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Volume 11 - Number 16

August 10, 2018

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Purchase Lending Powers VA 2Q Surge, Ends First Half on High Note

VA home-loan guarantee volume rose in the first half of 2018 thanks to a second-quarter surge in purchase business. New VA loan guarantees totaled $89.9 billion at midyear, a 7.5 percent improvement from the same point last year. VA production was even stronger quarter-over-quarter, with $50.9 billion in originations, up a whopping 30.2 percent from the first quarter. Purchase loans accounted for 68.1 percent of VA guarantees in the second quarter, up 23.1 percent from the prior quarter. Purchase for the first six months of 2018 was up 19.5 percent from a year ago. VA refi business struggled in the second quarter as production fell 7.0 percent from the previous period, dropping the overall refi share to 31.9 percent. Most of the damage in VA production in the second quarter was in the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan program, where volume tumbled 42.8 percent from the previous ... [Chart]

VA, MBA Nix Bill Seeking to Raise Loan Fees to Pay for Vet Benefits

A legislative proposal to charge veterans, servicemembers and military spouses more for a VA home loan is getting heat from lenders and the Department of Veterans Affairs itself. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs last week, Paul Lawrence, VA undersecretary for benefits, warned that increasing VA loan fees would impose additional financial burdens on veterans who are trying to buy a home, making them more vulnerable to predatory lending. Fee-related proposals are included in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 382-0 in June and it is currently under consideration in the Senate. H.R. 229 would expand disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving on U.S. ships offshore or on the ground in Thailand and the Korean demilitarized ...

AI Objects to Appraisal Provisions in H.R. 299, Calls for Revisions

The appraisal industry is opposed to a legislative proposal that would make changes to how appraisals are procured for the VA home loan program. The appraisal measure is one of the key provisions in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 382-0 in June. The bill is now pending in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Blue Water Act would clarify presumptions relating to veterans’ exposure to herbicide, such as Agent Orange, during the Vietnam era and disability claims. The bill also proposes changes to the VA loan fee structure, including a proposed hike to the fees veterans, servicemembers and their spouses pay to obtain a VA-guaranteed home loan. The appraisal provision in H.R. 299 would allow VA appraisers to engage a third party to perform property inspections on their behalf. The provision addresses a problem with ...

MBA Urges Congress to Fix Problem of ‘Orphaned’ VA Mortgage Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association called upon Congress to pass legislation to restore Ginnie Mae eligibility for so-called orphaned VA loans, which have caused a temporary disruption in the government-backed secondary market. In written testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last week, the MBA urged lawmakers to make technical corrections to restore the eligibility of certain Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans for pooling. The MBA estimated the VA orphan loan mess at roughly $500 million. Due to new loan seasoning requirements in the recently enacted Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, sime IRRRLs were rendered ineligible for Ginnie MBS pools. The loans were in transit when legislation addressing the problem of VA loan churning and serial refinancing became law in May. The new law’s seasoning provisions turned out to be ...

Treasury Urges HUD to Clarify FCA Materiality, Severity of Violations

A Treasury Department report called on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish clear standards for determining which mortgage-related violations and loan defects the Department of Justice should pursue under the False Claims Act. The report also recommended that DOJ ensure that materiality, for purposes of the FCA, is linked to the standards of the agency administering the program to which the claim has been filed. Furthermore, it urged both HUD and the DOJ to work together to clarify the process by which they can jointly resolve claims. The report was issued pursuant to President Trump’s February 2017 executive order establishing his administration’s policy to regulate the U.S. financial system according to a set of core principles. Both HUD and the DOJ have been successful in using the statute to prosecute FHA lenders who knowingly commit fraud or make ...

Senate Passes FY 2019 T-HUD Bill, Preserves Previous Funding Levels

On Aug. 1, the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 to pass a four-bill appropriations package that includes FY 2019 funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture housing programs. The bill passed without changes to program funding levels previously approved by Senate appropriators. The House Appropriations Committee has approved FY19 spending bills for both HUD and USDA. The full House, which is away for the summer break until Sept. 4, has not yet voted on the package. The Senate bill retains the previous fiscal year’s $400 billion in new loan commitments in the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and $30 billion for the general insurance and special risk insurance program, which include special purpose single- and multifamily loans, multifamily rental housing and condominiums. The bill also sets aside $550 billion for Ginnie Mae ...

USDA Issuance Down at Midpoint From 2017, Up in Second Quarter

Fewer rural single-family mortgages and modified home loans with a USDA guarantee were securitized during the first six months of 2018 compared to last year. Delivery of USDA loans into Ginnie Mae pools over the last two quarters totaled $8.6 billion, down 10.1 percent from the same period last year but up 12.4 percent in the second quarter from the prior period. PennyMac topped all USDA issuers with $1.7 billion worth of rural housing MBS issued during the first half of 2018, up 22.1 percent year-over-year. New issuance also rose 30.0 percent in the second quarter from the previous quarter, enough for a 20.2 percent share of the securitized USDA market. ... [chart]

USDA Centralizes Single-Family-Loan Foreclosure Processes

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is placing all single-family foreclosure processes under one roof and under one team. A comprehensive plan is being implemented to centralize all foreclosure functions to make them more effective, efficient and focused on customers, the agency said. Part of the plan is to consolidate individual state private-attorney agreements into a single contract across the single-family portfolio. USDA sees the state-by-state PA contracts as “bridge agreements” to a larger procurement award that allows foreclosure services to be conducted on a nationwide basis, said Joel Baxley, administrator of the USDA Rural Housing Service. Baxley said foreclosure resolutions are taking too long and are costly due to backlogs, which, in turn, results in unnecessary losses to the government. Streamlining the process and developing one foreclosure and ...

Quicken Loans Launches Higher Limit Reverse Mortgage Product

Quicken Loan has announced a new reverse mortgage alternative that offers more flexibility and features than FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage product. Simply called HELO, the Home Equity Loan Optimizer is available through Quicken’s reverse-mortgage retailer, One Reverse Mortgage. It will soon be available through the wholesale broker channel as well, according to Gregg Smith, president and CEO of One Reverse Mortgage. HELO’s best feature is its higher loan limit of up to $4 million, which particularly benefits equity-rich seniors, compared to the maximum claim amount for an insured HECM, which is $679,650, or 150 percent above the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit. Unlike HECMs, HELO allows seller concessions as well as debt consolidation to be paid off at closing, which is prohibited in traditional HECMs. To qualify, borrowers must have a minimum credit score ...

Around the Industry

Fannie Mae Updates HECM Servicing Manual. Fannie Mae has updated its Reverse Mortgage Loan Servicing Manual to include changes related to real estate-owned hazard-insurance requirements. The policy change applies only to Home Equity Conversion Mortgage REO. The revised manual now requires that, for HECM loans, the servicer must place a property insurance policy on the acquired property in accordance with Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. Coverage must be up to the HUD foreclosure appraisal amount or the deed-in-lieu property valuation amount. Should the servicer be unable to obtain a HUD foreclosure appraisal or deed-in-lieu property valuation, it must place coverage in accordance with HUD guidelines and up to the unpaid principal balance amount. Fannie encouraged immediate servicer implementation of the policy. However, the ...

Poll

With mortgage production down noticeably this year from 2017, how many lenders might disappear via M&A or failure during the next 12 months?

10% or less. It’s not that bad out there.

17%

11% to 25%. It’s a challenging market.

48%

25% to 40%. It’s going to be very ugly.

24%

No opinion.

11%