Mortgage Banking Profitability

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Mortgage Banking Profitability.

January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA to Launch Issuer Scorecard in the Spring

Ginnie Mae will soon introduce the third prong of a strategy to improve its oversight of participants in its mortgage-backed securities program – a performance scorecard for issuers – and monitoring of its risk. Essentially a “scorecard,” the Issuer Operational Performance Profile (IOPP) will enable issuers to better understand and comply with Ginnie Mae’s expectations. It also provides a way for issuers to measure and improve their performance and compare it to the performance of their peers. Final testing and training for IOPP began this winter, with deployment expected “in early 2015,” the agency said. Issuers will be scored monthly based on a series of metrics. Each issuer will be rated against its peers by applying a weighting algorithm and, in some cases, adjusting for certain control factors. Each issuer will receive two scores: one for operational management and ...

January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Tweaks Rules for Doing Business with Agency

The FHA has proposed key changes to rules for 203(k) consultants, direct endorsement (DE) underwriters and nonprofit groups that do business with the agency. The changes are part of a draft section, “Doing Business with FHA – Other Participants,” which will be incorporated into the overall Single Family Policy handbook. The draft contains information regarding eligibility, approval and recertification requirements for 203(k) program consultants, direct endorsement (DE) underwriters and nonprofit groups. The FHA posted the draft versions of “Doing Business with FHA – Other Participants in FHA Transactions” and “Quality Control, Oversight and Compliance – Other Participants in FHA Transactions” on its SF Housing Policy Drafting Table for public review and comment. The draft consolidate various existing Department of Housing and Urban Development handbooks, mortgagee letters, housing notices and ...

January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

Low Rates, High Demand Power VA’s 3Q14 Surge

Production of loans with a VA guaranty was moderately strong in the third quarter of 2014, thanks to lower rates and increased demand for the no-downpayment loans, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of the latest agency data. A 14.1 percent quarter-to-quarter surge helped the industry end last year’s first nine months with a total of $76.3 billion in VA loans, mostly purchase home mortgages taken out by a younger generation of war veterans. VA streamline refinancing also accounted for a substantial chunk of originations, 19.2 percent. Volume jumped from $19.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014 to $26.5 billion the following quarter. Lenders closed out the third quarter with $30.2 billion. Stanley Middleman, chief executive officer of Freedom Mortgage, said VA lending is on the upswing, driven by low interest rates. He thinks the VA home loan guaranty program has been ... [ 1 chart ]

January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Likely to Reclaim Share with Premium Cut

The half-percent annual premium reduction the FHA announced recently will likely enable the agency to reclaim the high loan-to-value segment of the mortgage market from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to analysts. Speaking with some originators that have been looking at the best way to securitize high LTV loans, Deustche Bank securities analysts said the lower FHA annual premium would put pressure on the government-sponsored enterprises to lower the cost of their guarantees. “The grapevine has anticipated for months that [g-fees] have little chance of going up and more chance of going down,” the analysts said. “But the specific risk triggered by the FHA move is that the cost of credit will now drop for high-LTV conventional borrowers.” Even before the FHA policy shift, private mortgage insurers have been pressuring the Federal Housing Finance Agency to ...

January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

Lenders Expect Modest Refinance Wave

FHA lenders are gearing up to meet an anticipated increase in demand for purchase and refinance loans with mortgage rates falling to near-historic lows coupled by a 50 basis point cut in FHA’s annual insurance premium. Lenders hope the combination of lower mortgage rates and the revised FHA pricing structure will create sufficient incentive for more borrowers to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage. For example, Freedom Mortgage, 32nd in Inside FHA Lending’s 2014 ranking of FHA lenders, is looking to hire as many as 500 new employees to handle the anticipated surge following the FHA action. Stanley Middleman, chief executive officer of Freedom Mortgage, expects a robust FHA refinance market during the first half of 2015, tapering off in the second half. “Lower rates, coupled with premium reduction, put a lot of FHA borrowers in a position to get their ...

