Mar. 7, 2013: Mortgage jobs; uniform state test info for LOs; bank dividend controversy; one DOJ case settled
Huh? A life sentence for a mortgage broker? Well… http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2013/03/06/prosecutors-wanted-life-sentence-for-mortgage-broker-in-pittsburgh/.
The MBA’s research group came out with numbers confirming what Realtors and lenders in several states know: foreign-born ownership demand comprised the majority of all growth in homeownership in the established “gateway” states, California and New York. From 2000-2010 immigrants accounted for 82% and 65%, respectively, of growth in homeowners in those states. In that decade immigrants also accounted for the major share of net growth in owner households in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan. Homeownership and rental demand of foreign-born households will continue to increase as growing numbers of immigrants settle longer in the United States, per the MBA’s Immigrant Contributions to Housing Demand in the United States: A Comparison of Recent Decades and Projections to 2020 for the States and Nation.
As previously mentioned in this column, in the retail arena, mortgage banker iServe Residential Lending is continuing the expansion of its national branching platform, now in over 20 states. The company is a GNMA approved direct lender and is expanding its network of retail branches throughout the country. Due to this expansion, iServe has initiated a search for a seasoned Regional Sales Manager for Texas and one for the East Coast. For more information, contact Ken Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.iservelending.com.
Ohio based lender, Nations Lending Corporation is seeking a Chief Financial Officer to join its dynamic executive team. The CFO will oversee the company’s day to day finance and accounting operations. The position will require collaboration with executive management including the company’s CEO and COO to implement strategies that improve profitability, financial controls, financial reporting, financial institutions relations, tax planning, tax filings, forecasting, budget preparation, profit and loss review and programmatic design and implementation matters. NLC (http://www.nlcmortgageloans.com/) is nationally licensed in 43 states and offers conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, and HECM residential programs. Qualified individuals can direct inquiries to Craig Montgomery, VP of Business Development, at email@example.com.
There still seems to be some confusion out there regarding which states have adopted universal LO licensing, and so on. Barbara Werth with Mortgage Training Today might be able to help. “I have a free conference call scheduled for Monday March 11th and Wednesday March 20th to give information and answer questions on the new Uniform State Test (UST) that is going to be available for existing LO's as of April 1, 2013. It will only be available from 4/1/2013 to 3/31/2014. By passing this 25 question test the LO would be eligible to apply in any participating state without taking a state specific test. If a LO does not take the stand alone test and then decides to originate in a participating state after 3/31/2014, the LO would have to re-take and pass the National exam with the UST component. The call will give basic information and be open to questions and answers. Conference call number Dial - (605) 475-4000, Access Code - 360355#. The call will be at 1:00 pm CST. Anyone can also email me any questions: barb@MTToday.co.
Sure, borrowers can lower their interest costs by refinancing. And governments can do the same thing: the Treasury Department announced that the U.S. paid $359 billion of interest expense on our country’s outstanding debt during fiscal year 2012, i.e., the 12 months ending 9/30/12, a 21% decrease from 2011. And many governments, after years of dealing with falling property values, and now trying to control values on the upside! Earlier this week it was China & Peru in the news, and now it is conservative Norway: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-05/norway-cracks-down-on-mortgage-risk-to-fight-housing-bubble.html.
Have you bought some bank stocks lately? According to an article in Bloomberg, banks are considering defying the Fed by releasing their dividend decisions early. The largest US banks may not wait until 3/14 and could announce their dividend/buyback plans today after the Fed publishes the first round of stress test results. Banks are worried securities laws may require immediate disclosure of capital plans: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-07/banks-said-to-weigh-defying-fed-with-dividend-disclosures.html.
I see a lot of questions. “Rob, why does the Postal Service sponsor a bike team? Does the FHFA?” An interesting question, given that I am in Austin, home of Lance Armstrong – we rode our bikes by his house the other day. Well, to the best of my knowledge the Postal Service stopped nearly 10 years ago – a good thing since it is now losing $2.4 million every hour. In fact, the U.S. Post Office was the sponsor of a racing team during the Armstrong “heyday.” This was when the Postal Service, having been spun off into a quasi-private enterprise, was having delusions of corporate grandeur – “we want to be a money making organization!” Its leaders liked the idea that “they could rub shoulders with other C.E.O.’s who were sponsoring sports activities,” said Ruth Goldway, the chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission. And I don’t think the agencies can very well sponsor something like that, given the taxpayer money that has gone their way – but ask your rep!
The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a settlement with Community Bank of St. Charles, Michigan, in a federal lending discrimination lawsuit filed by DOJ against the bank. (Remember that Wells dropped its wholesale channel as a result of the DOJ.) The law suit originated from a referral by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The DOJ had alleged in its lawsuit that the bank violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit lending practices that discriminate against consumers on the basis of race. DOJ alleged that the bank served the credit needs of residents of predominantly white neighborhoods in the Saginaw and Flint metropolitan areas, but ignored the needs of African-American neighborhoods in those same areas. The settlement serves as a reminder that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other regulators view the concept of "fair lending" as not only prohibiting discrimination, but also ensuring equal access to credit. Anyone interested in more legal ease can read about it at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/January/13-crt-061.html.
Meanwhile, the M&A, investor, and vendor news just keeps coming, giving us an idea regarding personnel and lending trends.
SI Financial Group, the holding company for Savings Institute Bank and Trust Company, and Newport Bancorp, the holding company for Newport Federal Savings Bank, announced the execution of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which SI Financial Group will acquire Newport Bancorp. Both are traded on NASDAQ. The acquisition will add to SI Financial Group approximately $449.4 million in assets, $355.0 million in loans and $289.7 million in deposits before acquisition accounting adjustments. The transaction will expand SI Financial Group’s presence into Newport and Washington Counties in Rhode Island, where Newport Federal Savings Bank operates five full-service banking offices, and will add one branch in Stonington, Connecticut.
