FHA, VA

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHA, VA.

July 10, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Mismatched Default/Claims Data in CAIVRS, FHA System Result in Ineligible Borrowers Obtaining New FHA Loans

The Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development called on the FHA to clean up and update its shared database of federal debtors in default, including FHA borrowers, to ensure the information it holds matches data in the FHA’s default and claims systems. An audit by HUD’s IG found that the Credit Alert Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS), which lenders use to screen delinquent federal debtors from obtaining any more government-backed loans, did not contain default, foreclosure and claims information for more than 260,000 borrowers. As a result, ineligible borrowers were able to obtain new federal loans and loan guarantees. The IG estimates...


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Senate Banking Committee Approves HUD, FHFA IG Nominees. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs recently approved the nomination of Julian Castro as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Castro, D, is the incumbent mayor of San Antonio, TX. The panel also approved the nomination of Laura Wertheimer as inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The Senate has yet to confirm their nominations. Meanwhile, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget was approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Reform on June 25. FHA Policies on Arm’s Length Transactions and Compliance with State Laws. The FHA is developing guidance to address concerns that laws in certain states may conflict with its arm’s length transaction requirements for preforeclosure/short sales. Until the guidance is issued, FHA lenders should seek guidance and assistance from the FHA National Servicing Center in matters of ...


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Requests Feedback on Handbook Sections

The FHA is seeking comment on two new sections of a proposed single-family handbook for mortgage lenders. The handbook is in development. Once completed, it will serve as the centralized source of current and future FHA policies. Agency staff is collating policies from several handbooks, rules, mortgagee letters, notices and other sources to incorporate into the handbook. The FHA is publishing two new sections, “Doing Business with FHA – FHA Lenders and Mortgagees” and “Quality Control, Oversight and Compliance,” for comment. The “Doing Business” section lays out the requirements for FHA lender approval, including eligibility requirements, application processes, operating requirements and post-approval changes. The section also contains the recertification process as well as processes for applying for ...


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Protection Extended for Surviving HECM Spouses

The FHA has extended indefinitely the timeframe during which servicers may begin to foreclose on properties with reverse mortgages while it considers possible steps to protect non-borrowing spouses of deceased reverse-mortgage borrowers from outright eviction from their homes. The latest action stemmed from a June 10 court order, which found that current statutory protection for reverse mortgage borrowers against forced eviction and foreclosure extended to their spouses even if the latter is not a co-signer on the note. Non-borrowing spouses of deceased Home Equity Conversion Mortgage borrowers sued in federal district court in Washington, DC, last year to stop foreclosure on their homes and to challenge the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s interpretation of the regulation. Since launching the HECM program, HUD has required that a HECM be ...


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Adds Non-Borrowing Spouses to HECM PLFs

The FHA has announced new principal limit factors (PLF) for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages along with instructions to lenders to ensure that borrowers and their non-borrowing spouses understand the benefits and disadvantages of a reverse mortgage. The new PLF tables have been wholly revised and now include PLFs for use where the borrower has a non-borrowing spouse younger than age 62. In recent guidance, the FHA urged lenders to ensure that borrowers are provided with an analysis of the cost of a HECM loan and its benefits so that they can decide whether a reverse mortgage would meet their financial needs. Lenders also must advise prospective borrowers and their non-borrowing spouses to consult with a housing counselor whether PLFs below 20 percent may or may not actually improve their financial situation or meet their special needs. “Significant consideration should be given to the ...


