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September 2011 Archive

Refis Retreat as Rates Rise
While rates had been lower early this week, they have since risen -- sending prospective borrowers fleeing and cutting into new refinance activity. But aside from purchase business, mortgage market metrics have improved nicely compared to a year ago. The share of government business inched higher.

Mortgage Market Index 312 for week ended Sept. 30

Calif. AG Backs Out of Foreclosure Settlement Talks
The departure of California from negotiations to settle alleged faulty foreclosure practices by the nation's biggest mortgage servicers throws a monkey wrench into the Obama administration's push to resolve the debacle.

Small Special Servicer Sees Upgrade
A Texas-based special servicer with a small subprime servicing portfolio saw an improvement to its rating.

Servicer Rating Raised at Central Mortgage
Recent improvements to its operations led to improved servicer ratings at Central Mortgage Co.

M.I. Firms Maintain Winning Streak
For four months now mortgage insurers have pushed volume higher, and it looks like more of the same is ahead. Even defaults slipped.

Fannie Turns in Strong Performance
It was the best month in secondary volume that Fannie Mae had during the past five months. The company was also able to boast about lower delinquency.

Record-Low Rates Evaporate
Today's weekly mortgage survey indicated that fixed rates averaged less this past week than at any other time on record. However, the market has since changed course -- and next week's report isn't likely to be so glowing.

Leap in FHA Delinquency Leads Overall Rate Higher
Late payments on government mortgages jumped 130 basis points, pushing overall quarterly delinquency higher on loans serviced by federally regulated financial institutions. Also hurting the overall rate were subprime loans.

Multifamily Deterioration Continues as Hotel Performance Roars Back
An increase in delinquency on securitized commercial mortgages in July was erased last month. The rate on hotel loans has fallen each of the past four months by an aggregate of more than 180 basis points. But securitized apartment loans have become a growing problem.

$12 Billion in 2010 Fraudulent Originations
Last year, $12 billion in fraudulent mortgage loans were originated, according to a new report. Compared to 2010, the rate of fraud this year is expected to be mostly flat. But there has been a shift from identity theft to fraud committed on distressed sales. Government mortgages have been found to carry more risk than their conventional counterparts.

Warehouse Lenders Defrauded on 23 Loans
A plea bargain is expected from the chief financial officer of a Minnesota lender who allegedly defrauded warehouse lenders in an effort to cover company losses.

Prison Ahead for Former Countrywide Employee
A former financial analyst for Countrywide Financial Corp. has been sentenced to hard time in prison.

BofA Biggest Target in Wave of Investor Litigation
While few financial firms are being spared in a wave of lawsuits being filed by investors, the company that seems to be most frequently named as a defendant is Bank of America Corp. Several pending cases against an array of firms including BofA involve alleged Ponzi schemes.

CMBS Performance Improves 3 of Last 4 Months
The balance of securitized commercial mortgages that are past due has fallen three out of the past four months -- though the sector is far from being out of the woods. Hotel loans and mortgages backed by properties in two states have excessively high delinquency rates.

Mortgage Fraud Reports Continue Rising
As lenders that are forced to buy back loans do their own investigations, the quarterly rate of mortgage fraud reports continues to grow. Most of the alleged crimes happened more than three years ago.

Citi Unit Gets Dumped On for Foreclosures
A group of Ohio residents protesting the lack of maintenance on real-estate-owned properties delivered garbage bags to the local office of a Citigroup Inc. subsidiary.

Jumbo RMBS Issuance Ahead
A pool of prime residential jumbo loans is being readied for issuance.

Fortress Unit Completes Public Offering
A mortgage subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group LLC has completed a public offering.

Settlement Costs Could Reach $40 Million
Securitized mortgages originated by subprime lenders including New Century Mortgage Corp. are at issue in a settlement that could end up costing as much as $40 million. The agreement followed an investigation into whether borrowers were deceived about interest rates, payments and potential payment shock.

