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Volume 11 - Number 23

November 16, 2018

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VA Volume Slumps as Streamlined Refi Business Falls Sharply in 3Q18

VA mortgage originations fell significantly in the third quarter of 2018 due to a decline in purchase loans and a sharp drop in refinancing from the previous quarter. Rising interest rates and regulatory restrictions were mostly to blame, said lenders. VA production during the third quarter was $40.2 billion, down 21.0 percent from the quarter ago. Volume in the first nine months of 2018 dropped a mere 0.7 percent from the same time period last year. Purchase loans, which comprised 75.3 percent of VA’s guaranty business, were down 12.6 percent. On the other hand, year-over-year production increased 14.0 percent. VA refinance was down 39.0 percent from the second quarter and 18.1 percent on a year-to-date basis. The decline was fueled primarily by an 80.8 percent drop in VA streamline refis or Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans from the second quarter. IRRRL endorsements in the third quarter ... [Charts]

MMIF is Sound, Latest Audit Finds; Forwards Cover More HECM Losses

The FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is generally healthy but for its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, according to the latest FHA audit of the MMIF. In its 2018 report to Congress this week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development had good and bad news regarding the financial condition of the insurance fund. The good news is that the economic value of the MMIF, which backs the FHA’s single-family loan programs, increased to $34.7 billion in fiscal 2018 from $26.7 billion a year ago. Total capital resources rose to $49.2 billion from $40.9 billion during the same period. For the fourth consecutive year, the fund exceeded its statutory capital reserve ratio of 2.00 percent. The ratio rose to 2.76 percent in 2018 from 2.18 percent last year. Premium reductions, had they been in effect, would have reduced the fund’s economic net worth and dropped its capital ratio, industry ...

HUD Works on Deal with DOJ to Limit FCA Use to Serious Violations

A memorandum of understanding is in the works at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to clarify the use of the False Claims Act in FHA enforcement. At the same time, the department is considering seeking statutory authority for the Mortgagee Review Board to impose stiffer penalties on lenders for violations that do not require a False Claims Act response. (See following story.) During a public policy luncheon hosted by the Washington-based Women in Housing and Finance this week, HUD Assistant Secretary and FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said the draft MOU would provide a “level of fairness” in terms of whether the FCA or some other mechanism would be appropriate. Montgomery did not discuss specifics but said the memo would ensure that HUD has a say in what type of offense would qualify for a false claim. Montgomery gave no timeframe for when the ...

FHA Seeks to Strengthen MRB Authority to Ensure Compliance

The FHA is recommending a statutory change to strengthen the Mortgagee Review Board’s authority in lender enforcement. The agency discussed the merits of enhancing MRB’s powers in a 2018 audit report on the health of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund. While the goal of a stronger MRB is not new, it has taken on a new urgency in discussions between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice regarding the use of the False Claims Act in FHA enforcement. The DOJ and HUD have used the statute to pursue lenders that have inflicted millions of dollars in losses on FHA due to misrepresentation, carelessness and generally sloppy underwriting. Lenders, on the other hand, have complained about the agencies’ indiscriminate use of the FCA against even the slightest technical error. The FCA and its treble-damages provisions have squeezed billions of dollars ...

Ginnie Mae Continues to Tighten Issuer Standards, Accountability

This week, Ginnie Mae issued an all-participants memo dictating new standards for firms seeking to become issuers, including the stipulation that applicants submit to a corporate credit evaluation. Ginnie said the financial exercise will be “similar to those employed by credit rating agencies.” The evaluation will determine whether an applicant is qualified to be an issuer or whether additional criteria should be imposed even if the basic standards are met. Applicants that rely on a subservicer arrangement will be scrutinized even more. The bulletin also notes that, effective immediately, the agency is implementing new notification requirements for MBS issuers engaged in “certain subservicer advance or servicing income agreements, which do not require prior Ginnie Mae approval, but can impact an issuer’s ongoing liquidity position and financial obligations.” While Ginnie currently permits subservicers to advance ...