January 23, 2015 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Rent-to-Own Lender Cove Out of Business

Cove Financial, a lender that offered a unique rent-to-own program, went out of business at the end of 2014. The company recently notified loan originators offering its Mortgage Alternative Program that Cove “is no longer conducting business or offering MAP.” Officials said vendors and others that have partnered with the company will be contacted by an assignee for the benefit of creditors. The lender added that the closure doesn’t impact borrowers ...

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Bank Retail Mortgage Lending Up in 3Q14

Commercial banks and thrifts originated $89.88 billion of home mortgages through their retail production channels during the third quarter of 2014, a healthy 7.7 increase from the prior quarter, according to a new Inside Mortgage Trends analysis of call-report data. That brought year-to-date retail originations by banks to $236.57 billion, off 55.5 percent from the first nine months of 2013. Bank and thrift retail originations appeared to trail the overall market ... [Includes one data chart]

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Lenders Take More Control Over Closing Process

This year could be a watershed moment for mortgage lending as industry representatives feel their way around a brand new approach to closing disclosures, thanks to the pending implementation of the integrated disclosure rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As a result, it’s likely that more lenders will assume greater control over the closing process as well as the end product. The new closing form is “unlike anything the industry has seen before ...

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Is the Mortgage Business Getting Too Old?

The executive suites of mortgage banking firms are well represented by members of the “baby boom” generation who aren’t getting any younger. And therein lies a potential problem. “Millennials certainly appear to be under-represented in the mortgage industry, while members of the baby boom and Gen X generations appear to be over-represented,” said Glen Corso, executive director of Community Mortgage Lenders of America. The way Corso sees it ...

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Mixed Outlook for Housing Market

A number of factors, including looser underwriting standards, low interest rates and low oil prices, could help bolster the housing sector in 2015, according to industry analysts. However, total mortgage originations are still expected to decline this year compared with 2014, and consumer confidence toward the housing market is lagging optimism about the broader economy. Analysts at Fitch Ratings recently pointed to a “confluence of events” that could ...

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Borrowers Look First to Lender or Broker

Home purchase borrowers, including first-time homebuyers, rely more on their lender or mortgage broker than anyone else as a source of information about mortgages, according to a new government survey on consumers’ mortgage shopping experience. Conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the survey found that an estimated 70 percent of home-purchase borrowers chose their lender or broker before deciding on the type of loan ...

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Brokers Make Comeback in 4Q14 GSE Business

New single-family business at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac declined 2.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014, but you can’t blame it on mortgage brokers. The two government-sponsored enterprises securitized $20.53 billion of broker loans over the final three months of the year, up 3.7 percent from the third quarter, according to a new Inside Mortgage Trends analysis of loan-level mortgage-backed securities data. That gave broker loans a ... [Includes one data chart]

January 16, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

4Q14 First Glimpse: Originations and Mortgage Banking Income Off Slightly

Fourth-quarter earnings reports from the four megabanks in the mortgage industry suggest that loan production activity and mortgage banking income fell slightly at the end of 2014. On a combined basis, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup originated $88.7 billion in home mortgages during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside Mortgage Trends analysis of earnings reports released this week. That total was down ...

January 15, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lender Buybacks Declined in 3Q14 as GSE Focus Turned to More Recent Production

Buybacks and indemnifications by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sellers fell sharply during the third quarter of 2014, according to an analysis by Inside Mortgage Trends, an affiliated newsletter. The two government-sponsored enterprises reported a total of just $543.1 million of repurchases and indemnifications of securitized mortgages in disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That was down a whopping 68.7 percent from the second quarter and was, by far, the lowest quarterly buyback total since the GSEs started disclosing such activity in early 2012. In fact, Fannie and Freddie withdrew...

