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October 2009 Archive

MetLife Fundings Fall
Quarterly mortgage production fell by a third at MetLife Home Loans. But mortgage headcount grew, reverse mortgage originations were higher and the servicing portfolio increased.

M.I. Volume Sinks to New Low
After falling to the lowest level on record, the monthly volume of mortgage insurance policies issued dropped again and is poised for a further decline. Meanwhile, defaults increased and primary insurance in force decreased.

Reverse Lender Facing Loss of FHA Approval
A reverse mortgage lender in Hawaii faces the loss of its Federal Housing Administration approval over allegations it failed to meet FHA quality control requirements, didn't provide reverse mortgage prospects with adequate disclosures and confused borrowers by promoting annuities alongside its reverse programs. It's at least the third time the company has faced regulatory actions.

New Warehouse Line for LendingTree Origination Unit
The parent of mortgage lead provider LendingTree has scored a warehouse line for its origination unit.

Legislation to Extend Loan Limits Passes
Mortgage bankers praised Congress for extending higher loan limits that were set to expire.

Google Selling Mortgage Leads
Google has launched a mortgage lead generation service.

Obama Seeks Extension for Higher Loan Limits
The Barack Obama administration is pressing Congress to continue the temporarily higher loan limits that are set to expire.

Citi Mortgage Volume Off by Half
Residential loan production tumble by more than half at Citigroup Inc. It was the slowest quarter in more than six years.

M.I. Class Action Continues Against Countrywide
An appeals court has reportedly overturned a decision to dismiss a class action against Countrywide Financial Corp., leaving the formerly independent company -- and possibly some of its competitors -- facing further litigation. At issue are alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act that are tied to mortgage insurance.

Mortgage Market Declines
Most mortgage rates were up 0.03% compared to seven days earlier, while 1003 loan applications declined. Indices on adjustable-rate mortgages, however, managed a small improvement.

Credit Services for Originators, Lenders and Borrowers
Among a host of credit-related services are supplemental credit reports, integrated offerings and credit restoration. One firm claims that loan originators can boost their referral business with one of its products.

Credit Repair Firms Targeted by Regulators
Federal and state regulators have been on a recent rampage filing lawsuits and taking actions against credit repair firms. The companies -- many located in Florida -- are accused of collecting huge up-front fees and promising services that are not delivered. Meanwhile, the implementation of a new rule will require disclosures about free credit reports.

FHA Servicer Training Goes Online
Servicers that are approved to service loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration can now go online to learn about a range of servicing subjects.

East Pummels West With Low Foreclosure Rates
Of all major U.S. metropolitan areas, the 10 with the worst foreclosure rates were in just three states -- with two of those states located in the West. The four best areas were on the East Coast.

Mortgage Employees Among Victims in Saw VI
Two mortgage employees were kidnapped, bound with lethal headgear and forced to perform self mutilation. Only one escaped alive.

Movie opens with gruesome acts of self mutilation
Growth Projected for Net Branching
Net branch acquisitions are forecasted to increase.

Firm Touts 560 FICOs on FHA Loans
A Florida firm claims it can fund mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration with FICO scores as low as 560.

Despite HVCC, Valuation Fraud to Rise
Despite the implementation of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, a new report suggests that occurrences of fraudulent home valuations are expected to shoot up by one-quarter. The report also indicated that states with the highest risk of mortgage fraud are those states with the highest levels of foreclosures.

Bankruptcy Litigants Busy
Recent mortgage-related litigation includes a case against an Alabama bank accused of lending discrimination, a $4 billion lawsuit filed by Bank of America Corp. and a suit against IndyMac Bank. One of three cases tied to corporate bankruptcies has been settled.

Mortgage Employers Sued
Among three mortgage employment lawsuits is one against a Chicago lender alleging sexual harassment. Another case against a Washington lender alleges a smear campaign against a former executive.

Mortgage Vet to Run PHH
Following a bloody battle that ended with the ouster of its chairman and chief executive officer, the parent of PHH Mortgage has hired a mortgage veteran to run the company.

FHA Council Formed
A group of executives from some of the biggest U.S. mortgage lenders are part of a new council that is addressing how to ensure the continued viability of the Federal Housing Administration program.

Lenders Duped by Broker
A Florida mortgage broker has pleaded guilty to selling the same mortgage notes to multiple investors in a scheme that led to millions of dollars in losses. Among his victims were Bank of America Corp.

