Legal Issues

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

December 12, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Treasury’s Office of Financial Research Voices Anxiety On Single-Family Rental Securitizations, REITs and Repos

By some measurements, the market for commercial MBS backed by single-family rental units has been successful, drawing investors from Wall Street, the hedge fund community and overseas. But that success, to some degree, is beginning to worry the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research. Moreover, the OFR also is expressing anxieties about mortgage real estate investment trusts and repurchase agreements. As of September 2014, roughly $5 billion of single-family rental MBS had been issued...


December 11, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB’s HMDA Rulemaking to Exacerbate Fair Lending Enforcement Environment

If mortgage lenders thought fair lending compliance was tough now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s pending Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rulemaking may well turn enforcement into a hornet’s nest in the very near future, according to one top attorney. “The data to be reported under the CFPB’s proposal is likely to inflame the current fair lending regulatory environment,” said Warren Traiger, counsel at the BuckleySandler law firm, during a webinar this week sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance. “The Dodd-Frank Act itself specified...


December 8, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Results of OIG Audits of CFPB Expected Sometime This Month

The most recent work plan issued by the CFPB's Office of Inspector General indicates the results of a handful of audits are expected to be completed sometime during the fourth quarter, indicating that either they will be released within the next few months or held over until sometime after the start of 2015. One such review has to do with a joint evaluation of coordination between the CFPB and other regulatory agencies. The inspectors general of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the National Credit Union Administration, and the Department of the Treasury are conducting “an evaluation of the coordination between the CFPB and other regulatory agencies with respect to conducting supervisory activities,” said the OIG’s work plan. ...


December 8, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

SCOTUS to Hear Oral Arguments in Disparate-Impact Case in January

The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear oral argument on Jan. 21, 2015, in the disparate-impact case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. The fundamental legal issue in the case is whether disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. As far as the facts of the case go, the dispute involves a statutory challenge to the allocation of low-income housing tax credits. The TDHCA distributes the tax credits associated with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program throughout Texas. The ICP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to place low-income, mostly African-American Section 8 tenants in Dallas’s more affluent and largely white suburban neighborhoods. The ICP brought suit against TDHCA back in ...


December 8, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Morgan Drexen Calls on Attorneys Nationwide to Join Fight With CFPB

The tug of war between the CFPB and the Morgan Drexen firm took an unusual twist late last month, with the company firing a public relations salvo in the form of an open letter to attorneys nationwide, calling on them to “stand up against the CFPB and defend access to affordable legal services for disadvantaged Americans.” “Affordable legal care in America is under fire by the CFPB, and without quick and decisive action, the legal support that millions of Americans need may be eliminated,” the firm’s letter said. “It is vital that we, as an industry, stand together to draw a hard line and demand that our representatives in Congress rein in a bureau that has specifically not been given ...


December 8, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Toyota Motor Credit on the Radar At the CFPB, Department of Justice

Toyota Motor Credit Corp., the captive finance arm of Toyota, recently revealed that it has received a letter from the CFPB and the Justice Department alleging that certain practices related to discretionary dealer markup resulted in discriminatory lending aimed at minorities and low-income borrowers. In a recent Form 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, TMCC said the agencies have requested certain information about the company’s purchases of auto finance contracts from dealers as well as related discretionary pricing practices. “On Nov. 25, 2014, we received from the agencies a letter alleging that such practices resulted in discriminatory pricing of loans to certain borrowers in contravention of applicable laws, and informing us that they are prepared to initiate an ...


December 8, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Pushes to Fine Premier Consulting Over Debt Settlement

Last week, the CFPB asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to enter a consent order requiring Premier Consulting Group to pay a civil penalty of $69,075 – accusing the firm of charging consumers illegal upfront fees for debt-settlement services they never received – and to take other steps to prevent future legal violations. That sum represents the amount of advance fees the company took from consumers who did not have any debt settled, according to the bureau. Included in the CFPB’s legal action was the law office of Michael Lupolover. Both firms are based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Premier Consulting “took advantage of consumers in financial distress, charging tens of thousands of dollars for services they ...


