FHA, VA

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April 18, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Eminent Domain Proponent Mortgage Resolution Partners Has Lost Two Top Officers; Is it Toast?

Two of the top officers have left Mortgage Resolution Partners, the company that rattled Wall Street by trying to convince hard-pressed local governments to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages. The latest to depart is John Vlahoplus, who held the title of chief strategy officer. Vlahoplus, who could not be reached for comment, has taken a position with Credit Suisse. The other, more crippling departure is that of Graham Williams, CEO of the San Francisco-based private equity firm. He told Inside MBS & ABS that he officially cut ties with the company at the end of March. Steven Gluckstern, who serves as chairman of MRP, took on the title of acting CEO. At press time, he could not be reached for comment. Under the MRP scheme, local governments would offer...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

HMBS Quarterly Issuance Down by 30 Percent. Issuance of securitized Home Equity Conversion Mortgages remained low as HMBS issuers created only $510.1 million in new HMBS pools during March, the third lowest total in almost five years, according to the latest market analysis by New View Advisors. This brought HMBS issuance in the first quarter of 2014 to $1.7 billion, the lowest quarterly total in nearly five years, said NVA. By comparison, HMBS issuance totaled $2.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 and $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2014. 1Q14 has the lowest HMBS issuance since 2Q09, when the program was at its infancy. In March, 86 HMBS pools consisting of 41 original issuances and 45 tail pools were issued. Original HMBS issuances refer to a pool of HECM loans securitized for the first time, while tail HMBS issuances are pools created from the uncertificated portions of HECMs that have ...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Filing Deadline for Recertification Extended to June 9

The FHA has extended the filing deadline for lender recertification to June 9, 2014, to match the agency’s timeline for switching to the Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP). LEAP is a new system that will serve as a one-stop shop for all lender approval and recertifications. It replaces the current “Lender Approval” and “Cash Flow” web pages in FHA Connection as well as the current system lenders use to submit financial information as part of recertification. LEAP is scheduled to be fully operation this month, although consolidation of Title I and II lender identification numbers has already taken place on March 31. Last year, the FHA issued guidance extending the filing deadline for all lenders with a December 2013 fiscal year end. Although the guidance recommended that lenders be prepared to complete their recertification no later than May 31, it also stated that ...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Deficient Files, No. 1 Cause of ‘Unacceptable’ Grade

Deficient file documentation is the leading cause of initial “unacceptable” ratings in the FHA’s most recent post-endorsement technical review (PETR) of targeted single-family FHA loans. Published in the March 2014 issue of Lender Insight, review results showed that 50 percent of the 5,504 FHA loans selected for review in the fourth quarter of 2013 had missing or flawed documentation. Of that percentage, 65 percent of loans were rated “unacceptable.” Loans are selected for post-endorsement review based on a risk-targeting methodology and do not reflect the overall FHA portfolio. An “unacceptable” rating indicates that the loan endorsement file had a material defect at the time the loan was endorsed for FHA insurance. Such ratings are upgraded subsequently if the lender provides mitigating documentation. Unacceptable ratings are due to errors or flaws in ...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Volume by State Drops, State HECMs Rise

Overall FHA production fell significantly in all 50 states in 2013 apparently due to mortgage insurance premium increases and policy changes that made it difficult for even qualified borrowers to obtain an FHA-insured single-family loan. FHA volume by state dropped 27.5 percent in the fourth quarter to $35.8 billion, from $49.4 billion in the previous quarter, with all states showing varying percentages of decline during the period. Year over year, production by state declined by 9.2 percent, data showed. Total FHA originations were $211.3 billion for 2013, with the first quarter ending strongly with $63.7 billion. Production, however, lost steam over the next three quarters. Among the top five FHA states, Virginia suffered the largest quarterly drop, 35.2 percent, in FHA volume. California was the top FHA producer state with $35.2 billion for a ... [2 charts]


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Bars HECMs with Fixed-Rate Future Draws

