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December 2012 Archive

Record Low for COFI; Other ARM Indices Mixed
The Cost of Funds Index has, yet again, managed to squeeze out another decline. Other indices used on adjustable-rate mortgages have seen mixed movement.

Texas Bank Acquires Warehouse Lender
A bank out of North Texas has acquired a three-year-old warehouse lender. It's just one of multiple acquisitions made by the financial institution.

Mortgage Death Toll Lowest in 6 Years
The final week of the year saw no bank failures, while just one federally insured bank failed during the entire month of December. There were multiple credit union failures for the month, and the industry lost an appraisal firm.

Mortgage Insurer Business Falls, Defaults Decline
Monthly business slowed for private mortgage insurers and appears headed lower, but the dollar volume of new policies has nearly doubled over the last year. Defaults declined, and outstanding policies were higher for the sixth month in a row.

Acquisition Creates New No. 6 Servicer
An acquisition completed last week by Ocwen Financial Corp. makes the company the sixth-largest mortgage servicer in the country. Another acquisition expected to complete early next year will move the residential servicer up one more notch.

Mortgage Risk Assessment Firm Among Florida's Biggest Recruiters
More than 500 new employees were recruited in Florida this year by a service provider that assesses risk on residential loans. The hirings helped offset layoffs at banks and other South Florida firms.

FHA Commissioner Confirmed
As Congress and President Barack Obama wrangle at the edge of the fiscal cliff, lawmakers took advantage of a rare weekend holiday session to confirm Obama's choice to lead the ailing Federal Housing Administration.

MERS Touts Huge Wave of Favorable Rulings
The past few months have seen a wave of more than four dozen favorable rulings for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. At least two rulings didn't bode well for the electronic registry.

Lenders Battle Over Loan Titles
Mortgage lenders, servicers and trustees are fending off an array of challenges to their title on home loans. Appellate courts are handing down favorable rulings in some instances, while other decisions are stripping them of their security.

3-Year High for New Business at Fannie
It's been more than three years since new business has been this strong at the Federal National Mortgage Association, while nearly four years have elapsed since serious residential delinquency has been this low. The secondary lender's book of business grew, and delinquency dropped on apartment loans.

PHH Better Than Average Jumbo Originator
PHH Mortgage Corp. does a better job of originating jumbo mortgage loans than the average jumbo originator.

HMDA Threshold Raised
Adjustments have been made to the asset size of financial institutions that have to report mortgage data as required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975.

Mortgage Originators Take a Break for Holidays
With the holiday season in full swing, loan originators did very little business this week. Leading a big weekly decline were jumbo and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Mortgage Market Index 88 for week ended Dec. 28

Florida Firm Frivolously Forestalls Foreclosures
Despite legal actions by the state of Florida, a ruling by a state judge and a decision by a federal judge -- a Florida company continues to utilize a bogus legal theory to delay foreclosures on negative-equity properties.

Near-Record Rates Could Fall Further
It's been at least six decades since average annual long-term mortgage rates have been this low. This week's rates hovered near their all-time lows, and next week's rates could meander into record territory again.

CoreLogic Laying Off Texas Employees
As CoreLogic Inc. implements plans to exit one of its businesses, an office located in Texas is being shut down in a move that will result in dozens of layoffs.

Chase Wins Appeal in Florida Foreclosure Case
After Chase Home Loans LLC foreclosed on a Florida couple, the husband claimed that his wife was mentally impaired and hid the foreclosure notices from him. A sympathetic trial judge reversed the foreclosure judgment even though Chase properly served the couple.

Home Prices, Sales and Outlook Strengthen
Residential property prices continue to rise, and many of the nation's most noteworthy experts have a strong outlook for next year. Western states turned in the best performance, and real estate markets in the Northeast are seeing mixed activity. Among the nation's biggest cities, Chicago seems to be struggling the most.

No. 7 Mortgage Lender Has New No. 1
The company that ranks as the seventh-largest residential lender in the country has hired a new president. Among the new leader's priorities are risk management and quality control.