December 8, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB’s First Criminal Referral Brings Conviction, 9-Year Sentence

Michael Levitis, principal of the Mission Settlement Agency (a debt-settlement company), was slapped with a nine-year prison sentence and ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution and a fine of $15,000 after pleading guilty to several charges brought in response to the CFPB’s first publicly announced criminal referral to the U.S. Department of Justice last year. Levitis pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and another count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He has been ordered to surrender for service of his sentence on Feb. 23, 2015, at an institution to be determined by the state Bureau of Prisons. Upon release from imprisonment, Levitis will be on supervised release for a term ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Final PMIERS Rule Expected in 1Q15. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has revised its timeline for publishing a final version of the Private Mortgage Insurance Eligibility Requirements, which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac proposed in July at the direction of the FHFA. The PMIERS will establish capital and other requirements for private mortgage insurers. In a statement, industry trade group U.S. Mortgage Insurers said it has received word from the agency that the final PMIERS would not be published until at least late in the first quarter of 2015. The FHFA initially indicated that a final rule would be issued by yearend 2014. The USMI reiterated its support for an updated PMIERS. Mortgage Executives Concerned About G-Fee Increase. A survey of mortgage executives at this year’s Mortgage Bankers Association annual conference found 53 percent saying that ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Confused Over HUD’s Stance on LPI

A provision on lender-placed insurance in the servicing segment of the FHA’s draft Single Family Housing Policy Handbook appears to contradict the agency’s previously stated position on LPI, according to the American Bankers Association. The ABA urged the FHA to retain the current policy regarding a lender’s discretion in requiring hazard and flood insurance for loans the agency insures. In a comment letter, the ABA expressed concern about the FHA’s new proposed standard for LPI, which could limit the amount of LPI coverage a lender or servicer could impose on a borrower to the outstanding balance of the loan. It would apply broadly to hazard insurance, including flood insurance. There are several problems with this approach, the ABA said. The group noted that Congress had established a standard which requires any home construction in a special flood hazard area (SFHA) to obtain “at least” ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA to Share in Landmark BofA Settlement

The FHA and Ginnie Mae will share in the record-setting $16.7 billion settlement between Bank of America, the Department of Justice and certain other federal agencies and six states to resolve claims related to mortgage fraud and toxic mortgage-backed securities. The FHA will receive approximately $800 million and an undisclosed amount for consumer relief from BofA. The bank was accused of falsely certifying poorly underwritten loans for FHA insurance, resulting in huge losses for the agency. It is unclear how much Ginnie Mae’s share would be from the settlement. “As a direct endorser of FHA-insured loans, Bank of America performs a critical role in home lending,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch for the Eastern District of New York during the announcement of the global settlement in August. “In obtaining a payment of $800 million and sweeping relief for troubled homeowners, we have not ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA: Loan Limits Same for 2015

The FHA has announced loan limits in 2015 for high- and low-cost areas, virtually unchanged from the loan limits in effect through the end of the year. The new limits will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The maximum loan limits in high-cost housing areas will remain the same as the 2014 level of $625,500. The current standard loan limit in lower-cost areas will also remain unchanged at $271,050. The mortgage loan limits for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans will continue to have a maximum claim amount of ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Groups Oppose FHA Quality Assurance Fee

Reports that the Senate Appropriations Committee might include a proposed FHA administrative fee in the Senate’s spending bill for financial and housing agencies is causing a furor within the mortgage financing industry. Industry groups have come out in force, urging the leaders of the Senate committee to remove the provision from a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond Dec. 11. There is speculation that the House might go along with the fee. The provision, expected to raise $30 million for FHA quality assurance efforts, would allow the Department of Housing and Urban Development to charge a fee of no more than 4 basis points of the original principal balance of all FHA-insured mortgages a lender made in the previous fiscal year. HUD originally made the request in President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 budget. Over industry objections, the Senate later incorporated the ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Accounting of Settlement Receivables Spotty