Beginning June 1, 2014, securitizations backed by Home Equity Conversion Mortgages may not include HECM loans that provide for future draws at a fixed rate of interest. Specifically, Ginnie Mae warned that the potentially excessive risk associated with such HECM loans might be more than what the agency could handle in the event of an issuer default. The prohibition applies to fixed-rate HECM loans where the borrower has the option to select a payment plan that allows future advances against the principal limit. These loans give rise to the risk that such advances will become uneconomic should interest rates rise from when the loan is originated, according to Ginnie Mae. The impact of negative spreads between a fixed noted rate and future prevailing rates could be ...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

BofA, Nutter Agree to Resolve HECM Violations

Bank of America and James Nutter & Co. have agreed to indemnify the Department of Housing and Urban Development to resolve allegations that they failed to perform due diligence in underwriting Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans. An audit of the HECM program by the HUD Office of Inspector General found that the financial institutions allowed 33 HECM borrowers to take out more than one loan, a violation of program requirements. The program requires borrowers to reside in the mortgaged residence as their principal residence. In addition, borrowers may not have more than one principal residence at the same time. In BofA’s case, one borrower obtained two HECM loans on properties she owned in Massachusetts and Florida, both of which she identified as her principal residence. The HUD OIG said there was sufficient information to alert BofA and the underwriter that ...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Industry Calls for Transparent Loan-Limit Process

The Mortgage Bankers Association is urging the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide a transparent process by which interested parties could request a recalculation of the FHA loan limits and present supporting evidence. By statute, maximums for FHA loan limits in high-cost areas were reduced to $625,500 from $729,750 at the beginning of the year for one-unit residential properties, the same maximum loan limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for similar properties in high-cost areas. The MBA said HUD made further reductions in FHA FY 2014 loan limits in approximately 300 counties and county equivalents across the country, with many experiencing significant reductions. The trade group believes these changes were not required by statute. To the extent that the loan-limit reductions in those areas were discretionary, the MBA strongly urged HUD to moderate its ...


April 11, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Rejects Industry Plea to Lower MIPs

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante quashed any industry hope of seeing mortgage insurance premiums lowered at this time, saying that while the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has shown some improvement, full recovery is still far off. In remarks during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Advocacy Conference this week, Galante also defended a provision in the president’s FY 2015 budget proposal seeking statutory authority for the FHA to collect an administrative fee from lenders to help fund quality control improvements. Both issues are high up on the MBA’s lobbying priorities as members gathered in Washington, DC, this week to meet with lawmakers and their staff to discuss FHA and other key industry concerns. Galante said the Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently focused on strengthening the MMI Fund and expanding access to credit for all qualified borrowers. The FHA raised pricing five times from ...


April 10, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD Says It’s Too Soon to Roll Back Premiums; FHA Insurance Fund Is Not Completely Healed

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante has rejected mortgage industry calls to lower mortgage insurance premiums, saying that while the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is on the mend it still has not fully recovered from the impact of massive legacy losses. Speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC, this week, Galante said the Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently focused on strengthening the fund and expanding access to credit for all qualified borrowers. She reminded lenders that mortgage premium increases – five hikes from 2008 to 2013 – were necessary to protect the MMIF and properly price for the risk the FHA is assuming. “The MMI Fund is...


April 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Bank Servicers’ Loan Modification Activity Declines, Focus Shifts to GSE Mortgages

Loss-mitigation activity by major bank servicers has decreased significantly in the past year, coinciding with servicers’ completion of loss-mitigation requirements under the $25 billion national servicing settlement. Eight major banks and thrifts completed 72,466 loan modifications in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 49.5 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a new report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The servicers completed 60,765 foreclosures in the fourth quarter, down 42.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012. The declines in loan mods and foreclosures by banks have outpaced...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Old Republic Cancels Recapitalization Plan for its Mortgage Guaranty Subsidiaries. Old Republic International Corp. has withdrawn plans to secure capital market funding for its beleaguered consumer credit indemnity and mortgage guaranty subsidiaries for lack of investor interest. Both business segments are housed within the Republic Financial Indemnity Group and have been in a run-off mode since 2008 and 2011, respectively. ORI Chairman/CEO Al Zucaro said holding company funds would be used to shore up the regulatory capital of the mortgage guaranty subsidiaries. The completion of the recapitalization plan hinged on regulatory approvals in North Carolina, Florida and Vermont, as well as from the government-sponsored enterprises and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. ORI said that with all the complications, it could not be certain of getting the necessary approvals. A primary investor concern is that new capital would be used to pay for RMIC’s legacy problems, and investors want their money to ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Wishing to Quit FHA Should Not Just Skip

