Legal Issues

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

June 29, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Experts Advise on How Best to Deal With Shifting Fair Lending Issues

Regulators such as the CFPB are still paying attention to fair lending issues these days, but their focal point is shifting more towards greater emphasis on access to credit. “What we’re seeing is a pendulum swing from the focus of concerns being loan pricing, to the focus of concerns being loan access,” said Jeffrey Naimon, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the BuckleySandler law firm, during a webinar last week sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance, an affiliated publication. Many wonder why it appears that access to credit remains so tight, seven years after the last financial crisis. Naimon said the CFPB ability-to-repay rule’s qualified mortgage standard could be one of the reasons. “Basically, lenders only want to make ...


June 29, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Weighs In on ECOA Loan Guarantor Discrimination Case

The CFPB and the U.S. Solicitor General recently submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, a case that will likely decide whether the Equal Credit Opportunity Act applies to loan guarantors, and may affect the bureau’s enforcement of a related regulation. As the government brief noted, ECOA makes it unlawful for “any creditor to discriminate against any applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction,” on the basis of prohibited characteristics including gender and marital status. “Since 1985, regulations promulgated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the CFPB have provided that, for certain purposes, the ‘applicants’ protected from discrimination under the act include guarantors ...


June 29, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Marketing in Spanish? Disclose, Service in Spanish, Experts Say

Here’s a fair lending regulatory compliance tip from the American Bankers Association’s 2015 regulatory compliance conference in Washington, DC: If you are advertising or marketing mortgage products in Spanish, you would be well advised to provide all requisite disclosures and servicing in Spanish. “As you think about how to reach people, advertising and marketing in Spanish is a good way to get to Spanish-speaking population,” said Andrew Sandler, chairman and executive partner at the BuckleySandler law firm, during a breakout session on fair lending. “But one thing regulators are intent on is, if you’re selling me in my language, then you need to be servicing me in my language too. So lenders should be careful to think about that,” the ...


June 29, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Will SCOTUS Disparate Impact Ruling Make CFPB More Assertive?

The U.S. Supreme Court last week validated the disparate-impact legal theory as it relates to housing discrimination in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. And while the immediate effect of the ruling has more to do with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s enforcement of the Fair Housing Act’s restrictions on disparate impact, there are definitely implications for the CFPB’s enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s prohibitions against disparate impact. The crux of this case was whether disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, where a plaintiff alleges discrimination based on the disparate impact that a defendant’s “facially neutral” practice has upon members of ...


June 26, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

GNMA to Modernize Management of Loan Docs that Serve as Pool Collateral. Ginnie Mae plans to reform its document custody policies to minimize agency risks. Michael Drayne, Ginnie’s senior vice president of issuer and portfolio management, said the changes will apply to documents for loans that serve as collateral for securitized pools of mortgages. Current policies will be reexamined to see whether they adequately reflect and mitigate actual risks. Existing technology will be reevaluated as well. Ginnie will also study how to integrate document-custody functions and information into the agency’s systems. In addition, Ginnie will look at whether information about the status of pool collateral should be managed at the loan level, not merely the pool level. Furthermore, the agency will reevaluate the need to reexamine its enforcement methods and whether they should be ...


June 26, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

WA Regulators Accuse Quicken Loans of False VA Loan Advertising

Financial institution regulators in Washington state have charged Quicken Loans with using false, deceptive and misleading advertisements to target veterans and active military members with adjustable-rate refinance offers. According to a complaint filed by the Division of Consumer Services of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Quicken Loans falsely implied in its direct mailings that it is associated with the Department of Veteran Affairs. The VA provides guarantees to fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgage loans to veterans and servicemembers through the agency’s Home Loan Guaranty program. Quicken Loans allegedly used graphics in its 5/1 ARM solicitations that resembled the seal of the VA, with the words “Governed By: United States Veterans Department.” In addition, the Michigan-based lender allegedly used an ...


