Legal Issues

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Legal Issues.

October 28, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

DOJ, State AGs Take Aim at Moody’s for Pre-Crisis MBS Ratings; Case May Mirror S&P’s 2013 Lawsuit

Allegations in an impending government MBS fraud case against Moody’s Corp. will likely mirror allegations of fraud and misrepresentation in a 2013 civil suit against Standard & Poor’s, according to industry observers. Moody’s disclosed the expected case in a recent filing of third-quarter earnings results with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the credit rating agency, lawsuits are likely pending from both the Department of Justice and state attorneys general over ratings of MBS in the years leading up to the financial crisis. In a letter dated Sept. 29, 2016, the DOJ informed...

October 21, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Spells Out Requirements for Obtaining Key Eligibility Doc

One of the key documents VA lenders require veteran borrowers to submit is the certificate of eligibility (COE). A VA loan application will not move forward without a COE, a requirement for any active-duty servicemember or veteran seeking to take advantage of the VA’s home-loan guaranty program. The COE verifies to the lender a loan applicant’s eligibility for a VA loan. The evidence a lender might require depends on the nature of the applicant’s eligibility. Veterans and current or former National Guardsmen or reservists who have been called to active duty must submit DD Form 214. The form would show the character of service and the reason for separation from the service. Active-duty servicemembers must submit a current statement of service signed by a superior, the unit commander or the adjutant, higher headquarters or the personnel office. The statement must contain the ...

October 21, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD-IG Bares Additional Penalties, Settlements, Actions Against Firms

The Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general, over the last several weeks, has reported a series of final civil actions that resulted in an enforcement action or monetary settlement between an FHA lender and the federal government. On Oct. 6, the IG announced the results of an audit of TXL Mortgage Corp., a direct endorsement lender, in Houston. The audit found TXL in violation of HUD requirements and that it had no acceptable quality-control plan in place. Specifically, 16 of the 20 sample loans the IG reviewed did not comply with HUD standards. Of the 16 loans, eight had significant underwriting defects and failed to qualify for FHA mortgage insurance. Two loans qualified but were over-insured, according to the report. As a result, TXL exposed HUD to more than $713,000 in unnecessary insurance risk and caused the department to incur more than ...

October 21, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

11th Circuit Court First to Apply SCOTUS Ruling in Spokeo to Mortgage Lending Case

In a class-action ruling that could have implications for legacy MBS lawsuits, a federal appeals court confirmed a recent U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision on standing and statutory damages. Ruling in Nicklaw v. CitiMortgage earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that to establish standing in order to bring a lawsuit alleging only a statutory violation, a plaintiff must allege a concrete harm or injury resulting from the violation. Relying on the alleged statutory violation alone would only result in a dismissal, the court warned. The 11th Circuit decision is...

October 20, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Hispanic Households Growing but Homeownership Rate Still Lags, Could Impact Mortgage Market

With Hispanics predicted to make up more than half of all new households formed between 2020 and 2030, their relatively low homeownership rate should be a growing concern in the mortgage market, according to the Urban Institute. In 2013, just 45 percent of Hispanic households owned their homes compared with 71 percent of whites, said UI researchers Jim Parrott and Yamillet Payano. “If one were to hold those rates constant as Hispanics become an increasing percentage of the pool of homebuyers, the homeownership rate would drop precipitously, causing considerable economic upheaval,” they said. Credit score is...

October 20, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Ruling that CFPB Sole-Director Structure Is Unconstitutional Could Be Applied to FHFA

A federal court ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure is unconstitutional raises questions that similarly-structured agencies such as the Federal Housing Finance Agency could also be challenged. A DC Circuit Court judge in the PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau case ruled that the CFPB’s single-director structure was not constitutional because it lacked a multi-member board of directors and its sole director cannot be fired without cause. In court, lawyers from the CFPB called...

