Federal Agencies

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Federal Agencies.

March 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

HUD IG Calls for Changes in GNMA’s Structure, Monitoring to Reduce Risk Posed by Nonbanks

Ginnie Mae’s outdated organizational structure and staff levels have made it difficult for the agency to properly monitor and mitigate the risk posed by the increasing number of nonbanks participating in its MBS programs, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general. In a recent briefing paper, HUD Inspector General David Montoya highlighted challenges Ginnie faces in monitoring nonbanks, adding that HUD is currently being audited by the IG to gauge its capacity to track and supervise nonbanks, said Montoya. Ginnie acknowledged...


March 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Federal Reserve Chooses to Raise Fed Funds Rate, Defers Talk About Its Huge Agency Portfolio

For the third time in as many years, the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points this week, as widely expected – only this time, the Fed didn’t wait until the very end of the year. The FOMC’s revised projections are for two additional quarter-point rate hikes later this year, three next year and three or four the year after. World stock indexes rallied...


March 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Banks Help Pick Up Some of the Slack as Overseas Investors, GSEs Shed MBS Holdings in Late 2016

Thanks to strong growth in the agency market, the supply of single-family MBS outstanding continued to grow over the final three months of 2016, a new Inside MBS & ABS analysis reveals. Agency MBS outstanding pushed to a new record, $6.034 trillion, as of the end of last year. The biggest gainer continued to be Ginnie Mae, which reported a 2.2 percent increase in the fourth quarter and a 7.7 percent gain for the year. Freddie Mac matched Ginnie’s fourth-quarter increase, but its year-to-date gain was smaller, 4.2 percent. Fannie Mae had...[Includes two data tables]


March 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Court Rules Against Lender in MI Cancellation Dispute, Says Federal Law Overrides GSE Servicing Guidelines

A borrower seeking cancellation of private mortgage insurance prevailed last week in a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase. The appeals court noted that federal law regarding standards for MI cancellation overrides Fannie Mae’s servicing guidelines. The case of Ginnine Fried v. JPMorgan Chase centers on how to calculate a borrower’s loan-to-value ratio when allowing for MI cancellation after the LTV ratio falls below 80.0 percent. The borrower filed...


March 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

As Consideration of PHH Corp. v. CFPB Continues, The Role of the Administrative Law Judge Emerges

Nearly all of the discussion related to the ongoing legal battle between PHH Corp. and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has involved either questions about the bureau’s interpretation and enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or issues having to do with the constitutionality of the CFPB. But the role played by the administrative law judge early in the bureau’s enforcement action has surfaced, with potential significance in the eyes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which recently granted the agency’s request for a rehearing by the full court. To adjudicate the matter early on, the CFPB borrowed...


March 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Commercial Banks Continue Servicing Pullback, Thrifts and Credit Unions Pick Up Some Slack

The volume of home mortgages outstanding continued to grow during the final three months of 2016, no thanks to the commercial banking industry. Recently released data from the Federal Reserve show $10.266 trillion of mortgage debt outstanding at the end of last year. That was up 0.7 percent for the quarter and reflected a 2.3 percent gain for the full year. The market still has a long way to go to catch up to the $11.240 trillion of mortgage debt outstanding at the end of 2007, but growth has been steady since bottoming out in mid-2014. The agency market continued...[Includes two data tables]


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Nationstar in the CFPB’s Crosshairs Over HMDA Reporting. Nationstar, the residential mortgage servicer, revealed recently it is being investigated by the CFPB over issues related to complying with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.... Non-Agency MBS Issuers Like the Legal Protection of the ATR. Congressional Republicans may be working on legislation to repeal and replace many regulations required by the Dodd-Frank Act, but some issuers of mortgage-backed securities are actually pushing to maintain some of the regulations.... Trump Executive Order on Regulatory Red Tape Unlikely to Apply to CFPB. Will the Bureau Comply Anyway? The executive order that President Trump signed in the middle of February that requires every federal agency to establish a regulatory reform task force to eliminate red tape probably does not apply to the CFPB, according to industry experts....


