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Volume 7 - Number 21

October 10, 2014

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Loan Reviews Continue to Find Defects

Missing or incorrect files was the most common defect found in 49 percent of the loans, of which 29 percent were deemed initially unacceptable. Flawed credit or underwriting came in second at 26 percent, of which 67 percent were rated unacceptable. Program eligibility and operational deficiencies each had a 9 percent share while defective appraisals were common in 7 percent of all reviewed loans. Properly mitigated, the percentage of initially unacceptable loans usually drops to about 7 percent. The FHA tends to blames lenders for the defects but the bottom line is mistakes cut both ways, according to compliance experts. “Lenders make mistakes that can easily be corrected,” said one compliance consultant. “FHA also can be guilty of causing a mistake.” For example, poor communication and lack of clarity caused lenders to check a yes/no box to confirm whether or not they ...

HUD-OIG Reports $582M in Recoveries for MMIF

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General has announced a total of $581.8 million in recoveries in September to strengthen and stabilize the ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The recovered amounts are part of larger settlements between the federal government, U.S. Bank and Bank of America to resolve allegations of false claims and mortgage fraud in relation to FHA-insured mortgages. Both banks were investigated separately by the HUD-OIG, Department of Justice and U.S. attorneys’ offices in Michigan, Ohio and New York in connection with their lending and underwriting practices and quality-control programs for FHA-insured loans. On June 30, U.S. Bank entered into a settlement agreement to pay $200 million, of which nearly $144.2 million went to the MMI Fund. The bank admitted to poor underwriting, flawed quality control and ...

OIG Calls for HUD Action Versus Errant Lenders

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General has recommended that HUD require an approved FHA lender to reimburse the FHA $1.6 million for improper claims on 11 preforeclosure sales, including lender and borrower incentives. An IG audit of EverBank of Jacksonville, FL, attributed FHA’s losses to the bank’s failure to determine whether or not defaulted borrowers qualified for the agency’s preforeclosure sale program. The IG looked into the bank’s short sale activities because it had the highest preforeclosure sale claims in Florida. More than 50 percent of EverBank’s FHA claims were from short sales, with more than $12.9 million paid from 2011 through 2013, the audit found. In response, EverBank questioned the accuracy of the IG report. The bank maintained that certain allegations do not constitute violations of ...

New Regulations Cause HECM Volume to Drop

FHA reverse mortgage volume fell in the second quarter as well as during the first six months of 2014 as regulatory changes reduced profitability and increased the cost of originating the government-backed product, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Home equity conversion mortgage volume declined 19.9 percent quarter-over-quarter and dropped 9.0 percent during the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. HECM lenders reported $7.2 billion in total originations in the first half, with purchase loans accounting for 93.6 percent. Fixed-rate HECMs comprised only 22.2 percent of total volume as most borrowers turned to adjustable-rate HECMs for their reverse-mortgage needs. The top five HECM lenders – American Advisors Group, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, One Reverse Mortgage, Liberty Home Equity Solutions and Proficio Mortgage Ventures – accounted for ... [1 chart ]

HECM Borrowers Found Violating Residency Rule

An internal audit found as many as 136 borrowers not living in the properties for which they have obtained FHA-insured reverse mortgages because they were also receiving federal housing assistance under a different address. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General discovered the anomaly during a follow-up review of HUD’s oversight of the home-equity conversion mortgage program to ensure HECM borrowers comply with residency requirements. A previous audit had red-flagged potential residency violations. In the latest review, auditors analyzed HUD’s data warehouse for single-family mortgages and its public housing information system from April 2011 through March 2014 and identified 159 potential violators of the residency rule. Of those potential violators, 136 were found to be not occupying the properties associated with their HECM loans but, instead, ...

FHA Details Improvements to LEAP 3.0 System

Like all new automated systems, FHA’s Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP 3.0) was not without technical glitches when the agency rolled it out back in May. Users immediately reported difficulties in certain functions, such as adding new branches, making changes to existing branches and changing cash flow accounts. The FHA ever since has been working to iron out the kinks to allow lenders to submit their annual recertification packages with ease. So far, certain fixes have been implemented allowing lenders to add, edit and delete branch and regional managers, delete attachments uploaded to LEAP and properly update cash flow accounts in the database. The FHA also changed the way lenders edit their principal affiliations in LEAP. In addition, newly approved lenders now have access to the new system. Furthermore, the FHA expanded to 250 the maximum allowable characters lenders may use when ...

Millennial Agenda Underscores FHA’s ‘Blueprint’

President Obama this week released his agenda for creating economic opportunity for millennials, including greater access to mortgage credit through FHA. While the economy has recovered and there has been some improvement in the housing market, millennials are on a much slower pace toward homeownership than previous generations, the president said. Many are in rental housing, ready to become homeowners but are locked out by the tough, restrictive lending environment, he added. Millennials – identified as those born between 1982 and 2004, also known as Generation Y – are finding it harder to purchase homes because of lender overlays, high mortgage insurance premiums and high downpayment requirements. It also has been difficult for anyone with a credit score below 680 to obtain a purchase-mortgage loan. In his agenda, Obama expressed concern over the ...

Ginnie Mae MBS Issuance Increases in 3Q14

Ginnie Mae issuance for the first nine months of 2014 totaled $207.5 billion as government-backed purchase-mortgage activity picked up in the third quarter, according to an analysis of agency data. New issuances rose 19.8 percent from the second quarter. FHA loans accounted for $116.9 billion of new Ginnie Mae issuances while VA and the Rural Housing Development funneled $75.9 billion and $14.2 billion, respectively, of new loans into Ginnie Mae pools. Mortgage securities backed by home-equity conversion mortgages are not included. Purchase mortgages totaling $140.6 billion comprised the bulk of new issuances over the nine-month period while the share of refinances totaled $49.8 billion. Modified loans accounted for $17.1 billion. Most of the FHA and VA loans originated during the first nine months came through the ... [ 2 charts ]

Around the Industry

FHA to Extend Short Refi Program. The FHA has announced its intent to extend its Short Refinance Program for borrowers in negative equity positions. A mortgagee letter will be issued soon to announce the extension. Feedback Period extended for Draft Servicing Section of Proposed Single Family Handbook. The FHA is extending the comment period for the draft servicing section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook through Nov. 14, 2014 to allow stakeholders additional time to study and comment on the proposed section. The original deadline date was Oct. 17. CFPB Updates Reverse Mortgage Guide. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently updated its reverse mortgage guide on its website to account for recent changes made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. The updated guide highlights new limits 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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