Fannie Updates Investor Property Guidelines
Guidelines for non-owner occupied properties have been updated at the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Picture Brightens for Shadow Inventory
The supply of properties lurking in the inventories of mortgage servicers took a turn for the better.

AGs Take Lead in Actions Against Foreclosure Rescue Firms
Attorneys general in several states have waged a war against foreclosure-rescue firms that collect up-front fees but don't deliver on their promises. While much of the activity is occurring in states located in the Midwest, several of the firms named in the lawsuits operate from Florida and California.

Execs Held Liable in LO OT Case
Former loan officers of an out-of-business lender have been awarded $9 million in an unpaid overtime case, and two former executives are being held liable.

FL High Court Reconsidering Mandatory Mediation
The Florida Supreme Court is stepping back to consider whether or not its forced mediation program for foreclosures is worth maintaining.

Projection for Purchase Production Plummets
Despite the lowest rates of the century, Freddie Mac scaled back its second-half forecast of residential originations by all U.S. lenders. A worsening outlook for purchase-money financing was responsible for the slimmer projection.

Lenders Improve Performance With Minorities
Recently released Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data indicates that mortgage lenders improved their performance when it came to loan denials for minorities.

American Home Affiliate Teaming Up for Acquisition
A firm affiliated with American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. has announced plans to acquire a commercial mortgage lender.

FHA Approval Requirements Updated
Updates to handbooks for Federal Housing Administration mortgagees outline revised requirements for FHA lender approvals. Clarification was issued for net branch arrangements.

Foreclosure Lawsuits Push Mortgage Litigation Index Higher
The Mortgage Litigation Index from climbed to its highest level during any quarter since it was introduced in 2007. Cases challenging the foreclosure process accelerated, though investor actions were higher and criminal activity shot up.

Second-Quarter 2011 Mortgage Litigation Index 190

Billion Dollar Bank Goes Bust
Among two banks to fail last week was a nearly $1 billion institution in Virginia. Meanwhile, two events have been scheduled as part of an effort to find buyers for two failed corporate credit unions.

20% Down QRM Rule Unlikely to Survive
The 20 percent downpayment requirement proposed for qualified residential mortgages is unlikely to make to fruition.

Senior Executives Change Lenders
Real estate finance firms have been busy recruiting executives, some from big-name lenders and others for top spots. Companies with big branch operations are among those recruiting. After changing its mind about selling its mortgage subsidiary, a Virginia-based bank replaced the senior management of the unit.

Bankruptcy Trustee Sues FDIC, Irwin Executives
In addition to a lawsuit filed against Irwin Financial Corp. executives, the company's bankruptcy trustee also sued the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Refinances Spike, Purchases Rise
For the week ended Friday, Sept. 23, inquiries for refinances shot up 43 percent. Even purchase activity was stronger, though not as strong as a year ago. Fueling the frenzy were more interest-rate declines.

Mortgage Market Index 374 for week ended Sept. 23

MISMO Management Moves from MERS to MBA
The management of industry technology standards is changing hands as more widespread adoption of the standards is sought.

Secondary Volume Climbs to 6-Month High at Freddie
It looks like elevated refinance activity has reached the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., where secondary mortgage activity accelerated to the highest level in six months. The level of late payments also improved.

G-Fees Jump
A regulatory report indicates that the cost to guarantee an agency loan was up 18 percent last year. Smaller lenders and higher-credit borrowers seem to come up short.

Mortgage Rates Poised to Plummet
Weekly mortgage data released today didn't yet reflect this week's Treasury market rally. By next week's reports, however, mortgage rates are likely plummet as a benchmark yield sinks to a new low.

Drive-By Appraisals At Issue in Lawsuit
Some big names in closing services are involved in a lawsuit filed by a bank over allegedly fraudulent appraisals. At issue are drive-by reports.

