FHFA & FHLB System Square Off; Moody’s to Change Rating Methodology?

News

September…
ugh. Most latitudes in the U.S. are losing 2-3 minutes a day of
daylight; in Anchorage they lose 5-6 minutes a day, Key West only about 1
minute. I mention this because we can’t change seasonal factors, and
unless a lender has grabbed market share from other lenders, most areas
of the nation tend to see a dollar amount drop in purchase business (and
therefore overall business) in the autumn and winter months – and
companies are preparing for exactly that and keeping a sharp eye on
productivity and margins for LOs and staff.

Last week the Agencies released a slew of updates, prompting Noel C. to write, “What am I missing in the HUD final rule about ARMs?
45 days before the rate adjustment, the published index is used to set
the new adjusted rate; but, the servicer must notify 60 days (or 15 days
before the adjustment index is published) prior to rate adjustment.
Sounds like government but I’m sure that I am missing something.

And they are not done. The
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed a rule that would revise
the requirements for financial institutions to apply for and retain
membership
in one of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (Banks). The
proposed rule would revise FHFA’s existing Bank membership regulation
to ensure that members maintain a commitment to housing finance and that
only eligible entities can gain access to Bank advances and the
benefits of membership. As a reminder, back in May FHFA Director Mel
Watt delivered a speech
before the Federal Home Loan Bank Director’s Conference where he
described a number of issues, including ensuring that the Banks remain
focused on their housing finance mission.

This
move would keep investment firms and lenders lacking customer deposits
out of the U.S. government-chartered system. The FHFA has voiced concern
that firms are using specialized insurers to join FHLBs. The proposed
new rules would limit insurer access to home-loan banks to companies
dealing primarily with “non-affiliated persons.” The existing
memberships of captive insurers — which mainly offer coverage to their
owners or customers of those parent companies — would be “sunset” over
five years. And this impacts real-estate investment trusts (REITs) that
buy mortgage debt and other lenders known as shadow banks that have been
using captive insurers to flock to the FHLBs in recent years for
dependable funding that can offer better terms than traditional banks or
bond markets.

But
the Federal Home Loan Bank system is not remaining silent, and the
industry has 60 days to comment. David Jeffers, a spokesman for the
Council of Federal Home Loan Banks, a trade group for the lenders, said
that captive insurers should remain a part of the FHLBs’ membership base
because they help support the U.S. housing market, which is the
system’s mission set by Congress. Over the past year several REITs had
gained membership to the FHLB, so the proposed rules would 1) prevent
others from gaining membership, and 2) give current members five years
to exit. The
REITs that are currently FHLB members are NLY, TWO, IVR, RWT, and LADR.
Under the proposal there would be a five-year sunset period for these
companies’ memberships. “We
operated just fine for the first 20 years of our existence without FHLB
financing,” Michael McMahon, a spokesman for Mill Valley,
California-based Redwood, said in a Bloomberg telephone interview. “This
will have no material effect on our operations.”

And there are more possible changes. Moody’s
Investors Service recently released proposed changes to their RMBS
ratings methodology and is soliciting feedback from stakeholders. An announcement of the proposal can be found here. The
MBA is currently analyzing the proposed changes and will be forming a
working group to evaluate them in-depth, and anyone interested in being
part of this working group should let Jim Gross know by this Friday.

John Hoffmann, SVP with NationStar, reminded readers, “I saw your item in Wednesday’s commentary about compliance.  I
just wanted to confirm for you that we do perform both a credit and
compliance check on all loans we purchase through the correspondent
division.” Thank you John.

Join Fannie Mae
to learn more about the new look and feel of the redesigned Servicing
Guide. The webinar will provide an introduction to the preview version
of the redesigned 2014 Servicing Guide, including a description of the
enhancements made that will make the content easier to find and
navigate. Register here.

Secure Settlements, Inc.,
a background data evaluation services company for the mortgage
industry, today announced that it has completed the vetting of the
respected national title company Closeline Settlements (Closeline) of
Rockville, Maryland. The company approached SSI to submit their
ownership and key staff to the SSI vetting process voluntarily, without a
lender requirement, because they viewed the vetting standard as a
supplement to best practices and a credential to help grow their
businesses. Closeline passed the rigorous 110 point background
evaluation process with a “low risk” rating and is now subject to
ongoing monitoring in the SSI nationwide vendor database.

ditech, giving spellcheck routines fits every day, announced an REO financing program with GreenTree Servicing LLC
(the 3rd largest non-bank servicer). Ditech Mortgage Corp. will be
working with GreenTree Servicing LLC to support its REO program by
providing interested buyers with loan pre-qualification services through
the Purchase Power program. “The program is a fast and easy way for
prospective home buyers to get pre-qualified for a home loan and,
knowing their price range, helps them to shop for a home with
confidence. As part of its REO financing program, ditech offers
prospective buyers a full suite of loan products, financing incentives
including moving boxes and $75,000 in moving insurance, as well as
dedicated support throughout the processing, underwriting and closing
periods.”