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Rules Have Hindered, May Yet Help, Adoption of E-Mortgages

Mortgage lenders’ efforts at compliance with post-financial crisis regulation, largely from the CFPB, shifted their focus from fully implementing e-mortgage processes but also helped them develop the necessary technology to move forward with them in the future, according to a new report from analysts at Moody’s Investors Service. “Following the crisis, lenders focused on adapting technology to implement regulations such as the ability-to-repay [qualified mortgage] rule and the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule rather than on e-mortgages,” the analysts said. “The implementation of those regulations has, however, led to advancements in the technology needed to originate e-mortgages by providing, for example, a seamless data feed between the mortgage loan application and the disclosure documents.” Further, “Some lenders and servicers have also ...


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Official Warns Borrowers About Subprime Mortgages

Individuals with bad or no credit who are thinking about taking out a mortgage should proceed with caution if a lender has offered them a subprime loan, an official from the CFPB advised recently. In a blog posting last week, Megan Thibos, a policy analyst with the CFPB’s mortgage markets team, talked about the homebuying process for people with poor credit scores. Thibos suggested that borrowers should review their credit scores, make sure their credit reports are correct, and work to rebuild their credit. Then she detailed various mortgage options available to borrowers with poor credit, focusing on FHA mortgages. That was followed by “a warning about subprime mortgages.” Thibos said subprime mortgages have significantly higher interest rates than prime ...


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

TRID Triggered Most 2016 Mortgage QC Headaches

The CFPB’s integrated disclosure rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act proved to be the primary source of mortgage lenders’ quality control (QC) headaches in 2016, the first full year of the rule’s implementation, a new industry report concluded. According to a review of thousands of post-close QC audits performed by MetaSource, a Utah-based third-party mortgage compliance service provider, TRID accounted for 12 of the top 15 findings of QC issues. The six most frequent findings were issues with TRID requirements. The single most frequent issue involved correspondence of information listed in the Calculating Cash to Close table on page 3 of the closing disclosure (CD) to the information cited on the last ...


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

House OKs Measure Mandating OMB Review of Major CFPB Regs

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 1009, the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act, legislation that would require the Office of Management and Budget to examine major rulemakings – those projected to have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy per year – by independent agencies, including the CFPB, prior to issuance. The measure, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-MI, would codify many executive orders and practices of the federal government related to the process of issuing federal regulations. Those instructions require agencies in the executive branch to analyze the impacts of regulations (including costs and benefits), to coordinate with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) during the rulemaking process, and ...


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

RESPA Experts See Positive Elements in CFPB Consent Orders

With legal briefs continuing to be filed in PHH Corp. v. CFPB, mortgage experts on the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act see a bit of a silver lining, along with multiple warnings, in the handful of consent orders the CFPB brought against other industry defendants on the RESPA front. Earlier this year, the CFPB brought a $3.5 million enforcement action against Prospect Mortgage, accusing the firm of illegal kickbacks for mortgage business referrals from two real estate brokers, and in an unusual twist, a mortgage servicing operation. The bureau also acted against ReMax Gold Coast and Keller Williams Mid-Willamette, the brokers, and Planet Home Lending, the mortgage servicer – all of whom it accused of taking illegal kickbacks. During an exclusive ...


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Appeals Court Blocks State National Bank from PHH Case

The years-long legal battle that PHH Mortgage and PHH Corp. have been waging with the CFPB continues to take sudden and unexpected turns. One recent example: PHH filed a brief in opposition to the plaintiffs in State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, et al. v. Lew from intervening in the mortgage lender’s case with the CFPB. …


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

PHH Corp. Makes its Case Again In RESPA Dispute with CFPB

PHH Corp. and related parties again made a full defense of their position in their legal struggle with the CFPB over alleged misconduct under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. PHH made five primary arguments to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the first of which was that the CFPB is unconstitutionally structured and must be invalidated. …


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Multiple State AGs Detail Their Support of PHH in Case With CFPB

The attorneys general of 15 states came to the defense of PHH Corp. and related parties in their case with the CFPB over the agency’s interpretation and enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The AGs of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin focused on the constitutional issues in the case, with not a single mention of the statutory questions related to the act. The AGs made three major arguments in support of PHH’s position. First, they asserted that the separation of powers plays a critical role in preserving the division of authority within the federal system, and the CFPB’s governance structure violates the separation of powers ...