Taylor Bean Servicing Settled
A deal was recently reached for securitized loans serviced by bankrupt Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. to be serviced by another company. But the new servicer has its hands full.

Huge Commercial Mortgage Firm Bankrupt
Over the weekend, the third-biggest U.S. commercial mortgage servicer filed for bankruptcy.

Small Mortgage Firms Joining Bigger Companies
Stiffer regulations are driving some independent mortgage firms to become part of bigger lenders or financial institutions. In addition, mortgage service providers are joining the merger movement. Meanwhile, former executives of Bear Stearns & Co.'s mortgage unit have joined a new Arizona lender.

Fast Pace of Bank Mergers to Pick Up
Nearly 20 acquisition deals have recently been negotiated by U.S. financial institutions. But despite the increase in activity this year, one analyst predicts that the pace of bank mergers will pick up substantially in the second half of next year. Some of the recent deals involve investment firms.

$350 Million in Losses from Friday's 7 Bank Failures
Seven bank failures Friday are expected to deplete the Deposit Insurance Fund by more than $350 million. Three of the banks were in Florida.

Aussie Mortgage Brokers Up in Arms Over Big Four
Australian mortgage brokers claim that four huge financial institutions are putting the squeeze on them.

Complying With FHA
Whether it is the Federal Housing Administration's new appraisal requirements, the FHA TOTAL Scorecard or FHA's systems -- several service providers promise to help lenders remain plugged in and compliant.

FHA Policy Updates
In addition to several updates to guidelines for making residential loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, several trade groups are lobbying Congress for more changes -- including the extension of temporary higher loan limits.

No. 100 Fails
Bank regulators just seized a small Florida bank -- marking the 100th federally insured bank to fail this year. The tally for mortgage-related failures also reached a new milestone.

Mortgage Unit at IBERIABANK Expands
The mortgage banking affiliate of IBERIABANK has expanded in two states with five new offices.

Flagstar Chairman Out
Just weeks following the resignation of his son as chief executive officer, Flagstar Bancorp Inc.'s chairman is retiring.

Deterioration Continues at Freddie
Secondary activity declined, residential delinquency reached a new record and multifamily delinquency rose last month at Freddie Mac. But the government-controlled company's huge mortgage portfolio grew even more huge.

Chase Restricts Loans to Auditors, Examiners
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has advised its third-party customers that it is changing its policy on mortgage loans to external auditors and bank examiners.

Mixed Bag at SunTrust
Home loan fundings fell at SunTrust Banks Inc., but residential and commercial delinquency improved. Losses, meanwhile, widened.

BB&T Commits to Continue Warehouse Lending
Branch Banking and Trust Co. has committed to stay in the warehouse lending business that it inherited with its acquisition of failed Colonial Bank.

Fifth Third Originations, Earnings Erode
The third quarter was not so good for Fifth Third Bancorp, which saw profits turn to losses and production turn lower.

1-Year ARM Attractiveness Increasing
As fixed mortgage rates jumped and loan applications fell, the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage improved by 8 basis points. The sudden widening in the spread between fixed rates and the one-year ARM is likely to lead a bigger share of new borrowers to consider the ARM option.

PNC Fundings Fall, But Delinquency & Earnings Improve
Quarterly residential originations plummeted at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. But earnings and delinquency saw a big improvement.

Lend America Scores Victory
Lend America has scored a victory in a lawsuit filed by the government -- which is trying to revoke the company's Federal Housing Administration approval. The favorable ruling followed a filing by the company highlighting a massive operational overhaul that was implemented this year.

Assignments Hold Up Foreclosures
A Massachusetts judge recently ruled against two securitization trustees who foreclosed before the loans had been properly assigned. The cases are part of a growing national trend and offer the mortgage industry insight into how to avoid similar situations.

FHA Business Lower, Reverse Higher
Despite a monthly increase in the volume of home-equity conversion mortgage endorsements, overall endorsements on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration declined. In addition, average credit scores were lower. But new applications saw a healthy increase.

Wells Lags BoA in Q3
Residential loan production tumbled by nearly a quarter at Wells Fargo & Co. -- leaving Bank of America Corp. as the biggest U.S. lender during the third quarter. But earnings reached a record for the third consecutive quarter.