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

Ginnie Mae MBS Volume Fell Slightly in 4Q14

Ginnie Mae issuance fell 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 as the agency closed a busy year with more than $288.1 billion in total business, according to analysis of agency data. Home-purchase loans, at $192.6 billion, comprised the bulk of new government-loan securitizations, while refinances accounted for $73.0 billion. Loan modifications represented $22.6 billion in total issuances. FHA funneled $158.1 billion in loans to Ginnie Mae while VA and Rural Housing Development loans accounted for $109.5 billion and $19.9 billion, respectively. Wells Fargo led all Ginnie MBS issuers with $57.6 billion followed by PennyMac in distant second with $16.7 billion. Chase Home Finance landed in third place with $15.0 billion while Freedom Mortgage closed the year in fourth place with $14.8 billion. Rounding out the top five Ginnie Mae issuers, Quicken Loans ended 2014 with ... [ 1 chart ]

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Volume Declines Further in FY 2014

FHA reverse mortgage production fell during the first nine months of 2014 compared to same period in the prior year due to changes made by the agency to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. The nine-month HECM volume stood at $10.1 billion as of Sept. 30, down 14.8 percent from the previous nine-month period in 2013, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency data. Volume also fell 9.8 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis. HECM purchase loans accounted for 93.5 percent of the market while a large majority, 77.0 percent, appeared to favor adjustable-rate reverse mortgages over fixed-rate reverse mortgages. Limited maximum draws in the first year and reduction of principal limit factors – actions taken by HUD to improve the HECM program – significantly decreased the demand for HECM products compared with ... [ 1 chart ]

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Borrowers Benefit from MHA Enhancements

FHA borrowers who refinance through the agency’s Home Affordable Modification Program will also be eligible to earn $5,000 in the sixth year of their performing, modified loan, subject to the Department of the Treasury’s guidelines, the FHA has announced. The incentive to FHA-HAMP borrowers is one of several enhancements to the Making Home Affordable program that the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Treasury Department unveiled in December last year. The enhancements were designed to motivate homeowners in MHA to continue making timely mortgage payments, strengthen the safety net for those still facing financial hardships, and help them build equity in their homes. Under the revised HAMP guidelines, all homeowners in the program become eligible to earn $5,000 in the sixth year of their loan modification. This means a borrower’s outstanding principal balance could ...

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Lenders Agree to Settle DOJ Fraud Charges

Two FHA lenders have agreed to separate settlements with the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to resolve allegations of mortgage fraud that resulted in huge losses for HUD. Golden First Mortgage Corp. and its owner/president, David Movtady, have agreed to a $36.3 million settlement with the DOJ to resolve allegations they had lied to the FHA about the quality of loans they had certified for FHA insurance since July 2007. Consequently, the agency incurred more than $12 million in losses since that time, according to court documents. Filed in April 2013 in Manhattan federal court and amended in August 2013, the government complaint sought damages and penalties under the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act against Golden First for years of misconduct as an FHA direct-endorsement lender. Golden First was a ...

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Tweaks Method of Reporting PETRs Results

The FHA has temporarily suspended publication of its Quarterly Loan Review Findings Report, which contains the results of all post-endorsement technical reviews (PETRs) conducted by the FHA during a particular quarter. The suspension will give the FHA sufficient time to “recalibrate how the report is run” as well as improve the report, the agency explained. The report is currently published in Lender Insight, a quarterly publication that contains information from the FHA’s Office of Lender Activities and Program Compliance. Specifically, the report contains charts that divide PETRs findings into five main categories. Each chart lists the top five underwriting errors in each category for each review period. The FHA said it is working to display the results in a more user-friendly, actionable manner. It did not say when the quarterly report will be ...

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Opens Up on QC Reviews, Targeting Methods

The FHA rarely talks about its lender and loan review process in detail but in the latest issue of Lender Insight the agency discusses how it is done and how it selects targets for each review. FHA’s overall counterparty quality-control efforts are divided into lender-monitoring reviews, nonperforming loan reviews, post-endorsement technical reviews of performing loans, post-endorsement technical reviews of early payment defaults (EPD), early cohort claim reviews and lender self-reports. For lender-monitoring reviews, the FHA uses a targeting methodology that takes into account loan volume, default/claim rates, participation in specific FHA loan programs, servicer loss-mitigation performance and certain other factors. Loans are selected to determine compliance with FHA requirements. The Quality Assurance Division (QAD) in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Single-Family ...

