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Volume 2017 - Number 12

March 23, 2017

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Home-Equity Market Continued to Fizzle in Late 2016, HEL Debt Sinks to 13-Year Low

New originations of home-equity loans were up 8.0 percent in 2016 from the previous year, but the market peaked early and ended with consecutive quarterly declines in production, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. Lenders originated an estimated $197.6 billion of home-equity lines of credit and closed-end second mortgages last year. It was the strongest output since 2008, but it was not enough to offset the years-long erosion of second-mortgage debt. At the end of 2016, the supply of outstanding home-equity loans fell...[Includes three data tables]

Trump Administration Urges Court in PHH Case To Ditch CFPB ‘Removal Only for Cause’ Provision

The Trump administration late last week filed its amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and, as expected, sided with the lender this time around, but didn’t go as far as some had hoped it would. In its brief, the Department of Justice argued in support of eliminating the removal-only-for-cause protection that currently applies to the director of the CFPB. However, whereas PHH has argued that the CFPB be eliminated in its entirety, the Trump administration argued in favor of retaining the CFPB, but with a director removable at the will of the president. Currently, the director may be removed...

M&A Roundup: Freedom Mortgage Poised For Growth, Ditech Headed for the Exit?

Although 2017 is expected to be a down year for originations, Freedom Mortgage – already a top-10 ranked lender – is poised for growth via mergers and acquisitions and is pondering deals for both servicing rights and other shops. Company CEO and founder Stanley Middleman told Inside Mortgage Finance bluntly: “We’re shopping.” Although Middleman declined to name any targets, he said...

VA Considering Stronger Measures to Stop Early Solicitation of VA Purchase Loans for Refinancing

The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering possible solutions, including new regulation or policy changes, to address the ongoing problem of aggressive refinancing of VA purchase loans. Certain lenders and mortgage brokers apparently are still soliciting VA purchase loans for streamline refinancing despite Ginnie Mae’s effort to stop the practice and help mortgage-securities investors get full return on their investments. Ginnie Mae issued...

Private MI Companies Push for Change to QM Points- And-Fees Calculation, Aligning GSE and FHA Standards

Congress should pass legislation setting uniform standards for qualified mortgages, according to the U.S. Mortgage Insurers trade group. USMI raised particular concerns about differences in the points-and-fees calculation for FHA mortgages compared with the standard for mortgages delivered to the government-sponsored enterprises. As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established standards for QMs. Certain federal regulators, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, were allowed to implement QM standards that differed from the CFPB standards. USMI noted...

CFPB Moving Vigorously Ahead with Enforcement Actions, as Prospect Mortgage RESPA Case Reveals

With the enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act at stake, and a hostile occupant in the Oval Office, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is certainly not being bashful about continuing its regulation-by-enforcement modus operandi. The recent enforcement action against Prospect Mortgage is just the latest example. According to Colgate Selden, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the law firm of Alston & Bird, the case is important because “it indicates the CFPB is moving full-speed ahead regardless” of the recent court rulings in PHH v. CFPB. This case is...

Fannie and Freddie Accused of ‘Charter Creep’ in Financing SFR Operators

Two months after it was revealed that Fannie Mae would provide $1 billion in financing to single-family rental operator Invitation Homes, certain factions of the mortgage industry are starting to yell “charter creep.” Moreover, the National Association of Realtors and other trade groups are complaining that perhaps Fannie is spending too much of its limited resources helping Wall Street – the Blackstone Group grubstaked Invitation Homes initially – and not enough to help the first-time homebuyer. “What’s...

Mortgage Market at a Glance

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

Poll

With the spring homebuying season in full swing, what percentage of your March 2017 application volume has been for “purchase” loans?

75% or higher
50% to 74%
30% to 49%
Under 30%

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