June 26, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Taxonomy Gives Lenders a Glimpse Of How FHA Will Handle Defects

Clearer FHA guidance on loan defects may help lenders avoid problems but they do not provide legal protection against costly government false-claim lawsuits, according to mortgage industry stakeholders. Long-anticipated rules issued recently by the FHA explain how the agency intends to categorize loan defects identified during an individual loan-level review of endorsed single-family mortgages. The loan-defect assessment methodology or “defect taxonomy” was first unveiled in September 2014 as part of the FHA’s Blueprint for Access, which outlined steps the agency is taking to expand lending to underserved and first-time homebuyers. Combined with the updated loan-certification language used by lenders to warrant compliance with FHA rules and the new Single Family Policy Handbook, FHA plans to use the taxonomy to create a stronger quality assurance program. With better quality ...


June 25, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Fair Lending Expectations Are Shifting From Pricing Toward Greater Access, Experts Say

A number of recent headline-generating fair lending settlements may have focused largely on issues of pricing disparities, but there has been a sea change among policymakers these days moving in the direction of greater access to mortgage credit, some industry experts say. During an Inside Mortgage Finance webinar this week, Jeffrey Naimon, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the BuckleySandler law firm, said the industry is seeing a pendulum swing from the focal point of concern being loan pricing to loan access. “Especially during the time when subprime loans were available, there was a lot of concern that minority borrowers were being steered into higher-cost subprime loans,” he told attendees. “The adoption of the loan originator compensation rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau affected...


June 25, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lenders Laud FHA’s Updated Guidance for Loan Defects, MBA Says More Industry Input Needed to Improve Rules

Lenders are generally supportive of the FHA’s recently issued guidance explaining how the agency intends to categorize loan defects found in FHA single-family mortgages. At the same time, some observers find the guidance disappointing because it offers no protection for lenders against costly false claims lawsuits. The loan-defect assessment methodology or “defect taxonomy” was first unveiled in September 2014 as part of the Blueprint for Access that FHA hopes will expand access to credit by underserved consumers and first-time homebuyers. In particular, the new taxonomy will complement the updated loan-certification language used by direct-endorsement lenders to warrant compliance with FHA rules and the new Single Family Policy Handbook to create a stronger quality assurance program, according to Edward Golding, principal deputy assistant secretary for housing. The taxonomy has...


June 25, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Pleased With TRID Delay, But Still Prefers Long Implementation Period to Test and Adjust

Most segments of the mortgage industry were relieved to get a two-month reprieve from the effective date of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s integrated disclosures rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The bureau this week formally proposed to move the effective date of the controversial new rule from Aug. 1 to Oct. 3. The CFPB said some delay is necessary because it was late in notifying Congress and the Government Accountability Office within 60 days of the rule’s effective date, as is required by the Congressional Review Act. Many in the mortgage industry still want...


June 19, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Investors Unite: Don't Compare AIG Lawsuit to GSE Case

On the heels of a final ruling this week where a federal judge said the government went too far in its takeover of American International Group as part of its 2008 bailout, some are comparing the lawsuit to the one bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders. In this ruling, the federal judge decided not to award damages to AIG shareholders, even as it said the government was wrong in taking a 79.9 percent stake in the company in exchange for an $85 billion loan that helped keep the company on firm ground during the downturn. Judge Thomas Wheeler believed shareholders did not need to be compensated because AIG...


June 19, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Non-Agency MBS Settlements Total $10.3 Billion In 2014, Says FHFA; Only Two Cases Still Pending

The Federal Housing Finance Agency settled $10.3 billion in legal claims in 2014 stemming from 11 non-agency MBS issues that go as far back as 10 years ago, noted the FHFA’s annual report to Congress released this week. These lawsuits were filed in 2011 against financial institutions along with some of their executive management including officers and directors. The suits alleged violations of federal securities laws and state laws in the sale of the non-agency MBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that took place in a two-year period during the housing downturn between 2005 and 2007. A number of issues contributed...[Includes one data table]


June 19, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Ruling in ACE Securities Case Confirms that Rep-and- Warrant Statute of Limitations Starts at Deal Closing

A ruling late last week by the New York Court of Appeals will likely help provide certainty to non-agency MBS issuers regarding liability from breaches of representations and warranties while limiting claims from investors. The appeals court confirmed a lower court’s ruling in ACE Securities v. DB Structured Products, determining that the statute of limitations for claims of breaches of representations and warranties starts when a deal is closed – not when a potential breach is discovered. “Representations and warranties concern...


