Mortgage Insurance

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

September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

PACE Guidance Not Reassuring, Too Many Uncertainties, Pitfalls

New FHA guidance for dealing with mortgages with a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) obligation went into effect last week but uncertainty lingers and its full impact remains to be seen, according to an industry attorney. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued guidance specifically allowing properties encumbered by a PACE lien to be eligible for FHA mortgage financing for both purchase and refinance loans. The department of Veterans Affairs has issued similar guidance. According to Erika Sonstroem, an attorney with the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, the PACE industry is touting the guidance in its pitches to lenders as posing no risk to mortgage investors. PACE is a program that lends money to homeowners for home-energy savings projects. It is treated much like a tax lien on a property and is included in the ...


September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD Poised to Collect Huge FCA Settlement Funds from Lenders

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is set to receive more than $140 million in settlements with three individual lenders in connection with defective loans they originated with FHA insurance. Freedom Mortgage Corp., M&T Bank, and Land Home Financial Services all reached separate agreements this year with the Department of Justice on behalf of the HUD Inspector General to resolve the allegations. On April 15, Freedom agreed to pay $113 million, in response to charges that “it engaged in certain conduct in connection with its origination, underwriting, property appraisal and quality of certain single-family mortgages insured by FHA.” The disputed forward loans were insured by FHA between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2011, which resulted in claims submitted to HUD on or before June 15, 2015. HUD incurred substantial losses when it paid claims on the ...


September 23, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Streamline Refi Segment Causing Problems for VA, Ginnie Investors

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a change to its existing streamline refinancing policy to address a problem that is giving VA and Ginnie Mae the fits. Under the VA’s qualified-mortgage rule, a VA borrower must wait six months and show six months’ worth of mortgage payments before they can refinance into an IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan) and take advantage of the lower rate. However, it seems not all VA lenders are adhering to the rule and that a good number are refinancing veterans into IRRRLs even before the mandatory seasoning period ends for fear interest rates might rise and the borrower might not benefit from the lower rate. “I’ve redone the numbers in 20 different directions on how much a borrower would save if they had to wait two more months and the rate went up a quarter of a point because they lost those two months ...


September 22, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Closings of Purchase Mortgages Increasingly Delayed As Strong Volume Mixes with Shortage of Appraisers

An increasing share of purchase mortgages have missed their scheduled closing dates in recent months, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. Many of the delays are tied to a shortage of appraisers as home sale activity increased during the spring and summer. Just before the start of the spring home-buying season, the on-time share of closings was at high levels for mortgage-financed purchases. Some 76.6 percent of purchases in April with a low downpayment mortgage securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac closed on time, based on a three-month moving average. The on-time closing share has declined...


September 22, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Liquidity, Credit Access, Regulation Remain As Chief Concerns As Ginnie Mae Stakeholders Meet to Discuss Market’s Future

With liquidity and an uncertain regulatory environment dominating this year’s Ginnie Mae summit in Washington, DC, top agency officials called on stakeholders and other market participants to stand up to the challenges posed by a rapidly evolving Ginnie marketplace. Chief among those challenges is the growing domination of the Ginnie market by independent mortgage bankers, who now account for 80 percent of the agency’s monthly issuance volume. Ginnie President Ted Tozer reiterated his concerns raised last year about the increasing number of nonbanks in the agency mortgage-backed securities market with very little experience and liquidity. In his opening remarks, Tozer acknowledged...


September 15, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FEMA Recommends Structure-Based Approach to Assessing Flood Risk, Setting NFIP Premium Rates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency this week updated Senate lawmakers on efforts to produce more accurate flood maps and flood-risk models. A key change will shift flood-risk analysis and insurance pricing from the so-called 1 percent annual chance of flooding to the actual flood risk to the structure itself. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, FEMA Administrator Roy Wright said adopting the structure-based methodology would require an entirely new approach in flood insurance rating and underwriting, including new regulatory hazard and risk products. Other witnesses at the hearing expressed support for the recommendation, saying it would remove the uncertainty caused by constantly changing flood lines in FEMA maps. The hearing is...


September 15, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

HFSC Passes Dodd-Frank Replacement, Bill Would Foster Portfolio Lending, Make Mortgage Changes

The House Financial Services Committee this week marked up, mostly on party lines, a comprehensive alternative to the Dodd-Frank Act that would, among other things, create a legal safe harbor for mortgage loans that are originated by a lender and then held in portfolio on its balance sheet. Democrats unanimously opposed the bill and refused to offer a single amendment, continually railing against Wells Fargo and accusing the Republicans of wanting to take the nation “back to the regulatory Stone Age.” The bill passed...


