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Volume 10 - Number 11

May 26, 2017

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MBA, NAR Identify HUD Rules for Clarification, Revision, Repeal

FHA liability standards, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) lien guidance, downpayment assistance and revised condominium rules are among the regulations industry groups would like the Department of Housing and Urban Development to change or clarify. HUD is putting together an internal task force to identify regulations for review and to assess their compliance costs and regulatory burden. The department also has published a notice of the undertaking in the Federal Register with a request for comment. The comment period ends on June 14, 2017. President Trump issued an executive order in January directing federal agencies to identify at least two prior regulations for elimination for every new regulation they issue. The Mortgage Bankers Association is seeking clarification of FHA liability standards to entice banks to resume their FHA lending. The group thinks HUD’s new defect taxonomy ...

VA Production Drops in 1Q17 as Refinancing Train Loses Steam

VA originations saw a significant drop during the first three months of 2017 as refinancing continued to slow, according to an Inside FHA/VA Lending analysis of agency data. Lenders closed $42.9 billion of VA loans in the first quarter, down 28.1 percent from the previous quarter The numbers show purchase mortgages continued to drive VA originations. A slowdown in VA refinancing appears to be the key factor in the decline. Refis accounted for 27.7 percent of total VA production, down from the fourth quarter of 2016. A change in Ginnie Mae’s pooling rules aimed at discouraging churning has taken much of the steam out of the once-booming VA refi segment. The steep drop in volume ended an upward quarter-to-quarter trend in VA originations last year. Eight of the top 10 VA lenders saw huge quarter-over-quarter declines in their VA lending, with top-ranked Freedom Mortgage posting the largest ... [ Charts ]

Housing Finance Reform Should Include FHA Lending Reform

The Financial Services Roundtable called for changes to FHA’s legal liability standards to encourage banks to make more FHA loans. Increased risks of False Claims Act enforcement and concerns about multi-million dollar penalties even for the slightest underwriting errors have forced banks to restrict their FHA lending. The top 10 FHA lenders, once dominated by banks, are now nondepository institutions, which accounted for 83 percent of FHA forward originations in the first quarter of 2017. Wells Fargo, once the leader in FHA lending, has dropped to a woeful 20th place in the rankings. “Some federal officials have expressed concern about the capacity of the government to evaluate the qualifications of lenders that are not subject to regulation by federal agencies,” the FSR said. The group also noted the credit overlays many FHA lenders have added to the loans due to ...

Groups Oppose Proposed IT Fee, Suggest Other Funding Sources

The Mortgage Bankers Association is pushing back against a controversial budget proposal to charge FHA lenders a fee to pay for technology upgrades to help protect the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. Rather than charging lenders an “administrative fee,” the MBA prefers that funding improvements to FHA’s aging information systems be done through the appropriations process. “We need to be working with [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] and Congress to find ways to fund technology upgrades and risk-management improvements,” MBA Senior Vice President Pete Mills told Inside FHA/VA Lending. The White House’s budget plan for FY 2018 incorporates verbatim a proposal by the Obama administration to charge FHA lenders an administrative fee to support the upgrades needed to reduce MMI Fund losses. According to the previous administration’s estimate, the ...

FCA Action Against Lenders Slows As DOJ’s List of FHA Targets Shrinks

False Claims Act enforcement against FHA lenders appears to have slowed with no new cases being filed by the Department of Justice or referred by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general for nearly a year. Neither agency has gone after any lender for alleged False Claims Act violations since May of last year when the Department of Justice intervened in an FCA case brought by a whistleblower against Guild Mortgage, an FHA direct endorsement lender. The complaint alleged that San Diego-based Guild Mortgage knowingly approved loans that violated FHA rules while falsely certifying compliance with those rules. The alleged violations occurred between 2006 and 2011, resulting in “tens of millions of dollars” in losses to HUD. The case is pending in federal district court in Washington, DC. Indications are the FCA cases involving FHA lenders have ...

