FHA, VA

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November 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Delinquency Rates Nudges Higher in Seasonal Shift, Adjusted Rate at Pre-Crisis Levels

Mortgage delinquencies followed a seasonal trend and rose in the third quarter of 2014, according to the Inside Mortgage Finance Large Servicer Delinquency Index. The Mortgage Bankers Association, however, reported a 19 basis point drop on a seasonally-adjusted basis that put the overall rate at 5.85 percent, the lowest since the financial crisis. The 24 lenders that reported delinquency data to Inside Mortgage Finance had an average delinquency rate of 6.63 percent, up from 6.54 percent in the second quarter. Unadjusted delinquency rates usually spike higher in the third quarter, even in the midst of a downward trend. The delinquency index also showed...[Includes one data chart]


November 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lower-Downpayment Mortgages Seen As Useful Products For First-Time Homebuyers, Though Fees are a Concern

First-time homebuyers could benefit from mortgages with downpayment requirements as low as 3.0 percent, but high fees on such products tend to limit their originations, according to qualitative survey results from the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. The government-sponsored enterprises are set to roll out products that allow combined loan-to-value ratios as high as 97.0 percent, competing with the 96.5 percent combined LTV ratio limit for certain purchase mortgages guaranteed by the FHA. In recent years, the GSEs generally have allowed for combined LTV ratios as high as 95.0 percent. “Agents commonly believe...


November 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund Capital Turns Positive, But No Change to Mortgage Insurance Premiums

The FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has improved from a negative position to a positive $4.8 billion in FY 2014 after gaining nearly $6 billion in value over the last year, thanks to aggressive policy actions that led to improvements in key areas, according to an independent actuarial report sent to Congress this week. Overall, the fund showed a $21 billion improvement over the past two years due to changes the FHA implemented following the housing crisis, the report said. The changes led to improved underwriting standards for single-family mortgages, increased mortgage insurance premiums, stronger loss mitigation policies and higher recoveries, it noted. Aggressive policy actions also led...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

New Fannie 97 to be Based on Current Underwriting And Documentation Rules, Private MI Assessment

Income documentation and other standards that have been in place since Fannie Mae entered conservatorship in 2008 will apply to the company’s new 3 percent downpayment product, and loan assessment by a private mortgage insurer will be crucial, according to a company spokesman. The spokesman said details will be announced shortly. Fannie Mae is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to design the government-sponsored enterprise’s revamped 97 percent loan-to-value product. Sources said previous requirements for a standard 97 LTV product, which Fannie offered until November 2013, are being considered. The FHFA announced...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Wells Fargo Seeking Resolution of FHA Fraud Allegations, Experts Doubt DOJ Will be Less Aggressive Going Forward

Wells Fargo is in discussions with the Department of Justice about a possible resolution of alleged improper origination and servicing of FHA loans that resulted in huge paid claims and significant losses to the agency’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The ongoing talks are related to a complaint filed by the government in federal district court in Manhattan on Oct. 9, 2012, alleging, among other things, that Wells Fargo improperly certified FHA mortgages between 2001 and 2010 for insurance even though it knew the underwriting was flawed. The complaint said that the bank’s insurance claims should not have been paid when some of the loans later defaulted. It further alleged that Wells Fargo did not disclose the loans’ deficiencies to the FHA before making insurance claims. On Dec. 1, 2012, Wells Fargo filed...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MIs See Huge Gain in Market Share As FHA Continues to Fall Behind in 3Q14

Private mortgage insurers reported hefty increases in the volume of new insurance written during the third quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. The seven active private MIs wrote primary insurance coverage on $53.95 billion of new mortgage originations during the third quarter, a gain of 22.8 percent from the previous period. On a year-to-date basis, total new primary insurance by the MIs was still down 22.4 percent from the first nine months of last year, mostly because activity in the Home Affordable Refinance Program has declined sharply. HARP accounted...[Includes three data charts]


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Radian Reports Strong 3Q14 Results. Radian Guaranty’s new mortgage insurance written increased to $11.2 billion in the third quarter compared to $9.3 billion in the previous quarter, and down from $13.7 billion from the same period last year, according to company financial results for 3Q14. Overall, the private mortgage insurer reported net income of $153.6 million for the quarter, which executives attributed to strong credit performance, a growing MI book of business and solid performance from Clayton Holdings. Radian recently acquired the due-diligence firm for $305 million. Total primary MI in force was $169.2 billion as of Sept. 30, 2014, up from $165.0 billion the prior quarter, while persistency was 83.5 percent at the end of the third quarter. The total number of primary delinquent loans was down 4 percent from the second quarter and down by ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reverse Mortgage Lenders Seek Policy Revisions