March 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

The Government, As Expected, Switches Sides in PHH Case

The Trump administration has subtly signaled its support for PHH Corp. in the mortgage lender’s long-running dispute with the CFPB over alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. In recent days, the Department of Justice asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for permission to file an amicus brief in the case by March 17, one week after the deadline the court had given PHH to file its response to the court’s decision to grant the CFPB’s request for an en banc rehearing. The court has since granted the administration’s request for the one-week extension. In its request, the Justice Department said, “As this court recognized in calling for the views of the ...


March 10, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Credit Card Loan Balances Reach Post-Crisis High; Analysts Expect ‘Healthy’ Consumer Balance Sheets

Contrarians may suspect a bubble, but analysts at DBRS said in a new report this week that credit card loan balances in the U.S. reached a new post-financial-crisis high in December 2016, which they characterized as a reflection of consumers’ “gradual inclination to judiciously undertake incremental credit card debt.” According to their analysis, credit card debt accelerated last year. “After steadily increasing over the past five years, growth in credit card debt accelerated in 2016 at an average monthly, year-over-year growth rate of 6.1 percent, compared to 4.2 percent in 2015, and 2.9 percent in 2014,” DBRS said. Citing the Federal Reserve data for December 2016, the analysts found...


March 10, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Curtailment of Fed Reinvestments Could Hurt MBS As Agency Moves to Thin Balance Sheet, Analyst Says

MBS are likely to be hurt when the Federal Reserve stops its reinvestments to shrink its balance sheet over the next few years, according to an analysis by Desjardins, Canada’s largest cooperative financial group. Even though the agency plans to withdraw gradually, its $1.75 trillion in MBS holdings account for approximately 20 percent of all U.S. MBS outstanding, noted Mathieu D’Anjou, senior economist with the Desjardins Group. “An increase in rate spreads between MBS and U.S. bonds, [which is] currently low, could be required...


March 9, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Servicers Strongly Oppose Proposed Regulations In Maryland Regarding Servicing Transfers

A proposal by the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation regarding servicing transfers prompted strong opposition from servicers, who cautioned that it would disrupt mortgage markets. In January, the Maryland CFR proposed a number of amendments to its mortgage regulations. The proposal revised an initial plan from the state regulator back in January 2015. The new proposal included...


March 9, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

MBA and ABA Suggest Guidance for IRS on Reporting Interest for Mortgages that Received Modifications

After years of confusion among servicers and borrowers, the Internal Revenue Service is getting closer to issuing guidance about how servicers should report interest to the IRS on mortgages that receive significant loan modifications. The Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association recently submitted a joint comment letter to the agency, which announced plans to issue guidance on the matter back in December 2015. The trade groups said...


March 9, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

RESPA Experts Highlight Troubling Behavior in CFPB’s Consent Orders With Prospect Mortgage

As the mortgage industry waits for a definitive resolution to the legal dispute between PHH Mortgage and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, industry experts tried to glean some guidance on the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act from the bureau’s recent consent orders involving nonbank Prospect Mortgage and some of its partners. Earlier this year, the CFPB brought a $3.5 million enforcement action against Prospect, accusing the firm of illegal kickbacks for mortgage business referrals from two real estate brokers, and in an unusual twist, a mortgage servicing operation. The bureau also acted against ReMax Gold Coast and Keller Williams Mid-Willamette, the brokers, and Planet Home Lending, the mortgage servicer – all of whom it accused of taking illegal kickbacks from the lender. During a webinar this week sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance, Rodrigo Alba, senior vice president of mortgage finance and senior regulatory counsel for the American Bankers Association, said...


March 9, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Trump Administration Changes Sides

The Trump administration looks to be taking sides with a mortgage lender that says the configuration of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional. The government, through the Department of Justice and the Solicitor General, usually sides with government agencies in court cases. But in the closely watched lawsuit involving PHH Mortgage and the CFPB, it’s expected to oppose the bureau’s stance. This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit approved...