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

New VA Limits: No Material Impact on Borrowers

Despite reduced guaranty limits in more than 80 counties, recent changes to the VA mortgage limits in 2015 will have no material impact on veteran borrowers or hurt credit availability, according to industry analysts. In enacting the omnibus spending bill, Congress reduced the maximum size of mortgages guaranteed by the VA, matching it to the $625,500 high-cost loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA. The change took effect on Jan. 1, 2015, affecting 82 counties, some seeing as much as a 40 percent reduction in the VA loan limit. For example, loan limits in the New York area fell by 36.1 percent and in the Washington, DC, area, lenders saw a 9.7 percent decline, according to estimates by the Urban Institute. The VA home loan program does not require a downpayment and the guaranty is limited to 25 percent of the loan amount. In certain cases, the program allows a veteran to ...

January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Cuts Annual Premium by 50 Basis Points

The Obama administration this week announced a half-percent reduction in the annual mortgage insurance premiums all borrowers will have to pay for an FHA-insured forward mortgage loan. In a press briefing, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said the annual MIP willd be lowered from the current 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent – a difference of 50 basis points – to enable more creditworthy first-time homebuyers to purchase their homes. Approximately 250,000 new homeowners will benefit from reduced premiums over the next three years, saving them an average of $900 annually, Castro said. He further estimated that lowering the annual MIP will make homeownership more affordable for more than 2 million borrowers over the three-year period. The upfront fee of 1.75 percent and the current requirement that borrowers continue paying premiums for the life of the loan were ...

January 8, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lenders Loosen Underwriting Standards a Bit, But Loan Performance Remains a Concern

Mortgage underwriting standards have loosened in recent years, led by the jumbo market and reduced overlays on agency mortgages, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. However, underwriting standards aren’t nearly as lenient as they were in the early 2000s, prompting some to call for further loosening. The MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index has trended up since the beginning of 2012. “Most of the action in terms of loosening has been on the jumbo side,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA chief economist, at a talk hosted this week by the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. Separately, he noted...

December 30, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Seattle and Des Moines FHLBanks Merger Cleared by Regulator

The Federal Housing Finance Agency in December cleared the merger of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle and the FHLB Des Moines, which will create the largest FHLB by membership, serving 1,500 institutions in 13 states. The first voluntary merger in the FHLB System’s 82-year history has been approved by the boards of both FHLBs and must now be voted on by members of the two institutions, which will occur in January and February. “This is a critical milestone in the ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Repurchase Activity Slowed Sharply in 3Q14

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported further declines in repurchase activity during the third quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis of disclosure reports filed by the enterprises with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mortgage seller repurchases and indemnifications totaled just $543.1 million during the third quarter, a decline of 68.7 percent from the previous three-month period. It was the lowest quarterly repurchase volume since ... [Includes one data chart]

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Bank Mortgage Sales Spiked in 3Q14

Commercial banks and thrifts sold some $175.6 billion of home mortgages during the third quarter of 2014, a healthy 25.4 percent increase from the prior quarter, according to a new Inside Mortgage Trends analysis of call-report data. Despite the bump in loan sales and mortgage originations, the banking industry reported a modest 4.9 percent drop in mortgage-banking income during the third quarter. And there was relatively little left in the tank as the market ... [Includes one data chart]

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Loan Doc Fraud Most Reported in 2013

Most of the mortgage fraud investigations in 2013 that involved industry professionals were about misrepresentations on loan documents, evidence that the market remains fertile for fraud, according to a new LexisNexis report. Focusing on proven incidences of fraud, the report found that the share of loans investigated in 2013 for misrepresentation on the credit report, credit history or references rose to 17 percent from 5 percent in 2012. Notably, property valuation fraud ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

‘Portable’ Mortgage Touted as Equity Builder

Offering “portable” mortgages could increase the potential for homeownership by eliminating the “resetting of the clock” that occurs every time a borrower moves, according to Jeffrey Lubell, director of housing and community initiatives at Abt Associates. A portable mortgage allows a borrower to keep his or her mortgage even if he moves to a different property, helping to build equity. The loans are available in Canada and Europe but haven’t caught on in the U.S. “Few policies would ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Ocwen Shifts Focus Post-Settlement

