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Volume 7 - Number 22

October 24, 2014

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GNMA Raises Net Worth, Liquidity Tests

Ginnie Mae this week provided new details to the long-anticipated plan for increased issuer net worth and liquidity and a new performance scoring method for issuer activity – changes that could adversely affect small issuers and portfolio servicers. In remarks at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer said the changes are part of a larger effort to ensure the continuing flexibility and availability of the agency’s mortgage-backed securities program to as many entities as possible. New types of issuers and counterparties have entered the agency-backed MBS market in the wake of the financial crisis, which called for adjustments and tailored approaches to the evolving housing finance market, Tozer noted. Tozer said both policy changes and staff expertise will ensure the success of ...

FHA Silent on MIP, Will Review Pricing Further

A top-ranking housing official soon to become acting FHA commissioner assured lenders that the agency is reviewing the pricing of its mortgage insurance, but made no promises during the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association held this week in Las Vegas. Biniam Gebre, now the deputy assistant secretary for housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the agency “has been reviewing our premium levels on a regular basis.” He added, “I’m sure we will come back to it over the next couple months and next year.” The pricing of FHA mortgage insurance premiums “is a very important question,” Gebre said. Many in the mortgage industry have been focused on the availability of credit, but the affordability of credit is important as well, he added. “We believe we reached a tipping point when we raised premiums in response to ...

VA, Rural Housing Guarantees Surge in 2014

While the FHA’s share of the primary insurance market has dropped significantly since premiums were hiked in early 2013, the VA program and the rural housing loan program run by the Department of Agriculture are going strong, according to agency officials. During a panel discussion at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention this week, VA and Rural Development executives said that both agencies have been quietly building mortgage market share. Jeffrey London, deputy director of the VA’s loan guaranty service, reported that purchase-mortgage VA loan originations were up 11 percent in fiscal 2014, with 40 percent of the business being first-time homebuyers. Of that group, 80 percent took no-downpayment VA loans, the biggest selling point in the program, along with its relatively low costs. In earlier remarks, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro revealed that ...

HUD to Let Property-Flipping Waiver Lapse

Buyers, sellers and real estate agents have until the end of 2014 to take advantage of the property-flipping waiver that the FHA had put in place in 2010 to increase the availability of affordable homes for first-time homebuyers and other purchasers. After Dec. 31, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will let the waiver lapse subjecting investors again to property-flipping prohibitions. Lenders say the waiver program worked well in underserved and hard-hit areas but HUD believes the program’s initial objectives have been attained and that prudence and vigilance are again called for to prevent abuses and potential losses. As a rule, the FHA prohibits “property flipping” in which a recently acquired property undergoes a minor makeover, is appraised with an artificially high value and is resold for a considerable profit. Most property flipping occurs within a matter of days, which prompted HUD to ...

FHA Notifying Lenders of Possible MRB Action

The FHA warned it would soon be sending notices to lenders who are overdue in completing their annual recertification packages, a rule violation that could land them before the Mortgagee Review Board for disciplinary action. Lenders who were unable to submit their recertification packages containing the required financial reports, annual recertification statements and the renewal fee payment will be receiving notices of deficiency from the FHA. FHA extended the filing deadline to June 27, 30 days after the deployment of the new Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP) system used in the lender recertification process. Traditionally, lenders were required to access both FHA Connection and Lender Assessment Sub-System (LASS) to complete the annual recertification process. LEAP will now enable lenders to complete all ...

State FHA Originations Up, Golden State Leads

Total originations of FHA forward and home-equity conversion mortgages across the U.S. and in the territories increased from the first to the second quarter, with California accounting for the lion’s share of all FHA loans produced by state. Production of FHA-insured forwards, including jumbo loans, and HECM loans during the first half of 2014 totaled $68.3 billion, a whopping 49.0 percent drop from volume reported over the same period last year. On the other hand, total originations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rose 11.5 percent quarter-over-quarter. Originations totaled $36.1 billion in the second quarter. Forward mortgages accounted for $61.1 billion of new FHA-insured loans originated during the first six months while HECMs comprised $7.2 billion of loans produced over ... [ 1 Chart ]

FHA to Modify CHUMS, Develop New System

The FHA has announced plans to modify the Computerized Homes Underwriting Management System (CHUMS) while work continues on a new, improved replacement system. CHUMS provides support for automated processing, analysis and screening of appraisal documents. Specifically, it is used on first-time homebuyer loan applications, Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, Section 203(k) property rehabilitation loans, VA-certified FHA loans and other FHA-approved programs. The system is also used to assist in evaluations of borrowers’ mortgage credit and as a complement to FHA’s credit assessment tool, TOTAL Scorecard. A new Loan Application Management System (LAMS) is in development to replace CHUMS completely in about five years. In its initial release, LAMS will enable the Department of Housing and Urban Development to start collecting and incorporating ...

Around the Industry

FHA to Host First Briefing Session on the First Installment of the Single Family Policy Handbook. The FHA will have a webinar on Nov. 6, 2014, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m., for stakeholders in connection with the first completed section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook, the Origination through Post-Closing/Endorsement for Title II Forward Mortgages (Origination through Post-Closing). The new handbook is designed to make it easier for stakeholders to do business with the FHA and support greater access to mortgage credit for qualified borrowers. Once fully completed, the handbook will contain all FHA origination and underwriting policies that lenders use in making FHA-insured loans. The FHA published the first section of the handbook on Sept. 30, which becomes effective for FHA case numbers assigned on or after June 15, 2015. The agency urged lenders to ...

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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