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November 2009 Archive

No Stopping COFI
Just when it looked like it couldn't fall any further -- the 11th District cost of funds index set a new record.

Another Record Low for M.I. Business
The dollar volume of mortgage insurance policies written fell to a new record low, but the number of policies was higher. Defaults, meantime, improved.

Lend America Loses FHA Approval
Lend America has lost its approval to make loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

FHA Loan Limits Released
Next year's loan limits on forward and reverse mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration have been released.

RESPA Rule Update
The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued further clarification to the new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule. Among issues addressed are how to handle third-party costs that come in below estimates, disclosing payments on hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages and other disclosure requirements.

Servicers Pressed to Convert HAMP Mods
The Obama administration has launched an effort to boost the level of conversions from trial modifications to permanent modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program.

HUD Rule Increases Mortgagee Requirements
Under a new rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, mortgagees will be required to have a net worth of more than $2 million.

BoA Mortgage Chief's Salary Cut
The Obama administration has cut the salary of the biggest residential lender's chief.

Bank Orders Ease in Q3
Financial institutions saw regulatory orders and actions by federal banking regulators ease for the first time in at least four quarters, according to the Third-Quarter 2009 Regulatory Actions report from But more cease-and-desist orders were issued.

FDIC Orders Jump
Regulatory actions taken by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation nearly doubled on a monthly basis and more than doubled compared to last year. In all, federal bank regulators recently issued nearly 100 orders -- including more than 40 cease-and-desist orders.

New Execs at Reverse Lender, Net Branch & Other Firms
A reverse mortgage lender has turned to an attorney to lead the company, and a growing net branch operation has hired an executive to oversee further expansion. Other recent mortgage-related executive activity involved servicing, securitization and banking businesses.

Recent mortgage-related executive activity

Banks Shuffle Executives
A number of senior executive appointments were recently made by the nation's financial institutions. Among the latest appointments were a chief financial officer, a chief executive officer and three women.

Recent bank executive activity

Execs Appointed at Associations, Orgs and Regulators
A regulator, an association and other organizations recently announced changes among their executive and boardroom ranks.

3 Services Providers Hire New CEOs
New chief executives have been hired for a loss mitigation firm, a data validation company and an information services provider. One of the three firms assembled an entire management team.

Credit Unions Growing
Membership at the nation's credit unions is surging. The growth is outpacing the sector's ability to lend.

3rd Biggest Commercial Servicer Sold
A unit tied to Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is jumping into mortgage banking -- potentially becoming the third biggest U.S. commercial mortgage servicer.

Record Low Fixed Rates
Fixed mortgage rates fell to the lowest level on record. But don't expect them to stay there.

Banks Reverse Losses
Banks and thrifts saw quarterly earnings turn from a loss to a profit. But the pace of bank failures hasn't eased, though the pace of new charters slowed to a trickle.

Thrifts in the Black
A single institution buoyed quarterly earnings at U.S. thrifts. The number of problem thrifts has nearly doubled over the past year.

Lower Acquisitions, Record Delinquency at Fannie
Residential and commercial mortgage delinquency rose at Fannie Mae, while secondary market purchases declined.

Option-ARM Outlook Ugly
Borrowers on adjustable-rate mortgages with payment options are being hit with a double whammy, a new report said. Payments for most have yet to reset, while negative equity is limiting refinance options and increasing the incentive to default.

Nearly $3 Trillion in Mortgages Above 100% LTV
Negative equity, a key indicator of the likelihood of strategic defaults, is a factor in nearly $3 trillion in mortgages.

Freddie Reports Weak Performance
Record delinquency worsened and secondary purchases remained low at Freddie Mac.

Freddie Warns of Additional TBW Exposure
Freddie Mac said losses from the demise of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. could be significantly more than the $0.5 billion it already projected.

More Multifamily Lenders Closing Less Loans
While the number of multifamily lenders has grown, multifamily originations have tumbled.

Mod Policy Update
Updated guidelines for federal loan modifications have been issued, while bank regulators have adopted a new rule about how to risk weight modified loans. A change this month is expected to improve credit scores for borrowers whose loans are modified.

