Legal Issues

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Legal Issues.

September 22, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Government Sues Deutsche Bank Employee for Allegedly Misleading MBS Investors into Buying Faulty Loans

A former Deutsche Bank employee is at the center of a lawsuit brought by the government over the sale of more than $1 billion of non-agency MBS. It’s rare when the government focuses on an individual for mortgage fraud, but the Department of Justice said the bank’s former head of subprime trading allegedly defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The civil complaint was filed in Brooklyn’s federal court against Paul Mangione for knowingly selling bad subprime mortgages financed during the crisis and misleading investors about loan quality. The complaint alleges that he engaged in fraudulent schemes involving the origination practices of Deutsche Bank’s subsidiary, DB Home Lending LLC, which originated the bulk of the loans. The securities were sold...

September 15, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Announces Changes to HECM Counseling Certificates

The FHA will provide lenders that originate Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loans the option to view and print unsigned HECM counseling certificates in FHA Connection starting Sept. 18, 2017. While the lender may still take the initial loan application, the lender can only begin to process it once the counseling is complete, as evidenced by a completed HECM counseling certificate that contains signatures of both the counselor and borrower. Lenders that chose to use this option will be required to establish procedures to obtain and document authorization from the HECM borrower to access the counseling certificate in FHA Connection. In addition, lenders must certify that a borrower authorization to view the counseling certificate was obtained. Lenders must follow the guidance on processing HECM loans contained in the HUD Handbook, the FHA said. To access HECM counseling certificates, lenders will ...

September 15, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Legal Experts Suggest Five ‘Fixes’ To Avoid Unfounded FCA Claims

Compliance attorneys are calling for legislative changes to prevent possible misuse of the False Claims Act that could result in settlements that could be financially devastating to mortgage lenders. Concerns about possible government misuse of FCA provisions are evident in the statutory qualifiers that are already embedded in the existing statute, according to a recent analysis by Krista Cooley and Laurence Platt, attorneys and partners in the Washington, DC, office of Mayer Brown. The qualifiers are in the main provision of the FCA that the Department of Justice has used against mortgage lenders and servicers, the attorneys said. The provision imposes liability on any person who “knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval” or “knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or ...

September 15, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Trump Nominates Industry Veteran To Be the Next FHA Commissioner

The White House this week officially nominated industry veteran Brian Montgomery to be the next FHA commissioner and assistant secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a related development, the Senate on Thursday confirmed the nomination of Pamela Pantenaude as HUD deputy secretary, three months to the day the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs approved her nomination. Montgomery, currently vice chairman of the Washington-based business-consulting firm The Collingwood Group, is no stranger to the job. He previously served as FHA commissioner/HUD assistant secretary during the second Bush administration and as acting HUD secretary in January 2009. As FHA commissioner, Montgomery lead legislative efforts to preserve the nation’s affordable rental housing stock while reducing rental-assistance costs and the cost of ...

September 15, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Ginnie Mae to Take Action Against Illicit Refinancing of VA Mortgages

Rapid, aggressive refinancing of VA loans has made a comeback with some issuers using strategies to mask the practice and avoid possible penalties, including expulsion from the Ginnie Mae program, according to a top agency official. Responding to concerns raised by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, Michael Bright, acting Ginnie Mae president and chief operations officer, said a joint Ginnie Mae/VA lender-abuse task force is analyzing monthly data and developing additional policy measures to deal with the problem. Bright confirmed the resurgence of inappropriate streamline refinancing in Ginnie securitization pools in recent weeks and has promised to crack down on the questionable practice. The problem surfaced last year when Ginnie Mae noticed unusually fast prepayment speeds in its mortgage-backed securities, particularly MBS backed by VA loans. Ginnie found that certain lenders and ...

