Mortgage Insurance

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Mortgage Insurance.

November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Strong 3Q Pushes Up FHA’s Nine-Month Total

FHA lenders capped a nine-month production run with a total of $99.39 billion in forward mortgages, thanks to a strong push in the third quarter of 2014, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Third-quarter production totaled $38.3 billion, up 16.6 percent from the previous quarter. Year-over-year originations, however, were off by 43.0 percent. FHA endorsements have now fallen from a peak of 1.8 million loans in FY 2009 to approximately 786,000 in FY 2014, according to the latest independent actuarial review of the health of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The 57 percent reduction in endorsements takes FHA closer to the lower levels of activities seen just prior to the housing bubble, the report noted. A sharp decline in refi activity drove the substantial drop in forward loan endorsements in fiscal 2014. Previously, many homeowners ... [1 chart]


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

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


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Short Refi Production Declines in 2014

The number of underwater borrowers seeking to refinance their conventional mortgages into an FHA loan fell in fiscal 2014 from the previous year, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency data. The number of endorsements under the FHA Short Refinance program totaled 1,327 at the end of fiscal 2014, down from a record 1,662 in the prior year. Endorsements hit their peak in fiscal 2013. A total of 5,140 distressed conventional loans with a combined original mortgage amount of $784.9 million were refinanced under the program over the five-year period. In order to participate, borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments, have a credit score of 500 or greater and owe at least 15 percent more on the property than their home is actually worth. Lender participation is strictly voluntary. More importantly, the lender or investor must be ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Eyes Stronger Oversight of Nonbank Issuers

Ginnie Mae is seeking comment on several proposed data collections, including those that would strengthen the agency’s ability to monitor participants in its mortgage-backed securities programs. Due to its growing concern over the influx of non-depository issuers into the single-family MBS program, Ginnie has proposed to collect more loan-level data to supplement the information already being collected and reported on a monthly basis. The proposed data collection consists of bankruptcy-related information (action type, case identifier, chapter type, bar date) as well as borrower-related information (borrower bankruptcy indicator, classification type, total mortgaged properties, counseling initiated indicator and credit score date). Other proposed new data include document custodian ID, type of insurance claim coverage, investor unpaid principal balance (UPB), adjustment to ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Congress Urged to Extend Expiring VA Loan Limits

Thousands of military veterans in high-cost areas may be deprived of VA’s home-loan guarantee benefits unless Congress extends the current VA loan limits before the end of the year. Those loan limits expire on Dec. 31, 2014. The VA loan limits are based on median home values estimated by the FHA, providing loans up to 125 percent of local area median price. The program does not set a cap on how much a veteran can borrow to finance a home purchase but it does limit the maximum amount it can guarantee to 25 percent of the current loan limit. Veteran and industry groups are urging Congress to make the VA limits permanent. A VA spokesperson said the agency was not asked for a position on the issue since Congress did not put forward any bill in any of the hearings this year. “But as a general rule, VA wants to maximize the opportunities ...


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Wells Fargo, DOJ Settlement Talks Hit Wall

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


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Portfolio Down to Negative in FY 2014

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


November 21, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

MMIF Value, Capital Ratio Turns Positive

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


November 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Last-Minute, Lame Duck Deal on Capitol Hill Expected on Mortgage-Related ‘Tax Extenders’

Look for down-to-the-wire haggling during the remaining hours of the 113th Congress between leaders in the Republican-controlled House and the soon-to-be minority Democrat Senate trying to hash out a deal on “tax extender” legislation, including two expired mortgage-related provisions. Nearly a full year after a series of temporary tax incentives – including the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act – expired at the end of 2013 due to partisan sniping and distinctly different legislative approaches of House and Senate tax-writing chairmen, both sides are being urged to close a deal forthwith. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen last month urged...


November 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund Capital Turns Positive, But No Change to Mortgage Insurance Premiums

The FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has improved from a negative position to a positive $4.8 billion in FY 2014 after gaining nearly $6 billion in value over the last year, thanks to aggressive policy actions that led to improvements in key areas, according to an independent actuarial report sent to Congress this week. Overall, the fund showed a $21 billion improvement over the past two years due to changes the FHA implemented following the housing crisis, the report said. The changes led to improved underwriting standards for single-family mortgages, increased mortgage insurance premiums, stronger loss mitigation policies and higher recoveries, it noted. Aggressive policy actions also led...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

New Fannie 97 to be Based on Current Underwriting And Documentation Rules, Private MI Assessment

