Legal Issues

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

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.

August 18, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Tags Finance Company For Alleged Scam of Military Personnel

The CFPB late last week said it shut down what it called a service member fee scam allegedly run by USA Discounters, Ltd., a consumer finance company that operates a chain of retail stores, most of which are near military bases, and offers in-store and online financing for purchases. USA Discounters tricked thousands of American military personnel into paying fees for legal protections they already had under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and for certain services that the company failed to provide, the bureau alleged. The CFPB said it obtained more than $350,000 in refunds for military personnel harmed by the practices in question, and the company will pay an additional $50,000 civil penalty. The company cannot deduct the penalty ...

August 18, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Orders Amerisave to Pony Up $19.3 Million Over Alleged Scheme

In its first case regarding deceptive mortgage advertising, the CFPB has ordered Atlanta-based Amerisave Mortgage Corp., an online mortgage lender, and its affiliate, Novo Appraisal Management Co., to pay $19.3 million in damages and a fine. The consent order settles charges the firms engaged in a deceptive bait-and-switch mortgage-lending scheme said to have harmed tens of thousands of consumers. Of the total payout, $14.8 million will be in the form of refunds to harmed consumers. The companies also agreed to pay a $4.5 million fine. Patrick Markert, the owner of both companies, as an individual, will pay an additional $1.5 million penalty. According to the CFPB, between mid-2011 and 2014, Amerisave advertised its interest rates and terms using online banner ...

August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reverse Mortgages Reportable Under HMDA

Reverse mortgages would be included in Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reports under a proposed rule published recently by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The proposed rule would expand the definition of a “covered loan” under HMDA to include reverse mortgages and home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs), which include reverse mortgages structured as open-end HELOCs. Currently, HMDA regulations do not require reporting of HELOCs, although lenders may do so if they choose. Currently, financial institutions only have to report information on a closed-end reverse mortgage if the transaction involves a home purchase, home improvement or refinancing. Among other things, the CFPB has proposed to require that all reverse mortgages and HELOCs be identified by loan type to distinguish them from other categories of ...

August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA’s Conversion Plan: Devil is in the Details

Two industry trade groups expressed support for consolidating Ginnie Mae’s mortgage-backed securities program and creating a new MBS but they are at loggerheads on some of the details. Commenting on the Ginnie Mae proposal, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said the disagreements are mostly on how to resolve issues related to winding down the Ginnie Mae I MBS program and providing a conversion option for existing securities. “It is clear that further discussion is warranted, and direct engagement with key stakeholders should be beneficial,” the trade groups suggested. Ginnie Mae has received considerable support from a variety of industry players for its “straw man” proposal to shift to a single MBS program based on the existing Ginnie II. The program now accounts for more than 90 percent of all ...

August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Private MIs, VA Overtake Faltering FHA Program

Weighed down by high premium costs and lender overlays, FHA lost more primary market share to private mortgage insurers and the Department of Veterans Affairs during the second quarter of 2014. Although June’s FHA endorsement numbers have not yet been released, the trend seen in April through May, along with Ginnie Mae securitization data, suggest that FHA business was up a modest 11.5 percent from the first quarter. But that increase provides no comfort to FHA, which saw its market share go down to 33.7 percent, a six-year low. From April to May, FHA forward endorsements rose by 2.4 percent to $10.61 billion. On a year-over-year basis, however, endorsements were down from $21.9 billion in May 2013, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency data. On the other hand, private MI companies reported a total of $44.19 billion of new insurance written (NIW) during the ... [2 charts]

August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

More Indemnification Demands Anticipated

The False Claims Act (FCA) and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) not only have become strong enforcement tools in the fight against FHA mortgage fraud but also an efficient means of recovering taxpayer losses. Having used both federal statutes effectively to wrangle huge settlements from large banks, federal prosecutors now have their eyes set on mid-level banks, according to compliance experts during a recent webinar hosted by Inside Mortgage Finance Publications. “Because these FCA [and FIRREA] lawsuits have been a cash cow for the Department of Justice and the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I think these agencies will target mid-level banks next,” said ...