After agreeing to a $150 million settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services, Ocwen Financial said the company will shift its business strategy away from owning mortgage servicing rights for agency mortgages. In a call with investors in late December, Ronald Faris, Ocwen’s president and CEO, said the nonbank is positioned for “disciplined growth” in the future. “We continue to believe that we have attractive opportunities for earnings growth,” he said. In the past three years ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Loan Officers in Demand in 2015

Mortgage hiring should be somewhat brisk in 2015 as lenders of different sizes plan to expand their sales forces. Prospects are especially positive for mortgage professionals in California, New England, and the Southeast, according to interviews conducted by Inside Mortgage Trends. Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest nonbank originator, hopes to hire approximately 500 new employees in the coming year, including loan officers and underwriters, said company spokesman Chris Smith ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Lenders Project Stability Heading Into 2015

Profit margins and a number of other mortgage banking metrics will continue to be stable in the first quarter of 2015, according to a Fannie Mae survey of senior executives at 192 lenders. “The share of lenders reporting a decreased profit margin outlook over the next three months appears to have remained relatively stable at around 30 percent since the second quarter,” Fannie said of the fourth-quarter survey results. Compliance costs, declining demand from borrowers and ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Plenty of Buyers, Not So Many Sellers

With mortgage originations expected to be relatively flat in the new year, one might think it would be a buyer’s market for mortgage companies. But not so, according to investment bankers interviewed by Inside Mortgage Trends. “There are far more buyers than sellers at this point in time,” said Larry Charbonneau, a principal in Charbonneau & Associates. Attending a recent trade show catering to independent mortgage banking firms, Charbonneau said he was approached by ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

More Firms Angle for Whole-Loan Trading

Investment banking firm FIG Partners, based in Atlanta, recently inaugurated a new whole-loan trading capability for small to mid-tier community and regional banks. The firm will now buy or sell performing and non-performing residential mortgages as well as commercial real estate, consumer and other types of loans for its bank and investor clients. Company officials say their new whole-loan trading capabilities complement the firm’s securities trading operations. The new platform ...

December 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

GSE Repurchase Activity Still Weighed Down by the Past; More Focus on 2013

The lion’s share of mortgage repurchase activity involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the third quarter of 2014 continued to involve loans securitized before the two government-sponsored enterprises were put in conservatorship back in 2008, according to a new analysis by Inside Mortgage Trends. At the same time, however, the 2013 book of business is getting a lot more attention at the two GSEs. Although Fannie and Freddie wrapped up their reviews of ... [Includes two data charts]

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

MBA Boycotts FHA Panel Talk for Being too Biased

The Mortgage Bankers Association this week declined to participate in a panel discussion on FHA hosted by the American Enterprise Institute because the trade group did not believe the discussion would be balanced and though it would favor only a certain point of view. The topic was “FHA from 1934 to 1938: Lessons for Wealth Building,” with Ed Pinto, a resident fellow at AEI, and Dave Stevens, MBA president, as presenters. Stevens, however, decided to pull out of the event when he saw the format. In a letter to the AEI organizers, Stevens said he agreed to be a presenter thinking the debate “would be a balanced approach.” “When I first agreed to do this, I did not expect that the format would be 45 minutes of [Ed Pinto] and then no more than 12 minutes for me to respond,” he wrote. “That’s an extremely lopsided approach that did not appear to be ...

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Ocwen Reports FHA Buyouts from Ginnie II Pools

Ocwen Financial’s dry spell of acquiring nonperforming FHA loans out of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities pools ended in early December with the nonbank servicing giant buying $253.1 million of delinquent product. Speculation, however, is mounting that Ocwen may not be long for the Ginnie Mae business, at least as a servicer. Ocwen’s disclosure of the “early” FHA buyouts came 11 days after it sold to an undisclosed buyer. In the first quarter, the company engaged in $646 million of early buyouts (EBO) and followed up with a $490 million EBO deal in the second quarter. However, EBO volume fell to zero in the third quarter. The December acquisition came in one fell swoop raising cautious, short-term expectations at Ocwen. “We expect to execute more such purchases in the next few months, as long as market conditions are favorable,” said Chief Investment Officer John Britti. As fast as it had ...

