FHA Programs

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHA Programs.

July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Millennials Seeking to Buy Homes In Affordable Markets, Data Show

Affordability and job availability are driving millennials to seek homes in more affordable markets, particularly in the upper Midwest, according to Ellie Mae data for the month of May. Ellie Mae’s Millennial Tracker, which monitors millennial mortgage applications during specific times, found that the higher percentages of loans made to millennial borrowers are in Hutchinson and Austin, MN, and Wahpeton and Williston, ND. Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL, rounded out the top-five markets. Ellie Mae defines millennials as applicants born between 1980 and 1999. Data showed that 48 percent of millennial borrowers who closed loans in May were single. In Hutchinson, for example, the majority of borrowers were single men. “This suggests millennials may be embracing homeownership in these areas for reasons other than what we have historically seen, which was family formation,” explained ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

House Panel Earmarks $50 Million For Home Counseling Assistance

The House Appropriations Committee has recommended $50 million to fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FY 2018 housing counseling assistance to homebuyers, homeowners and low and moderate-income renters. The allocation is $3 million more than the Trump administration had requested and $5 million below the amount appropriated for housing counseling in fiscal year 2017. In its budget report, the committee noted the continued improvement in the economy, which has resulted in fewer foreclosures. Foreclosure filings from 2016 were reported on 933,000 properties, representing a 10-year low and a 14 percent reduction from 2015, the report pointed out. “The foreclosure rate has stayed within a historically normal range for three years, even with the pipeline of legacy foreclosures resulting from the housing bubble,” it said. In addition, the bill retains language that ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Emphasizes Need for Testing Individual Water Supply for Vets

The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning VA lenders to adhere strictly to the agency’s requirements for safe potable water for veteran homebuyers. The agency recently provided clarification and guidance concerning the testing of private, individual water-supply systems for properties backed by VA mortgage loans. The VA has long treated potable water as a health and safety issue, including as part of its minimum property requirements that water used for drinking, washing and other in-house uses must be safe for consumption. According to the guidance, which went into effect on July 19, 2017, a disinterested third party must perform all water testing. This includes the collection and transport of water samples from the supply source. Only the local health authority, a commercial testing laboratory, a licensed sanitary engineer, or any other party that is acceptable to the local health agency may test ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Clarifies, Underscores Use of Tidewater Process in Appraisals

The Department of Veterans Affairs is ratcheting up enforcement of its so-called Tidewater process to prevent veterans from paying more than the appraised value of the property when using a VA loan. In recent guidance, the VA reaffirmed its 2003 Tidewater Appraisal Initiative to help reduce the number of cases where appraisers have been asked to reconsider their initial appraisal, which had come in below the sales price. The guidance emphasizes procedures for improving communication of new sales data to VA fee and staff appraisers for a reevaluation of the low initial appraisal. “These guidelines should help limit the number of cases that reach the reconsideration-of-value phase and also provide a more timely response to those cases that are submitted for reconsideration,” the VA explained. The Tidewater procedure provides a designated “point of contact” (POC) the opportunity to ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

MRB Suspends Lender’s Authority To Originate, Service FHA Loans

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s lender disciplinary arm, the Mortgagee Review Board, has suspended a Pennsylvania FHA lender from originating or underwriting any new agency-insured loans. In addition, HUD’s enforcement center suspended owner John Seckel from doing business with the federal government. According to HUD, Seckle Capital of Newton, PA, and its owner submitted statements and certifications purporting to show the firm was properly audited by independent certified public accountants, when, in fact, it was not. The MRB said Seckel and his firm engaged in a “years-long pattern” of deceit and falsehoods. The action is the result of HUD’s ongoing effort to hold the mortgage industry accountable for the loans it originates, underwrites or services. According to HUD’s Neighborhood Watch website, Seckel Capital has a compare ratio of 164 percent. Of the 557 loans the ...