September 9, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

RHS to Cut Upfront Funding and Servicing Fees to Spur Lending

Effective Oct. 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service will reduce the one-time upfront funding fee for single-family housing guaranteed loans to spur rural home-loan financing. The RHS will cut the funding fee from the current rate of 2.75 percent of the loan amount to 1.0 percent. The agency notified lenders of the change last June. In addition, the fee for servicing USDA-guaranteed loans will decrease to 0.35 percent from 0.50 percent. That comes to about $30 per month per $100,000 in loan balance. The servicing fee is paid in 12 equal installments and rolled into the monthly mortgage payments. The RHS has raised both fees a number of times during the past several years to maintain the section 502 Single Family Housing program, which does not require borrowers to make any downpayment, and to avoid congressional appropriation. Last year, the RHS raised its upfront funding fee for a purchase loan, from 2.00 percent to 2.75 percent. Another reason the RHS cited for the fee reduction is that rural housing delinquencies and foreclosures are at historic lows.


September 9, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Seeks Comment on Proposed Update of 203(k) Consultant Fees

The FHA is seeking comment on proposals for revising the schedule of fees an agency-approved consultant may charge on a Section 203(k) property repair and rehabilitation mortgage. The agency wants public comment on whether fees charged by FHA 203(k) consultants should be based on the total cost of repairs, as they are currently, or on other metrics. Consultants charge varying fees on a standard 203(k) mortgage and a limited 203(k) mortgage. The standard FHA repair/rehab mortgage is designed for remodeling, rehabilitation and repairs that involve structural or more complex work that will cost more than $5,000. The limited 203(k) home loan is only for minor remodeling and non-structural repairs. An FHA-approved consultant is required for all standard 203(k) mortgages but not necessarily for a limited 203(k) home loan. FHA-approved 203(k) consultants who are placed on ...


September 9, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

IG Audit Finds Weak Spots in HUD Mortgage Data, Claims Systems

An internal compliance audit has uncovered weaknesses in the FHA’s information systems that could expose the agency to hacking. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General recently issued an audit report indicating that FHA’s Single Family Insurance System (SFIS) and Single Family Insurance Claims Subsystem could be in danger of security breaches. However, the report withheld details of the audit, saying the findings were not for public disclosure. The report explained that the audit was part of the internal-control assessments required for the FY 2015 financial statement audit under the Chief Financial Officer’s Act of 1996. The audit’s objective was to provide an assessment of SFIS control compliance with HUD’s information-technology policies and federal IT system security and financial management requirements. The SFIS contains information on FHA borrowers, including ...


September 9, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

CA Lender Exposed MMIF to Higher Risk, Ordered to Indemnify HUD

A California FHA lender could face monetary penalties totaling $242,828 for deficient mortgage underwriting and exposing the FHA insurance fund to increased risk of loss and fraud. A Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general’s audit of Sun West Mortgage Co. of Cerritos, CA, also alleged unauthorized use of foreign staff in another country to “pre-underwrite” FHA loans. The audit was triggered by a complaint the IG Office received in November last year alleging that Sun West, an approved FHA lender since 1980, was not underwriting FHA loans properly. In addition, the complaint alleged that Sun West was having the loans pre-underwritten by a company in another country, in violation of HUD rules. Neither the company nor the country was identified in the audit report. The complaint further alleged that employees at Sun West shared user identification numbers for ...


September 9, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

USDA Securitization Rose in 2Q16, Rural Purchase Loans Dominate

Issuers delivered $8.1 billion of rural mortgage loans with a U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantee into Ginnie Mae pools during the first six months of 2016, according to an analysis of Ginnie data. Securitized USDA mortgages accounted for 1.3 percent percent of total MBS issued by Ginnie Mae during the period and comprised 2.5 percent of total loans originated during the six-month period. USDA-backed loan deliveries to Ginnie Mae in the second quarter rose 9.8 percent from the previous period. Year-over-year, issuance of MBS backed by rural loans fell 3.8 percent. USDA-backed mortgages require no downpayment. Over the first six months, the average credit score for rural borrowers was 688.1 and the average debt-to-income ratio was 34.9 percent. An estimated 93.2 percent of USDA loans originated during the period were purchase mortgages, 1.0 percent were refinances and the ... [ 2 charts ]


September 9, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA/VA: Financing of Choice for Purchase Borrowers in 13 States

Homebuyers in two housing markets encompassing 13 states relied more on FHA and VA than other types financing, according to a new industry study of new single-family homes started in 2015. A study by the National Association of Home Builders found, among other things, that government-backed purchase lending and other forms of non-conventional mortgage financing remained elevated in 2015. For example, homebuyers in the South Atlantic and West South Central regions favored FHA and VA loans over other types of home-purchase financing. States in the South Atlantic region include Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Washington, DC, is also in this region. West South Central states are comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Together, the two regions accounted for more than 26 percent and 21 percent of the ...