VA Explains Certificate of Eligibility Process, Entitlement Restoration

Requesting a certificate of eligibility (COE) may be just a click away but the process is not without pitfalls, cautioned a panel of VA loan production officers during an industry conference. The panelists – Maxine Henry, program analyst with the VA Central Office; Ricardo Holloway, loan production officer with the Atlanta Regional Loan Center; and Paula Jesse, assistant loan production officer with the Denver RLC – urged veterans to order their COE early in the loan-application process to avoid any hiccups. A COE verifies to the lender that the veteran/borrower is eligible for a VA loan. Ordering early would help prevent last-minute delays, said Henry. “It is a problem if the veteran is at the closing table and still does not have a COE because it was ordered just a few days prior to closing,” Henry noted. Other potential hitches are incorrect documentation or receiving a VA determination that the ...

VA LPOs School Lenders on Lending To Incapacitated Vet Borrowers

Loan processing for incompetent veterans presents significant challenges to VA lenders, requiring strict compliance with special guidance on top of the basic VA underwriting rules. One challenge is dealing with legal appointees who assist and represent veterans in legal transactions, such as applying for a mortgage loan. There are ways to determine whether a veteran is incompetent, said Mark Jamison, loan production officer (LPO) with the VA Cleveland Regional Center, during the VA Lender Conference in Kansas City, MO, last month. The Department of Veterans Affairs or a probate court can deem a veteran incompetent due to severe injury, medical conditions, mental disorders, and financial instability, he said. A mortgage lender could make a determination of incompetency if the initial purchase contract documents were signed by an attorney-in-fact, the veteran divulged the incompetency, or the ...

HUD Criticized for Failing to Ensure Proper FHA Insurance Terminations

Poor agency oversight of voluntary lender terminations of FHA insurance on single-family home loans has resulted in increased risk for borrowers, premium overpayments and inaccurate records, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general. The IG gave the department a poor grade for failing to ensure that lenders properly processed voluntary terminations of FHA coverage and disclosed to borrowers the implications of such termination. The audit report blamed HUD’s failure on its inability to detect and deter lender errors while processing voluntary terminations, causing borrowers to lose FHA-insurance protection and overpay FHA premiums. HUD’s records also were skewed because of the oversight, the report noted. IG auditors reviewed a statistical sample of 115 of the 3,690 loans that were terminated voluntarily by lenders during fiscal years 2015 and ...

VA Clarifies Use of Comparables In Appraisals of Remote Properties

Difficulty coming up with comparable home sales data in rural areas has prompted the Department of Veterans Affairs to clarify its requirements for comparable sales for VA appraisals. The VA lender handbook requires comparable sales in appraisal reports to be located as near as possible to the property. Compliance with the requirement has been particularly difficult for VA lenders in rural and certain urban areas, where properties are a good distance apart. According to VA Circular 26-17-14, VA does not set a minimum or maximum distance between properties for an appraisal but requires that “comparable sales should be located as close to the subject as practical.” In cases where obtaining data is a problem because properties may be many miles from the subject property, appraisers should explain why those comparable sales were used and how they compare and/or compete with the ...

Around the Industry

Moody’s Rates Credit Suisse FHA Securitization Transaction. Moody’s assigned investment-grade ratings to Credit Suisse’s first securitization deal in 2017 backed by seasoned re-performing and performing, fully amortizing, fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages insured by FHA. The deal is the first FHA-insured re-performing transaction since 2010, according to the rating agency. The collateral pool is comprised of 672 first-lien, fixed-rate loans and ARMs with a weighted average updated FICO score of 614 and loan-to-value ratio of 94.2 percent. Approximately 82.4 percent of the loans in the collateral pool were previously modified. Approximately 52.8 percent of the loans have been current for at least 24 months. Another 17.3 percent of the loans have been current for more than 12 months. Comments Sought on Various Information Collection Proposals. The Department of Housing and ...

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