Mar. 26, 2013: Mortgage jobs; USDA update; various state originator websites & possible law changes; Wells changes stance on attorneys
Rob Chrisman



 

Remember in the “old days” when we didn’t have government-sponsored refi programs like HARP? I seem to remember the rule of thumb being, “If you could save the borrower .5%, or a couple points to pay for the loan, it made sense.” Times have changed, obviously, and I have received plenty of comments and suggestions on how to expand HARP. For example, KJ writes, “I’ve heard the following regarding HARP’s shortcomings: excludes private label RMBS; excludes all loans held in portfolio – money center banks were huge on these loans, particularly Chase and Bank of America - stated income jumbos, investment property, second homes, etc., and also excludes all loans held in portfolio by small community banks who were big in the F&F near miss business during the boom; excludes jumbo loans not covered in high balance conforming areas; excludes IP and Second homes that are not F&F which we’re a huge portion of originations in the sand states during the boom; modifications are being based on 28% max housing DTI and/or other credit qualifying criteria independent of on-time mortgage payments; modifications are temporary and not permanent like the HARP refi; second lien holders (both large and regional banks) are not cooperative in allowing refinances of non F&F loans. It’s important that we don’t get too hyped on home sales and appreciation - there’s a large bubble that has been ignored.”

 

Turning to the job front, companies are continuing to look for talent. Essent Guaranty is looking to hire a Vice President of Underwriting to join its management team. This position has responsibility for managing Essent’s national mortgage insurance underwriting operations across multiple locations and includes oversight of business process flow enhancements, maintenance of relationships with lenders, GSEs, and other relevant 3rd parties in a fast paced, growing business environment. The successful candidate will have strong leadership skills, significant mortgage underwriting & credit risk experience, and a passion for delivering service excellence.  Interested candidates should respond via e-mail to EssentCareers@essent.us, and certainly visit the company website at http://essent.us/.

 

San Diego-based AimLoan.com is expanding its management team, hiring a Processing Manager and a Funding Manager.  Founded in 1998, AimLoan originates mortgages throughout the country from a single location and has experienced rapid growth due to its Internet-based, direct-to-the-consumer business model.  In 2012, its 160 Associates funded 13,000 mortgages totaling $3 billion.  All loans are conventional, with 90% sold to Fannie/Freddie, with servicing retained by AimLoan.  These senior management positions will be responsible for the hiring, training and oversight of Associates in their respective departments. A minimum of 10 years’ experience required, including management experience.  Visit www.aimloan.com to learn more about the company, and resumes should be sent to Vince Kasperick, president, at vince@aimloan.com.

 

And while we’re on personnel, Bank of America Corp. is shutting down its mortgage processing facility in western New York, with about 500 people expected to lose their jobs as M&T Bank Corp. takes on about half of the 1,200 working there now. The 130,000-square-foot facility in Getzville will close by May 31, with the bank keeping about 100 employees who will move to other locations. M&T Bank Corp. said Monday it will take over the lease and hire about 600 of the workers to service mortgages on behalf of an unnamed third-party investor. A BofA spokesman said it was closing the operation because the bank has fewer customers with problem loans who need assistance: http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2013/03/25/bofa-closing-getzville-mortgage.html.

 

Personnel come and go, but what does the public continue to see? Under the “more bad news about lending industry from a few years ago” category that the public sees, we have a fraud case involving people in Massachusetts, Ohio, and a public official in New Jersey to the tune of $13 million in wire fraud:

http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2013/03/former_kearny_councilman_charg.html. Yes, many lenders find themselves mired down in court, having to hire on-staff counsel, or merging with other banks for lenders that have existing legal and compliance departments. It is very expensive. But it is important to watch for “legal trends,” and Wells Fargo may be on to something by a move toward hiring less outside counsel and using their existing staff to handle litigation: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/21/wellsfargo-legal-fees-idUSL1N0CDDU020130321.

