Legal Issues

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

October 2, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Flagstar’s $37.5M Settlement with CFPB Removes Uncertainty, Sends Chill to Servicers, MSR Market

Mortgage servicers will likely proceed more carefully with their borrower interactions after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau compelled Flagstar Bank to pay $37.5 million to settle allegations it interfered with borrowers’ attempts to save their homes. In the first enforcement action based on its new mortgage servicing rule, the CFPB ordered Flagstar to pay $27.5 million to the victims, and $10 million in to the bureau’s civil penalty fund. According to the consent order, Flagstar committed...


October 2, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Federal Judge Shuts Down GSE Shareholder Lawsuit, Upholds Government Authority to Sweep GSE Profits

In a surprise ruling this week, a federal judge in Washington, DC, dismissed claims by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders challenging the Treasury Department’s 2012 “net-worth sweep” of nearly all the profits generated by the government-sponsored enterprises. Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency are empowered by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 to execute the “third amendment” of the preferred stock purchase agreement. The dismissal includes...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Worth Noting/Legislative Update/Looking Ahead

Did Apple Place Itself Within CFPB’s Purview? Some legal experts think the recent rollout of mobile payment technology by Apple Inc. might have put the consumer technology heavyweight in the CFPB’s regulatory crosshairs. Georgetown Law Professor Adam Levitin said in a recent blog that Apple may have unwittingly become a regulated financial institution through the release of its Apple Pay service. “Basically, I think Apple is now a ‘service provider’ for purposes of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, which means Apple is subject to CFPB examination and UDAAP [unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices],” he said. Levitin then proceeded to walk readers through a number of legal definitions to bolster his argument. Vivian Kim, an associate at the Dykema ...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Republicans Pounce on GAO Report On CFPB’s Huge Data Collection

Members of the Senate and House Grand Old Party wasted no time in seizing upon a new report from the Government Accountability Office that confirmed the huge scope of the CFPB’s data collection initiative and cited weaknesses with data security and privacy. “The CFPB’s massive data collection effort is an unwarranted, unwelcome intrusion into the private financial lives of millions of Americans,” said Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee ranking member Mike Crapo, R-ID, who requested the study. “This GAO report confirms what the bureau would not – that it has been collecting information on up to 600 million American financial accounts, and it does not have the proper safeguards in place to protect the information it is collecting,” he ...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Privilege Close to Being Extended To State-Licensed Mortgage Cos.

State-licensed mortgage companies – and the agencies that oversee them – are on the verge of receiving the same kind of protections against waivers of privilege for information provided to the CFPB that was previously extended to depository mortgage lenders supervised by federal agencies. Before adjourning for the November elections, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 5062, the Examination and Supervisory Privilege Parity Act of 2014. The bill would require the CFPB to coordinate its supervisory activities with state agencies that license, supervise or examine those non-depositories that offer consumer financial products or services. It also would provide that when someone shares information with those same state regulators, or with prudential regulators and state banking regulators, that sharing does not waive attorney-client privileges. ...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Corinthian Colleges Rejects CFPB Allegations of Predatory Lending

Corinthian Colleges accused the CFPB earlier this month of wrongly disparaging the career services assistance the for-profit company offers and of mischaracterizing both the purpose and practices of its “Genesis” lending program. The CFPB filed a lawsuit against the company earlier this month. In a statement provided to Inside the CFPB, Corinthian Colleges said the bureau’s complaint ignores “clear, easily obtainable evidence” that thousands of its graduates are hired into permanent positions by large and small employers across the U.S. every year. Instead, the complaint cites isolated incidents at Corinthian’s 97 U.S. campuses that violated company policy regarding job placement policies, the firm added. “The CFPB is aware of these cases because Corinthian identified the issues, took strong action to ...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Gets Online Payday Lender Shut Down Over ‘Cash-Grab Scam’

