Legal Issues

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

August 17, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

RBS to Pay Hefty Penalty for Pre-Crisis MBS Claims; Citigroup Fined for Doc Issues; NCUA Loses Suit

The Department of Justice this week announced a $4.9 billion settlement with the Royal Bank of Scotland to resolve legacy-related claims that the bank misled investors on the quality of residential MBS they purchased from RBS between 2005 and 2008.


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Senate Passes FY 2019 T-HUD Bill, Preserves Previous Funding Levels

On Aug. 1, the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 to pass a four-bill appropriations package that includes FY 2019 funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture housing programs. The bill passed without changes to program funding levels previously approved by Senate appropriators. The House Appropriations Committee has approved FY19 spending bills for both HUD and USDA. The full House, which is away for the summer break until Sept. 4, has not yet voted on the package. The Senate bill retains the previous fiscal year’s $400 billion in new loan commitments in the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and $30 billion for the general insurance and special risk insurance program, which include special purpose single- and multifamily loans, multifamily rental housing and condominiums. The bill also sets aside $550 billion for Ginnie Mae ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Treasury Urges HUD to Clarify FCA Materiality, Severity of Violations

A Treasury Department report called on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish clear standards for determining which mortgage-related violations and loan defects the Department of Justice should pursue under the False Claims Act. The report also recommended that DOJ ensure that materiality, for purposes of the FCA, is linked to the standards of the agency administering the program to which the claim has been filed. Furthermore, it urged both HUD and the DOJ to work together to clarify the process by which they can jointly resolve claims. The report was issued pursuant to President Trump’s February 2017 executive order establishing his administration’s policy to regulate the U.S. financial system according to a set of core principles. Both HUD and the DOJ have been successful in using the statute to prosecute FHA lenders who knowingly commit fraud or make ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

MBA Urges Congress to Fix Problem of ‘Orphaned’ VA Mortgage Loans

The Mortgage Bankers Association called upon Congress to pass legislation to restore Ginnie Mae eligibility for so-called orphaned VA loans, which have caused a temporary disruption in the government-backed secondary market. In written testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs last week, the MBA urged lawmakers to make technical corrections to restore the eligibility of certain Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans for pooling. The MBA estimated the VA orphan loan mess at roughly $500 million. Due to new loan seasoning requirements in the recently enacted Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, sime IRRRLs were rendered ineligible for Ginnie MBS pools. The loans were in transit when legislation addressing the problem of VA loan churning and serial refinancing became law in May. The new law’s seasoning provisions turned out to be ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

AI Objects to Appraisal Provisions in H.R. 299, Calls for Revisions

The appraisal industry is opposed to a legislative proposal that would make changes to how appraisals are procured for the VA home loan program. The appraisal measure is one of the key provisions in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 382-0 in June. The bill is now pending in the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Blue Water Act would clarify presumptions relating to veterans’ exposure to herbicide, such as Agent Orange, during the Vietnam era and disability claims. The bill also proposes changes to the VA loan fee structure, including a proposed hike to the fees veterans, servicemembers and their spouses pay to obtain a VA-guaranteed home loan. The appraisal provision in H.R. 299 would allow VA appraisers to engage a third party to perform property inspections on their behalf. The provision addresses a problem with ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

VA, MBA Nix Bill Seeking to Raise Loan Fees to Pay for Vet Benefits

A legislative proposal to charge veterans, servicemembers and military spouses more for a VA home loan is getting heat from lenders and the Department of Veterans Affairs itself. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs last week, Paul Lawrence, VA undersecretary for benefits, warned that increasing VA loan fees would impose additional financial burdens on veterans who are trying to buy a home, making them more vulnerable to predatory lending. Fee-related proposals are included in H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 382-0 in June and it is currently under consideration in the Senate. H.R. 229 would expand disability benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving on U.S. ships offshore or on the ground in Thailand and the Korean demilitarized ...


August 10, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

Wells Fargo, HSBC Will Pay $3.7 Billion to Resolve Legacy MBS Claims; Lehman Sub to Pay $41 Million

Two major banks and a defunct subsidiary of Lehman Brothers have agreed to settlements with the Department of Justice to resolve legacy non-agency MBS disputes.


August 6, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Consumer Advocacy Group Sues CFPB for Kraninger’s Records

A progressive group recently filed a lawsuit against the CFPB and the Office of Management and Budget for allegedly failing to provide records on Kathy Kraninger, President Trump’s nominee to become the next director of the CFPB. Allied Progress, a consumer watchdog, said in the lawsuit that it is suing to compel the agencies to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for records associated with Kraninger. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court ...


August 6, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

A New Strike: CFPB Loses Lawsuit Against Debt Collection Law Firm

A federal judge in Ohio recently sided with a law firm in a debt collection enforcement action taken by the CFPB. Industry attorneys said the ruling calls into question whether the bureau should bring future actions against such firms. The CFPB filed a lawsuit in April 2017 against the debt collection law firm Weltman, Weinberg & Reis for falsely representing in collection letters sent to consumers that attorneys were involved in collecting the debt. In most cases ...


