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December 2014 Archive


New Business Inches Higher at Fannie
A minimal increase in monthly secondary activity was recorded for the Federal National Mortgage Association, while delinquency hit another six-year low.

COFI Rises Again
For the second month in a row, the Cost of Funds Index has increased, and it isn't the only index on the rise.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Rise, But Could Retreat
Interest rates on home loans moved up this past week but could slide lower in the next report.

Pending Home Sales Pick Up
More residential properties were under contract as of last month, a positive sign for the U.S. housing market.

Titan Lenders Exiting Retail Fulfillment Space
A company that enables mortgage originators to outsource production functions has decided to no longer offer the service for the retail channel. Increased compliance risks impacted the decision.

Home Price Gains Off But Building Momentum
On a national basis, the monthly pace of home price growth has slowed, though momentum is gaining heading into 2015.

10-Month High for Mortgage Delinquency
Mortgage delinquency turned sharply higher last month even as the foreclosure inventory retreated to its lowest level in nearly seven years.

Fed's QE Exit a Delicate Matter
In addition to what the Federal Reserve determines it should do with the massive bond portfolio it has amassed, it must also decide how to handle repayments.

Nonbank Mortgage Market Share Continues Climbing
Non-bank home lenders continued to gain in home lending market share at the expense of banks. Credit union share also widened.

Dramatic Shift Ahead for Appraisal Underwriting
A new technology being implemented on conventional agency loans is expected to have a major impact on the underwriting of appraisal reports.

Christmas Week Mortgage Activity Off from 2013
While a decline in mortgage business was to be expected from the Christmas holiday, activity was also down from the same week last year. Rising rates might have played a role in the drop.


Mortgage Market Index 169 for week ended Nov. 21

Mich Firm Settles Allegations of False FHA Claims
Alleged false claims made on government-insured mortgages will cost a company out of Michigan more than $4 million.

Rise in Mortgage Rates Could Repeat
Heading into the Christmas holiday, interest rates on home loans moved higher, and it's looking like another bump is in store for New Years.

RMBS Trustees Face More Litigation by NCUA
Just days after suing two trustees on residential mortgage-backed securities owned by failed corporate credit unions, the national regulator of credit unions has named Wells Fargo & Co. as a defendant in another action.

5-Year Low for Delinquent CMBS Loans
Despite deterioration in loan performance on some securitized commercial real estate loans, the overall volume of delinquent loans fell to the lowest level in a half-decade.

New Home Sales Down Again
In another sign that the U.S. housing market is softening, new home sales slowed again last month. But home builders are still optimistic.

2nd Consecutive Monthly Improvement at FHA
For the second month in a row, new business improved and mortgage delinquency declined at the Federal Housing Administration.

FHFA Takes Action On Super Liens
With homeowner association foreclosures wiping out liens on Fannie Mae loans, the company's regulator has taken legal action.

Skyline Raises Capital for Non-Agency Lending
With fresh capital in hand, Skyline Home Loans is moving into the market for non-agency mortgage lending.

Surprise Drop in Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales plunged last month, surprising analysts. A volatile stock market is suspected of scaring off potential home buyers.

Ocwen Settlement Has Chairman Resigning
A settlement has been reached between Ocwen Financial Corp. and New York's banking regulator. The deal calls for the resignation of the company's chairman of the board.

Freddie Delinquency Remains Lowest Since 2008
The rate of serious residential delinquency at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. held to its lowest level since 2008. New business and the book of business ticked up.

Bank, 2 Credit Unions Fail
Losses from the failure of a midwestern bank are expected to reach nearly a third of its total assets. Meanwhile, a pair of Michigan credit unions were liquidated.

Another 2014 High for GSE Refis
For the second month in a row, refinances of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans climbed to the highest level this year.

Weekly Refis Rise as Purchase Financing Slips
A week-over-week decline in purchase financing activity was met by an increase in refinancing business. Interest rates, meanwhile, sank.

Mortgage Market Index 176 for week ended Dec. 1

Bank Repossessions and Delinquency Decline
Both the rate of delinquency and the number of completed foreclosures declined at banks. New foreclosure filings, however, increased.

Ally Sale Marks TARP Milestone
The sale by the U.S. government of its remaining shares in Ally Financial Inc. marks a significant milestone both for the company and the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Multiple Firms Offering Conventional 97% LTVs
At least three mortgage bankers, including two wholesale lenders, have begun offering new conventional products with high loan-to-value ratios.

Mortgage Rates Sink But Set to Spike
Interest rates on home loans plunged this past week. But the decline is likely to be erased in the next report.

Senate Democrats Urge HUD to Reduce M.I. Premiums
Democrats in the U.S. Senate are calling for a reduction in mortgage insurance premiums on government-insured loans.

Refis Drive 2015 Origination Forecast Past 2014
An increase in next year's expected refinance originations has now pushed projected total mortgage production for 2015 past this year's expected activity.

Mortgage Firms Bolster Retail Management
Two mortgage bankers have appointed executives to help build their retail businesses. Recent executive moves at other firms are intended to strengthen digital assets, legal resources and servicing management.

