Read the latest news about mortgages, foreclosures, servicers, loan modifications, HAMP, Dodd-Frank, Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM), mortgage brokers and more.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.