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Volume 2015 - Number 3

January 22, 2015

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SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments in Disparate-Impact Case; Scalia’s Comments Suggest He May ‘Go Rogue’

Trying to handicap a forthcoming ruling from the highest court in the land is notoriously fraught with difficulty and unpredictability, given that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have a penchant for playing devil’s advocate on both sides of a legal issue. But comments made this week by one of the conservative justices, Antonin Scalia, during the high court’s consideration of the latest disparate-impact case to reach it made it clear he believes the legal doctrine of disparate impact is a part of the contemporary legal landscape. And that could prove to be pivotal to the ultimate outcome. The central legal question in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, et al., v. The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. (No. 13-1371) is whether disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The state of Texas is challenging...

First-Time Homebuyers Account for 43 Percent of Agency Purchase Mortgages in 2014, Wells Dominates

First-time homebuyers accounted for close to half of all purchase mortgages in the agency market in 2014, according to a new ranking and analysis by Inside Mortgage Finance. Activity in the sector is also projected to increase, helped by low interest rates, a reduction in FHA premium and the government-sponsored enterprises’ low-downpayment programs. Some $224.35 billion in mortgages to first-time homebuyers were included in agency mortgage-backed securities issued in 2014. The loans accounted for 43.3 percent of all purchase mortgages included in agency MBS during the year. Wells Fargo had...[Includes two data charts]

CFPB’s Interest Rate Checker ‘No Substitute for Shopping,’ Bureau Rep Says as Fallout Continues

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week countered mortgage-industry criticism about its recently launched interest-rate checker tool. “The rate checker is an educational tool and is not a substitute for shopping,” a spokesman for the bureau told Inside Mortgage Finance. “One of the findings of our survey was that consumers who said they were very familiar with available interest rates were almost twice as likely to shop, compared to those who were unfamiliar.” Further, before consumers make a final decision about a loan, they should compare...

With Mortgage IPOs on Hold, Subordinated Debt Issues and Other Instruments May Bloom

Investment banking firms that arrange subordinated debt offerings for mortgage originators are expecting a strong year in 2015, thanks in part to the dismal outlook for initial public offerings. “Sub debt is a good way to grow your business without it being dilutive to your company,” said Bill Dallas, CEO and founder of Skyline Lending, a lender that recently completed a $20 million deal with Ellington Financial, a publicly traded mortgage real estate investment trust. “It allows...

At Least 90 Percent of the Time the Loan Officer Never Meets the Client Face-to-Face; Does it Matter?

Roughly 90 percent of the time, residential loan officers never see the end mortgage customer, according to several weeks’ worth of interviews conducted by Inside Mortgage Finance. However, few in the industry think it’s a problem. “We have the technology not to see our applicants,” said Jim Picard, vice president of home loans for Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union. The technology that Picard and others refer to is...

CFPB Makes Two Modest Changes to the TRID As Industry Hustles Toward August Compliance Deadline

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week made final two tweaks to its integrated disclosure rule that were proposed back in October, both of which will give mortgage lenders a little more flexibility. Under the first change, lenders will have to provide a revised loan estimate within three business days after a consumer locks in a floating interest rate. Under the original rule, lenders would have had to provide the revised LE on the date the rate was locked. “After hearing feedback from stakeholders, the bureau determined...

Outgoing Senate Democrat Pressed CFPB to Iron Out Wrinkle in QM Points-and-Fees Calculation

Shortly before he left office, the former chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to fix a problem that may prevent some loans from being classified as qualified mortgages. Former Sen. Tim Johnson, D-SD, said the problem in the CFPB’s points-and-fees definition was the result of a drafting error in the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the qualified mortgage under the ability-to-repay regulation. Loans with points and fees exceeding 3 percent can still be legal under the ATR, but the lender doesn’t get the liability protection afforded QMs. “The calculation of points and fees for purposes of determining what is a qualified mortgage was not intended...

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Mortgage Market at a Glance

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


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.

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