Lenders making tough personnel decisions can’t “kick the can down the road” like Congress and the President. On Dec. 8, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was set to expire. Late last week Congress passed, and the President signed, a two-week spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, allowing an extension on the NFIP to 12/22. In the simplest terms, if the NFIP expires, virtually no homes in any floodplain could be bought or sold if that deal involves a mortgage company because anyone buying a home with a federally-backed loan is required to carry flood insurance if that house sits in a flood plain. Any way to run a country?
FHA/VA/Ginnie Program Changes
Iberiabank Corp and two subsidiaries agreed to pay $11.69 million to resolve allegations they submitted false claims for federal loan guarantees on mortgages, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday. Between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2014, the Lafayette, Louisiana-based bank and its Iberiabank and Iberiabank Mortgage Co. units admitted to certifying mortgage loans that did not meet Federal Housing Administration standards and paid incentives to underwriters, which is prohibited, the department said in a statement.
Millennials have “discovered” the FHA 203(k) product, allowing for additional funds to improve/rehab the home and the total loan amount is the home value after the improvements, according to an appraisal that considers the plans submitted as part of the loan application. The Day, focusing on Eastern Connecticut, profiled the product and several millennial homebuyers.
FHA published Mortgagee Letter 2017-16, 2018 Nationwide Forward Mortgage Limits, which provides the maximum mortgage limits for FHA-insured Title II forward mortgages. Mortgagees may view this list, along with a list of areas at the ceiling and a list of areas between the floor and ceiling, on the Maximum Mortgage Limits web page. FHA forward mortgage limits are available by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and county, or by downloading a complete listing.
FHA announced it is reversing a short-lived policy announced in July of 2016 and will no longer insure new mortgages on properties that include Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments.
FHA has set the agency’s new schedule of loan limits for 2018. Click here to read FHA’s Mortgagee Letter on 2018 Forward Mortgage Limits. Also available, FHA’s Mortgagee Letter on 2018 Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Limits.
Effective Thursday, November 30, 2017, Flagstar implemented changes from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) via Circular 26-17-11 regarding the requirements for itemizing seller credits on the CD. Seller credits on VA loans will now be shown itemized in the seller paid column on the Closing Disclosure.
Plaza’s policy on 2018 loan limits are summarized as follows: Conventional Conforming – eligible now and may fund immediately. VA – eligible for loans closing on or after January 1, 2018. The new limits may be used now if the loan is closed on or after January 1, 2018. FHA – eligible for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2018. The new limits may be used now if the case number is assigned on or after January 1, 2018. USDA – Plaza’s maximum loan amount for USDA loans will increase to the new single family conforming limit of $453,100 for USDA Conditional Commitments issued on or after January 1, 2018. The new limits may be used now if the Conditional Commitment is issued on or after January 1, 2018. The minimum loan amount for non-conforming loan programs must exceed the FHFA loan limits. The new minimum loan amount for non-conforming programs will go into effect for all non-conforming loans locked or re-locked on or after January 2, 2018.
Plaza is now accepting VA loans using VA’s 2018 loan limits for loans that will close on or after January 1, 2018. VA’s 2018 Loan Limits are the same as the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s limits. For purposes of determining the VA guaranty, the One-Unit Limit column in the FHFA Table applies. If a loan is submitted now and closes on or after January 1, 2018, the new limits apply.
As an update to Program Update 17-29, Lenox/WesLend will now be accepting loan submissions for FHA and VA files using 2018 loan limits. Forward mortgage limits for calendar year 2018 are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2018. As The 2018 HECM maximum claim amount limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2018. For purposes of determining the VA guaranty, lenders are instructed to reference only the One-Unit column in the FHFA Table “Fannie Mae and Freddie Max Maximum Loan limits for mortgages acquired in Calendar Year 2018.
Beginning Monday, December 11th, 2017, Royal Pacific Funding will be aligning with the new 2018 loan limits announced by FHFA, and which has now been adopted by both FHA and VA. Loans are being accepted now under all program types according to the new loan limits.
Mountain West Financial pricing engine has been updated to accept the new FHFA loan limits. Conventional and VA loans under the new FHFA limits. Any FHA loans with Case Numbers assigned in 2017 will fall under the 2017 loan limits. Loan casefiles underwritten through DU prior to December 9 that receive an Ineligible recommendation due only to exceeding the 2017 loan limit are still eligible to close under the new limits.
FormFree has expanded its partnership with Envestnet | Yodlee, a data aggregation and data analytics platform, to include new data insights from Yodlee’s Risk Insight Solutions. The data allows FormFree to enhance its AccountChekTM reports with bank statement copies that meet FHA requirements and fine-tune its analysis of borrower ability-to-pay.
Resitrader announced it has officially completed its full integration with Fannie Mae’s Pricing Execution – Whole Loan (PE-Whole Loan) application for pricing and committing whole loans. “The integration provides Resitrader clients with the ability to obtain pricing across all ‘specified pay-up’ options, and then commit and manage commitments for Fannie Mae loans through Resitrader’s digital trading platform.”