Many Florida Foreclosure Dismissals Likely to Land in Court Again
Even though the volume of foreclosures being run through Florida courts appear to be slowing, many of the cases are just being dismissed and likely to wind up back on the docket again.

Hotel Delinquency Surges
The delinquency rate on securitized commercial mortgages backed by hotel loans shot up 130 basis points last month. A reduction in the balance of all types of commercial mortgages that are past due was offset by an even bigger decline in total outstandings --leaving the past-due rate higher.

NMLS Deadline Fast Approaching
Time is quickly running out for loan originators to meet the renewal requirements for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.

Top-Producing BofA LO Arrested
A criminal complaint unsealed last week alleges that a desperate California homebuilder paid kickbacks to one of Bank of America Corp.'s best loan originators, a mortgage broker and one of its own employees.

Bank Continues Acquisition Binge
A bank operating from South Carolina that has acquired four banks and one mortgage company since last year is now taking over one of the fastest-growing mortgage firms in the country.

Mortgage Lenders Face Regulatory Cliff
As the nation's politicians grapple with a potential drop off the fiscal cliff, the head of the Mortgage Bankers Association is warning about the industry falling off an upcoming mortgage regulatory cliff.
MBA CEO warns about negative impact to industry
Jumbo Business Leads Holiday Decline
As the mortgage industry prepares to celebrate the holidays, new business declined. Jumbo activity took the biggest hit, though refinances weren't far behind. Mortgage rates, meanwhile, moved higher.
Mortgage Market Index 169 for week ended Dec. 21
Early Stage Delinquencies Rise, Foreclosures Fall
An improvement in the rate of foreclosures last month was enough to overcome deterioration in 30-day delinquency and bring the overall rate lower. But it wasn't enough to reduce the number of delinquent mortgages.

Freddie Reports Stellar Performance
Freddie Mac's book of business increased for the first time in almost two years thanks to the highest level of secondary activity in nearly three-and-a-half years. It's been more than three years since the residential delinquency rate has been this low.

Consistency Lacking in Mortgage Rates
As long-term fixed rates moved higher, shorter-term rates drifted lower. Some signs point to higher rates in next week's report, while other indicate no changes are ahead. Industry economists vary on where they expect 30-year rates to move during the next year.

Rise in Refi Originations Despite HARP Decline
Monthly refinance production on loans to be sold to the government-sponsored enterprises moved higher even though government-supported refinances moved lower.

FHA Performance Improves
The rate of seriously past due loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration was 9 basis points better in the latest operational summary. Among local markets, five of the 10-worst for FHA delinquency are in New Jersey. Meanwhile, new FHA originations jumped 19 percent.

Drop Off Fiscal Cliff Would Harm MBS
As the U.S. economy braces for the prospect of severe tax increases and spending cuts, investors of commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities could face securitization deterioration.

2013 Purchase Originations to be Highest in 4 Years
Mortgage bankers predict that the volume of next year's home-purchase financing will be the highest it has been in four years. Projections were raised for overall annual originations.

Serious Delinquency and Mortgages Outstanding Fall
The rate of serious delinquency on residential mortgages and home-equity products has declined to the lowest level in seven months and would be even lower if it weren't for a bloated foreclosure inventory. First mortgages outstanding have diminished by $200 billion since the beginning of 2012 mostly due to write-offs. The volume of home-equity originations, which has suffered severely during the past few years, is projected to rise again.

Rocket Docket for Miami Foreclosures
Mortgage servicers in Florida have to contend with judges that frequently rule in favor of delinquent borrowers based on technicalities. Courts in the state have helped the Sunshine State become the foreclosure capital in the country. But one circuit court is doing something about it.

Production, Staffing Growing at
A recruiting campaign at LLC is expected to help the nearly three-year-old company achieve a staffing milestone this month. Helping to drive the hirings is loan production that has grown to an annual run rate of more than $10 billion.

Refi Turn Times Improve, Closing Ratios Worsen
The process of refinancing took less time last month than it did in October, cutting overall turnaround. But the improvement came at the expense closing ratios.

Tighter FHA Guidelines Ahead
The person in charge of the Federal Housing Administration has committed to making substantial reforms to the government mortgage program -- a commitment that gained her the support of a Republican senator. Reverse mortgage lending will take a big hit from the changes.