August 15, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

IG Audit Finds Flaws in Indemnification Recovery

The Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to bill lenders for 486 loans with enforceable indemnification agreements that created losses for the FHA, according to the HUD Inspector General. The loans were originated between 2004 and 2014 and were either in the Accelerated Claims Disposition program or the Claims Without Conveyance of Title program, or they went into default before an indemnification agreement expired. Due to procedural errors and apparent lack of oversight, HUD failed to recover $37.1 million for 486 loans that had enforceable indemnification agreements. The unbilled loans represented 8.0 percent of total activity in the programs during that period. In addition, HUD did not ensure that indemnification agreements were extended to 64 of 2,078 loans that were streamline financed. As a result, HUD incurred losses of ...

August 14, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Wells Fargo Wins Latest Round in RESPA Class Action Involving Affiliated Business Arrangement

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Wells Fargo and co-defendant Long & Foster in a class-action dispute involving an affiliated business arrangement. In Minter v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA et al, plaintiffs/appellants Denise Minter, Jason and Rachel Alborough, and Lizbeth Binks brought suit on behalf of a group of consumers alleging that Wells Fargo and Long & Foster Real Estate violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that defendants created a joint venture, Prosperity Mortgage Co., to skirt RESPA’s prohibition on kickbacks in exchange for the referrals of settlement service business while failing to disclose this business arrangement to its customers. Here’s...

August 8, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA, Goldman Talking Deal After Judge Rules in Part For Agency

It could cost Goldman Sachs between $800 million and $1.25 billion to resolve government claims that it sold faulty mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leading up to the financial crisis, according to recent reports. Goldman Sachs is currently negotiating with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has recovered approximately $16.1 billion in agreements with other banks with respect to legacy MBS sold to the GSEs.In September 2011, the FHFA filed 18 separate lawsuits against some of the nation’s biggest banks, accusing them of misrepresenting some $180 billion in toxic subprime MBS.

August 8, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Orders BofA to Pay $1.27B For ‘Hustle’ of Fannie, Freddie

A federal judge in Manhattan last week ordered Bank of America to pay a $1.27 billion penalty for losses suffered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Countrywide Financial’s “Hustle” program for pumping dubious Alt A loans to the GSEs. The bank also is reportedly nearing a settlement with the Justice Department over other charges. Last October, the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission successfully proved in court that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost some $850 million from thousands of loans acquired through Countrywide’s “high-speed swim lane” program – known as HSSL or “Hustle.”

August 8, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Trustees Ask Court to Clear $4.5 Billion Settlement With Chase, Goldman Sachs Faces $1.2 Billion Hit

Mortgage trustees are still awaiting state court approval of a $4.5 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase in relation to faulty residential MBS issued by the bank and the now-defunct Bear Stearns between 2005 and 2008. If approved by the New York State Supreme Court, the agreement would resolve representation and warranty claims as well as servicing claims related to loans in 330 mortgage securitization trusts, as well as claims over document delivery. In addition, the bank agreed to change its servicing procedures with respect to mortgage loans in the trusts. The proposed settlement does not resolve...

August 8, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

NY Fed, Looking to Expand Capacity, Launches Limited, One-Year Counterparty MBS Pilot Program

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is rolling out a one-year pilot program for a limited number of firms that do not meet the minimum capital requirement for primary dealers to function as counterparties in agency MBS operations it runs for the System Open Market Account portfolio. The FRBNY said its intent is to explore ways to broaden access to open market operations, and to determine the extent to which firms beyond the primary dealer community can augment the FRBNY’s operational capacity and resiliency in its monetary policy operations. “This pilot will allow...

August 4, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Rep. Hensarling Again Pounds On the Constitutionality Drum

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, has written CFPB Director Richard Cordray to assert that the recent Supreme Court decision in National Labor Relations Board vs. Noel Canning raises questions about the validity of the actions Cordray took prior to his July 16, 2013, confirmation by the Senate. The congressman also said he is seeking “a complete and proper accounting of the CFPB’s exposure to legal challenges.” The correspondence to Cordray was also signed by Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-ID. In the Canning case, the Supreme Court of the United States held that President Barack Obama’s appointment of directors to the NLRB violated the Recess Appointment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Although ...

