial or insurance products, according to a letter from the chief of the Federal Housing Administration.
The 30-year fixed rate fell to its lowest level since February while 1003 applications are up by more than half from a month ago and expected to continue higher. Meanwhile, the 1-year Treasury yield spiraled down more than a half percent.
Struggling to Survive
More financial institutions revealed their exposure to investments in the government sponsored enterprises -- with two warning that their capital standing would be impaired. The collapse in value of some Fannie Mae securities have prompted a class action against several investment bankers tied to the offering. One financial firm continued to warn about its ability to survive, while another is fighting an involuntary bankruptcy.
Fannie Increases Net Worth Requirement
Following a similar move by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae is making it more difficult to qualify as an approved seller servicer.
IndyMac Modification Update
The chief of the agency that insures U.S. bank deposits updated Congress on the status of thousands of streamlined modifications at failed IndyMac Federal Bank FSB.
Refi Wave Hits U.S. Shores
Applications for refinances have more than doubled since the beginning of the month and are expected to continue increasing.
Massive Bailout for AIG
The parent of United Guaranty and failed Wilmington Finance Inc. has received a bailout package from the U.S. government. Among the reasons cited in the extraordinary move by the government was concern over an increase in interest rates and a reduction in household wealth.
The Compliance Journal
With increasing scrutiny of mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers, state legislators are ratcheting up regulations. But a host of service providers are promoting services to help mortgage companies comply with the stricter requirements.
New Fannie, Freddie Chairmen
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each have a new chairman of the board.
Ginnie Raises Issuer Net Worth Requirements
The Government National Mortgage Association has quadrupled its net worth requirement for approved issuers of single-family mortgage-backed securities.
Service providers and secondary lenders are promoting services that help secondary players price, acquire and manage loan portfolios. One firm is targeting potential commercial mortgage assets from a bankrupt firm, while other secondary activity centered around the functioning of the secondary market in the aftermath of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's seizure by their regulator.
The Wholesale Wire
A national wholesaler has cut its construction lending program, but some hard-money programs are still expanding. One new offering promises to help wholesale lenders ensure they fund no loans originated by any unlicensed loan officers.
Lehman Servicing Subsidiary Downgraded
The servicing subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has seen its servicer rating cut as a result of Lehman's bankruptcy today.
Originations to Improve in '09
In its first forecast since being taken over by the government, Freddie Mac has increased its estimate of residential originations for next year. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage is also projected to improve.
Several mortgage technology applications have been updated and enhanced.
Word On the Street
Lehman Brothers is filing for bankruptcy protection, Bank of America Corp. reached a deal to acquire Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and former executives of the government sponsored enterprises have been denied their golden parachutes.
Regulators Release Bank Servicing Metrics
|Mortgage Fraud Today
The latest mortgage fraud schemes involve Eastern Europeans who come to the United States just long enough to acquire a property, obtain multiple loans on it and return home to live comfortably, a mortgage fraud attorney recently told a group of mortgage bankers. And appraisal fraud now involves appraising properties for less than the actual value.
Subprime and Alt-A mortgages continue to account for a disproportionate share of defaults and foreclosures at banks, according to a new report. Foreclosure prevention activity is outpacing new foreclosures filed.
Fannie, Freddie Fallout is Broad
A year ago, financial institutions were focused on revealing their exposure to subprime securities. Today, the focus is on revealing exposure to securities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Amid the mess, a Japanese bank took a controlling interest in a U.S. servicer, and an investment bank is searching high and low for another firm to rescue it.
Foreclosure activity jumped last month, with one out of every three U.S. filings occurring in California.
Hard Money Lender Closes
A New Mexico-based bank has shut down its hard-money lending unit.
Best Web Sites
Most mortgage Web sites have room for improvement, though three stand out among the rest.
Pace of New Subprime Lawsuits Eases
While quarterly subprime-related lawsuit filings eased, litigation tied to the subprime crisis has already surpassed the number of cases triggered from the savings-and-loan crisis. Securities cases dominated the latest period.