New Mortgage CEO at Chase
The nation's second-biggest residential lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co., has a new chief executive officer for its home loan business. The executive has just two years' experience in mortgage lending, though he has been at the bank for more than a decade.
Kevin Watters has just 2 years' experience in mortgage lending

CoreLogic Hit with FTC Order
Several firms have been ordered to hand over data about how they collect and use data about consumers. One of those companies is CoreLogic Inc.

United Guaranty Unveils Easy Refi Program
Borrowers who don't qualify for a government-supported refinance or don't meet United Guaranty's current underwriting requirements now have another option.

Virginia Servicing Jobs Being Added
Plans for one company's expansion in Virginia include a bigger office and the recruitment of nearly 200 mortgage servicing employees. Among the openings are jobs in customer service, administrative services and foreclosure support.

2nd Mortgage Delinquency Continues Improving
Seriously late payments on first liens pushed overall monthly consumer delinquency higher. The past-due rate on junior liens, however, improved and has tumbled by more than half over the past year. A Texas town experienced the only improvement in overall delinquency among the nation's biggest cities.

No Progress Made in Resolving Fannie, Freddie
Around nine out of every 10 new mortgages are backed by the U.S. government -- far higher than before the financial crisis. Most of the government support is made through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are both operating in conservatorship at a cost of $118 billion to taxpayers s far. While there are multiple strategies being floated about how to take Fannie and Freddie off government support, politics, special interests and the economy are hindering resolution.

Refi Outlook Raised Again
Just when it seemed that the outlook for this year's refinance originations couldn't get any better, the forecast was upped again. But some of the improved outlook came at the expense of next year's projected production.

Mortgage Advertising Regulations
Mortgage firms are subject to a host of rules and regulations when they place an advertisement. The requirements apply regardless of how the message is distributed. Social media presents its own set of advertising challenges.

Appraisers Seek Reconsideration of Reasonable Fees
Real estate appraisers have submitted a petition that claims a regulation on reasonable and customary fees was improperly implemented and doesn't follow the mandate of the law it was implemented through.

BofA Changes Foreclosure Review Process
The independent foreclosure review is the government's main effort to compensate homeowners for harm they suffered at the hands of banks — and, as its name indicates, it's supposed to be independent.

Bank Recognized as Strong Jumbo Originator
A bank with its headquarters in the state of New York has been recognized by a major ratings agency as a strong originator of jumbo loans that are headed for non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities.

FDIC Settles With Former IndyMac Chief
A settlement has been reached with the former chief of IndyMac Bancorp. It the second government lawsuit to conclude against the executive.

Spike in FHA Foreclosure Rates Ahead for Some Areas
A new report projects a spike in foreclosures on government-insured mortgages made in some localities.

Huge Losses for Small Failed Bank
Losses from the failure of small Missouri bank are expected to reach nearly a quarter of the bank's assets. Two other small financial institutions also failed recently. The number of mortgage-related businesses that will have closed by the time the year finishes will be lower than any year since the mortgage crisis erupted.

Business Slows Heading Into Holidays
With Christmas fast approaching, loan originators had rate locks on fewer loans this week. Refinance activity had the biggest impact on weekly activity, though conventional locks also significantly impacted the index.
Mortgage Market Index 192 for week ended Dec. 14

Mortgage Lending Migrates to Phones
With smartphones and tablets taking consumers by storm, the mortgage industry is taking notice. Five vendors launched new mobile applications designed to aid lenders in everything from server-specific tasks to document imaging solutions for their on-the-go needs. Additionally, several lenders and banks launched new mobile technology to better serve their client bases while two banking associations released telling reports in response to the boom of mortgage and other financial mobile software.

BofA CEO Sees Private Label MBS Revival Ahead
The chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp. said that he sees a return of investors to private-label mortgage-backed securities. He also expects the Charlotte, N.C.-based company to double its share of the mortgage market.
Brian Moynihan projects bank will double its mortgage market share

Low Mortgage Rates Poised for a Jump
Fixed mortgage rates retreated but are likely to be higher in next week's report. Adjustable rates, meanwhile, moved higher.