August 4, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

GAO to Probe CFPB Management, Culture, as GOP Ups Pressure

The Government Accountability Office will put the CFPB’s organizational culture and management practices under its microscope in response to a request from Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and two other members of the full committee’s GOP leadership. McHenry and his Republican allies on the subcommittee have been trying to hold the CFPB’s feet to the fire for months over allegations that bureau managers are discriminating against employees based on race and gender and retaliating against employees who complain. McHenry announced the GAO probe during a hearing last week, at which he also provided an updated total of the number of CFPB employees who have alleged discrimination and/or retaliation at the ...

August 4, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

JPMorgan Chase Accused of Violating CFPB’s Servicing Rules

In what is likely the first such case of its kind, a law firm headed up by former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, D, brought suit last month in the Eastern Division of the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio against JPMorgan Chase, alleging the lender violated the new mortgage servicing regulation promulgated by the CFPB. According to court documents, homeowner Bethanne Wasko, of Poland, OH, was always current on her mortgage until she sought a loan modification and was told by Chase that she would need to stop making payments in order to be eligible. Wasko did as she was told, her attorney’s filing said, but instead of offering her the modification she sought, the bank filed for foreclosure. ...

August 4, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Weighs in on TILA Rescission Case Before SCOTUS

The CFPB and 25 states filed amicus briefs in a case pending before the Supreme Court of the United States, Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., that could resolve a circuit split over the recession of a mortgage under the Truth in Lending Act. The Truth in Lending Act provides that a borrower “shall have the right to rescind the transaction until midnight of the third business day following ... the delivery of the information and rescission forms required under this section ... by notifying the creditor ... of his intention to do so.” TILA further creates a time limit for the exercise of this right, providing that the borrower’s “right of rescission shall expire three years after the date ...

August 4, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB, State AGs Take Down Rome Finance Over Predatory Lending

The CFPB and 13 state attorneys general obtained approximately $92 million in debt relief from Colfax Capital Corp. and Culver Capital LLC, also collectively known as “Rome Finance,” for about 17,000 U.S. service members and other consumers said to be harmed by the company’s alleged predatory lending scheme. According to the government agencies, Rome Finance lured consumers with the promise of no money down and instant financing. Rome Finance then masked expensive finance charges by artificially inflating the disclosed price of the consumer goods being sold. Rome Finance also allegedly withheld information on billing statements and illegally collected on loans that were void. The CFPB said the companies offered credit to consumers purchasing computers, videogame consoles, televisions, or other products. ...

August 4, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau, FTC, State AGs Go After Foreclosure Relief Companies

The CFPB, the Federal Trade Commission and 15 state attorneys general, as well as other state agencies, announced a number of legal actions last month against alleged foreclosure relief scammers they accused of using deceptive marketing tactics to rip off distressed homeowners across the country. The CFPB filed three lawsuits against companies and individuals it asserted collected more than $25 million in illegal advance fees for services that falsely promised to prevent foreclosures or renegotiate troubled mortgages. The bureau is seeking compensation for victims, civil fines and injunctions against the companies and individuals it identified. One of the lawsuits was filed against Clausen & Cobb Management Company, Inc., its owners, Alfred Clausen and Joshua Cobb, and their business associate, attorney ...

August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Comment Period for Single Family Handbook Extended. The FHA has extended from July 29 to Aug. 15, 2014 the deadline for submitting feedback on certain sections within the draft Single Family Handbook. Comments are being sought on sections “Doing Business with FHA – FHA Lenders and Mortgagees” and “Quality Control, Oversight and compliance." Both sections’ contents, as well as supporting information, are posted for review and feedback on the SF Drafting Table in the FHA website. Each section’s web page also contains highlights of changes, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a feedback response worksheet. Julian Castro as New HUD Secretary. Julian Castro was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28. He replaces Shaun Donovan, who is now director of the ...