RESPA Rule Threatens Mortgage Brokers
Efforts by several financial trade groups to address problems with the new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule and delay its implementation were dismissed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They claim that one of the issues at hand threatens to shut down the mortgage broker origination channel. Now, an expanded group is appealing to Congress.

Delinquency Doubles at U.S. Bancorp
Compared to last year's third quarter -- residential originations, residential delinquency and commercial mortgage delinquency have roughly doubled at U.S. Bancorp.

HAMP Good News, Bad News
Two firms are reporting exceptional performance in helping servicers offer, process and complete loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program. But even after completion, many modifications may still fail.

Possible FHA Suspension for Lend America
The government is suing Lend America to stop it from making loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But the company, which recently announced the launch of new FHA wholesale and correspondent lending channels, doesn't expect the same fate as Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp.

Res, CRE Delinquency Improve at Regions as HEL Lates Surge
As first-mortgage and commercial mortgage delinquency improved at Regions Financial Corp., home-equity delinquency was up by half. Residential originations, meanwhile, were down.

ResCap Rating Raised
Despite an uncertain future at Residential Capital LLC, one of its servicer ratings was upgraded.

Mixed Results for BB&T
The residential servicing portfolio and headcount grew at BB&T Corp., but quarterly originations, earnings and mortgage holdings fell.

Special Servicer Sees Success
A Texas-based servicer of distressed mortgages that launched only late last year expects to hire more than 100 employees during the next 12 months. The high-touch servicer is seeing big success with its modifications -- which are re-defaulting are a far lower rate than the rest of the industry.

Wingspan adding employees, keeping mod re-defaults down

RESPA Rule Still Unclear
Despite efforts to clarify the new rule under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, some issues are still unresolved. But the issue of prepayment penalties on government-insured loans has been addressed.

Mortgage Education Dominated by NMLS
A host of education firms are rushing in to help loan originators meet new federal licensing requirements. Other available education resources for those in the mortgage industry include training on green lending, government underwriting and mortgage compliance.

Bank Orders Fly
During the past three weeks, federal bank regulators disclosed nearly 40 regulatory actions against U.S. financial institutions -- including one that has since failed.

Bank Fails as Analyst Predicts 500 More
Although multiple bank failures have become a regular weekly occurrence this year, only one financial institution has failed during the past two weeks. But the current count, nearly 100 so far in 2009, is expected by one analyst to jump by more than 500 during the next 12 months. Meanwhile, two mortgage firms have ended operations.

Mortgage Bankers Recruit CEOs, Managers
GMAC Financial Services has hired a new secondary executive, while a former subprime executive has re-emerged at another lender. The Mortgage Bankers Association has recently seen lots action among its ranks.

Default Service Execs Strategically Shifted
Executives are being moved around at mortgage service providers, including at several default management firms. An appraisal management firm has hired a former mortgage insurance executive.

Recent executive activity at mortgage service providers

Bank Executives Realigned
Several banks -- including the nation's central bank -- have recently announced changes to their executive lineups.

Recent bank executive activity

Nonprime Servicer Upgrades at Wells Fargo
The junior lien servicing division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., saw its rating upgraded.

BoA Surpasses $300 Billion in '09 Fundings
The bad news is that residential originations fell and residential late payments rose at Bank of America Corp. The good news is that home-equity loan delinquency moderated and commercial mortgage delinquency fell. In addition, the banking behemoth managed to exceed $300 billion in volume so far in 2009.

Help for Compliance
Several recent offerings aim to ease compliance with constantly changing regulations. One involves company manuals, and another involves a series of Webinars.

RESPA Lately
Updates to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act have several trade groups warning of an upcoming "train wreck." But help has arrived just in case implementation is not delayed.

TIL - Reg Z Report
Two firms are helping lenders comply with new requirements under the Truth in Lending Act. Real estate agents and brokers recently warned the nation's central banker about the negative impact to Federal Housing Administration borrowers from upcoming changes.

Rates Likely to Jump
Mortgage rates increased this past week, and market signals point to even higher rates next week.

New Foreclosures Ease as REOs Rise
Nearly a million properties faced foreclosure in the third quarter. As servicers take back more properties, the most recent monthly data indicates new filings are easing.

Freddie Updates Refinance Requirements
Freddie Mac updated its guidelines for refinances, cashout transactions and investment properties.

Ginnie Issuances Slide
The volume of mortgage-backed securities issued last month by the Government National Mortgage Association was down for the second month in a row.