March 3, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

CFPB Warns Borrowers About Subprime Loans

Potential mortgage borrowers with bad credit or no credit should proceed with caution if they have been offered a subprime mortgage, according to advice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB published a blog post this week focusing on the homebuying process for people with “poor” credit scores. The post, part of a series on home purchase advice, was authored by Megan Thibos, a policy analyst with the CFPB’s mortgage markets team. The post suggested that ...


March 2, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Budget Vote Suggests GOP to Keep Reform Of Dodd-Frank, CFPB, GSEs on Its Front Burner

The House Financial Services Committee, as part of the congressional budget process, this week voted on its budget views and estimates for fiscal year 2018, with an eye on changing the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The committee’s report is intended as guidance for the House Budget Committee as it crafts its FY2018 budget legislation but is not binding. In reference to Dodd-Frank, the HFSC Republicans’ budget document stated...


March 2, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Trump Orders Government Agencies to Set Up Regulatory Reform Task Forces to Cut Red Tape

President Trump last week signed an executive order requiring every agency to establish a regulatory reform task force to eliminate red tape. Under the EO, each task force will evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification. Also, it will focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations. Further, in order to hold the task forces accountable, the agencies will measure and report progress in achieving the president’s directives, according to the White House. It’s...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Another Trump Executive Order Targets Regulatory Red Tape. Late last week, President Trump signed another executive order focused on government regulations – this one requiring every agency to establish a regulatory reform task force to eliminate red tape. ... ABA Offers CFPB Some Suggestions to Protect Shared Consumer Data. The American Bankers Association recently had some advice for the CFPB for protecting consumers’ financial information that is being voluntarily shared with third-party data aggregators....


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Begins Look at Alternative Data for ‘Credit Invisible’ Borrowers

The CFPB recently issued a request for information into ways to expand access to credit for consumers who are “credit invisible,” that is, those who don’t have enough credit history to generate a credit score. The bureau issued the RFI to drum up public feedback on “the benefits and risks of tapping alternative data sources such as bills for mobile phones and rent payments to make lending decisions about consumers whose lack of credit history might otherwise block opportunities.” According to the CFPB, there are 26 million Americans who are credit invisibles. “Another 19 million consumers have a credit history that has gone stale, or is insufficient to produce a credit score under most scoring models,” said the agency. The ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

How to Accurately Estimate Property Taxes in Line with TRID

In a competitive mortgage market with increasingly knowledgeable and demanding borrowers, it is essential that originators implement proper processes and controls to produce accurate property tax data collection, analysis and estimation, according to an online blog posting by Dominique Lalisse, an analyst with CoreLogic. One of the critical components of the new loan origination process that has emerged under the CFPB’s Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act integrated disclosure rule is property- tax amount estimation for residential properties, she pointed out. “The estimating process is conducted during the initial stages of origination in order to complete the required loan estimate (LE) provided to the borrower,” Lalisse said. “With increased scrutiny around the preparation of the LE, lenders must ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Ditching CFPB Mortgage Rules Would Hurt RMBS, Moody’s Warns

If federal policymakers do away with the CFPB’s mortgage rules without proper replacements, the credit quality of residential mortgage-backed securities could be compromised, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service said in a recent report. The analysts were providing a review of President Trump’s recent executive order related to the Dodd-Frank Act. “Any significant repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act’s mortgage-related provisions without effective alternatives would weaken residential RMBS credit quality because these provisions have strengthened the credit quality of mortgage originations, improved servicing practices and bolstered the credit integrity of RMBS structures,” the analysts said. The report is significant because it flies in the face of the traditional industry narrative that the bureau’s mortgage rules have been nothing but an onerous burden ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Judge Rules Harbour Portfolio Advisors Must Comply With CID

Harbour Portfolio Advisors of Dallas, one of the largest providers of seller-financed homes in the U.S., must comply with a civil investigative demand from the CFPB for documents and other information, according to a recent ruling by Judge Nancy Edmunds of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, in Detroit. The main issue here, according to the respondents in the case, is whether the bureau’s investigative authority extends to their selling, marketing and servicing of a financial product called an agreement for deed (AFD), otherwise known as a “contract for deed” or a “land installment contract.” An AFD is a written agreement to purchase residential property, whereby the seller agrees to deliver a deed to the purchaser ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Eyeballing Altisource Over Services Provided to Ocwen