 

I received this note from an industry vet in the mid-Atlantic region. “We have seen a number of institutions filing the lis pendens on homes but not proceeding with the foreclosure. (Recording a lis pendens alerts a potential purchaser or lender that the property’s title is in question, which makes the property less attractive to a buyer or lender.) I’m hearing daily that the N.E. is now facing a housing shortage of homes listed on the MLS and home values in the SE rising. Okay, maybe the buyers are picky, but if an institution holds a defaulted mortgage - I’m sure they have actuaries crunching numbers to decide to sell it or not. In a declining market why take the home back, carry the upkeep, taxes and insurance. Is it cheaper to leave it out there and if that areas values return take the home back and if not walk. So if the values return, like Florida has recently reported, will the foreclosure numbers jump again to 2009-2010 numbers? Has anyone tracked FICOs mortgage defaults versus foreclosures?”

 

On the other side of the nation, and turning to some state news, in Washington, Erik Hand, president & CEO of Windemere Mortgage Services Series writes, “I wanted to alert you to a recent bill , H.R. 1077 the Consumer Mortgage Choice Act, put forward to help clarify the Ability to Repay rule. Here is a link: http://www.mortgagebankers.org/tools/FullStory.aspx?ArticleId=37729. The provisions in the bill address a wide range of the issues created with Ability to Repay/QM rule that came out earlier this year.”

 

Wouldn’t you think that, as a consumer, you’d want a list of licensed lenders in your area or state, or as a lender, a clear and concise procedure for being approved? Anyone wanting to originate loans in New Mexico usually turns to a handy-dandy guide on what is required: http://www.rld.state.nm.us/financialinstitutions/Mortgage_Industry_FAQs.aspx. But I have received a few comments that Massachusetts “has made things more difficult by making them easier.” Rather than publish a list of licensed lenders, the state now has a lookup function on the Division of Banks’ website. You type in the name of the company you’re seeking and its information is returned: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/license-types/finance-real-estate.html. In Virginia, there’s a list of mortgage originators, plain and simple.  It’s as of 3/19/12, but that’s still pretty useful: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/bfi/reg_inst/mort.pdf. And three thousand miles away, in California, they have http://www.corp.ca.gov/fsd/licensees/.

 

Flipping over to some program, agency, vendor, and investor news…

 

For USDA fans, both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the Continuing Resolution last week. The Continuing Resolution has clear guidance that current USDA designated eligible areas are to remain eligible until September 30th – kicking the can down the road. But the president needs to sign it. It seems several investors, such as Guild, are saying, “Please continue to process your USDA loans business as usual.” In fact Guild told clients, “Reminder: There are several areas in California that remain 100% eligible even though the maps indicate those areas are not eligible. The areas are: Atascadero, Coachella, Paso Robles, Hollister, and Watsonville. For the latest status, here is a link to the news story: http://farmfutures.com/story-senate-passes-funding-bill-sequester-burden-still-heavy-8-96295-spx_2.

 

Yesterday the commentary mentioned Blackstone’s voracious appetite. It turns out that Blackstone is buying up Tampa Bay area homes at the rate of $800,000 per day: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/blackstone-other-investors-snap-up-thousands-of-tampa-bay-rental-homes/2110744. And I received this note from an insider: “Blackstone does a tremendous amount of research on each property, with help from local institutions. They only buy at auctions, and they buy 30-60 wholesale properties every week. Because these are auction properties they obviously cannot look inside the homes but instead do try to have a driver visit every house for a visual exterior inspection. Any local company, title companies for example, have a serious meal ticket - talk about striking gold!”

 

Ginnie Mae has announced that it guaranteed $38.66 billion in MBS over the month of February, the bulk of which was GNMA II single-family pools ($31.77 billion).  GNMA I single-family pools made up $6.88 billion, while GNMA HECM issuance, included in the GNMA II total, was recorded at $695 million.  Multifamily MBS issuance recorded $2.03 billion for the month.

 

Based on analysis of 30-year fixed-rate single-family mortgages purchased over the last 13 years, Freddie Mac has published a Single Family Loan-Level Dataset on its website that provides data on 35 loan-level edits, including credit score, loan purpose, actual unpaid principal balances, and repurchase flags.  The dataset, which focuses primarily on credit, details out delinquencies, voluntary prepayments, repurchases, loan modifications, short sales, deed-in-lieu of foreclosures, third party sales, and REOs as part of credit performance.  The most recent publication is available here (http://freddiemac.sparklist.com/t/435267/4682831/5384/26/), and users can expect regular updates.

