CFPB’s eClosing Pilot Program Details; Homeownership Counseling; PACE Update

News

The race to the bottom, in terms of guidelines or razor-thin pricing margins, prompted on industry vet to send me, “There’s a lot of space in the mortgage cemetery.” Names
like Thornburg, Countrywide, or WAMU are left to discussions of
lawsuits, but plenty of firms, and their names, are alive and kicking.
For example, Cole Taylor Mortgage is now part of MB Financial Bank (“MB
Financial, Inc. completes acquisition of Taylor Capital; Cole Taylor
Bank is merged into MB Financial Bank”). And regarding news yesterday
that Pinnacle Mortgage Group is being acquired by UAMC, it bears
mentioning that PMG has no relation whatsoever to Pinnacle Capital
Mortgage based in Roseville, CA.

In some pretty big news, the CFPB announced its mortgage eClosing pilot participants as the CFPB has taken it upon itself to assess the benefits of electronic mortgage closings. “The
three-month pilot will begin later this year, and will explore how the
increased use of technology during the mortgage closing process could
affect consumer understanding and engagement and save time and money for
consumers, lenders, and other market participants. ‘Mortgage closings
can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming,’ said CFPB Director
Richard Cordray. ‘We believe that eClosings have the potential to create
a better process for everyone involved. This eClosing pilot project
will provide valuable insight as we work to improve the closing
experience for consumers.’ Of
course, any experienced LO or mortgage company CEO will tell you that
paperwork has increased tenfold in defense of being sued, fined, or put
out of business by regulators or through class action lawsuits.

Negative
comments aside, congrats to the vendors (Accenture Mortgage Cadence;
DocMagic, Inc.; eLynx; Pavaso, Inc.; and PiersonPatterson, LLP) and
creditors (Blanco National Bank; Boeing Employees Credit Union; Franklin
First Financial, Ltd.; Flagstar Bank; Mountain America Credit Union;
Sierra Pacific Mortgage; and Universal American Mortgage Company.)

The
eClosing pilot program is not part of a rulemaking process, but rather
is designed to identify best practices in the marketplace. The eClosing
pilot guidelines announced in April of 2014 can be found at eClosings.

“Rob, we recently received a notice from an investors, advising us that
there is a “Homeownership Counseling” requirement with applications
dated on or after August 1, 2014, related to providing a complete list
of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies to applicants. Have you
heard of this requirement, and what must we include in our disclosures?” 
Yes, the requirement that a written list of homeownership counseling
organizations be given to all applicants for federally related mortgages
within three business days of receipt of the application has been in
effect since January 10, 2014. As I noted some time ago, an originator
can fulfill this requirement in one of two ways: the first is to obtain the list through the CFPB
website, and the second method is for the originator to generate lists
by independently using the same HUD data that CFPB uses. An
acknowledgement of receipt of the list is not required under the
regulations; however, it is required by many investors. As such, you
should check with your investors as to their requirements in this
regard.

Both FNMA and Freddie have come out with announcements concerning properties in California and secured energy efficient home improvements (also known as “PACE Loans”).  The announcement from FNMA is listed below.  Neither FNMA nor Freddie will accept a loan that includes a 1st
lien PACE Loan. Several California counties have announced energy
retrofit programs that permit the imposition of first-lien priority to
secure energy efficient home improvements.

MT Bank
sent out a reminder it will not be screening the SONYMA Plus programs
for adherence to the 3% Points and Fees test under CFPB’s definition.
The Correspondent is responsible for ensuring regulatory requirements on
loans sold to MT.

Fairway Independent’s wholesale group alerted brokers about the USDA Annual Guarantee Fee increase
effective October 1. “In order to prepare for the planned October 1st
annual guarantee fee increase to .50% from the current .40% rate, we’ve
created a disclosure you (brokers) may wish to begin providing to your
USDA loan applicants between now and October 1st. This disclosure will
help you initiate conversation with borrowers to assure they are
informed that their annual fee may be increased if their loan does
receive conditional loan commitment from Rural Development prior to
October 1. We recommend the following guidance in this interim period
while we await implementation of the annual guarantee fee increase: with
the turn times we are experiencing from USDA – Fairway Wholesale
Lending will require that new applications taken or submitted to Fairway
on or after Monday August 18, 2014 will require the new annual fee be
disclosed. As a reminder, Administrative Notice AN-4757 dated 04/21/2014
originally announced the anticipated annual guarantee fee increase.”

WesLend’s
Direct Arm program was updated to reiterate if subordinate financing is
present on the loan, the CLTV must be used to calculate the Loan Level
Price Adjustment (LLPA). Its Jumbo product was revised to clarify that,
when a Non-Occupant Co-Borrower exists, the max DTI ratio for the
Occupying Borrower is 40%.

