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Volume 2016 - Number 5

February 4, 2016

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GSEs Launch Independent Dispute-Resolution Process As Final Determination on Loan Eligibility Disputes

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week announced the final piece of a multiyear process to relieve seller anxiety about potential buybacks, an independent dispute-resolution process for the most difficult to resolve repurchase demands. As a last resort, the new IDR process may not see that much activity, especially since seller repurchases of government-sponsored enterprise mortgages have been declining sharply. For a buyback dispute to get to a final determination by a third-party arbitrator, it will have to go through three normal steps in the buyback process. The IDR process began...[Includes one data table]

Lower, Sustained Interest Rates Causing Headaches In the Bulk MSR Market; A Pullback by PE Firms?

The ongoing decline in interest rates is wreaking havoc on the sale of “bulk” mortgage servicing portfolios, causing investors to pull back on pricing, and sending some bidders to the exits, at least for a little while. Servicing advisors who play in the space confirmed to Inside Mortgage Finance that pricing isn’t what it used to be, and is off peaks seen a year ago when bids – in retrospect – were too aggressive and later resulted in write-downs. Mark Garland, president of MountainView Servicing Group, Denver, admitted...

Servicing Market May Be Nearing $10 Trillion Mark Despite Further Declines in Top Tier of Servicers

Steady growth over the course of 2015 may have taken the long-suffering mortgage servicing market close to the $10 trillion mark at the end of the year, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside Mortgage Finance. The top 50 companies at 2015 serviced a combined $7.326 trillion in home mortgages, a slight 0.3 percent increase from the end of the third quarter. If the rest of the industry followed their lead, the supply of servicing outstanding rose to $9.982 trillion by the end of December. Based on trends during the first nine months of 2015, as reported by the Federal Reserve, the supply of home loan debt outstanding may have trickled...[Includes one data table]

Industry Wants CFPB’s ‘Clarifying Letter’ on TRID Errors Put in the Federal Register for Legal Protection

Different factions of the mortgage industry are strongly urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to place its yearend “clarifying letter” on TRID errors into the Federal Register, believing that it would provide stronger legal protection. According to interviews conducted by Inside Mortgage Finance, TRID errors – even minor ones – continue to be a chief reason why certain secondary market investors are rejecting mortgages, in particular non-agency product. The fear for these investors is assignee liability, that they could be sued for TRID errors even though they had nothing to do with the loan’s origination. One paragraph in the Dec. 29 letter from the CFPB to the Mortgage Bankers Association begins...

Analysts Suggest Tight Underwriting Prevented 1.2 Million Mortgages in 2014, Lenders Point to Buyback Uncertainty

If lenders used the seemingly sensible underwriting standards that were in place in 2001, some 1.2 million more mortgages would have been originated in 2014, according to estimates by the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. Laurie Goodman, director of the HFPC, said lenders have “plenty of room to safely ease credit.” An underwriting index from the HFPC suggests that originators are accepting little risk in terms of borrower or loan characteristics, hindering a recovery in the mortgage market and the broader economy. Lenders note...

Wells Fargo in Record Settlement with FHA and DOJ, First Tennessee to Resolve Discrimination Complaint

Wells Fargo has agreed in principle to a $1.2 billion settlement to resolve FHA-related civil claims brought by the federal government while First Tennessee Bank has agreed to subsidize interest-rate reductions on home mortgages as part of a $1.9 million settlement agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Wells Fargo settlement was disclosed in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If finalized, the settlement would be the largest for FHA. So far, the FHA has collected...

Moody’s Upgrades MGIC, Radian to Investment Grade; NAIC’s Proposed Capital Rules Create Uncertainty

For the first time since October 2008, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded two top private mortgage insurance companies to investment grade due to strong performance of new insurance written, cost savings and fewer losses. However, risk factors, including proposed capital regulations from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, could adversely impact the ratings. Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. and Radian Guaranty now have Baa3 ratings from Moody’s, although other rating servicers appear disinclined to follow. Both MIs continue to be rated below investment grade by Standard & Poor’s. The improved ratings come...

House Approves Legislation Delegating Direct Endorsement Authority to USDA Lenders, Streamlining FHA Condo Rules

Housing reform legislation that would ease FHA restrictions on condominium financing and allow delegation of loan approval authority to qualified lenders under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural housing programs this week passed the House by a vote of 427-0. Described as an FHA reform bill, H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act,” would make several incremental changes across a number of federal housing programs. It would modify...

House GOP Launches Salvoes at GSEs, FHA, CFPB; Dems Play Defense as White House Budget Delayed

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee this week pushed through their version of fiscal year 2017 budget views and estimates (BVE), taking aim at government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as FHA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The minority Democrats tried to amend the broader GOP package 10 times, but each amendment went down to defeat on a party-line basis. There were no Republican amendments offered. On the issue of Fannie, Freddie and housing finance reform, Republicans on the committee said...

Rhode Island Supreme Court Allows Super Priority Lien to Extinguish First-Lien Mortgage, Paralleling Ruling in Nevada

A recent ruling by the Rhode Island Supreme Court has increased concerns that state courts will allow liens for homeowner associations and related entities to supersede first-lien mortgages. In late December, the R.I. Supreme Court ruled that a condo foreclosure sale conducted pursuant to the R.I. Condominium Act can extinguish a prior-recorded first mortgage if the lender fails to redeem the mortgage within 30 days of the foreclosure. The decision reversed a ruling by a lower court, which found that the borrower’s mortgage survived the condo association’s lien foreclosure sale. The Mortgage Bankers Association said...

Mortgage Market at a Glance

Weekly mortgage rates and application survey data as well as indexes for ARMs.

Poll

A lot has been written lately regarding loan closing delays tied to the new TRID rule. What’s been the average delay at your lending shop, if at all? (Report in business days, not calendar.)

TRID has caused no delays whatsoever because we were prepared.

30%

1 to 4 days.

27%

5 to 10 days.

13%

11 to 15 days. It’s been a nightmare.

11%

We’re too embarrassed to tell you.

20%

Housing Pulse