Reverse mortgage lenders are seeking a policy change that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to count reverse mortgages toward their proposed annual affordable housing goals. In another regulatory area, the industry has asked to delay a proposed mortgage disclosure rule until reverse lenders’ concerns have been resolved. Commenting on the proposed 2015-2017 affordable housing goals for the government-sponsored enterprises, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association is urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to allow the GSEs to reenter the reverse mortgage market through a proprietary reverse mortgage program. Specifically, such a change would enable Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase reverse mortgages or securities backed by the product. Currently, the FHA under its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program insures most ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Single-Family Production Drops in August

FHA single-family mortgage originations fell slightly in August from July as the agency’s home-purchase volume continued to falter, agency data showed. In August, the latest month for which FHA origination data are available, forward-loan originations totaled $12.6 billion, down 3.2 percent from the prior month and down 25.1 percent from the same period last year. Purchase mortgages made up 81.1 percent of all FHA-insured single-family loans originated during August, while refinances accounted for the remainder. Fixed-rate mortgages were the product of choice, as they have been in previous periods. Quicken Loans relied more on refis than on purchase lending (38 percent of new loans) as it closed the month with $534.8 million in new production, down 8.5 percent from July. Nonetheless, it was good enough for a 4.2 percent FHA market share. Second-place Wells Fargo’s total production for the month was ... [1 chart]


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

NAR Urges FHA to Tighten Short Sale Oversight

The real estate industry is urging the FHA to tighten up its pre-foreclosure sale process and be more vigilant before referring loans to the single-fThe real estate industry is urging the FHA to tighten up its pre-foreclosure sale process and be more amily loan sales program (SFLS). Commenting on the proposed section on servicing of the FHA Single Family Policy handbook, the National Association of Realtors expressed concern that the FHA is auctioning large pools of mortgages without considering the investor’s ability to achieve neighborhood stabilization goals such as homeownership preservation and affordable housing. The first step for FHA to improve servicing and pre-foreclosure efforts is to ensure mortgage servicers’ full compliance with FHA loss-mitigation requirements before referring loans to the SFLS, the NAR suggested. In addition, the FHA should ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Servicing Improves Slightly in 3Q14

Ginnie Mae servicing bumped up slightly in the third quarter after an uneventful prior quarter as FHA purchase activity continued to drag, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Servicing volume rose quarter over quarter by 1.4 percent. On an annual basis, volume increased 4.6 percent from the same period a year ago. Ginnie Mae servicers ended the quarter with a total of $1.48 trillion in unpaid principal balance, up from $1.46 trillion in the previous quarter. The top three servicers saw volume drop on both quarterly and year-over-year bases. Wells Fargo remained as top servicer of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities, closing out the quarter with $422.4 million, down 0.8 percent from the previous quarter and down 0.6 percent from the prior year. The mega-servicer dominated the Ginnie market with a 28.6 percent market share. JPMorgan Chase carved out a 10.1 percent market share with ... [1 chart]


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reinstating 97s Could Delay Recovery for MMIF

Reinstating the government-sponsored enterprises’ conventional 97 percent loan-to-value mortgage programs would benefit first-time homebuyers and borrowers with little or no cash reserves for a downpayment but adversely affect the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, according to analysts. If limited to first-time homebuyers, a conventional 97 LTV loan would offer some new homeowners better home loan financing than FHA and provide greater access to mortgage credit, said analysts with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. For years, Fannie Mae offered conventional 97 LTV loans through its MyCommmunityMortgage to help first-time homebuyers purchase a home with only a 3 percent downpayment. It was a better alternative to FHA’s main product, which required a 3.5 percent downpayment. The Fannie product also had less ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD Rejects CFPB’s QM Cure Provision

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will not take on the new points-and-fees cure provision for qualified mortgages adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency is concerned that lenders might inadvertently violate the FHA’s statutory 3.5 percent downpayment requirement. HUD adopted other changes in the CFPB’s revised final rule on ability to repay and qualified mortgages (ATR/QM) to maintain consistency but saw no need for any further ability to cure points-and-fees errors. Reimbursement of any excess points and fees to the borrower could take away from the mandatory 3.5 percent downpayment and render the loan ineligible for FHA insurance, the agency explained in a notice published in the Nov. 3 Federal Register. HUD said it would provide lender guidance under its own QM rule on ...