September 9, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

9th Circuit Revives NCUA Claim against Nomura; RBS Settles Insurer’s Claim; UBS Partially Off the Hook

The National Credit Union Administration gets another chance to recover MBS losses incurred by a now-defunct federal credit union, while The Royal Bank of Scotland and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance announce a confidential settlement agreement to resolve the latter’s MBS claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has vacated a 2015 order by the Central District of California dismissing NCUA’s claims on behalf of failed Western Corporate FCU, which the agency placed in conservatorship in March 2009 and later in liquidation. The agency is acting as liquidating agent for Wescorp against Nomura Home Equity Loan, Inc. The NCUA filed...


September 9, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

New Fannie, Freddie Refi Programs Will be ‘Credit Positive’ to GSE Risk-Sharing Deals, Moody’s Says

The new streamlined refinance programs for high loan-to-value loans to be rolled out by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac next year are good news for market participants in their risk-sharing deals because they cut the risk of borrower default and the associated risk of investor loss, according to a recent report by analysts at Moody’s Investors Service. The programs are designed to provide much needed liquidity to borrowers with high LTV ratios who are current on their mortgage but can’t qualify for a more traditional refi. “The new programs are...


September 9, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSE Risk Sharing: Deep-Cover MI Proponents Suggest Pilot Program, Opponents Say MI Benefits Overrated

While many industry experts say Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should explore deeper mortgage insurance coverage as an alternative form of credit-risk sharing, some say the role of private MIs is overrated. The Urban Institute recently published a paper advocating a broadening of the credit-risk transfer programs at the two government-sponsored enterprises to include private MI coverage down to the 50 percent loan-to-value ratio. The think tank also encouraged Fannie and Freddie to create a more transparent lender recourse program and to diversify their highly successful debt note CRT programs to provide investors more offerings with risk segmented by LTV ratio and credit scores. Although the Mortgage Bankers Association and U.S. Mortgage Insurers, the trade group that represents private MIs, have stumped...


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

Mortgage Company President Charged with Defrauding Ginnie Mae. Robert Pena, president and founder of the now-defunct Mortgage Security Inc., was charged in federal district court in Boston for allegedly bilking Ginnie Mae out of nearly $3 million. MSI was an approved participant in the Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities program, pooling eligible single-family mortgages and selling the securitized products to investors. The firm also serviced the underlying loans. In 2011, Pena allegedly began diverting borrower payments and huge loan-payoff amounts into secret accounts, which he used to fund personal and business activities. Likewise, he is said to have funneled borrowers’ escrow funds and mortgage-insurance premiums into other personal accounts. In total, Pena pocketed $3 million due Ginnie Mae, which had to pay investors whose investments it had guaranteed, according to the ...


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Homeowners Allege Discrimination In Distressed-Loan Sales Program

African-American homeowners in New York City are seeking certification of a class action alleging that the government’s distressed-loan sale program discriminates against black homeowners. The suit alleges that black FHA homeowners in default are disproportionately affected by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s note sale program and the subsequent “predatory” mortgage servicing. HUD Secretary Julian Castro, FHA Commissioner Ed Golding, Caliber Home Loans and U.S. Bank Trust were named defendants in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The defendants’ business practices allegedly violated the plaintiffs’ due-process rights as well as the Fair Housing Act. Under the note sale program, delinquent FHA mortgages are pooled and auctioned off to the highest bidder. According to the plaintiffs, the bidders are usually private-equity firms or ...


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Wait Time for Evaluating, Deploying Home-Retention Options Reduced

The FHA has announced new streamlined procedures to help delinquent homeowners avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. The agency is revising loss-mitigation procedures servicers use when evaluating and choosing the best home-retention options for delinquent borrowers by reducing waiting time for results. The new streamlined procedures are designed to enhance servicers’ ability to evaluate foreclosure-avoidance alternatives, especially for the FHA-Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP). Specifically, FHA will require servicers to convert successful three-month trial modifications into permanent modifications within 60 days instead of the average four to six months. Borrowers who have three missed mortgage payments would be able to opt for a partial claim to bring their arrearages current versus the previous four-month minimum. In addition, the FHA will eliminate the ...


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD-IG Hammers Title II Lender for Poor Implementation of FHA HAMP

An FHA Title II lender in Atlanta is in trouble with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general for not implementing FHA’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in accordance with HUD’s requirements. As a result, HUD paid more than $1.1 million for 138 loans that were not eligible for modification under the FHA-HAMP. The lender, Georgia Housing and Finance Authority, could be facing $1.42 million in indemnifications and reimbursements because of its actions. The state housing finance agency provides low- and moderate-income people safe and affordable rental housing, and acquires and maintains housing for homeownership. Proceeds from the sale of mortgage revenue bonds, as well as federal and state allocations, fund its housing programs. GHFA also uses bond proceeds to purchase mortgages, which are serviced by mortgage affiliate. The cash flow from the ..