A mortgagee that no longer wishes to participate in FHA programs must submit a letter requesting voluntary withdrawal of its FHA approval, signed by a senior executive of the company, according to guidance published in the March 2014 issue of FHA’s Lender Insight. Lenders may not simply let their FHA approval expire by failing to complete FHA’s required annual recertification process, the guidance warned. “Failing to recertify will result in a referral to the Mortgagee Review Board for administrative action,” it said. The board’s withdrawal of a lender’s FHA approval could have an adverse impact on the lender should it reapply for FHA approval in the future. A lender requesting voluntary withdrawal of FHA approval is subject to a review before the agency signs off on the request. The request would be denied if the lender has an MRB administrative action pending against it or if it is behind on its mortgage insurance premium payments. A lender whose FHA approval has been withdrawn may ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

MRB Sanctions 33 Lenders for Various Offenses

Thirty-three FHA lenders were sanctioned and 32 others lost their FHA approval between October and December 2013 because of actions taken by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mortgagee Review Board. The board also imposed $516,500 in civil money penalties and entered into one settlement agreement to bring an unidentified lender into compliance. During the three-month period, one lender entered into an indemnification agreement with the MRB over one FHA-insured single-family loan. FHA lenders were subject to MRB disciplinary actions for various reasons, including failing to establish and implement a servicing quality control plan and failing to perform loss mitigation as required by the agency. Actions were also taken against lenders for failing to conduct monthly reviews of delinquent loans to determine the type of loss mitigation needed, as well as for failing to repay HUD losses in connection with indemnification agreements. Noncompliance with HUD’s annual recertification requirements also resulted in ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD Sued for Failing to Protect Spouses from Eviction

The Association of American Retired Persons hit the Department of Housing and Urban Development again with another class-action lawsuit for allegedly failing to protect four surviving spouses of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage borrowers against foreclosure and eviction. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where last September a federal judge found HUD in violation of federal law in a similar case. The court remanded the case to HUD to determine the appropriate remedy for the problem. The AARP Foundation Litigation and the law firm of Mehri & Skalet, the same entities that successfully litigated last year’s reverse mortgage case, represented the plaintiffs, none of them younger than 65 years of age. The suit challenges HUD’s promulgation of HECM regulations, which allegedly is ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD Proposes Change to FHA Prepayment Rules

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a proposal to eliminate the requirement that an FHA borrower be required to pay interest even after the loan is prepaid. Specifically, the proposed change would prohibit FHA lenders from charging post-payment interest, allowing them instead to charge interest only through the date the mortgage is paid. The proposed rule change is necessary to avoid FHA loans being prohibited under new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ability-to-repay rules and revised higher-cost loan regulations starting in January 2015. It effectively aligns FHA prepayment rules with the new CFPB rules. Comments on the proposal are due by May 12, 2014. The FHA currently allows lenders to charge interest for the full month if the borrower prepays on a date other than the installment due date. Regardless of whether the loan is FHA or non-FHA, there were complaints among borrowers that ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Urged to Review MICs Before Submission to FHA