Legal Actions Continue Against Mod Firms
Legal actions against loan modification firms continued at a fast and furious pace, impacting dozens of firms and attorneys in California, Nevada and Pennsylvania. A national crackdown on crooked loan modification firms was recently launched in Los Angeles.

2 Firms Report Strong Mod Results
Several firms recently reported the volume of their modification activity, as did the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But two firms claim their results are far better than the industry as a whole.

Modification Services
Loan modification service providers of all kinds continue to emerge, though far more firms are lined up to help borrowers than lenders.

Regulators Close Bank, Credit Union and Mortgage Firm
Florida bank regulators closed down a small Fort Myers bank, while Rhode Island regulators closed a mortgage company there and a Nevada credit union was seized by its regulator.

Big Shakeup Among Ranks of Top-10 Lenders
The top residential lender was unseated in's Third Quarter 2009 Production Ranking, while Citigroup Inc. fell two spots. Aggregate U.S. originations were off by nearly one-fourth.

Banks & Individuals Face Regulatory Actions
Several individuals -- including three who were convicted -- have been banned from working at federally insured financial institutions. More than 10 banks recently entered formal agreements with federal regulators.

The Mortgage Insurance Insider
As mortgage insurers grapple with losses and shifting strategies, a number of guideline updates were issued. New laws have been enacted in three states to help mortgage insurers cope deteriorating finances, while two new insurers continued to seek state approvals.

TILA Rule Applies to Individual Investors
An interim Truth-in-Lending Act rule applies to investors who acquire a mortgage after origination -- including individuals who acquire just a handful of loans in a given year.

CA Bank Jumps to $3 Billion in '09 Originations
A California bank reported that its residential originations so far this year have tripled all of last year's activity and already exceed $3 billion.

Decade-Low Purchase Activity Despite Record 15-year
The 15-year fixed rate fell to its lowest level on record, while the 30-year hovers near its all-time low. Loan applications for home purchases, however, fell to the lowest level in more than a decade.

Record Lates to Head Higher
Home loan delinquency increased from a record high and is expected to set more records. When a real estate recovery does eventually arrive -- it won't necessarily start in hard-hit markets.

HUD Eases FHA Appraisal Requirements
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has eased its appraisal requirements on high-balance mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

DocMagic Scores Win in Case Against Ellie Mae
DocMagic Inc. is touting a favorable ruling in a lawsuit against Ellie Mae Inc.

Education Firms Tackle S.A.F.E. Requirements
Mortgage education providers are lining up courses to help originators meet upcoming state requirements under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008. In other mortgage licensing activity, a huge net branch operation faced an order over unlicensed originators, while licensees in Florida and Pennsylvania face new requirements.

Second Lien Underworld
A legion of second liens lurking among home loans threaten to undermine the secondary mortgage market, according to a new study.

Dallas Firm Earns IBM Award
A mortgage service provider grabbed top honors at an annual conference hosted by IBM.

Comptroller Calls for Underwriting Standards
The Comptroller of the Currency said now is the time for U.S. regulators to adopt stiffer requirements for underwriting guidelines at residential lenders. He identified three key areas that should be considered in underwriting home loans and called for equal adoption by bank and non-bank lenders.

John Dugan speaks in Tokyo

Inside Foreclosure Litigation
Borrowers in two states have gone to federal court to secure their piece of the government's loan modification program. In two more states, servicers are defending their right to use a third party to file foreclosures. Meanwhile, as a U.S. congresswoman calls for more lawsuits against lenders, two law firms are vowing to throw more litigation at mortgage servicers.

States Battle Foreclosure Firms
Texas and Florida are taking foreclosure firms to court. But a Nevada law firm has filed a lawsuit against state regulators over suggestions that its staff is not qualified to help borrowers who are facing foreclosure.

Refinance Production Jumps
Quarterly refinance originations are projected to jump by nearly a third. But mortgage debt outstanding is continuing a decline.