September 15, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Vintage CDO Investors Try to Force a Bankruptcy that SFIG Warns Would Destabilize Securitization Industry

A dispute involving the liquidation of a vintage collateralized-debt obligation has the potential to upend standard practices and confidence in the securitization industry, according to the Structured Finance Industry Group. Senior investors in Taberna Preferred Funding IV – a $673.3 million CDO issued in 2005 – are seeking to force a liquidation of the deal via bankruptcy. The bankruptcy is being pursued by a group of investors identified as Opportunities II Ltd., HH HoldCo Co-Investment Fund, L.P., and Real Estate Opps Ltd. The investors appear to have purchased senior tranches of the CDO only in recent years. SFIG filed...

September 14, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Texas District Court Invalidates Obama-Era Overtime Rule, Attention Turns to Fifth Circuit as it Reviews Injunction Order

It’s back to square one for the Department of Labor after a federal court in Texas struck down an Obama administration proposal that would have made millions of people eligible for overtime pay, including some mortgage workers. Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Aug. 31 invalidated the DOL’s pending overtime regulations, which would have raised the salary threshold exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Obama administration finalized the proposed regulation in May last year but was unable to implement it after Mazzant granted a request for injunction filed by the Plano Chamber of Commerce and 55 other business groups last November. The business entities opposed...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief/Industry News in Brief

State Regulators Start Work on a Next-Generation Technology Platform. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors has initiated what it characterizes as a major redesign of the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS), which is the core technology platform state bank regulators utilize. According to the CSBS, the redesign will enable the regulators to transform the licensing and supervision of non-bank financial institutions, including financial technology companies, or so-called fintechs. “Technology and data are powerful tools that can create sweeping benefits throughout the financial regulatory system,” said Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions Commissioner John Ducrest. “And that vision drives our efforts with the next-generation NMLS. We are committed to nothing less than modernized state regulation for a modernized financial services industry.” The ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Takes Action Against Lead Aggregator Over Alleged Steering

Last week, the CFPB brought an enforcement action against Zero Parallel, an online lead aggregator based in Glendale, CA, for allegedly steering consumers toward lenders who offered illegal or unlicensed loans that were void in the consumer’s state. According to the bureau, consumers who applied for loans through Zero Parallel’s network had no control over which lenders received their applications. “Zero Parallel regularly sold leads for consumers located in states where the resulting loan was void,” said the consumer regulator. The CFPB ordered Zero Parallel to end its alleged illegal conduct and pay a $100,000 penalty. Also, under the terms of the consent order, Zero Parallel is required to undertake reasonable efforts to ensure that loan applications it sells do ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Federal District Court Sanctions CFPB for Deposition Conduct

The CFPB suffered another legal blow recently when a federal district court judge in Atlanta granted defendants’ requests for sanctions against the bureau stemming from its behavior related to the defendants’ depositions of agency witnesses. The action stems from an enforcement action the CFPB brought in April 2015 against a number of individuals and entities in connection with what the bureau alleged was a massive debt-collection scheme. The issue prompting the judge’s crackdown was the CFPB's reluctance and apparent refusal to be deposed by some of the defendants. First, it objected to such depositions. Then when more defendants filed similar notices, the bureau responded with motions for protective orders. Then when depositions finally occurred, a CFPB witness used “memory aids” ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Ocwen Agrees to Pay $1M to Settle Force-Placed Insurance Issue

Ocwen Financial Corp. and Ocwen Loan Servicing recently agreed to pay a $1 million fine to resolve an issue of force-placed insurance (FPI) under the national mortgage settlement that was reached in 2014. At issue was the company’s performance as loan servicer as measured against one particular metric, metric 29, the purpose of which is to test whether Ocwen complied with the servicing standards regarding the timeliness of terminating FPI and refunding premiums to affected borrowers. Under the settlement, Ocwen must terminate FPI within 15 days of obtaining proof that a borrower has an existing insurance policy. As it turned out, Ocwen exceeded the mandated error threshold of 5 percent for Metric 29 during the first quarter of 2017, according ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