July 21, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

House Appropriators Pass HUD Funding Bill, Reject Proposed Fee

The House Appropriations Committee this week approved a FY 2018 spending bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development with a $135 million allocation for information technology upgrades in lieu of a proposed lender fee. The set-aside also covers quality control and risk management improvements as well as other administrative costs. The recommended funding is $5 million more than the FY 2017 enacted level for administrative contract expenses and $25 million below the budget request. Approved by a vote of 31 to 20, the bill provides HUD with $38.3 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2018, down $487 million from the current level. The House bill authorizes $400 billion for loan guarantees under the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, including the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, and $500 billion for Ginnie Mae. Ginnie will also receive $25.4 million for agency staffing, which is ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...


July 7, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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]


June 23, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Blames Flawed Uploading Procedures for Servicing Glitch

VA troubleshooters have identified the technical glitch that has prevented servicers from uploading current servicing data to the agency’s VALERI system. According to a VA spokesperson, the problem was caused by faulty uploading procedures, not by malware within the documents as earlier feared. “Dridex was originally suspected because we became aware of it at the same time the uploading problem occurred,” he explained. “Our warning to servicers was an emphasis on the side of caution.” The Dridex malware, which can go undetected, targets customers of financial institutions by stealing their personal information through HTML injections. The VA Loan Electronic Reporting Interface (VALERI) is a loan administration system that servicers use to oversee loan servicing, monitor loan defaults, and accept and pay claims and incentives. Servicers experiencing problems with uploading servicing data should immediately ...


June 23, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Explains How Condo Financing Could be Difficult for Vets, Lenders

The VA condominium-financing process can be difficult for both veteran borrowers and lenders, according to experts at a recent VA lender conference. The big issue for borrowers is finding a condo development that has VA approval or one that can obtain approval quickly enough to complete the loan process in the shortest time possible. A development that has a high number of foreclosures, a significant number of condo owners that are behind on their association dues, or pending litigation against the homeowner association is unlikely to win VA approval, experts said. Such factors could put the VA and the lender at risk. As such, securing VA approval for a development is crucial. In 2009, VA stopped accepting HUD/FHA condo project approvals in lieu of a VA project review, said Phyllis Chilton, valuation officer at VA’s Phoenix regional loan center. Condo projects that were accepted previously by ...


June 23, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

MBA Urges DOJ, HUD to Suspend Future FCA Enforcement Actions

The Mortgage Bankers Association is calling for a moratorium on future claims against FHA lenders under the False Claims Act to give the Department of Housing and Urban Development sufficient time to streamline its defect taxonomy and revise its loan-level certification requirements. In letters to HUD and the Department of Justice, the MBA said the FHA has yet to issue clear standards identifying specific errors that could trigger an FCA claim and those that do not. FCA enforcement actions can result in very significant damage to a lender’s reputation and bottom line, warned Dave Stevens, MBA president and chief executive officer. Although FHA lenders work hard to ensure compliance with strict underwriting and documentation standards, origination, insurance and servicing depend heavily on human efforts, which could easily result in technical errors, he added. While lenders process ...


June 23, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Jumbo Securitization Declines, FHA Jumbo Production also Down

Wells Fargo fell a notch as PennyMac raced to the top to become the leading VA jumbo securitizer for the first quarter of 2017 – a period in which VA jumbo loan securitization took a sharp nose dive. The volume of VA jumbo loans securitized during the first three months plunged 36.8 percent, compared to the meager 2.0 percent decline seen in the fourth quarter. The drop reflected a 32.9 percent drop in jumbo mortgage production during the first quarter, along with similar large drops in virtually every product segment in the mortgage market, according to an analysis by Inside FHA/VA Lending affiliate Inside Mortgage Finance. The agency jumbo market was down 39.1 percent from the fourth quarter despite the bump up in high-cost loan limits to $636,150, an increase of $10,650 that became effective in January. All components of the agency jumbo market took big hits in the first quarter, including ... [ Charts ]


June 9, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Hunt for GNMA Chief Continues, Business as Usual at the Agency

Ginnie Mae is sailing without a captain, a fact that is causing some concern among mortgage bankers and mortgage-backed securities investors. The agency tasked with securitizing government-backed mortgages has been without a president since Democrat Ted Tozer left on Jan. 20, 2017, the same day that President-elect Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Since that time, Nancy Corsiglia, a career Ginnie official, has been acting president. She was elevated from her position as chief operating officer. Industry officials who claim to have knowledge of the selection process maintain that mortgage banke David Kittle, president of the Mortgage Collaborative, is the leading candidate to fill the post with Michael Bright, a director at the Milken Institute, a close second. One source close to the situation claimed that background checks by the Trump White House are likely ...