The FHA’s accounting of receivables from settled legal claims and partial claim notes is so sloppy that the exact amount collected might be difficult to gauge, according to an internal audit of the agency’s FY 2014 and 2013 financial statements. Conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General, the audit concluded that the FHA had booked receivables from seven cash settlements totaling $1.2 billion in FY 2014 but collected only $466.4 million of those settlements. In addition, during fiscal 2014, as part of its loss mitigation efforts to bring delinquent loans current, the FHA paid $4.4 billion to lenders for partial claims but never received the required promissory notes from the lenders for $1.5 billion of the claim payments. FHA rules require lenders to provide the agency with promissory notes for the payments made or ...


December 5, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Due-Diligence, Loan-File Reviews Main Drivers of Fitch Rating of RPLs, Seasoned Loan Collateral

Due-diligence and document-file reviews will key Fitch’s rating of residential MBS backed by re-performing loans and seasoned mortgage loan collateral, based on revised criteria, according to a recent report from Fitch Ratings. Fitch recently finalized its criteria for analyzing re-performing and seasoned loan RMBS to include closer attention to risk factors. Fitch uses its mortgage loan-loss model as well as representation-and-warranty and due-diligence reviews in analyzing the key risk drivers for RPLs. However, since the methodologies currently used by the rating agency were developed with an eye towards newly originated and seasoned performing collateral, RPL pools and some seasoned performing pools purchased in the secondary market are likely to be influenced...


December 4, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments in Overtime Cases, While Another Disparate Impact Case Approaches

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two consolidated cases on whether the overtime provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act apply to mortgage loan officers – and the narrower question of whether federal agencies have the authority to make regulatory changes without using the “notice and comment” rulemaking process. Both cases involve the Mortgage Bankers Association as the respondent. The U.S. Department of Labor argued...


November 26, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA COO Acquitted of Charges He Threatened Former FHFA Director

The case against the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s chief operating officer ended last week after a Washington, DC, Superior Court judge found Richard Hornsby not guilty of making violent threats against former FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.Judge Juliet McKenna acquitted Hornsby of two misdemeanor charges of attempted threats to do bodily harm to DeMarco.


November 26, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Penalty Relief Clears Way for BofA to Complete $16.7 Billion Settlement; U.S. Bank Wins Some, Loses Some

Two large banks got a break recently as the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to grant penalty relief to one bank while a New York federal judge dismissed certain claims against the second bank because they were overly speculative. In the first case, the SEC cleared the way for Bank of America to close a $16.7 billion global settlement after SEC commissioners voted to waive additional sanctions that would have taken effect when the settlement is entered into court, according to a report by Bloomberg. The commission agreed...


November 24, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Settlements with Ocwen, Flagstar, SunTrust Instructive for Servicers

The mortgage servicing settlements the CFPB obtained with Ocwen, SunTrust Bank and Flagstar Bank have much to teach the rest of the industry about landmines to avoid. During a webinar sponsored last week by Inside Mortgage Finance, an affiliated newsletter, Allyson Baker, a former CFPB attorney and partner at the Venable law firm in Washington, DC, highlighted the importance of trends seen in the three enforcement cases. “Number one is the bureau’s and other law enforcement agencies’ ongoing joint monitoring of the space,” which suggests the industry is likely to see more joint enforcement actions in the future, Baker told event participants. The second important trend is the very large civil money penalties and restitution that are resulting in tens ...


November 24, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Fines Subprime Auto Dealer Over Debt Collection Practices

Last week, the CFPB initiated its first enforcement action against a “buy-here, pay-here” car dealer, DriveTime, which it accused of harming consumers by allegedly making harassing debt collection calls and providing inaccurate credit information to credit reporting agencies. DriveTime must pay $8 million as a civil money penalty, end what the bureau characterized as unfair debt collection tactics, revise its credit reporting practices, and arrange for harmed consumers to obtain free credit reports. Phoenix-based DriveTime Automotive Group Inc. and its finance company, DT Acceptance Corp., make up the largest buy-here, pay-here car dealer in the nation, according to the CFPB. “Buy-here, pay-here” means that the dealer sells the car as well as originates and services the auto loan. These kinds ...