Agency, Insurer Holdings Push CRE Outstandings Higher
After nearly two year's of quarterly contraction, the size of the nation's collective commercial mortgage portfolio expanded. Behind the growth were agency holdings and an increase in assets at life insurers.

Employers, Employees Battle in Court
Mortgage firms and their former employees are fighting a multitude of issues in courtrooms across the country. One case deals with whether bonuses and commissions should be considered in determining overtime compensation, while another tackles the liability of parent companies when employees are laid of from a subsidiary that closes down. Several class actions have been filed by loan originators who claim they weren't adequately compensated -- and one law firm is behind many of those actions.

Layoffs at Radian
More than 7 percent of Radian Group Inc.'s employees are being laid off in a strategic move that includes the ouster of a senior executive.

Fed Statement Sends Rates Plummeting
Stocks sank and Treasuries strengthened following the Federal Reserve Board's statement on its plans to keep rates low. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to a record low.

High Probability of Settlements in 17 FHFA Lawsuits
The 17 lawsuits filed this month by the Federal Housing Finance Agency are likely to be settled before going to trial.

Potential Legislation Could Make Fla. Foreclosures Non-Judicial
Florida's governor and leaders of its legislature want to remove foreclosures from the judicial process in an effort to cut down on the time it takes to complete a foreclosure. There is, however, opposition across the isle to the Republican trio's stance.

Wireless Mortgage Applications Advance
Real estate finance is moving to the small screen at a rapid pace. Data shows that financial activity on wireless devices is significantly expanding, and among those moving their wares to the platform are loan technology vendors, appraisal firms and retail lenders. Financial institutions have also been busy becoming mobile.

Delinquency Down in August
The rate of borrowers who were late on their mortgages last month improved.

Runaway Judge Hits Quicken With Huge Punitive Damages
A borrower who paid off high-rate debt she owed with a consolidation loan from Quicken Loans Inc. then only made three payments was awarded more than $2 million by a West Virginia judge. While the judgment seems totally unreasonable, one expert sees little chance of an appeal by Quicken succeeding.

Mixed Bag for Mortgage Defaults
Monthly delinquency on first mortgages slipped, while second-mortgage delinquency edged higher. Both metrics, however, were significantly lower than a year ago.

Foreclosure Complaint Process Unveiled
As part of the consent order process, consumers who claim to have been harmed by faulty foreclosures will be able to request a review of their cases and, in warranted instances, be compensated by their servicers.

Credit Scores Change With Economy
When the economy headed south, the number of consumers with very high or very low credit scores was increasing. Since the financial crisis peaked, however, the trend has reversed.

Higher Delinquency Despite Improved Outlook
A new report indicates that recently originated mortgages are performing dramatically better than older vintages, though delinquency in the aggregate was higher last month. The outlook is for better economic conditions by the end of this year.

FHFA Defends BofA Servicing Sale to Fannie
Fannie Mae's acquisition of mortgage servicing rights from Bank of America Corp. last week was appropriate despite Congressional scrutiny, Fannie's regulator said.

Increase in GSE Guaranty Fees Ahead
Guarantee fees at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have risen since the two firms were seized by the government three years ago, and more increases are ahead.

FDIC Addresses Lawsuits Against Brokers
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said that it is not singling out mortgage brokers when it pursues claims on fraudulent loans owned by failed banks that it takes over. The regulator said that it follows much of the same procedure followed by wholesale lenders in similar situations.

FHA Purchase Originations Jump
While an increase in monthly Federal Housing Administration fundings was fueled by strengthened purchase activity, an expected further rise will be driven by refinances. But government mortgage activity was down a third from a year earlier. FHA delinquency, meanwhile, deteriorated for the second consecutive month.

Outlook Raised for Refi Originations
The forecast for refinance originations during the second half of this year has been boosted by more than $100 billion. But the outlook for financing home purchases remains weak.

Reverse Business Launched
For the second time in as many months, a new reverse mortgage originator has emerged. The latest entrant plans to capitalize on reduced competition.

