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December 2006 Archive

Fannie Tightens IO Guidelines
Fannie Mae will require interest-only borrowers to be qualified using a fully amortizing and fully indexed payment amount.

Layered Alt-A Performance Down
Alt-A mortgages loaded with more layers of risk that were securitized this year are performing worse than prior vintages performed. But prime fixed rate loans are holding up.

Stewart Sues Brokers
Some of the mortgage brokers who previously operated as part of a defunct net branch network are embroiled in a $3 million mortgage fraud lawsuit in the Massachusetts state courts.

ABN AMRO Layoffs
ABN AMRO will reduce its U.S. workforce by hundreds of employees.

Mortgage Market Weaker
While rates continued to edge higher, mortgage requests continued to slow.

$220 Mil Portfolio Trading
More than $200 million in residential mortgages will be sold by a Chicago area bank.

The Secret to Sales
Successful business people remember that customers are the essence of their job -- not an interruption, according to a recent Kiplinger audio conference.

2 More Shut Down
Two Virginia-based bankers have decided to shutter their mortgage-lending units.

Broker Beats State
A Massachusetts judge has ruled that a mortgage broker was the victim -- and not the perpetrator -- of a fraudulent mortgage license scheme.

NetBank Sues Former Executive
NetBank Inc. has filed a lawsuit against a former executive of its now defunct nonconforming mortgage subsidiary -- claiming he owes the company $1.1 million as a result of being terminated.

HELOC Production Drops
With fewer borrowers responding to increased bank marketing for related products, the annual number of home equity lines-of-credit closed decreased.

Best HUD Mitigators
The Department of Housing and Urban Development named the top servicers of federally-insured residential loans.

GMAC Rating Improved
GMAC Mortgage's part departure from the automaker helped its servicer ratings.

FHA Branch Registration
Underwriting and processing centers that handle Federal Housing Administration-insured loans will soon need to be registered as branches.

Credit Fees, Inquiries to Rise
Subprime mortgage prospects may soon find it more expensive to qualify for a loan because of new credit reporting charges which will result in more credit report inquiries.

IRAs Fund Hard Money Loans
Mortgage lenders are turning to individual retirement accounts to help fund residential and commercial hard money mortgages.

Co. Looking for Mortgage Acquisitions
A California company that has recently gotten its financials in order is now looking for mortgage acquisition candidates.

BK Trustee Targets Lenders
A bankruptcy trustee seeks to set aside liens held by mortgage lenders including Washington Mutual and National City for their alleged negligent underwriting of fraudulent loans from a now bankrupt company that bilked 490 investors of $40 million.

2006 Subprime Vintage Rumblings
A recent bond rating study suggests some lenders have begun tightening underwriting standards as slowing home appreciation rates and overextended borrowers are pushing delinquencies, foreclosures and subprime issuance higher.

Fannie Bumps Business
Monthly business at Fannie Mae turned higher.

Lender Pays Overtime
A Houston, Texas-based mortgage lender paid more than a half million dollars in back wages to employees in six states.

Mortgage Market Softens
Mortgage applications slowed in advance of the holidays.

Freddie Business Slows
Freddie Mac slowed the pace of monthly new loan purchases.

Michigan Processors Wanted
A mortgage outsourcer's expansion in Michigan will create hundreds of new jobs.

MERS Cloud Lifted
A court has upheld that the liens held by the mortgage electronic registration system are legitimate and must be recorded by county clerks.

Newspaper Ads Under Investigation
Colorado is investigating newspaper records to determine if the "super-low mortgage rates" advertised by some loan originators were actually delivered.

CA Broker Busy Growing
A mortgage broker is looking to double its staff of high producers and support personnel in California next year.

New Century Names Chairman
A new chairman will lead New Century Financial Corp.'s board of directors next year.

New National City President
The head of National City Corp.'s mortgage unit is now president of the company and closer to becoming the future chief executive.

Aegis Open But Consolidated
While Aegis Mortgage Corp.'s wholesale subprime business may be struggling, the company is denying rumors that it is shutting the unit down. A consolidated operation is reportedly handling prime, slimmed down subprime and expanded Alt-A offerings.

'07 Good for Exotic Refinancings
Mortgage brokers in the Golden State are predicting a surge in fixed rate refinances next year.