Firm Abandons Mortgage Lending for Energy
An Indiana-based firm is closing its mortgage originations business to focus on energy in the Middle East. More than 100 loss-mitigation employees are impacted from the decision.

Federal Agencies Issue Model Privacy Form
Federal regulators today published a model privacy disclosure for use by financial institutions.

Record Delinquency, But Rate of Increase Eases
The bad news is that residential delinquency climbed to its highest level on record. But the good news is that the rate of deterioration slowed.

Several American Home Servicer Ratings Upgraded
American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. saw several of its residential servicer ratings upgraded. Much of the servicer's work is done offshore.

GMAC Replaces CEO
After less than two years in the job, GMAC Financial Services is replacing its chief executive officer.

PMI Expands LTVs, Guidelines
PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. has increased loan-to-values on several programs and expanded its guidelines.

Fed Approves Servicing Transfer Rule
The Federal Reserve has approved a rule that requires disclosures when a mortgage is sold or transferred.

National City Mortgage Brand Gone
The National City Mortgage brand has been retired.

Regulation to Intensify
The impact of the Obama administration on the financial services industry will likely be new rules, additional regulations and increased enforcement actions, according to experts at one compliance firm.

200 Mortgage Fatalities This Year
The number of mortgage-related operations to close so far during 2009 has hit 200 -- more than any year since began tracking the data. IBERIABANK acquired more than $3 billion in assets from two of three failed banks Friday -- including nearly a billion dollars in residential mortgages.

Mortgage Litigation Activity Tumbles
Firms that collected up-front fees for loan modifications pushed modification-related litigation to the forefront of the Third Quarter Mortgage Litigation Report from But overall mortgage litigation slowed significantly.

The Appraisal Scoop
Appraisers didn't appreciate being recently blamed by home builders for low values, and several groups have written a letter to Congress about it. Meanwhile, one appraisal services firm is re-branding itself, and two others have integrated their services.

Firms Make Broker Compliance With HVCC Easier
As mortgage brokers continue to battle the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, one firm is addressing a concern by brokers about not being able to transfer appraisals. Another firm is providing a solution to communication between originators and appraisers.

FHA Appraisal Update
Technology firms and appraisal management companies are ready for upcoming changes to Federal Housing Administration appraisal requirements. In addition, the government reminded FHA mortgagees and appraisers about its existing policies.

RESPA Rule Regulatory Reprieve
Mortgage lenders will get a break during the first few months after a new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule takes effect.

American Home Settles With Mass.
American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. has reached a settlement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Mortgage Leads Enhanced With Live Pricing
Mortech Inc. is enabling real estate-related Web sites to earn revenues by generating mortgage leads tied to its pricing engine.

Freddie Announces 2010 Loan Limits
Freddie Mac announced conforming loan limits for next year and indicated that the high-cost limit has been extended.

Five Best Residential Originators
The new owner of Colonial Bank nabbed the title of best mortgage originator. Four of the top five firms were involved in an acquisition since the last ranking. Despite improved standings for the top two firms -- borrower satisfaction with the origination process has fallen when considering all retail firms.

DPA Blamed for FHA Shortfall
The Federal Housing Administration's capital reserve level has fallen below the federally mandated minimum -- and loans that utilized seller downpayment assistance were to blame for all of the shortfall. The administration called FHA's recent expansion temporary and committed to a reduced FHA role as private investment returns to the mortgage market.

Purchase Activity Lowest in Nearly a Decade
The number of new loan prospects for home purchases fell to the lowest level in nearly a decade despite declining mortgage rates.

3 Monthly Declines; 3 Million Foreclosures
Year-to-date foreclosure filings surpassed the 3 million threshold last month. But foreclosure activity has improved for thee months in a row.

Mortgage Mergers Jump
In addition to 18 bank merger transactions, nearly 10 new deals to acquire mortgage lenders and default service providers emerged. One of the acquirers is on the prowl for more targets.

Lower Conventional Originations Forecasted
The outlook for quarterly U.S. home loan production has weakened, though the forecast improved for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Survey Suggests AMC Appraiser Drive Distances Low
The implementation of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct has led to accusations that appraisers are doing work in markets they are not familiar with. But a new survey by an appraisal trade group refutes such statements.