It looks like the CFPB may be prepping an enforcement action against Altisource Portfolio Solutions over certain unspecified technology services provided to Ocwen, its largest customer, according to Altisource’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed in recent days. “[O]n Nov. 10, 2016, Altisource received a Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (NORA) letter from the CFPB indicating that the CFPB is considering a potential enforcement action against Altisource relating to an alleged violation of federal law that primarily concerns certain technology services provided to Ocwen,” the firm said. On Dec. 15, 2016, Altisource provided a written response to the NORA letter setting forth the legal, policy and factual reasons why it believes an enforcement action is ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Exams of Nonbank Mortgage Originators Jumped Last Year

The number of mortgage-related examinations by the CFPB declined in most areas tracked by Inside the CFPB last year – with one glaring exception: The bureau’s examinations of nonbank mortgage originators, which surged 69.2 percent, according to data provided to this newsletter under the Freedom of Information Act. Such supervisory activity on the part of the CFPB directed towards depository institutions, in comparison, fell 23.3 percent year over year, and plunged 66.7 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the fourth. That being said, depositories have borne the bulk of the brunt of the bureau’s mortgage origination scrutiny, with 21 exams in 2014 versus just 7 for nonbanks that year. In 2015, the story was the same, with banks getting [with exclusive data chart] ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

State National Bank Plaintiffs Want In on En Banc Rehearing of PHH

It’s not just the defenders of the CFPB that are itching to enter the legal fray between the bureau and PHH Corp. The plaintiffs in State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas, et al. v. Lew have also filed a motion to intervene in the en banc proceeding. The plaintiffs – State National Bank of Big Spring, TX, the 60 Plus Association and the Competitive Enterprise Institute – had previously asked the federal district court for the District of Columbia to consolidate their 2012 lawsuit against the CFPB with that of PHH. However, they were recently denied. In their subsequent petition to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the plaintiffs noted, “More than 18 months ago, this court ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Democrats, Advocates Again Ask to Intervene in PHH v. CFPB

Each of the parties that were rebuffed recently in their attempts to intervene in the controversial legal dispute between PHH Corp. and the CFPB decided they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Each of them again filed a motion with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit seeking permission to intervene in the case, contrary to prevailing appeals court rules. Earlier this month, Democrat attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia submitted a petition for rehearing en banc. Also, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, submitted a motion for rehearing en banc, as did a handful of public interest, consumer advocacy groups. All seek to inject themselves into the ...


February 27, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Appeals Court Gives CFPB a Win, Agrees to En Banc Rehearing

Could this be an omen of the decision to come? Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the CFPB’s request for an en banc rehearing in its controversial legal dispute, PHH Corp. v. CFPB. “Upon consideration of respondent’s [CFPB] petition for rehearing en banc, the briefs amici curiae in support of the petition, the response of the United States to the petition, the response of the petitioners [PHH Corp.] to the petition, the supplemental response of petitioners, and the vote in favor of the petition by a majority of judges eligible to participate, it is ordered the petition be granted,” 10 of the court’s 11 justices wrote in their ruling. One of ...


February 23, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private Mortgage Insurers Raise Concerns About Differences in QM Standards for GSEs and FHA

The U.S. Mortgage Insurers trade group is seeking to eliminate differences in standards for qualified mortgages. USMI detailed its policy priorities for 2017 late last week. While the priorities largely rehash previous points of emphasis that could increase business for private mortgage insurance companies, USMI said it has particular concerns about how some QM standards vary on mortgages delivered to the government-sponsored enterprises compared with FHA mortgages. As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established...


February 23, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Demographics, Tight Underwriting Limiting Home-Equity Loans and Cash-Out Refis

The aggregate dollar volume of homeowner equity in real estate has almost returned to pre-crisis levels, but borrowers are no longer using their homes as ATMs, according to industry analysts. Between 2003 and 2007, homeowners were extracting more than $350.0 billion in home equity per year via home-equity loans and cash-out refinances, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While home prices and equity have largely recovered, equity extraction remains below $50.0 billion per year. William Dudley, president and CEO of the NY Fed, said...


