Mortgage Insurance

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

January 29, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Heightened Refi Activity Expected in First Half of 2015 as New, Revised FHA Premium Takes Effect and Rates Remain Low

Mortgage industry participants are anticipating brisk refinancing activity during the first half of 2015 as a result of a 50 basis point cut in FHA’s annual mortgage insurance premium and expectations that mortgage rates will remain low. Lenders believe that with mortgage rates lingering around 3.75 percent, coupled with the annual MIP rate cut, an estimated one million mortgage loans could be ripe for FHA refinancing. “There’s real business out there,” said Brian Chappelle, a mortgage industry consultant. “Some economists also anticipate another 100,000 in purchase originations this year as a result.” The premium cut makes...


January 29, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Watt Defends GSEs’ Low Downpayment Offerings, Offers Few Clues on Where G-Fees Are Heading

The government-sponsored enterprises’ new low downpayment programs received a vigorous defense from Melvin Watt, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, at a hearing this week by the House Financial Services Committee. Republicans on the committee attacked the programs from a number of angles, including raising concerns about default rates on mortgages with lower downpayments and fears of a “race to the bottom” with the FHA. “If you carefully look at other considerations and take them into account in deciding whether to back that credit, you can ensure...


January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

Streamlined FHA Refinances Increase in 3Q14

Streamlined FHA refinance volume increased slightly in the third quarter of 2014 as incentives put in place in 2013 continued to attract FHA borrowers, according to an Inside FHA Lending analysis of agency information. Streamlined refi production rose 2.4 percent in the third quarter of last year, closing a nine-month period with $14.2 billion in new loans. A comparison of nine-month FHA-to-FHA refinance activity, however, shows volume falling a hefty 79.6 percent year over year. As of Sept. 30, 2014, streamlined refinances accounted for 14.3 percent of total FHA originations. The FHA announced a revised streamlined refi program in December 2013 to help FHA borrowers with underwater mortgages to refinance without added cost or penalty. The loan does not require an appraisal or verification of job, income or credit. A perfect, three-month payment history is required and ... [ 1 chart ]


January 23, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

HUD Clarifies Protections for HECM Spouses

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has made further clarifications to policy guidance related to the treatment of eligible and ineligible non-borrowing spouses of deceased Home Equity Conversion Mortgage borrowers. According to Mortgagee Letter 2015-02, FHA lenders must identify at application any current non-borrowing spouses and must determine whether they are eligible for protection against “due and payable” requirements that kick in upon the death of the HECM borrower. This protection is a provision in the HECM document requiring that full payment of the entire mortgage be deferred for as long as a non-borrowing spouse continues to meet all the requirements of the provision. Specifically, the eligible, non-borrowing spouse must establish, within 90 days from the death of the HECM borrower, legal ownership or other ongoing legal right to ...


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 22, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB’s Interest Rate Checker ‘No Substitute for Shopping,’ Bureau Rep Says as Fallout Continues

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week countered mortgage-industry criticism about its recently launched interest-rate checker tool. “The rate checker is an educational tool and is not a substitute for shopping,” a spokesman for the bureau told Inside Mortgage Finance. “One of the findings of our survey was that consumers who said they were very familiar with available interest rates were almost twice as likely to shop, compared to those who were unfamiliar.” Further, before consumers make a final decision about a loan, they should compare...


January 22, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

First-Time Homebuyers Account for 43 Percent of Agency Purchase Mortgages in 2014, Wells Dominates

First-time homebuyers accounted for close to half of all purchase mortgages in the agency market in 2014, according to a new ranking and analysis by Inside Mortgage Finance. Activity in the sector is also projected to increase, helped by low interest rates, a reduction in FHA premium and the government-sponsored enterprises’ low-downpayment programs. Some $224.35 billion in mortgages to first-time homebuyers were included in agency mortgage-backed securities issued in 2014. The loans accounted for 43.3 percent of all purchase mortgages included in agency MBS during the year. Wells Fargo had...[Includes two data charts]


January 16, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

No Large Spikes in Ginnie Mae Prepayments Expected Following FHA Annual Premium Cut

Analysts are expecting Ginnie Mae prepayments to increase moderately in the wake of last week’s announcement that FHA is reducing its annual mortgage insurance premium by 50 basis points. Specifically, the annual MIP would be lowered 50 bps for 30-year fixed-rate FHA mortgages, although the new charges continue to vary depending on loan-to-value ratio and loan amount. Streamlined refinances of FHA loans endorsed before June 2009 are not covered by the new pricing, nor are 15-year FHA mortgages. The timing of the announcement reflects...


January 15, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Analysts Debate Short- and Long-Term Effects of FHA’s Reduced Annual Premium on Private MI Providers

Now that the hurrahs and uproar over FHA’s reduced annual premiums have died down, analysts are having mixed views regarding its short- and long-term effects on private mortgage insurers. Some analysts predict FHA’s 50 basis-point reduction of the annual mortgage insurance premium charged on 30-year forward loans should have a modest impact on private MI business. The cut should benefit the lower FICO brackets – borrowers with credit scores of 679 and lower – a segment in which private MIs write little business, they suggest. “We believe...