Approved lenders should review thoroughly all information before submitting their mortgage insurance certificates (MIC) to FHA because there have been too many mistakes over the past year, the agency warned. In the latest issue of Lender Insight, the FHA said lender requests to correct information on MICs have been more frequent than expected. Of the MIC corrections the FHA has reviewed, 81.5 percent stemmed from the agency’s Lender Insurance program. An MIC is a document issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as proof that FHA has insured a mortgage loan, and that a contract of mortgage insurance exists between the lender and HUD/FHA that incorporates agency regulations. A loan is considered as having no FHA insurance if it does not receive an MIC, regardless of how it is closed. The FHA made clear that it is the lender’s responsibility to ensure that information ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Carrington Sees Opportunity in Low-FICO Market

Lenders are cautiously expanding their guidelines on FHA lending by reducing its minimum credit score to below 580 to qualify borrowers. Carrington Mortgage Servicers this week joined a cadre of some 80 FHA lenders that have lowered their minimum FICO scores and eased their overlays to better focus on borrowers, particularly those below the 640 FICO range. The Santa Ana, CA-based lender is doing it not only for its FHA business but also for its VA and USDA loan programs. Carrington lowered its minimum FICO score to 550 for FHA loans, showing more aggressiveness than Wells Fargo, which moved its own FHA FICO floor to 600 from 640 at the beginning of February for purchase mortgages originated through its retail channel. The FHA currently requires a minimum credit score of 580 for most borrowers for 3.5 percent downpayment loans. Borrowers below 580 undergo more stringent manual underwriting and ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Volume Falls Due to Policy Changes

Origination of FHA-insured reverse mortgages fell in the fourth quarter as borrowing costs increased and loan amounts shrank due to tighter agency rules for these loan products, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. The FHA reported $15.3 billion Home Equity Conversion Morgages originations for 2013, which was up 20.6 percent from $12.7 billion in 2012. Production, however, fell 12.6 percent quarter over quarter as policy changes designed to stabilize the ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and help ensure that HECM borrowers can sustain themselves for longer periods of time took effect on Sept. 30. The changes include limiting disbursements at loan closing, or during the initial 12 months after closing, to 60 percent of the initial principal limit. Borrowers who draw more than 60 percent will pay ... [1 chart]


March 27, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Carrington Tests Low-FICO Market, But Skeptics Suggest It’s More Marketing Than Substance

Carrington Mortgage made a big splash this week, unveiling a plan to offer to fund FHA loans for borrowers with credit scores as low as 550, but already some skeptics are openly questioning just how many such loans Carrington – or any company – can produce. Carrington Executive Vice President Ray Brousseau declined to estimate production. The company’s minimum FICO score for FHA loans had been 580. The expanded FHA program will be...[Includes one data chart]


March 21, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fed Cuts in MBS Purchases Track Declining New Issuance As Central Bank Continues to Crowd Out Other Investors

The Federal Open Market Committee this week voted to scale back the central bank’s purchases of agency MBS again, dropping the monthly growth target to $25 billion, but the deceleration is barely keeping even with the rapid slowdown in new MBS issuance. At its December meeting, the FOMC decided to drop its MBS purchases to a pace that would add $35 billion per month, and lowered that by another $5 billion at its January meeting. The program began in late 2012 at $40 billion a month. The central bank will continue to reinvest principal and interest payments on its holdings in the agency MBS market. The most recent available data show...[Includes two data charts]


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Jumbo Share of Mortgage Originations Continued To Climb in 2013, With Big Gains in Non-Agency

The mortgage market has gradually shifted upstream since the collapse of the housing market and the painstakingly slow recovery, with big-ticket mortgages capturing a growing share of new originations, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis. Mortgages exceeding the traditional conventional loan limit of $417,000 accounted for 19.8 percent of new originations in 2013, up from 16.2 percent during the previous year. And with overall mortgage-production volume slumping over the second half of 2013, the jumbo share of new originations rose to 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter. The secondary-market agencies accounted...[Includes three data charts]


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

The Collingwood Group Snags Former Senior VA Executive.Keith Pedigo, former national director of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, has joined The Collingwood Group, a business advisory firm based in Washington, DC. Pedigo served as head of the VA program for 21 years. Standardized Multifamily FHA Mortgage Insurance Applications. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has updated its lender application templates for mortgage insurance under the FHA’s multifamily housing program. The following standardized documents are being implemented: Underwriter Narrative; Application Checklist and FHA Summary ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Bill Seeking Revamp of 2014 Loan Limits Introduced