Servicing Productivity Up, Earnings Down
Residential loan servicers have managed to push up the number of loans serviced per employee, but earnings per loan is another story.

Earnings Improve for Average Originator
As average quarterly home loan production climbed at independent lenders, so did earnings. Mortgage bankers are closing more loans per employee. Firms that focus on either retail or wholesale originations earn more per loan than companies generating loans through both channels.

Performance on New RMBS to Deteriorate
Upcoming vintages of non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities will be of worse quality than this year's issuances, according to a ratings agency report. That same report projects that smaller mortgage servicers will pick up the slack as the biggest servicers downsize.

Florida Set to Become Worst Foreclosure State in December
During the past five months, foreclosure filings in California have dropped by more than a third, while Florida has seen filings jump by nearly a third -- putting the Sunshine State in position to capture the title of the state with the most foreclosure filings in December. Meanwhile, although U.S. foreclosure filings slowed last month, more foreclosures were completed.
Foreclosure filings fall 3% in November

Nationstar Hiring Production Employees
The profile of Nationstar Mortgage LLC has been on the rise as it expands its footprint in the mortgage servicing arena. Now the fast-growing firm is expanding its production staff.

FHA Revises Recertification Fees
The cost of recertifying the branch office of a Federal Housing Administration mortgagee is being changed.

Fed Policy Has Mortgage Rates Near Record Lows Until at Least 2014
The Federal Reserve Board has improved its projections for unemployment. But, even with the rosier outlook, Fed policy has mortgage rates set to remain near their record-low levels through at least the end of next year and possibly even another two years.

Optimistic Outlook for Mortgage Delinquency
Late payments on home loans peaked three years ago and have recently been improving. A new forecast has delinquency rates falling even further this year and next year -- and some of the hardest-hit states are expected to see the biggest improvements. But a return to normal delinquency levels remains far from certain.

Mortgage Firms Recognized for Most Hirings
A ranking of small and mid-sized employers that are adding the most jobs to the U.S. economy includes several mortgage-related firms. The top-ranking lender specializes in mortgages for veterans.

Triad Looking at Liquidation
Triad Guaranty Inc., which stopped insuring mortgages at the outset of the financial crisis, is ceding power of the company over to insurance regulators and looking at liquidating through bankruptcy.

AMC Sees More Growth Ahead
Growth at a fast-growing appraisal management company has been ongoing and looks likely to continue. A new product suite from the firm promises to help lenders do a better job reviewing their appraisal reports. The president of the company says today's automated valuations still fall far short of valuations determined by an appraiser.

Firms Help Resolve Delinquency, Liquidate REOs
Default service providers are seeing a boost in business due to increased short sales and foreclosures. Offerings promise to help value distressed properties and resolve real-estate-owned assets. Technology is a big part of today's default services industry.

Branch Expansion Strategies Implemented
Regional and national mortgage firms are wading into new markets with branch openings announced in several regions of the country. Some branches were opened from scratch, while others were previously independent firms that were acquired as branches of larger companies. At least one of the new branches will be recruiting 10 new employees.

Residential MBS Drive Increase in Ginnie Issuance
The Government National Mortgage Association guaranteed more mortgage-backed securities last month despite lower issuance volume for both jumbo and reverse mortgages. Multifamily securitizations have surpassed $2 billion for two consecutive months.

Wells Hit With Option-ARM Lawsuit
A lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo & Co. accuses the mammoth lender of reneging on a settlement it reached two years ago. The settlement was tied to loans inherited through its acquisition of Wachovia Corp.

Report Looks at GSE Executive Compensation Practices
The regulator of the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. is being advised to strengthen oversight of the executive compensation practices in place at the pair of secondary lenders.

CBMS Delinquency Dips
Despite deterioration in the lodging and industrial sectors, the performance of securitized commercial real estate loans improved last month. New issuance and apartment loan performance played a role in the improvement.