October 20, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

PHH Ruling Expected to Slow CFPB’s Enforcement Roll, But Just How Much is a Matter of Debate

Last week’s closely-watched appeals court ruling in the wrangling between PHH Mortgage and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act is being widely viewed by many as a clipping of the agency’s wings. But expectations about just how restrained the CFPB will be in enforcement actions going forward vary from compliance attorney to compliance attorney. Lawyers with the Stinson Leonard Street law firm pointed out that the director still holds all of the same enforcement power as before, despite the court’s conclusion that the bureau’s leadership structure, with a sole, independent director who can only be removed for cause, is unconstitutional. “For example, the CFPB administrative appeals process is...

October 17, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

MBA Presses CFPB to Review PACE Lending. Earlier this year, the Mortgage Bankers Association wrote to the CFPB to express its concerns about Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) lending programs, one of which has to do with a borrower’s ability to repay the financing.... CFPB Brings $28.5 Million Enforcement Action Against Navy Fed. Last week, the CFPB and Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest CU in the U.S., signed a consent order requiring the institution to pay roughly $23 million in redress to victims harmed by its allegedly improper debt collection actions, along with a civil money penalty of $5.5 million to the bureau.... CFPB Announces Senior Leadership Changes. The CFPB recently announced some senior leadership changes at the bureau, such as John Coleman, who will serve as deputy general counsel for litigation and oversight in the legal division....

October 17, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Impact of TRID on Industry Won’t Be Known for Years, Attorney Says

One year into the TRID rule, the mortgage industry has gotten used to the new disclosure landscape. But until consistent legal precedents are established by the courts, true certainty will be elusive, and that likely means years will have to transpire before the rule’s full impact will be known. “I think the industry as a whole has met the challenge and settled into the TRID process, which everyone knows was radically different than what it replaced,” said Donald Lampe, a partner in the financial services group in the Washington, DC, office of the Morrison & Foerster law firm. “And so I see the industry settling in to the use of these new forms and the changes that these disclosures imposed ...

October 17, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

PHH Wins Big Showdown With CFPB, Agency Likely to Appeal

PHH Mortgage – and the rest of the mortgage industry, for that matter – came out with a clear and decisive win against the CFPB last week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the $109 million disgorgement order imposed on the lender by the director of the bureau, Richard Cordray. PHH argued that the CFPB incorrectly interpreted RESPA Section 8 to bar so-called captive reinsurance arrangements involving mortgage lenders such as PHH, their affiliated reinsurers and private mortgage insurers. The lender also asserted that, in any event, the CFPB departed from the consistent prior interpretations issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that the bureau then retroactively applied its new interpretation of ...

October 17, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Court Declares CFPB Leadership Structure Unconstitutional

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit brought the powerful CFPB down to earth in its legal wrangling with PHH Mortgage, ruling that two aspects of the bureau’s structure – the dismissal of the director of the agency only for cause, and the single directorship as opposed to a multi-member bipartisan commission – were unconstitutional. “As an independent agency with just a single director, the CFPB represents a sharp break from historical practice, lacks the critical internal check on arbitrary decision-making, and poses a far greater threat to individual liberty than does a multi-member independent agency,” wrote Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh on behalf of the court. “All of that raises grave constitutional doubts about the CFPB’s ...

October 17, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

PHH Ruling Seen as a Big Threat To CFPB Enforcement Actions

The CFPB took a whipping last week in the long-awaited court ruling in its dispute with PHH Mortgage – so much so, in fact, that not only are its future enforcement actions likely to be curtailed, but even past actions might be challenged by the affected industry participants. “The ramifications of this case go far beyond restricting the CFPB’s reach, clarifying the interpretation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and resolving the question of how statutes of limitation apply to the CFPB’s enforcement actions,” said Craig Nazzaro, of counsel with the Baker Donelson law firm in Atlanta, in a review of the case. As he sees it, this case makes clear that the bureau has exceeded its bounds and that ...