Legislation seeking a recalculation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s loan limits for 2014 was introduced this week in the House of Representatives. Authored by Rep. Gary Miller, R-CA, H.R. 4208 (The Stabilizing FHA Loan Limit Calculation Act of 2014), would address credit availability problems caused by the statutory change in the way FHA loan limits are calculated and by revised median housing prices. More than 650 counties throughout the country saw their median house prices drop, some by as much as 20 percent to 50 percent, because of the 2014 calculation. Approximately 93 percent of California’s housing market or 54 counties have experienced severe declines in their FHA loan limits in 2014. For example, in Miller’s Riverside-San-Bernardino-Ontario district, the median price for a one-unit property fell from $500,000 in 2013 to $355,350 in 2014 – a 30 percent difference. In 2013, an estimated 8,000 home sales with ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Effort to Shrink Role Helped Spur MI Growth

The FHA’s effort to shrink its presence in the mortgage insurance market to make room for private capital has benefited the private mortgage insurance industry, which has reclaimed some market share from its main government rival. This acknowledgement by private mortgage insurers during this week’s launch of a new MI industry trade association helped clarify the question of whether market stabilization or the FHA’s deliberate effort to reduce its participation in the market drove MI growth over the past three years. “If you think back, the FHA has been very vocal, particularly [Department of Housing and Urban Development] Secretary Shaun Donovan, about wanting to rebalance private MI participation in the market,” said Teresa Bryce Bazemore, president of Radian Guaranty and a member of the board of directors of the new trade group, U.S. Mortgage Insurers. “We saw our share of the market grow by more than 11 percent in 2013, and I think that is a ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Eminent Domain Bill Could Bankrupt Jurisdictions

Penalties in legislation that would restrict the use of eminent domain to resolve foreclosure problems could cripple state and local governments financially and provide no relief to property owners, warned the bill’s critics. H.R. 1944, the Private Rights Protection Act, would prohibit city and county governments that get federal funding for economic development from using their eminent domain powers to seize underwater mortgage notes from investors and unilaterally restructure the loans before selling them to other investors. Violators would be ineligible for federal economic development funds for two fiscal years following a court’s finding of guilt. The bill also provides the attorney general with broader enforcement authority. The necessity for legislation arose in the wake of efforts last year by certain municipalities in California to ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Industry Balks at FHA ‘Administrative’ Fee

More lenders have expressed concern about a provision in the proposed FY 2015 federal budget seeking congressional authority to collect $30 million to help improve and strengthen FHA quality assurance reviews. Under the president’s budget proposal, FHA would collect an “administrative fee” from FHA lenders to implement the quality assurance (QA) changes needed to provide a clearer, more transparent picture of enforcement going forward. The improvements are meant to provide lenders not only information about early payment default or other kinds of default characteristics through loan sampling but also an accurate snapshot of their “manufacturing risk,” which is the risk that a loan is not underwritten properly. “The purpose is for lenders to have the information six to nine months after they have originated the loan as opposed to ...


March 14, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Mortgage Securitization Rates Edged Higher in 2013 Despite Growth of Non-Agency Originations

The residential MBS issued in 2013 equaled 78.5 percent of primary market originations, the highest securitization rate since 2010, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS analysis. The mortgage securitization rate typically moves higher when primary-market originations are declining because of the time lag between loan closing and MBS issuance. Last year started with a bang – $560 billion in new originations – and ended with a whimper, $305 billion. In the conventional conforming market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac MBS issuance – even after excluding loans that were more than three months old when they were securitized – represented...[Includes one data chart]


Poll

What do you think is the biggest hurdle to meeting the new QM standards in the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule?

A debt-to-income (DTI) cap of 43%.

48%

A 3% cap on points and fees.

29%

An interest rate cap of the average prime offered rate (APOR) plus 1.5%.

23%

Housing Pulse