2,500 Show up for Quicken Recruiting Event
Five hundred job openings prompted 2,500 people to attend a recruiting event at Quicken Loans Inc. Available opportunities include careers in origination and technology.

Refis Ups, Rates Down but Headed Higher
A four-week string of declines in new mortgage activity was broken this week, with refinances leading new business higher. Prospective borrowers responded to another round of lower rates, but it looks like rates could turn higher next week.

Refis Ups, Rates Down but Headed Higher

Lightly Regulated Lenders Fueled Market Collapse
A new report that analyzed the growth of mortgage lenders with little regulation found a close correlation between the group's rise to prominence and unemployment, the expansion of the real estate bubble and the bubble's bursting.

M&T Adding Hundreds in N.Y.
Nearly 300 new job openings are being filled at M&T Bank Corp. -- including loan originator positions. While banks are scaling back on national staffing levels, parts of New York state -- including M&T's home base -- are seeing hiring demand from those very same institutions.

Ginnie Annual Issuance Surpasses $200 Billion
More than $200 billion in Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities have been issued so far this year. On a monthly basis, reverse mortgage issuance was lower and apartment activity was up.

Agency Approval for Multifamily Lenders
A dozen seller-servicers of mortgages secured by multifamily senior housing have been approved by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Record Low Rates Might Rise
Borrowers got a break this week when mortgage rates fell and broke prior records. But this week's improvement is looking like it will be wiped out in next week's report.

California Company Launches Massive Recruiting Campaign
More than 500 loan officers and production employees are being recruited by a three-year-old lender that reported record originations last month.

Foreclosures Turn Higher, REOs to Rise
A big improvement in new foreclosure filings during July was wiped out last month. Fewer filings were made, however, than a year ago. Completed foreclosures eased but appear poised to rise.

228,098 filings in August

Sea of Foreclosure Litigation
The news for mortgage servicers in New Jersey was good, but not in Hawaii. Across the rest of the nation, plenty of decisions are being made in favor of delinquent borrowers -- with note ownership at issue in several cases.

Best Fannie Mae Servicers
A ranking of the best mortgage servicers has been released by the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Congress Advised to Expand HARP
Mortgage bankers told lawmakers today that the federal refinance program should have lower secondary fees, higher loan to values and streamlined appraisals.

Nonconforming Portfolio Line Launched in Texas
A Texas wholesale lender is digging into its own coffers to fund nonconforming mortgages -- including loans for less than the conforming limit.

Customer Service Leads to MetLife Downgrade
MetLife Inc.'s mortgage servicing unit had its rating downgraded because of insufficient staffing in customer service. The operation can't add new office space quickly enough to accommodate the needed growth. Improvement has been noted, however, in the company's collections department.

Three Quarters of Negative Equity Loans at High Rates
Out of nearly 11 million U.S. mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio in excess of 100 percent, more than 8 million have a high interest rate.

Chase Challenged in Court on Foreclosures
A Florida lawsuit filed on behalf of borrowers in several states accuses Chase of using "nationalized fraud" to process foreclosures. Among issues outlined in the case is the proper endorsement of the original note.

Another Upgrade to Origination Forecast
A monthly forecast of quarterly mortgage production has been increased for the third consecutive month.

Rule Attacks Notion of 'Too Big to Fail'
A new rule requires the nation's mega-banks to prepare a plan that would help the government liquidate them if they ever became insolvent.

Total Touts Seller-Servicer Status
Total Mortgage Services LLC is getting into mortgage servicing.

Wells HECM Originations Up Again
It was the second month in a row that Wells Fargo & Co.'s reverse unit -- which is being closed down -- originated more reverse mortgages than the previous month. The No. 1 title for reverse mortgage wholesaler has changed hands three times in as many months.

Quicken Steps Up Hirings
Following a recruiting campaign earlier this year, Quicken Loans Inc. plans another event -- though the number of jobs being filled has ballooned.

