Read the latest news about mortgages, foreclosures, servicers, loan modifications, HAMP, Dodd-Frank, Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM), mortgage brokers and more.
- HUD: New FHA Loan Limit Takes Effect Jan. 1
Housing Wire 06 Dec 2013
The standard loan limit on Federal Housing Administration loans for high-cost areas will decline next year to $625,500, down from $729,750.
- Groups Sue Feds Over Foreclosure-Fighting Tactic
Associated Press 05 Dec 2013
A group of nonprofits, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Popular Democracy, have filed a freedom of information lawsuit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The ACLU has asked that government agency disclose efforts to prevent municipalities from using eminent domain to aid underwater homeowners and that it increase transparency in its dealings with the financial industry.
- PHH Pays NJ $6.25M to Settle Mortgage Allegations
Philadelphia Business Journal 05 Dec 2013
New Jersey-based PHH Corp. has reached a $6.25 million settlement with state authorities to resolve allegations that it deceived distressed homeowners who sought mortgage modifications in an effort to avoid delinquency or foreclosure.
- CFPB Director Addresses QM Myths
Housing Wire 05 Dec 2013
A key piece of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new qualified mortgage (QM) standard is being widely misinterpreted, said director Richard Cordray. Addressing the Consumer Federation of America, he noted that claims circulating about the impact of the ability-to-repay rule are "wrong in three ways."
- L.A. Sues Wells Fargo and Citigroup, Alleging Predatory Lending
Los Angeles Times 05 Dec 2013
The city of Los Angeles has filed twin lawsuits in U.S. District Court against Wells Fargo and Citigroup. It is accusing the banking giants of a “continuous pattern and practice” of lending discrimination that contributed to foreclosures, lower property-tax revenue, and higher costs for municipal services.
- Economy Watch: GSE Delinquencies Continue to Drop
Multi-Housing News 03 Dec 2013
The government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently reported declines in the serious delinquency rate for single-family mortgages. Fannie Mae's single-family serious delinquency rate fell to 2.48 percent in October, down from 2.55 percent in September and 3.35 percent in October 2012, marking its lowest level since December 2008.
- Fair Housing Investigation Reveals Discrimination
Novato Advance 02 Dec 2013
Fair Housing of Marin -- a California nonprofit -- has exposed alleged mortgage discrimination at multiple lending institutions in Marin, Sonoma, and Solano counties. Using trained testers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, the organization found that the institutions extended more favorable loan terms and preferential treatment to white customers than to African-American and Hispanic loan applicants.
- S&P: Principal Reductions Perform Better Than Rate Decreases
Housing Wire 25 Nov 2013
A new study from Standard & Poor's indicates that the likelihood of a new default exceeds 50 percent for borrowers who receive interest rate reductions. However, homeowners who obtain the benefit of a write-down and equity gains generally have a better chance of staying current on their mortgages afterward, according to the report.
- Fighting Back Against Foreclosure-Rescue Scam Artists
New York Post 24 Nov 2013
MFY Legal Services has filed a groundbreaking lawsuit on behalf of Elva Brardo, a 60-year-old Queens homeowner who is currently in foreclosure. The complaint alleges that two affiliated firms -- American Hope Group and the Donado law firm -- and seven of their employees cheated Brardo out of $11,885 and violated the law. It reportedly is the first case in New York City filed under the distressed-property consultant law created in 2008 and last amended in 2010.
- Americans Recover Home Equity at Record Pace
Bloomberg 21 Nov 2013
Zillow reports that the number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth fell at the fastest rate on record in the third quarter as prices continued to rise -- further proof that supply shortages may improve as more owners find themselves in a position to sell. The share of homes with mortgages that had negative equity fell from 23.8 percent in the second quarter to 21 percent as of Sept. 30,
- Consumer Bureau Streamlines Home-Loan Forms
Wall Street Journal 20 Nov 2013
New mortgage disclosure forms -- streamlined to help borrowers better understand loan terms and fees -- will take effect in August 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said. The documents, which replace the "good faith estimate" now commonly used industrywide, aim to give home buyers a better understanding both when comparing loan products and when signing settlement paperwork.
- Democrats Call on Regulators to Report on Foreclosure Review
American Banker 19 Nov 2013
Democratic legislators are prodding federal regulators to give details from an independent audit of millions of borrowers who faced foreclosure, even though the review process ended prematurely.
- Lawrence Co. Fined $240K for Predatory Lending
Banker & Tradesman 19 Nov 2013
Pinnacle Financial Consulting, based in Lawrence, Mass., and its owner, Robert Burton, have been fined $240,000 by a Suffolk Superior court for violating an order to stop its predatory lending practices. The office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed charges against the firm in March.
- JPMorgan's $13 Billion Settlement to Include Deadline for Assisting Homeowners
Washington Post 19 Nov 2013
As part of a tentative $13 billion settlement, sources say the U.S. government is set to impose a deadline for JPMorgan Chase to deliver consumer relief.
- HOPE NOW: Foreclosure Starts Down 42 Percent Compared to Last Year
MortgageOrb.com 19 Nov 2013
Lenders initiated an estimated 290,000 foreclosure proceedings in the third quarter, reports mortgage industry alliance HOPE NOW. The number is down more than 10 percent from 323,000 foreclosure starts in the previous three-month period and down about 42 percent from 499,000 in the 2012 third quarter.
- US CFPB Penalizes Republic Mortgage Insurance Over Illegal Kickbacks Practices
Insurance Business Review 18 Nov 2013
Republic Mortgage Insurance Corp. (RMIC) has drawn a $100,000 fine for allegedly feeding illegal kickbacks to home lenders under an arrangement that had gone on for more than 10 years.
- More Cities Consider Using Eminent Domain to Halt Foreclosures
The New York Times 16 Nov 2013
Cities hard hit by the housing crash are showing interest in using eminent domain to halt foreclosure activity locally. Yonkers, near New York City, is expected to soon take up a resolution to study the use of eminent domain to reduce debt. Meanwhile, support for the practice is growing in Newark, N.J., and in the California markets of Oakland and Pomona.
- Homeowner Tax Benefits Seem Unlikely to Get Congress's Attention Before They Expire
Washington Post 16 Nov 2013
For the second consecutive year, key federal tax breaks for homeowners are about to expire; but little effort is being made to extend mortgage-forgiveness debt relief and deductions for mortgage insurance payments and home energy-efficiency retrofits beyond Dec. 31.
- IRS Clarifies Short Sale Debt Forgiveness
Riverside Press-Enterprise 15 Nov 2013
Californians who underwent a short sale of their homes will not be charged a tax penalty for debt that has been forgiven as part of the deal, the Internal Revenue Service has confirmed.
- Fewer US Homes Repossessed by Lenders in October
Associated Press 15 Nov 2013
New data from RealtyTrac Inc. shows that fewer U.S. homes are completing the foreclosure process and being seized by banks. The main reason is because investors increasingly are snapping up such residences when they go on the public auction block.