January 15, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Final PMIER Rules From FHFA Could be Released Along With New Regulatory Language on LLPAs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is expected to unveil final rules on Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements (PMIERs) by the end of March, but there could be a surprise in the works. According to industry lobbyists and MI executives interviewed by Inside Mortgage Finance this week, the FHFA may publish the PMIER rules in tandem with new guidelines on loan-level price adjustments or LLPAs. “The MI industry is...


January 15, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

REITs Push Back Against Proposal to Exclude Captive Insurers from FHLBank Membership

The Federal Housing Finance Agency overstepped its authority when it proposed excluding captive insurers from obtaining membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank System, according to captive insurance companies. Real estate investment trusts – including Redwood Trust and Two Harbors Investment – have used captive insurance companies to gain access to FHLBank financing. “The proposed membership regulations would needlessly exclude an entire category of statutorily permitted members that can further the FHLBank System’s mission as the mortgage finance market continually evolves,” Redwood Trust said in a comment letter to the FHFA. The FHFA issued...


January 15, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

GSE Securitization of Insured Mortgages Down Slightly in 4Q14; MI Penetration Rate Unchanged

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitized $46.91 billion of home loans with private mortgage insurance during the fourth quarter of 2014, down 1.9 percent from the previous quarter, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis. The drop in private MI volume nearly mirrored the 2.1 percent decline in overall mortgage-backed securities production by the two government-sponsored enterprises over the same period. For all of 2014, the volume of private MI loans included in Fannie/Freddie MBS was down 22.5 percent, while total GSE securitization tumbled 45.4 percent from 2013. While MI-insured purchase mortgages declined by 7.0 percent from the third quarter, securitization of refinance loans with private MI jumped...[Includes two data charts]


January 9, 2015 - Inside FHA Lending

Around the Industry

CWCOT, EVARS Webinars Scheduled. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has scheduled free webinars to provide FHA lenders an overview of Mortgagee Letter 2014-24, which deals with the increasing use of FHA’s Claims Without Conveyance of Title procedures. Discussion will include how foreclosing on FHA properties may differ from previous guidelines; requirements for appraisals; bidding instructions; and claim requirements. Personnel who deal with foreclosure valuation, claims and default reporting, real estate auction attorneys and foreclosure attorneys are encouraged to attend. Webinars will be held on Jan. 12 and Jan. 20, 2015, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. EST. For more information, email: stacey.a.brown@hud.gov. Free training webinars on “HUD Extension of Time and Variance Request System,” will be held on ...


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 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

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 9, 2015 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Jumbo Underwriting Looser as Lenders Compete

Jumbo lenders continue to loosen underwriting requirements in an effort to compete for volume. Some lenders are even offering jumbos with loan-to-value ratios as high as 95 percent, while three years ago a 70 percent LTV ratio was the norm. “We’ve seen a fairly rapid loosening of standards on jumbo loans,” said Michael Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, during an event hosted this week by the Urban Institute. “They’re still tight, but now you can get a 5 percent down jumbo loan. And minimum credit scores have been coming down.” The MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index has shown...


January 8, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Groups Seek Further Clarifications of Agencies’ Proposal to Require Escrowing of Flood Insurance Premiums

Mortgage lenders and real estate agents called for further clarifications of an inter-agency proposed regulation that would mandate escrowing of all premiums and fees for flood insurance for most residential mortgages and mobile homes, with some exceptions, after Jan. 1, 2016. While supportive of the regulation, industry groups urged the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board, National Credit Union Administration and the Farm Credit Administration to proceed cautiously and ensure flood insurance remains affordable and available to consumers. The proposed rule covers...


January 8, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Obama Administration Cuts FHA Premiums, Says Insurance Fund Won’t Be Damaged

President Obama this week announced a substantial price cut in FHA mortgage insurance premiums, although agency officials aren’t sure yet when the change will take effect. The FHA will lower its annual insurance payment from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent, according to a White House fact sheet released in advance of the president’s speech as Inside Mortgage Finance was going to press late this week. According to the administration, the price cut won’t hurt...


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

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

USDA Implements New Definition of ‘Rural’ Area

The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) has issued a final rule implementing a new statutory definition of “rural” or “rural area” that could mean increased origination of rural home loans with a USDA guarantee. The Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, mandated the change. Being a statutory requirement, no public comment was sought for the final rule. According to the statute, an area that has a population of more than 10,000 but not exceeding 35,000, and is rural in character and seriously lacks mortgage credit is a “rural area.” The new definition applies to areas deemed rural before Oct. 1, 1990, and later determined not to be rural after the 1990, 2000 or 2010 census and any area deemed rural anytime between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2010. They will retain eligibility until the receipt of the ...


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 ...


Poll

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
Housing Pulse