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lenders Raise Production Numbers in April

FHA lenders reported a significant increase in the number of FHA-insured loans originated in April, breaking a downward production spiral that began in the third quarter of last year. Whether this marks a turnaround for the market, however, is uncertain. April closed with $10.3 billion in total FHA originations, up 18.5 percent from March but down 51.7 percent from the same period a year ago. This surge in FHA financing occurred despite the rising costs of obtaining an FHA loans and access-to-credit issues, which have narrowed the gap between FHA and conventional loans with private mortgage insurance. Spring and Fall are the busiest times of year for home sales which might explain the spike, according to real estate agents. FHA fixed-rate mortgages comprised 95 percent of April’s production, with purchase loans accounting for 78 percent of loans originated during the month. FHA lending trends, however, show ... [2 charts]


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Find Glitches in Fledgling LEAP 3.0

It has been barely a month since the FHA deployed its Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP 3.0), but lenders are already having difficulty executing some functions in the new system. Lenders are complaining about how hard it is to provide access to independent public accountants (IPA) for purposes of recertification functions, as well as difficulties in making changes to existing branches or adding new ones or changing cash flow accounts. Lenders are concerned they may be sanctioned or penalized if they make a mistake, but the FHA seems not inclined to do this because the system is new. “[We] are highly focused on correcting these issues, and hope to have these functions working properly very soon,” the agency promised in a recent note to FHA lenders. The FHA said it is also aware of the complications that some lenders have faced in submitting their annual recertification in LEAP. Many of these problems have been addressed and the deadline for submission of recertification packages has been extended as well, the agency noted.


July 3, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Agencies Take Down Another FHA Lender

U.S. Bank became the latest casualty in the government’s offensive against lax underwriting and improper origination of FHA mortgages after the bank to pay $200 million to settle all related charges. The Minneapolis-based bank became the seventh FHA lender since 2012 that has entered into settlement agreements with the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to resolve alleged violation of the False Claims Act and the Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of government data. The government lawsuits allege that the banks’ certification of loans as eligible for FHA insurance under the direct endorsement program violated the FCA. The banks’ misconduct allegedly contributed to the legacy losses that crippled the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and placed the ...


July 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

With Loss Mitigation Actions Declining for Banks and Nonbanks, HAMP Extended

Loss mitigation activity continued to decline in the first quarter of 2014, driven by better loan performance. That didn’t stop the Treasury Department from extending the Home Affordable Modification Program and related loss mitigation programs for at least another year, through the end of 2016. A total of 132,783 loan modifications were completed in the first quarter, according to Hope Now, down 3.4 percent from the previous quarter and down 45.7 percent from the first quarter of 2013. On a monthly basis, loan mod activity continued to decline in April. Loan mod activity is...


June 27, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Securitization Rate Slipped in Early 2014 Despite Backlog Pushing Through Fannie and Freddie

About $179.6 billion of newly-originated home mortgages were securitized during the first quarter of 2014, resulting in a securitization rate of 76.4 percent, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS market analysis. The securitization rate was down slightly from 78.5 percent for all of last year and 78.8 percent during the fourth quarter. Historically, the rate peaked in 2009, when 84.4 percent of new originations were securitized. In the conventional conforming market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitization volume ($126.4 billion) actually exceeded...[Includes one data chart]


June 26, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Purchase-Mortgage Closing Process Improves With Shorter Timelines, More Accurate Disclosures

As the spring homebuying season has progressed, lenders have improved closing times for purchase mortgages, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. Industry participants also report improvements to good faith estimates with fewer closing cost surprises for borrowers. Closing times declined on a number of different mortgage types, based on three-month moving averages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages with a downpayment of at least 20 percent took...


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

NY Passes Bill to Reduce Number of FHA Loans that Would Fall Under Subprime. The New York Assembly recently passed legislation that would result in fewer FHA loans being classified as “subprime” under state banking law, according to the law firm Ballard Spahr. Already passed by the Senate, the bill would make permanent prior emergency rules issued by the Department of Financial Services, which raised the subprime threshold 75 basis points for those loans subject to the revised FHA mortgage-insurance premium cancellation policy. Although the emergency rules were set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013, the DFS granted an extension to allow the state legislature additional time to find a permanent solution, said Ballard Spahr attorneys. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and strong industry backing, and is expected to ...