GNMA’s Liquidity Concerns Prompt Demand for Contingency Plans

Increasingly worried about the financial condition of its largest nonbank issuers amid declining market conditions, Ginnie Mae in late October shot off a liquidity letter to 14 companies, asking them to develop contingency plans. The identity of the firms was not revealed to Inside FHA/VA Lending, but it’s no secret which companies rank among the top echelon of issuer/servicers. The five largest nonbank Ginnie MBS servicers as of Sept. 30 are PennyMac Financial Services, Lakeview Loan Servicing, Freedom Mortgage, Quicken Loans and Mr. Cooper. According to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by this publication, Ginnie wants the companies to develop strategies to right-size their operations. One of the agency’s goals is to lay the groundwork for financial stress tests that all issuer/servicers eventually must meet. Ginnie expects to sit down with the executive management teams of the ...

FHA Plans Headcount in Certain HECM Homes to Protect Spouses

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is planning to conduct an inventory of occupants of homes with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loan originated prior to 2014 to help protect non-borrowing spouses from eviction in the event of the HECM borrower’s death. The status of non-borrowing spouses (NBS) remains an issue with HUD relative to HECM books of business predating 2014, when the program did not provide protections to spouses of deceased HECM borrowers, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said during a press briefing this week. Prior to August 2014, only borrowers over the age of 62 could be on the HECM note and on the title of the home. The policy created a problem for non-borrowing spouses, who could face eviction if the older spouse passed away. The HECM borrower’s death is deemed a “maturity event” that renders the loan due and payable. This meant that the ...

HUD Announces Sale of Multiple Residential Nonperforming Pools

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will auction approximately $230 million worth of multiple residential reverse-mortgage pools to qualified bidders next month. An estimated 1,150 due and payable reverse mortgages will be sold to the highest bidders. The loans are first liens secured by single-family, vacant residential properties, where all borrowers are deceased. No borrower is survived by a non-borrowing spouse. The loans will be sold without FHA insurance and with servicing released. The loans are expected to be offered in regional pools, with qualified nonprofits or units of local government entities as first-priority bidders. They will also bid on up to 10 percent of the loans in a larger regional pool. The open, competitive whole-loan sale will be held on Dec. 12, 2018. Qualified bidders will be required to submit a deposit with their bid. HUD will evaluate each bid and determine the ...

VA Clarifies Impact of Claims Payment on Vets’ Entitlement

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued guidance clarifying the effect of guaranteed claim payments on a veteran’s home-loan entitlement. According to the guidance, a veteran loses a part or all of his VA home-loan benefit when the agency pays a claim on a loan terminated by a foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. For VA loans originated on or after Jan. 1, 1990, the VA will no longer establish debts against veterans after it pays a claim to reimburse a servicer for its loss. Reimbursement could be up to the maximum guaranty amount. On the other hand, the agency may establish a debt against the veteran and pursue collection if the loan was originated prior to Jan. 1, 1990. If the veteran wants to reuse the VA home-loan benefit, he or she must fully reimburse VA for its losses in order to restore full entitlement. The loss only affects the veteran’s entitlement under the VA Home Loan guaranty program and ...

Around the Industry

FHA to Automate Its User Identification Assignment Process. The FHA Connection (FHAC) system has automated its Application Coordinator User ID assignment process. As of Nov. 9, FHA no longer mails paper documentation to a mortgagee’s chief executive officer when a new user ID has been assigned to one of its employees. Notifications will be emailed to the mortgagee’s administrative contact assigned in FHA’s Lender Electronic Assessment portal system. The contact should verify the information in the LEAP system before Nov. 9 and update it as needed. Also beginning Nov. 9, FHA will discontinue mailing to approved appraisers paper-based notifications of the issuance of FHAC user IDs. Notices will be sent by email to the appraisers’ email addresses, which are on file in FHAC. HUD Announces Disaster Assistance for CA Wildfire Victims. The Department of Housing and Urban Development said ...

Poll

With loan volumes declining, does your shop have plans to enter the non-QM lending market in 2019?

Yes, definitely. A solid move forward.
Yes, but only incrementally.
We’re pondering a move into non-QM, but haven’t made up our mind.
No, definitely not. We view it has too risky.

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