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Chicago Prohibited From Collecting Fannie, Freddie Transfer Taxes

A judge ruled that the city of Chicago cannot impose a real estate transfer tax on buyers who purchased homes sold by the GSEs. Even though federal law does not allow local governments to collect taxes to property held by federal lenders, the GSE accused the city of circumventing the law by waiting for properties to be sold then sending the buyers a tax bill. This ruling stems from a federal court case last October in which Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Finance Agency sued the city for trying to collect taxes from buyers who purchased foreclosed homes from the GSE.

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Ruling on Government Documents in GSE Shareholder Case Causes Concern

Documents revealed to plaintiffs’ attorneys in a prominent GSE shareholder case is causing some to question what President Obama was told about Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s profitability when the Treasury sweep took place in 2012. Judge Margaret Sweeney released her 80-page opinion last week and it gave more insight into her decision. While only a short summary sentence of each of the 56 documents is available now, it does show communication between high-level officials at the Treasury Department, Federal Housing Finance Agency and the White House regarding the Treasury’s sweep of Fannie and Freddie profits. Investors Unite, a GSE shareholder group, noted that the government might have been trying to keep the documents hidden because...

October 14, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Trends

A Good News/Bad News October for PHH

PHH Corp. this week scored a key legal victory in its battle with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over captive reinsurance and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. But despite this good news, there are still clouds over the nonbank. The “worst” of the recent spate of bad news for the company surrounds the early October disclosure that Merrill Lynch is breaking all ties to PHH when it comes to private-label originations and servicing. The effective date for the end of the contract is...

October 14, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Repurchase Demands May Have Peaked, But Here’s How to Mitigate Potential Damages Going Forward

Since the repurchase and indemnification phenomenon is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, many correspondent lenders, credit unions and other recipients of a repurchase/indemnification demand want to know how best to respond in order to mitigate potential damages. During a recent webinar sponsored by American Mortgage Law Group, AMLG Senior Managing Member James Brody said there are many different factors to consider. “One of the things that really helps in getting any resolution is...

October 14, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judge’s Ruling Revealed in GSE Case, False Claims of Privilege Raise Questions

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Margaret Sweeney’s ruling, released last week, raises new questions about the validity of government efforts to keep thousands of other documents secret in a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder case over the net worth sweep imposed by the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, according to shareholder advocates. In Fairholme Funds Inc. v. United States, et al, shareholders argue that the net worth sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises’ profits is unfair, and they have scored significant victories in getting access to various written communications to prove their claim. The recent batch of documents Sweeney released to the plaintiff’s attorneys show...

October 14, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Early Cooperation in an RMBS Investigation is Vital To Avoid Long, Costly Litigation, Says DOJ Official

Financial institutions that are under scrutiny for questionable practices involving residential MBS can avoid a lot of grief and legal expenses if they cooperate early in the investigation, according to the Department of Justice’s chief overseer of civil litigation. In recent remarks at the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics’ annual conference in Chicago, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Bill Baer underscored the wisdom and benefits of early cooperation in a government RMBS inquiry. There would have been...

October 13, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Traditional Interpretation of RESPA Sec. 8 Gets a Boost as Court Sides With PHH in CFPB Dispute

The traditional interpretation of Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act that the mortgage industry has relied on for decades was vindicated this week when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with most of the arguments advanced by PHH Mortgage in its dispute with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The crux of the dispute has been the bureau’s assertion that PHH violated RESPA by steering business to private mortgage insurers that purchased reinsurance from a captive insurer owned by PHH. Most large lenders and all private MIs engaged in these arrangements prior to the housing market collapse. Early on in the case, an administrative judge agreed...

October 7, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Adopts Final Rule Increasing Agency Fines for Loan Fraud

The Department of Veterans Affairs adopted without change its interim final rule increasing the maximum amount of civil fines it can assess on lenders and other offenders for violations of agency loan-guaranty rules and regulations. Under the interim final rule VA issued for comment back in June, maximum civil monetary penalties would increase from $10,000 to $21,563 for false loan-guaranty certifications. Civil fines for fraudulent claims or statements in any VA program would increase from $5,500 to $10,781. The VA published the interim final rule on June 22, 2016, to implement the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 and to improve the effectiveness of civil fines and maintain their deterrent effect. The new penalty amounts became ...