Wholesale HECM Volume Higher
Home-equity conversion mortgages originated by third parties climbed to the highest level in more than a year and, in the process, the title of biggest reverse wholesaler changed hands.

Lenders Warn About Legislative Draft
A new bill drafted in the Senate has mortgage bankers concerned about inconsistent regulations between states and skin-in-the-game requirements on securitized loans.

Chase Hiring Originators
In preparation for a housing recovery, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is recruiting more than a thousand mortgage originators in nearly two dozen states.

Saxon, Citi & GMAC Score Well on HAMP
Saxon Mortgage Services Inc. received the highest grade from the Obama administration for its performance on the Home Affordable Modification Program. But some other servicers are touting their own HAMP performance.

Lower Fees for NAMB Members
A wholesale lender based in Washington is offering discounts to members of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

Residential Recovery Contrasts Commercial Contraction
Demand for residential loans increased for the third quarter in a row, while demand for commercial mortgages tumbled, according to a quarterly bank survey. Faced with few refinancing options, many banks are giving commercial mortgage borrowers extensions.

Mortgage Banker Abuses Warehouse Line
Instead of funding his loan originations, a Louisiana mortgage banker had other plans for his warehouse line-of-credit.

Radian Issues Updates
Radian Guaranty Inc. has clarified its credit requirements, revised submission requirements and eased an appraisal requirement. The mortgage insurance company also expanded the list of qualified condominium projects.

FHA Eases Condo Requirements
Under a new process, mortgagees approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can approve condominium projects themselves. HUD has also implemented some temporary provisions as it moves to support the condominium market.

Mortgage Layoffs Outpace Hirings According to Q3 Report
Growth in mortgage servicing jobs was not enough to keep headcount in the mortgage sector from falling, according to the Third Quarter Mortgage Employment Analysis. But the rate of contraction has slowed considerably from the ugly pace set two years ago.

2 Local Governments Support Hirings
Job seekers in two states recently got a boost from local governments looking to grow their business base. In all, more than 350 mortgage-related hirings in three states were recently reported.

Banks Cut Over 2,000 Jobs
U.S. banks cut, or plant to cut, more than 2,000 positions during the second half of this year. Many of the layoffs are directly tied to acquisitions made since last year.

Cost of Friday's Failures: $1.5 Billion
Five banks with assets of more than $11.5 billion failed Friday and are expected to cost the federal insurance fund for bank deposits more than $1.5 billion. A California-based institution is responsible for most of the cost.

FDIC Maintains Fast Pace of Regulatory Orders
Of more than 60 recent regulatory orders against U.S. financial institutions, the majority were issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Mortgage Leads and More
Several recent offerings promise increased quality, quantity and return on mortgage leads, while two lead firms hope new owners will enhance their business. But one former lead generation operator -- who charged originators around $20 for each loan lead -- has been convicted for peddling worthless data.

Office, Industrial Originations Up
Commercial banks and life insurers increased their quarterly originations of commercial mortgages, with office and industrial loan production picking up. But a big drop in conduit and agency business as well as a decline in hotel and health-care fundings helped drag overall commercial activity lower.

Mortgage Jobs Fall Further
In line with the overall job market, mortgage employment contracted again.

US Bank Among 6 FHA Lenders to Face HUD Actions
Four Federal Housing Administration-approved lenders settled with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, while the agency hit two other approved mortgagees with $27,000 in civil money penalties. U.S. Bancorp's bank unit was among the disciplined firms.

PHH Fundings Off, Big MSR Write-Downs
Quarterly home-loan volume fell and is likely to fall further at PHH Mortgage. Profits at the production unit weren't near enough to offset a big decline in the value of mortgage servicing rights.

American Home v. Ohio AG v. American Home
American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. and Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray are suing each other allegations of poor servicing practices.

Rates Likely to Hold
An increase in refinance activity was supported by a decline in mortgage rates -- which are likely to hang at their current levels through next week.