FAMC Correspondent National Bulletin 2014-24
includes updates on Conventional DU 9.1 Release Notes, PIW Release
Notes, Number of Financed Properties, FHA Product Guidance on Non
Profits, Debts Paid by Business, All Products Funds to Close Access
Letters, Clarifications All Products Funds Reimbursed Paid by Credit
Card, Conventional Reserve Requirements, FHA 92900-LT 92900A
Forms, USDA Annual Fee and Rural Area Definition and FHA Repair
Inspection Documentation. Bulletin 2014-23
includes information regarding Kansas Appraisals and Automated
Valuation Model Requirement’s along with Maryland Automatic
Subordination on Refinance Transactions.

FCMKC July updates include program changes effective July 31st.

Wells Fargo Funding Newsflash include the following topics:  Non-Conforming
Loan Policy Enhancements, Updated Median Home Price
Policy-Non-Conforming Loans, Updated Delivery Expiration Date for Loans
with 60 Day and Greater Locks, Updated Tax Service Fee Schedule,
Reminder Regarding Interim Procedure for Homeownership Counseling
Disclosure to be Retired.

PennyMac Correspondent Lending Group has posted a new announcement Homeownership Counseling Disclosure.

Cole Taylor Mortgage Wholesale announced its ability to close FHA immediately without delays following its merger with MB Financial Bank, N.A.

Effective with Best Efforts locks and Mandatory commitments created on Monday, August 18, 2014, Nationstar Mortgage will no longer charge the -.25bps (basis points) price adjuster for loans with a DTI (Debt-to-income) greater than 45%.

Someone
recently asked me, or more accurately told me, the Fed owned a majority
interest in all outstanding MBS issuance. That made for a good
conversation; however, it is not entirely accurate. From outsourced data
fragments and bank analyst papers I have read, as of the 1st
of June, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury combined, owned a
little over 30% of all outstanding agency MBS passthroughs. Of the $5.7
trillion market, the Federal Reserve and Treasury own $1.7 trillion,
followed by Banks and Credit Unions who own a $1.4 trillion share,
followed by small holdings (less than half a trillion per) by the GSE’s,
overseas investors, state and local governments, mortgage REIT’s, and
domestic money managers. The largest share in the “others” category in
with domestic money managers, who on the aggregate own approximately
$750 billion of the current market; this is interesting for a number of
reasons, including that this share of the market is the smallest it has
been since before 2006, and noteworthy considering their holdings have
declined by about $320-325 billion since the Fed had initiated the QE 3
program to only $760 billion. Also their current volume of agency MBS is
less than their holdings at the end of the QE 1 program (which was in
March 2010).

A large percentage of the questions I get asked while I travel around, center on volatility…or VOL…or Vega
for some, even though there’s a difference between the technical
definition of the terms. I take it all to mean, “Hey Rob, tell me about
the unknowns out there, and how it may affect my business.” As I have written in the past, uncertainty in any market leads to an increase in potential volatility, and 4Q14 has all the making for a perfect storm.
Mid-term elections will be the primary driver of a lot of what we hear
and experience over the next few months, followed by macro employment
numbers (reading tea leaves, as it’s become known), and as Wells Fargo reminds us, don’t forget about the debt ceiling which is looming….again? “The next key deadline for policymakers is Sept. 30th, the end of the current federal fiscal year.

It
seems like the inventory issue that has plagued Realtors and lenders is
dissipating. Yesterday we learned that Existing-Home Sales for July
were +2.4% to their highest annual pace of the year, but are still down
4.3% year-over-year. There are two sides of every story, however, and
“distressed homes” (foreclosures and short sales) accounted for 9% of
July sales, down from 15% a year ago.  NAR
chief economist’s Lawrence Yun conjectured that affordability is likely
to decline in upcoming years. “Although interest rates have fallen in
recent months, median family incomes are still lagging behind price
gains, and mortgage rates will inevitably rise with the upcoming changes
in monetary policy.”  The
median existing-home price for all housing types in July was $222,900,
4.9% higher YOY, the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year price
gains.  Total
housing inventory at the end of July rose 3.5% to 2.37 million existing
homes available for sale, which represents a 5.5-month supply at the
current sales pace. Unsold inventory is 5.8% higher than a year ago.

In
other news, the Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading indicators
climbed 0.9% after a 0.6% gain in June. In spite of the strong news,
agency MBS prices end higher and tighter (to Treasury securities): the
10-yr price improved by 6/32, closing at a yield of 2.41% and MBS prices
did the same (better by .125-.250). For today the calendar is very
sparse aside from the two big Jackson Hole speeches (Yellen at 9AM CST
and Mario Draghi at 1:30PM CST). In the early going the 10-yr is at 2.39% and agency MBS prices better by about .125.

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