October 7, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Supports Adoption of Energy-Saving Standards for VA Properties

The Department of Veterans Affairs is urging VA lenders, borrowers and other participants in its loan guaranty program to adopt recommended standards, equipment and activities to reduce water and energy usage and to ease the impact of natural disasters. The VA has recommended wind-hazard standards, resilient building and retrofitting standards, a water- and energy-saving program, and property-and-energy conservation strategies to help VA borrowers protect their homes against storms, flooding, earthquakes and other calamities. VA made clear it allows, but does not require, any of the recommended standards, strategies or equipment. The programs are strictly voluntary, it said. The agency noted the increasing incidence of extreme weather events, earthquakes and flooding, which makes planning and building in the most resilient and economically feasible ways all the ...

October 7, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Initial Material Defect Rate Rises For the First Time in Nine Quarters

The initial material defect rate of FHA loans has increased to 50 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from the previous quarter, according to the latest FHA Lender Insight report on quality control. A good portion of the defective mortgage loans, however, has been mitigated during the post-endorsement technical review process, the report indicated. In the second quarter, the initial material defect rate had been flat, averaging 47.4 percent over the last eight quarters. The latest report show the top five mitigated findings, which reflect the number of initially unacceptable ratings and the number of findings mitigated for loans between April and June, 2016. Some 6,312 FHA loans comprised the sample, and they consisted of purchase loans (71.0 percent), streamline refinance (13.5 percent), rate and term refis (9.0 percent), and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (6.7 percent). In addition, ...

October 7, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD Urged to Maintain Current FHA HECM Assignment Option

Industry groups are urging the Department of Housing and Urban Development to reconsider a supplemental proposal to require mortgagees to assign a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loan to the FHA once the loan balance reaches 98 percent of the maximum claim amount (MCA). The Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association said there are more disadvantages than benefits to the proposal. The supplemental proposal is an offshoot from a previous HUD proposed rule to codify significant changes made to the HECM program by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act of 2013 and all other revisions in between. Both groups recommended that HUD maintain its current assignment election options rather than adopt the proposed rule. Currently, mortgagees have an option, before the ...

October 7, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Return of FHA Spot Approval is a Shot in the Arm for Condo Market

Lenders are optimistic about a proposed rule that would reinstate FHA spot financing in unapproved condominium projects, saying this could be the spark that would jump-start the slow condo market.The proposed rules would clarify and modify certain FHA rules to kick-start condominium lending activity, and allow some flexibility in existing approval standards. Key proposals include the reinstatement of spot approvals in unapproved condominium developments and extending the effective recertification period for condo approvals to three years, rather than the current two-year requirement. Prior to 2009, spot approval allowed a buyer to use FHA financing to purchase a unit in an unapproved condo project, but the HUD approval process was expensive and time consuming. Consequently, few lenders were able to take advantage of the spot-approval program. The Department of ...

October 7, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

FDIC Suits Against MBS Trustees Dismissed; RBS Settles with NCUA; DOJ, Deutsche Bank Negotiate

A Manhattan district court judge last week dismissed lawsuits brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. against three large banks, saying the agency no longer has standing to sue after it sold the defective mortgages through a re-securitization transaction. Judge Andrew Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York threw out the government’s suits against Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon and U.S. Bancorp, which accused the banks of failing as trustees to ensure the quality of $2.7 billion in MBS purchased by the failed Texas-based Guaranty Bank. Reuters was the first to report Carter’s decision. Guaranty went...

October 7, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Buyback Phenomenon Not Going Away Any Time Soon. In the Meantime, Here’s How to Cope

The post-crisis market environment that fueled the mortgage loan buyback dynamic continues to improve, and with it, the business relationships between lenders, investors and the government-sponsored enterprises. However, the repurchase and indemnification phenomenon has not gone away and is unlikely to do so for the foreseeable future. That means market participants need a comprehensive strategy to limit their exposure to litigation and, when that fails, to restrict the damage that does ensue, according to some top industry attorneys. This may be particularly important for correspondent lenders. “In order to go ahead and get a good perspective for what your company’s potential risk is, how do you go...

