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Volume 11 - Number 3

February 9, 2018

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Correspondent Platforms Had Big Year in FHA/VA Market in 2017

The steadiest source of new FHA and VA loans flowing into Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities came from correspondent lending platforms, according to a new Inside FHA/VA Lending analysis. In the fourth quarter, however, correspondent originations declined more than retail and wholesale-broker production. Ginnie last year securitized $115.05 billion of FHA loans that issuers acquired from correspondent lenders. That was down 2.8 percent from 2016, but total FHA loan deliveries dropped 13.9 percent over that period. The correspondent share of the FHA market rose to 48.6 percent last year, a gain of 5.5 percentage points from 2016. FHA loans generated by brokers accounted for 14.8 percent of 2017 activity, up slightly from the previous year. But retail-originated FHA loan volume plummeted 25.5 percent, dropping the channel’s share of the market to 36.6 percent – down from 42.3 percent back in ... [ Chart ]

Ginnie Targets Issuers Responsible For Rapidly Prepaying VA Loans

Ginnie Mae this week warned nine VA lenders suspected of engaging in loan churning to each develop a plan to slow the rapid pace of prepayments they have triggered in the agency’s securitized loan pools. According to Ginnie, the issuers were directed individually to deliver correction action plans containing measures that could be deployed immediately to bring prepayment speeds in line with market peers. The agency told issuers they would be barred from multi-issuer pools if they do not come up with a plan. Participation would be allowed only in the agency’s custom pools. The latest action builds off the Ginnie Mae/VA Loan Churn Task Force, which has been working since September to resolve the churning problem. “We have an obligation to take necessary measures to prevent the lending practices of a few from impairing the performance of our multi-issuer securities, and thus raising the ... [ Chart ]

VA Calls for Early Disclosures for IRRRLs to Ensure Vets Benefit

The Department of Veterans Affairs will require lenders to provide early disclosures to veterans seeking to refinance into a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan. The new policy aims to ensure that the VA streamline refi loan they sought would actually lower their monthly mortgage payments and is not just a scam for lenders to charge higher fees. Loan churning, or serial refinancing, is at the root of the VA policy change. Churning refers to multiple refinancing of an unseasoned mortgage loan within a very short time, often within six months of origination. Serial refinancing may add more payments and interest to the new loan, prolonging debt repayment, and can strip equity. It also potentially raises the risk of default by the borrower. In addition, the risk of prepayment could affect pricing of Ginnie Mae securities, which could cause lenders to charge higher rates on VA loans to make up for the ...

DOJ Memos May Change Approach To FHA Litigation, Attorneys Say

Two recent internal policy memos from the Department of Justice suggest that the agency is reevaluating its approach in two key areas of enforcement, which may significantly affect False Claims Act litigation in FHA cases. Issued last month (one was actually leaked), the memos pertain to the dismissal of frivolous whistleblower cases when the government declines to intervene, and the prohibition of DOJ attorneys relying on an entity’s noncompliance with agency guidance as presumptive or conclusive evidence that the entity violated the law. Written by Michael Granston, director of the DOJ’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, the leaked Jan. 10 memo directs federal prosecutors to consider dismissing meritless FCA complaints by whistleblowers when considering whether DOJ should intervene in the ...

Concerns Raised about Fate of Cash-Out Refis in Warren Bill

A surge in anti-churning efforts by legislators and regulators to address the churning of VA loans has prompted analysts to examine certain policy changes, potential cures and pending legislation designed to protect veterans from predatory serial refinancing schemes. For instance, bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and Thom Tillis, R-NC, would establish a minimum 50 basis point incentive for qualified VA refi mortgages, recoupment of refi costs within three years, and a six-month seasoning period before the initial loan could be refinanced into a new VA loan. However, Wells Fargo Securities analysts are concerned that S 2304, Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lending Act of 2018, does not distinguish between rate-term refinancing and cash-out refinancing and may wind up eliminating cash-out refi as an option for cash-strapped veterans. Although some lenders used ...

DC Appeals Court Upholds Lower Court’s Dismissal of FCA Lawsuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently upheld a lower court dismissal of a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging a lender’s violation of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement and of the Home Affordable Modification Program. In Laurence Schneider, Appellant, v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., Appellees, the federal government declined to intervene, allowing the qui tam lawsuit to proceed. Schneider, the relator and an owner of a mortgage servicing company that purchased numerous loans from Chase, alleged that the lender falsely claimed compliance with the $25 billion landmark settlement negotiated in 2012 between the federal government, 40 state attorneys general, and a group of large banks, including Chase. The settlement resolved claims against the banks for allegedly improper origination and servicing of conventional, FHA and VA loans that were thought to ...

Section 502 Lending Rises in FY17, Remains USDA’s Lead SF Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided $19.3 billion in rural housing loan guarantees under its largest single-family housing program in FY 2017, according to the USDA Rural Housing Service. Last year’s total guarantees were $2.92 billion more than in fiscal 2016. Approximately 137,071 USDA loans were securitized in 2017. According to RHS, in October 2017, the loan guarantee upfront fee fell from 2.75 percent plus a monthly 0.5 percent fee to 1.0 percent plus an annual fee of 0.35 percent. The fee drop helped reverse a decline in obligations from the previous year, RHS noted. The average income for a Section 502 single-family guaranteed loan borrower was $59,191 in fiscal 2017, up from $57,962 in the prior fiscal year. For the lower-income Section 502 Direct program, USDA provided approximately $1.0 billion in housing loan guarantees, about $41.7 million higher than the ...

FHA Delinquencies Spike in Puerto Rico as Island Remains in Disarray

FHA delinquencies rose sharply in Puerto Rico following the devastation brought by hurricanes Maria and Irma last year. At the end of 2017, 28.8 percent of FHA mortgages on the island were at some stage of delinquency, including 15.8 percent that have fallen 90 days behind on their mortgage payments. Deutsche Bank Securities analysts believe the spike in delinquency rates overall is “a short-term phenomenon.” They noted that FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have declared temporary moratoria on evictions and foreclosures in Puerto Rico and other hurricane-ravaged regions. Issuer exposures in devastated areas remain unclear and Ginnie Mae has not updated its MBS hurricane exposure data since October last year. In the initial disclosure, the agency reported 9.7 percent (1,066,028 loans) of its total MBS portfolio were impacted by Harvey, Irma and Maria. The affected loans’ unpaid principal ...

Around the Industry

Ginnie Mae Announces New Issuer Disclosure File Layout. Ginnie Mae will make available a new test file layout for new issuer disclosures on Feb. 26, 2018, on its New Release Test File Download page. The new issuer disclosure file will show basic address and program information on active and inactive Ginnie issuers. The file will be published monthly and will contain data for issuers in Ginnie’s mortgage-backed securities programs for single family, multifamily, manufactured housing, and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. The new file eliminates unnecessary fields and includes the issuer’s Ginnie program and its active/inactive status. Ginnie is planning to implement the new file in May 2018 as a replacement for the old issuer file. The final issuer file will be published in April 2018. HUD Provides Recovery Funds to U.S. Virgin Islands. The Department of Housing and Urban Affairs has ...

Poll

How many new retail loan officers (net) is your shop looking to hire in the first quarter of 2018?

1 to 10. We’re being careful.
11 to 30. We’re feeling slightly bullish.
31 or more. We’re in expansion mode.
None. We’re staying right where we are, for now.
We’re cutting back.

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