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Volume 9 - Number 21

September 23, 2016

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Streamline Refi Segment Causing Problems for VA, Ginnie Investors

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a change to its existing streamline refinancing policy to address a problem that is giving VA and Ginnie Mae the fits. Under the VA’s qualified-mortgage rule, a VA borrower must wait six months and show six months’ worth of mortgage payments before they can refinance into an IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan) and take advantage of the lower rate. However, it seems not all VA lenders are adhering to the rule and that a good number are refinancing veterans into IRRRLs even before the mandatory seasoning period ends for fear interest rates might rise and the borrower might not benefit from the lower rate. “I’ve redone the numbers in 20 different directions on how much a borrower would save if they had to wait two more months and the rate went up a quarter of a point because they lost those two months ...

VA Originations Stayed Strong in 2Q16 as Volume Rose 30 Percent

VA lenders recorded a strong first half for 2016, thanks to a substantial boost in production in the second quarter, agency data show. VA guarantees on purchase and refinance mortgages totaled $83.5 billion for the first six months, as lenders made a strong second-quarter push that brought production up by 29.9 percent. Streamlined refinancing, also known as Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRLs), comprised a hefty portion of total VA originations – 21.7 percent. VA has been particularly strong in the refinance segment over the last six months, racking up $44.3 billion in total refi volume, far exceeding FHA’s $36.4 billion and private mortgage insurers’ $21.6 billion. (see IFHA/VA Lending, 8/9/16.) Overall, FHA remained the top mortgage insurer in the government-backed lending market with $123.0 billion, compared to VA’s $84.8 billion. Loans with primate MI totaled $102.7 billion ... [ 1 chart ]

Liquidity, Net Worth Issues Persist But Nothing Ginnie Can’t Manage

Ginnie Mae continues to wrestle with issuers lacking liquidity and net worth although the number of such cases has gone down significantly, thanks to tight oversight, according to the agency’s top counterparty risk officer. Briefing participants at this year’s Ginnie Mae summit in Washington, DC, Zack Skochko, director of counterparty risk, reported that some issuers are still struggling to comply with Ginnie Mae’s liquidity and net worth requirements.A number of small issuers failed their liquidity and net worth audits this year by not maintaining the minimum $1 million cash or 10 basis points of outstanding Ginnie securities required to participate in the agency’s mortgage-backed securities program. Ginnie Mae also requires issuers to meet a minimum net worth of $2.5 million plus 35 bps of the issuer’s total effective single-family obligations The requirements were designed to ensure that the ...

HUD Poised to Collect Huge FCA Settlement Funds from Lenders

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is set to receive more than $140 million in settlements with three individual lenders in connection with defective loans they originated with FHA insurance. Freedom Mortgage Corp., M&T Bank, and Land Home Financial Services all reached separate agreements this year with the Department of Justice on behalf of the HUD Inspector General to resolve the allegations. On April 15, Freedom agreed to pay $113 million, in response to charges that “it engaged in certain conduct in connection with its origination, underwriting, property appraisal and quality of certain single-family mortgages insured by FHA.” The disputed forward loans were insured by FHA between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2011, which resulted in claims submitted to HUD on or before June 15, 2015. HUD incurred substantial losses when it paid claims on the ...

VA Shares Pointers to Help Avoid Delays in Processing COE Requests

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made recommendations to VA lenders and borrowers calling in with questions and problems at VA regional centers to avoid long wait times and have their concerns resolved as quickly as possible. In a recent memo to lenders, the VA Loan Guaranty Service is reporting that many of its regional loan centers (RLC) are being swamped with calls due to record increases in VA originations in recent months. While this suggests that more veterans are using their housing loan benefit than ever before, the large volume of calls to VA has caused long hold times for callers and delayed processing of borrower certificates of eligibility (COE). To cut down on the waiting time, the VA urged lenders and borrowers to consider several things before making the call. First, do not call to check on the status of a COE request if there is no urgent need, like an ...

VA Issues Clarifying Guidance for Manufactured, Mobile Properties

VA Home Loan Guaranty has issued clarification regarding title requirements for manufactured or mobile homes conveyed to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Effective immediately, VA is requiring proof of noteholders’ compliance with the agency’s requirements for guaranteed mobile-home financing. Foreclosure title packages that do not include the required documents will be rejected, the agency warned. Under federal law, a manufactured home must be permanently affixed and classified as real property in the state where it is located. VA will not guarantee financing if the property does not meet the criteria. To ensure that a guaranty claim is fully payable and that the holder has the option to convey the manufactured home to VA, servicers must ensure that home loans with a VA guarantee meet federal requirements. Under the clarified VA guidelines, servicers may submit the ...

PACE Guidance Not Reassuring, Too Many Uncertainties, Pitfalls

New FHA guidance for dealing with mortgages with a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) obligation went into effect last week but uncertainty lingers and its full impact remains to be seen, according to an industry attorney. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued guidance specifically allowing properties encumbered by a PACE lien to be eligible for FHA mortgage financing for both purchase and refinance loans. The department of Veterans Affairs has issued similar guidance. According to Erika Sonstroem, an attorney with the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, the PACE industry is touting the guidance in its pitches to lenders as posing no risk to mortgage investors. PACE is a program that lends money to homeowners for home-energy savings projects. It is treated much like a tax lien on a property and is included in the ...

Around the Industry

HUD Issues Guidance on Fair Housing Act Protections for People with Limited English Skills. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued guidance on how the FHAct applies to claims of discrimination by people who either lack or have poor English communication skills. The guidance is significant because more than 25 million people in the United States do not speak, read or write in English very well, said HUD in a statement issued with the guidance. Nearly 9 percent of the U.S. population is limited in English proficiency. The majority of these people speak Spanish, while the rest are comprised of speakers of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog (the main dialect spoken by Filipinos). The FHAct prohibits any overt act of discrimination in the rental or ...

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After the November elections, how long will it take for a new Congress and White House to pass GSE reform legislation?

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