November 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Reinstatement of GSEs’ 97 LTV Programs Would Benefit Private MIs but Delay Recovery of MMIF, Analysts Say

Private mortgage insurers would welcome the return of conventional 97 percent loan-to-value mortgages from the government-sponsored enterprises, but analysts say it might not be a slam dunk. The private MI industry has been encouraging the GSEs, particularly Fannie Mae, to bring back the 97 percent LTV product to compete with the FHA’s main product, which requires just a 3.5 percent downpayment. For years, Fannie offered...


November 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

PHH Mortgage Dodges a Bullet, For Now, as Judge Throws Out Punitive Damages in Loan Mod Dispute

PHH Mortgage may avoid taking a big hit in a legal dispute with a homeowner after the company mishandled his mortgage modification. Last week, in Linza v. PHH Mortgage Corp. et al., Yuba County (CA) Superior Court Judge Stephen Berrier threw out most of the jury’s original $16.2 million verdict against the company, including all punitive damages. Instead, the judge said that homeowner Phillip Linza is entitled to only $159,000 in damages. The case stems...


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

FHFA’s Watt Promises a CEO for the CSP by Year-end. After a year of searching for a chief executive to lead Common Securitization Solutions, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is getting closer to picking a candidate for the job. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Las Vegas last week, FHFA Director Mel Watt promised the industry that a CEO would be named by Dec. 31. The FHFA’s search firm is Spencer Stuart.


October 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Loan Origination Volume Up Again in 3Q14 But Trends Vary Widely Among Top Lenders

2014 is going to go down as the worst year in new mortgage origination volume since the turn of the century, but it’s clearly not as bad as many have feared. Mortgage lenders produced an estimated $335 billion in new single-family loans during the third quarter, a solid 9.8 percent increase from the previous period, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. Significantly, the first and second quarters of this year were...[Includes two data charts]


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

FHA to Host First Briefing Session on the First Installment of the Single Family Policy Handbook. The FHA will have a webinar on Nov. 6, 2014, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m., for stakeholders in connection with the first completed section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook, the Origination through Post-Closing/Endorsement for Title II Forward Mortgages (Origination through Post-Closing). The new handbook is designed to make it easier for stakeholders to do business with the FHA and support greater access to mortgage credit for qualified borrowers. Once fully completed, the handbook will contain all FHA origination and underwriting policies that lenders use in making FHA-insured loans. The FHA published the first section of the handbook on Sept. 30, which becomes effective for FHA case numbers assigned on or after June 15, 2015. The agency urged lenders to ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA to Modify CHUMS, Develop New System

The FHA has announced plans to modify the Computerized Homes Underwriting Management System (CHUMS) while work continues on a new, improved replacement system. CHUMS provides support for automated processing, analysis and screening of appraisal documents. Specifically, it is used on first-time homebuyer loan applications, Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, Section 203(k) property rehabilitation loans, VA-certified FHA loans and other FHA-approved programs. The system is also used to assist in evaluations of borrowers’ mortgage credit and as a complement to FHA’s credit assessment tool, TOTAL Scorecard. A new Loan Application Management System (LAMS) is in development to replace CHUMS completely in about five years. In its initial release, LAMS will enable the Department of Housing and Urban Development to start collecting and incorporating ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

State FHA Originations Up, Golden State Leads

Total originations of FHA forward and home-equity conversion mortgages across the U.S. and in the territories increased from the first to the second quarter, with California accounting for the lion’s share of all FHA loans produced by state. Production of FHA-insured forwards, including jumbo loans, and HECM loans during the first half of 2014 totaled $68.3 billion, a whopping 49.0 percent drop from volume reported over the same period last year. On the other hand, total originations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rose 11.5 percent quarter-over-quarter. Originations totaled $36.1 billion in the second quarter. Forward mortgages accounted for $61.1 billion of new FHA-insured loans originated during the first six months while HECMs comprised $7.2 billion of loans produced over ... [ 1 Chart ]


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD to Let Property-Flipping Waiver Lapse

Buyers, sellers and real estate agents have until the end of 2014 to take advantage of the property-flipping waiver that the FHA had put in place in 2010 to increase the availability of affordable homes for first-time homebuyers and other purchasers. After Dec. 31, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will let the waiver lapse subjecting investors again to property-flipping prohibitions. Lenders say the waiver program worked well in underserved and hard-hit areas but HUD believes the program’s initial objectives have been attained and that prudence and vigilance are again called for to prevent abuses and potential losses. As a rule, the FHA prohibits “property flipping” in which a recently acquired property undergoes a minor makeover, is appraised with an artificially high value and is resold for a considerable profit. Most property flipping occurs within a matter of days, which prompted HUD to ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