June 18, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

California Court Finds Governor Brown Illegally Tapped State’s Mortgage Settlement Coffer to Plug Budget Holes

A California superior court last week ruled that Gov. Jerry Brown, D, illegally diverted more than $331 million from a landmark mortgage settlement fund to resolve a state budget deficit. The funds represented California’s share in the historic 2012 national mortgage settlement between federal enforcement agencies and 49 state attorneys general and the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers – Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Ally Financial. The banks paid...


June 18, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Delays TRID Start Date Two Months, Giving Industry More Time to Grapple with Operational Issues

Despite having more than 21 months to admire its new integrated disclosure rule before it went into effect, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week found an “administrative error” that would require a two-week delay for the scheduled Aug. 1 launch date. The agency decided to add another six weeks to the delay, making the new effective date Oct. 1, 2015. The CFPB said the additional time is to “accommodate the interests of many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year.” What about getting ready...


June 15, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Gets ‘Sensitive’ About TRID, But Industry Wants Congress to Act

Nearly a score of industry trade groups sent a letter last week to the leadership of the House Financial Services Committee, urging them to pass legislation to provide a reasonable hold-harmless period for enforcement of the CFPB’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) regulation for lenders trying to do their best to comply. “We appreciate that the bureau indicated it will be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that make good-faith efforts to comply,” the 19 groups said in a letter to Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-CA. “At the same time, the industry needs more certainty that their good-faith efforts to comply while still meeting consumers’ expectations do not expose lenders and settlement service ...


June 15, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Nails Guarantee Mortgage For LO Compensation Violations

The CFPB earlier this month ordered Guarantee Mortgage Corp., an independently owned mortgage-brokerage firm and mortgage banker headquartered in San Rafael, CA, to pay a civil money penalty of $228,000 for allegedly violating the agency’s loan originator compensation rule. According to the notice of charges, the nonbank – which is in the process of liquidating – paid its LOs, in part, based on the interest rate of the loans they were bringing in. The payments took place between April 2011 and August 2012, the bureau said. The consumer regulator said the “compensation was funded by payments Guarantee made to marketing services entities owned in part by the company’s branch managers and other Guarantee loan originators.” During the relevant period, Guarantee Mortgage paid ...


June 15, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Nonbank RPM Settles With CFPB For $19M in Test of LO Comp Rule

RPM Mortgage of Alamo, CA, recently agreed to pay the CFPB $19 million to settle allegations that it incentivized loan officers to steer borrowers into higher cost mortgages by “illegally” paying bonuses to them. Overall, RPM wound up paying “millions of dollars” in such bonuses, the CFPB said. (In 2011, the bureau banned such incentive payments under its loan originator compensation rule.) According to a civil complaint filed in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, the privately held nonbank allowed LOs to use expense accounts to pay for pricing incentives to close the loans. “From April 2011 through December 2013, RPM allowed loan originators to use their expense accounts to finance thousands of pricing concessions that enabled ...


June 15, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Is CFPB ‘Trying to Rewrite RESPA’ In Dramatic Action Against PHH?

The CFPB took an ominous administrative action against PHH Corp. earlier this month over its captive reinsurance activities. Industry critics cried foul and warned of a potentially ominous legal precedent that threatens long-standing legal interpretations that have shaped the mortgage lending landscape for years. “The CFPB is trying to rewrite the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act retroactively. It is stunning,” said one long-time industry lobbyist. “If the CFPB can illegally rewrite RESPA, they can attempt to rewrite TILA and other laws they choose.” The crux of the dispute is the bureau’s assertion that PHH violated RESPA by illegally referring borrowers to mortgage insurance companies in exchange for kickbacks. Back in January 2014, the CFPB initiated an administrative proceeding against PHH ...