PHH, Realogy, Others Settle RESPA Case for $17 Million

A complaint filed in late 2015 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in an attempt to initiate a class-action case against PHH Corp. and Realogy Holdings Corp. and some of their subsidiaries and affiliates has been brought to an end, after the defendants agreed to pay $17 million to resolve the dispute. PHH, Realogy and the other industry participants were accused of violating Section 8(a) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act by allegedly “paying and receiving kickbacks, referral fees, or other things of value in connection with the referral of title insurance and other settlement services to Title Resource Group and its affiliates.” They also were accused of running PHH Home Loans as an improper ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Smaller Players Support Proposal to Close TRID’s ‘Black Hole’

The biggest mortgage lenders and the national industry trade groups have yet to formally submit comments to the CFPB regarding the bureau’s proposal that would close the so-called black hole associated with the agency’s integrated disclosure rule. But smaller players aren’t waiting around for the big dogs to weigh in and are expressing their support for the agency’s proposed solution. Monica Montgomery, head of mortgage compliance for Dubuque Bank & Trust, said she fully supports removing the four-business-day limit for providing closing disclosures for purposes of resetting tolerances and determining if an estimated closing cost was disclosed in good faith. “There are many circumstances where a closing is delayed beyond the control of the creditor after a CD had been ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Congress Starts to Consider TRID Legislation, Other Changes to CFPB

Members of Congress wasted no time getting to work on the CFPB when they returned to the nation’s capital last week after the Labor Day holiday. A subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing to consider a few legislative proposals to foster a more efficient federal financial regulatory regime, including a soon-to-be introduced TRID Improvement Act. Slated to be introduced by Rep. French Hill, R-AR, the TRID Improvement Act of 2017 would amend the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act to expand the period in which a creditor is allowed to cure a good-faith violation on a loan estimate or closing disclosure from 60 to 210 days after consummation. The bill also ...

September 11, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Eyeballing Equifax, Forced Arbitration an Issue

An official from the CFPB confirmed late last week the agency is looking into the massive data breach at Equifax, widely seen as the most significant, and potentially most damaging, so far in the age of the Internet. A spokesman for the bureau told this newsletter, “The CFPB has authority over the consumer reporting industry, including supervisory and enforcement authority. The CFPB is authorized to take enforcement action against institutions engaged in unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices, or that otherwise violate federal consumer financial laws. We are looking into the data breach and Equifax’s response, but cannot comment further at this time.” However, it’s not just the occurrence of the breach that bothers the consumer regulator. As part ...

September 8, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

An HOA Foreclosure Win in NV for Fannie, Freddie Lenders

There is good news for GSE lenders and servicers, as a recent court ruling found that Nevada’s super-priority lien law cannot be used to foreclose on government-owned mortgages. In Berezovsky v. Moniz, the court ruled that the Federal Foreclosure Bar, part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, preempted state law and banned a homeowners association from being able to eliminate a GSE’s interest and foreclose on a property. The court rejected arguments that the Federal Foreclosure Bar did not apply in the Nevada HOA context. Attorneys with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings said, “The Berezovsky decision represents a resounding win for lenders and servicers of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans.”

September 8, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Justice Department Indicts Former Dallas FHLBank CEO for Fraud

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Texas indicted the former CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, along with two other former bank employees, for fraud. They were accused of creating fake travel reimbursement requests for lavish trips and embezzlement schemes that began back in 2008. Terrence Smith, at the helm of the bank from 2000 to 2013, and Nancy Parker, chief information officer around the same time, were charged with six counts of making false statements, according to the Department of Justice. And Michael Sims, chief financial officer from 2005 to 2014, was charged with three counts of making false statements.

September 8, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Former S&P Rating Manager Beats Fraud Charges In CMBS Case but Fails to Avoid Negligence Finding

A former employee of Standard & Poor’s Rating Services beat fraud charges alleging she loosened S&P’s rating methodology for commercial MBS to generate business for her employer. However, she was found liable of the lesser charge of negligence for failing to disclose the change. In his initial Aug. 29 decision, Administrative Law Judge James Grimes of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s administrative court said that while Barbara Duka did change the firm’s rating methodology for CMBS, he found no evidence that she intended to manipulate, deceive or defraud investors. Rather, Duka, manager of S&P’s CMBS rating group, did...