BofA Clarifies Planned Layoffs
With reports circulating that layoffs at Bank of America Corp. will climb to 40,000, the company has decided to clarify its intentions.

Record CMBS Delinquency as Defaults Dip for Other CRE Lenders
Performance on securitized commercial mortgages deteriorated to the worst level on record. But other investor groups were able to rein in late payments on commercial real estate loans.

Former IndyMac Chief Calls Multiple Lawsuits "Frivolous"
As the former chief of failed IndyMac Bank FSB, Michael Perry is facing multiple lawsuits -- including one filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Minnesota Emerges as Mortgage Fraud Hot Spot
Minnesota has emerged as a problem area for mortgage fraud and helped lift national activity from the first quarter. But a national improvement from a year earlier was attributable to another three states.

Second Quarter 2011 Index 1261

Florida Financial Institution Fails Friday
A Florida bank with nearly $0.3 billion in assets was taken over by federal bank regulators last week. More than a third of the bank's assets were invested in residential or commercial mortgages.

BofA Layoffs Now Expected to Reach 40,000
Company-wide layoffs at Bank of America Corp. are now expected to reach 40,000.

Purchase Financing Down 19% Past 12 Months
Compared to last year, purchase activity has tumbled and refinances have strengthened. Both metrics deteriorated from last Friday, and overall activity was off for the fourth week in a row.

Mortgage Market Index 252 for week ended Sept. 9

FHFA Considering Refi LTVs Above 125%
The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is considering whether to allow refinances in excess of 125 percent.

Senate Committee Passes Flood Bill
A Senate committee has passed legislation to keep flood insurance available. The action comes as a federal program is set to lapse in a few weeks.

WaMu Execs Accused of Overstating RMBS Quality
Among the 17 lawsuits filed last week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency was one that targeted residential mortgage-backed securities issued by Washington Mutual Inc. and its subprime subsidiary Long Beach Mortgage. Nearly two dozen individuals named as defendants in the cases, mostly mid-level managers, are accused of overstating the quality of the securities.

The Conference Journal
Mortgage conference season is in full swing. Nearly 60 events are scheduled for this month alone. Compliance, litigation and technology as well as reverse mortgages are among the topics to be discussed at the events.

New Record for Rates Could be Broken Again
Mortgage rates fell to the lowest levels on record, and signs point to a further decline. Fifteen-year loans were less attractive this week, but the jumbo spread was better.

Former MBA Chief Joins DC Consulting Firm
The recently departed chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association has landed at a Washington, D.C.-based firm that advises financial services companies on compliance.

$200 Million Repurchase Lawsuit
U.S. Bank, a unit of U.S. Bancorp, has filed a federal lawsuit in St. Paul, Minn., against two defunct subprime mortgage lenders alleging they failed to properly vet more than 3,000 loans before packaging them for sale to investors as securities.

MGIC Units On the Block
As it postures to pick up market share in the mortgage insurance arena, MGIC Investment Corp. is putting two subsidiaries that cater to mortgage originators up for sale.

Correspondent Lender Launches
An up-and-coming lender is entering the correspondent channel.

Correspondent Lender's Focus is Renovation Loans
A residential lender based in the Chicago area is targeting correspondent clients for renovation programs.

MBS Lawsuits Get Complicated
Some recently active lawsuits tied to alleged deceit in the sale of mortgage-backed securities have either added plaintiffs, dismissed defendants or consolidated. Plaintiffs in some cases are affiliated with defendants in others. Since many of issuers of the securities are out of business, plaintiffs are looking to hold other parties liable.

Lenders One Production Higher
Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative reported that loan production has increased this year. But the growth is primarily the result of an expanding network, as the average volume per member fell.

Young Firm Touts $1 Billion Monthly Milestone
A company that launched for business just last year took in $1 billion in business last month.

Exec Shakeup Impacts BofA Mortgage Chief
The head of Bank of America Corp.'s quickly shrinking mortgage business no longer reports to the company's chief executive.