New Agreement for Whole Loan Sales
A new model sale and servicing agreement is expected to become the standard for mortgage bankers on whole loan sales.

Originations Off at JPMorgan
Home loan production fell at JPMorgan Chase & Co., while consumer delinquency and lending income deteriorated. The outlook for its mortgage business is weak, but overall earnings are strong.

Hotel Loans Lead Rise in Commercial Delinquency
Late payments on loans behind commercial mortgage-backed securities rose, were more than 300 basis points worse than one year ago and are expected to continue deteriorating. During just September, hotel loans turned in the worst performance.

Signs Of Life Emerge in Mortgage Banking
Despite a weak outlook, pockets of optimism emerged among mortgage bankers meeting this week in San Diego. But many are concerned about domination by the big three, while few rays of light are on the horizon for mortgage brokers.

FHA Correspondent Lender Launching
An FHA lender is launching a correspondent division in an effort to disrupt the momentum of large players who are moving towards market dominance.

California Enacts Several New Mortgage Laws
Loan originators, reverse mortgage lenders and appraisal management companies are all impacted by sweeping new mortgage laws in California. Lenders to non-English speaking borrowers and lenders on higher priced loans are also impacted.

New Group Gains 100 Members
A new association that defends the competitive posture of community-based mortgage lenders has added 100 members during its first month in business.

Origination Outlook Increased
The projection for quarterly home loan production has been increased. But government activity is expected drop.

Reverse Volume Down, But 1 Lender Forecasts Growth
Monthly reverse mortgage volume fell, and declining applications indicate additional declines are ahead. A reverse lender that recently received its "Full Eagle" projects it will quadruple its loan origination base, while a reverse mortgage wholesaler expanded.

Mortgage Bankers Meet in San Diego
The nation's mortgage bankers are converging this week in Southern California for their annual shin dig. Other upcoming mortgage-related events include a workshop for government modifications, two events exclusively for chief executives and a conference in Las Vegas.

Mortgage conference news and activity
Search Engine Optimization at Tribune
Bob Garfield of On the Media talks with Brent Payne, director of search engine optimization for Tribune Interactive, about how the media conglomerate uses SEO to boost interest in its news content.

Freddie Moves to Support Warehouse Financing
Hungry mortgage bankers got a boost today by Freddie Mac, which announced a move to support warehouse lending. The government-run company is standing behind purchases if the seller fails.

Pricing Engines Enhance Offerings
As pricing engines are integrated with loan origination systems and point-of-sale systems, they are being packed with compliance and mortgage lead management offerings. Recent updates to product and pricing engines also address secondary market objectives.

The Black List has obtained a copy of the list of originators who CitiMortgage Inc. will not buy loans from. More than half of those listed were in just four states.

Over $2 Trillion in GSE Subprime Purchases
During the decade that ended in 2007, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made more than $2 trillion in subprime investments, according to information presented to a U.S. senator.

Citi Publishing Ineligible Originator List
CitiMortgage Inc. is blacklisting mortgage brokers and mortgage banking correspondents.

Modification Firms Face Federal, State Suits
A rash of federal, state and local lawsuits have been filed against a host of loan modification firms. Civil litigation has been filed in Missouri, New York and Ohio, while a criminal action was filed in California.

Morgan Stanley Unit Best HAMP Servicer
Morgan Stanley's subprime servicing unit has initiated trial payment plans on a higher share of its borrowers who are eligible for the government's loan modification program and any other servicer. The company helped the Obama administration achieve a key objective a month early.

Record Low Rates, Record High FHA Purchases
Rates on two mortgage products fell to the lowest on record, while applications climbed to a record high for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Wholesale Reverse Business Off
Wholesale reverse mortgage production declined in August, though surging originations at one firm helped it become the second-biggest wholesaler for the month. corrected a story Tuesday that mistakenly identified retail reverse originations by lender as overall production at the companies.

New Mortgage Insurer
A newly launched mortgage insurance company has acquired an operating platform.

Over 5k Subprime RMBS Downgrades
More that 5,000 ratings on subprime residential mortgage-backed securities have been cut during the past two months.

The HAMP Monitor
Negative equity is expected to drive re-defaults higher on loans modified under the Home Affordable Modification Program, according to one ratings agency. Despite the grim outlook, however, trial payments plans under the program recently tripled. In other HAMP activity, Freddie Mac has made changes to its guidelines and forms.