September 7, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Ninth Circuit Upholds GSE Security Interest, Rules Federal Foreclosure Bar Preempts State HOA Law

Lenders and servicers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages notched a big win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which found that a federal bar on foreclosure on government-sponsored enterprise loans preempted Nevada’s superiority lien law. As a published decision, the court’s ruling in Berezovsky v. Moniz resolves the dispute in favor of the federal foreclosure bar, according to Marc James Ayers and R. Aaron Chastain, attorneys with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. It serves as a binding precedent in the Ninth Circuit and should guide other circuits in deciding cases involving homeowners associations’ super-priority liens, they said. In Berezovsky, the panel affirmed...

September 7, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

PHH Corp., Realogy, Others Agree to $17 Million Settlement to Resolve RESPA Class Action Litigation

PHH Corp. and Realogy Holdings Corp. and some of their subsidiaries and affiliates recently agreed to a $17 million settlement to bring to an end a putative class-action lawsuit over allegedly deceptive and collusive practices in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. At issue were allegations of arranging kickbacks for unlawful referrals of title services. The plaintiffs in the case alleged...

September 1, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Around the Industry

Ginnie Mae Spokesperson Leaves Agency. Cynthia Adcock, director of communications and congressional relations at Ginnie Mae, will no longer be with the agency effective Sept. 4, 2017. Adcock will assume similar duties and responsibilities as a director with the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Michael Huff will handle media inquiries related to Ginnie Mae and congressional matters. FHA Lenders Settle Alleged Violations of FCA, FHA Requirements. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General recently announced receipt of $44.3 million from separate settlements with two FHA lenders. The settlements resolve allegations of fraudulent claims and violation of FHA requirements against Financial Freedom of Austin, TX, and Prospect Mortgage of Sherman, Oaks, CA. On May 16, 2017, Financial Freedom, an FHA servicer, agreed to pay the ...

September 1, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Agencies Issue Special Assistance Guidance for Lenders, MBS Issuers

As Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters recede, federal agencies that provide guarantees on mortgages are faced with the daunting task of identifying and assisting borrowers with government-backed mortgages in disaster-stricken areas of Texas. FHA, VA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service and Ginnie Mae have issued special relief guidance for approved lenders following Hurricane Harvey. The FHA has issued guidance to remind lenders and servicers that FHA-insured mortgages secured by properties in a presidentially-declared major disaster area are subject to a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures following a natural disaster. FHA also provides lenders an automatic 90-day extension upon expiration of the moratorium to begin or re-start foreclosure action or evaluate the borrower’s need for loss mitigation. In addition, FHA urged servicers to brush up on the 203(h) and the ...

September 1, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

FHA Extends Indefinitely Interim Rules for Condo Project Approval

The FHA this week extended temporary rules for approving condominium projects for FHA financing indefinitely. The extension will remain in place until the condominium rulemaking process is completed, the agency said in a mortgagee letter. Temporary approval requirements were first issued in 2012 and later modified in 2015. The current temporary provisions expired on Aug. 31, 2017. Under a proposed rule issued for comment on Sept. 27, 2016, elderly condominium owners would find it easier to obtain a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. FHA proposes to reinstate “spot condo” approvals whereby individual units are approved by FHA rather than the entire condominium project as required under current rules. Spot-condo approvals would require property recertification every three years rather than the current two-year requirements. Processing recertifications would be streamlined under the ...

September 1, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Borrowers Warned on Use of HECMs to Delay SS Benefits

Working past age 62 is usually a less costly way to increase a senior’s Social Security benefit than borrowing a reverse mortgage, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In a report published last week, the CFPB warned that a strategy touted by financial consultants to seniors – borrowing a reverse mortgage loan to get more SS benefits later – could result in significant costs that may erase gains from delaying SS benefits. The strategy would require older homeowners to borrow a reverse mortgage at age 62, the minimum age a person can begin collecting SS benefits, in order to delay claiming such benefits. This means retirees would use the proceeds from a reverse mortgage to replace the money they would otherwise receive from SS in the years between 62 up to their full benefit age of 66 (for those born before 1960) and 67 (for those born after 1960), or their maximum ...