June 12, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA to Propose New Condo Policy To Ensure Compliance with HERA

The FHA plans to issue a proposed rule in the fall that would allow it to insure single-family condominium units in multifamily projects, according to the agency’s regulatory agenda for the second half of 2015. The proposed rule would cover condo units that are attached, detached, semi-detached or manufactured. It would apply as well to undivided interests in the common areas and facilities that serve the project. The proposed change would clarify and ensure lender compliance with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. HERA moved FHA’s authority to insure single-family condominiums from Section 234 to Section 203 of the National Housing Act. However, because Section 203 does not provide the same authority for FHA, rulemaking became necessary. HERA also granted FHA the authority to issue administrative notices to convey condominium policy guidance until a ...


June 12, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HECM Production Rises in 1Q15, HMBS Issuance Going Strong

Total originations of reverse mortgages with FHA insurance increased in the first three months of 2015, according to an Inside FHA/VA Lending analysis of agency data. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage production, overall, rose 3.0 percent to $3.9 billion from the fourth quarter of 2014 and was down 2.0 percent on a year-over-year basis. HECM purchase loans far outpaced refinances, which accounted for only 14.5 percent of total HECM volume in the first quarter. Lenders reported a total of $2.3 billion in initial HECM principal amount at loan origination. Meanwhile, there is continued investor interest in HECM mortgage-backed securities (HMBS), according to Ginnie Mae. The unpaid principal balance of HMBS climbed to $48.9 billion in FY 2014 and the number of participations (the funded portions of HECM loans that have been securitized) has increased to 6,585, 856. HMBS issuance was ... [1 chart]


June 12, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA to Propose New Requirements For Appraisers, Finalize QM Rule

The Department of Veterans Affairs expects to issue a final rule establishing ability-to-repay (ATR) standards and defining a “qualified mortgage” in October, according to the agency’s regulatory agenda for the second half of 2015. Proposed in May 2014, the rule would implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which, among other things, would require the VA to define the types of loans that are QMs under the new ATR provisions of the Truth in Lending Act. VA loans that are designated as QM would have either safe-harbor protections or the presumption that the borrower is able to repay the mortgage loan, in accordance with the new ATR provisions. The final rule would not change VA’s regulations or policies regarding mortgage originations, except when lenders want to originate QMs, the VA said. A VA spokesman clarified that action dates on any particular rulemaking are not ...


June 12, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

First Tennessee’s FCA Settlement, Another Notch on FHA/DOJ Belt

First Tennessee Bank’s agreement with federal agencies to pay $212.5 million to resolve allegations of violation of the False Claims Act is the latest proof of the government’s unrelenting pursuit of FHA lenders over underwriting and quality control issues. The settlement once again demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to combat FHA fraud using the FCA to recover taxpayer losses, according to an analysis by Boston law firm Greene LLP. “[The Department of Housing and Urban Development] made a point of saying that this behavior is exactly what led to the financial crisis and housing market downturn,” Greene’s compliance attorneys said. HUD and the Department of Justice have vowed to continue to pursue and hold accountable lenders who put profits ahead of their customers and legal obligations, the attorneys added. According to the DOJ, First Tennessee, a regional bank, admitted ...


June 12, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Court Splits R&W Liability between JPMorgan and WaMu; PwC’s Bid for Docs in Colonial Case Denied

JPMorgan Chase recently won in a long-running lawsuit with Deutsche Bank, limiting potential liabilities it inherited from purchasing the embattled Washington Mutual in 2008 at the behest of federal banking regulators. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, DC, ordered that liabilities for representation-and-warranty breaches be split between JPMorgan and WaMu Mortgage Securities Corp. The judge decided that JPMorgan would be liable only to the extent that the liabilities were on WaMu’s books as of Sept. 25, 2008. The remaining liabilities would remain at WaMu. Only a short order was released...


June 12, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Court Departs from Long-Held Federal Preemption for Nonbanks, Prompting Concern in Securitization Industry

Securitization industry participants are concerned about a recent ruling in a federal appeals court that overturned longstanding preemption certain nonbanks have enjoyed from state laws, including standards for debt collection. The ruling in late May by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Madden v. Midland Funding could pose “significant implications for the securitization industry,” according to the Structured Finance Industry Group. The case involves...


