Read the latest news about mortgages, foreclosures, servicers, loan modifications, HAMP, Dodd-Frank, Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM), mortgage brokers and more.
- Underwater Homeowners Could Face Extra Tax Burden in 2014
Washington Post 26 Dec 2013
Congress has yet to act on the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, the expiration of which at the end of this year could leave distressed borrowers with an additional financial burden in 2014.
- Mortgage Performance Strengthened in Third Quarter: OCC
American Banker 24 Dec 2013
New data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reflects improvement in the mortgage sector. According to OCC, the share of home loans current and performing in the third quarter hit 91 percent -- up from 88.6 percent a year earlier.
- PNC to Atone for Loan Bias by National City
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 23 Dec 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's two-year investigation into lending practices at National City Bank has ended with charges of loan discrimination against African-American and Hispanic borrowers. According to the probe, the bank charged about 75,000 minority customers roughly 1 percentage point more in interest and fees on home loans between 2002 and 2008.
- State's Foreclosure Mediation Lacks Teeth, Advocates Say
Baltimore Sun 20 Dec 2013
Although a 2010 law in Maryland granted homeowners in foreclosure the right to mediation, legal advocates say that it has not been very helpful and that some of the practices that the law was meant to stop are still going on. "They're more of a status conference than an actual negotiation or substantive discussion about ways in which a home can be saved," said Owen Jarvis, a staff attorney for the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.
- U.S. Officials Order Ocwen to Give $2 Bln in Relief to Borrowers
Reuters 19 Dec 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and state officials on Dec. 19 ordered Ocwen Financial to provide $2 billion in aid to underwater borrowers to settle allegations mortgage servicing improprieties.
- Report: Banks Confuse Borrowers Seeking Help
Orange County Register (CA) 19 Dec 2013
Banks should improve their communications with homeowners seeking mortgage relief, according to UC Irvine law professor Katherine Porter, who is the California monitor for the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement. The 2012 deal compels the largest U.S. lenders to address mortgage and foreclosure abuses; but in a recent report, Porter said homeowners often are confused by letters from lenders. She cites ongoing problems for homeowners that include vague requests by banks for missing paperwork and poorly worded explanations of why loan modification applications were declined.
- AGs: Congress Should Extend Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act
Legal Newsline 19 Dec 2013
Attorneys general representing 42 states have dispatched a letter petitioning congressional leaders to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act for at least one more year. The law, which was renewed last year, is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. "If this deadline is not extended, financially strapped homeowners, even those who lose their home to foreclosure, will be forced to pay taxes as income on any mortgage debt that is forgiven by the holder of the mortgage," the National Association of Attorneys General wrote.
- Miami Sues Big Banks Over Discriminatory Mortgage Lending
Reuters 19 Dec 2013
The city of Miami, Fla., is suing Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank in U.S. federal court in Florida, accusing the lenders of mortgage discrimination against minority residents that led to a local foreclosure epidemic.
- Richmond CA Pushes Forward With Eminent Domain Plan
San Francisco Chronicle 18 Dec 2013
Teaming up with another city in a Joint Powers Authority would allow Richmond, Calif., to invoke eminent domain for underwater mortgages without obtaining approval from a supermajority of its city councilors.
- CFPB Launches Nationwide Education Campaign About New Mortgage Rules
Huntington News 18 Dec 2013
On Dec. 18, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a public education campaign about new protections under its mortgage rules that take effect Jan. 10, 2014. The agency is releasing educational materials ahead of the implementation date.
- New Mortgages to Get Pricier
Wall Street Journal 18 Dec 2013
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise the fees they charge for loans to borrowers who do not contribute at least 20 percent to the down payment or who do not have credit scores in the range of 680 to 760. These fees normally are passed down to the borrowers, who end up paying higher mortgage rates.
- Homes Returning to Positive Equity
Toledo Blade 18 Dec 2013
New data-crunching from CoreLogic reveals that 13 percent of all U.S. homes carrying a mortgage remained "upside down" in terms of equity at the end of the third quarter. However, the share is down from an "underwater" inventory of 14.7 percent in the previous three months.
- Expect Reverse Mortgages to Grow in Popularity
MarketWatch 17 Dec 2013
More and more older homeowners are changing their views on reverse mortgages, which often have been perceived as a rescue product. As people live longer because of medical advances, however, a growing number of seniors may need to dig into their home equity to pay for healthcare costs and lifestyle expenses. Another factor is that many Americans nearing retirement age have a considerable amount of wealth in housing equity.
- Foreclosures Drop to Lowest Level in 7 Years
CNN Money 12 Dec 2013
New foreclosure filings slid 15 percent last month to 113,454 homes -- the lowest number in seven years. On an annual basis, RealtyTrac also reports that new default notices, auctions, and bank seizures were 37 percent lower in November than a year earlier. A recovering economy has enabled more owners to keep up with mortgage payments, according to the firm, while property appreciation has provided more of an incentive for them to hang onto their homes.
- AG Files Lawsuit Alleging Mortgage Rescue Scam
nwitimes.com 12 Dec 2013
Foreclosure consultant Bruce Bonson is under legal scrutiny in Indiana after his company, Liberty Credit Law, allegedly took advantage of mortgage borrowers who paid to have their loans modified. According to a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Greg Zoeller, one homeowner in Lake County and another in Jasper County paid the firm thousands of dollars upfront but never received the promised services or refunds.
- New York Scrutinizes Title Insurers
Wall Street Journal 10 Dec 2013
The New York Department of Financial Services has analyzed information obtained via subpoena from title insurance agents and information requests sent to insurers to determine whether homebuyers have paid for entertainment costs for real estate and mortgage brokers who directed them to a particular insurance firm. The inquiries have revealed expenditures by insurers and the agents for golf outings, sporting events, and other expenses.
- Fannie Mae Mortgage-Guarantee Fees Increased by U.S. Overseer
Bloomberg 10 Dec 2013
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are set to raise the fees they charge lenders to insure loans as part of an effort to dial down their presence in the mortgage market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced.
- 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.
- 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."