Income documentation and other standards that have been in place since Fannie Mae entered conservatorship in 2008 will apply to the company’s new 3 percent downpayment product, and loan assessment by a private mortgage insurer will be crucial, according to a company spokesman. The spokesman said details will be announced shortly. Fannie Mae is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to design the government-sponsored enterprise’s revamped 97 percent loan-to-value product. Sources said previous requirements for a standard 97 LTV product, which Fannie offered until November 2013, are being considered. The FHFA announced...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Fannie, Freddie Remain Alert to Mortgage Insurance Risk Exposure As GSEs Post Third-Quarter Profits

Although Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported combined comprehensive income of $6.8 billion in the third quarter of 2014 – thanks in no small part to strong guaranty fee revenue – the two government-sponsored enterprises both said they’re keeping a wary eye on the precarious financial condition of private mortgage insurers. Fannie noted in its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that although the financial condition of its primary MI counterparties approved to write new business has improved, there is still risk that they may fail to honor the GSE’s insurance claims. “If we determine that it is probable that we will not collect all of our claims from one or more of these mortgage insurer counterparties, or if we have already made that determination but our estimate of the shortfall increases, it could result...


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

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

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


November 13, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MIs See Huge Gain in Market Share As FHA Continues to Fall Behind in 3Q14

Private mortgage insurers reported hefty increases in the volume of new insurance written during the third quarter of 2014, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. The seven active private MIs wrote primary insurance coverage on $53.95 billion of new mortgage originations during the third quarter, a gain of 22.8 percent from the previous period. On a year-to-date basis, total new primary insurance by the MIs was still down 22.4 percent from the first nine months of last year, mostly because activity in the Home Affordable Refinance Program has declined sharply. HARP accounted...[Includes three data charts]


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

USDA Loan Guarantees Decline as Refis Slow

The Department of Agriculture’s single-family guaranteed housing loan program ended fiscal 2014 with $19.1 billion in loan guarantees, down from the record $22.4 billion in loan guarantees reported in the prior year, according to agency estimates. Month-over-month, Section 502 loan guarantees were up to $2.1 billion in September over August, ending the quarter on a strong note. 2013 was a record year for loan guarantees under the USDA’s Section 502 loan program, the largest of the agency’s single-family housing program, thanks to robust refinancing activity. Many USDA homeowners took advantage of the lower rates offered under a joint refi pilot program by USDA and Chase Home Finance, the top USDA lender, last year. Chase fully funded the pilot. In 2014, Texas led all states in rural housing guarantees with $927 million, followed by North Carolina ($880 million), Michigan ($720 million) ... [1 chart]


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

Radian Reports Strong 3Q14 Results. Radian Guaranty’s new mortgage insurance written increased to $11.2 billion in the third quarter compared to $9.3 billion in the previous quarter, and down from $13.7 billion from the same period last year, according to company financial results for 3Q14. Overall, the private mortgage insurer reported net income of $153.6 million for the quarter, which executives attributed to strong credit performance, a growing MI book of business and solid performance from Clayton Holdings. Radian recently acquired the due-diligence firm for $305 million. Total primary MI in force was $169.2 billion as of Sept. 30, 2014, up from $165.0 billion the prior quarter, while persistency was 83.5 percent at the end of the third quarter. The total number of primary delinquent loans was down 4 percent from the second quarter and down by ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reverse Mortgage Lenders Seek Policy Revisions

Reverse mortgage lenders are seeking a policy change that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to count reverse mortgages toward their proposed annual affordable housing goals. In another regulatory area, the industry has asked to delay a proposed mortgage disclosure rule until reverse lenders’ concerns have been resolved. Commenting on the proposed 2015-2017 affordable housing goals for the government-sponsored enterprises, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association is urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to allow the GSEs to reenter the reverse mortgage market through a proprietary reverse mortgage program. Specifically, such a change would enable Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase reverse mortgages or securities backed by the product. Currently, the FHA under its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program insures most ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Single-Family Production Drops in August

FHA single-family mortgage originations fell slightly in August from July as the agency’s home-purchase volume continued to falter, agency data showed. In August, the latest month for which FHA origination data are available, forward-loan originations totaled $12.6 billion, down 3.2 percent from the prior month and down 25.1 percent from the same period last year. Purchase mortgages made up 81.1 percent of all FHA-insured single-family loans originated during August, while refinances accounted for the remainder. Fixed-rate mortgages were the product of choice, as they have been in previous periods. Quicken Loans relied more on refis than on purchase lending (38 percent of new loans) as it closed the month with $534.8 million in new production, down 8.5 percent from July. Nonetheless, it was good enough for a 4.2 percent FHA market share. Second-place Wells Fargo’s total production for the month was ... [1 chart]


