November 20, 2014

Latest from Inside Mortgage Finance

Total primary mortgage insurance rose by 15.9% from the previous quarter according to estimates from Inside Mortgage Finance

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All Cylinders Firing in 3Q14, As Surge in Conventional- Conforming Market Led Increase in Total Originations

Mortgage originations increased in all the major product categories during the third quarter of 2014, although new adjustable-rate mortgage lending was down slightly. A new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis shows that conventional-conforming originations increased by 11.7 percent from the second quarter to the third. That was slightly faster than the 10.2 percent increase in jumbo production and the 10.1 percent rise in government-insured lending. The home-equity market showed...[Includes two data charts]

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FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund Capital Turns Positive, But No Change to Mortgage Insurance Premiums

The FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has improved from a negative position to a positive $4.8 billion in FY 2014 after gaining nearly $6 billion in value over the last year, thanks to aggressive policy actions that led to improvements in key areas, according to an independent actuarial report sent to Congress this week. Overall, the fund showed a $21 billion improvement over the past two years due to changes the FHA implemented following the housing crisis, the report said. The changes led to improved underwriting standards for single-family mortgages, increased mortgage insurance premiums, stronger loss mitigation policies and higher recoveries, it noted. Aggressive policy actions also led...

CFPB Enforcement Actions Highlight What Mortgage Servicers Need to Look Out For

A careful examination of the big-ticket enforcement actions the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has brought against leading mortgage servicers can help others in the space avoid the same fate and protect their bottom lines, according to top industry legal experts. During an Inside Mortgage Finance webinar earlier this week, Allyson Baker, a former CFPB attorney and partner at the Venable law firm in Washington, DC, discussed the importance of trends seen in a handful of servicing enforcement cases against Ocwen, SunTrust Bank and Flagstar Bank. “I think...

Feature Stories

Inside Mortgage Trends

Mortgage-Banking Income Softened In 3Q14 Despite Surge in Originations

Mortgage-banking income reported by a diverse group of 33 lenders fell 16.0 percent from the second quarter of 2014 to the third, according to a new analysis by Inside Mortgage Trends. The 33 publicly traded companies, which include most of the top originators and servicers in the industry, had a combined $3.547 billion in net mortgage banking income during the third quarter. That was only 12.0 percent above the dreary $3.166 billion the group earned during the first three months of 2014, which was one of the industry’s least profitable quarters ever. The tepid third-quarter results came at a time when origination volume was unexpectedly strong – up 36.7 percent from the first quarter of 2014 – and many lenders have put ...

Inside The GSEs

DeMarco: ‘Housing-Industrial Complex’ Inhibits GSE Reform

Effective and lasting GSE reform cannot be accomplished without Congress taking decisive action and the housing finance market’s status quo is unsustainable in the long term, according to the former head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Speaking at an American Enterprise Institute forum late this week, former FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco warned attendees to expect comprehensive and lasting housing finance reform to remain stalled unless lawmakers pass a bill that the president will sign.

Inside MBS & ABS

SFIG Releases Second Round of Consensus Standards Aimed at Restoring Confidence in Non-Agency RMBS

As part of its RMBS 3.0 initiative, the Structured Finance Industry Group this week released the second installment of its recommended best practices for the non-agency MBS market. New and revised material was released for each of the three major “work streams” in the project, which broadly cover: representation-and-warranty issues and repurchases; due diligence, data and disclosure; and the roles of transaction parties and bondholder communications. The 54 new pages released this week bring the cumulative work to about 125 pages, including appendices. In the reps-and-warranties section, new provisions cover...

Inside the CFPB

Industry Wants Lighter HMDA Burden, Groups Tells CFPB

Now that the mortgage lending industry has had about three months to comb through the details of the CFPB’s proposed expansion of reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, it has found more cause to dislike it than upon first glance. “While we support the purpose of HMDA – to provide information on the availability of credit in the home mortgage market – we are concerned that the proposal to markedly increase HMDA data reporting and coverage goes beyond the law’s purposes in some areas and will unduly harm competition and increase costs in others,” a handful of leading industry groups told the bureau in a joint comment letter last week. “At the same time, we do not believe that the ...

Inside Nonconforming Markets

Strong Demand for Jumbo Originations From Both Banks and MBS Investors

Pricing for jumbo mortgage-backed securities has improved in recent months, prompting an increase in issuance from some firms, but bank demand remains robust. “Although the difference has narrowed, our whole-loan sale execution for most jumbo loans continues to be more attractive than our securitization execution as a result of strong demand from banks,” Brett Nicholas, president of Redwood Trust, said this week during a call with investors. In the third quarter of 2014, Redwood issued ...

Inside FHA Lending

HUD Rejects CFPB’s QM Cure Provision

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will not take on the new points-and-fees cure provision for qualified mortgages adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency is concerned that lenders might inadvertently violate the FHA’s statutory 3.5 percent downpayment requirement. HUD adopted other changes in the CFPB’s revised final rule on ability to repay and qualified mortgages (ATR/QM) to maintain consistency but saw no need for any further ability to cure points-and-fees errors. Reimbursement of any excess points and fees to the borrower could take away from the mandatory 3.5 percent downpayment and render the loan ineligible for FHA insurance, the agency explained in a notice published in the Nov. 3 Federal Register. HUD said it would provide lender guidance under its own QM rule on ...

Poll

What is it going to take to convince lenders to loosen the credit box (i.e., remove underwriting overlays)?

The recent rep and warranty changes announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency should go a long way in protecting lenders from future buybacks and help expand mortgage credit.
There won’t be any significant elimination of underwriting overlays until the government stops seeking huge mortgage-related penalties and settlements from lenders.
There shouldn’t be any expansion of the mortgage credit box since looser underwriting is what caused the recent mortgage crisis.

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