Fixed Rates Tumble
Following the government's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, fixed mortgage rates fell to their lowest level in nearly five months. As new 1003 activity picked up, new applications for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration fell for the first time in six weeks.
GreenPoint Cutting Servicing Jobs
GreenPoint Mortgage will outsource its mortgage servicing, resulting in hundreds of layoffs.
Wells Chief Discusses Tighter Mortgage Lending
Wells Fargo & Co.'s chief told investors that the company has tightened its guidelines on home-equity loans and residential mortgage programs.
Online Lender Launched
Former executives of a ResCap unit have launched their own company with plans to hire dozens of new employees.
Bankrupt Firm Accused of Secondary Fraud
A Kentucky mortgage company that filed for bankruptcy liquidation is accused of defrauding lenders it sold loans to. As many as 100 employees may have been impacted by the company's collapse.
FHA Downpayments Updated
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued new guidance about downpayments on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
Illegal Mortgage Leads
For two years, an executive of a Countrywide Financial Corp. unit was successfully operating a mortgage leads business using data he stole from the company. He downloaded the records of 20,000 borrowers each week -- until he was caught.
Pulte Mortgage Employees Being Laid Off
Faced with declining volume, Pulte Mortgage LLC is shutting down a North Carolina facility.
Commercial Delinquency Remains Low
Overall quarterly delinquency on loans backed by commercial real estate crept higher, though it still remains relatively low. But commercial delinquency at banks was up significantly.
Regulators have been busy this past week issuing orders against banks, while a number of companies are still assessing the fallout from their holdings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities. A big bank gained a new senior executive and a small bank lost one.
Wachovia Eliminating Florida Positions
Wachovia Corp. continued to execute its plan to eliminate as many as 5,000 mortgage-related jobs. The latest casualties are in Florida.
Bear Servicing Sub Settles for $28 Million
The Bear Stearns Companies LLC has settled with government regulators charges that its mortgage servicing subsidiary misrepresented loan balances and charged illegal fees. The cost of the settlement: $28 million.
Fannie Lowers LTVs, Lifts Fees
Just prior to the government's seizure, Fannie Mae advised sellers out a number of changes to its guidelines that significantly lowered loan-to-values, raised fees and restricted eligibility on several programs.
Best Mortgage Servicers
The best servicer last year retained the top spot this year, but there was a new world order among the remaining top five, according to a customer satisfaction study. The report found that overall customer satisfaction is decreasing, while online account management is becoming increasingly important among borrowers.
Investor Lawsuits Surge Against Lenders
An analysis of mortgage-related litigation and legal actions in the second quarter indicates active lawsuits filed by shareholders against mortgage firms jumped more than 50 percent from the prior quarter.
Brokers Rally for DPA Revival
The nation's primary trade group representing mortgage brokers is sponsoring a rally to reinstate seller-funded down payment assistance.
Luminent Mortgage Capital Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Foreclosures were completed on a rising number of mortgages last month. But conflicting data from today's report make it unclear whether pre-foreclosures improved or worsened.
Delinquency Rise to Slow Late Next Year
Delinquency will continue to rise until late next year, when it is expected to taper off, according to an analysis of 27 million credit records.
New WaMu CEO
Washington Mutual Inc. has ousted its chief executive officer and named the co-chairman of New York-based commercial mortgage broker as his replacement. The move comes as the company reached an agreement it reached with regulators.
Government Takes Over Fannie, Freddie
The government has seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The move -- which is likely to push mortgage rates lower and provide a sense of stability for the more than 10,000 employees at both companies -- is a blow to congressional Democrats who for years have prevented the Bush administration from stepping up regulation of the two government sponsored enterprises.
McCain Tied to Failure No. 11
On Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control of the 11th bank this year. The son of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain recently resigned from the board of the failed institution.
Stark Warnings From FDIC Chief
|Reverse Lender is Success Story
A Florida-based reverse mortgage lender is boosting its warehouse lines, growing its originations and adding employees. An in-house mortgage lead generation system is credited with much of the firm's success.
The chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation warned that the market downturn is far from over, more banks will become troubled and more will fail. She also laid out a number of early signs of problem institutions.