June 11, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Abacus Federal Savings Acquitted in Charges Of Selling Bad Mortgages to Fannie Mae

After being indicted for loan fraud in 2012, Abacus Federal Savings Bank was acquitted of grand larceny and conspiracy charges last week that stemmed from a case brought by the New York District Attorney’s office that involved Fannie Mae. The small Manhattan-based bank, which primarily serves Chinese-Americans in the New York region, was accused of mortgage fraud and falsifying documents and then selling those faulty mortgages to Fannie from 2005 to 2010. Following a four-month trial and nine days of deliberations, a New York jury acquitted...


June 11, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

RPM Mortgage and MBA Get Vocal About CFPB Enforcement Actions. A Trend or Blip on the Radar?

RPM Mortgage recently agreed to pay the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau $19 million to settle allegations that it violated the agency’s loan officer compensation rule by steering consumers to costlier mortgages and then paying illegal bonuses to LOs for bringing in the higher yielding paper. But shortly after the ink was dry on the June 4 settlement announcement, the privately held RPM and its owner and CEO Robert Hirt went on the offensive, trying to give its side of the story in regard to one pertinent fact: the higher yielding mortgages cited by the agency. A spokeswoman for RPM contacted...


June 11, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Reps Concerned About CFPB’s Ominous Administrative Action Against PHH Mortgage

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau threw the book at PHH Corp. over its captive reinsurance activities, refuting a handful of court rulings, an administrative letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and several points made by an administrative law judge. CFPB Director Richard Cordray overrode a $6.4 million penalty set by an ALJ in the matter and ordered PHH to pay $109.2 million – all the mortgage insurance premiums it received from its captive reinsurer, Atrium, after July 2008, regardless of when the loan was originated. July 2008 was...


June 5, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

Nevada Addresses ‘Super Lien’ Concerns. Nevada’s governor signed legislation last week addressing concerns raised by the FHFA regarding homeowners’ association liens. In September, the Nevada Supreme Court determined that an HOA super lien has priority lien status, which can trump the GSEs’ first lien status during foreclosure. Senate Bill 306 in Nevada aimed to address some of those issues by establishing a new limited right of redemption for lien holders after an HOA foreclosure sale, among other provisions. The FHFA has repeatedly noted it has an obligation to protect the GSEs’ rights, and will aggressively do so by bringing or supporting actions to contest HOA foreclosures that purport to extinguish GSE property interests in a manner


June 5, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Individual Shareholders in Iowa Challenge GSE Profit Sweep

For the first time, individual shareholders have brought a suit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency alleging that the Treasury profit sweep was illegal and accused the agency of violating the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. The May lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Iowa by three individual shareholders who owned stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prior to the Third Amendment.Thomas Saxton owns shares in the Z series of Freddie preferred stock and he owns shares of Freddie common stock with Ida Saxton.The pair own common stock both jointly and individually and acquired their shares in 2008. The third plaintiff is Bradely Payner, who owns shares of Fannie common stock.


June 4, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Supreme Court Ruling in BofA Cases Favorable to Second- Lien Holders; Changes Likely in Loss Mitigation Process

The Supreme Court of the U.S. this week ruled unanimously in favor of Bank of America regarding two lawsuits involving negative equity, second liens and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While the ruling favors holders of second liens, industry analysts suggest that it could have an impact on loss mitigation negotiations between lien holders and prompt borrowers to shift to Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. The cases considered were Bank of America v. Caulkett and Bank of America v. Toledo-Cardona. In both cases, borrowers in a negative equity position on their second liens sought to void the second liens as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of borrowers in such cases. “The court’s decision not only resolved...


June 4, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

DC Judge Agrees to Stay Government Countersuit Against Quicken Pending Detroit Court’s Decision on Its Lawsuit

A federal district court judge in Washington, DC, has granted Quicken Loan’s motion to stay a government lawsuit until another federal judge in Detroit decides whether to proceed with Quicken’s preemptive lawsuit against the government. The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton in Washington would give Quicken the opportunity to shine light on FHA compliance issues, loan sampling and the Department of Justice’s use of the False Claims Act to prosecute FHA lenders. Such enforcement actions have resulted in more than $4.5 billion in settlements with FHA lenders. In April, Quicken sued...