August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA’s Issuer Approval Process Goes Electronic

Ginnie Mae is taking its issuer approval process online effective Sept. 1, 2014. Entities seeking to become an approved issuer of Ginnie mortgage-backed securities must file their applications electronically through the new Application Connection (AC), which is on the agency’s website. Ginnie Mae will no longer accept paper applications after July 31 as it shifts from the old to the new system. The agency is strongly encouraging potential applicants to complete two required courses through the Ginnie Mae Online University before filling out an application to become a Ginnie Mae MBS issuer. The courses are “Ginnie Mae 101” and “Applying to Ginnie Mae.”The two mandatory courses and the Ginnie Mae Online University provide free training and how to apply for approval, as well as the role and responsibilities of a Ginnie Mae issuer in ...

August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Delinquency Rates Fall Midway Through 2014

The delinquency rate for residential FHA-insured mortgages fell at the halfway mark of 2014 from the end of the fourth quarter last year, a result of improved overall loan performance, strong credit standards and an improving, albeit slowly, economy, an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency data suggests. Although the number of FHA lenders included in the analysis has doubled since year-end 2013, delinquency rates in the 30-60 days and 90-day plus buckets appear to be trending downward. As of June 30, FHA delinquencies across the board were down to 13.3 percent from 15.2 percent as of Dec. 30, 2013. The seriously delinquent rate – the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due – has dropped to 7.14 percent from 8.08 percent over the same period. The delinquency rate of FHA loans that are at least one payment past due also fell to ... [1 chart]

August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lower Loan Limits Hit Some Markets

The FHA’s widespread reduction in loan limits for 2014 has had a mixed impact on production levels so far this year, according to a new Inside FHA Lending analysis of FHA endorsement data. Through the first four months of 2014, FHA endorsements were down 55.6 percent from the same period last year. But in counties where loan limits were lowered, FHA production was down 57.5 percent from early 2013. In the relatively few counties where loan limits actually increased in 2014, FHA endorsements were also down from a year ago, but by a less severe 47.4 percent. The biggest decline in endorsements has been in refinances, especially FHA-to-FHA refinances. In areas with lowered loan limits, production of these loans has plummeted 87.0 percent, and even areas with raised loan limits saw an 81.1 percent drop in streamlined refis. Purchase-mortgage originations have taken less of a ...

August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

MRB Penalizes 46 Lenders, 25 Lose FHA Approval

Twenty-five lenders either settled or lost their FHA approval for a full year because they failed to complete their annual recertification requirement, while 21 others were subjected to enforcement actions because their origination or servicing files did not meet FHA requirements. Results from cases heard by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mortgagee Review Board in 2012 and 2013 showed that the board used all enforcement tools at its disposal. Specifically, the board took the following actions: Assessed money penalties of more than $1.5 million; imposed fees, refunds and principal buydowns totaling $1.2 million; required indemnification on 163 FHA-insured loans; withdrew FHA approval of four lenders; suspended the FHA approval of one lender; and placed one lender’s approval on probation. Violations were related to ...

August 1, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Reassess FHA Business, Exposures

For FHA lenders, the idea of a large lender exiting the FHA market and creating opportunities for market share has been overshadowed by concerns regarding liability in the wake of recent fraud-related settlements between lenders and the federal government. Compliance experts said many of their FHA clients are quietly reassessing their FHA business after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, during a recent earnings call, spoke out loudly against the government’s stringent enforcement actions aimed at recovering “wrongfully” claimed funds. Lenders fear that FHA enforcement actions have taken a turn for the worse in recent years, and that even errors that have nothing to do with loan default are construed as fraud by government prosecutors, resulting in billion-dollar penalties against FHA lenders. Seven major banks, so far, have paid ...

August 1, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Servicers to Face Increased Regulatory Scrutiny, Nationstar, Ocwen, et al. Maintaining Cash Levels

Close compliance with the mortgage servicing rules promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will continue to be a critical concern for servicers this year. Analysts at DBRS anticipate intensified scrutiny from the CFPB and a higher likelihood of fines and lawsuits from noncompliance and even technical errors. “DBRS believes that the issuance of the mortgage servicing rules has brought much-needed reform to the servicing industry,” the analysts said in a new report. It was...