November 24, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Orders Franklin Loan Corp. to Pay Borrowers $730k in Restitution

The CFPB recently ordered Franklin Loan Corp., an independent, residential mortgage banker in Palm Desert, CA, to pay $730,000 to consumers the bureau alleges were harmed by the company’s practice of giving employees bonuses for steering consumers into loans with higher interest rates. The bureau also has asked a federal district court to approve a consent order requiring the company to end its allegedly illegal compensation system and refund the consumers it harmed. This is the second loan originator compensation settlement the CFPB has obtained, the first being the case involving Castle & Cooke Mortgage. In this case, according to the CFPB, Franklin Loan originated approximately $887 million in loans between 2011 and 2013. “From June 2011 to October 2013, ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Essent EVP to Retire in March. Adolfo Marzol, Essent Guaranty’s executive vice president, will step down, effective March 31, 2015, after five years with the company. VA Hybrid Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Pooling Eligibility. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently expanded the type of loans it will guarantee to include 7/1 and 10/1 hybrid ARMs. While Ginnie Mae’s Mortgage-Backed Securities Guide does not bar the inclusion of hybrid ARMs in Ginnie MBS, GinnieNET is not currently able to process these loans for pool processing. GinnieNET is being updated in order to accommodate VA 7/1 and 10/1 hybrid ARM pooling. Effective with issuances dated on or after Dec. 1, 2014, VA 7/1 and 10/1 hybrid ARMs will be eligible for pooling. CFPB Publishes Revised List of Rural and Underserved Counties. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published its 2015 list of ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Wells Fargo, DOJ Settlement Talks Hit Wall

Wells Fargo and the Department of Justice are reportedly at an impasse in their settlement talks in connection with a lawsuit accusing the bank of improper underwriting and false certification of certain FHA-insured loans. In an e-mailed statement to Inside FHA Lending, a bank spokesperson said Wells Fargo’s good faith effort to work with the federal government to resolve the complaint “has not yet resulted in a settlement.” Nonetheless, the bank “will move forward with presenting [its] case in support of [its] prudent and responsible FHA lending practices, which have produced high-quality FHA loans with delinquency rates that are half the industry average,” the spokesperson added. This week, citing an unidentified source, Bloomberg reported that lawyers for the government and the bank have told the presiding judge in the case that they ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Portfolio Down to Negative in FY 2014

The economic value of the FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage legacy portfolio fell to negative $0.9 billion in fiscal 2014 due mainly to volatility in long-term house prices and interest rates, according to the latest independent actuarial report on the health of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The latest result was a significant improvement from FY 2012, when the fund stood at negative $2.8 billion. In fiscal 2013, the HECM portfolio’s economic value of positive $6.5 billion appeared to be a whopping change from the previous year but that amount reflected a $4.6 billion cash infusion from the forward program and from the $1.7 billion mandatory appropriation, the report clarified. The report also showed a corresponding decline in the HECM capital ratio to negative 1.20 percent. Actuarial projections for fiscal 2015 place the HECM portfolio’s economic value at negative $1.1 billion. The fund’s capital resources for ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

MMIF Value, Capital Ratio Turns Positive

FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund ended fiscal 2014 in the black but was still far short of its statutory reserve requirement, prompting critics in Congress to renew their cries for FHA reform. An independent actuarial report sent to Congress this week showed that the MMI Fund now stands at $4.8 billion after a gain of nearly $6 billion over the last year. For the first time since 2009, the fund’s capital ratio also crossed into positive territory at 0.41 percent, up 52 basis points from the negative 0.11 percent posted in fiscal 2013. Overall, the economic value of the fund has risen by $21 billion over the last two years because of the aggressive steps the agency took to stabilize and strengthen the fund, the report said. Policy changes led to improved underwriting for single-family mortgages, increased mortgage insurance premiums, stronger loss mitigation policies and higher recoveries, it added. In addition, with ...