September 1, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Fewer HECM Borrowers Expected As Program Changes Take Effect

The Department of Housing and Urban Development this week announced changes to the FHA-insured reverse mortgage program, including a 200 basis point adjustment in the upfront mortgage insurance premium that may shut out some potential borrowers. HUD officials acknowledged during a press call that changes in both the upfront MIP and the HECM principal limit factors could reduce the number of borrowers initially by as much as 20 percent. Officials estimated that there are approximately 24 million seniors with untapped equity in their homes. “Overall, it is still a very large potential market,” said one official who spoke on background. “In the last few years, we did about 45,000 to 50,000 reverse mortgages annually. The net effect of all these changes is a better and safe HECM program for seniors. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.” The revisions would help stabilize the ...

August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief: Cordray Takes to the NYT to Defend CFPB Arbitration Rule

Cordray Takes to the NYT to Defend CFPB Arbitration Rule. CFPB Director Richard Cordray took to the opinion page of The New York Times last week to make a public plea in support of the CFPB’s controversial arbitration rule. Cordray cited claims by opponents of the rule that plaintiffs make out better financially by acting individually instead of acting collectively in a group lawsuit. “This claim is not supported by facts or common sense. Our study contained revealing data on the results of group lawsuits and individual actions,” he said. “We found that group lawsuits get more money back to more people. In five years of group lawsuits, we tallied an average of $220 million paid to 6.8 million consumers ...

August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Sues Aequitas Capital Over Its Support of Corinthian Colleges

The CFPB recently filed a complaint and a proposed settlement against what’s left of Aequitas Capital Management and related entities, all of which are based in Lake Oswego, OR, accusing the firms of aiding the allegedly predatory lending behavior of Corinthian Colleges, now defunct. The complaint against Aequitas and its affiliates was filed in U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, Portland Division. “The bureau brings this action against Aequitas for its abusive acts and practices in connection with private loans made to students at Corinthian Colleges, which were funded or purchased by Aequitas,” the CFPB said. “By funding these private loans, Aequitas enabled Corinthian to present a façade of compliance with federal laws requiring that a certain portion of a ...

August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Servicers Can Continue to Expect Vigorous Regulation, Analysts Say

There may be plenty of uncertainty about the direction of the CFPB these days, given that Republicans are calling the shots on Capitol Hill and at the White House, plus the fact that Richard Cordray’s days as director of the bureau are numbered, regardless of when he actually ends up departing. Still, mortgage servicers can continue to expect robust supervision and regulation – and enforcement –if not from the bureau, then from another federal regulator, as well the states, and maybe all of the above, according to Steven Frie and Mark Shannon, top servicer analysts at S&P Global Ratings. “It’s been pretty common knowledge that the CFPB has been very active in regards to regulating the mortgage servicing industry,” Frie said ...

August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Servicer Compliance Coming at the Expense of Borrower Satisfaction

In the age of the CFPB, mortgage servicers have been walking a tightrope, balancing regulatory compliance with borrower satisfaction, sometimes getting stung by an enforcement action. This year, they are falling behind the curve in terms of their customers, according to the results of the 2017 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicing Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power. “CFPB servicing regulations now in place are resulting in intense scrutiny as well as major fines for some institutions during the first waves of enforcement,” the data, analytics and advisory services provider said. “With other state and federal agencies, such as the Department of Justice and state attorneys generals, also taking actions against mortgage servicers for servicing practices, many experts expect intense regulatory scrutiny to ...

August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Watchdog Group FOIAs CFPB About Clayton Homes’ Lending Practices

Campaign for Accountability, a self-styled watchdog organization, recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CFPB to find out what actions the agency has taken to hold Clayton Homes and its mortgage lending subsidiary, Vanderbilt Mortgage, accountable for alleged predatory lending practices. Clayton Homes, based in Maryville, TN, is one of the nation’s largest mobile home sellers, and is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Said Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Daniel Stevens: “Clayton Homes appears to have been preying on some of our most vulnerable citizens. As the company expands its footprint to reach more Americans, it is imperative to know whether the government found any wrongdoing and, if so, what actions were taken.” The watchdog group...