June 4, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Provident Funding Settlement With CFPB Has Many Important Messages for Other Mortgage Lenders

Last week’s $9 million settlement between wholesale lender Provident Funding and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice to resolve allegations of excessive discriminatory fees on the part of independent mortgage brokers, has some key takeaways for the rest of the mortgage industry, top compliance attorneys say. “The first is that it obviously signals that mortgage lending is still on the radar at these agencies,” even though their attention has evolved into other types of lending products, “and they are still concerned with wholesale mortgage pricing,” said Melanie Brody, partner and co-lead of the fair lending practice at the K&L Gates law firm in Washington, DC. She also noted...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Industry Groups Still Concerned About Complaint Database

A number of industry groups representing a broad array of financial services providers took advantage of the CFPB’s latest inquiry about consumer complaint information to express their concerns with the bureau’s possible expansions of its related database. Earlier this year, the bureau issued a formal request for information about the Consumer Complaint Database, asking for “input from the public on the potential collection and sharing of consumer compliments about providers of consumer financial products and services and more information about a company’s complaint handling.” The bureau specifically asked for input on two key points, the first of which was ranking or otherwise sorting service providers by certain metrics related to the complaints they receive, allowing complainants to rate service providers’ ...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Brings $25M Enforcement Action Against PayPal Over Credit

The CFPB recently brought a $25 million enforcement action against PayPal, a division of eBay, alleging the company illegally signed up consumers for its online credit product, PayPal Credit, formerly known as Bill Me Later, which the company had acquired. Since 2008, PayPal has offered PayPal Credit to consumers across the country making purchases from thousands of online merchants, including eBay. The CFPB alleged that many consumers who were attempting to enroll in a regular PayPal account, or make an online purchase, were signed up for the credit product without realizing it. “The company also failed to post payments properly, lost payment checks, and mishandled billing disputes that consumers had with merchants or the company,” the agency added. “Tens of ...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Reg Relief Bill Aims to Expand QM Status, Tweaks Other Rules

The Republican version of regulatory relief legislation that passed out of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee recently revises a handful of CFPB rulemakings in a number of key areas, most notably in liberalizing the criteria for qualified mortgage status under the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule. However, the lender/creditor would have to hold the loan in portfolio from its inception, or any acquirer of the loan must continue to hold it in portfolio. Additionally, the mortgage cannot have been acquired through securitization, nor can it have certain forbidden features, like negative amortization, interest-only provisions, or a loan term in excess of 30 years. Further, the lender would be required to document the borrower’s income, employment, assets and credit history...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

TRID Timing Requirements to Have ‘Profound Impact,’ Attorney Warns

The latest wave in the tsunami of rulemakings from the CFPB is the pending integrated disclosure rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. And just the timing aspects related to providing the consumer the loan estimate and the closing disclosure could cause havoc, a top industry attorney warned recently. According to Phillip Schulman, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the K&L Gates law firm, the biggest problem with the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule has to do with the timing requirements. “You have to give the loan estimate to the borrower within three business days of receiving the application, and no sooner than seven days before consummation or closing of the ...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Lenders Worry Manual Data Entry Will Result in TRID Errors

Yet another industry concern about the CFPB’s pending TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule has emerged. Technology vendor eLynx, based in Cincinnati, has determined that many lenders will be relying at least in part on manually entered data to create the CFPB-mandated Closing Disclosure (CD) after the Aug. 1, 2015, implementation of the new rule. According to the vendor, lenders are concerned that manual data re-entry will be a major cause of disclosure mistakes when the agency’s TRID rule takes effect. eLynx conducted a survey of the hundreds of lenders and settlement professionals currently using its services. “The results are alarming,” the company said. “Only 6 percent have a fully automated process for collecting property-related data from settlement service providers (SSPs).” ...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Congress Intensifies Pressure on CFPB Over TRID Enforcement

More than 250 members of the House of Representatives have signed onto a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, urging he institute a “grace period” of enforcement with the bureau’s pending integrated disclosure rule that takes effect Aug. 1, 2015. The lawmakers have joined the mortgage lending industry in calling for an ease on tight enforcement of the TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule from the Aug. 1 effective date through the end of the year. “[T]his complicated and extensive rule is likely to cause challenges during implementation, which is currently scheduled for Aug. 1, 2015, that could negatively impact consumers,” said the lawmakers. “As you know, the housing market is highly seasonal, with August, September and October ...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

