Advanced Search

Volume 8 - Number 2

January 23, 2015

Subscribers to Inside FHA Lending have full access to all its stories and data online. Visitors may become subscribers for full access or may purchase individual articles and data.

Lenders Expect Modest Refinance Wave

FHA lenders are gearing up to meet an anticipated increase in demand for purchase and refinance loans with mortgage rates falling to near-historic lows coupled by a 50 basis point cut in FHA’s annual insurance premium. Lenders hope the combination of lower mortgage rates and the revised FHA pricing structure will create sufficient incentive for more borrowers to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage. For example, Freedom Mortgage, 32nd in Inside FHA Lending’s 2014 ranking of FHA lenders, is looking to hire as many as 500 new employees to handle the anticipated surge following the FHA action. Stanley Middleman, chief executive officer of Freedom Mortgage, expects a robust FHA refinance market during the first half of 2015, tapering off in the second half. “Lower rates, coupled with premium reduction, put a lot of FHA borrowers in a position to get their ...

FHA Likely to Reclaim Share with Premium Cut

The half-percent annual premium reduction the FHA announced recently will likely enable the agency to reclaim the high loan-to-value segment of the mortgage market from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to analysts. Speaking with some originators that have been looking at the best way to securitize high LTV loans, Deustche Bank securities analysts said the lower FHA annual premium would put pressure on the government-sponsored enterprises to lower the cost of their guarantees. “The grapevine has anticipated for months that [g-fees] have little chance of going up and more chance of going down,” the analysts said. “But the specific risk triggered by the FHA move is that the cost of credit will now drop for high-LTV conventional borrowers.” Even before the FHA policy shift, private mortgage insurers have been pressuring the Federal Housing Finance Agency to ...

Low Rates, High Demand Power VA’s 3Q14 Surge

Production of loans with a VA guaranty was moderately strong in the third quarter of 2014, thanks to lower rates and increased demand for the no-downpayment loans, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of the latest agency data. A 14.1 percent quarter-to-quarter surge helped the industry end last year’s first nine months with a total of $76.3 billion in VA loans, mostly purchase home mortgages taken out by a younger generation of war veterans. VA streamline refinancing also accounted for a substantial chunk of originations, 19.2 percent. Volume jumped from $19.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014 to $26.5 billion the following quarter. Lenders closed out the third quarter with $30.2 billion. Stanley Middleman, chief executive officer of Freedom Mortgage, said VA lending is on the upswing, driven by low interest rates. He thinks the VA home loan guaranty program has been ... [ 1 chart ]

FHA Tweaks Rules for Doing Business with Agency

The FHA has proposed key changes to rules for 203(k) consultants, direct endorsement (DE) underwriters and nonprofit groups that do business with the agency. The changes are part of a draft section, “Doing Business with FHA – Other Participants,” which will be incorporated into the overall Single Family Policy handbook. The draft contains information regarding eligibility, approval and recertification requirements for 203(k) program consultants, direct endorsement (DE) underwriters and nonprofit groups. The FHA posted the draft versions of “Doing Business with FHA – Other Participants in FHA Transactions” and “Quality Control, Oversight and Compliance – Other Participants in FHA Transactions” on its SF Housing Policy Drafting Table for public review and comment. The draft consolidate various existing Department of Housing and Urban Development handbooks, mortgagee letters, housing notices and ...

HUD Clarifies Protections for HECM Spouses

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has made further clarifications to policy guidance related to the treatment of eligible and ineligible non-borrowing spouses of deceased Home Equity Conversion Mortgage borrowers. According to Mortgagee Letter 2015-02, FHA lenders must identify at application any current non-borrowing spouses and must determine whether they are eligible for protection against “due and payable” requirements that kick in upon the death of the HECM borrower. This protection is a provision in the HECM document requiring that full payment of the entire mortgage be deferred for as long as a non-borrowing spouse continues to meet all the requirements of the provision. Specifically, the eligible, non-borrowing spouse must establish, within 90 days from the death of the HECM borrower, legal ownership or other ongoing legal right to ...

GNMA to Launch Issuer Scorecard in the Spring

Ginnie Mae will soon introduce the third prong of a strategy to improve its oversight of participants in its mortgage-backed securities program – a performance scorecard for issuers – and monitoring of its risk. Essentially a “scorecard,” the Issuer Operational Performance Profile (IOPP) will enable issuers to better understand and comply with Ginnie Mae’s expectations. It also provides a way for issuers to measure and improve their performance and compare it to the performance of their peers. Final testing and training for IOPP began this winter, with deployment expected “in early 2015,” the agency said. Issuers will be scored monthly based on a series of metrics. Each issuer will be rated against its peers by applying a weighting algorithm and, in some cases, adjusting for certain control factors. Each issuer will receive two scores: one for operational management and ...

Streamlined FHA Refinances Increase in 3Q14

Streamlined FHA refinance volume increased slightly in the third quarter of 2014 as incentives put in place in 2013 continued to attract FHA borrowers, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency information. Streamlined refi production rose 2.4 percent in the third quarter of last year, closing a nine-month period with $14.2 billion in new loans. A comparison of nine-month FHA-to-FHA refinance activity, however, shows volume falling a hefty 79.6 percent year over year. As of Sept. 30, 2014, streamlined refinances accounted for 14.3 percent of total FHA originations. The FHA announced a revised streamlined refi program in December 2013 to help FHA borrowers with underwater mortgages to refinance without added cost or penalty. The loan does not require an appraisal or verification of job, income or credit. A perfect, three-month payment history is required and ... [ 1 chart ]

Around the Industry

Ginnie Mae Allows Rate-Change Dates in HMBS Annual ARM Pools. Ginnie Mae has decided to permit annual adjustable-rate Home Equity Conversion Mortgage pools to contain participations with different interest-rate adjustment dates. The participations in a pool must have the same adjustment date as the individual HECM loans to which they are related and an interest rate that adjusts on annual basis. In addition, participations must have a rate adjustment that will take place within 12 months following the month of pool issuance. This policy change is effective with Jan. 1, 2015, issuances and, thereafter, for both Constant Maturity Treasury and LIBOR index-based loan pools. Rescission Dates for Electronic Signatures/VA Guaranteed Home Loans, SCRA Requirements Extended. The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the rescission date for ...

Poll

The FHA is cutting its annual premium by 50 basis points. How much of a difference will this cut make in your FHA business?

Not much at all—maybe 10 percent at best.
Modestly. We expect a 10 percent to 25 percent gain in applications.
This is a real game changer, 25 percent or better.
Hard to say. This cut may just steal business away from the new Fannie/Freddie 97 LTV effort.

vote to see results
Housing Pulse