August 28, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

TRID Black Hole Liability Still a Big Concern for Mortgage Lenders

Legal liability in the context of the so-called black hole in the CFPB’s TRID integrated disclosure rule remains a source of much anxiety for mortgage lenders, according to experts such as Rod Alba, senior vice president of mortgage markets, financial management and public policy for the American Bankers Association. “For lenders in general, [the biggest concern] is simply the liability that results from allowing the transaction to be negotiated until the last minute,” he said last week in an interview. “We don’t like telling the consumer, ‘You’re now three business days from closing; we can no longer negotiate and you must go through on this deal.’ That’s not pleasant.” Alba continued: “The consumer may say, ‘Well, no, that chimney has ...

August 25, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Shareholders Tired of Govt. Document Waiting Game

Investors in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to grow weary of the drawn out discovery process in shareholder lawsuits and recently filed another motion in hopes of expediting things. Fairholme Funds attorneys filed a motion last week asking to view about 1,500 government documents in a lawsuit challenging the government’s net-worth sweep of profits at Fannie and Freddie. In the new motion, the Fairholme attorneys asked the Federal Claims Court to use the “quick peek” procedure for some documents dating back to May 2012. These are among the many documents the plaintiffs say the government is still hoping to keep secret under the deliberative process and bank examination privileges.

August 25, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Eli Global Wants to be a Player in Mortgages

For a firm that’s only been involved in the mortgage industry for a year, Eli Global has already bought a stake in two lending companies, inched its way into the warehouse lending arena – and become a plaintiff in a messy lawsuit that accuses a veteran mortgage banker of fraud. So far – except for the lawsuit filed by Eli Global affiliate CapLoc – the Durham, NC-based financial services company has kept a low profile while turning down repeated requests for interviews ...

August 25, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

SFIG Calls for Greater Transparency from Non-Agency MBS Trustees in Wake of Wells Withholding Funds

The Structured Finance Industry Group pushed for trustees of non-agency MBS to increase disclosures to investors as the industry continues to deal with the aftermath of Wells Fargo withholding millions of dollars of funds in vintage deals. In a statement released late last week, the industry group said it has a policy of not engaging in issues involving legacy transactions that may be associated with litigation, especially where such litigation is between various members of SFIG. The Wall Street group issued...

August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Private MI Trade Group Urges CFPB To Establish Single QM Rule for All

The private mortgage insurance industry has called for harmonized qualified-mortgage standards to discourage potential arbitrage that might adversely affect consumers. In a comment letter, the U.S. Mortgage Insurers urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to assess whether the various QM standards established under the Dodd-Frank Act have created arbitrage opportunities to the detriment of consumers. The CFPB is about to begin a reevaluation of its ability-to-repay rule/QM rule. QM standards are different for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks than for FHA, VA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USMI said analysis should focus on the different treatment of points and fees and maximum borrower debt-to-income ratio among the various QM standards. The CFPB can address the calculation of points and fees under its ATR/QM rule by ...

August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

NYDFS Accuses Veterans United of Overcharging Vets on VA Loans

The Mortgage Research Center, which does business as Veterans United Home Loans and/or VA Mortgage Center, has agreed to pay $1.1 million to New York regulators to resolve allegations of overcharging veterans on loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans United was the second largest VA lender in the country in the second quarter, with a 5.4 percent share of the VA market, according to the Inside FHA/VA Lending database. The settlement agreement is part of a consent order entered into recently by Veterans United with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The settlement stemmed from an investigation which found that the Columbia, MO-based company did not refund “surplus lender credits” on 322 VA loans originated from Jan. 1, 2011, to June 30, 2014. According to the consent order, borrowers obtained a credit from ...