August 3, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

With Reform a Priority, White House Takes a Keen Interest in FHFA Job

The White House, according to industry insiders, has formed a small search team to help pick a successor to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, whose tenure at the agency is imperiled because of recent sexual harassment allegations levied against him by an employee. Watt’s five-year term is scheduled to end in early January 2019, but it’s possible he might be forced from the position much sooner or decide to step down on his own. The 72-year-old regulator – a former Democratic Congressman from North Carolina – has declined to discuss the matter, but issued a statement through the FHFA’s public relations department saying he’s “confident that the investigation currently in progress will ...


July 27, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Court OKs Settlement for Post-Payment Charges on FHA Loans

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa earlier this month granted preliminary approval of an $11.2 million settlement in a proposed class-action against national bank JPMorgan Chase. According to the complaint filed in 2016, Chase charged and collected interest on FHA-insured loans that paid off early. Chase was either the lender or the servicer of the loans. The lawsuit, Audino et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, alleges that the bank breached the promissory notes underlying the class’s FHA-insured home loans when it collected post-payment interest without providing disclosures to borrowers who made a prepayment inquiry, request for payoff figures, or tender of prepayment. Plaintiffs allege that the bank did not use the proper FHA form to provide the disclosures to consumers. Chase denies any wrongdoing and neither admits nor concedes any actual or potential fault or liability. The bank also denies it was ...


July 27, 2018 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Lenders Seek Clarity on Eligibility of DACA Dreamers for Home Loans

Lenders will be asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development to clarify the eligibility of borrowers with deferred immigration status for an FHA-insured loan. A mortgage industry trade group is currently drafting a letter on “a series of technical FHA handbook recommendations,” including greater clarity on loan applications submitted by borrowers registered under the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA status was offered to children who were brought illegally into the U.S. by their parents or guardians but have been in the country for most of their lives. The program was created by the Obama administration as a way for recipients to work legally in the country while Congress could agree on what to do with them. The program faces uncertainty after President Trump rescinded it in September last year as part of his administration’s zero-tolerance immigration ...


July 23, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief: Settlements With Payday Lenders; Task Force; New Deputy Director

CFPB Joins Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud. The CFPB recently joined a new Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud, created by President Trump pursuant to an executive order. The task force is led by the Department of Justice, with the participation of the CFPB, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission. The task force will provide guidance for the investigation and prosecution of cases [Includes four briefs] ...


July 23, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Likely to Come Under Fire With Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

The controversial structure of the CFPB and its enforcement tactics will likely draw skeptical attention from the U.S. Supreme Court if President Trump’s pick, Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed by the Senate, industry attorneys said. President Trump recently nominated Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate justice who has announced his retirement. Kavanaugh is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with a pro-business ...


July 23, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Reduces Fines on Debt Collector for Financial Condition

The CFPB recently fined Kansas-based National Credit Adjusters and its former chief executive $800,000 for illegal debt collection practices. The bureau originally ordered a $6 million civil money penalty but suspended most of it based on the financial condition of NCA and its former CEO. The CFPB said in a consent order that NCA and its former CEO, Bradley Hochstein, purchased consumer debt and used a network of debt collection companies that frequently ...


July 20, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Structure Unconstitutional, Treasury Sweep Completely Legal

A federal court held this week that the single-director structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by Director Mel Watt, violates the constitution. The ruling in Collins v. FHFA was handed down in Texas by a three judge-panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It represents the most recent major ruling in a number of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder cases filed against the federal government. “We found, after an in-depth examination, that the FHFA is excessively insulated from executive branch influence and is, therefore, structured in violation of the Constitution,” the judges state in their 83-page ruling. And although Congress can create an independent agency, the court determined that elected officials cannot insulate...


July 12, 2018 - Inside MBS & ABS

RBS Agrees to Settle Illinois’ MBS Claims; PwC Ordered to Pay FDIC; Ambac Loses MBS Fight in NY

The Royal Bank of Scotland last week announced a multi-million dollar settlement with the state of Illinois to resolve the bank’s alleged misconduct in its marketing and sale of risky MBS leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.


July 12, 2018 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Supreme Court Takes Case on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Non-Judicial Mortgage Foreclosures

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case that will determine whether non-judicial foreclosures are subject to protections provided by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Lower courts have split on the issue, causing problems for servicers and borrowers.


July 9, 2018 - Inside the CFPB

Other News in Brief: Student Loans Report; Data Securities; Payday-Lending Litigation; CFPB Civil Penalty

CFPB Studies How Student Loan Borrowers Transition Out Of Debt. The CFPB recently issued a report on student loan payments and broader household borrowing. The report provides a close look at borrowers’ use of credit as they approach and make their final student loan payments and what follows in the months beyond. One key finding: Most borrowers pay off a student loan before the final installment is due, often with a single large payment. Further [Includes Four Briefs] ...


July 6, 2018 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

Fannie Mae announced late last week it would provide a $26 million low-income housing tax credit equity investment to facilitate the construction of Far Rockaway Village, a 457-unit residential development in Queens, New York. Fannie will back the project through The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation, a Fannie LIHTC fund partner. ...


Poll

With mortgage production down noticeably this year from 2017, how many lenders might disappear via M&A or failure during the next 12 months?

10% or less. It’s not that bad out there.

17%

11% to 25%. It’s a challenging market.

48%

25% to 40%. It’s going to be very ugly.

24%

No opinion.

11%