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

NAR Urges FHA to Tighten Short Sale Oversight

The real estate industry is urging the FHA to tighten up its pre-foreclosure sale process and be more vigilant before referring loans to the single-fThe real estate industry is urging the FHA to tighten up its pre-foreclosure sale process and be more amily loan sales program (SFLS). Commenting on the proposed section on servicing of the FHA Single Family Policy handbook, the National Association of Realtors expressed concern that the FHA is auctioning large pools of mortgages without considering the investor’s ability to achieve neighborhood stabilization goals such as homeownership preservation and affordable housing. The first step for FHA to improve servicing and pre-foreclosure efforts is to ensure mortgage servicers’ full compliance with FHA loss-mitigation requirements before referring loans to the SFLS, the NAR suggested. In addition, the FHA should ...


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Reinstating 97s Could Delay Recovery for MMIF

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


November 7, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD Rejects CFPB’s QM Cure Provision

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


November 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

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

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


November 6, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Reinstatement of GSEs’ 97 LTV Programs Would Benefit Private MIs but Delay Recovery of MMIF, Analysts Say

Private mortgage insurers would welcome the return of conventional 97 percent loan-to-value mortgages from the government-sponsored enterprises, but analysts say it might not be a slam dunk. The private MI industry has been encouraging the GSEs, particularly Fannie Mae, to bring back the 97 percent LTV product to compete with the FHA’s main product, which requires just a 3.5 percent downpayment. For years, Fannie offered...


October 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Rural Housing Guarantee Loan Volume Expected to End 2014 on a Low Note Despite Third-Quarter Surge

Production of rural housing loans with a Department of Agriculture guaranty is expected to end 2014 far below the record volume originated last year, according to agency estimates. USDA Section 502 guaranteed homeownership obligations in fiscal 2014 totaled $19.1 billion, down from last year’s $22.4 billion, according to data recently disclosed by the agency. Texas led...[Includes one data chart]


October 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Loan Origination Volume Up Again in 3Q14 But Trends Vary Widely Among Top Lenders

2014 is going to go down as the worst year in new mortgage origination volume since the turn of the century, but it’s clearly not as bad as many have feared. Mortgage lenders produced an estimated $335 billion in new single-family loans during the third quarter, a solid 9.8 percent increase from the previous period, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis. Significantly, the first and second quarters of this year were...[Includes two data charts]


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

FHA to Host First Briefing Session on the First Installment of the Single Family Policy Handbook. The FHA will have a webinar on Nov. 6, 2014, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m., for stakeholders in connection with the first completed section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook, the Origination through Post-Closing/Endorsement for Title II Forward Mortgages (Origination through Post-Closing). The new handbook is designed to make it easier for stakeholders to do business with the FHA and support greater access to mortgage credit for qualified borrowers. Once fully completed, the handbook will contain all FHA origination and underwriting policies that lenders use in making FHA-insured loans. The FHA published the first section of the handbook on Sept. 30, which becomes effective for FHA case numbers assigned on or after June 15, 2015. The agency urged lenders to ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA to Modify CHUMS, Develop New System

The FHA has announced plans to modify the Computerized Homes Underwriting Management System (CHUMS) while work continues on a new, improved replacement system. CHUMS provides support for automated processing, analysis and screening of appraisal documents. Specifically, it is used on first-time homebuyer loan applications, Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, Section 203(k) property rehabilitation loans, VA-certified FHA loans and other FHA-approved programs. The system is also used to assist in evaluations of borrowers’ mortgage credit and as a complement to FHA’s credit assessment tool, TOTAL Scorecard. A new Loan Application Management System (LAMS) is in development to replace CHUMS completely in about five years. In its initial release, LAMS will enable the Department of Housing and Urban Development to start collecting and incorporating ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Notifying Lenders of Possible MRB Action

The FHA warned it would soon be sending notices to lenders who are overdue in completing their annual recertification packages, a rule violation that could land them before the Mortgagee Review Board for disciplinary action. Lenders who were unable to submit their recertification packages containing the required financial reports, annual recertification statements and the renewal fee payment will be receiving notices of deficiency from the FHA. FHA extended the filing deadline to June 27, 30 days after the deployment of the new Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP) system used in the lender recertification process. Traditionally, lenders were required to access both FHA Connection and Lender Assessment Sub-System (LASS) to complete the annual recertification process. LEAP will now enable lenders to complete all ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD to Let Property-Flipping Waiver Lapse

