March 23, 2017

Latest from Inside Mortgage Finance

Total HEL originations fell by 4.5 percent from the previous quarter according to estimates from Inside Mortgage Finance

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Home-Equity Market Continued to Fizzle in Late 2016, HEL Debt Sinks to 13-Year Low

New originations of home-equity loans were up 8.0 percent in 2016 from the previous year, but the market peaked early and ended with consecutive quarterly declines in production, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. Lenders originated an estimated $197.6 billion of home-equity lines of credit and closed-end second mortgages last year. It was the strongest output since 2008, but it was not enough to offset the years-long erosion of second-mortgage debt. At the end of 2016, the supply of outstanding home-equity loans fell...[Includes three data tables]

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Trump Administration Urges Court in PHH Case To Ditch CFPB ‘Removal Only for Cause’ Provision

The Trump administration late last week filed its amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and, as expected, sided with the lender this time around, but didn’t go as far as some had hoped it would. In its brief, the Department of Justice argued in support of eliminating the removal-only-for-cause protection that currently applies to the director of the CFPB. However, whereas PHH has argued that the CFPB be eliminated in its entirety, the Trump administration argued in favor of retaining the CFPB, but with a director removable at the will of the president. Currently, the director may be removed...

M&A Roundup: Freedom Mortgage Poised For Growth, Ditech Headed for the Exit?

Although 2017 is expected to be a down year for originations, Freedom Mortgage – already a top-10 ranked lender – is poised for growth via mergers and acquisitions and is pondering deals for both servicing rights and other shops. Company CEO and founder Stanley Middleman told Inside Mortgage Finance bluntly: “We’re shopping.” Although Middleman declined to name any targets, he said...

Feature Stories

Inside the CFPB

Trump Administration Takes No Position on RESPA in PHH Brief

As different as the presidential administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump may appear, one thing they have in common is an apparent unwillingness to get into the statutory weeds when it comes to the interpretation and enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice under the Trump administration, just as it had under the Obama administration, side-stepped the RESPA issues associated with the long-running battle between PHH Mortgage and the CFPB. In its amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the government said simply: “The United States takes no position on the statutory issues in this case….” For the Trump administration, the case comes down ...

Inside Mortgage Trends

Public Nonbanks Had a Rough Go in 2016 But Managed to Turn Corner in 2nd Half

Publicly traded mortgage-banking firms had a rough ride in 2016, which turned out to be a turning point for one of the sector’s stalwarts, PHH Mortgage. The nine publicly traded mortgage lenders tracked by Inside Mortgage Trends posted a combined $563.8 million in net income on their mortgage-banking operations during the fourth quarter. That was up sharply from the third quarter, but it was not enough to offset huge combined losses during the first half of ... [Includes one data chart]

Inside MBS & ABS

Ratings Services Skeptical About Former S&P Official’s Proposal to Address Rating Shopping

A proposal from a former high-ranking official at S&P Global Ratings to reduce incentives for rating shopping has been met with skepticism and resistance from officials at other rating services. Howard Esaki, the former global head of securitization research at S&P Global Ratings, and Lawrence White, a professor of economics, NYU Stern School of Business, recently published a proposal to reform the process for how rating services are selected to grade MBS and ABS. They said...

Inside The GSEs

GSE Buybacks Fell to Record Low in 4Q16, Legacy Lingers at Freddie

Mortgage lenders that sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac saw a huge drop in the volume of repurchases and other indemnifications in 2016, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis of disclosure reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. During the fourth quarter of 2016, lenders repurchased just $207.31 million of home loans, a 37.0 percent decline from the third quarter. That brought total repurchases to $1.101 billion last year, down 35.9 percent from 2015. Those are record lows in the contentious recent history of GSE buyback demands. Fannie and Freddie, along with other “asset securitizers,” began filing quarterly repurchase reports with the SEC in early...

Inside Nonconforming Markets

Retail Gains Share of Jumbo Lending in 4Q, Remains Dominant Channel for Production

The retail channel remains the predominant source of jumbo originations, according to an Inside Nonconforming Markets analysis of survey responses collected by Inside Mortgage Finance. Among the top jumbo lenders, more than four out of five jumbos originated during the fourth quarter of 2016 were through the retail channel. The 81.6 percent retail share of jumbo originations was up from a 79.3 percent share in the fourth quarter of 2015 ... [Includes one data chart]

Inside FHA/VA Lending

Serial Rapid Refinancing Continues As VA, MBA Explore Potential Cures

Solicitation of VA purchase loans for streamline refinancing within weeks of closing is apparently continuing despite Ginnie Mae’s efforts to stop the harmful practice. The Mortgage Bankers Association has expressed concern that guidance on pooling eligibility for streamlined refinance loans, which Ginnie issued in October last year, was far less effective than expected. Although the aggressive refinancing trend has slowed due to Ginnie’s action, there are still “pockets of that activity” being reported, said Pete Mills, MBA senior vice president. Refinancing a veteran’s purchase mortgage less than six months after its origination is not in the vet’s best interest because it strips equity from the house and results in higher financing costs, said Mills. While the rapid refi trend involves only a small number of loans in Ginnie mortgage-backed securities pools, investors do not get the full benefit of their investment because of early prepayment. Mills said there are a handful of lenders and brokers that ...

Poll

With the spring homebuying season in full swing, what percentage of your March 2017 application volume has been for “purchase” loans?

75% or higher
50% to 74%
30% to 49%
Under 30%

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