In a case that highlights the sensitivity of personal financial information and the firms that trade in it, the CFPB convinced a federal judge last week to freeze the assets of the Hydra Group, an online payday lender, and to put a receiver in place to stop an alleged illegal “cash-grab scam” at the business. According to the bureau, the Hydra Group used information purchased from online lead generators to access consumers’ checking accounts to illegally deposit payday loans – usually $200 to $300 – and withdraw fees ranging from $60 to $90 without consent. The organization then allegedly used falsified loan documents to claim that the consumers had agreed to the phony online payday loans. The CFPB’s lawsuit alleges that Richard ...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB, OCC Bring $57 Million Action Against U.S. Bank

Joint supervisory examinations by the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have led an enforcement action that will require U.S. Bank to pay $57 million to settle allegations it illegally charged for “add-on” products, harming more than 420,000 consumers. The government agencies accused U.S. Bank, headquartered in Minneapolis, of unfairly charging consumers for certain identity protection and credit monitoring services that they did not receive. These services were sold as “add-on products” for credit cards and other bank products, such as mortgage loans and checking accounts. Part of the problem could have been a breakdown in vendor management, which is an area of increasing importance to the CFPB. According to the findings contained in the consent ...


September 29, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Slams Flagstar $35 Million Over Mortgage Servicing Violations

As Inside the CFPB was going to press, the bureau announced a $35 million enforcement action against Flagstar Bank for allegedly blocking borrowers’ attempts to save their homes, in violation of the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules. This is the first enforcement action the bureau has initiated based on the new regulation. The regulator alleged that the bank closed borrower applications due to its own excessive delays. “Flagstar took excessive time to review loss mitigation applications, often causing application documents to expire,” said the agency. “To move its backlog, Flagstar would close applications due to expired documents, even though the documents had expired because of Flagstar’s delay.” The CFPB also accused the bank of delaying the approval or denial of borrower ...


September 26, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Announces $336 Million Recovery for MMIF

An estimated $336 million out of a $614 million settlement that JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay for not complying with FHA requirements will go towards stabilizing the agency’s ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. On Feb. 4, 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York took over a whistleblower lawsuit and started an investigation of Chase on behalf of the government for alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The whistleblower or “relator” alleged that Chase, an approved FHA direct endorsement lender, had not followed FHA requirements when underwriting loans, causing the MMIF to incur significant losses when the borrowers defaulted on their loans. The U.S. Attorney filed suit against Chase based on the results of an audit conducted by HUD’s Inspector General that looked into the bank’s underwriting and refinancing of FHA loans. The lawsuit alleged that ...


September 26, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Downturn Avoided with $518M in New HMBS

Issuers of securities backed by Home Equity Conversion Mortgages created $518 million in new HMBS pools during August, the third largest monthly HMBS issuance this year and the latest month for which HMBS issuance data was available. August’s new issuance total was up slightly from July’s $507 million, according to New View Advisors, which advises financial services clients on capital markets, product development and investment strategies. Ninety-one pools were issued, consisting of 46 original issuance and 45 tail pools. Original HMBS pools are created when a pool of FHA-insured reverse mortgages is securitized for the first time. Tail HMBS issuances are HMBS pools created from the uncertified portions of HECMs that have already had their original HMBS issuance. Tail issuances accounted for about $140 million. Beginning with FY 2014, HECM principal limits were ...


September 26, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA’s QA Draft Addresses Enforcement Concerns

Obama administration officials and federal regulators met recently with mortgage industry representatives to discuss lender overlays and other obstacles preventing borrowers with slightly tainted credit and first-time homebuyers from obtaining a mortgage. Neither administration officials nor industry participants, however, spoke on or off the record about the things that were discussed during the Sept. 17 meeting at the White House. It was also unclear whether both sides have agreed on any solutions to the issues that lenders say are preventing them from lending. Sources, however, said one major issue is lenders’ uncertainty about their legal responsibilities and liabilities, which already have cost the industry billions of dollars in massive legacy settlements. Lenders have complained that even the slightest loan paperwork error could force them out of the ...


