FHA, VA

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August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Revised HUD/VA Addendum to the Uniform Residential Loan Application. On July 30, the FHA has posted on its HUDCLIPS website a revised Addendum to the Uniform Residential Loan Application (Form HUD-92900-A/VA Form 26-1802). This form is used for both FHA and VA mortgage originations.The Department of Veterans Affairs has updated its form to clarify what constitutes a valid marriage for the purpose of obtaining VA benefits. Although the changes to the form do not apply to FHA-insured mortgages specifically, lenders should begin using the revised form for new FHA mortgage originations as soon as possible, the FHA recommended. Processing Request for Execution of VA Quitclaim Deeds. The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued guidance (Circular 26-14-19) for handling of requests for execution of quitclaim deeds. A quitclaim deed is a legal document that is used to transfer a person’s rights to real estate to ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

State Legislatures Pass Reverse Mortgage Bills

Two states have passed legislation placing varying spins on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s counseling requirements for lenders and borrowers of FHA-insured reverse mortgages. In California, the state Senate unanimously approved AB 1700, which would mandate a seven-day “cooling off” period between the time a borrower receives counseling and when an application is taken. AB 1700 passed the CA Assembly by a vote of 73 to 1. In addition, the bill would require a lender to provide a worksheet guide that addresses certain issues the borrower should consider and discuss with the counselor, such as income and ability to repay as well as taxes and insurance. The counselor and the borrower are both required under the bill to sign the worksheet guide before any reverse mortgage application is taken. No schedule has been set for ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FASB Updates TDR Guidance for FHA, VA Loans

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has updated its guidance on troubled debt restructurings (TDRs) to provide lenders some uniformity in accounting for government-backed mortgages upon foreclosure. The changes to FASB’s rule, “Receivables – Troubled Debt Restructurings by Creditors,” affect FHA and VA lenders and would take effect for public entities with reporting periods after Dec. 15, 2014. All other entities will have to comply after Dec. 15, 2015. “In addition to accounting consistency, the updated rule provides greater certainty as to the amount that can be expected to recover through the government guarantees,” the board said. The changes became necessary because the accounting varied among lenders, resulting in diverse practices, according to the Emerging Issues Task Force, which promulgates implementation guidance within the ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

U.S. Court Upholds HUD Suspension of Lender

A decision by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to suspend a Texas mortgage firm and its top executive was not “arbitrary and capricious” and did not violate due process, according to a recent Houston district court ruling. The court granted HUD’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice. In Allied Home Mortgage Corp. v. Donovan, (No. H-11-3864, 2014 WL 3843561, S.D. Tex. Aug. 5, 2014), a U.S. Attorney’s Office sued Allied Home Mortgage Corp. and its chief executive officer, James Hodge, in Manhattan federal district court for allegedly lying about its compliance with FHA requirements. Specifically, the former Houston-based mortgage net branch operator (currently doing business as Allquest Home Mortgage Corp.) allegedly violated the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, recovery and Enforcement Act by ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Over $65B in FHA Loans Securitized in 1H14

An estimated $65.5 billion of FHA-insured mortgages, excluding reverse and modified loans, were included in Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities issued during the first six months of 2014, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency securitization data. Ginnie Mae FHA MBS issued during the first half of the year nearly matches the total number of new FHA loans originated over the same period (see related chart, p. 4-5). FHA purchase home mortgages served as collateral on 76.3 percent of Ginnie Mae MBS issued over the six-month period, while loans to first-time homebuyers accounted for 63.0 percent of Ginnie MBS issued during the period. The FHA loans in Ginnie pools over the last two quarters showed an average FICO score of 681, a loan-to-value ratio of 92.5 percent and an average loan amount of $169,093. Except for fifth-ranked Freedom Mortgage, the rest of the top five ... [1 chart]


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lending to Low FICO Borrowers Increases

FHA lenders have been lending more aggressively to borrowers with FICO scores below 679 than to more affluent borrowers, according to recent research by an independent housing and consulting firm. Using data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and interviews with mortgage industry executives, researchers at John Burns Real Estate Consulting found that homebuyers with less-than-stellar credit are finding it easier to buy a home below the FHA loan limit. In contrast, the study also found that automated underwriting prevents many highly qualified borrowers from obtaining a home loan because their “income situation does not fit squarely in the credit box.” This segment includes affluent retirees, self-employed, or commissioned salespeople. “In the aftermath of the housing crisis, the reality is that we are lending aggressively to the poor and conservatively to the rich,” said Lisa Marquis Jackson, senior vice president at John Burns. The study’s findings challenge ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Volume Drops in First Half of 2014