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Groups Ask FHA, VA to Set Aside PACE Guide, Allow Comment Period

Major industry trade groups are asking FHA and VA to suspend proposed guidelines for energy-improvement loans and give stakeholders an opportunity to comment. In a joint letter, 11 trade groups warned that the proposed agency guidelines regarding Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans raises serious concerns that must be resolved before implementation of any PACE guidance. Prior to the issuance of the new guidelines, both FHA and VA prohibited the financing or refinancing if there was a lien other than the FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed mortgages. PACE programs are available in 19 states but most are in California. They provide financing for home improvements and clean-energy upgrades that would result in more efficient use of water and electricity, and ultimately savings for homeowners. The PACE obligation is repaid through a property-tax assessment, which takes a ...


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FCC Issues TCPA ‘Exemption’ Rule, Lawyers Baffled by Rule’s Language

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a baffling final rule restricting the way servicers can collect on or service student loans, mortgages and other debts owed to the federal government. Specifically, the rule implements a key provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 amending the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to exclude robocalls from the TCPA consent requirement if they are made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the federal government. The TCPA generally requires a caller to obtain “prior express consent” from the call recipient before making a telemarketing call or an auto-dial call to the recipient’s landline or cell phone. However, the mortgage industry raised concerns that TCPA’s consent requirement could create potential liability for important servicing calls that could help homeowners save their homes, which prompted Congress to pass the Budget Act amendment. Last month, the FCC specifically excluded the federal government from the TCPA’s consumer protections by ruling that the government is not a “person” subject to the TCPA. Here is where the FCC rule gets confusing. commission is authorized to adopt rules to “restrict or limit the number and duration” of any wireless calls to collect debt owed to the federal government.”


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD Urged to Pursue $21.5 Million In Uncollected Partial Claims

A new audit report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general recommended that the agency continue its efforts to collect millions of dollars in partial claims that came due during fiscal year 2015. According to a HUD IG report, the department left uncollected approximately 1,361 partial claims, worth about $21.5 million. The IG discovered the oversight during an audit of HUD’s partial claim collections. The IG reviewed a statistical sample of 135 of 10,561 partial claims associated with FHA loans that terminated in FY 2015. “HUD had not collected 36 of the claims that should have been collected,” the report stated. “We used this result to project that a total of 1,361 partial claims were not collected.” The claims were never returned to the FHA mortgage insurance fund, as required by agency rules, to strengthen FHA solvency, the report said. A partial claim is a loss ...


August 26, 2016 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Lenders Need to Seek Legal Advice Before Using FHA’s DPA Programs

The Mortgage Bankers Association strongly urged the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the FHA to issue authoritative guidelines for lenders participating in state and local housing finance programs that rely on premium pricing to fund downpayment assistance. In a recent letter to members, the MBA recommended that FHA lenders “tread carefully” and seek legal advice until HUD provides more definitive guidance on downpayment assistance and premium pricing. Lenders should consider carefully whether and when to participate in DPA programs from housing finance agencies that rely on premium-pricing mechanisms, the letter said. The MBA said it would continue to press HUD for clarification on this contentious issue. The FHA and HUD’s inspector general are currently at odds over permissible sources of single-family downpayment assistance offered through housing finance agencies. Although the ...


August 25, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Appraisal Issues Increasingly Causing Delays of Purchase Mortgages in Busy Home-Buying Season

A shortage of appraisers and rising mortgage activity has prompted appraisal issues to account for more delayed closings, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey. For home sales closed in July after experiencing a delay, appraisal-related issues accounted for the delay 14.1 percent of the time, based on a three-month moving average. That was up from a 12.4 percent share the previous month and nearly double the 7.2 percent share in January. “Closing times are...


August 19, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

GSEs Offer Forbearance for Flood-Damaged Homes. With more than 40,000 homes hit by deadly flooding in Louisiana this week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering temporary mortgage suspensions. Fannie Mae said servicers can grant forbearance of up to 90 days to borrowers they believe were impacted by the flood, whether they make contact with them or not. When they make contact, the servicer can offer up to six months of forbearance, which can then be extended with approval. Also, lenders must verify the condition of the property of loans originated and sold to the GSE. Freddie’s policy allows for forbearance and foreclosure suspension up to 12 months. Penalties and late fees against disaster-damaged homes are also waived.


August 18, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Arch Capital to Acquire AIG’s United Guaranty Corp., Merger Would Create Largest Private MI in the World

American International Group early this week announced an agreement to sell its mortgage insurance subsidiary, United Guaranty Corp., to Arch Capital Group for $3.4 billion in cash and securities as part of AIG’s plan to become a leaner, more profitable insurer. As of the midway point in 2016, UG was the top private MI in traditional new insurance written, with an 18.8 percent share of the market. Arch MI ranked as the smallest of the seven active firms, with an ...


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