Mortgage Rates for Women
A new study suggests a glass floor is keeping women from obtaining the lowest mortgage rates -- though the disparity disappears for women earning less than the median income. But the study ignored other loan approval factors, according to a mortgage banking group.

Wells' Site Best
The biggest servicer of residential loans placed higher than other blue chip companies in a new business Web site analysis where Bank of America also fared well. But the poorly ranked sites of other mortgage-related companies dragged the financial services sector down as a whole.

Former Fannie Execs Face Charges
Fannie Mae's regulator has filed civil charges against three former top executives and is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from the trio.

World Business Down
World Savings Financial saw its monthly originations continue to descend.

Warehouse Lender to Originate
Headlining the latest mortgage-related mergers, acqusitions and other corporate activity was a California-based provider of mortgage broker warehouse lines that is getting into originations itself.

Risk Premiums to Rise
There are "early signs" that compensation for risk taking in the mortgage market is changing, according to a Fannie Mae executive.

Servicing Layoffs
Washington Mutual will layoff hundreds of Wisconsin employees early next year.

Another Wholesaler Closes
As part of a $100 million cost reduction strategy, Sovereign Bancorp will exit the wholesale mortgage market.

Secondary Subprime Suit
Two mortgage companies, one owned by an investment banker and another in the process of being acquired by an investment banker, are battling over $70 million in subprime mortgage buybacks.

Downey Fundings Fall 20%
The servicing portfolio and monthly mortgage fundings sank at Downey Financial Corp.

Tough Subprime Outlook
Poor loan performance, payment shock among adjustable rate mortgage borrowers and a growing weakness in the West Coast job market are fueling what could turn out to be a potentially rough 2007 for subprime lenders, according to a mortgage industry analyst.

Best Mortgage Lenders
Final mortgage approvals that take longer than one week are likely to create an unhappy mortgage prospect, according to a new study which cited several sources of borrower dissatisfaction. The importance of interest rates, office location and the Internet was also analyzed.

Refis Fuel Higher Apps
Refinances remained robust as mixed economic data kept mortgage rates flat.

National City Slows
National City Corp.'s monthly volume slowed.

Twisted Foreclosure Lawsuit
Washington Mutual has reportedly agreed to settle with a couple who claimed to suffer emotional distress when their home was foreclosed on after they had filed for bankruptcy. But whether the husband or his now deceased wife actually ever owned the property was not clear.

Subprime Delinquency Soars
Led by adjustable-rate subprime loans, quarterly mortgage delinquency rose for the first time this year. And while an increasing share of subprime loans could make things worse, growing exotic loan originations shouldn't.

Fannie Files $2 Billion Lawsuit
For the third time this year, auditors have been the target of legal actions over the faulty financials of mortgage firms. But the defendant in the latest litigation, a lawsuit filed by mortgage behemoth Fannie Mae, said the issues raised in Fannie's complaint are already being addressed in a federal case.

Mortgage Outlook Under Dems
The Democratic takeover of Congress should result in an aggressive but not overtly partisan agenda for the mortgage industry, according to a top political analyst with the Mortgage Bankers Association.

40-Year IO Wholesale Programs
With the blessing of at least one mortgager insurer, wholesale lenders are offering interest-only programs with terms beyond 30 years and loan-to-values up to 100% on fixed and adjustable rate mortgages.

Foreclosures Higher
Foreclosures continued ascending throughout the nation last month led by the Silver State.

Saxon Rating Improved
Saxon Mortgage Services Inc.'s ratings improved as a result of its merger with an investment banker.

Outstanding Mortgages Top $12 Trillion
Mortgage loans outstanding surpassed $12 trillion, according to the chief of the U.S. Treasury. Meanwhile, the risk of fraud on America's mortgages is growing a slower pace.

Predatory Liability for Investment Banker
A federal appeals court has held Lehman Bros. liable for "aiding and abetting" a multi-million dollar predatory lending scheme.

Countrywide Off, Pipeline Up
Mortgage volume at Countrywide Financial Corp. descended.

MI Deduction Bill Passes
The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have passed a bill that makes mortgage insurance tax deductible -- reducing the benefit of taking out a second mortgage in the process.

Chase Settles With States
Chase Home Finance LLC has settled allegations it deceived borrowers when it added membership club fees to their mortgages.