February 17, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Revised CHOICE Act Aims to Limit CFPB

A revised version of the Financial CHOICE Act could make changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that are so significant that other provisions in the bill aiming to loosen standards for qualified mortgages might not be necessary. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced HR 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, in September and the committee approved the bill largely on a party-line vote that month. The bill covered a wide ...


February 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fed’s Bullard: Shrinking Balance Sheet Could Begin, Yellen: Fed Won’t Sell MBS, Will Use Runoff Instead

The chatter about the Federal Reserve shrinking its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet and its huge $1.7 trillion portfolio of agency MBS has continued in recent days, with one Fed official talking up the idea and another describing how the U.S. central bank plans to do it. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said in a speech last week that the Fed could begin normalizing its balance sheet. “The Fed’s balance sheet has been an important monetary policy tool during the period of near-zero policy rates,” Bullard said. Thus far, the Fed’s Open Market Committee has not set...


February 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Replacing DFA Mortgage Rules Without Replacing Them Threatens RMBS Credit Quality, Moody’s Says

Weighing in on President Trump’s recent executive order related to the Dodd-Frank Act, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service said ditching the major mortgage regulations promulgated under the law would be negative for residential MBS unless it’s done carefully. “Any significant repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act’s mortgage-related provisions without effective alternatives would weaken residential RMBS credit quality because these provisions have strengthened the credit quality of mortgage originations, improved servicing practices and bolstered the credit integrity of RMBS structures,” the analysts said in a new report issued earlier this week. Their report then detailed...


February 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

OCC’s Denial of Favorable Capital Treatment for Chase Portfolio Risk-Transfer MBS May Deter Others

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s denial of favorable capital treatment to a non-agency MBS issued by JPMorgan Chase last year could hinder efforts aimed at convincing banks to return to the non-agency MBS market, according to industry analysts. JPMorgan Chase issued two unique non-agency MBS last year with a total unpaid principal balance of $4.53 billion. The so-called portfolio risk-transfer deals accounted for a whopping 48.6 percent of the prime non-agency MBS issued in 2016. Chase packaged...


February 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

UI Report says Credit Access Tight, Harder to Obtain Mortgage Loan Today than Pre-Crisis

Despite some reports of credit access loosening, it’s harder to get a mortgage today than it was during the housing bubble, according to the Urban Institute. With borrowers being denied at a much higher rate than in the past, lower-credit mortgage applicants are dropping out of the housing market. As access to credit tightened after the financial crisis, many lower-credit applicants were discouraged from applying, the UI study noted. That led to a higher-credit applicant pool, which in turn led to a lower rejection rate. This caused...


February 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

If President Trump Wants to Fire CFPB’s Cordray, He’s Going About it All Wrong, Law Professor Says

Whether President Trump is serious about replacing the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau remains to be seen. But his enthusiasm over the prospect may have gotten the better of his legal judgement and in fact perhaps laid the foundation for such a replacement to be reversed, one noted legal scholar suggested recently. “If Trump is planning on attempting to remove CFPB Director Richard Cordray ‘for cause,’ he’s hardly going about it in a smart way,” Adam Levitin, a law professor at Georgetown University, said in a recent online blog posting. “The Trump administration keeps generating more and more evidence that any for-cause removal would be purely pretextual, which strengthens Cordray’s hand were he to litigate the removal order (as he surely would).” To begin with, the reasons that are offered as justification for sacking Cordray – such as claims of employee discrimination at the bureau or the agency’s settlements with auto finance companies – refer...