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

BNY Mellon to Launch Reverse Mortgage Segment

BNY Mellon will launch a new business later this year that would enable it to purchase, securitize and service reverse mortgages and provide advisory services to lenders that offer such loans. The new business segment, Home Equity Retirement Solutions, is aimed primarily at retirees experiencing significant financial shortfalls. “We view the funds generated by suitable reverse mortgages as an additional fixed-income component of retirement portfolios, an important part of retirement planning that complements other aspects of the plan,” explained Michael Gordon, managing director for BNY Mellon Investment Management. Gordon noted BNY’s long record of accomplishment working with retirees, including managing assets for 401(k) and defined benefit investments. He said reverse mortgages may now be more prudent based on ...


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Jumbo Production Continues Slide in 1Q14

FHA jumbo loan originations fell significantly in the first quarter of 2014 due primarily to higher mortgage insurance premiums and a decrease in the mortgage loan limits, particularly in high-cost areas of the country, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. FHA lenders reported a meager $2.4 billion in jumbo originations during the first three months of the year, a decrease of 21.2 percent from the previous quarter and down a whopping 55.7 percent from the same period a year ago. Purchase loans accounted for 81.0 percent of new originations while fixed-rate loans comprised 86.8 percent. FHA jumbo loans are those over $417,000 and they comprise a very small slice of the FHA’s overall loan portfolio. Citing FHA data, Brian Chappelle, a mortgage industry consultant, said that of the FHA loans originated in the last 12 months, roughly 11,000 loans were above $500,000, down from ... [ 2 charts]


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Public Support Building for HUD’s HAWK Pilot

The FHA’s Homeowners Armed With Knowledge (HAWK) pilot program is getting strong public support, particularly from first-time homebuyers and housing counselors.Based on comments received by the Department of Housing and Urban Development so far, the HAWK pilot is already taking hold in the public’s mind despite its limited publicity. -Rachel Andreyo, a new college graduate who was turned down recently for a mortgage loan pre-approval, said HAWK not only would educate potential first-time homebuyers about homeownership but also raise their hope of becoming a homeowner before the age of 30. “The knowledge this program would provide could be a game changer for young people and struggling Americans everywhere,” she wrote. Shawanda Walker, a single mother, sees HAWK as an opportunity for her to learn how to negotiate her first home purchase, learn about property taxes and ...


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Castro Sails Smoothly Through Nomination Hearing

Barring any unpleasant news, Julian Castro, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, apparently has passed his job interview with the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. This week, Castro, a three-term mayor of San Antonio, TX, laid out his priorities as HUD secretary before committee members if he is confirmed for the job. Castro underscored the importance of “partnership and pragmatism” as the key drivers in running a city. As HUD secretary, Castro said he would enhance “cross-agency collaboration” and emphasize the value of “measuring results” by setting precise goals, consulting with the public on major issues, developing a public report card and annual updates – tools he employed in his municipal housing education and affordable housing initiatives in San Antonio. As mayor, Castro worked to ...


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Agencies Crack Down on False Ads, Marketing

Two federal agencies have announced separate actions to protect reverse mortgage borrowers and rural home purchasers from deceptive advertising and marketing. This week, the FHA warned lenders participating in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program not to use misleading or deceptive language in marketing FHA-insured reverse mortgages to consumers. The FHA said the guidance is intended to protect HECM borrowers from advertising and presentations that appear to limit their options rather than informing them of the full range of available HECM products. Underscoring senior borrowers’ “freedom of choice,” FHA Commissioner Carol Galante said the agency wants lenders to know their marketing and advertising practices are under constant surveillance to prevent customers from being steered to unsuitable reverse mortgage products. Galante noted the ...


