Legal Issues

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

June 15, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Bill Introduced to Address Issues Raised by DOJ Use of FCA, FIRREA

Bipartisan legislation was introduced recently in the House to addresse problems arising from the use of the False Claims Act and the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act in the context of mortgage insurance claims. Co-sponsored by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ, and Lee Zeldin, R-NY, the bill would provide certain restrictions and clarifications on false claims and civil actions related to loans with FHA, VA or U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantee. H.R. 5993, the Fixing Access to Credit Act of 2018, has been sent to the House Financial Services Committee and to the House Committee on the Judiciary. A Civil War statute, FCA seeks to deter fraud against the government by providing hefty penalties for violations and establishing a 10-year statute of limitations to file civil claims. Enacted in the wake of the savings and loan debacle in the 1980s, FIRREA outlawed abusive lending and ...

June 11, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief: Complaint Database; Town Hall Meeting; Permanent Director

Democratic State AGs Urge CFPB to Retain Public Access to Consumer Complaint Database. A coalition of 15 state attorneys general, led by New York AG Barbara Underwood, sent a joint letter to the CFPB, urging the bureau to retain its public database of consumer complaints. In the letter, the AGs said a public consumer complaint database is consistent with the CFPB’s statutory mandate in the Dodd-Frank Act, The law requires the agency to [Includes three briefs] ...

June 8, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

Investigations Open into Price Manipulation by GSE Bond Traders

Some banks may be manipulating prices in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unsecured debt, according to several investigations launched late last week.The Department of Justice has reportedly opened a criminal investigation while the law firm of Hagens Berman is investigating the potential fraud.They suspect that traders from several banks have engaged in a coordinated attempt to manipulate pricing. Hagens Berman attorneys encourage investors and whistleblowers to report any information about potential antitrust violations and other fraud in the bond trading market to a tip line they recently established. This type of fraud has a large impact on market participants, according to Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.

June 7, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB to Drop PHH Dispute Over RESPA Interpretation

Attorneys at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week formally threw in the towel on the agency’s controversial interpretation of anti-kickback provisions in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

June 1, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

NY Law Requires New Foreclosure Notices, Certificates of Merit

New York has enacted legislation redefining a reverse mortgage as a “home loan.” With the new law, statutory 90-day pre-foreclosure notices and certificates of merit would be required for all reverse-mortgage foreclosures in the Empire State. New York’s foreclosure settlement conference law has incorporated the new definition by reference, removing any doubt that such meetings are required in most reverse-mortgage cases, said industry attorneys. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, signed the amendment into law on April 12, 2018, though it is deemed to have been in full force and effect as of April 20, 2017. However, the pre-foreclosure notice requirement for reverse mortgages has an effective date of May 12, 2018. For actions commenced after May 12, the new state law requires lenders, servicers or assignees to provide a pre-foreclosure notice at least 90 days before initiating legal action against the borrower at the ...

June 1, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

California, Florida, Texas Lead in Deliveries to Securitization Pools

California continued to lead all states in FHA and VA mortgage securitization in the first three months of 2018. The Golden State accounted for 15.3 percent of the $50.6 billion of FHA loans delivered into Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities in the first quarter. FHA loans comprised 18.2 percent of loans securitized by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, and 34.6 percent of agency-securitized loans with primary mortgage insurance. About 66.6 percent of FHA loans securitized during the period were for purchase mortgages while refinance loans accounted for 27.5 percent. The average loan-to-value ratio of FHA loans in Ginnie pools was 93.0 percent. The average credit score of 668.2 reflected FHA’s traditional base of lower-income and first-time homebuyers, with an average debt-to-income ratio of 42.4 percent. The other states among the top five in terms of FHA deliveries into Ginnie pools were ... [Chart]

June 1, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA Seeks Testers for Enhanced VALERI Servicing Platform

The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking volunteers to test its redesigned servicing platform, the first phase of the agency’s ambitious plan to convert the platform into a fully automated end-to-end, integrated mortgage origination and servicing system. The VA has reached out to servicers connected to its VA Loan Electronic Reporting Interface (VALERI) to participate in the testing and transition process. The plan is to convert VALERI, which allows servicers to upload servicing data, ultimately into a complete automated underwriting and loan origination system. The system conversion effort aims to integrate all business lines, including loan origination, property valuations and mortgage servicing to improve performance of the VA loan program to increase usage by veterans and provide better customer service. It also aims to bring more transparency to the VA loan process and holding underwriters, originators and ...