August 1, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judge Cuts BofA ‘Hustle’ Penalty by Half to $1.27B as Bank Tries to Settle Other Charges; Issa Presses DOJ

A Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday ordered Bank of America to pay a $1.27 billion penalty over mortgage fraud related to Countrywide Financial’s “Hustle” program, a little more than half of what the government had said the bank should pay, while the bank and Department of Justice discuss a potential MBS fraud settlement. Last October, the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission successfully proved in court that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost some $850 million from thousands of loans acquired through Countrywide’s “high-speed swim lane” program – known as HSSL or “Hustle.” The loan program ran...

July 25, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Shareholders Score Limited Win as Judge Grants Discovery

A federal judge last week granted limited discovery to a hedge fund representing a group of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders as they challenge the government’s “net worth sweep” of their profits. However, the court will keep a tight lid on public access to the documents in a nod to the government’s claim that a leak could have dire economic consequences on the mortgage market. Fairholme Capital Management has been pushing hard for discovery and access to internal government documents since the shareholder filed suit last summer demanding that the Treasury Department void its August 2012 Third Amendment to its preferred stock purchase agreement with Fannie and Freddie.

July 25, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Fair Housing Group Accuses Fannie REO Contractor of Discrimination

A Fannie Mae real estate-owned contractor engaged in a “clear pattern” of neglecting Fannie-owned vacant foreclosed homes in black and latino neighborhoods compared to white neighborhoods in four different cities, according to a discrimination complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development this week. The National Fair Housing Alliance and two partners allege that Brandon, FL-based Cyprexx Services violated the federal Fair Housing Act by neglecting minority-owned Fannie REOs.

July 24, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Consumer Narratives Would be Added to Complaint Database Under CFPB Proposal as Industry Frets

Mortgage lenders and other financial services providers are up in arms about a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposal to allow consumers to post narrative complaints about companies in the agency’s online complaint database. The bureau wants to expand the current database to include “unstructured consumer complaint narrative data.” A consumer who submits a complaint will be given the opportunity to check a consent box giving the bureau permission to publish his or her narrative. Where the consumer provides consent to publish the narrative, the related company will be given...

July 21, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Industry Reps Suggest Alternative To Bureau for Privacy Notices

The CFPB’s proposal to simplify the annual privacy notice requirement under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act would fail to accomplish its goal, a handful of industry trade groups said. They suggested an alternative approach that would eliminate the annual mailed notice requirement for institutions that have not changed their privacy practices and do not share information under the GLBA in a way that gives customers a right to opt out. This approach is compatible with some pending legislation in Congress, S. 635 and H.R. 749. “The key distinction between the legislative solutions pending in Congress and the CFPB approach is that the congressional solutions would only require that information sharing be limited to the current statutory exceptions, that the information disclosed in ...

July 21, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Fines Big Payday Lender $10 Million for ‘Abusive’ Practices

The CFPB recently ordered ACE Cash Express of Irving, TX, one of the largest payday lenders in the United States, to pay a $10 million fine for allegedly using illegal debt-collection tactics – including harassment and false threats of lawsuits or criminal prosecution – to pressure consumers into debt traps they couldn’t afford and couldn’t get out of. The bureau said it found that ACE used these illegal debt-collection tactics to create a false sense of urgency to lure overdue borrowers into payday debt traps. “ACE would encourage overdue borrowers to temporarily pay off their loans and then quickly re- borrow from ACE,” the CFPB said. Even after consumers explained to ACE that they could not afford to repay the loan, the ...

