Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHA, VA.

February 15, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

White House Takes Another Shot at FHA Tech Fee, Projects Hefty Profits on Future Lending

The Trump administration proposed a new fee on FHA lenders to upgrade the agency’s ancient technology – a plan that’s been raised by several administrations only to be batted away by Congress.

February 9, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

DC Appeals Court Upholds Lower Court’s Dismissal of FCA Lawsuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently upheld a lower court dismissal of a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging a lender’s violation of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement and of the Home Affordable Modification Program. In Laurence Schneider, Appellant, v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., Appellees, the federal government declined to intervene, allowing the qui tam lawsuit to proceed. Schneider, the relator and an owner of a mortgage servicing company that purchased numerous loans from Chase, alleged that the lender falsely claimed compliance with the $25 billion landmark settlement negotiated in 2012 between the federal government, 40 state attorneys general, and a group of large banks, including Chase. The settlement resolved claims against the banks for allegedly improper origination and servicing of conventional, FHA and VA loans that were thought to ...

February 9, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Concerns Raised about Fate of Cash-Out Refis in Warren Bill

A surge in anti-churning efforts by legislators and regulators to address the churning of VA loans has prompted analysts to examine certain policy changes, potential cures and pending legislation designed to protect veterans from predatory serial refinancing schemes. For instance, bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and Thom Tillis, R-NC, would establish a minimum 50 basis point incentive for qualified VA refi mortgages, recoupment of refi costs within three years, and a six-month seasoning period before the initial loan could be refinanced into a new VA loan. However, Wells Fargo Securities analysts are concerned that S 2304, Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lending Act of 2018, does not distinguish between rate-term refinancing and cash-out refinancing and may wind up eliminating cash-out refi as an option for cash-strapped veterans. Although some lenders used ...

February 9, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

DOJ Memos May Change Approach To FHA Litigation, Attorneys Say

Two recent internal policy memos from the Department of Justice suggest that the agency is reevaluating its approach in two key areas of enforcement, which may significantly affect False Claims Act litigation in FHA cases. Issued last month (one was actually leaked), the memos pertain to the dismissal of frivolous whistleblower cases when the government declines to intervene, and the prohibition of DOJ attorneys relying on an entity’s noncompliance with agency guidance as presumptive or conclusive evidence that the entity violated the law. Written by Michael Granston, director of the DOJ’s Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, the leaked Jan. 10 memo directs federal prosecutors to consider dismissing meritless FCA complaints by whistleblowers when considering whether DOJ should intervene in the ...

February 9, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Calls for Early Disclosures for IRRRLs to Ensure Vets Benefit

The Department of Veterans Affairs will require lenders to provide early disclosures to veterans seeking to refinance into a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan. The new policy aims to ensure that the VA streamline refi loan they sought would actually lower their monthly mortgage payments and is not just a scam for lenders to charge higher fees. Loan churning, or serial refinancing, is at the root of the VA policy change. Churning refers to multiple refinancing of an unseasoned mortgage loan within a very short time, often within six months of origination. Serial refinancing may add more payments and interest to the new loan, prolonging debt repayment, and can strip equity. It also potentially raises the risk of default by the borrower. In addition, the risk of prepayment could affect pricing of Ginnie Mae securities, which could cause lenders to charge higher rates on VA loans to make up for the ...

February 9, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Ginnie Targets Issuers Responsible For Rapidly Prepaying VA Loans

Ginnie Mae this week warned nine VA lenders suspected of engaging in loan churning to each develop a plan to slow the rapid pace of prepayments they have triggered in the agency’s securitized loan pools. According to Ginnie, the issuers were directed individually to deliver correction action plans containing measures that could be deployed immediately to bring prepayment speeds in line with market peers. The agency told issuers they would be barred from multi-issuer pools if they do not come up with a plan. Participation would be allowed only in the agency’s custom pools. The latest action builds off the Ginnie Mae/VA Loan Churn Task Force, which has been working since September to resolve the churning problem. “We have an obligation to take necessary measures to prevent the lending practices of a few from impairing the performance of our multi-issuer securities, and thus raising the ... [ Chart ]

February 9, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Correspondent Platforms Had Big Year in FHA/VA Market in 2017

The steadiest source of new FHA and VA loans flowing into Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities came from correspondent lending platforms, according to a new Inside FHA/VA Lending analysis. In the fourth quarter, however, correspondent originations declined more than retail and wholesale-broker production. Ginnie last year securitized $115.05 billion of FHA loans that issuers acquired from correspondent lenders. That was down 2.8 percent from 2016, but total FHA loan deliveries dropped 13.9 percent over that period. The correspondent share of the FHA market rose to 48.6 percent last year, a gain of 5.5 percentage points from 2016. FHA loans generated by brokers accounted for 14.8 percent of 2017 activity, up slightly from the previous year. But retail-originated FHA loan volume plummeted 25.5 percent, dropping the channel’s share of the market to 36.6 percent – down from 42.3 percent back in ... [ Chart ]

February 5, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Service Member Mortgage Complaints Drifting Higher

Complaints by active-duty and retired U.S. military personnel about their mortgages rose in many categories tracked, both on a quarterly basis and on an annual basis, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside the CFPB. Overall, they are definitely trending up. For instance, complaints by service members about all mortgage products in general rose from 582 incidents in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 739 in the fourth quarter of 2017, but they fell from a total of 741 in the third quarter of last year. The increase was a little more consistent when particular mortgage products were segregated out from the aggregate data. For instance, gripes about conventional mortgages rose from 218 in 4Q16 to 334 [with charts] ...

