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Volume 10 - Number 14

July 7, 2017

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Ginnie MBS Issuance Rides Rising Home Sales in 2Q17

Ginnie Mae issuers were moderately busier in the second quarter of 2017 than during the first three months of the year, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside FHA/VA Lending. Issuers produced $112.71 billion of single-family mortgage-backed securities during the second quarter, including MBS backed by FHA home-equity conversion mortgages. It was a 5.5 percent increase from the previous period and brought year-to-date issuance to $219.51 billion, down 0.7 percent from the first half of 2016. The quarterly uptick in total issuance may not sound like much, but contrasts sharply with production at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which dropped 13.1 percent from the first to the second quarter. Ginnie volume was up because it had a deeper vein of purchase-money mortgages than there was in the government-sponsored enterprise market. Purchase loans accounted for 63.4 percent of ... [Charts]

DOJ, HUD Expand FCA Scrutiny to FHA Servicing, Reverse Mortgages

Mortgage compliance experts are cautioning FHA servicers to tread carefully around loss mitigation, annual certifications and reverse mortgages, which could be a potential minefield for False Claims Act lawsuits. While FHA lenders’ exposure to FCA risk remains, the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have increased their scrutiny of FHA servicing practices for potential violations, according to Phil Schulman and Kristie Kully, both partners in Mayer Brown’s Washington office. In a recent podcast, Schulman warned of increasing DOJ and HUD scrutiny of FHA servicing practices in the last 18 months, a worrisome shift from the origination side, which has seen an estimated $5 billion in settlements and penalties since 2011 for violations of the FCA and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. Since 2008, mortgagees participating in ...

FHA Lender Pays $4.2 Million to Resolve False Claims Allegations

Prospect Mortgage of Sherman Oaks, CA, this week joined a growing list of FHA lenders that have opted to settle federal false claims allegations arising from flawed underwriting and poor quality control. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorneys Offices for the Northern Districts of Georgia and California announced a $4.16 million settlement with Prospect stemming from alleged fraudulent FHA lending practices at two of its Southeastern branches. An FHA direct endorsement lender, Prospect’s branches in Florida and North Carolina allegedly violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying compliance with FHA underwriting and quality control requirements. Consequently, the FHA suffered substantial losses in claim payments when the loans defaulted. HUD’s Atlanta Home Ownership Center reported that Prospect had a 12.29 percent default rate, well in excess of the national average, between December 2007 and ...

VRM Wins 10-Year Contract to Oversee REOs, Service VA Loans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a 10-year contract to VRM Mortgage Services to manage VA’s real estate-owned assets and service its loan portfolio. The contract requires VRM, a 10-year-old California-based real estate services contractor, to manage, market and sell VA REO properties, and provide other real estate services as well. The new contract was negotiated from a previous five-year contract that was awarded to VRM when VA consolidated both REO management and portfolio servicing into a single contract.VA has often sold conveyed properties with seller loan financing, known as vendee loans, to help keep distressed vet homeowners in their homes. Vendee lending is an arrangement whereby a buyer uses VA financing to purchase a property in the agency’s REO inventory. “Once a loan is sold under the vendee financing program, we would monitor that loan as well as ...

HUD Study Finds Rural Applicants More Sensitive to Insurance Costs

New research from the Department of Housing and Urban Development has found that, despite their differences, the FHA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture rural mortgage programs overlap considerably. The study, “Mortgage Choice in Rural Housing,” also found that pricing, rather than underwriting, drives borrowers’ decision to obtain either an FHA or Rural Housing Service-guaranteed mortgage loan. The study’s findings can help guide the policy debate of whether elimination of the RHS home-loan guarantee program or consolidation with the FHA can help simplify and streamline rural-housing financing, according to authors Kevin Park and Joshua Miller. The study used Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, focusing on first-lien applications for purchase of owner-occupied houses between January 2012 and September 2015. Loan amounts may not exceed the ...

VA Seeks Continued Use of Form Allowing Lenders to Auto-Close

The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget to continue collecting information considered crucial in approving certain lender requests to close VA loans automatically. Currently, non-supervised VA lenders requesting approval to close VA loans on an automatic basis use VA Form 26-8736 to submit the information needed for VA approval. Upon receiving the form, the appropriate VA regional loan center processes and evaluates the information. Without the required data, VA would not be able to determine if a non-supervised lender is qualified for automatic loan processing. The required data include, among other things, a resume of each principal officer’s experience in mortgage lending in a managerial capacity and the latest financial statements audited and certified by a certified public accountant. The form also requires a listing of all ...

Penny Raises Funding Capacity by Altering Repo Pact Terms with CS

PennyMac has revised master mortgage repurchase agreements with Credit Suisse to increase its funding capacity for new loan originations and acquisition of mortgage servicing rights, the company disclosed in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The increase is temporary – effective from June 23 through Sept. 29 – but it will boost PennyMac’s funding capacity by $486 million. On June 23, 2017, PennyMac agreed to revised terms of its Third Amended and Restated Master Purchase Agreement (CS Repurchase Amendment), which would increase temporarily its maximum committed purchase price to $943 million from $700 million. Entered into on April 28, 2017, the amended repurchase agreement would allow PennyMac to sell to Credit Suisse and later repurchase certain newly originated residential and small-balance multifamily mortgages. The agreement also includes ...

FHA Provides Additional Guidance For Using New Loan Review System

The latest issue of FHA’s Lender Insight provides additional information to lenders regarding the new Loan Review System that was launched on May 15, 2017. FHA urged lenders to keep their contact information current in FHA Connection and in the Lender Electronic Appraisal Portal so that they receive automated system notifications on time. Also, lenders should review current FHAC user access for appropriate roles, the agency added. Lenders’ in-house FHAC application coordinators are authorized to grant access to, and assign roles within, the LRS. Having the correct roles should enable users to access the system from the FHAC menu, the FHA said. In addition, the lender must take a photo of any error messages that might appear on screen before contacting the FHA Resource Center, the agency advised. Be prepared to provide the date and time of the attempted login, user ID, lender user ID and the ...

Around the Industry

Chicago HECM Lender Arraigned on Fraud Charges. Mark Steven Diamond, a mortgage loan originator with offices in Chicago and Calumet City, IL, was arraigned on fraud charges in connection with a $7 million reverse mortgage scheme that targeted elderly homeowners and FHA lenders. According to the Department of Justice, Diamond deceived lenders into making FHA-insured reverse mortgage loans to homeowners who did not apply for a loan or had been beguiled to do so by the smooth-talking suspect. Diamond allegedly pocketed title-company checks intended for the borrowers, with the help of an unindicted co-schemer. Cynthia Wallace, who posed as a representative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was indicted along with Diamond. Using at least three aliases, Wallace allegedly collected money from victims for home repairs, which she claimed Diamond would ...

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