As signs of improving subprime performance emerge, the business of foreclosure prevention goes on. New legislation in Illinois will require servicers to wait longer before evicting tenants of foreclosed properties, while a new North Carolina law adds at least 45 days to the foreclosure process.
Countrywide Cutting California Jobs
Countrywide Financial Corp. is closing a center in Southern California and laying off some of the employees.
FHA, Subprime Performance Improves as Overall Delinquency Worsens
Quarterly delinquency rose while foreclosure activity reached a record. But delinquency on subprime and FHA mortgages improved. In addition, states with the highest levels of foreclosures were not among states with the worst delinquency -- suggesting the delinquency cycle may be starting to mature.
Bank Closes Mortgage Unit
One of the largest community banks in the Northwest is shutting down its mortgage lending division.
Mortgage Jobs Ease as Unemployment Jumps
Mortgage employment eased in July. People exiting the industry are finding it tougher to find jobs in other sectors as overall unemployment climbed.
No Turnaround Until 2010
Recently declining home values have pushed the risk of delinquency higher, and the risk is likely to continue growing until at least 2010. The riskiest markets continue to be concentrated in California.
No Stopping MTA Decline
The monthly Treasury average has fallen to its lowest level in 40 months.
Biggest Commercial Servicers
The biggest U.S. commercial mortgage servicer saw its portfolio increase more than $25 billion during the past six months.
Long-term fixed rates have not risen for six consecutive weeks. Loan applications continued to rise, while FHA activity jumped.
Lenders Sued Over Reverse Redlining
A Texas woman has filed a lawsuit against a mortgage broker and loan servicer claiming she was targeted for nearly 10 percent in fees because she is black. She seeks to have the mortgage invalidated and her fees refunded.
The Secondary Wire
New players have emerged to acquire mortgage loan portfolios -- many at significant discounts.
Alt-A RMBS Pounding Continues
Nearly 2,200 classes from Alternative-A residential mortgage-backed securities issued from 2005 to 2007 were recently downgraded. Transactions backed by junior liens and subprime loans also saw negative activity, though ratings on commercial MBS continued to be mixed.
Bankruptcy Filings at 3-Year High
Consumer bankruptcies filed during August were at the highest level in three years.
Lender Doubling Originations, Staff
An Oregon firm expects to more than double the nearly $700 million in loans it originated last year, while it plans to add 150 employees. A positive atmosphere is behind much of the success.
Massive ResCap Cutbacks
Residential Capital LLC will stop originating through its wholesale lending subsidiary, shut down 200 retail offices and lay off 5,000 employees in the process.
Net Branch Monopoly
The business of mortgage branching has become a game of Monopoly, with some operations selling or shutting down as others continue to grow.
FHA Activity Surges
Loan originators recently stepped up the number of 1003s taken for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The level of government activity is at its highest level in more than five years.
First Horizon Sale Done
First Horizon National Corp. has parted with its mortgage operations outside Tennessee.
Next Year's Originations Projected to Decline
Residential loan production is expected fall by more than 20 percent during 2009.
Option-ARM Delinquency to Double
A new report warns that a wave of defaults is expected for borrowers with option adjustable-rate mortgages.
Banking Sector Chaos
One bank was acquired, another collapsed and orders were issued against nearly two dozen others. Meanwhile, two financial institutions announced changes at the top and a failed firm has been resurrected.
A second report this year has cast doubt on the ability of the ABX indices to accurately predict the performance of subprime securitization classes.
Groups Make HOEPA Recommendations
A 22-page letter from five mortgage-related groups calls for the Federal Reserve to adjust proposed revisions for high-cost loan rules -- including a delay in implementation.
8 CTX Branches Acquired
A Texas bank has picked up eight CTX Mortgage Co. branches.
Servicer Rating Upgraded at Taylor Bean
Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. saw an improvement to its residential servicer rating.
Regulators Tackle Mortgage Issues
State mortgage regulators met in Minnesota last week ahead of the GOP to discuss important regulatory issues. Licensing was among the top issues.