August 18, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Wells Fargo, PHH Reach Separate Settlements to Resolve FCA Suits

Wells Fargo and PHH Mortgage have reached separate settlements with the Department of Justice and three other federal agencies to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The DOJ, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency will rake in $182 million from the settlement of lawsuits involving FHA and VA loans, as well as loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Wells Fargo denied the allegations in the whistleblower lawsuit but agreed to pay $108 million to resolve the claims. It admitted to no fault or liability. Filed in 2006 and unsealed in 2011, the lawsuit alleged that the bank overcharged veteran borrowers by masking ineligible fees in order to obtain VA guarantees on certain Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans, or streamlined refi mortgages. At the same time, Wells allegedly falsely certified to the VA that it ...

August 18, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Court Denies WMC’s Motion, Class Accuses Deutsche Bank of Dipping into Trustee Funds, BNYM Wins

August is turning out to be an unfortunate month for WMC Mortgage and Deutsche Bank in terms of continuing legacy MBS litigation, but an auspicious one for Bank of New York Mellon, which won a favorable verdict in a residential MBS case. On Aug. 8, Judge Charles Haight of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut denied defendant WMC Mortgage’s motion for partial summary judgment in Law Debenture Trust Co. of New York v. WMC Mortgage. The case involves a pool of 5,162 residential loans originated by WMC which were securitized in 2006 and sold to the trust for $1 billion, according to the law firm Orrick. The lender was...

August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Briefs: Political Update/Enforcement Roundup/Vendor Update

Will He? Won’t He? Run for Governor of Ohio, That Is. The top consumer regulator in the land, Richard Cordray, head of the CFPB, has until 4 p.m. Feb. 7, 2018, to file the necessary paperwork to run in the Ohio gubernatorial primary in May of next year. Current Republican Gov. John Kasich is term-limited and will have to vacate the governor’s mansion at the end of 2018.... CFPB Fines JPMorgan Chase $4.6 Million for Alleged Failures Related to Checking Account Screening Information. The CFPB recently brought an enforcement action against JPMorgan Chase Bank, alleging that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by not having adequate policies in place regarding the accuracy of information it provided to nationwide specialty consumer reporting companies about individuals’ checking account behavior....

August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

House GOP Pushes Again for Contempt Charges Against Cordray

Prior to lawmakers heading out of the nation’s capital for their annual summer recess, Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee released a second staff report that could lay the groundwork for contempt-of-Congress charges to be brought against CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The GOP legal analysis asserts that Cordray has failed to satisfy subpoenas the committee issued for records related to the bureau’s controversial rule banning mandatory arbitration in most consumer financial services contracts. The rule does not address the use of such provisions in residential mortgages, which were banned by Congress in 2004. “Staff believes there is ample basis to proceed against Director Cordray for contempt of Congress due to his default” on his obligations under the congressional subpoenas ...

August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Its Investigation Now Complete, CFPB Tells Zillow: Settle or Else

The CFPB has told Zillow, the online real estate database firm, to settle with the agency over alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or face an enforcement action, the company revealed last week in its 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Based on correspondence from the CFPB in August 2017, we understand that it has concluded its investigation,” the firm said in its SEC disclosure. “The CFPB has invited us to discuss a possible settlement and indicated that it intends to pursue further action if those discussions do not result in a settlement.” At issue are certain co-marketing activities, which Zillow defended. “We continue to believe that our acts and practices are lawful and that ...

August 14, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Trump DOJ Expected to Enter Ocwen’s Dispute With CFPB

Given the Trump administration’s expressed interest in scaling back federal regulation and giving corporate interests greater freedom to conduct their business as they see fit, political and legal observers expect the Department of Justice to respond in the affirmative to a recent judicial invitation to formally opine on Ocwen Financial’s dispute with the CFPB. The nonbank mortgage servicer recently asked Judge Kenneth Marra with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to invite the U.S. attorney general to appear and to participate in the company’s challenge to the constitutionality of the bureau. “There are at least two clear reasons to invite the attorney general to participate here,” said the company. “First, inviting the views of the attorney ...


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