FHA loan volume continued to decline in the first half of 2014 despite continuing improvement in the quality of new originations and a high demand for purchase mortgage loans, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Overall, FHA production for the first six months of the year, excluding reverse mortgages, totaled $61.1 billion. While originations were up 16.0 percent in the second quarter, it was down a hefty 51.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. Purchase loans accounted for $47.3 billion of new FHA-insured loans made over the six-month period while an estimated $58.4 billion of loans had fixed interest rates. For FY 2014, volume was down 19.0 percent. “In FY 2013, approximately 702,000 FHA-insured loans were originated and this year we’re running at 560,000 loans, which is roughly 20 percent of last fiscal year’s total,” said an FHA analyst. “In the first quarter, approximately ... [1 chart]


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Bars Post-Payment Charge on Prepaid Loans

The FHA has issued two final rules enhancing consumer protections – one prohibiting lenders from charging additional interest on FHA-insured mortgages that are paid in full and another ensuring that borrowers of adjustable-rate mortgages receive earlier notice of rate changes. Both rules were published in the Aug. 26 Federal Register. The first rule eliminates the practice of charging the borrower a full-month’s interest even if the mortgage is prepaid in full before the end of the month. It adopted the proposed rule, which was issued for comment on March 13, 2014, without change. Effective Jan. 21, 2015, charging borrowers post-settlement interest, which is broadly defined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a “prepayment penalty,” will be prohibited for all FHA single-family mortgage products and programs. In the rule’s preamble, HUD said it expects lenders to ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Unable to Use $200 Million Windfall

Roughly $1 billion in damages will flow through to the FHA and Ginnie Mae from Bank of America’s record $16.65 billion global mortgage-backed securities settlement with the Department of Justice. Although most of the DOJ’s case centered around faulty private-label MBS that BofA and its forbears (namely Countrywide and Merrill Lynch) underwrote during the housing boom, a small piece of the settlement is tied to servicing chores that the bank did for Ginnie Mae. And apparently, BofA didn’t do a very good job of servicing the underlying product. The bank took over as the subservicer on roughly $26.2 billion in mortgage servicing rights that once belonged to Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, a large nonbank based in Ocala, FL. When TBW went bust in the second half of 2009, BofA was given the subservicing contract. “BofA serviced the loans for us,” said Ginnie Mae president Ted Tozer. “And they did a ...


August 22, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

FASB Clarifies TDR Guidance for FHA, VA Loans

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has announced changes to the way it accounts for government-backed mortgage loans upon foreclosure. The change, which is being made through FASB’s rule, “Receivables – Troubled Debt Restructurings by Creditors,” is aimed at reducing diversity in the accounting treatment of FHA and VA loans that have been subject to foreclosure, according to FASB’s Emerging Issues Task Force. The EITF ...


August 22, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Some Buyers Find It Easier Below FHA Limit

Homebuyers with less-than-stellar credit as well as those with low income are finding it easier to purchase a house with an FHA mortgage than affluent buyers, according to recent research by an independent housing research and consulting firm. Based on Department of Housing and Urban Development data and interviews with industry executives, researchers at John Burns Real Estate Consulting concluded that ...


August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reverse Mortgages Reportable Under HMDA

Reverse mortgages would be included in Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reports under a proposed rule published recently by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The proposed rule would expand the definition of a “covered loan” under HMDA to include reverse mortgages and home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs), which include reverse mortgages structured as open-end HELOCs. Currently, HMDA regulations do not require reporting of HELOCs, although lenders may do so if they choose. Currently, financial institutions only have to report information on a closed-end reverse mortgage if the transaction involves a home purchase, home improvement or refinancing. Among other things, the CFPB has proposed to require that all reverse mortgages and HELOCs be identified by loan type to distinguish them from other categories of ...