In terms of interest rates, despite the possible volatility-causing employment data Friday morning, not much happened. U.S. Treasuries and agency MBS prices ended the week on a mostly flat note (the 10-year’s range was only 3 basis points), showing a limited reaction to the November Employment Situation report. The report exceeded headline expectations, but revealed disappointing average hourly earnings growth (+0.2%). The employment data stayed true to a longstanding trend and did not alter the market’s expectations for near-term policy changes. The December FOMC meeting will take place this week and the market remains certain that a 25-basis point rate hike will be announced on Wednesday.
So yes, the unemployment data and other stats were on target, but wage growth remains subdued. That isn’t likely to keep the Fed from raising rates at this month’s meeting, yet it could give the Fed a data-based reason to move more slowly on the next rate hike in 2018. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen 2.5%. If the housing market in your area is going up 5-10% a year, and you want to buy, it’s hard to do…
It’s a new Fed week, and let’s see what’s going on after the 10-year note closed yielding 2.38% Friday. Yes, the U.S. central bank, via the FOMC, is practically guaranteed to hike the range of fed funds by 25bp to 1.25% to 1.50%, with the ECB, BoE and SNB due with their latest decisions on Thursday. In addition, Treasury will conduct their mini-Refunding over today and Tuesday with the 3- and 10-year auctions both today.
This morning we have October JOLTS job openings and the November Employment Trends Index, as well as a $24 billion 3-year note auction and a $20 billion reopened 10-year note auctions. Tuesday is November NFIB Small Business Optimism, November’s Producer Price Index for a read on inflation, and a $12 billion 30-yr auction. Wednesday are the MBA’s application data from last week, November Consumer Price Index, and the December FOMC rate decision. Thursday is November Retail Sales, Retail Sales, weekly Initial Claims, November Import Prices ex-oil and November Export Prices ex-agriculture. We wrap things up Friday with Empire Manufacturing, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization. The 10-year is currently at 2.36% and agency MBS prices have improved nearly .125 from Friday’s close.
Employment, Promotions, and Opportunities
Gateway Mortgage Group’s Correspondent Lending Division welcomes its newest Regional Sales Manager covering the Upper Midwest markets, Andrew Gauder. With over 30 years of mortgage lending experience, Andrew has served in many roles throughout his career in the industry, including – Production, Capital Markets, Product Development and Operations. Andrew’s long track record of success and tactical approach to correspondent lending are a perfect match for Gateway’s strategic initiatives and platform. Gateway’s Correspondent Lending Division, an arm of one of the largest privately held mortgage bankers in the country, offers a wide array of programs, competitive pricing and a unique alternative to the correspondent channel for small and mid-sized financial institutions as well as independent mortgage companies. For more information, please contact Jared Edmonds.
GSF Mortgage Corp. has recently launched its Single Close Construction Program for FHA, VA, and USDA construction lending. Since its launch, GSF has approved more than 60 builders to offer its products. This low down-payment construction option is a great alternative in markets that are strapped for inventory. GSF Mortgage is one of the few lenders in the country offering new construction lending for the 100% LTV USDA product. If you are a branch manager, loan originator or processor with construction lending experience or would like to offer construction lending products please, reach out to Rich Obermeier at (262) 957-8901.
Radian is adding to its Arizona sales team and is currently seeking an experienced Senior Account Manager in the Phoenix area! Interested? If so, you will be responsible for maintaining and growing existing account relationships, developing and implementing strategies and initiatives to achieve NIW growth objectives, and building on and ensuring customer loyalty. Qualified candidates will have 3+ years of sales experience, preferably within the mortgage industry. This is a great opportunity to put your industry knowledge to work for one of the top mortgage insurers in the country! Please apply directly on our Radian Careers page.
ARMCO announced new loan data validation tools. ACESRisk Management (ARMCO), the leading provider of financial quality control and compliance software has announced the release of a new technology for mortgage lenders and servicers that improves data validation in the QC process. ARMCO’s new datavalidation tool is available through the most recent ACESAudit Technology upgrade, which was released on December 9, 2017. This upgrade’s principal enhancement is advanced process automation functionality that enables ACES to automatically identify missing data within the loan file. Data integrity issues are one of the top causes of critical defects, according to research released in the most recent ARMCOMortgage QC Industry Trends Report. With the system’s new advanced automation functionality, ACES now fulfills an essential function for avoiding data validation errors.
“Caliber Home Loans, Inc. experienced exponential growth in 2017, ranking as America’s fastest growing mortgage company. As the overall market experienced a downturn, Caliber grew by over 22 percent in volume. In fact, Caliber ranked as the largest non-bank distributed agency lender in the nation, based on Inside Mortgage Finance rankings for Q3. In this brand-new video, Sanjiv Das, explains how Caliber has expanded to achieve such excellent results. ‘Yes, Caliber has grown to become one of the top mortgage companies in the nation-but we don’t have a ‘big-company mentality,'” Das said. ‘We focus on equipping our loan officers and branches to serve as active forces in their local communities. Caliber’s loan officers make us great.'” If you’re interested in joining Caliber Home Loans, contact Jeremy DeRosa or visit JoinCaliberNow.com.
Congrats to Guaranteed Rate’s Steve Moffat (the new Chief Marketing Officer) and Brendan Noonan (the new Chief Brand Officer) to “accelerate positive momentum and build recognition of the Guaranteed Rate brand among borrowers and channel partners.”