July 21, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

Bureau Files Lawsuit Against Debt-Collection Firm, Principals

The CFPB filed a lawsuit in a federal district court last week against Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, based in Marietta, GA, and its three principal partners – Frederick J. Hanna, Joseph Cooling, and Robert Winter – accusing them of operating a debt-collection lawsuit mill that used illegal tactics to intimidate consumers into paying debts they may not owe. “The CFPB alleges that the firm operates like a factory, producing hundreds of thousands of debt- collection lawsuits against consumers on behalf of its clients, which mainly include banks, debt buyers and major credit card issuers,” the bureau said. 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 ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

House Democrats’ Bill Features Amped-Up GNMA

Ginnie Mae would play a greater role in a private-market partnership model envisioned in proposed housing finance reform legislation introduced recently by House Democrats. However, many in the industry doubt whether a Democrat-sponsored reform bill will pass in this Congress. Sponsored by Reps. John Delaney (MD), John Carney (DE) and Jim Himes (CT), the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act would put Ginnie Mae in charge of all single- and multifamily mortgage-backed securities with government backing. Among other things, H.R. 5055 would create a new Ginnie Mae MBS for conventional mortgages backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government with minimum support from the private sector. Under the proposed model, private entities would assume up to 5 percent of the first-loss capital on the MBS. The remaining 95 percent would be shared between ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Ginnie Mae Servicing Remains Flat in 2Q14

Ginnie Mae servicing remained flat in the second quarter of 2014, continuing a trend that began in the third quarter of last year as FHA refinancing fell and purchase activity slowed, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of Ginnie Mae data. Servicing volume rose by only 0.7 percent from the first quarter, slightly lower from the 0.9 percent increase reported by Ginnie Mae servicers for the first three months of 2014. On the other hand, volume was up modestly by 5.9 percent year-over-year, data showed. Ginnie Mae servicers ended the second quarter with a total of $1.46 trillion in unpaid principal balance, up from $1.45 trillion in the prior quarter. Four out of the top five Ginnie Mae servicers were banks. Wells Fargo closed out the second quarter with $425.9 billion in servicing volume, a 0.2 percent decrease from the previous quarter but up 2.1 percent from a year ago. Its 29.2 percent market share put it ... [1 chart]

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

VA Clarifies Impact of Same-Sex Marriage Policy

Same-sex couples are entitled to veteran benefits, including home loan guaranty, if their marriage is recognized by the state where they live or where they lived when they filed a claim for benefits – and not where the marriage took place.The VA made the clarification in the wake of guidance the agency issued regarding the benefits and services same-sex married couples are entitled to under current laws and regulation. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Windsor, struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which governs the definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” for all federal agencies, because it was unconstitutional. The court held that the provision deprives a person of the right to equal liberty, which is protected by the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Prior to the SCOTUS opinion, DOMA defined “marriage” as a ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Infractions that Could Trigger MRB Enforcement

One deficiency commonly noted in cases heard by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mortgagee Review Board is failure by FHA lenders and servicers to implement and maintain a quality control (QC) plan. FHA’s focus on quality control has increased over the last couple of years as the agency strives to correct underwriting flaws that have contributed to the massive losses and severe depletion of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. After years of guiding and helping clients comply and cope with FHA regulations, requirements and enforcement actions, the Collingwood Group reports that a common QC-related mistake among FHA lenders is failure to document steps taken to correct deficiencies – or to take any corrective action at all. Tied to this issue is ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Borrower OK Required to Voluntarily End Federal MI

New FHA guidance regarding voluntary termination of FHA mortgage insurance does not affect separate guidance requiring borrowers to continue payment of their annual insurance premium regardless of the loan’s amortization terms. The FHA made the clarification in relation to Mortgagee Letter 2014-13, which requires written consents by the lender and the borrower in all voluntary terminations of FHA mortgage insurance. The requirement becomes effective on Oct. 1st this year. Specifically, the guidance requires FHA lenders to document that they have obtained the borrower’s informed consent to terminate FHA insurance on the mortgage. The change ensures that the lender would incur no liability and that the borrower understands the terms of the voluntary termination. Under current rules, the FHA may terminate mortgage insurance at the request of the borrower and the lender. The lender may cancel the insurance endorsement upon notification by the FHA commissioner that the insurance contract is terminated.