September 26, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Ginnie Mae AE Discusses Other Issuer Pitfalls

Approved issuers must ensure that loans have the requisite federal insurance or guarantee before bundling them for securitization, cautioned Ginnie Mae. Loans that fail Ginnie’s “loan matching” review will be tagged as “uninsured” and will not be accepted for securitization, according to John Kozak, a Ginnie Mae account executive and a panelist at a conference sponsored by the agency this week. Ginnie Mae uses loan matching to screen for mortgages that may have been endorsed on paper but have not been actually insured or guaranteed by either the FHA, VA or the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Development. Every month, Ginnie Mae takes a certain lender’s entire mortgage portfolio and throws it up against the agency’s insured/guaranteed database in search for loan mismatches. To do this, the agency uses “two-string match” criteria, which consist of a ...


September 26, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA to Tighten Supervision of Issuers

Ginnie Mae has unveiled new plans for issuer standards as well as steps to boost liquidity in the mortgage servicing rights (MSR) market. Agency officials at a summit hosted by Ginnie Mae this week in Washington, DC, said both actions are designed to avoid issuer failures and to preserve residential mortgage servicing as an economically viable activity and MSRs as an attractive asset class. The officials said changes will be made to Ginnie’s mortgage-backed securities program to support the agency’s transformation from a pre-crisis bank-driven government MBS program to a post-crisis program where non-depositories and smaller financial institutions play a much bigger role. By the middle of next year, approximately a third of Ginnie MSRs will have changed hands over the previous four years, agency officials said. Many of the new owners of the servicing rights are ...


September 25, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Much for Lenders to Consider as They Eyeball Entering the Non-QM Space, Current Players Say

The market outside the pristine parameters of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s qualified mortgage offers less-competitive opportunity and potentially sizeable legal risk, according to panelists participating in a webinar sponsored this week by Inside Mortgage Finance. Brian Simon, chief operating officer for New Penn Financial, noted that the regulatory environment makes a move into non-QM lending much more complicated than in the past because the risks for the originator and the purchaser now are greater than they’ve ever been. However, Simon added: “A high degree of difficulty usually results in higher yield and opportunity.” The New Penn executive predicted...


September 19, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Group: FHFA’s Deal Will Allow MBS Defendant to Write Off Settlement

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s most recent settlement of non-agency mortgage-backed securities lawsuit has one consumer group seeing red as it claims taxpayers will ultimately get stuck with the cost of the bank’s multi-million dollar payout. Late last week, the FHFA announced a $550 million legal deal with HSBC North American Holdings, leaving just two civil cases tied to nonprime MBS issuance still unresolved.


September 19, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Groups Petition Congress to Seek Transparency in GSE Profit Sweep

Congress should put the screws to the Treasury Department to disclose all documents pertaining to the origins of the Obama administration’s controversial “net-worth sweep” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac profits, according to a coalition of right-leaning public policy groups. In a letter dispatched late this week to the top Republican and Democrat of the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, the 17 groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute urged lawmakers to intervene to impose transparency over what GSE shareholders consider an extra-legal maneuver by the executive branch.


September 18, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Supreme Court Preparing to Hear Cases Involving DOL’s Overtime Guidance for Loan Officers

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear cases in its coming term regarding guidance issued by the Department of Labor involving overtime pay for loan officers. Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 1, and a decision is expected by June. The cases are Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association and Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Association. The MBA has argued that the DOL didn’t follow rulemaking procedures in 2010 when the regulator withdrew guidance stating that loan officers could be exempt from overtime compensation requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Lenders have received...


September 18, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

IL Court’s Narrow Ruling in Disparate-Impact Case Allows DC Court to Focus on Bigger Picture

An Illinois district court’s decision that federal preemption issues are not ripe may now prompt a federal district court in Washington, DC, to examine the broader issue of whether disparate impact is a valid claim under the Fair Housing Act. The Illinois lawsuit, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is one of two insurance-industry legal challenges to HUD’s disparate-impact rule. The second case was filed by two other trade groups, the American Insurance Association and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and is pending in federal court in the nation’s capital. According to the final rule that HUD adopted in February 2013, a practice has...