Mortgage Executive Outlook Increasingly Weaker
The outlook among senior lending executives for home values and mortgage demand has grown increasingly weaker over the course of this year.

Credit Conditions Worsen in November
Home lenders pulled back on the reins last month, with credit scores on funded business climbing and loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios tightening.

MBS Lawsuits: Phase II
Up to this point, residential mortgage-backed securities lawsuits had primarily focused on entities involved in issuance. Now, trustees are the target.

Servicers Modify More Mortgages
The latest monthly reading on mortgage modifications shows that residential loan servicers picked up the pace of activity.

Banks Tighten Residential Lending Requirements
The share of banks that tightened underwriting guidelines on residential loans increased this past year. But the trend on home-equity and commercial mortgage lending was more favorable.

Freddie Lifts 2015, 2016 Refi Outlook, Cuts Purchase
Freddie Mac lowered its expectations for this year's refinance production but raised its forecast for next year's and 2016's refinances. It did the exact opposite for its purchase financing outlook.

Mortgage Delinquency Creeps Up
Serious residential delinquency rates on both junior and senior liens moved minimally higher last month. Loan performance, however, remains better than last year.

LOs Continue to Move From Banks to Non-Banks
A growing share of the nation's mortgage loan originators are opting to work at non-bank mortgage companies.

New Home Activity Slower Than Expected
New home activity last month was slower than anticipated, and weather conditions might have played a role in the disappointing numbers.

BofA, Citi Fall Short on Servicer Settlement Tests
Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. have failed to meet some of the requirements of the national servicer settlement -- though the shortfall might be partly due to changes made to comply with new servicing rules.

Mortgage Bankers Raise Q1 Refi Forecast
Mortgage bankers have pushed up their projection for refinance originations during the first three months of next year.

Appraisal Fraud On the Decline
When it comes to mortgage fraud, inflated appraisals have become less of an issue thanks to appraisal regulation. But collusion among buyers and sellers is worsening.

Ocwen Acquires Delinquent FHA Loans
A pool of distressed government home loans has been purchased by a unit of Ocwen Financial Corp., and more such deals could be ahead.

Slight Up Tick in RMBS Issuance Predicted in 2015
Non-agency residential loan securitizations are expected to rise modestly next year, while performance on legacy loans is predicted to improve.

Home Loan Performance Improving
The level of distressed first mortgages has fallen to multi-year lows. While home-equity performance is also improving, outstandings are eroding.

BofA To Appeal $1 Million Robocall Judgment
Bank of America Corp. has indicated its intention to appeal a judge's denial of its motion to vacate a more than $1 million judgment in favor of a Florida couple.

Mortgage Layoffs Continue
Although the overall U.S. employment situation has been strengthening, many mortgage firms and banks are still reducing their headcount.

Jumbo Leads Gain in Mortgage Activity
Mortgage activity moved higher this past week, and jumbo mortgage business was out front of the overall acceleration. Interest rates are set to slide.


Mortgage Market Index 171 in week ended Dec. 5

Best Mortgage Employers
A handful of mortgage companies have been recognized as being among the best employers in their local communities.

MSRs on Western Agency Loans Up for Bid
Mortgage servicing rights on close to $3 billion in agency home loans secured by properties in the West are being marketed for sale.

Prison for Former Executives of Failed MO Firm
A third senior executive has admitted his role in a bank fraud scheme that kept a Missouri company afloat as it racked up a huge deficit.

5-Month Low for Ginnie MBS Issuance
Monthly issuance of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities fell to a five-month low, though jumbo activity strengthened.

Fixed Mortgage Rates Rise but Could Tumble
Fixed interest rates on home loans turned modestly higher this week. But the latest market data suggests an improvement could be in the offing.

Stonegate Mortgage Unit Hiring in SoCal
A mortgage firm that was acquired last year by Stonegate Mortgage Corp. has unveiled plans to add more than a hundred mortgage jobs in Southern California.

Foreclosure Metrics Continue to Improve
Almost all foreclosure metrics improved last month on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. The only exception was the number of foreclosures started, which was up from a year earlier.

9% fewer foreclosures in November than in October

Merger Creating Sizable Lender
The acquisition of one Utah-based mortgage firm by another has created a company with more than 2,000 employees and over 200 branches.

Mortgage Production Job Openings
Hundreds of production jobs in real estate finance are being filled across the country. Although most of the jobs are in retail, some wholesale positions are available.

Declining Mortgage Delinquency Expected to Continue
Quarterly mortgage delinquency, which has been on the decline for four years, is expected to improve further next year.

Harassing Mortgage Calls Cost BofA Over $1 Million
A Florida couple has won a judgment of more than $1 million against Bank of America Corp. in a federal lawsuit accusing the lender of hundreds of harassing phone calls.

Radian New Biz Lowest in 7 Months
Radian Guaranty Inc.'s new business was the slowest it's been in seven months. Insured loan performance, however, was the best it's been in at least five years.

Jumbo VA Limits Could Go Away
Department of Veterans Affairs loan limits in excess of $1 million for some high-cost areas could become a thing of the past.