October 6, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

‘High Pressure’ Wells Fargo Put on Retail Bankers Wasn’t Exactly Evident in the Mortgage Unit

Wells Fargo – no doubt – is taking it on the chin for its “account fabrication” scandal tied to credit cards and deposits, but so far the damage has yet to seep into its mortgage business in a major way, but reports suggest certain correspondents are balking at doing business with the megabank. Dave Akre, managing director of Five Oaks Investment Corp., said he knows some loan officers working for Wells correspondents who are no longer offering the megabank’s jumbo products “due to recent issues.” Those “issues,” he pointed out in an interview with Inside Mortgage Finance, involve...

October 3, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Sues Prime Marketing Holdings Over Consumer Charges

The CFPB filed a lawsuit in federal district court last month against Prime Marketing Holdings, a credit repair company based in Van Nuys, CA, for allegedly charging consumers a series of illegal advance fees as well as for misrepresenting the cost and effectiveness of its services. According to the bureau’s complaint, Prime Marketing Holdings lured consumers with misleading, unsubstantiated claims ...

October 3, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Slaps Flurish/LendUp With $3.6 Million in Refunds and Fine

Last week, the CFPB brought a $3.6 million enforcement action against San Francisco-based online lender Flurish, doing business as LendUp, for allegedly failing to deliver the promised benefits of its products. The bureau said it found that the company did not give consumers the opportunity to build credit or provide access to cheaper loans, as it claimed to consumers it would....

October 3, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Sues Five Auto Title Lenders Over APR Disclosure Practices

The CFPB last month sued five auto title lenders doing business in Arizona – Auto Cash Leasing, Interstate Lending, Oasis Title Loans, Phoenix Title Loans and Presto Auto Loans – for allegedly failing to disclose the annual percentage rate in online advertisements about title loans, in violation of the Truth in Lending Act. “For example, one lender advertised on its website a monthly interest rate but failed to include the legally required annual percentage rate for the loan,” the bureau said....

October 3, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Enforcement Roundup: CFPB Fines TMX Finance $9 Million Over Lending, Collection Practices

Last week, the CFPB brought a $9 million enforcement action against Savannah, GA-based TMX Finance, the parent company of TitleMax, accusing the company of luring consumers into costly loan renewals by presenting them with misleading information about the deals’ terms and costs. The CFPB said that employees of the auto title lender, as part of their sales pitch for the company’s 30-day loans, offered consumers a monthly option for making loan payments. They then offered consumers a “Voluntary Payback Guide” that showed how to repay the loan with smaller payments over a longer time period....

October 3, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Approves Collection of HMDA Ethnicity, Race Data in 2017

The CFPB has formally authorized the collection of expanded Home Mortgage Disclosure Act information on race and ethnicity, as per the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, in 2017. “At any time from Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017, a creditor may, at its option, permit applicants to self-identify using disaggregated ethnic and racial categories as instructed in appendix B to Regulation C, as amended by the 2015 HMDA final rule,” the bureau said in a Sept. 29, 2016, notice in the Federal Register. During this period, a lender permitting applicants to self-identify using these categories shall not be deemed to violate Regulation B Section 1002.5(b). Further, the lender shall also be deemed to be in compliance with ...

September 30, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

Fannie Mae Names Small Pool Winning Bidder. The Community Loan Fund of New Jersey, Inc., an affiliate of New Jersey Community Capital, a non-profit community development financial institution, is the winning bidder of Fannie Mae’s fifth Community Impact Pool of non-performing loans. The transaction is expected to close on Nov. 22, 2016, and includes 120 loans secured by properties located in the Miami area with an unpaid principal balance of approximately $20.3 million. In collaboration with Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and The Williams Capital Group, L.P., Fannie Mae began marketing this Community Impact Pool to potential bidders on Aug. 10, 2016.