Program Keeps REOs Occupied
An amendment to Fannie Mae's guidelines will enable seriously delinquent borrowers to hand over title to their properties and still remain in their homes.

Default Service Providers Drain Pool of Servicing Executives
Among mortgage industry service providers, companies that cater to mortgage servicers are the busiest with executive appointments.

Organizational Executives
Three organizations -- including a banking trade group, a banking regulator and a federal housing agency -- recently announced organizational changes.

Federal Reserve, FHA and ABA announce executive appointments

Banks Shuffle Mortgage Executives
The fast pace of executive recruitment and promotions at U.S. financial institutions has maintained over the past couple weeks. Mortgage executive appointments were prominent in the latest shuffle.

Recent mortgage-related executive activity

Record Consumer Bankruptcy Filings
Monthly consumer bankruptcy filings reached a new high.

GMAC Surpasses Citi in Quarterly Originations
GMAC Financial Services has replaced Citigroup Inc. as the fourth biggest residential lender in the country. But losses at the mortgage unit -- more than $13 billion since 2007 -- kept GMAC in the red.

Reverse Volume Drops
Reverse mortgage originations fell last month -- though the biggest lender managed a gain.

We Save Homes Hires PR Firm
We Save Homes, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: WESA - News), a software company that provides technology that empowers homeowners to work directly with their lenders/servicers in resolving mortgage issues, has retained the Investor Relations Group (IRG), a thirteen-year-old, award-winning corporate communications firm based in New York City, to serve as its national investor relations and public relations firm.

MTA Headed Below 5%
As expected, the monthly Treasury index declined last month and will soon be below a half percent.

USA Mortgage Originations Surpass $1 Billion
Business is booming at USA Mortgage, which has exceeded $1 billion in annual volume.

Fannie's Performance Worsens
While Fannie Mae's massive book of business climbed -- secondary purchases fell, residential delinquency reached another record and multifamily delinquency maintained its record level.

HFF Business Picks Up
HFF Inc. saw quarterly originations of commercial mortgages climb, though volume was still down by half from last year.

Flagstar Performance Deteriorates
Home loan production sank as Flagstar Bancorp Inc. reported a massive quarterly loss. But the company's new chief, who was also elected chairman of the board, is moving quickly to stop the bleeding.

BoA Expands Use of Voluntary Disclosure
Bank of America Home Loans has expanded the use of a voluntary one-page disclosure beyond just first mortgage transactions.

Lenders Warn About Forcing 'Skin in the Game'
Pending legislation would force mortgage bankers to retain "skin in the game" on residential loans they originate -- a move that could be catastrophic according to the industry's primary trade group. In addition, the group is calling for commercial mortgage lenders to be completely exempt from such legislation.

Agency Issuance Tumbles
Agency issuance of fixed-rate mortgage-backed securities sank last month -- with volume down by one-third for MBS issued by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Government National Mortgage Association.

Wholesalers Lead Mortgage Banking Profits Higher
As originations increased, refinances retreated and credit scores rose -- mortgage banking firms saw an increase in profitability. Improved earnings were most pronounced at wholesale lenders.

Red Flags Rule Delayed
Implementation of the Red Flags Rule has been delayed again.

15 Casualties in Deadly Week
In addition to one net branch, two wholesale lending operations and two credit unions that were closed down last week, nine banks failed on Friday.

Bankers Debate Future of Fannie, Freddie
CHICAGO -- As U.S. bankers pondered the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a conference last week, protestors demonstrated outside the event.

COFI Sinks to Record Low
The cost of funds index tumbled nearly 15 basis points in September to its lowest level on record.

LOS Firms Report Rapid Growth
Two providers of loan origination systems have reported significant recent growth, with the increase in business at one of the firms attributed to its early adoption of features for Federal Housing Administration-insured loans. A third firm reported that 15,000 users have adopted its latest technology, while several others touted their LOS enhancements.

LOS Alliances and Integrations
Several developers of loan origination systems have enhanced their offerings through alliances, partnerships and the integration of other services. Among added features are loan product and pricing searches, mortgage compliance and appraisal ordering.

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