Annual GSE Foreclosure Moratorium Announced
For the sixth year in a row now, the government sponsored enterprises are suspending evictions on foreclosed properties during the holidays.

Non-Agency Programs Expanded at Stonegate
Improvements to Stonegate Mortgage Corp.'s non-agency product menu include higher loan-to-value ratios and enhanced jumbo programs.

Jumbo Cashouts Behind Increased Credit Availability
Credit conditions in home lending eased slightly last month. The improvement was attributed to new jumbo cashout programs.

MSRs on Over $3 Billion in Agency Loans for Sale
Bids are being accepted for mortgage servicing rights on more than $3 billion in Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. loans.

PNC Mortgage CEO Leaving Due to Family Issues
Less than two years after taking the job, the chief executive officer of The PNC Financial Services Group Inc.'s mortgage business is resigning.

GSEs Go Live with 97% LTV Loans
Less than two months after the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency alerted mortgage bankers about a loosening of loan-to-value limitations, higher LTVs have become a reality.

MGIC Business Falls to 6-Month Low
New business at MGIC Guaranty Insurance Corp. slowed to the lowest level in six months, while the distressed loan inventory hasn't been this low in at least five years.

Biggest Mortgage Lenders in Q3
Residential lenders lifted loan originations in the third quarter from the prior period but fell short of their year-earlier levels. There was a new No. 4 lender and No. 4 servicer.

Mortgage Biz Bounces Back from Holiday Week
New mortgage activity came roaring back from the holiday week. Refinances led the week-over-week recovery, while jumbo business has more than quintupled on a year-over-year basis.

Mortgage Market Index 171 in week ended Dec. 5

MBS Issuance Moves Higher at Ginnie, Reverse Leaps
Monthly loan securitization activity improved at the Government National Mortgage Association thanks mostly to residential business. Reverse mortgage volume saw the most improvement.

2015 FHA Loans Limits Published
Loan limits for calendar-year 2015 on residential loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration have been released.

Mortgage Jobs Hold as US Employment Vastly Improves
A solid improvement in the nation's job situation placed upward pressure on interest rates. Mortgage employment, however, was stagnant.

Plunging Mortgage Rates Likely to Hold
Fixed mortgage rates sank this past week and are likely to maintain their low levels in the next report.

Mortgages and Membership Grow at Credit Unions
Although the number of U.S. credit unions continued to contract, total real estate loan assets and credit union membership grew.

Mortgage Servicing Efficiency Increases
Mortgage servicers were able to handle more loans per employee during the latest quarter. Income, however, dropped from a year earlier because of losses on the valuation and hedging of mortgage servicing rights.

Production Earnings Off Despite Increased Biz
Although higher mortgage originations help reduce per-loan expenses, a decline in secondary marketing income more than offset lower expenses.

Self Employed Struggling to Get Mortgages
Although self-employed consumers earn more than their salaried counterparts and represent a growing share of the population, they are having a harder time obtaining home financing.

6-Year Low for Serious Mortgage Delinquency
The good news is that serious mortgage delinquency in October was at its lowest level in more than six years, and the foreclosure inventory continued to diminish. The bad news is that September's repossessions were revised up to the highest level in nearly two years.

Bankruptcy Filings Tumble
New consumer bankruptcy cases were down by more than a fifth last month, while full-year filings are positioned to reach a seven-year low.

Layoffs Mark RBS' Final Exit from U.S. MBS
With the elimination of mortgage-backed securities jobs in Connecticut, RBS will close the book on its venture into its U.S. MBS business.

Multifamily Leads Improvement in CMBS Delinquency
Delinquency on securitized commercial real estate loans fell to the lowest level in a half-decade, with the late-payment rate on multifamily loans plunging.

HECM Originations Drop
Last month's origination of federally insured reverse mortgages was down both on a month-over-month basis and from a year earlier.

Non-QM Lending Share Nearly Doubles
On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the share of home loans originated that weren't Qualified Mortgages nearly doubled. Meanwhile, a big portion of lenders are still nervous about meeting QM requirements.

Ginnie MSRs Up for Grabs
Mortgage servicing rights on loans serviced for the Government National Mortgage Association are up for sale. The portfolio is heavily concentrated in sand states.

Wells Fargo Laying Off Maryland Mortgage Employees
Employees at a Maryland office of Wells Fargo & Co.'s mortgage unit have been advised of their upcoming layoffs.

CRE Delinquency Rates at Lowest Levels in 5+ Years
For most types of investor groups, performance on commercial real estate loans was at its best in at least five years.

MTA Rises 1st Time in Nearly 2 Years
For the first time in almost two years, the Monthly Treasury Average has moved higher -- though the rise was miniscule.

Illinois County Sues Wells Over Alleged Discrimination
A federal lawsuit has been filed against Wells Fargo & Co. alleging that the lender discriminated against minority borrowers.

Agency MBS Issuance Falls to 5-Month Low
The Federal National Mortgage Association led a month-over-month decline in the issuance of agency mortgage-backed securities.

COFI Turns Higher
Following two months in a row of record lows, the Cost of Funds Index reversed course and turned higher.

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