10-Year Treasury Yield Closes At All-Time Low
The yield on the 10-year Treasury broke through a psychological threshold and plunged to its lowest level on record.

Just Another MTA Record
Plunging Treasury yields have the Monthly Treasury Average at a new record-low.

Press Reports Exaggerate Damages Sought in MBS Suits
Press reports that suggest as much as $200 billion is being sought in lawsuits filed against issuers of private-label mortgage-backed securities are exaggerated, according to the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcies Rise
Although overall consumer bankruptcies have been trending lower, the number of debtors turning to Chapter 13 plans took a turn for the worse.

2011 Mortgage-Related Casualties Reach 100
Including banks, credit unions and non-bank operations -- this year's mortgage-related casualties climbed to 100 last week.

Up to 30,000 Layoffs Possible at BofA
As many as 30,000 employees could be laid off by Bank of America Corp., and mortgage jobs are among the first to be analyzed.

Mortgage Market Index Down 3 Weeks in a Row
Falling mortgage rates was not enough to lure more prospective borrowers into the market this week as they were apparently preoccupied with the upcoming holiday weekend. Purchase business has fallen more than a quarter from a year ago.

Mortgage Market Index 273 for week ended Sept. 2

MBS Litigation Tsunami hits Financial Firms
The regulator of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. has filed a host of lawsuits over soured investments made by the two companies in private-label residential mortgage-backed securities. Among dozens of defendants named are the chief executive officer of PennyMac and the CEO of GMAC Mortgage LLC.

CMBS Delinquency Improvement Tied to Reporting Changes
After reaching a record-high in July, delinquency on securitized commercial real estate loans retreated. But much of the improvement was the result of the way defaults are reported.

Another High-Profile Reverse Mortgage Exit
Another major lender has decided to get out of the reverse mortgage business -- bringing to four the number of high-profile exits this year. Still, several firms have recently increased their commitment to the sector.

Reverse Originations Inch Up
Monthly production of federally insured reverse mortgages inched higher. While the biggest retail reverse originator is exiting the business, its top ranking is far from diminished.

Mortgage Jobs Retreat Despite Broker Growth
An increase in the number of mortgage brokers wasn't enough to offset a drop in mortgage banking employees. But bad news for overall U.S. employment could be good news for mortgage employment.

Icon Says It's Growing, Not Laying Off
Icon Residential Lenders says a news report that it is laying off 120 employees is not correct.

Low Rates Might be Lower Next Week
Mortgage rates turned in a mixed performance this week, though they still remain very low by historical standards. One adjustable-rate product fell to its lowest level on record.

HAMP Volume Sinks
In another blow to the Obama administration's efforts to modify U.S. mortgages, the monthly volume of government modifications tumbled 22 percent.

18,403 permanent HAMP modifications completed in July

Goldman Hit With Fed Order Over Foreclosures
On the heels of an agreement with New York's banking department, Goldman Sachs was hit with a federal regulatory action over foreclosure practices at its former subsidiary.

Wholesaler Looks to Broker Clients to Build Branch Network
A wholesale lender is enlisting the help of one its mortgage broker clients in an aggressive push to expand its branching network.

Goldman Agrees to Write Down Principal
As a condition of selling its mortgage servicing subsidiary, Goldman Sachs has entered an agreement that requires it to write down principal on New York mortgages. The agreement also calls for the subsidiary to stop using faulty foreclosure affidavits and compensate borrowers who have been harmed by the affidavits.

Agency Issuance Leaps
It looks like refimania is beginning to make its way to the agency mortgage-backed securities market.

Reverse Lender Formally Launches
For those seniors who feel it's their money and want it now, a new reverse mortgage lender is hitting the market.

COFI Rises, 1-Year Sinks
It was only the second during the past year that the Cost of Funds Index has risen. But a much more widely used index on adjustable-rate mortgages has fallen by half over the past month.

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