Buyers, sellers and real estate agents have until the end of 2014 to take advantage of the property-flipping waiver that the FHA had put in place in 2010 to increase the availability of affordable homes for first-time homebuyers and other purchasers. After Dec. 31, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will let the waiver lapse subjecting investors again to property-flipping prohibitions. Lenders say the waiver program worked well in underserved and hard-hit areas but HUD believes the program’s initial objectives have been attained and that prudence and vigilance are again called for to prevent abuses and potential losses. As a rule, the FHA prohibits “property flipping” in which a recently acquired property undergoes a minor makeover, is appraised with an artificially high value and is resold for a considerable profit. Most property flipping occurs within a matter of days, which prompted HUD to ...


October 24, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Silent on MIP, Will Review Pricing Further

A top-ranking housing official soon to become acting FHA commissioner assured lenders that the agency is reviewing the pricing of its mortgage insurance, but made no promises during the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association held this week in Las Vegas. Biniam Gebre, now the deputy assistant secretary for housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the agency “has been reviewing our premium levels on a regular basis.” He added, “I’m sure we will come back to it over the next couple months and next year.” The pricing of FHA mortgage insurance premiums “is a very important question,” Gebre said. Many in the mortgage industry have been focused on the availability of credit, but the affordability of credit is important as well, he added. “We believe we reached a tipping point when we raised premiums in response to ...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHA to Revisit Mortgage Insurance Premiums While Auditors Assess MMIF’s Improving Condition

The FHA has been reviewing the insurance premiums it charges and will do so again later this year as well as in 2015, said a top agency official, but whether this will lead to a reduction is unclear. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Las Vegas this week, FHA Deputy Commissioner Biniam Gebre said the agency is “not done” with the premium issue and may revisit it in the next couple of months or perhaps next year. Gebre will temporarily replace FHA Commissioner Carol Galante, who is scheduled to leave the agency at the end of the week to join the faculty at the University of California in Berkeley. Galante headed...


October 16, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Small Mortgage Lenders Renew Call for Lower FHA Premiums, in Anticipation of Healthier Insurance Fund

A group of small and mid-sized lenders this week renewed their request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to cut FHA’s annual premiums to improve borrower access to credit, a change that likely depends on the annual audit of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Sources expect the next annual audit report to show further improvement in the health of the MMI Fund, which had a negative economic value of $1.3 billion in September 2013, the end of the government’s 2013 fiscal year. Beyond getting back into the black, the MMIF still must reach a 2.0 percent statutory capital reserve requirement, which the last audit predicted would occur next year. The fiscal 2014 audit report is expected...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

FHA to Extend Short Refi Program. The FHA has announced its intent to extend its Short Refinance Program for borrowers in negative equity positions. A mortgagee letter will be issued soon to announce the extension. Feedback Period extended for Draft Servicing Section of Proposed Single Family Handbook. The FHA is extending the comment period for the draft servicing section of the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook through Nov. 14, 2014 to allow stakeholders additional time to study and comment on the proposed section. The original deadline date was Oct. 17. CFPB Updates Reverse Mortgage Guide. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently updated its reverse mortgage guide on its website to account for recent changes made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. The updated guide highlights new limits to ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Millennial Agenda Underscores FHA’s ‘Blueprint’

President Obama this week released his agenda for creating economic opportunity for millennials, including greater access to mortgage credit through FHA. While the economy has recovered and there has been some improvement in the housing market, millennials are on a much slower pace toward homeownership than previous generations, the president said. Many are in rental housing, ready to become homeowners but are locked out by the tough, restrictive lending environment, he added. Millennials – identified as those born between 1982 and 2004, also known as Generation Y – are finding it harder to purchase homes because of lender overlays, high mortgage insurance premiums and high downpayment requirements. It also has been difficult for anyone with a credit score below 680 to obtain a purchase-mortgage loan. In his agenda, Obama expressed concern over the ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

FHA Details Improvements to LEAP 3.0 System

Like all new automated systems, FHA’s Lender Electronic Assessment Portal (LEAP 3.0) was not without technical glitches when the agency rolled it out back in May. Users immediately reported difficulties in certain functions, such as adding new branches, making changes to existing branches and changing cash flow accounts. The FHA ever since has been working to iron out the kinks to allow lenders to submit their annual recertification packages with ease. So far, certain fixes have been implemented allowing lenders to add, edit and delete branch and regional managers, delete attachments uploaded to LEAP and properly update cash flow accounts in the database. The FHA also changed the way lenders edit their principal affiliations in LEAP. In addition, newly approved lenders now have access to the new system. Furthermore, the FHA expanded to 250 the maximum allowable characters lenders may use when ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HECM Borrowers Found Violating Residency Rule