VA, Rural Housing Guarantees Surge in 2014

While the FHA’s share of the primary insurance market has dropped significantly since premiums were hiked in early 2013, the VA program and the rural housing loan program run by the Department of Agriculture are going strong, according to agency officials. During a panel discussion at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention this week, VA and Rural Development executives said that both agencies have been quietly building mortgage market share. Jeffrey London, deputy director of the VA’s loan guaranty service, reported that purchase-mortgage VA loan originations were up 11 percent in fiscal 2014, with 40 percent of the business being first-time homebuyers. Of that group, 80 percent took no-downpayment VA loans, the biggest selling point in the program, along with its relatively low costs. In earlier remarks, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro revealed that ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Silent on MIP, Will Review Pricing Further

A top-ranking housing official soon to become acting FHA commissioner assured lenders that the agency is reviewing the pricing of its mortgage insurance, but made no promises during the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association held this week in Las Vegas. Biniam Gebre, now the deputy assistant secretary for housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the agency “has been reviewing our premium levels on a regular basis.” He added, “I’m sure we will come back to it over the next couple months and next year.” The pricing of FHA mortgage insurance premiums “is a very important question,” Gebre said. Many in the mortgage industry have been focused on the availability of credit, but the affordability of credit is important as well, he added. “We believe we reached a tipping point when we raised premiums in response to ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Raises Net Worth, Liquidity Tests

Ginnie Mae this week provided new details to the long-anticipated plan for increased issuer net worth and liquidity and a new performance scoring method for issuer activity – changes that could adversely affect small issuers and portfolio servicers. In remarks at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer said the changes are part of a larger effort to ensure the continuing flexibility and availability of the agency’s mortgage-backed securities program to as many entities as possible. New types of issuers and counterparties have entered the agency-backed MBS market in the wake of the financial crisis, which called for adjustments and tailored approaches to the evolving housing finance market, Tozer noted. Tozer said both policy changes and staff expertise will ensure the success of ...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHA to Revisit Mortgage Insurance Premiums While Auditors Assess MMIF’s Improving Condition

The FHA has been reviewing the insurance premiums it charges and will do so again later this year as well as in 2015, said a top agency official, but whether this will lead to a reduction is unclear. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Las Vegas this week, FHA Deputy Commissioner Biniam Gebre said the agency is “not done” with the premium issue and may revisit it in the next couple of months or perhaps next year. Gebre will temporarily replace FHA Commissioner Carol Galante, who is scheduled to leave the agency at the end of the week to join the faculty at the University of California in Berkeley. Galante headed...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHA Share of Home-Purchase Financing Falls to Five-Year Low, Borrowers Shift to GSEs and VA

High fees on FHA mortgages have helped push FHA’s market of financing for home purchases to the lowest level since the financial crisis, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. FHA mortgages were used to finance 18.2 percent of home purchases in September, based on a three-month moving average. That was down from a 21.9 percent share in September 2013 and 36.6 percent in May 2010, the highest level for FHA financing in the five-year history of HousingPulse. From 2008 through 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development increased...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Expanding Access to Credit May Grease Underperforming Home-Purchase Market

The mortgage credit box contracted quickly as the housing market slid toward disaster in 2007, but it’s proving to be much more difficult to stretch it back to what used to be considered normal. The subtitle to this week’s annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association could well have been “access to credit,” an idea that clearly dominated the conversation. Despite the recent unexpected drop in mortgage interest rates, most observers expect origination volume in 2015 to track closely to this year’s sluggish level and part of the problem is relatively weak home-purchase lending. Industry people are...


October 16, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Small Mortgage Lenders Renew Call for Lower FHA Premiums, in Anticipation of Healthier Insurance Fund

A group of small and mid-sized lenders this week renewed their request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to cut FHA’s annual premiums to improve borrower access to credit, a change that likely depends on the annual audit of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Sources expect the next annual audit report to show further improvement in the health of the MMI Fund, which had a negative economic value of $1.3 billion in September 2013, the end of the government’s 2013 fiscal year. Beyond getting back into the black, the MMIF still must reach a 2.0 percent statutory capital reserve requirement, which the last audit predicted would occur next year. The fiscal 2014 audit report is expected...