November 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Enforcement Actions Highlight What Mortgage Servicers Need to Look Out For

A careful examination of the big-ticket enforcement actions the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has brought against leading mortgage servicers can help others in the space avoid the same fate and protect their bottom lines, according to top industry legal experts. During an Inside Mortgage Finance webinar earlier this week, Allyson Baker, a former CFPB attorney and partner at the Venable law firm in Washington, DC, discussed the importance of trends seen in a handful of servicing enforcement cases against Ocwen, SunTrust Bank and Flagstar Bank. “I think...


November 14, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

Ohio Court Sides With Freddie in Pre-Crisis Shareholder Lawsuit. An Ohio federal court late last week tossed out a shareholder class action lawsuit that accused Freddie Mac of lying about its exposure to subprime loans prior to the 2008 financial crisis. The suit, filed in 2008 by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, claimed that Freddie artificially inflated the value of its common stock by making false public financial statements that obscured its subprime exposure.OPERS claimed it lost as much as $27.2 million as a result of Freddie’s alleged cover-up of its subprime exposure.


November 14, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

NCUA Sues Trustee While BofA, US Bancorp Agree to Settle Trustee Suit; Morgan Stanley, WIC Face Probes

The National Credit Union Administration this week sued Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., alleging the bank violated federal and state laws by failing to carry out its duties as trustee for 121 non-agency MBS trusts. According to the complaint filed in federal district court in Manhattan, Deutsche Bank failed to protect five corporate credit unions – U.S. Central, WesCorp, Members United, Southwest and Constitution – that purchased $140 billion in RMBS issued from the trusts between 2004 and 2007. The securities lost...


November 14, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

SFIG Releases Second Round of Consensus Standards Aimed at Restoring Confidence in Non-Agency RMBS

As part of its RMBS 3.0 initiative, the Structured Finance Industry Group this week released the second installment of its recommended best practices for the non-agency MBS market. New and revised material was released for each of the three major “work streams” in the project, which broadly cover: representation-and-warranty issues and repurchases; due diligence, data and disclosure; and the roles of transaction parties and bondholder communications. The 54 new pages released this week bring the cumulative work to about 125 pages, including appendices. In the reps-and-warranties section, new provisions cover...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

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

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


November 10, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Worth Noting/The Week Ahead

Disparate Impact Theory of Legal Liability Struck Down. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dealt a heavy blow to the position of the Department of Housing and Urban Development – as well as the CFPB – that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. In American Insurance Association v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the judge struck down HUD’s disparate impact rule, determining that the Fair Housing Act prohibits “disparate treatment only.” In promulgating its disparate impact rule, the court said HUD exceeded its authority under the Administrative Procedures Act. “The ruling is in line with what we have long believed the law to be and consistent with what we argued in ...


November 10, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Castle & Cooke Mortgage Files For Dismissal in RESPA, TILA Dispute

Castle & Cooke Mortgage late last month filed a motion to dismiss a putative class-action brought by one of the aggrieved parties who had already been compensated under the terms of the settlement the lender reached late last year with the CFPB. In Luis Cabrales v. Castle & Cooke Mortgage LLC, plaintiff Luis Cabrales contends that the lender improperly compensated its loan officers by giving them bonuses for putting customers in more expensive loans than what they qualified for. The plaintiff sued for violation of the Truth in Lending Act – a claim that Castle & Cooke is not challenging at this point. However, Cabrales also brought other causes of action: violation of Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Practices ...


