February 26, 2015

Latest from Inside Mortgage Finance

Retail mortgage originations fell by 0.5% from the previous quarter according to estimates from Inside Mortgage Finance

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Mortgage Brokers See Slight Gain in Market Share During 4Q14; Retail Lost Some Ground in 2014

The wholesale-broker channel was the only mortgage production arena to see increased volume in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis and ranking. Brokers originated an estimated $34 billion in new home loans during the final three months of 2014, a gain of 6.3 percent from the previous quarter. The wholesale-broker channel gradually recovered from a disastrous first quarter, when brokers saw their market share slide to just 9.0 percent. By the end of the year, it was up to 10.0 percent. The broker channel generated...[Includes four data charts]

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Suddenly, Ocwen is Popular Among Investment Bankers That Want to Help With Its ‘Managed’ Liquidation

Ocwen Financial – once deemed the fastest-growing residential servicer in the nation – is now facing huge shrinkage and is undergoing what some analysts and investment bankers are now calling a managed or “controlled” liquidation. The questions facing investors and business partners of the company is how fast can Ocwen shrink and what will be left for shareholders other than a pile of cash. “This could be...

Republicans Likely to Use Different Strategies To Restructure CFPB vs. Changing Bureau Rules

As Republican leaders in Congress stake out hard-line positions on structural changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Democrats are responding by digging in their heels, raising the prospects of more gridlock. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, recently stated his desire to pull the CFPB within the orbit of the congressional appropriations process. He is also interested in changing the leadership structure of the bureau from a single director to a governing board. Ranking Member Jeff Merkley, D-OR, and other Democrats are opposed...

Feature Stories

Inside Mortgage Trends

Mortgage Banking Income Declined in 4Q14, Nonbanks Made Things Worse

A handful of nonbank mortgage companies reporting substantial losses during the fourth quarter weighed down industry-wide mortgage banking income, according to a new Inside Mortgage Trends analysis of earnings reports. A diverse group of 31 mortgage lenders that includes the biggest players in the market earned a combined $3.227 billion on their mortgage banking operations during the fourth quarter. That was down 8.2 percent from the group’s $3.516 billion during the third quarter. The fourth quarter was...[Includes one data chart]

Inside The GSEs

New GSE Earnings Raise the Specter of a Possible Loss

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported somewhat underwhelming results for the fourth quarter, thanks to huge hits they took from hedging losses tied to their holdings of derivatives. The reduced earnings highlighted the fact that although the two have been cash cows for the U.S. Treasury over the past two years, they aren’t bullet proof. During separate press briefings with the media, the CEOs of both firms spent a bit of time going over the hits they took on their derivatives, stressing that the interest rate swaps they use to hedge rate swings are essential and cut both ways. The message was clear: if mortgage rates had not fallen dramatically in December, their earnings would have been ... [with one exclusive chart] ...

Inside MBS & ABS

Banks Add to MBS Portfolios in Late 2014; Biggest Gain Was in Fannie/Freddie MBS

Commercial banks and thrifts added $12.2 billion of agency single-family MBS to their investment portfolios during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS ranking and analysis of call-report data. Banks and thrifts held $1.539 trillion of MBS on their books at the end of last year, a slight 0.3 percent increase from the third quarter. Bank/thrift holdings were up 2.2 percent from the end of 2013. Growth in agency mortgage securities was...[Includes two data charts]

Inside the CFPB

CFPB Sending a Message on Deceptive, Misleading Ads

The CFPB brought the hammer down on a handful of nonbank mortgage companies in the last two weeks over advertising practices the bureau asserts are deceptive and misleading because, in three of the cases, the lenders allegedly implied U.S. government approval of their products or otherwise suggested the companies were agencies of the federal government when in point of fact they were not. The actions are a confirmation to the industry that lenders don’t have to be big players with deep pockets or even depository institutions to earn the bureau’s wrath. They are also a big wake-up call in terms of compliance. “For decades, many lenders which have used direct mail to market to consumers have emphasized the government-insured nature ...

Inside Nonconforming Markets

Jumbo Lending Stronger than Overall Market, Hits Highest Share in 10 Years

Fueled by demand from banks, jumbo mortgages accounted for 19.0 percent of total mortgage originations in 2014, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, the highest it has been since 2002. But last year’s jumbo production volume, estimated at $235.0 billion, was down 13.6 percent from 2013. However, total originations declined by 34.4 percent in that time. An estimated $67.0 billion in jumbos were originated in the fourth quarter of 2014 ... [Includes one data chart]

Inside FHA Lending

VA Lending Up in 4Q, Year Over Year

VA loan volume continued to rise in the fourth quarter of 2014, driven by low interest rates and a strong demand for the lower downpayment loans, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of Ginnie Mae/VA data. The volume of VA loans securitized in Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities rose 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter to $107.8 billion from the previous quarter, with more than half of the loans coming through the retail channel. Retailers accounted for $51.5 billion in VA loans securitized during the quarter while correspondents and brokers accounted for $44.4 billion and $11.9 billion, respectively. The overall average FICO score for VA loans was 707, with average loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios of 95.0 percent and 38.2 percent, respectively, during the quarter. Correspondents came up big with VA purchase loans, accounting for $31.7 billion of the $65.1 billion in total purchase loans produced during the fourth quarter. Retail loan officers accounted for $28.5 billion while brokers brought in ... [ 1 chart ]

Poll

With the recent dip in interest rates, how do you feel about loan volumes this year?

We see loan production ending 2015 flat compared to 2014.
We’re optimistic that our originations will rise by 10 to 20 percent year over year.
We’re really optimistic: We expect production to increase by 20 percent or better from last year.
We’re not so bullish. Originations for us may actually fall.

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