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Volume 11 - Number 1

January 12, 2018

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Ginnie MBS Program Faltered In 2017, Refi Flow Up in 4Q17

Ginnie Mae set records for new issuance of single-family mortgage-backed securities in 2015 and 2016, but production sagged last year, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside FHA/VA Lending. The agency issued $443.20 billion of MBS backed by forward single-family mortgages in 2017, a 10.8 percent decline from the previous year. Including FHA reverse mortgages and that are not truncated, 2017 issuance fell 10.3 percent to $455.00 billion. Meanwhile, the private mortgage insurance business – based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac MBS data – saw a smaller decline of 5.0 percent from 2016 to last year. The VA program generally held up better than the FHA program during the fourth quarter, when refinance lending was climbing. But the FHA had a better year overall despite some loss of market share in purchase-mortgage activity. Deliveries of FHA loans into ... [ Charts ]

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Deal With VA’s Vexing Churning Problem

Senate lawmakers this week introduced bipartisan legislation to protect veterans and servicemembers from predatory refinancing schemes. Introduced by Sens. Tom Tillis, R-NC, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, the bill would require lenders offering streamline or cash-out refinancing to demonstrate a material benefit to veterans with a VA loan. The Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lending Act reflects measures Jeffrey London, director of VA’s Loan Guaranty Service, talked about when he testified during a hearing on loan churning before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity (See next story.) Prior to submitting a refi loan for a VA guarantee, a lender would be required to certify that all fees associated with the transaction would be recouped by the veteran through lower monthly payments within 36 months. Such fees would include closing costs and any expenses other than ...

VA, Ginnie Mae Working on Long- Term Cures to Rapid Refinancing

Ginnie Mae and the Department of Veterans Affairs have announced additional measures to curb serial refinancing of VA loans. Testifying before a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee this week, officials from both agencies said the latest measures will complement guidelines Ginnie issued last year to deal with the loan-churning problem. Lenders urged Congress and the two agencies to be cautious in prescribing fixes that could potentially cut off VA funding. Jeffrey London, director of the VA Loan Guaranty Service, said a proposed rule that includes a net tangible benefits test for veterans as well as seasoning and recoupment requirements will be issued soon. The VA is also planning to require upfront lender disclosure of the terms and benefits of a streamline or cash-out refi, including the recoupment period of the new transaction. Even though serial refinancing is not systemic to the VA portfolio, it has grown in ...

GSE Housing Reform, Enforcement Highlight FHA, VA Outlook in 2018

2018 might not turn out to be a record-breaking production year for FHA and VA, but it could become significant in terms of enforcement and housing finance reform, according to industry stakeholders. Ed Pinto, codirector of the American Enterprise Institute’s International Center on Housing Risk, expects a slight increase in FHA’s and VA’s mortgage unit production and stronger dollar volumes due to rising house prices. Pinto believes loose purchase lending, particularly by FHA, and declining housing inventory are driving housing prices. This in turn results in FHA/VA cash-out refinancing at very high loan-to-value ratios, which helps feed the general economy but makes FHA lending riskier, he said. “We see a stronger demand for housing amid constrained housing supply,” said Pinto. “We’re seeing this vicious cycle of purchase transactions becoming more risky, cash-out transactions increasing in ...

Galante’s FHA Restructuring Plan Elicits Bland Stakeholder Response

A former FHA commissioner’s proposal to restructure FHA as part of broader housing-finance reform has received mixed responses from industry stakeholders and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While participants in a recent panel discussion hosted by the Urban Institute praised the proposal, they admitted to still being unsure about FHA’s role in a revamped world of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and a single mortgage-backed security. The recommendation for a reconstituted FHA is part of a paper presented for debate at the Urban Institute this week by Carol Galante, faculty director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California Berkeley, and former head of FHA during the second Obama administration. Under Galante’s proposal, all of FHA’s mortgage insurance programs would remain with the agency while rental assistance and other ...

VA Clarifies Rules for Allowing Use Of Third-Party Verification Services

VA lenders may use third-party vendors to verify borrower income, employment and asset information subject to certain conditions, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Officials issued the clarification in response to lender inquiries regarding the use of third parties to determine if a borrower qualifies for a VA loan. The agency said it would accept third-party verifications if lenders are fully responsible for verifying the accuracy of information the borrower provided in the loan application. Lenders must initiate and receive all verifications of employment and deposits, requests for credit reports, and credit information. When a real estate broker/agent or any other party requests information regarding borrower income, employment or personal assets, the lender must identify the requester as its agent and ensure that any report is returned directly to them. In addition, the lender must disclose the ...

VA Clarifies Buyout Criteria for Uninsured, Unguaranteed Loans

Ginnie Mae is redefining the term “defective mortgage” to remind issuers of their obligations when confronted by a mortgage that does not have federal insurance or guarantee. The action also clarifies options issuers may consider in dealing with defective mortgages. Under their guarantee agreement with Ginnie, issuers are required to cure, buy out or replace single-family mortgages or manufactured home loans that are missing the requisite FHA insurance or VA or U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantee within 120 days after the issue date of the mortgage-backed securities. Ginnie made clear that mortgages that do not have federal insurance or guarantee by the deadline for final certification of the related pool or loan package are defective. In addition, mortgages that have been rejected by FHA, VA or USDA, or for which federal insurance or guarantee have been withdrawn, are defective as ...

Florida District Court Allows U.S. to Intervene in FHA FCA Suit v. BofA

A federal district court in Florida has agreed to a government motion to intervene in a False Claims Act lawsuit against Bank of America in order to reach a settlement on behalf of a relator. Bruce Jacobs, a foreclosure attorney and relator in South Florida, filed the lawsuit. A former Miami prosecutor, he now represents homeowners in foreclosure proceedings initiated by financial institutions, including BofA. In his lawsuit, Jacobs alleged that BofA submitted false claims in violation of the FCA. Specifically, the bank allegedly submitted endorsements with unauthorized signatures and false mortgage assignments that would confer standing to foreclose. In addition, Jacobs additionally asserted a reverse FCA claim alleging that BofA made false statements when entering into the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) consent judgment with the U.S. government. The landmark $25 billion settlement with ...

Around the Industry

FHA Announces Revised Method for Calculating Initial MIP for HECM Refis. FHA has modified the formula for calculating the initial mortgage insurance premium for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage refinances with case numbers assigned on or after Sept. 19, 2017. The formula was modified on Nov. 14, 2017. The change conforms to the final rule FHA implemented last year to strengthen the HECM program. The revised formula has been posted on FHA’s HECM page on hud.gov, FHA Connection Release Notes, dated Dec. 28, 2017. The FHAC Release Notes outline the changes and processing instructions for lenders to calculate the initial MIP for HECM refis. HUD Releases Guide to Help Borrowers and Disaster Victims Avoid Foreclosure. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has released the Homeowners Guide to Success to help struggling homeowners and ...

Poll

With originations expected to drop in 2018, will your shop turn to non-QM/non-prime mortgage products as a way to bolster volumes?

Yes, definitely. We’re planning a launch.

33%

No. It’s still difficult compliance/regulatory-wise.

20%

Maybe. It’s under consideration.

33%

Not now. But things could change as 2018 progresses.

13%