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Volume 9 - Number 12

May 20, 2016

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FHA Originations Decline in 1Q16, Production Improves Year-over-Year

FHA activity was lackluster in the first three months of 2016 as loan originations fell 7.8 percent from the prior quarter, according to Inside FHA/VA Lending’s analysis of agency data. The weak first-quarter production of $53.5 billion appeared to continue a trend from 2015, which saw the fourth quarter close with $58.1 billion, down significantly from $73.7 billion in the third quarter. In contrast, FHA originations fared better year-over year. Loan production was up 35.6 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Purchase lending totaled $36.5 billion in the first three months with overall production trending downward during the period. Borrowers in the 640-679 and 680-719 credit score ranges made up the bulk of new endorsements for January and February, the latest FHA data show. It is unlikely that trend will change even if March endorsements were added. Between all ... [ 2 charts ]

Deconsolidation Opened Credit Access, New Things to Think About

The rapid deconsolidation in the Ginnie Mae issuer community and shift to nonbanks helped expand access for borrowers, but it’s also given the agency new issues to consider, officials said. Back in 2010-11, three Ginnie issuers dominated the program, noted Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer during the Mortgage Bankers Association secondary-market conference in New York this week. But those three firms now account for just 14 percent of the agency’s business, and nonbanks held a combined 70 percent of the market, he said. Many new firms became issuers in part so they could get away from the credit overlays imposed by the national aggregators, Tozer said. The result is that the average score on a Ginnie loan is now 60 points lower than on loans securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he added. Michael Drayne, senior vice president in Ginnie’s office of issuer & portfolio management, said the ...

Attorneys See Potential Defense In Recent Circuit Court Rulings

Recent circuit court rulings may bolster FHA lenders’ defense against the government’s heavy use of the False Claims Act in FHA lending cases, according to industry attorneys. In the years following the financial crisis, the Department of Justice and the relators bar have used the FCA aggressively to target banks and nonbank mortgage lenders for losses incurred by FHA due to poor underwriting and false certifications. The DOJ and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have recovered billions of dollars through settlements with various mortgage lenders and servicers, using increasingly creative theories of liability to hold them responsible for FHA losses. This week, the DOJ filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, accusing Guild Mortgage of improper origination and underwriting of FHA-insured mortgage loans from January 2006 through December 2011. As in ...

Key Lessons for FHA Lenders from M&T Bank, Guild FCA Lawsuits

There are important details in the recent M&T Bank settlement with the Department of Justice and in this week’s announced filing of a lawsuit against Guild Mortgage that could help lenders avoid a potential false claims lawsuit, according to industry observers. The government’s complaints against the two FHA lenders were brought under the False Claims Act, which penalizes acts that intend to defraud the government and taxpayers. The government has been using this powerful statutory tool in the mortgage arena in its attempt to recover FHA losses arising from fraud and noncompliance with agency requirements. As in previous FCA cases against FHA lenders, both M&T Bank and Guild Mortgage were accused of false certification, lax underwriting, poor quality control, failure to review early payment defaults, and failure to self-report deficient loans and remediate problems in a timely manner. In addition, the ...

FHA Proposes to Codify HECM Reforms, Consumer Protections

The FHA has proposed to codify key improvements to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program and add new protections to senior homeowners to ensure they can remain in their homes and enjoy the benefits of an FHA-insured reverse mortgage. The proposed new HECM consumer protections include full disclosure of all HECM loan products and features. Lifetime interest rate increases on HECM adjustable-rate mortgages would be capped at 5 percent, while annual interest-rate increases on HECM ARMs would be limited to 1 percent. Lenders would be required to pay the HECM’s mortgage insurance premiums until the loan is paid in full, foreclosed on, or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is executed. In addition, the rule proposes to amend the definition of “expected average mortgage interest rate” to allow lenders, with the agreement of the borrower, to lock-in the rate prior to ...

Appraisers Balk at FHA Rule Adding Home Inspection to Appraisals

There is widespread frustration among FHA appraisers regarding the scope of service they are now required to provide under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s newly revised single-family policy handbook. While the new handbook brought more clarity to FHA’s lending and underwriting policies, certain changes to property-valuation rules appear to have added home inspection to appraisal work – and appraisers and real estate professionals are not pleased. Many of the so-called changes in the handbook already existed, but one change that stood out is the word “must,” said Martin Wagar, a certified broker/appraiser and president of Wagar & Associates. Appraisers are now required to know the basic appliances that come with the home, how to operate them, and to identify and report any deficiency that may affect their “contributory value” to the property, said Wagar at a ...

Trade Groups Urge Congress to Reevaluate Appraisal Oversight

Trade groups representing lenders, homebuilders and appraisers have asked Congress to hold a hearing this year on the future of appraisal regulation. In a joint letter, five industry groups urged the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to reevaluate oversight of the appraisal industry and the current federal regulatory structure for real estate appraisal. The committee last held an appraisal oversight hearing in 2004. Federal appraisal regulations have been untouched since the enactment of the Federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, the trade groups noted. In addition, the groups asked that both federal and state responsibilities be reassessed to see if they continue to serve consumers and market participants well, as well as promote competition in the marketplace. In addition to federal regulation, states regulate appraisers as well. The groups want to know from Congress whether federal oversight of appraisers is still necessary.

VA Issues New Servicing Guidance, Reminders on Foreclosures, Others

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued new guidance and some servicing reminders in connection with mobile-home foreclosures, consent judgments, servicer transfers, liquidation appraisal fees and others. VA servicers must specifically refer to the mobile home in foreclosure declaration documents to ensure that both the home and the land are properly foreclosed, the VA said. Many states require two separate foreclosure procedures for every transaction – one to foreclose the interest on the land and the other to foreclose on the title of the mobile home. The VA said foreclosure on the title of the mobile home may have to be filed with state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When a VA loan on a home on wheels is referred to foreclosure, the servicer must inform the foreclosing attorney that it is a mobile home and whether a DMV filing is required. The VA will reconvey the mobile home to the ...

VA Clarifies Guidance for Conveying Titled Properties to VA Secretary

The Department of Veterans Affairs has clarified the type of documents lenders would need to provide clear and marketable title for conveyed properties to the VA in all states and U.S. territories. Under VA rules, each conveyance or transfer of real property to the VA shall be acceptable if “the holder covenants or warrants against the acts of the holder and those claiming under the holder (e.g. by special warranty deed).” In addition, the conveyance would be acceptable if it entitles the VA Secretary to such title as is or if it is acceptable to prudent lenders, informed buyers, title companies and attorneys, generally in the community in which the property is located. The VA said its determination of clear and marketable title depends on state statutory requirements. As a general requirement, documents for proper conveyance of clear and marketable title to the VA include the ...

Around the Industry

HUD Sends Final Condominium Rule to OMB for Clearance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has sent a final rule to the Office of Management and Budget that would make it easier for borrowers to obtain FHA financing for certified condominium units. Once issued, the final rule will replace temporary guidance which HUD issued in November last year to ease FHA’s condo approval process. The move is aimed at increasing affordable housing options for first-time and low-income homebuyers. The final rule is expected to reflect measures in the interim guidance, including modification of the requirements for condo project recertification, revised calculation of FHA’s required ownership-occupancy percentage, and expansion of eligible condo-project insurance coverages. IG Scrutinizes HUD Oversight of SFHAs’ Downpayment Assistance Programs. Residential lenders that rely on ...

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