September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

PACE Guidance Not Reassuring, Too Many Uncertainties, Pitfalls

New FHA guidance for dealing with mortgages with a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) obligation went into effect last week but uncertainty lingers and its full impact remains to be seen, according to an industry attorney. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued guidance specifically allowing properties encumbered by a PACE lien to be eligible for FHA mortgage financing for both purchase and refinance loans. The department of Veterans Affairs has issued similar guidance. According to Erika Sonstroem, an attorney with the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, the PACE industry is touting the guidance in its pitches to lenders as posing no risk to mortgage investors. PACE is a program that lends money to homeowners for home-energy savings projects. It is treated much like a tax lien on a property and is included in the ...

September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Issues Clarifying Guidance for Manufactured, Mobile Properties

VA Home Loan Guaranty has issued clarification regarding title requirements for manufactured or mobile homes conveyed to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Effective immediately, VA is requiring proof of noteholders’ compliance with the agency’s requirements for guaranteed mobile-home financing. Foreclosure title packages that do not include the required documents will be rejected, the agency warned. Under federal law, a manufactured home must be permanently affixed and classified as real property in the state where it is located. VA will not guarantee financing if the property does not meet the criteria. To ensure that a guaranty claim is fully payable and that the holder has the option to convey the manufactured home to VA, servicers must ensure that home loans with a VA guarantee meet federal requirements. Under the clarified VA guidelines, servicers may submit the ...

September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD Poised to Collect Huge FCA Settlement Funds from Lenders

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is set to receive more than $140 million in settlements with three individual lenders in connection with defective loans they originated with FHA insurance. Freedom Mortgage Corp., M&T Bank, and Land Home Financial Services all reached separate agreements this year with the Department of Justice on behalf of the HUD Inspector General to resolve the allegations. On April 15, Freedom agreed to pay $113 million, in response to charges that “it engaged in certain conduct in connection with its origination, underwriting, property appraisal and quality of certain single-family mortgages insured by FHA.” The disputed forward loans were insured by FHA between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2011, which resulted in claims submitted to HUD on or before June 15, 2015. HUD incurred substantial losses when it paid claims on the ...

September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Streamline Refi Segment Causing Problems for VA, Ginnie Investors

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a change to its existing streamline refinancing policy to address a problem that is giving VA and Ginnie Mae the fits. Under the VA’s qualified-mortgage rule, a VA borrower must wait six months and show six months’ worth of mortgage payments before they can refinance into an IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan) and take advantage of the lower rate. However, it seems not all VA lenders are adhering to the rule and that a good number are refinancing veterans into IRRRLs even before the mandatory seasoning period ends for fear interest rates might rise and the borrower might not benefit from the lower rate. “I’ve redone the numbers in 20 different directions on how much a borrower would save if they had to wait two more months and the rate went up a quarter of a point because they lost those two months ...

September 23, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judge Orders Government to Produce More Documents In GSE Shareholder Case, Shows Signs of Annoyance

In a potential legal coup for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders, Federal Claims Court Judge Margaret Sweeney ordered the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Housing Finance Agency to turn over another large batch of documents in relation to the Fairholme Funds Inc. v. United States, et al. net worth sweep case. Sweeney this week forced the government agencies to produce more documents, close to 60 this time, for the plaintiff’s attorneys. The agencies have attempted to keep the various memos, emails, presentations and other communications hidden under executive privilege. Shareholders say...

September 19, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief

Even Under Trump, Would the CFPB Be Invincible? If businessman Donald Trump wins the White House in November, the CFPB would be in the Republican’s crosshairs for sure. But the bureau’s recent consumer fraud case against Wells Fargo for opening up roughly two million deposit and credit card accounts without authorization has caused such outrage nationwide that it may very well give the controversial regulator a “shield” of sorts. At least that’s what we’ve been…

September 19, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Goes After Another For-Profit College with Bridgepoint

First it was Corinthian Colleges, then ITT Educational Services. Now, Bridgepoint Education Inc. has been taken to task by the CFPB over alleged misconduct. Last week, the bureau brought a $31.5 million enforcement action against the for-profit post-secondary education company based in San Diego, accusing it of deceiving students into taking out private student loans that cost more than advertised....