Rushmore Loan Management Services LLC,
“a national residential mortgage loan servicer of performing and
non-performing loans,” announced plans to extend its specialty
residential loan servicing platform to Puerto Rico.  The Company will
open a new branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will be fully
operational by November 1, 2014. According to Rushmore CEO Terry Smith,
Rushmore will immediately begin servicing approximately 4,000
residential loans and REO when the branch office opens in November. The
Company plans to hire approximately 50-60 new employees in the San Juan
office.  Rushmore’s corporate headquarters are in Irvine, Calif., with
an additional office in Dallas, Texas.

Mortgage document prep vendor International Document Services, Inc. (IDS) announced it has launched a comprehensive Resources website
within its flagship doc prep system idsDoc. The main feature of the
site, a compliance-focused blog authored by IDS Compliance Officer
Jonathan Johnson, was made available to clients through the idsDoc doc
prep platform. “Lenders are being constantly inundated with changes to
mortgage regulations, and it’s important for them to educate themselves
in order to maintain compliance,” says IDS Executive Vice President Mark
Mackey. “By making the knowledge our compliance staff possesses
available to clients in an easily digestible format, IDS is making good
on its commitment to helping its clients generate zero-defect, fully
compliant mortgage docs.”

PMAC Wholesale
announced its Lock Desk now has new extended hours in all Time Zones.
The new cut off time will be: 4:30 p.m. PT, 6:30 p.m. CT, and 7:30 p.m.
ET. The recent FNMA guideline changes regarding the waiting period
requirements for borrowers who have had a previous short
sale/deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or pre-foreclosure sale will apply to
PMAC’s Conforming Classic and Conforming High Balance Classic and LPMI:
changes now require a 4-yr waiting period rather than a 2 years, PMAC
will continue to NOT accept extenuating circumstances for less of a
waiting period. It will follow credit mismanagement guidelines with
changes effective for loans with mortgage applications dated on or after
August 16.

What has been driving rates lately?
Geo politics and “safe haven” buying have generated strong price gains
in recent weeks. But we have some added “oomph” from the “US rates are
cheap” crowd, the “ECB will begin QE” crowd, and the continued “Yellen
is a controlling dove at FOMC” crowd. Crowd funding! But plenty of
capital markets people are nervous: a sudden, unexpected downshift in
international tension and equally surprising uptick in the economies of
the U.S., Europe, China, or Japan would probably reverse current
strength in market.

Speaking
of economies, here in the U.S. the Institute of Supply Management told
us yesterday that manufacturing expanded in August at the fastest pace
in three years, and higher than economists had forecast. And heck, if
manufacturing picks up, jobs might also, and then things could really
begin to heat up – at least that is the thinking. But at this point,
given wages, GDP, and so on, inflation is not a concern. But for
numbers, Tuesday was not good: the 10-yr T-note dropped .625 in price,
closing at 2.42%, and agency MBS prices worsened about .250

The
only market-moving news today might be Factory Orders at 7AM PST and
the Fed’s Beige Book (economic anecdotes from the 12 Districts in
preparation for the Sept. 16-17 FOMC meeting) although we did have the
MBA’s release of mortgage applications from last week (a slight
increase). Early
on the 10-yr is up to 2.45%, mostly based on lessening tensions
overseas and the equity markets thinking economies are improving, and
agency MBS prices are worse about .125.

Jobs/Training

But on the jobs front, PHH
Mortgage
is searching for Regional Directors of Business Development
for a newly formed Regional Financial Institutions channel.
The desired candidate will have a strong background working with
regional banks and credit unions, the ability to work with C-suite level
prospects, while promoting PHH’s multiple outsourcing executions
including marketing agreements, co-branding, and private label services.
The ideal candidates will reside in or around the following markets:
Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta. PHH is also searching for a strong Correspondent Lending Regional Sales Leader in the Midwest region
(St. Louis, Chicago) working with independent bankers, banks, and
credit unions. Interested candidates may send their resumes/questions to
Recruiting Director Vanessa Godoy, Len Patton, SVP CL/RFI, or by visiting PHHJobs to view the full job descriptions.

Pacific Union Financial, LLC has opened its first Distributed Retail and Operations Center located in Orange County, CA. 
This new Distributed Retail and Operations Center will be the flagship
office for Pacific Union in Southern California. With Gerry Fernandez
and Ryan Boyajian at the helm, Pacific Union continues to grow and
expand its Retail footprint to complement its existing Distributed
Retail channels in Minnesota, Utah and Nevada.  Fernandez and Boyajian
are both veterans of the mortgage industry and join Pacific Union from
Crossline Capital where they led high producing, high ranking lending
teams and cultivated professional business relationships in the Southern
California community.  The pair will oversee day-to-day management and
operations of all new branch locations in Southern California and
contribute to growing the Pacific Union Financial retail footprint in California. If you’re interested in joining the Pacific Union team, contact Glo Blue.

EMAC continues to train recruiters. “Are you loosing candidates to the
competition? Or are they just staying put? The key is understanding what
truly motivates Top Producers in order to improve your chances with
these passive candidates. Join us today for our Winning the Elusive Candidate
workshop at 3PM EST. Learn the recruiting strategies used by
professionals Headhunters to keep candidates engaged in the interviews
process and the steps to get them to the ‘Altar’. Reserve your seat to
the on-going Mortgage Recruiting Boot Camp eight part series, hosted by
Jim McGrath. In this workshop Jim discuss his strategies to attract top
tier candidates to stay committed to the courtship and his proven
techniques that keep candidates engage throughout the entire process.”

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