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Volume 14 - Number 14

July 11, 2014

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House Dem Trio Files ‘Middle Ground’ GSE Reform Legislation

A GSE reform bill filed late this week by a trio of House Democrats is less a last ditch effort to push their measure across the finish line this year than a bid to have the first word in next year’s debate over housing finance reform, note industry observers. The Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, H.R. 5055, by Reps. John Delaney (MD), John Carney (DE), and Jim Himes (CT), follows through on their January draft proposal to seek a “middle ground” between the existing, politically untenable legislative proposals.

FHFA Unveils ‘Eligibility’ Standards For Mortgage Insurance Firms

The Federal Housing Finance Agency late this week finally unveiled new eligibility standards for the mortgage insurance industry, introducing for the first time risk-based capital rules that are tied to a measurement called “available assets.” Immediately after the rule hit the market, several MI firms said they support the idea that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must have strong financial counterparties, while hinting they will have more to say on the topic in the near future.

GSE MBS Business Activity Rebounds in Second Quarter 2014

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac generated $141.8 billion in single-family mortgage-backed securities during the second quarter of 2014, rebounding from the dismal first three months of the year, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis. That was up 9.8 percent from the 14-year record low Fannie/Freddie MBS production of just $129.2 billion during the first quarter. However, the April-June cycle generated the second lowest quarterly volume since the end of 2008, and refinance volume continues to reach new lows – falling another 8.5 percent from the previous quarter.

New GSE Mortgage Insurance ‘Stand-In’ Takes Effect

Last week, new GSE repurchase requirements announced this spring took effect as a potential alternative to repurchase for certain mortgage loans for which the mortgage insurance has been rescinded. Among the requirements are an “MI stand-in,” which Fannie Mae defines as “the full mortgage insurance benefit that would have been payable under the original mortgage insurance policy if the mortgage loan liquidates.” In May, both Fannie and Freddie Mac announced that repurchase requests will no longer be an automatic response in the event that MI is rescinded.

FHFA-OIG Raises Red Flags About GSE Nonbank Servicers

A new audit issued last week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s official watchdog revealed that an unnamed nonbank special servicer raised red flags for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their regulator. The report by the FHFA’s Office of Inspector General prompted the FHFA to issue guidance on the counterparty risk posed by nonbank servicers by year’s end. The OIG audit said the Finance Agency and the two GSEs “have responded well to specific problems at nonbank special servicers.”

Freddie Announces Second ACIS Deal of 2014, Largest to Date

Freddie Mac last week announced its second Agency Credit Insurance Structure of 2014, through which it buys insurance to lay off risk. The GSE said its purchase of a number of insurance policies designed to cover some $285 million in potential losses from a pool of single-family loans acquired in the second quarter of 2013 was its largest credit risk transaction to date. …

OCC: Freddie Re-Default Mods Perform Ahead of Fannie in 1Q14

Modified Freddie Mac mortgages performed somewhat better than Fannie Mae loans for up to two years after modification as the performance gap between the two GSEs closed slowly, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC’s latest Mortgage Metrics Report noted that Freddie loans had a 15.6 percent re-default rate six months after modification, while Fannie mods saw a 16.3 percent rate. At the 12-month mark, Freddie stood at 22.3 percent compared to Fannie’s 23.4 percent.

GSE Loss Mitigation Activity Declines in First Quarter 2014

Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’ home retention activity declined for the most part during the first quarter of 2014, according to a new analysis of Federal Housing Finance Agency data by Inside The GSEs. Total loss mitigation activity – total home retention efforts and foreclosure alternatives combined – declined 8.9 percent from the first quarter of the year to 130,854 and was down 28.9 percent from year-ago levels.

HSBC Pays $10 Million to Settle Fraud Charges Against Fannie, FHA

HSBC failed to implement and maintain required quality controls and failed to oversee the foreclosure-related charges it submitted to the FHA and Fannie Mae, resulting in unspecified millions of dollars in taxpayer losses, according to federal investigators. Under the terms of the civil settlement announced last week by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Inspector General, HSBC will pay $10 million to settle charges that in 2009 and 2010 it failed to properly supervise foreclosure-related fees by outside lawyers and other service providers to the FHA and Fannie.

FHFA: ‘No Change’ in Opposition To Eminent Domain to Seize Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency remains committed under new management to deploy regulatory countermeasures against municipalities that move forward with proposed efforts to seize underwater mortgages via local eminent domain powers, agency officials say. After a quiet period when it appeared this issue was going away, eminent domain initiatives are cropping up again, including a recent push by a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to get the city to partner with Richmond, CA.

Enterprise Endnotes

Senate Confirms New HUD Secretary, FHFA IG Nominee on Hold. The Senate this week voted 71-26 to approve San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s nomination to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. During his confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Castro told Senators he thinks taxpayers should have more protection than they have now under the current GSE structure, though he did not back a specific legislative proposal. As HUD secretary, Castro is one of four members of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Oversight Board.

Poll

Home-equity lending is beginning to show new life. My company (pick one):

Plans to enter this market over the next 12 months.
Is already making home equity loans and hopes to increase the offerings.
Is in the market but don’t expect much growth.
Is not making second liens and has no plans to do so.

vote to see results
Housing Pulse