October 16, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Layoffs Hit ‘Specialty Servicers’ Wingspan And RCS: Has This Niche Market Peaked?

Thanks to rapidly improving delinquency rates and real estate values, the bloom appears to be off the rose for specialty servicers that built their business on processing delinquent and high-touch mortgages that are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. Over the past month, layoffs have plagued both Wingspan Portfolio Services, Dallas, and Residential Credit Solutions of Fort Worth, TX. Moreover, industry officials who work in the servicing sector believe...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

FHA to Extend Short Refi Program. The FHA has announced its intent to extend its Short Refinance Program for borrowers in negative equity positions. A mortgagee letter will be issued soon to announce the extension. Feedback Period extended for Draft Servicing Section of Proposed Single Family Handbook. The FHA is extending the comment period for the draft servicing section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook through Nov. 14, 2014 to allow stakeholders additional time to study and comment on the proposed section. The original deadline date was Oct. 17. CFPB Updates Reverse Mortgage Guide. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently updated its reverse mortgage guide on its website to account for recent changes made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. The updated guide highlights new limits to ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Ginnie Mae MBS Issuance Increases in 3Q14

Ginnie Mae issuance for the first nine months of 2014 totaled $207.5 billion as government-backed purchase-mortgage activity picked up in the third quarter, according to an analysis of agency data. New issuances rose 19.8 percent from the second quarter. FHA loans accounted for $116.9 billion of new Ginnie Mae issuances while VA and the Rural Housing Development funneled $75.9 billion and $14.2 billion, respectively, of new loans into Ginnie Mae pools. Mortgage securities backed by home-equity conversion mortgages are not included. Purchase mortgages totaling $140.6 billion comprised the bulk of new issuances over the nine-month period while the share of refinances totaled $49.8 billion. Modified loans accounted for $17.1 billion. Most of the FHA and VA loans originated during the first nine months came through the ... [ 2 charts ]


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Millennial Agenda Underscores FHA’s ‘Blueprint’

President Obama this week released his agenda for creating economic opportunity for millennials, including greater access to mortgage credit through FHA. While the economy has recovered and there has been some improvement in the housing market, millennials are on a much slower pace toward homeownership than previous generations, the president said. Many are in rental housing, ready to become homeowners but are locked out by the tough, restrictive lending environment, he added. Millennials – identified as those born between 1982 and 2004, also known as Generation Y – are finding it harder to purchase homes because of lender overlays, high mortgage insurance premiums and high downpayment requirements. It also has been difficult for anyone with a credit score below 680 to obtain a purchase-mortgage loan. In his agenda, Obama expressed concern over the ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Details Improvements to LEAP 3.0 System

Like all new automated systems, FHA’s Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP 3.0) was not without technical glitches when the agency rolled it out back in May. Users immediately reported difficulties in certain functions, such as adding new branches, making changes to existing branches and changing cash flow accounts. The FHA ever since has been working to iron out the kinks to allow lenders to submit their annual recertification packages with ease. So far, certain fixes have been implemented allowing lenders to add, edit and delete branch and regional managers, delete attachments uploaded to LEAP and properly update cash flow accounts in the database. The FHA also changed the way lenders edit their principal affiliations in LEAP. In addition, newly approved lenders now have access to the new system. Furthermore, the FHA expanded to 250 the maximum allowable characters lenders may use when ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Borrowers Found Violating Residency Rule

An internal audit found as many as 136 borrowers not living in the properties for which they have obtained FHA-insured reverse mortgages because they were also receiving federal housing assistance under a different address. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General discovered the anomaly during a follow-up review of HUD’s oversight of the home-equity conversion mortgage program to ensure HECM borrowers comply with residency requirements. A previous audit had red-flagged potential residency violations. In the latest review, auditors analyzed HUD’s data warehouse for single-family mortgages and its public housing information system from April 2011 through March 2014 and identified 159 potential violators of the residency rule. Of those potential violators, 136 were found to be not occupying the properties associated with their HECM loans but, instead, ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

New Regulations Cause HECM Volume to Drop

FHA reverse mortgage volume fell in the second quarter as well as during the first six months of 2014 as regulatory changes reduced profitability and increased the cost of originating the government-backed product, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Home equity conversion mortgage volume declined 19.9 percent quarter-over-quarter and dropped 9.0 percent during the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. HECM lenders reported $7.2 billion in total originations in the first half, with purchase loans accounting for 93.6 percent. Fixed-rate HECMs comprised only 22.2 percent of total volume as most borrowers turned to adjustable-rate HECMs for their reverse-mortgage needs. The top five HECM lenders – American Advisors Group, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, One Reverse Mortgage, Liberty Home Equity Solutions and Proficio Mortgage Ventures – accounted for ... [1 chart ]