Outlook Improves for Refis, Deteriorates for Purchase Financing
The projection for quarterly purchase-money production was pared, while a beefed-up forecast for refinances more than made up the difference. Longer-term forecasts point to a significant drop ahead in mortgage jobs.

New Business, Delinquency Down at MGIC
Sales of new mortgage insurance policies slowed last month at MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. But the mortgage insurer improved on its level of delinquency.

Servicers Do Well in HAMP Report Card
Hundreds of employees who service distressed mortgages for Bank of America are impacted by the closing of a Southern California mortgage servicing location. Some of the impacted employees will find jobs within other units.

More permanent HAMP modifications reported in October

Jury Sides With FDIC in Lawsuit against Former IndyMac Execs
In one of the first lawsuits filed on behalf of failed banks against more than 300 former executives, a jury has ordered former IndyMac Bank, F.S.B., executives to pay nearly $170 million. The case involved executives at a construction lending unit.
ARM and Jumbo Activity Jump
A surge in inquiries for adjustable-rate mortgages led overall activity higher this week. Jumbo business also strengthened.
Mortgage Market Index 201 for week ended Dec. 7
2013 FHA Loan Limits Released
The maximum amount of a mortgage that can be insured by the Federal Housing Administration has been established for next year. Also released were limits on homes in high-cost areas, super-limits for properties financed in outlying areas and limits on federally insured reverse mortgages.

BofA Cutting California Distressed Servicing Staff
Hundreds of employees who service distressed mortgages for Bank of America are impacted by the closing of a Southern California mortgage servicing location. Some of the impacted employees will find jobs within other units.

HECM Lenders Lift Volume as Landscape Changes
As the annual production of government-insured reverse mortgages has been diminishing, the landscape of the biggest players has undergone a facelift. But while this year's production is on pace for yet another annual decline, lenders lifted lending activity in the latest month.

AMC Launches Automated Valuation Technology
A new service unveiled by a growing appraisal management company promises to provide more accurate automated appraisal values than traditional automated valuation models.

Mortgage Jobs Weaker
Strength in mortgage broker employment wasn't enough to offset monthly job losses at real estate lenders. But overall mortgage employment has significantly improved over the past year. U.S. employment across all industries strengthened.

HUD Reconsidering Policy on Prior Foreclosures
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan couldn't reassure lawmakers Thursday that the Federal Housing Administration won't need a bailout for the first time in its 78-year history. But he did indicate that the agency is revisiting its policy of insuring loans to borrowers who recently went through a foreclosure.

Fixed Rates Up, ARMs Down
Fixed mortgage rates crept up this past week but still remain within earshot of all-time lows. Some signals indicate rates could be lower in next week's report. Unlike fixed rates, adjustable rates retreated.

Broad Improvement in CRE Loan Delinquency
Delinquency on commercial real estate loans was lower in the third quarter for most investor types, and more recent data indicates that the positive trend is continuing. The best improvement in performance was on commercial mortgages owned by banks, though securitized loans also performed well.

HUD Chief Defends FHA Capital Reserves
While today's low interest rates mean that the Federal Housing Administration's capital reserve ratio is worse than it appears, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development testified before lawmakers that other factors are offsetting ultra-low mortgages rates that are currently in effect.

Senate testimony by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

Bankruptcy Filings Fall
Fewer consumers resorted to bankruptcy last month, though it was enough to push year-to-date total filings past a million. This year's filings are on track to be the lowest in more than four years.

Radian Business Slows But Still Brisk
Insured loan volume at Radian Guaranty Inc. slowed last month but still finished at the second-highest level this year. An early indication of residential delinquency for the mortgage industry -- the rate of past-due mortgages on Radian's books -- was down 300 basis points from a year earlier.

LOS Enhancements and Advancements
With the never-ending quest to provide the most comprehensive, intuitive, streamlined and technology-savvy loan origination system possible for existing and prospective clients, LOS developers are striving to provide the ultimate, most efficient and all-in-one lending solution. While some features and upgrades were made to existing systems, a couple companies launched new LOS programs. A few LOS providers actually integrated with or acquired technological components from other companies to give clients more well-rounded offerings.

