September 25, 2014

Latest from Inside Mortgage Finance

Outstanding mortgage securities fell by 0.3% from the previous quarter according to estimates from Inside MBS & ABS

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Ginnie Mae Announces New Initiatives to Strengthen Liquidity, Assess New Issuers, Preserve Servicing Rights

Ginnie Mae this week unveiled a position paper outlining its views and new strategies for its mortgage-backed securities program with greater emphasis on liquidity and on the preservation of servicing rights both as an activity and as an asset class. During a conference it sponsored this week, Ginnie announced a number of initiatives that would help the agency adapt its complex financial and operational structures to a post-crisis secondary mortgage market in which non-depository and smaller institutions are playing a bigger role. Ginnie underscored...

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FHFA Official: Congress Should Be Main Arbiter Of the GSEs’ Share of Mortgage Market Activity

Efforts to reduce the government-sponsored enterprises’ footprint using guaranty fees and loan limits should be left to Congress, according to Bob Ryan, a special advisor to the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Meanwhile, officials at the Treasury Department suggest that the FHFA does have a role in setting policy that will inform any housing finance reform action by Congress. In comments this week at the ABS East conference produced by Information Management Network in Miami Beach, Ryan said the FHFA looks to Congress for direction when considering how to run the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “There is nothing in the legislation that suggests the FHFA should shrink the footprint [of the GSEs],” he said. Ryan said...

Look for a Boom in Mortgage Servicing Sales as Lenders Try to ‘Make Their Numbers’ by Yearend

With loan originations beginning to taper off this fall and expected to continue that way through yearend, lenders of different stripes likely will step up their sales of mortgage servicing rights in an attempt to make earnings projections. “There’s a ton of activity out there now,” said Tom Piercy, managing member of Interactive Mortgage Advisors, Denver, an MSR advisory and brokerage firm. “We’re the busiest we’ve ever been all year.” Mark Garland, president of MountainView Servicing Group, concurs...

Feature Stories

Inside the CFPB

CFPB Slams Flagstar $35 Million Over Mortgage Servicing Violations

As Inside the CFPB was going to press, the bureau announced a $35 million enforcement action against Flagstar Bank for allegedly blocking borrowers’ attempts to save their homes, in violation of the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules. This is the first enforcement action the bureau has initiated based on the new regulation. The regulator alleged that the bank closed borrower applications due to its own excessive delays. “Flagstar took excessive time to review loss mitigation applications, often causing application documents to expire,” said the agency. “To move its backlog, Flagstar would close applications due to expired documents, even though the documents had expired because of Flagstar’s delay.” The CFPB also accused the bank of delaying the approval or denial of borrower ...

Inside FHA Lending

GNMA to Tighten Supervision of Issuers

Ginnie Mae has unveiled new plans for issuer standards as well as steps to boost liquidity in the mortgage servicing rights (MSR) market. Agency officials at a summit hosted by Ginnie Mae this week in Washington, DC, said both actions are designed to avoid issuer failures and to preserve residential mortgage servicing as an economically viable activity and MSRs as an attractive asset class. The officials said changes will be made to Ginnie’s mortgage-backed securities program to support the agency’s transformation from a pre-crisis bank-driven government MBS program to a post-crisis program where non-depositories and smaller financial institutions play a much bigger role. By the middle of next year, approximately a third of Ginnie MSRs will have changed hands over the previous four years, agency officials said. Many of the new owners of the servicing rights are ...

Inside Nonconforming Markets

Treasury Working to Convince Investors New Non-Agency MBS is a Good Deal

The Treasury Department is working on at least two initiatives aimed at boosting issuance of non-agency mortgage-backed securities, following more than four years of industry-driven reform efforts that haven’t attracted enough attention from investors. “The private-label securities market is virtually dormant,” Olga Gorodetsky, a senior policy advisor at the Treasury, said this week at the ABS East conference produced by Information Management Network in Miami Beach. The Treasury is considering working with ...

Inside MBS & ABS

Cautious Optimism in Structured Finance Market As New Regulations Ease Compliance Uncertainty

Investors are comfortable with broad swaths of the structured finance market and issuers are cautiously optimistic that regulators won’t hinder activity too much going forward, according to attendees at the ABS East conference produced by Information Management Network this week in Miami Beach. “We’re in a pretty good spot right now in the market from a supply-demand perspective,” said Bob Behal, a principal and co-head of ABS investments and commercial MBS investments at Vanguard Group. Almost 3,700 people had registered by the start of the conference, up slightly from around 3,500 people in 2013. Will Zak, a director at Barclays, said...

Inside Mortgage Trends

Concerns About Buybacks, Legal Woes Continue to Keep Credit Box Narrow

A tremendous amount of uncertainty is causing mortgage lenders to be more restrictive with credit than they otherwise might be – mostly stemming from conflicts with investors, increased regulation and the ambiguity from major legal settlements. “Lenders are running scared,” said Paulina McGrath, president of Republic State Mortgage, during a conference sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center this week in Washington, DC. “It’s not just the regulation that’s causing a dramatic increase in ...

Inside The GSEs

Groups Petition Congress to Seek Transparency in GSE Profit Sweep

Congress should put the screws to the Treasury Department to disclose all documents pertaining to the origins of the Obama administration’s controversial “net-worth sweep” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac profits, according to a coalition of right-leaning public policy groups. In a letter dispatched late this week to the top Republican and Democrat of the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, the 17 groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute urged lawmakers to intervene to impose transparency over what GSE shareholders consider an extra-legal maneuver by the executive branch.

Poll

Over the next six months we plan to hire this many more additional loan officers:

1 to 10 (We're being careful.)
11 to 30 (We're optimistic.)
More than 30 (We're in a growth mode as the banks get out.)
We're cutting back. (Are you nuts? It's ugly out there.)

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