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

OIG Calls for HUD Action Versus Errant Lenders

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General has recommended that HUD require an approved FHA lender to reimburse the FHA $1.6 million for improper claims on 11 preforeclosure sales, including lender and borrower incentives. An IG audit of EverBank of Jacksonville, FL, attributed FHA’s losses to the bank’s failure to determine whether or not defaulted borrowers qualified for the agency’s preforeclosure sale program. The IG looked into the bank’s short sale activities because it had the highest preforeclosure sale claims in Florida. More than 50 percent of EverBank’s FHA claims were from short sales, with more than $12.9 million paid from 2011 through 2013, the audit found. In response, EverBank questioned the accuracy of the IG report. The bank maintained that certain allegations do not constitute violations of ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD-OIG Reports $582M in Recoveries for MMIF

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General has announced a total of $581.8 million in recoveries in September to strengthen and stabilize the ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The recovered amounts are part of larger settlements between the federal government, U.S. Bank and Bank of America to resolve allegations of false claims and mortgage fraud in relation to FHA-insured mortgages. Both banks were investigated separately by the HUD-OIG, Department of Justice and U.S. attorneys’ offices in Michigan, Ohio and New York in connection with their lending and underwriting practices and quality-control programs for FHA-insured loans. On June 30, U.S. Bank entered into a settlement agreement to pay $200 million, of which nearly $144.2 million went to the MMI Fund. The bank admitted to poor underwriting, flawed quality control and ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Loan Reviews Continue to Find Defects

Missing or incorrect files was the most common defect found in 49 percent of the loans, of which 29 percent were deemed initially unacceptable. Flawed credit or underwriting came in second at 26 percent, of which 67 percent were rated unacceptable. Program eligibility and operational deficiencies each had a 9 percent share while defective appraisals were common in 7 percent of all reviewed loans. Properly mitigated, the percentage of initially unacceptable loans usually drops to about 7 percent. The FHA tends to blames lenders for the defects but the bottom line is mistakes cut both ways, according to compliance experts. “Lenders make mistakes that can easily be corrected,” said one compliance consultant. “FHA also can be guilty of causing a mistake.” For example, poor communication and lack of clarity caused lenders to check a yes/no box to confirm whether or not they ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Now a Year Old and Counting, GSE JV Common Securitization Solutions Still Doesn’t Have a CEO

After a year of searching for a chief executive to head Common Securitization Solutions LLC, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is still looking. But that doesn’t mean the agency has given up. “The search continues,” said a government official close to the matter. “We even have a search firm.” Although the FHFA is keeping a tight lid on information regarding CSS, it’s...


October 9, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Mortgage Underwriting Standards Have Eased Some In Recent Years, But Still Stiff Compared to the Boom

Mortgage underwriting standards are relaxing somewhat, according to a new analysis by Inside Mortgage Finance, particularly as production has shifted from a focus on refinances to purchase mortgages. However, underwriting standards are much more stringent than they were before the financial crisis, with few options available for nonprime borrowers. The average credit score on purchase mortgages included...


October 9, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MI Volume Rides Summer Surge in GSE Business, Penetrates Deeper in Purchase Market

Mortgage lenders delivered $47.82 billion of single-family home loans with private mortgage insurance coverage to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the third quarter of 2014, according to a new ranking and analysis by Inside Mortgage Finance. That was up 29.9 percent from the second quarter of this year as the private MIs piggybacked on the surge in purchase-money mortgages securitized by the two government-sponsored enterprises. Private MI coverage was provided on 39.2 percent of purchase loans sold to the GSEs during the third quarter, and the industry has seen its penetration rate of the sector climb steadily. Back in the first quarter of 2013, only 31.3 percent of Fannie/Freddie purchase mortgages had...[Includes two data charts]


Poll

What is it going to take to convince lenders to loosen the credit box (i.e., remove underwriting overlays)?

The recent rep and warranty changes announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency should go a long way in protecting lenders from future buybacks and help expand mortgage credit.
There won’t be any significant elimination of underwriting overlays until the government stops seeking huge mortgage-related penalties and settlements from lenders.
There shouldn’t be any expansion of the mortgage credit box since looser underwriting is what caused the recent mortgage crisis.

vote to see results
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