Provident Funding Agrees to $9 Million Settlement With CFPB

Provident Funding, one of the largest wholesale mortgage lenders in the nation, has agreed to pay $9 million in damages for funding loans with higher broker fees on mortgages made to African Americans and Hispanics over a five-year period ending in 2011. According to a statement and notice of charges put out late last week by the CFPB, the privately held lender charged roughly 14,000 minorities higher “total broker fees” than white borrowers. The $9 million will feed a settlement fund that will pay minorities harmed by the practice. “The higher fees were not based on the borrowers’ creditworthiness or other objective criteria related to borrower risk or loan characteristics, but on their race or national origin,” the CFPB said...


June 1, 2015 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Wins $27.7M Judgement Against Foreclosure Relief Firm

The CFPB and the Florida Attorney General’s office were granted a $27.7 million final judgment on Friday against the Hoffman Law Group and corporate affiliates, which allegedly used deceptive marketing practices and scammed distressed homeowners into paying illegal advance fees. The lawsuit named Hoffman Law Group (formerly Residential Litigation Group), its operators, Michael Harper, Benn Willcox and attorney Marc Hoffman, and its affiliated companies, Nationwide Management Solutions, Legal Intake Solutions, File Intake Solutions, and BM Marketing Group, all based in North Palm Beach, FL. The two government agencies accused the companies of tricking consumers into paying millions of dollars in illegal upfront fees to join frivolous lawsuits that the companies falsely claimed would pressure banks to modify their loans or ...


May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Loan Servicers Told to Use Only VRM Quotes to Avoid Confusion

VA loan servicers are now required to request a redemption quote from the agency’s property management contractor, Vendor Resource Management (VRM), to avoid any confusion in the future about such quotes. In recently issued guidance, the VA established standard procedures for redeeming VA property, after foreclosure, in states that allow “statutory redemption.” Statutory redemption refers to a borrower’s right to regain ownership of his or her home that has been foreclosed. Statutory redemption laws allow the borrower a limited amount of time to redeem their property if they are able to buy it back at the price for which it was sold at foreclosure. The redemption window varies by state and ranges from 30 days to 2 years. At the time of redemption, the entire underlying mortgage debt plus interest, foreclosure fees and other costs are due. In most cases, the servicer has ...


May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Court Denies Relator Standing in Whistleblower Suit Against Bank

Whistleblowers that bring a False Claim Act claim against an FHA lender based on previous publicly disclosed information have no standing, according to a recent federal district court ruling. Judge Jack Zouhary of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio dismissed an FCA lawsuit against U.S. Bank because the whistleblower had neither direct nor independent knowledge of the bank’s alleged false claims – two basic requirements for standing in a whistleblower suit. The Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), an Ohio-based legal aid group, filed an FCA lawsuit against U.S. Bank for allegedly disregarding and violating FHA regulations. The group accused the bank of filing false claims and collecting payments without evaluating loss mitigation alternatives before foreclosing on properties. According to ABLE, it had consulted with “many people,” whose mortgage loans were ...


May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Streamline Refis Power VA-Backed MBS, FHA Up in Most States

Security issuances backed by VA loans totaled $35.5 billion in the first quarter of 2015, with VA streamline refinance loans accounting for 57.7 percent, according to an Inside FHA/VA Lending analysis of Ginnie Mae data. Approximately $20.5 billion in VA interest rate reduction refinancing loans were securitized during the first three months as borrowers took advantage of lower interest rates. “For the last three to four months, rates have been bottoming out again, and if rates are lower it makes sense to refinance,” said Jon Shrum, vice president of Commerce Home Mortgage, a VA-certified lender in Huntington Beach, CA. An estimated $14.5 billion in VA purchase mortgages also were securitized during period. VA loans comprised 13.1 percent of all loans in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities. California, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Washington, ... [2 charts]