 

With the MIP policy changes approaching, the FHA has issued a reminder that all case numbers received by the desk on March 29th up to 4pm will be assigned that day, which is the last day the existing MIP is available.

 

In order to align its delinquent HOA dues policy with that of the GSEs, Wells Fargo is now considering condo projects where more than 15% of the units are delinquent to be ineligible for financing.  Mortgagees that acquire a unit via foreclosure or deed-in-lieu may not be responsible for more than the greater of six months’ dues or the maximum amount permitted under the applicable state law.

 

Upon reviewing a sampling of properties located in special flood hazard areas, Wells reminds sellers that, when changing servicers, they are required to provide evidence of the notification to the insurance agent informing them of the change and the new mortgagee loss payee information.  This must be provided within 60 days after the change.  With regards to loans on properties in SFHAs, the FEMA designee must be provided with the borrower’s name, flood insurance policy number, property address, name of the lender or servicer making the notification, name and address of the new servicer, and name and telephone number of the contact person at the new servicer.

 

As part of its trend analysis of suspense items and post-purchase defects, Citi has issued a reminder that if a borrower will be refinancing or purchasing other real estate around the same time as the subject transaction, sellers need to disclose the PITIA in the loan file.  In cases where a verification of mortgage is not yet available, a copy of the Note or loan commitment should be supplied in its place along with documentation for taxes and insurance.

 

Fifth Third is now requiring the use of specific verbiage on flood insurance in the NSFH and Servicing Disclosure Statement Notice to first lien applicants, the full text of which can be found in Chapter 10 of the Correspondent Underwriting Guideline Manual.

 

With regards to signatures, Fifth Third is requiring the signature on the Endorsement to be an original from an individual authorized to sign transfers of ownership on behalf of the correspondent seller.  The individual in question should be identified in a corporate resolution or equivalent corporate document, which may be requested by Fifth Third for review.

 

Briefly addressing the markets & rates, which are really the least of the problems out there, and are expected to be the least of any problems for the rest of the year at least, there seems to be a trend out there among analysts saying mortgages look pretty attractive to investors. The Fed is on hold, and as one trader noted, “We maintain the view that despite the recent upside surprises to payroll data - the unemployment rate is likely to remain elevated well into 2014.  If the participation rate remains the same and job growth averages 200,000 per month, the unemployment rate would remain above 7%, a rate that a number of fed officials have indicated would need to be reached before QE could be wound down, until at least April 2014, according to our economics team.” But a certain portion of investors have been shifting money into short-term corporate debt in anticipation of future rate increases.

 

Residential MBS prices have done pretty well, as have Treasuries. The 10-yr closed at 1.91%, and in the very early going today it is at 1.93% with MBS prices “off a tad.” This upcoming weekend we have month-end, quarter-end, and even a fiscal year end in Japan, along with an early close Thursday and complete bond market closure Friday. When everyone wakes up we’ll have Durable Goods (expected higher), the Case-Shiller Index (expected lower), Consumer Confidence (expected lower), February New Home Sales (expected lower), and a $35 billion 2-yr note auction. Yippee!

 

 

An elderly man lay sprawled across three entire seats in the movie theater.

When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the old man, "Sorry sir, but you're only allowed one seat."

The old guy just groaned but didn't budge. The usher became more impatient.

"Sir, if you don't get up from there I'm going to have to call the manager."

Once again, the old guy just groaned.

The usher marched briskly back up the aisle, and in a moment he returned with the manager. Together the two of them tried repeatedly to move the old disheveled man, but with no success. Finally they summoned the police.

The officer surveyed the situation briefly then asked, "All right buddy what's your name?"

"Fred," the old guy moaned.

"Where ya from, Fred?" asked the police officer

 With terrible pain in his voice, and without moving a muscle, Fred replied, "The balcony."

 

 

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.

Rob

(Check out http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/channels/pipelinepress/default.aspx or www.TheBasisPoint.com/category/daily-basis. For archived commentaries or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2013 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)

 

 



                  










Copyright - Rob Chrisman