August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Private MIs, VA Overtake Faltering FHA Program

Weighed down by high premium costs and lender overlays, FHA lost more primary market share to private mortgage insurers and the Department of Veterans Affairs during the second quarter of 2014. Although June’s FHA endorsement numbers have not yet been released, the trend seen in April through May, along with Ginnie Mae securitization data, suggest that FHA business was up a modest 11.5 percent from the first quarter. But that increase provides no comfort to FHA, which saw its market share go down to 33.7 percent, a six-year low. From April to May, FHA forward endorsements rose by 2.4 percent to $10.61 billion. On a year-over-year basis, however, endorsements were down from $21.9 billion in May 2013, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency data. On the other hand, private MI companies reported a total of $44.19 billion of new insurance written (NIW) during the ... [2 charts]


August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

More Indemnification Demands Anticipated

The False Claims Act (FCA) and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) not only have become strong enforcement tools in the fight against FHA mortgage fraud but also an efficient means of recovering taxpayer losses. Having used both federal statutes effectively to wrangle huge settlements from large banks, federal prosecutors now have their eyes set on mid-level banks, according to compliance experts during a recent webinar hosted by Inside Mortgage Finance Publications. “Because these FCA [and FIRREA] lawsuits have been a cash cow for the Department of Justice and the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I think these agencies will target mid-level banks next,” said ...


August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Chief Galante to Resign in the Fall

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante has announced plans to step down from her current post, leaving behind a Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund that appears well on its way to recovery and a slumping FHA business. Industry response to Galante’s Aug. 12 announcement was mixed. Some stakeholders applauded her toughness and resolve in steering FHA through hard times, while others criticized her for policies that made it more difficult and costly for first-time homebuyers to obtain an FHA-insured mortgage loan. Galante’s nearly three-and-a-half year stint as FHA commissioner was highlighted by her efforts to stabilize the FHA’s ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, reduce losses and improve lender oversight. She achieved these goals by creating a comprehensive risk-management structure at FHA, revamping FHA pricing and credit policies, and ...


August 15, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Trade Groups Raise Issues Related to GNMA’s Plan to Shift to Single MBS, Agree on Some, Differ on Others

Though mortgage securitizers, issuers, lenders and servicers support a proposal to consolidate Ginnie Mae’s two MBS program into a single security, certain specific issues appeared to divide them. In a recent joint letter to Ginnie Mae, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association said many of their members agree on a number of the issues raised by the proposal, but in some cases disagree on the solutions. “It is clear that further discussion is warranted, and direct engagement with key stakeholders should be beneficial,” the trade groups suggested. Both industry groups were responding...


August 15, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Investors Want Overhaul of Non-Agency MBS Market, Issuers Willing to Make Some Changes

Potential investors in non-agency MBS are calling for significant changes to the market before they’re willing to resume investing in new non-agency MBS. Non-agency MBS issuers indicate that they are willing to make some changes to attract investors, while other adjustments will require action by federal regulators or Congress. In June, the Treasury Department requested comments on how to increase non-agency activity and decrease the agency MBS share of mortgage financing. The comment period closed late last week, with about 25 industry participants submitting feedback. John Gidman, president of the Association of Institutional Investors, said...


August 14, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Galante Departing FHA Amid Gripes About Premiums; IG Says HUD Missed Opportunities on Indemnifications

FHA Commissioner Carol Galante is slated to depart the agency in a few weeks, leaving in her wake a healthier Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, but her withdrawal comes amid gripes from some lenders that agency premiums are too high, hurting the first-time homebuyer market. Several industry officials give Galante high marks for not caving to industry pressure on reducing FHA premiums, and for trying to build bridges to originators at a time when the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Justice Department continue to target lenders for their “legacy” production. One consultant who represents FHA lenders said...


August 14, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MI Market Share Reached Post-Crash High In 2Q14; Industry Profitability Continues Climbing

Private mortgage insurance companies continued their roll during the second quarter of 2014, capturing a larger share of the primary MI market away from the faltering FHA program, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis. Private MIs reported a total of $44.19 billion of new primary mortgage insurance written during the second quarter, a 38.0 percent jump in new business from the first three months of 2014. Private MIs accounted for 41.4 percent of total primary MI new business, the industry’s highest share of the market since the second quarter of 2008, when the housing market landslide was gaining speed. The Veterans Administration’s home loan guaranty program is also building...[Includes three data charts]


August 7, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHA Indemnifications Still an Issue, But Lenders Do Have Options for Defense, Ex-HUD Official Reminds

As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buyback demands have tapered off, lenders continue to face aggressive government efforts to indemnify the FHA for losses, but they do have options available to them that can work in their favor. During a webinar sponsored last week by Inside Mortgage Finance, Amanda Raines, a partner with the BuckleySandler law firm in Washington, DC, emphasized that FHA indemnification demands have continued this year, with an aggressive use of the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. That has led...