Auditors Fined for Failed Bank's Financials
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has fined an auditing firm $300,000 for standing behind the financial statements of a bank that was found to be insolvent shortly thereafter.

No Break in MTA Rise
The Monthly Treasury Average continued to climb.

Small Bank Mergers
Mergers, acquisitions and executive retirements at small banks dominated the latest mortgage-related boardroom activity.

Decline at New Century
Mortgage volume decreased at New Century Financial Corp.

Real, Phony Attorneys Busted
Flagstar Bank was duped in one case involving a crooked lawyer for $700,000 while a Miami attorney stole about that amount in public money.

How to Boost Credit Scores
Several tools are available to help originators pinpoint what loan prospects can do to improve their credit rating.

Appraisals Enabled Fraud
An Atlanta area homebuilder fooled two mortgage lenders into funding a string of mortgages on incomplete or nonexistent new homes by using fake appraisals and occupancy certificates.

Mortgage Employment Higher
Employment in the mortgage sector grew for the third consecutive month. But a wave of consolidation currently rolling through real estate finance may change things.

Mortgage Market Strengthens
Rates continued to decline -- falling to the lowest levels of the year.

Study Challenges Vintage Performance
A white paper published by an investment banker refutes the concept that weak underwriting and rising rates are contributing to the higher default rates of recent adjustable-rate subprime originations. Instead, the author suggests local economic conditions and natural disasters are the culprit.

Litigation Fest
A Virginia Beach borrower has filed a lawsuit against a mortgage broker, claiming he was deceived about refinancing his delinquent loan. Meanwhile, the broker has filed a lawsuit against a television station that aired the borrower's allegations -- claiming the station's defaming coverage has severely cut into his business. And one attorney involved in the matter suggests more lawsuits are on the way.

$6.3 Billion Fannie Restatement
Fannie Mae's revised financial statements cut past profits by more than $6 billion.

Processor OT Lawsuit
Loan processors have filed a lawsuit against an Indiana-based mortgage lender claiming they were forced to work unpaid overtime and told to lie about it.

Acquisition Nets Layoffs
Morgan Stanley's latest acquisition will result in mortgage job layoffs.

Ownit Closes
Ownit Mortgage Solutions has notified its brokers that it is out of business -- leaving 600 employees and 11,500 brokers hanging.

Bear Acquisition Delayed
Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage Corp. has to wait a little longer to acquire a subprime wholesale operation.

Ameriquest Sale Imminent
A sale of the mortgage subsidiaries of ACC Capital Holdings, for which bids reportedly are now being sought, could happen "shortly," according to one industry insider.

Jumbo Activity Strong
Quarterly volume of prime jumbo mortgage-backed securities improved.

Countrywide Overhauls NY Practices
The nation's largest originator agreed with the state of New York to change lending practices for minority borrowers after federal home loan data suggested that such borrowers received more high-cost loans than whites.

Improved Credit Initiative
Wells Fargo & Co. has created a program to assist nonprime borrowers improve their credit.

Underwriters Fired for Fraud
An Ohio bank has reportedly fired a handful of underwriting employees and filed a lawsuit against dozens of people for more than $10 million it claims was lost in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Subprime Consolidation Continues
A Texas-based wholesale lender has suddenly stopped accepting mortgage applications.

MI Volume Down
Bulk activity pushed overall private mortgage insurance volume down.

The chief of Bear, Sterns & Co. Inc.'s mortgage unit is on her way out.

Servicer Sees Success
The country's biggest residential mortgage servicer is reaping the rewards from economies of scale.

States Strikes Down Predatory Law
For the second time in two weeks a court has struck down a law designed to crack down on predatory lending.

Banks Merge
A financial powerhouse has been created in New York -- topping the latest mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity. Meanwhile, a new lead company, a reverse wholesaler and correspondent buyer have set up shop.

$2.5 Billion Portfolio Trades Hands
HSBC Finance Corp. has acquired a $2.5 billion mortgage portfolio.

Option One Busting Block
Tighter underwriting contributed to falling broker business at Option One Mortgage Corp., which reported a quarterly loss.

GSE Regulator Wants More
The chief of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight wants more authority to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He stressed the importance of setting limits on the companies' portfolios to avoid potential disruption in financial markets.

COFI Falls
The Cost of Funds Index decreased for the first time in 29 months.

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