February 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CHOICE Act 2.0 Would Disembowel CFPB, Hensarling Would Use Budget to Push Through

A key Republican leader in the House of Representatives is looking to push legislation that would effectively neuter critical aspects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that could lead to major changes in the agency’s oversight functions and capabilities, including mortgage rulemaking, supervision and enforcement. The congressman also indicated he might use a procedural technique related to the budget to ram his legislation past Democrat opponents in the Senate. The legislative vehicle of choice is...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Hensarling Threatens to Use Budget Reconciliation Process to Push Through CHOICE Act 2.0. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, raised some industry eyebrows last week when details of his new, more aggressive Financial CHOICE Act got leaked to the press, and he indicated he might use the budget reconciliation process to push the bill through Congress.... CFPB Brings Legal Action Against Debt Relief Law Firms, Attorneys. The CFPB recently sued Howard Law PC, Williamson Law Firm LLC, and Williamson & Howard LLP, as well as attorneys Vincent Howard and Lawrence Williamson, in federal court, accusing them of collaborating to charge illegal fees to consumers looking for debt relief....


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Consumers Still Complaining About Mortgage Servicing Practices

Mortgage borrowers still have plenty to complain to the CFPB about, especially on the mortgage servicing front, the latest monthly consumer complaint report from the bureau suggests. “The most common issues identified by consumers are problems when they are unable to pay (loan modification, collection, foreclosure),” which were cited by 49 percent, according to the CFPB, followed by issues making payments (loan servicing, payments, escrow accounts), identified by 33 percent. Other homeowners brought up problems having to do with applying for a loan (application, originator, mortgage broker), which was noted by 9 percent, followed by signing the agreement (settlement process and costs), which was highlighted by 5 percent, and receiving a credit offer (credit decision, underwriting [With Two Data Charts]....


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

John Doe Co. Action Another Test of CFPB’s Investigative Authority

The unusual recent case of an unidentified finance company filing suit to prevent the CFPB from disclosing its investigation of the firm, and from bringing any action against it unless and until the agency is restructured in line with the U.S. Constitution, is “yet another challenge to the CFPB’s vast investigative and enforcement authority,” according to two attorneys with the Hudson Cook law firm. “This is a new front in the battle against CFPB overreach,” the pair said in a client note. The stakes here can be high. “Companies facing a CFPB investigation often confront a difficult choice of complying with the investigative demand or fighting the CFPB’s authority,” said the attorneys. “But challenging the CFPB is an uphill battle ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

PHH Succeeds in Fending Off Intervenors in Dispute with CFPB

PHH Corp. won another round against some new antagonists in its dispute with the CFPB over alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the lender and refused to allow three separate efforts to intervene in the case. In a simple, single-page order, the three judges “ordered that the motions be denied.” The ruling affects an effort by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, to insert themselves in the case on behalf of the CFPB. The lawmakers had warned the appeals court that if their effort to intervene was denied, they would seek recourse from ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Latest RESPA Case Reveals New Things About CFPB Enforcement

An analysis by the Mortgage Bankers Association of the CFPB’s latest foray back into the enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act noted that some of the allegations in the consent orders would have been troubling under the enforcement regime of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, the orders also highlight several new points in the way the bureau is enforcing Section 8 of RESPA, the MBA said. “These include that the arrangements steer consumers, exclude other competitors, and were arrived at based on internal analyses of business and that click-throughs to lenders in joint marketing arrangements somehow amount to compensated referrals,” the trade group said. Further, the consent order addressing Planet Home Lending also clarifies that ...


February 13, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Brokers, Servicer Also Sanctioned By CFPB in Prospect RESPA Case

In addition to bringing an enforcement action against Prospect Mortgage for alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the CFPB also acted against ReMax Gold Coast and Keller Williams Mid-Willamette, two real estate brokers, and Planet Home Lending, a mortgage servicer – all of whom it accused of taking illegal kickbacks from the lender. Specifically, the CFPB accused both brokers of participating in “certain lead agreements and desk license agreements” with Prospect Mortgage, and of accepting payments from the lender in exchange for referrals in violation of RESPA and its implementing regulation, Regulation X. The bureau also said RGC’s agents “required hundreds of consumers wishing to place an offer on one of their properties offered for sale to pre-qualify ...


Poll

With rates higher this year, there has been talk of lenders liberalizing their underwriting standards in an effort to increase volume and make up for lower refis.

Do you think your shop will loosen standards over the coming three months?

Yes, but not by much.

47%

Yes, by a lot.

5%

Yes and, heck, we may even do non-QM lending.

14%

No, not at all.

26%

No and we may even tighten credit.

7%