Pacific Premier Bancorp, Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire San Diego Trust Bank, a San Diego, California, based state-chartered bank with $242 million in total assets and $188 million in total deposits at December 31, 2012. This transaction will expand Pacific Premier’s banking footprint into San Diego County and is expected to further improve Pacific Premier’s deposit mix.
Based on feedback from a recent survey of origination activity, Citibank is reminding clients that the Settlement Agent section of Box H, the loan term, and the escrow information on the HUD-1 must match the GFE and that failure to do so violates RESPA disclosure requirements and causes delays.
Citi has updated several of its credit overlays, including removing restrictions for condos in Florida and Georgia and allowing LTVs up to 90% for fixed-rate rate/term refinances of second home co-ops and 80% for second home co-op ARMs. Completed 4506-T forms are now required for FHA Streamline loans, and the payment of real estate taxes must now be included in the loan amount as an overlay for LP.
In accordance with the Freddie announcement from last October, Citi will discontinue LP Open Access ARM loans with 5/2/5 caps and will require all such loans to be purchased by April 30th at the latest. The 5/2/5 cap structure will still be available for DU processed loans.
Mountain West Financial is now allowing 100% LTVs on its VA rate/term and cash-out refinances with loan amounts of up to $417,000 (including the VA funding fee), under which borrowers can receive up to $200,000 cash back. A full VA appraisal and termite report and clearance are required.
Carrington Mortgage has updated guidelines for a number of its products, including FHA refinances and purchases, FHA First Time Home Buyer transactions, FHA Streamline refinances, VA refinances and purchases, and VA IRRRLs. This includes a lower minimum FICO requirement of 600 on FHA/VA Streamlines, a reduced bankruptcy/short sale seasoning to 2-3 years, expanded cash-out and LTV qualifications, and lower FICO requirements for Conventional and high balance programs. All changes are effective immediately.
Homeward Residential Capital has expanded its guidelines for same-servicer and Ocwen-serviced HARP loans to allow investment properties, unlimited multiple financed properties, and escrow waivers. For new-servicer HARP loans, Homeward will accept unlimited LTVs and CLTVs up to 150% for single family residences with FICO scores about 660 and 12 months’ mortgage history. Ten-year amortization terms are now being offered as well, and subject properties in FEMA-declared areas no longer have to be re-inspected.
SolomonEdwardsGroup, LLC (SEG), a national business advisory and professional staffing firm, has expanded its mortgage services team with the addition of several key individuals. After 15 years with Freddie Mac (in multi-family real estate and securitization), Jay Catalfamo joined SEG. Jeff Wise comes to SEG after working for Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, and JPM Chase and a background in risk management, mortgage banking, and capital markets. And John Cipriano joined SEG, bringing “many years of direct lending experience having served in ownership and management roles for several mortgage banking companies. He has either built or expanded correspondent programs, warehouse banking arrangements, retail origination, and secondary loan sales operations.”
Rates: up a little, down a little – and we could be doing that for the next dozen months. Yesterday rates were up a little, with the 10-yr closing at 1.94%, worse by .375 in price, and agency MBS prices worse by .250, especially after ADP survey showed that private sector employment rose by 198,000 jobs in February, more than the estimated 170,000, and a higher revision to last month’s number. Factory orders were stronger than expected, and the Fed’s Beige Book reported that 10 of the 12 Fed districts said economic activity had generally expanded at a moderate pace since the last report.
Jobs and housing, housing and jobs – they’re what are needed for our economy to improve. (And really, in many areas, the economy seems to be doing pretty well, although there are other areas that are still markedly lagging. We certainly have changes occurring – just look at high tech versus companies like J.C. Penny’s.) Tomorrow is the government’s unemployment data, which, unlike the ADP number, includes government figures – but the higher-than-expected ADP number “spooked the herd” about estimates for tomorrow. (The median seems to be camped out at around +160k with the unemployment rate steady at 7.9%.)
Today we’ve had weekly Initial Jobless Claims (estimated at 355k from 344k, was 340k down 7k, and the 4-week moving average also fell 7k), and numbers that showed U.S. worker productivity shrank in the final three months of last year, mostly because of temporary factors that dragged down growth. The Labor Department says productivity contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.9 percent in the October-December quarter. That's about the same as last month's estimate of a 2 percent decline. It followed a 3.1 percent gain in the July-September quarter. Later we have the Treasury’s announcement of 3, 10, and 30-yr security auction amounts next week - estimated unchanged at $66 billion. In the early going the 10-yr is sitting at 1.96% and MBS prices are roughly worse .125.
(Parental discretion advised.)
A dog lover, whose dog was a female and in heat, agreed to look after her neighbors' male dog while the neighbors were on vacation. She had a large house and believed that she could keep the two dogs apart.
However, as she was drifting off to sleep she heard awful howling and moaning sounds, rushed downstairs and found the dogs locked together, in obvious pain and unable to disengage, as frequently happens when dogs mate.
Unable to separate them, and perplexed as to what to do next, although it was late, she called the vet, who answered in a very grumpy voice.
Having explained the problem to him, the vet said, "Hang up the phone and place it down alongside the dogs. I will then call you back and the noise of the ringing will make the male lose his erection and he will be able to withdraw."
"Do you think that will work?" she asked.
"It just worked for me," he replied.
If you're interested, visit my twice-a-month blog at the STRATMOR Group web site located at www.stratmorgroup.com. The current blog is how "Basel III Could be a Game Changer for Lenders and Servicers." If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what's going on out there from the other readers.
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