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA to Lenders: Try PFS First Before DIL Option

If an FHA borrower runs out of options for loss mitigation and home retention, a lender must first consider a pre-foreclosure or short sale, with deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure as a second option, according to new FHA guidance. Mortgagee Letter 2014-5 states that the lender must first determine whether the borrower facing default or at risk of default qualifies for a pre-foreclosure sale (PFS). The FHA allows pre-foreclosure sales to be processed as either a “standard PFS” or a “streamline PFS.” The former is available only to owner-occupants while the latter is for both owner- and non-owner-occupied single-family properties. In determining standard PFS eligibility, the lender must use a “deficit income test” to determine whether the borrower is experiencing hardship and is able to sustain his or her mortgage. A DIT resulting in a negative amount would likely qualify the borrower for a ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

JPMorgan Chief Seeks FHA Safe Harbor for Bank

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jaime Dimon this week warned that the investment bank may rethink its FHA business without some type of safe harbor to shield it from potential future liabilities arising from the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act and the False Claims Act. In February this year, JPMorgan agreed to pay $614 million to the federal government to settle allegations that it falsely certified poorly underwritten loans for FHA endorsement, causing massive losses to taxpayers in paid claims. Dimon lashed out at the government during a telephone briefing on the company’s second-quarter 2014 earnings report. He said JPMorgan lost a tremendous amount of money over what the government claimed was fraud but was in fact a “commercial dispute” between FHA and the bank. “We collected $600 million in insurance, the [government] disputed $200 million [alleging] it was fraud ...

July 18, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Citigroup’s Settlement a Gain for Government, But Observers Say It’s a Setback to Recovery

The Department of Justice this week announced a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup to resolve federal and state civil claims related to legacy residential MBS. Industry attorneys are warning that such gargantuan settlements might cause lenders to pull back further, making credit far less available to borrowers and causing economic recovery to falter further. The settlement includes...

July 18, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

FINRA Eases TBA Margin Requirement Proposal For Smaller Participants, Forgoes Other Suggestions

After hearing from some market participants about certain unintended consequences, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority decided to revise its earlier proposal to establish margin requirements for to-be-announced transactions to accommodate smaller players in the market. Last week, its board authorized FINRA to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission the revised amendments to FINRA Rule 4210 (Margin Requirements) to establish margin requirements for TBA transactions (including adjustable-rate mortgage transactions), specified pool transactions, and transactions in collateralized mortgage obligations, with forward settlement dates. The proposal is...

July 17, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Miami Loses Discrimination Fight with Banks, But Some States Find Ways to Force Banks to Pay Foreclosure Costs

While legal attempts by city governments to force large banks to pay for the high cost of foreclosure have failed, efforts to resolve the problem in state legislatures appear to be making headway. The City of Miami suffered consecutive defeats in three of the four lawsuits it filed against major banks after a federal district court judge dismissed all three because of the city’s lack of standing to bring suit under the federal Fair Housing Act. U.S. District Court Judge William Dimitrouleas dismissed...

July 11, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA: ‘No Change’ in Opposition To Eminent Domain to Seize Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency remains committed under new management to deploy regulatory countermeasures against municipalities that move forward with proposed efforts to seize underwater mortgages via local eminent domain powers, agency officials say. After a quiet period when it appeared this issue was going away, eminent domain initiatives are cropping up again, including a recent push by a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to get the city to partner with Richmond, CA.

July 11, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

‘Flood of Litigation’ Expected Against Non-Agency MBS Trustees for Failing to Pursue Buyback Claims

The six lawsuits filed in June by institutional investors against non-agency MBS trustees are just the beginning of actions against trustees, according to an attorney who has pursued representation-and-warranty claims against non-agency MBS issuers. “We are likely to see a flood of litigation against trustees alleging that the banks sat on their hands and blew the statute of limitations on valuable putback claims,” according to Isaac Gradman, an attorney at Perry Johnson Anderson Miller & Moskowitz. The June lawsuits by BlackRock, PIMCO and other institutional investors targeted...


Home-equity lending is beginning to show new life. My company (pick one):

Plans to enter this market over the next 12 months.


Is already making home equity loans and hopes to increase the offerings.


Is in the market but don’t expect much growth.


Is not making second liens and has no plans to do so.


Housing Pulse