May 29, 2015 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Proposes Clarification of DE Rules but Industry Seeks More

An FHA proposal aimed at clarifying loan-certification rules is a step in the right direction but it needs more work, according to industry observers. Lenders declined to comment on the proposed form changes but they all agree that the proposal does not go far enough. The revisions aim to make the language in Form 92900-A (HUD Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application) clearer for both borrower and lender. Applicants for an FHA or a VA loan sign the addendum to certify to the government that the information provided by the borrower on the mortgage loan application is correct. By signing the addendum, the borrower certifies that he or she will make payments on the home loan or become indebted to the federal government upon failure to repay the loan. For lenders, signing the form certifies that the loan application meets all of FHA’s insurance requirements. This is where lenders often ...


May 29, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Courts Order New HSBC Trial and Dismiss BofA, U.S. Bank Suits; Lehman Wants Claims Dismissed

A federal appeals court in Chicago has set aside a $2.46 billion judgment against HSBC’s Household International unit and three of its top executives and ordered a new trial. Investors won the judgment in 2009 based on charges that the bank and its top executives misled them about its mortgage lending practices. The price of the stocks subsequently collapsed as the subprime mortgage market unraveled, causing huge investor losses. The class-action lawsuit alleged...


May 28, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HUD Offers Form Changes that May Help Lenders Avoid FCA Suits, But Stakeholders Say Proposals Need Work

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking comment on proposed changes to FHA’s loan certification document to make it less likely for direct-endorsement lenders to be sued for loan fraud over a technical glitch or an unintentional oversight. Language in Form 92900-A (HUD Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application), a loan-certification document signed by lenders, has been revised to reflect updated provisions in the new HUD Single Family Policy Handbook, a compendium of FHA policies and guidelines. The proposed changes would differentiate...


May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Wins Lawsuite on Non-Agency MBS, Appeal is PLanned

Although the trial between the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Nomura Holdings is over, Nomura said that it is planning an appeal. The Japanese-based investment bank was found financially liable last week when Federal Judge Denise Cote ruled the bank knowingly sold bad mortgage-backed securities to the GSEs ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. The FHFA is working to put a dollar amount on the damages that Nomura and RBS Securities, the underwriter of four of the seven securitizations at issue, should pay. Nomura spokesman Jonathan Hodgkinson, said in a statement that losses by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac resulted from an unprecedented decline in home prices. However, that defense approach failed. According to Cote “given the magnitude of falsity, it’s not surprising that the defendant...


May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHLB Combined Net Income Rose Due to Higher Litigation Gains

The Federal Home Loan Bank system earned $1.015 billion in the first quarter of 2015, according to figures compiled by the system’s Office of Finance, an 82.6 percent increase when compared to the same quarter in 2014. The sharp increase was primarily the result of higher gains on litigation settlements, according to the Office of Finance. Litigation settlements accounted for $480 million in gains for the three months ending on March 31. The OF said the bulk of it was “driven by the FHLBank of San Francisco’s $450 million settlement of certain claims arising from investments in private-label mortgage-backed securities.” Total FHLBank assets for the first three months of the year were down at $879.9 billion, a 3.7 percent decrease from...


May 22, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Nomura Considers Appeal of $805 Million Judgment, FHLBank Dismisses MBS Claims Against Some Banks

Nomura Holdings Inc. is mulling an appeal following last week’s court order that it, along with RBS Securities, pay Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a total of $805.1 million to resolve claims arising from the pre-crisis sale of non-agency MBS to the government-sponsored enterprises. Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rendered the judgment May 11 after a three-week bench trial in which she found Nomura and RBS liable for the claims brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The MBS were backed by mortgages with an unpaid principal balance of about $2.05 billion at the time of purchase. Nomura and RBS, which underwrote four of the seven MBS deals at issue, provided...


Poll

A lot has been written about the ‘Millennial Generation’ being key to the future of the housing/mortgage market, but how much of your mortgage workforce includes Millennials – those born roughly between the years 1980 to 1999?

Less than 10 percent
11 to 30 percent
Greater than 30 percent
It’s so small we can’t even measure it.
We’re tired of reading about how important Millennials are…

vote to see results
Housing Pulse