September 15, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Hanna Files Motion to Dismiss CFPB Enforcement Action

Last week, the law firm of Fredrick J. Hanna & Associates filed a motion to dismiss the enforcement action brought by the CFPB against it back in July. The bureau accused the firm and its three principal partners – Frederick Hanna, Joseph Cooling and Robert Winter – of operating a debt-collection lawsuit mill that used illegal tactics to intimidate consumers into paying debts they may not owe. Between 2009 and 2013, the firm filed more than 350,000 debt-collection lawsuits in Georgia alone, according to the CFPB. The bureau further alleged the defendants collected millions of dollars each year through these lawsuits, often from consumers who may not actually have owed the debts. But in its motion to dismiss, Hanna & Associates argued ...


September 15, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Is a Uniform Code for the Debt- Buying Industry In the Works?

The CFPB is reviewing the debt collection practices of debt buyers as part of its broader expected rulemaking on debt collection. According to Alan Kaplinsky, a practice leader with the Ballard Spahr law firm in Philadelphia, those practices could become the subject of a uniform state debt-buying code if the newly authorized Study Committee on the Transfer and Recording of Consumer Debt concludes that a uniform code will produce significant benefits to the public. The new panel was authorized this summer by the non-partisan Uniform Law Commission. The ULC noted that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2013 issued a “best practices” document that expressed concern about safety, soundness and consumer protection issues involved with such sales ...


September 15, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Warns Credit Card Issuers About Interest-Rate Promos

The CFPB recently warned credit card companies of the risk of engaging in deceptive and/or abusive acts and practices in connection with solicitations that offer a promotional annual percentage rate (APR) on a particular transaction – such as convenience checks, deferred interest/promotional interest rate purchases, and balance transfers – over a defined period of time. The bureau said it is concerned that some companies are luring consumers with offers of reduced or zero interest for a specific purchase or balances transferred from another credit card, and then hitting them with surprise interest charges. In CFPB Bulletin 2014-02, the bureau states that it has observed that some card issuers do not adequately convey in their marketing materials that a consumer who accepts such ...


September 15, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

“Treacherous,” Complex TRID Generates Host of Concerns

The CFPB’s integrated disclosure rule will be “treacherous” for mortgage lenders and will likely be as challenging to comply with as its massive size and complexity suggests, according to top industry experts. Speaking to attendees of an Inside Mortgage Finance webinar last week on the CFPB’s TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule – known as “TRID” – Rod Alba, senior regulatory counsel for the American Bankers Association, rattled off a number of concerns that mortgage lenders still have with the new rule, which is set to take effect Aug. 1, 2015. “The regulation is enormously voluminous in length. The sheer size of this rule, we think, makes this regulation treacherous for banks in terms of liability, in terms of enforcement, in terms of understanding ...


September 12, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Jumbo Production Slips Further in 2Q14

The first-quarter decline in FHA jumbo production spilled over into the second quarter as volume dropped another 21.7 percent, ending the first half of the year with $4.7 billion in new government-insured jumbo loans, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency snapshot data. On a year-over-year basis, volume fell 56.7 percent over the six-month period compared to the same period last year. Jumbo loans make up a tiny percentage of FHA’s overall portfolio. The FHA has been weaning itself away from jumbos after Republican members of Congress accused the agency of straying from its mission by subsidizing purchases of million-dollar houses. A statutory readjustment this year brought the FHA loan limit in high-cost areas down to $625,500, the same level as the high-cost loan limits for conforming mortgages in high-cost areas. The baseline loan limits for both conforming and FHA loans in 2014 ... [1 chart]


September 12, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Investors Lining Up for Sixth Distressed Note Sale

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is now qualifying investors for its sixth auction of non-performing loans (NPLs) amid nationwide protests calling for reform of HUD’s distressed note sale program. Single-Family Loan Sale SFLS 2014-2 includes 15,232 single-family, non-performing mortgages with a total unpaid principal of $2.3 billion. The sale consists of 10 loan pools ranging from $97 million to $825 million with collateral dispersed across the country, according to loan sale advisor DebtX. It is scheduled to bid on Sept. 30. On June 11, HUD sold a $4.8 billion portfolio of NPLs, the first of a two-part sale. The national offering consisted of approximately 23,200 loans divided into 16 pools ranging from $93 million to $1 billion. The loans are backed by properties across the ...