June 20, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Feel ‘Unsafe’ Dealing with FHA

SunTrust Mortgage’s recent settlement of a dispute with the federal government and 49 state attorneys general over defective FHA loans and Wells Fargo’s losing bid to quash a similar lawsuit are raising concerns about doing business with the FHA. Industry attorneys say the lesson for lenders in these recent industry debacles is that it is “extraordinarily dangerous” to do FHA loans these days given the outcome of the two cases. It is also getting harder to trust mortgage settlement agreements with the government, they added. “The scariest part in all these is the combination of government forces involved in these claims – state AGs, Department of Justice, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” said an attorney, who worked on both cases. “When they want to get you, they can get you.” Others believe these developments could have a ...


June 19, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

SunTrust Settles

SunTrust Mortgage has agreed to pay $968 million to the federal government and 49 state attorneys general to resolve allegations of improper FHA origination and servicing practices. The company will pay $418 million to resolve potential liability under the False Claims Act for flawed FHA loans made from January 2006 through March 2012. …


June 19, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD Nominee Castro Says the Right Things, Provokes No Opposition During Senate Nomination Hearing

Barring the discovery of a skeleton in his closet, Julian Castro’s nomination for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development appears to be a lock in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Appearing before the committee this week, Castro, a three-term mayor of San Antonio, TX, laid out his priorities for HUD if confirmed. He said he would emphasize working closely with agencies as well as the value of “measuring results” by setting precise goals, public consultation, development of a public report card and annual updates – tools he employed in his municipal housing education and affordable housing initiatives in San Antonio. Castro said...


June 12, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Bemoans Senate Committee Authorizing FHA to Charge New Fee to Fund Quality Assurance Improvements

A potential conflict over funding of the FHA’s loan-quality improvement efforts and, possibly, of a pilot program that seeks to make broader use of housing counseling in FHA origination and servicing may be brewing as both the House and Senate moved towards finalizing their separate versions of fiscal 2015 appropriations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 29 to 1 to pass S. 2438, its FY 2015 HUD funding bill. Notably, it contains a provision authorizing HUD to charge and collect a new fee from FHA lenders in an amount of no more than 4 basis points of the original principal balance of mortgages originated by the lender that were insured during the previous fiscal year. According to the Senate provision, the new fee would be used...


June 12, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

‘Agency Jumbo’ Mortgage Originations Down Sharply in Early 2014, Further Declines Ahead

Production of “agency jumbo” mortgages fell sharply in the first quarter of 2014 and is likely to drop even more as new FHA loan limits show up in endorsement data. According to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA saw $10.5 billion in single-family business with loan amounts exceeding the traditional agency limit of $417,000 during the first quarter of 2014. That was down 30.6 percent from the fourth quarter. It was also the lowest three-month volume since the fourth quarter of 2008, not long after dramatically higher “emergency” loan limits were put in place by the agencies. In comparison, originations of non-agency jumbo loans fell...[Includes three data charts]


June 6, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

HUD Nominee Picks Up Support from Grassroot Activists, Home Builders. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, President Obama’s pick to replace Secretary Shaun Donovan at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has won support from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Association of Home Builders. “Mayor Castro’s experience and strong commitment to neighborhood revitalization and community development will be critical to the recovery of communities still reeling from the housing crisis,” said NCRC President and CEO John Taylor. “We welcome his leadership and look forward to working in partnership with him to increase access to affordable housing and create vibrant, healthy communities.” CRL President Mike Calhoun noted Castro’s long record of ...


June 6, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lenders Begin Recertification Process in LEAP

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has outlined steps FHA lenders must take following the successful deployment of a new system for requesting changes and notifications as well as completing their annual recertification. The changes became effective on May 27, 2014, as the new system, Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP), went live. All of FHA’s approximately 2,500 approved lenders will now use LEAP for their annual recertification and business updates and changes. Senior HUD officials, who requested anonymity, said the transition from the Lender Assessment Subsystem (LASS) and the Institution Master File (IMF) to LEAP is almost complete, except for a few kinks HUD staff is working out. “The change in the IMF is noteworthy because it was the repository for information about all FHA lenders and it had been operating on outdated technology for a long time,” said one agency executive. “All essential information about all FHA lenders is now consolidated in a ...