September 19, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Enforcement Roundup: Congress Eyes Wells Fargo After Bank Busted Over Account Scam

Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf will be on what is expected to be a very hot seat before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee tomorrow when he is expected to explain what went wrong at his institution that enabled employees to open more than two million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. CFPB Director Richard Cordray is also scheduled to testify, as is Comptroller of the Currency Tom Curry and ...

September 19, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

TRID Was ‘A Beast’ at First, Now ‘A Paper Tiger,’ Experts Say

It’s been almost a year now since the CFPB’s integrated disclosure rule went into effect, and industry participants across the credit spectrum appear increasingly comfortable with the new disclosure regime. But when it first came out, the rule took all the oxygen from the room and caused more fear and anxiety that, in retrospect, appears to be have been justified, according to a handful of experts in the non-prime mortgage origination space. Speaking during ...

September 19, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

Life Under TRID: TRID 2.0 Raises Plenty of Issues In Minds of Industry Commenters

Industry trade groups have yet to weigh in on the CFPB’s TRID clarifying rulemaking, but the grassroots rank-and-file have, and many of them are raising more concerns and questions. For instance, Ross Miller, president of Miller Home Mortgage in Metairie, LA, complained that there are no exceptions for the three-day waiting period when there is an emergency. “I had a client whose father was quickly scheduled for open heart surgery,” he said in a comment letter. “The client was ...

September 16, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Shareholders Amend Compaint to Dismiss, Add Charges

Plaintiffs in a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder case challenging the GSEs’ quarterly earnings sweep dropped some of the charges in their original complaint to bypass the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s motion to consolidate all of the cases. The pair, Gary Hindes and David Jacobs, is looking to dismiss counts that allege derivative breach of contract and other similar claims and instead allege “unjust enrichment” against the Treasury Department. The plaintiffs bought the class action suit focusing on Delaware and Virginia corporate law on behalf of themselves and other stockholders. Court documents in David Jacobs and Gary Hindes v. The Federal Housing Finance Agency...

September 16, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Rules to Dismiss GSE Shareholder Case in KY

A GSE investor in Kentucky lost her case last week when the court dismissed claims that the government damaged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by implementing the net worth sweep of the GSEs’ profits. Arnetia Robinson alleged that her investments in Fannie and Freddie were “materially damaged” when the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Treasury Department amended the existing preferred stock purchase agreement in 2012. According to court records, Robinson was seeking declaratory and injunctive relief that would prevent enforcement of portions of the PSPA. She contended that the sweep violates the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and said the Treasury acted “arbitrarily and capriciously.”

September 16, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Federal Court Appoints Lead Master To Sift Through UBS Loans for Breaches

A federal district court judge in Manhattan has named a lead master to review 9,342 mortgages for material breaches following a put-back trial against UBS Real Estate Securities. The trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will determine whether UBS breached certain representations and warranties and may have to repurchase the defective loans originally pooled in three trusts. U.S. Bank, the trustee for all three pools, is seeking more than $2 billion in damages, court filings show. U.S. Bank sued...

September 16, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judges in Kentucky and Virginia Dismiss Two Separate GSE Shareholder Cases

Individual investors in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stock lost separate legal battles to inspect the corporate records of Freddie and prove that the Treasury sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises’ profits is damaging and unjust. In the case of Arnetia Joyce Robinson v. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, et al., the shareholder plaintiff argued that her investments were materially damaged when FHFA and the Treasury Department implemented the net worth sweep back in 2012. Robinson argued...


After the November elections, how long will it take for a new Congress and White House to pass GSE reform legislation?

I’m confident a bill will be passed the first year.


2 to 3 years. GSE reform is complicated.


Sadly it won’t happen in a Clinton or Trump first term.


Not in my lifetime.


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