June 9, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

OMB Approval Sought on Key Borrower Forms for VA Loans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking clearance for two information-collection forms that are crucial to a veteran’s ability to obtain or cure a VA-guaranteed mortgage loan. The Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing the forms. The VA also has published notices in the June 1 Federal Register seeking public comment on the proposed revised forms. Comments for both notices are due July 3, 2017. The first form relates to information a veteran must provide to be exempted from paying a funding fee. Borrowers are required to pay a funding fee to obtain a loan with a VA guaranty, unless the borrower is a disabled veteran receiving VA compensation for his or her service-connected disability. Loans made to unmarried surviving spouses of veterans who have died in service or from a service-related disability also are exempted from payment of the funding fee (regardless of whether the ...


June 9, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Explains Underwriting of Non- Service-Connected Pension

A military veteran’s disability pension, a key underwriting factor for a VA loan, either can be service-connected or non-service-connected. A non-service-connected pension is for vets whose disability is unrelated to his time in the military. “It is permanent and total in nature and may not have been caused by their service to the military,” said Mark Jamison, loan production officer (LPO) with the VA’s Cleveland Regional Loan Center. A service-connected pension is for vets whose disability was a result of their military service, Jamison noted. If a vet is eligible for both a service-connected disability from VA and a non-service connected pension, he or she gets only the greater of the two amounts. Those eligible for a non-service connected pension include vets who were discharged from service for reasons other than dishonorable, and who served at least 90 days of active military service, one day of ...


June 9, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Explains Surviving Spouse Eligibility for VA Home Loan

The eligibility of surviving spouses of deceased veterans is something that surfaces every once a while in discussions about VA lending. According to Maxine Henry, program analyst with the VA Home Loan Guaranty Service in Washington, DC, the term “veteran” includes the surviving spouse of any veteran who died in active military service or from a service-connected disability. However, in July 2012, Congress passed H.R. 1627, Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, expanding the category of spouses who would be eligible for VA home loan benefits. President Obama signed the bill into law in August of that year. Prior to the bill’s enactment, only surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or of service-connected causes were considered for a VA mortgage. The statute extended VA home loan benefits to others, including widows who have not remarried and ...


June 9, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HECM Lenders Seek Clarification of Certain Proposed HMDA Changes

An industry trade group is requesting that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exclude reverse mortgages from the income-reporting requirement of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association is seeking an exemption similar to the HMDA exemptions for rate spread; Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act status; origination charges; discount points; lender credits; total loan costs; points and fees; prepayment penalty term; and balloon payments. However, should the CFPB require income reporting on reverse mortgages, the NRMLA would want further guidance and clarification. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans make up over 99 percent of the reverse mortgage market today, and have not dropped below 85 percent since 1993, according to the group. NRMLA’s request is part of a broader comment on ...


June 9, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HECM Originations Rise in 1Q17 Even As Endorsements Lose Steam

Reverse-mortgage originations with FHA insurance rose in the first quarter of 2017 from the prior quarter and from the same period last year despite a long-term slowdown in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage activity, an analysis of agency data found. HECM lenders, including an increasing number of nonbanks, produced $4.5 billion in new HECM loans during the first three months of 2017, up 16.9 percent from the prior quarter. Production also was up 16.6 percent year-over year. Purchase reverse mortgages comprised 83.6 percent of HECMs produced during the period. Borrowers appeared to favor reverse mortgages with adjustable rates over fixed-rate HECMs, which accounted for only 10.7 percent of HECMs in the first quarter. Despite increased originations in the first quarter, FHA data show a gradual decline in HECM endorsements since peaking in FY 2009 with ... [Charts]


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