September 12, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lending Back on Track with <680 Score

The average FHA credit score in the second quarter of 2014 continued to decline from the record highs of 2011, but remains well above the levels preceding the mortgage and credit crisis, according to FHA’s latest report to Congress on the state of the agency’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The FHA’s second-quarter average credit score of 680 was 3 points below the previous quarter’s score and 13 points below the score during the same period last year. The report’s data suggest that FHA has accomplished its goal of shifting its market share to the 620-679 credit score bucket consistent with its target market while ceding its share of loans with scores exceeding 720 to the private MI sector. The last time borrowers’ average credit score hit 680 was in the second quarter of 2009. FHA officials said they are working to have 75 percent of the FHA lending in the ...


September 12, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Obama to Seek Solutions to Credit Access

Obama will meet with top banking executives and industry trade groups on Sept. 17 to explore potential solutions to lender overlays and other problems that hinder first-time homebuyers and other qualified borrowers from obtaining an FHA or conventional mortgage. The meeting is expected to touch on key lender issues, including credit overlays, government enforcement actions, regulatory burden and risk-based versus FHA pricing. Lenders say they are willing to originate single-family mortgages to qualified borrowers and first-time homebuyers but they feel the post-crisis environment has turned hostile against them. Repurchases and indemnifications have dampened their willingness to lend to moderate- and lower-income borrowers, they admit. Regardless of policy changes designed to increase lending in the lower credit score range (620 to 679), FHA enforcement actions to ...


September 5, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Goldman Settles FHFA MBS Suit, Remaining Banks Fail to Dismiss

HSBC Holdings is headed for trial later this month, absent a deal, after a New York federal judge rejected a last ditch effort by HSBC and Nomura Holdings to toss their mortgage-backed securities suit brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s ruling reaffirmed earlier rulings that the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 extended the time that the FHFA could file claims against a host of big banks.


September 5, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

BofA Appeals Judge’s Order to Pay $1.27B for ‘Hustle’ of GSEs

Bank of America this week launched an appeal to overturn a jury verdict that found it liable for thousands of bad mortgages sold by Countrywide leading to a $1.27 billion judgment. U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff levied the judgment in July after a New York jury last fall found the Charlotte, NC-based bank liable for fraud over a Countrywide program known in the industry as “the Hustle.”


September 5, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

FHFA’s Goldman Sachs Deal Allows Firm to Recoup Losses; FDIC Too Late to Sue Deutsche, Credit Suisse

The legal settlement between Goldman Sachs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency over soured non-agency MBS sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac featured an unusual buyback of the securities by the investment bank. It leaves just three big defendants left to settle or go to trial, legal observers note. Under the terms of the settlement announced Aug. 22, Goldman is required to pay $3.15 billion to repurchase securities that were the subject of the claims in the FHFA’s lawsuit. The economic value of the settlement is estimated...


September 5, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

SEC Issues New Rule for Credit Ratings on a Split Vote, Dissenting Commissioner Questions Legality

The rating services are set for increased oversight after the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a final rule addressing internal controls, conflicts of interest and procedures in an attempt to protect the integrity of rating methods. The SEC approved the final rule on a 3-2 vote last week, with the two Republican commissioners voicing strong opposition to provisions required by the Dodd-Frank Act. Among other issues, the final rule aims at preventing sales and marketing considerations from influencing the issuance of credit ratings on structured finance products. Under the rule, rating services are prohibited from issuing or maintaining a credit rating when a person within the rating service that participates in determining or monitoring the rating also participates in sales or marketing of a product or service of the rating service or an affiliate. The rule also targets...


September 4, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Legal Liability, Company Reputations, Data Privacy At Stake as CFPB Weighs Consumer Narratives

Mortgage lenders are worried that a recent proposal by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to expand its consumer complaint database with “narratives” from borrowers will leave companies vulnerable to being smeared by unproven rumors and false accusations. They also fear that a few legitimate complaints will be blown out of proportion. Others are apprehensive about maintaining the privacy of consumer personal data – and about expanding their legal liability. The Financial Services Roundtable has initiated...