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Jumbo Originations Surge in 3Q14

Production of FHA-insured jumbo loans ballooned in the third quarter of 2014 reflecting heightened activity in this loan segment during the period. A 23.7 percent quarter-over-quarter surge helped push FHA jumbo lenders’ total volume to $7.71 billion at the end of the nine-month period ending Sept. 30. It was a significant increase for a segment that represents only a sliver of FHA’s overall business. However, compared to last year’s first nine months, volume was down by almost half (48.8 percent) as lenders struggled to keep pace with last year’s output. Strong purchase demand helped drive FHA jumbo originations (all FHA loans over $417,000 up to $625,500 in high-cost areas), as purchase mortgages accounted for 81.1 percent of all FHA jumbos originated during the first nine months of the year. Fixed-rates comprised 86.4 percent of FHA jumbos originated during ... [1 chart]

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

OIG Recovers $300M from SunTrust Settlement

The Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a $300 million recovery from an earlier settlement between SunTrust Mortgage and the Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the HUD Office of the Inspector General, and 50 state attorneys general. The settlement resolved allegations of violations of FHA requirements in a joint complaint filed on June 14, 2014, by federal and state enforcement agencies. The suit against SunTrust alleged misconduct related to the origination and servicing of single-family residential mortgages. The problem loans were uncovered during a routine OIG review of targeted FHA-insured loans. According to the suit, as an FHA direct endorsement lender, SunTrust certified poorly underwritten loans for FHA insurance from January 2006 through March 2012, despite its knowledge of ...

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

VA Announces New, Lower Loan Limits in 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced new, lower loan limits for 2015 after Congress decided not to extend the agency’s current maximum lending limits beyond 2014. The current limits will expire on Dec. 31. Under new guidelines, the maximum guaranty amounts for VA loan limits in 2015 will match the lower conforming loan limits established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for the government-sponsored enterprises next year. These limits range from $417,000 to $625,500, depending on where the borrower is located. VA’s loan limits are tied to the county-based limits established for conforming loans backed by Freddie Mac. Freddie’s loan limits are calculated based on median house prices in counties across the nation. In recent years, VA’s high-cost loan limits have exceeded Freddie’s due to statutory authority granted under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The VA authority was ...

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Congress Shoots Down HAWK, Rejects FHA Fee

Congress denied funding for an enhanced FHA housing counseling initiative for first-time homebuyers and rejected a request for authority to collect a new FHA fee to enhance quality-assurance reviews. President Obama this week signed the FY 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, a comprehensive package of 11 funding bills for federal agencies. The bill does not include the provisions the FHA had sought to toughen enforcement and help lower costs for first-home purchases. The House passed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, H.R. 83, by a vote of 219-to-206 on Dec. 11, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. The Senate approved the bill on Dec. 13. The bill allocates $47 million to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s housing counseling program and $50 million for foreclosure mitigation counseling. It also provides $400 billion in ...

December 19, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

2015 Outlook: Downward Trend Continues

FHA originations are expected to decline modestly in 2015 unless the agency gives in to industry pressure to lower mortgage insurance premiums and lenders ease up on their overlays, according to analysts. Analysts anticipate no meaningful decline in FHA market share next year but do expect some drop as private mortgage insurance become more competitive, especially among borrowers with 720+ FICO scores. Overall, analysts expect 2015 to be slightly better than 2014 because of increased purchase-mortgage lending, which is partly offset by lower refinance activity. Mortgage volumes should climb to $1.18 trillion in 2015, some say. At Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, analysts Bose George and Chas Tyson predict private MIs will take more market share from the FHA in 2015. They do not expect meaningful policy changes from the FHA this year. For example, FHA has given ...


The FHA is cutting its annual premium by 50 basis points. How much of a difference will this cut make in your FHA business?

Not much at all—maybe 10 percent at best.
Modestly. We expect a 10 percent to 25 percent gain in applications.
This is a real game changer, 25 percent or better.
Hard to say. This cut may just steal business away from the new Fannie/Freddie 97 LTV effort.

vote to see results
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