June 1, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Groups Celebrate Montgomery’s Confirmation by Making Wish Lists

Industry trade groups are shopping lists of FHA priorities following last week’s Senate confirmation of Brian Montgomery as FHA commissioner and assistant secretary of housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. On May 23, the full Senate voted 74-23 to clear the former FHA commissioner for a return engagement after resolving a partisan block on all of President Trump’s nominees for top positions at HUD. Twenty-five Democrats joined 49 Republicans in approving Montgomery. He served as FHA commissioner under both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. Montgomery was nominated initially in September 2017 and was approved by the Senate Banking Committee on Nov. 28 by an 18-5 vote. Under Senate rules, his nomination was returned to the president at the end of 2017. Montgomery was re-nominated in early January and was again approved by the ...

June 1, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

S. 2155 Provides Protections to VA Borrowers; VA Issues Guidance

Provisions to protect VA borrowers from abusive lending are now in effect after President Trump signed into law a broad regulatory relief package last week. The VA measures are part of S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018, which the U.S. Senate passed on March 14 and the House approved on May 22. The bipartisan measures became effective for VA loan applications taken on or after May 25, 2018. They were part of the bipartisan Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lending Act, which Sens. Thom Tillis, R-NC, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, introduced in January and later incorporated in S. 2155. The bill was designed to protect VA borrowers from loan churning or serial refinancing and specifically targeted the VA’s Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan program, where the churned VA loans ended up. According to the agency, such practices not ...

June 1, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Regulatory Relief Law Unexpectedly Disrupts Ginnie Mae MBS Market

Ginnie Mae this week warned that VA refinance loans, particularly Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans, may not be included in any new pool or loan package if they do not comply with the newly enacted law protecting VA borrowers from predatory lending. The agency announced new pooling guidance pursuant to the loan-seasoning provision in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which President Trump signed into law last week (See details of the new law below ). The changes affect issuances of Ginnie mortgage-backed securities on or after June 1, 2018, but do not affect MBS issued before that date, according to the guidance. However, lenders seeking a guarantee after June 1 may have to recalibrate their loan-origination platforms to exclude refis that do not meet the new law’s seasoning requirements, said the Structured Finance Industry Group. The ...

June 1, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

State Appeals Court Dismisses FHLB’s MBS Claims Against RBS; NY High Court Rules in Legacy Case

A Washington state appeals court recently upheld a lower court decision to dismiss non-agency MBS claims filed by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle against RBS Securities, Inc.

May 25, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

New Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Shareholder Lawsuits Filed

GSE shareholder litigation activity continues into mid-year with two new cases being filed in the past week. Joshua Angel, a corporate restructuring lawyer and owner of junior preferred stock, filed a lawsuit this week to sue Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their respective board of director members who were serving on Aug. 17, 2012, when the Treasury sweep was formalized. Angel seeks to recover damages from the defendants for his pro-rated share of the $10 billion dividend entitlement loss he and other junior preferred shareholders have incurred to date.

May 14, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Rulemaking Agenda Suggests A Restrained Role for CFPB

The CFPB made significant changes to its rulemaking agenda in 2018, signaling a weakening role for the bureau in the financial services market. The agency released its spring 2018 rulemaking agenda last week. Noting that it’s under interim leadership pending the appointment and confirmation of a permanent director, the bureau said it is prioritizing meeting specific statutory responsibilities, continuing “selected rulemakings that were already underway,” and reconsidering ...

May 14, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Democratic AGs to Rely More on Their Own Investigative Powers

Democratic state attorneys general urged the CFPB not to back away from its investigative powers but promised to fill the gap if the federal agency does so. A group of 16 Democratic state AGs led by California’s Xavier Becerra recently sent a letter in response to the CFPB’s request for information on civil investigative demands. In the letter, they opposed any efforts to curtail the CFPB’s civil investigative demand authority. “As our state’s chief law enforcement officers ...

May 11, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

Seventh Circuit Court Rules Treasury Sweep Not Illegal

Investors arguing that the net worth sweep was unjust hit a roadblock late last week when the Seventh Circuit Court ruled that they can’t claim GSE profits post-conservatorship.This latest ruling also led the Federal Housing Finance Agency to try to influence the outcome in similar cases against the agency. The shareholders sought to overturn a 2017 ruling in which a federal judge went against them and granted the government’s motion to dismiss the complaint. In this case, Christopher Roberts, et al., vs. the Federal Housing Finance Agency et al., similar to other shareholder complaints, investors argued that the...