September 1, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Enforcement Roundup

Flagstar in Talks with CFPB Over Alleged Loss Mitigation Violations. Flagstar Bancorp, the parent of the nation’s 17th largest residential servicer, disclosed in a new regulatory filing that it is in talks with the CFPB over alleged violations of federal law arising from the bank’s loss mitigation practices and default servicing operations dating back to 2011. Flagstar Bank FSB, which owns roughly $69 billion in mortgage servicing rights, said it has already provided the CFPB with documents and “other information” regarding the matter in response to a civil investigative demand. “While the bank intends to vigorously defend against any enforcement action that may be brought, it has commenced discussions with the CFPB staff to determine if a settlement can be ...


September 1, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Debt-Settlement Firm Agrees to $7 Million Accord With CFPB

Global Client Solutions, a leading debt-settlement payment processor based in Tulsa, OK, agreed to pay over $6 million in relief to consumers, as well as a $1 million civil penalty, to resolve allegations by the CFPB that the firm helped other companies to collect tens of millions of dollars in illegal upfront fees from consumers. Final settlement is pending federal district court approval. The CFPB accused Global Client Solutions and its two principals, Robert Merrick and Michael Hendrix, of violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule by making it possible for debt-settlement companies to charge consumers illegal upfront fees. The rule prohibits debt-settlement companies from charging consumers advance fees before settling any of their debts. The rule is intended to protect consumers ...


September 1, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Fines Auto Finance Co. $2.75M Over Inaccurate Info

The CFPB recently fined auto finance company First Investors Financial Services Group Inc. $2.75 million for allegedly failing to fix known flaws in a computer system that was providing inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies. The bureau also ordered the Houston-based company to fix its errors and change its business practices. The CFPB said its investigation found that First Investors furnished inaccurate information about its customers to credit reporting agencies for at least three years. “When First Investors discovered the problem in April 2011, it notified the vendor but did nothing more,” the CFPB said. “The company did not replace the system or take any steps to correct the inaccurate information it had supplied. “It continued for years to use ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

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


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Views Sought on Draft Appraiser Requirements

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is requesting feedback from stakeholders regarding proposed policy drafts covering appraiser eligibility and oversight, and conducting appraisals, among other things. The documents will be part of the FHA’s Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook, a consolidated and authoritative agency handbook that will make it easier for stakeholders to do business with the FHA. The drafts also cover appraiser requirements for performing an FHA appraisal, including property eligibility requirements for Title II forward and reverse mortgages, as well as forms and data delivery requirements. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 2, 2014. The Single-Family Policy handbook is a multi-phased initiative to develop a single, comprehensive source for FHA single-family housing policy using clear and direct language and an improved organization structure. In fall 2013, the FHA posted its first draft section, Application Though Endorsement for Title II Forward Mortgages. The FHA is finalizing ...


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

State Legislatures Pass Reverse Mortgage Bills

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


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FASB Updates TDR Guidance for FHA, VA Loans

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


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

U.S. Court Upholds HUD Suspension of Lender

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


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Bars Post-Payment Charge on Prepaid Loans

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


August 29, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Unable to Use $200 Million Windfall

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


August 22, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

New Suit By Common GSE Investors Seeks Injunction of Profit Sweep

Pershing Square Capital Management – reportedly the largest investor in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac common shares – filed two separate lawsuits last week demanding the federal government cease and desist its “net worth sweep” of GSE profits. The New York hedge fund contends that the government’s action not only illegally shortchanges investors of the GSEs’ common, it also amounts to a de facto liquidation of the two firms, according to its first complaint filed with the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington. The first complaint lists the U.S. as a defendant, as well as Fannie and Freddie as nominal defendants.


Poll

Over the next six months we plan to hire this many more additional loan officers:

1 to 10 (We're being careful.)
11 to 30 (We're optimistic.)
More than 30 (We're in a growth mode as the banks get out.)
We're cutting back. (Are you nuts? It's ugly out there.)

vote to see results
Housing Pulse