June 6, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Bans Pooling of HECMs with Future Draws

Ginnie Mae has prohibited the pooling of Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans that provide for future draws at a fixed rate of interest starting June 1, 2014. The agency said servicers that are committed to advance funds to borrowers at a fixed rate could become seriously undercapitalized if interest rates rise from the time of origination. “The impact of negative spreads between a fixed note rate and future prevailing rates could be exacerbated in such loans, and endanger the servicers’ capacity to meet their HMBS (HECM mortgage-backed securities) obligations, which require the issuer to maintain the capacity to advance funds as required under the HMBS program,” Ginnie explained in a recent memo to issuers. Program requirements include the funding of draw requests from borrowers and buying all related participations out of pools when the outstanding principal balance of the related HECM loan reaches 98 percent of the maximum claim amount, Ginnie noted. Borrower requests for ...


June 6, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Reevaluates ‘Spot Loans’ for Condo Financing

The FHA is reportedly considering reinstating “spot” loans in condominium projects that were not on its approved development list to boost FHA-insured condo lending. Spot loans are currently prohibited, but the FHA is said to be reevaluating the product because of reports of first-time homebuyers having difficulty in obtaining FHA financing for condo unit purchases and seniors seeking reverse mortgages to tap the equity in their units. The National Association of Realtors is trying to break the impasse between the FHA and reluctant board of directors of condo projects that do not have FHA certification to resolve the financing issue. FHA-insured condominium lending has dropped to $884.4 million in the first quarter of 2014, down 70 percent from the $2.98 billion in total originations reported in the first quarter of 2013, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Even as the NAR tries to ...


June 6, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Favor Performance Metric, May Seek Changes

FHA lenders are generally supportive of the agency’s proposal to add a new method for evaluating lender performance but may request certain adjustments to ensure they are not at great risk for enforcement action, according to compliance experts. Lenders believe the proposal for an additional performance metric to supplement the lender compare ratio under the Credit Watch Termination Initiative is a positive step toward providing a more well-rounded analysis of a lender’s performance when the FHA is considering further action. “In and of itself, the proposal is not a panacea, but it is certainly a step in the right direction,” said Brian Chappelle, a mortgage industry consultant. The proposal reflects the FHA’s belief that a number of factors influence a lender’s performance, not just its compare ratio. The compare ratio compares a lender’s rate of early defaults and claims to those for ...


June 6, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Lending Spike in 1Q14 a Fluke?

Endorsement of FHA-insured reverse mortgages rose in the first quarter of 2014, although lenders say it may just be trailing figures reflecting the lag time between closing and approval for FHA insurance. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage guarantees totaled $4.0 billion in the first quarter, up 16.4 percent from the end of the fourth quarter in 2013 and up 4.1 percent from the same period last year, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Home purchase accounted for 92.7 percent of HECM volume but only 14.5 percent were fixed-rate. Initial principal amount at loan origination totaled $2.4 billion. The 16.4 percent increase was more likely due to the fact that a huge number of reverse mortgages closed in November and December were not insured by FHA until January, said Josh Moran, vice president of wholesale lending at Live Well Financial. Some lenders who delayed reporting to ... [1 chart]


June 6, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

SEC, Investor Concerns Are the Last QRM Hurdles; Will the Industry See a Final Rule by Year’s End?

Industry representatives and policy wonks diverge in their opinions about whether federal financial regulators will put out a final rule or another proposed final rule as the next step in the long-delayed risk-retention rule for asset securitizers. The qualified residential mortgage designation – which would exempt non-agency MBS from the five percent risk-retention requirement – has been one of the biggest controversies. According to Politico, the Securities and Exchange Commission continues to hold up a final deal because its staff thinks a minimum downpayment requirement for QRM would better protect investors. Under the latest version of the rule, the QRM definition would be synched...


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