Modification Statistics and Such
The volume of loan modifications had been heading down as the government's program was kicking in. But the number recently rose. Meanwhile, credit unions were advised to consider modifications to offset rising delinquency, and two companies hope to help servicers with their modifications.

Retail Mod Services Sprouting Up
As up-front fees become more difficult to collect on loan modifications, fewer new modification firms are emerging. But a cottage industry of free and paid services is emerging to help borrowers complete modifications themselves.

Fannie Delays Updates
Fannie Mae is delaying the implementation of updates to its underwriting and data-reporting requirements. The delay impacts information about originators and appraisers.

Reverse Originations Rise
As the volume of home-equity conversion mortgages rose last month, the second biggest reverse mortgage lender gained ground on the top originator.

HVCC Battle Heats Up
As home builders, mortgage bankers and Realtors warn about the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, appraisers claim that the new code isn't a problem. Lenders seeking to be HVCC compliant are faced with either utilizing appraisal management companies or maintaining in-house systems. One service enables mortgage brokers to initiate the appraisal order.

Appraisal Guarantees
Two appraisal firms are offering guarantees for their work. In other appraisal-related activity, a deadline looms for digital delivery of appraisals, and a new service helps lenders rate the local expertise of appraisers.

BoA Selling Servicing Unit
The mortgage subsidiary of International Business Machines has negotiated a deal to acquire a nonprime servicing subsidiary of Bank of America Corp.

MTA In Free Fall
It's the same old story. The monthly Treasury average fell to its lowest level on record and will probably decline even more.

Bank Failures Drive Record Mortgage-Related Closings
Driven by nearly 100 bank failures so far this year, mortgage-related failures and closings have already exceeded the total for all of last year and are within two failures of a record.

10,000 Pages of News Published at
After more than a decade of publishing stories by dozens of journalists and writers, has exceeded 10,000 pages of mortgage news.

New President Hired for GMAC's Mortgage Ops
A new president has been hired to oversee mortgage operations at GMAC Financial Services.

Over 30 New M&A Deals
In addition to dozens of pending bank acquisitions, deals were recently struck to acquire a reverse mortgage lender, an FHA lender and a privately owned Florida lender. Other transactions include a joint venture with a Wells Fargo & Co. subsidiary and two acquisitions involving mortgage service providers. In all, more than 30 transactions have been identified during the past two weeks.

6 Financial Institutions Seized
Six U.S. financial institutions were recently seized by regulators.

New Trade Group Seeks to Level Playing Field
A new mortgage association hopes to level the playing field between national mortgage banking firms and behemoth financial institutions.

Over 1 Million Bankruptcies So Far in 2009
More than 1 million consumer bankruptcies have been filed so far this year.

Total Loss for 2nd Lien Lender
Despite its participation in the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. registry, a second mortgage holder in Kansas was not notified about a foreclosure action by a first mortgage holder -- leaving excess sale proceeds going to the bankrupt borrower. The subordinate lender unsuccessfully tried to have the action reversed -- highlighting flaws in the widely used system.

Agency Issuance Eroding
Despite stronger activity at the Federal National Mortgage Association, issuance of agency mortgage-backed securities fell for the third consecutive month.

Mortgage Jobs Dive
Jobs in real estate finance dropped by more than 6,000 in August.

New Foreclosures Fall But Delinquency Higher
A big decline in new foreclosures started on prime mortgages during August appeared to be supported by a large increase in prime workouts. Delinquency, however, was worse -- though mobile home delinquency improved.

Bill Would Raise FHA Downpayments
A New Jersey congressman is introducing legislation that would increase cash down payments required on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Flagstar Has New Chief
A new president and chief executive officer has been named at Flagstar Bancorp Inc.

New FHA Wholesaler Launches
A big FHA retail lender is jumping back into the wholesale business.

Rates Tumble & Headed Lower
The 30-year fixed rate fell to the lowest level since May and might fall further. Meanwhile, borrowers have shied away from adjustable rates and purchase activity.

New Billion Dollar Player
A mortgage banking firm with wholesale and branch operations saw annual originations exceed $1 billion. The company's chief is embracing high-quality mortgage brokers.

BB&T Unit Makes 2 Acquisitions
A unit of Branch Banking and Trust Co. is expanding its mortgage presence in two states through two acquisitions.

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