May 11, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

Recent Ruling Shows FHFA Acted Within Its Powers In Treasury Sweep, Another Win for the Government

The Seventh Circuit Court shot down the chances of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders reviving their Treasury sweep claims last week. Investors Christopher Roberts and Thomas Fischer argued that the preferred stock purchase agreement was illegal and robbed shareholders of their profits.

May 11, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBS Traders Prevail in Two Cases Brought by Federal Government; RBS Settles with DOJ, GE Could be Next

Non-agency MBS traders defeated charges brought by the federal government in two separate cases late last week. In one case, a judge ruled that a lower court erred by admitting evidence against the trader; in the other, a jury determined that bluffing by a trader didn’t warrant a conviction.

May 10, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Chooses Not to Appeal PHH RESPA Sec. 8 Ruling But Gives No Clear Signal on Future Policy

Neither PHH Corp. nor the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will ask the Supreme Court of the United States to review a lower court decision that overturned the agency’s controversial interpretation of anti-kickback provisions in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

May 4, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

HUD MRB Reports Fewer Lenders Subject to Agency Action in FY17

The number of FHA lenders subject to administrative actions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in FY 2017 declined from the previous fiscal year, according to the latest report from the Mortgagee Review Board. Published in the April 25 Federal Register, the report showed the number of FHA lenders that were hammered with civil money penalties, lost FHA approval, and received suspensions, probations, and reprimands from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017, fell to 20 from 25 in FY 2016. But the biggest change was in the number of lenders cited and disciplined for violation of FHA’s annual recertification requirements. Lenders that failed to meet the recertification requirements in a timely manner but eventually came into compliance totaled 52 in FY 2017, down from 106 in fiscal 2016. On the other hand, 23 lenders agreed to settle with HUD after they failed to ...

May 4, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

BPMI Premium Cuts Could Draw Sterling Borrowers Away from FHA

Actions by a number of private mortgage insurers to cut borrower-paid premium rates would enhance affordability and enable private MIs to increase their market share at FHA’s expense, according to an analysis from the Urban Institute. So far, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., Genworth Mortgage Insurance and Radian Guaranty have announced reductions in their respective monthly and single-premium borrower-paid premium rates. The premium cuts will affect more than just affordability, said UI. On March 6, the company announced that it is reducing borrower-paid single-premium rates in most FICO buckets, effective for all MI applications received on or after March 19, 2018. The Philadelphia-based MI also reminded clients that previously announced single-premium restrictions on debt-to-income ratios exceeding 45 percent and a FICO score below 700, or DTI exceeding ...

May 4, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Low-Income, Minority Borrowers Steered to FHA by Adverse Factors

Many low-income and minority borrowers are forced into FHA loans by risk-based pricing and overlays in the conventional market, only to be stymied by higher FHA premiums and non-cancellable mortgage insurance premiums, according to a new study from the Center for Responsible Lending. The study, “Repairing a Two-Tiered System: The Crucial but Complex Role of FHA,” examines FHA’s pre- and post-crisis lending to white and minority borrowers. It also evaluates the impact of risk-based and FHA pricing as well as the impact of False Claims Act enforcement, which have limited the FHA program’s effectiveness in meeting homeownership goals, said authors Peter Smith, CRL senior researcher, and Melissa Stegman, senior policy counsel. The authors used Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from 2004 through 2016, focusing solely on single-family purchase mortgages made to ...

May 4, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Ginnie Reinstates Nations Lending Following Talks on Loan Churning

An approved issuer suspended last month due to alleged VA loan churning activities is back in Ginnie Mae’s multi-issuer mortgage-backed securities program. Nations Lending, ranked 97th in Inside FHA/VA Lending’s top 100 VA lenders, was reinstated after reaching a confidential agreement with Ginnie Mae, according to a source familiar with the case. The Ohio-based lender has been “fully reinstated and [again] able to use all of Ginnie Mae’s programs that are available for lenders in good faith,” said the source, who asked not to be identified. The source declined to provide details of the agreement, maintaining Nations has been very transparent and was “ahead of the curve” in terms of dealing with the churning problem. “Nations began addressing the issue even before Ginnie took action,” he said. Ginnie neither confirmed nor commented on the report. “The evidence will show what is happening in the ...


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25 to 50 basis points.


51 to 100 basis points.


101 to 150 basis points.


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