An internal audit found as many as 136 borrowers not living in the properties for which they have obtained FHA-insured reverse mortgages because they were also receiving federal housing assistance under a different address. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General discovered the anomaly during a follow-up review of HUD’s oversight of the home-equity conversion mortgage program to ensure HECM borrowers comply with residency requirements. A previous audit had red-flagged potential residency violations. In the latest review, auditors analyzed HUD’s data warehouse for single-family mortgages and its public housing information system from April 2011 through March 2014 and identified 159 potential violators of the residency rule. Of those potential violators, 136 were found to be not occupying the properties associated with their HECM loans but, instead, ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

New Regulations Cause HECM Volume to Drop

FHA reverse mortgage volume fell in the second quarter as well as during the first six months of 2014 as regulatory changes reduced profitability and increased the cost of originating the government-backed product, according to Inside FHA Lending’s analysis of agency data. Home equity conversion mortgage volume declined 19.9 percent quarter-over-quarter and dropped 9.0 percent during the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. HECM lenders reported $7.2 billion in total originations in the first half, with purchase loans accounting for 93.6 percent. Fixed-rate HECMs comprised only 22.2 percent of total volume as most borrowers turned to adjustable-rate HECMs for their reverse-mortgage needs. The top five HECM lenders – American Advisors Group, Reverse Mortgage Solutions, One Reverse Mortgage, Liberty Home Equity Solutions and Proficio Mortgage Ventures – accounted for ... [1 chart ]


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

OIG Calls for HUD Action Versus Errant Lenders

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General has recommended that HUD require an approved FHA lender to reimburse the FHA $1.6 million for improper claims on 11 preforeclosure sales, including lender and borrower incentives. An IG audit of EverBank of Jacksonville, FL, attributed FHA’s losses to the bank’s failure to determine whether or not defaulted borrowers qualified for the agency’s preforeclosure sale program. The IG looked into the bank’s short sale activities because it had the highest preforeclosure sale claims in Florida. More than 50 percent of EverBank’s FHA claims were from short sales, with more than $12.9 million paid from 2011 through 2013, the audit found. In response, EverBank questioned the accuracy of the IG report. The bank maintained that certain allegations do not constitute violations of ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD-OIG Reports $582M in Recoveries for MMIF

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General has announced a total of $581.8 million in recoveries in September to strengthen and stabilize the ailing Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. The recovered amounts are part of larger settlements between the federal government, U.S. Bank and Bank of America to resolve allegations of false claims and mortgage fraud in relation to FHA-insured mortgages. Both banks were investigated separately by the HUD-OIG, Department of Justice and U.S. attorneys’ offices in Michigan, Ohio and New York in connection with their lending and underwriting practices and quality-control programs for FHA-insured loans. On June 30, U.S. Bank entered into a settlement agreement to pay $200 million, of which nearly $144.2 million went to the MMI Fund. The bank admitted to poor underwriting, flawed quality control and ...


October 10, 2014 - Inside FHA Lending

Loan Reviews Continue to Find Defects

Missing or incorrect files was the most common defect found in 49 percent of the loans, of which 29 percent were deemed initially unacceptable. Flawed credit or underwriting came in second at 26 percent, of which 67 percent were rated unacceptable. Program eligibility and operational deficiencies each had a 9 percent share while defective appraisals were common in 7 percent of all reviewed loans. Properly mitigated, the percentage of initially unacceptable loans usually drops to about 7 percent. The FHA tends to blames lenders for the defects but the bottom line is mistakes cut both ways, according to compliance experts. “Lenders make mistakes that can easily be corrected,” said one compliance consultant. “FHA also can be guilty of causing a mistake.” For example, poor communication and lack of clarity caused lenders to check a yes/no box to confirm whether or not they ...


Poll

What is it going to take to convince lenders to loosen the credit box (i.e., remove underwriting overlays)?

The recent rep and warranty changes announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency should go a long way in protecting lenders from future buybacks and help expand mortgage credit.
There won’t be any significant elimination of underwriting overlays until the government stops seeking huge mortgage-related penalties and settlements from lenders.
There shouldn’t be any expansion of the mortgage credit box since looser underwriting is what caused the recent mortgage crisis.

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