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Volume 2014 - Number 35

September 18, 2014

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Purchase-Mortgage Demand Drove 2Q14 Production Surge, But Lenders Brace for Seasonal Slowdown

Purchase-mortgage originations jumped 44.3 percent from the first quarter of 2014 to the second quarter, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis and ranking, with first-time homebuyers representing about 43.9 percent of agency activity in the sector. Purchase mortgages accounted for 64.1 percent of total mortgage production during the second quarter. That’s the highest purchase share since 1995, when financing for home purchases represented 67.2 percent of total originations. At the midway point of 2014, purchase-mortgage originations were up...[Includes four data charts]

FHFA Rejects Inspector General’s Call to Review Fannie’s, Freddie’s Rep and Warrant Framework

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is pushing back against the findings of its Inspector General that the agency rushed a mandated new representation and warranty framework “despite significant and unresolved operational risks” to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Announced in September 2012 and implemented Jan. 1, 2013, the framework relieved sellers from certain reps and warrants, including those relating to credit underwriting and eligibility of the borrower and the property that were formerly effective for the life of the loan. It allowed for repurchase relief to seller/servicers if mortgages acquired by the government-sponsored enterprises after the effective date had acceptable payment history for 36 months. And the GSEs apparently weren’t...

Experts Say Tougher Legal Liability Under TILA Is One of the Treacherous Shoals Awaiting Under TRID

Among the many challenges associated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s pending integrated disclosure rule is expanded legal liability for lenders based on the more threatening Truth in Lending Act, as opposed to the more palatable liability framework of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. During a webinar sponsored last week by Inside Mortgage Finance, Rich Horn, a partner with the Dentons law firm and one of the architects of the rule while a regulator at the CFPB, noted there is no private right of action for integrated disclosures under RESPA. On the other hand, with TILA liability, “there is...

The Mortgage M&A Train Finally Arrives; Stearns Lending Weighs Its Options…

Over the past few weeks, a handful of mortgage firms have announced acquisitions of smaller shops with an eye toward expanding their origination footprints or servicing portfolios. And investment banking advisors told Inside Mortgage Finance that between now and yearend, the mergers and acquisitions market should be brisk as owners of privately held companies finally head for the exits, realizing that when it comes to originations, 2015 likely won’t be much better than the current year. The largest nonbank to test the M&A market this year is...

Former Commissioners Favor Creating an Independent FHA to Resolve Funding Issues, Be More Decisive

Current and former commissioners of the FHA this week said the venerable program could carry out its mission more effectively if it was an independent, self-funded government enterprise. During this week’s Housing Summit hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the five FHA commissioners – incumbent Carol Galante and alumni Brian Montgomery, Nicolas Retsinas, David Stevens and John Weicher – concurred that working with Congress, particularly on budget issues, has made it more difficult for the agency to operate safely and soundly. “We’re...

Experts: Stalled GSE Reform Legislation, Prolonged Conservatorship May Drive Private Capital Elsewhere

Time is not a friend to the housing finance system so long as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain in government conservatorship with no endgame in sight, according to the former head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Former FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco, now a senior fellow in residence for the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets, told attendees at this week’s Bipartisan Policy Council’s housing summit in Washington that the ongoing conservatorships of the two government-sponsored enterprises – now in the sixth year – will continue to distort the market and place taxpayers at risk. “The conservatorships are...

IL Court’s Narrow Ruling in Disparate-Impact Case Allows DC Court to Focus on Bigger Picture

An Illinois district court’s decision that federal preemption issues are not ripe may now prompt a federal district court in Washington, DC, to examine the broader issue of whether disparate impact is a valid claim under the Fair Housing Act. The Illinois lawsuit, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is one of two insurance-industry legal challenges to HUD’s disparate-impact rule. The second case was filed by two other trade groups, the American Insurance Association and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and is pending in federal court in the nation’s capital. According to the final rule that HUD adopted in February 2013, a practice has...

Supreme Court Preparing to Hear Cases Involving DOL’s Overtime Guidance for Loan Officers

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear cases in its coming term regarding guidance issued by the Department of Labor involving overtime pay for loan officers. Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 1, and a decision is expected by June. The cases are Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association and Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA has argued that the DOL didn’t follow rulemaking procedures in 2010 when the regulator withdrew guidance stating that loan officers could be exempt from overtime compensation requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Lenders have received...

Mortgage Market at a Glance

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

Poll

Over the next six months we plan to hire this many more additional loan officers:

1 to 10 (We're being careful.)
11 to 30 (We're optimistic.)
More than 30 (We're in a growth mode as the banks get out.)
We're cutting back. (Are you nuts? It's ugly out there.)

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