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

Recoveries from FCA Settlements Involving FHA Loans Down Dramatically in 2017. The Department of Justice reported collecting more than $543 million in False Claims Act settlements and judgments to resolve housing and mortgage fraud complaints in FY 2017, down from $1.6 billion in FY 2016. The largest settlement of a False Claims Act case was $296 million, which involved an FHA lender and the DOJ. In September 2017, a unanimous jury in Houston, TX, found that Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. and Allied Home Mortgage Corp. violated the FCA and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 by falsely certifying that thousands of high-risk, poor-quality loans were eligible for FHA insurance. The companies were also accused of originating FHA loans from more than 100 “shadow” branch offices without authorization from the ...

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Congress Passes New Stop-Gap Funding Bill, Ends 3-Day Shutdown

President Trump this week signed a short-term spending bill that would keep the government operating until Feb. 8, 2018. The bill ended a three-day shutdown after the previous spending authority for most of the government expired at midnight on Jan. 19. However, the threat of another shutdown looms. FHA and Ginnie Mae both had contingency plans in place in case the short-lived shutdown dragged on, as it had in 2013. That event lasted for 16 days, at a loss of $1.6 billion a day to the federal government. Under FHA’s emergency plan, the agency would continue to endorse new single-family forward mortgages, but not Home Equity Conversion Mortgages and Title I loans. Ginnie would reduce staffing to essential personnel but continue its secondary market operations. It would continue to remit timely payment of principal and interest to investors, grant commitment authority and support issuance of ...

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Senate Banking Committee Sends FHA Nominee Back to Senate Floor

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has reapproved the nomination of Brian Montgomery to lead the FHA even as Democrats reiterated their concerns about the candidate. The committee favorably reported Montgomery’s nomination previously in November by an 18-5 vote. The Senate, however, was unable to confirm the nominee for the post before the end of the legislative year. In order to be considered again for the post, Senate procedures required Montgomery to resubmit his financials and again wait for a full Senate vote. Five Democrat senators on the committee – Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (OH), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Jack Reed (RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), and Brian Schatz (HI) – objected to the Montgomery nomination because they perceived him as “too close” to the mortgage industry. Brown expressed concern about Montgomery’s intention to ...

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Issues Disaster-Related Waiver For Early-Payment Default Reviews

FHA has issued policy waivers related to recent hurricanes and wildfires, including one for loan-level reviews for early-payment default. The agency announced the move as Black Knight reported another 60,000 mortgages becoming seriously delinquent in December because of hurricane-related fallout and other seasonal and calendar-related factors. The early-payment default waiver applies to FHA mortgages in presidentially declared major disaster areas (PDMDA) ravaged by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The hard-hit areas are in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well parts of California that were scorched by recent wildfires. Due to the string of natural disasters, FHA anticipates an increase in EPDs – loans that become 60-day delinquent within the first six payments – in the affected areas. FHA believes that EPDs on loans closed before ...

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Lennar’s Mortgage Arm Subject of DOJ Probe; Quicken Case Proceeds

The Department of Justice has had a busy month in terms of False Claims Act enforcement. Eagle Home Mortgage, a subsidiary of Lennar, is under government investigation for its FHA underwriting and quality-control processes – code words for a potential FCA lawsuit. Lennar, a nationwide builder of new homes, disclosed the probe in its annual Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company said the Department of Justice has subpoenaed its mortgage subsidiary for documents relating to FHA-insured loans originated and sold in previous years. There were no other details. Lennar said Eagle has provided the DOJ with information related to the loans and is cooperating with investigators. “The DOJ has to date not asserted any claim for damages or penalties,” the Miami-based homebuilder said. Meanwhile, in federal district court in Detroit last week, government prosecutors argued with Quicken Loans’ attorney, Jeffrey Morganroth, over a motion to narrow the loan sample the ...

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Exceeds FHA by Wide Margin in Servicemembers’ Complaints in ‘17

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year logged 988 servicemember complaints related to the origination and servicing of VA and FHA mortgages. CFPB data showed VA outscored FHA on the number of complaints, 740 to 248, respectively, in 2017. The top five reasons for servicemember complaints were trouble during the payment process, difficulty in paying the mortgage, loan servicing, applying for a purchase mortgage or refinance, and closing a loan. Other complaints were about loan modification and foreclosure, mortgage brokers, incorrect information, settlement process and costs, underwriting/credit decision, credit-reporting company’s investigation of a consumer problem, and improper use of a credit report. Abusive practices related to loan churning might not be reflected clearly in servicemembers’ complaints in 2017 compared to the previous year, but a deeper dive into the ... [Chart]

January 26, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Hurricanes Clobbered FHA Loan Performance in Late 2017

The severe hurricanes that tormented a handful of markets during late summer of 2017 continued to push FHA default rates higher in the fourth quarter, a new Inside FHA/VA Lending analysis reveals. The number of FHA loans paying on time fell from 92.8 percent at the end of September to 91.9 percent at the end of the fourth quarter. Most of the deterioration took place in the more severe default categories. The number of FHA loans 90 days past due more than doubled during the three-month period, climbing to a hefty 0.92 percent of outstanding loans. And the number of FHA loans more than three-payments late increased by 39.7 percent, reaching 1.01 percent of the total outstanding. Three jurisdictions that bore the brunt of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria – Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico – saw huge increases in FHA defaults. Puerto Rico saw a devastating impact in rising ... [Charts]

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ...

January 12, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

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 ]

January 12, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

Ginnie Mae Redefines ‘Defective Mortgage,’ Clarifies Buyout Criteria for Loans with No FHA, VA Coverage

Ginnie Mae is redefining the term “defective mortgage” to remind issuers of their obligations when confronted by a home loan that does not have federal insurance or a guarantee. The action also clarifies options issuers may consider in dealing with defective mortgages.


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