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Comment Period for Single Family Handbook Extended. The FHA has extended from July 29 to Aug. 15, 2014 the deadline for submitting feedback on certain sections within the draft Single Family Handbook. Comments are being sought on sections “Doing Business with FHA – FHA Lenders and Mortgagees” and “Quality Control, Oversight and compliance." Both sections’ contents, as well as supporting information, are posted for review and feedback on the SF Drafting Table in the FHA website. Each section’s web page also contains highlights of changes, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a feedback response worksheet. Julian Castro as New HUD Secretary. Julian Castro was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28. He replaces Shaun Donovan, who is now director of the ...


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Requires Retention of Electronic Documents

Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, FHA lenders will be required to retain both electronic and hard copies of originals of foreclosure-related documents in their servicing files as well as paperwork relating to loss-mitigation reviews. Specifically, lenders must keep electronic copies of the servicer’s foreclosure committee recommendation, servicer’s referral notice to a foreclosure attorney, and a copy of the document showing the first legal action necessary to initiate foreclosure. Lenders may use electronic storage methods for all other servicing-related documents where retention of a hard copy or original document is not required, according to the FHA. An electronic copy of the mortgage, mortgage note or deed of trust also must be kept and marked “copy.” Lenders are required to preserve originals and hard copies as specified by regulation. If the note has been lost, ...


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Data Show Wells, Chase Pulled Back

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have both paid major settlements regarding FHA lending, and both have curtailed their participation in the program, according to a new analysis of Ginnie Mae data by Inside FHA Lending. During the first six months of 2013, Chase accounted for 11.8 percent of the FHA mortgages in newly issued Ginnie mortgage-backed securities. During the first half of 2014, its volume of FHA loans in Ginnie pools was down 75.8 percent from the same period last year, and its share of the market sank more than half, to just 5.1 percent. Jamie Dimon, Chase’s president and CEO, recently questioned why the bank should stay in the FHA business when legal costs are so high. The Ginnie data show it ... [1 chart]


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Delinquency Rates Fall Midway Through 2014

The delinquency rate for residential FHA-insured mortgages fell at the halfway mark of 2014 from the end of the fourth quarter last year, a result of improved overall loan performance, strong credit standards and an improving, albeit slowly, economy, an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency data suggests. Although the number of FHA lenders included in the analysis has doubled since year-end 2013, delinquency rates in the 30-60 days and 90-day plus buckets appear to be trending downward. As of June 30, FHA delinquencies across the board were down to 13.3 percent from 15.2 percent as of Dec. 30, 2013. The seriously delinquent rate – the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due – has dropped to 7.14 percent from 8.08 percent over the same period. The delinquency rate of FHA loans that are at least one payment past due also fell to ... [1 chart]


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lower Loan Limits Hit Some Markets

The FHA’s widespread reduction in loan limits for 2014 has had a mixed impact on production levels so far this year, according to a new Inside FHA Lending analysis of FHA endorsement data. Through the first four months of 2014, FHA endorsements were down 55.6 percent from the same period last year. But in counties where loan limits were lowered, FHA production was down 57.5 percent from early 2013. In the relatively few counties where loan limits actually increased in 2014, FHA endorsements were also down from a year ago, but by a less severe 47.4 percent. The biggest decline in endorsements has been in refinances, especially FHA-to-FHA refinances. In areas with lowered loan limits, production of these loans has plummeted 87.0 percent, and even areas with raised loan limits saw an 81.1 percent drop in streamlined refis. Purchase-mortgage originations have taken less of a ...


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

MRB Penalizes 46 Lenders, 25 Lose FHA Approval

Twenty-five lenders either settled or lost their FHA approval for a full year because they failed to complete their annual recertification requirement, while 21 others were subjected to enforcement actions because their origination or servicing files did not meet FHA requirements. Results from cases heard by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mortgagee Review Board in 2012 and 2013 showed that the board used all enforcement tools at its disposal. Specifically, the board took the following actions: Assessed money penalties of more than $1.5 million; imposed fees, refunds and principal buydowns totaling $1.2 million; required indemnification on 163 FHA-insured loans; withdrew FHA approval of four lenders; suspended the FHA approval of one lender; and placed one lender’s approval on probation. Violations were related to ...