November 10, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Asks Court to Permanently Bar Morgan Drexen from Debt Biz

Last month, the long-running dispute between the CFPB and Morgan Drexen, a debt settlement firm, took another turn – this time with the bureau filing a motion for summary judgment in which it seeks an injunction permanently barring the firm and its owner and CEO, Walter Ledda, from providing debt relief services in the future. The bureau also is pushing for $90.7 million from the defendants in restitution, as well as a civil money penalty in an unspecified amount. The CFPB said it brought this action to stop a nationwide debt settlement “scheme that preys on financially distressed consumers who are in debt.” Defendants Morgan Drexen and Ledda and the attorneys with whom they are affiliated promise consumers that they will ...


November 10, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Sidestep Common Pitfalls to Avoid UDAAP Enforcement Actions

There are a host of legal land mines that mortgage lenders must avoid if they want to keep from becoming the target of a CFPB enforcement action under its unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) authority, according to top legal experts. Andrea Mitchell, a partner with the BuckleySandler law firm, told attendees at an Inside Mortgage Finance webinar last week that there are a number of representations lenders should stay away from in their marketing pitches. “Say what you mean and mean what you say,” Mitchell said. She then rattled off a list of potentially problematic terms to avoid, such as “free” or “no cost,” “best rates available,” “fastest” or “faster than…,” “improve/repair your credit” or “eliminate your ...


November 10, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Mortgage Servicer Compliance Mixed, Supervisory Report Shows

In the first half of 2014, CFPB examiners conducted targeted reviews for compliance with the bureau’s new mortgage servicing rules and found mixed results, according to the agency’s latest supervisory highlight report. For example, the new rules require servicers to maintain policies and procedures to achieve specific objectives in areas such as loss mitigation, servicing transfers and service provider oversight. “In reviewing this area, examiners found that the policies and procedures at several servicers appeared to be reasonably designed to meet the specific objectives laid out in the rule,” said the new report. For instance, some servicers’ policies and procedures clearly outlined the ways in which they access and provide timely and accurate information. “These policies and procedures included specific ...


November 10, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau IDs Unfair, Deceptive Student Loan Servicer Practices

CFPB examiners have identified a number of unfair or deceptive acts or practices on the part of an unspecified number of bank and nonbank servicers of federal and private student loans, according to the latest supervisory highlights report released recently by the bureau. One problematic practice involved “one or more supervised entities” allocating partial payments in a way that maximizes late fees. CFPB examiners have reviewed how servicers allocate payments when a borrower pays less than the total amount due on all of the loans in the borrower’s account, according to the report. “Examiners found that partial payments were being allocated proportionally ... among all the loans, resulting in all of the loans in a borrower’s account becoming delinquent,” said ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reinstating 97s Could Delay Recovery for MMIF

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


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD Rejects CFPB’s QM Cure Provision

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


November 7, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Ally Financial Facing Subpoenas From the SEC, Justice Department Over MBS, Subprime Auto ABS

Ally Financial recently received subpoenas and document requests from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice over a broad array of lending and securitization activities, the company revealed in a recent Form 10-Q disclosure filed with the SEC. “The subpoenas and document requests from the SEC include information covering a wide range of mortgage-related matters, and the subpoenas received from the DOJ include a broad request for documentation and other information in connection with its investigations of potential fraud and other potential legal violations related to MBS, as well as the origination and/or underwriting of mortgage loans,” the company said. In addition, Ally recently received...


November 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lessons Learned From Enforcement Trends Help Lenders Cope With New UDAAP Environment

As mortgage lenders continue to feel their way around the world of unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) as defined by the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there is much they can learn from a close examination of recent enforcement actions. During a webinar this week sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance, Mercedes Tunstall, a partner with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, said CFPB consent orders show that the bureau is watching telemarketing practices very closely. The CFPB is...


November 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

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

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


Poll

What will Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s new 97 LTV programs mean for your business?

It will give our business a big boost as there is a lot of pent up demand for the product.
It will have only a minor impact on our overall business as we already are doing high LTV business through FHA and some of our high LTV FHA business is likely to shift to Fannie and Freddie.
It won’t have any impact on our business as we plan to steer clear of all high LTV business – particularly in the GSE market.

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