Whole Loans, MBS and MSRs Traded
Trading of whole loans and mortgage-backed securities has been increasing, especially with the expanded market share of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. Also fueling activity are private financial firms hungry to improve their bottom lines. Distressed assets are a hot commodity.

HUD Clarifies When DPA Can Be Used
Losses on loans that utilized downpayment assistance prompted the prohibition of such assistance on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But there are still situations where downpayment assistance is acceptable on FHA loans.

Citi Cutting Over 11,000 Jobs
Plans to reduce Citigroup Inc.'s workforce by more than 11,000 impact some units that handle mortgages. Still, the financial services giant will remain among the biggest banking employers.

Investor Interested in PMI
A high-profile investor has expressed interest in reviving the bankrupt parent of former mortgage insurance giant PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

Freddie Digging Deeper for Repurchases
Freddie Mac has advised its seller-servicers that it will begin issuing repurchase demands on older vintages in a move that adds to the uncertain environment mortgage bankers operate in.

M.I. Jobs Safe for Now
Hundreds of employees will keep their jobs as North Carolina insurance regulators approve a plan to allow a mortgage insurance company to stay in business as it winds down policies in force over the next several years.

Staffing Down, Delinquency Up at Banks
The country's banks have trimmed headcount, while quarterly delinquency turned higher. But earnings have continued to strengthen as fewer banks succumbed to the Great Recession. Over the past five years, the number of federally insured banks has fallen by nearly 16 percent.

Expanding Mortgage Servicer Hiring in Arizona
A growing mortgage servicer that is based in Colorado is expanding west and creating hundreds of jobs in the process.

BofA Chief Sees Growth in Mortgage Production Ahead
The chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp. sees a robust mortgage origination market ahead but said the company is being very careful about which mortgages land on its balance sheet during these low-yield times.

Video of interview with Brian Moynihan

NJ Group Among Buyers of FHA Distressed Loans
More than $1.9 billion in distressed government-insured mortgages have been sold through a program that targets hard-hit real estate markets. One of the successful bidders was a nonprofit community development financial institution in the Garden State.

Acquisition to Create Billion Dollar Lender
An acquisition of a Virginia mortgage originator by a West Virginia bank is expected to create a combined force that generates $1 billion in residential loan production.

GSEs Suspend Holiday Evictions (Again)
As has become a tradition since the financial crisis erupted, foreclosures on conventional conforming mortgages will be suspended during the holidays.

MTA Up Again
The Monthly Treasury Average, which is used to determine changes to interest rates and monthly payments on some adjustable-rate mortgages, was higher last month. It was the fourth month in a row that the index was up.

Fraud Risk Higher on HARP Transactions
While mortgage fraud represents less of a threat than it did six years ago, it remains a looming risk for lenders, according to a new report. The report found that transactions completed through the expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program are riskier than non-HARP refinances. An expected increase in short-sale transactions is expected to have a negative impact on fraud risk.

Home Loan Delinquency Down 32 Consecutive Months at Fannie
Fannie Mae reported that secondary activity was slower in October, but more-recent data indicates that business has already bounced back. Residential delinquency has declined for 32 consecutive months, and late payments on apartment loans remain low.

Chicago Tribune Calls for End to IL Judicial Foreclosures
The judicial foreclosure system in Illinois raises the cost of liquidating distressed assets while offering few compensating factors, prompting the Chicago Tribune to endorse an overhaul of the state's foreclosure practices.

NY, CA Trade Top Mortgage Fraud Rankings
The quarterly Mortgage Fraud Index was lower, reflecting a decline in the number of cases tracked during the latest period. But the dollar amount of associated loans has climbed more than a quarter over the past year. California and New York reversed their quarterly standings among the two states involving the highest amount of fraudulent loans.

COFI Still Can't Find Bottom
The Cost of Funds Index, already in a free fall, still has not found a bottom. A record COFI, however, wasn't enough to revive the ailing adjustable-rate share.

Agency Issuance Soars to 3-Year High
Preliminary data on the issuance of agency mortgage-backed securities indicate that volume jumped by nearly half between October and November. Much of the gain was fueled by the Federal National Mortgage Association, though a healthy contribution was also made by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

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