August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Reassess FHA Business, Exposures

For FHA lenders, the idea of a large lender exiting the FHA market and creating opportunities for market share has been overshadowed by concerns regarding liability in the wake of recent fraud-related settlements between lenders and the federal government. Compliance experts said many of their FHA clients are quietly reassessing their FHA business after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, during a recent earnings call, spoke out loudly against the government’s stringent enforcement actions aimed at recovering “wrongfully” claimed funds. Lenders fear that FHA enforcement actions have taken a turn for the worse in recent years, and that even errors that have nothing to do with loan default are construed as fraud by government prosecutors, resulting in billion-dollar penalties against FHA lenders. Seven major banks, so far, have paid ...


August 1, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Buybacks, Indemnifications Will Continue, But There Are Many Coping Strategies Available, Experts Say

Mortgage buybacks and indemnifications may be off their peak in terms of volume, but they are widely expected to continue for the foreseeable future, industry experts said this week. But the good news for the industry is that there are a variety of defenses and coping strategies available, depending on the particulars of a given situation. Amanda Raines, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the BuckleySandler law firm, told participants of an Inside Mortgage Finance webinar this week that more buybacks are definitely on the way. “The Department of Justice is still making financial fraud a priority,” she said. Raines noted...


July 31, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Larger Lenders Expect Some Loosening of Credit Standards, Others See Tightening Over Next Three Months, Survey Finds

Smaller and mid-size mortgage lenders were more likely than larger lenders to say their credit standards tightened over the past three months and will tighten more in the next quarter, while larger lenders were more likely to say their credit standards eased in the prior quarter and will continue in the next, according to results of a new lender survey announced by Fannie Mae. The divergent view of credit standards between larger lenders and others is among the key findings of the government-sponsored enterprise’s new Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. The quarterly survey focuses on the supply side of the mortgage business and dovetails with Fannie’s monthly national survey of consumers, which provides current information on the demand side of housing. Lender survey results collected during the first two quarters of 2014 showed...


July 24, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD: Other Lenders Will Fill in If Chase Bolts FHA; But Agency Working on Ways to Mitigate Lender Concerns

If JPMorgan Chase were to exit the FHA program, plenty of other residential lenders would pick up the slack, according to officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who in a press briefing this week indicated the agency is hardly worried about such a development. “There are plenty of other lenders,” said one senior HUD official. “Their [JPM’s] volume has dropped. Quicken is now number one.” During an earnings call last week, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon questioned...


July 24, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

2014 Loan Limit Decreases Slowed FHA Lending, But Impact Muted in Purchase-Mortgage Sector

FHA single-family endorsements fell 55.6 percent in the first four months of 2014, compared to the same period last year, but the impact was far from uniform across the country. A new analysis by Inside FHA Lending, an affiliated newsletter, shows that housing markets where FHA loan limits were reduced this year have seen a bigger drop in FHA business than elsewhere in the country. In counties with lower FHA loan limits, production in the first four months of 2014 was down 57.7 percent from a year ago, while production in markets where there was no change fell 51.3 percent. FHA lending declined...


July 24, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

First-Time Homebuyer Share of Purchase Market At High Levels, GSEs Account for Growing Share

The first-time homebuyer share of home purchases has increased for four consecutive months, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. First-time homebuyer activity tends to increase through the spring homebuying season, but the first-time homebuyer share is at particularly high levels this year. First-time homebuyers accounted for 37.2 percent of home purchases in June, based on a three-month moving average. That was up from a 34.2 percent share in March, and the last time the first-time homebuyer share of home purchases was at 37.2 percent was September 2010. According to real estate agents, first-time buyers appear...


July 24, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Most Lenders Rode Surge in Mortgage Production In 2Q14, But Pace Was Well Below Recent Past

A healthy housing recovery boosted mortgage origination volume during the second quarter of 2014, but production remains at relatively sluggish levels, according to a new market analysis and ranking by Inside Mortgage Finance. Single-family mortgage originations totaled an estimated $295 billion during the second quarter, up 25.5 percent from the first three months of the year. The first quarter of 2014 was the worst production environment for the mortgage industry since the end of 2000, even falling below the mark set at the depth of the financial crises in the fourth quarter of 2008. In fact, the most recent April-to-June cycle brought...[Includes three data charts]


Poll

Home-equity lending is beginning to show new life. My company (pick one):

Plans to enter this market over the next 12 months.

25%

Is already making home equity loans and hopes to increase the offerings.

45%

Is in the market but don’t expect much growth.

15%

Is not making second liens and has no plans to do so.

15%

Housing Pulse