Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Another ex-exec (the CFO) at Taylor Bean Whittaker is now going to prison for five years.

Rates are great, and many indices show that home prices continue to turn the corner. Recently the CoreLogic housing index jumped 2.4% in April, following the upwardly revised 1.1% gain in March. This gain was the strongest monthly return since 1976. And companies continue to try to grab market share with BofA's, MetLife's, GMAC's, and ING's scaling back.

In Southern California Americash is looking for experienced retail loan officers. With volume in excess of $100 million per month, the national mortgage banker, headquartered in Costa Mesa, is looking for LO's that have an NMLS license as well as a minimum of 2 active MLO state licenses. Americash was established in 1998, is licensed in 19 states, has direct Fannie approval and underwrites to DU findings with no investor overlays including HARP 2.0 (Fannie & Freddie). Americash provides heavy internet marketing, direct mail and exclusive inbound leads to it's LO's, combined with "advanced technology and tremendous operations support" for it's LO's. If you know someone interested, they should fax their resume to 866-275-9644 or e-mail it to gstrunz@americashloans .com. You can also visit them online at www.americashloans .com.

And for something a little off the beaten path, an experienced, well-financed mortgage-banking group is actively pursuing opportunities to purchase controlling or full interest in an established mortgage bank with current annual production in the $50 million to $300 million range. "Our group will provide a minimum of $5 million injection of equity. We will provide a strong forward and reverse origination strategy to build a national platform with the right firm. The mortgage-banking firm MUST have minimum of a New York state license - multi-state license is preferred - and must be DE FHA lender and preferably have seller/servicer approval from Fannie and/or Freddie. We would like Chase and/or Wells (preferably both) to be current approved investors; of course other investors are also a positive. Our offer will be based on the number of state licenses held as well as other criteria mentioned above. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential." Please contact Mr. Kalin at mk@buildaforce .com or call 1-800-283-6950 to discuss further.


And, of course, we can't avoid CFPB chatter - I received this note: "The US Chamber of Commerce held a round table. It seems that practically every financial sector is very nervous about the CFPB. At first, under Warren we were apprehensive but understood her vision and where they (the Agency) were going. But, in late 2011, there was a radical climate change at CFPB as the cultures clashed when CFPB brought over the folks from other agencies, FRP, HUD etc. The willingness to work with industry and the respect the industry had for the original vision of CFPB had been radically diminished in the recent months. Cordray needs to make a radical diversion from the current course or the next few years are going to become very adversarial and unproductive for the US economy." Stay tuned!

PHH joined the ranks of national lenders changing FHA Streamline policies. "Effective immediately, PHH will no longer accept new registrations of non-PHH Serviced FHA Streamline Refinances*. FHA Streamlined Refinance on PHH Serviced loans will continue to be allowed. Non-PHH Serviced FHA Streamline Refinances registered prior to June 16 must adhere to the following timelines in order to remain eligible. Tier 3: The loan must be submitted for underwriting ('In Underwriting' status) by Monday, June 25, and it must be closed and disbursed by Wednesday, August 15. Tier 6: Loans must be submitted for underwriting ('In Underwriting' status) by Monday, June 25. In addition, loans must also be delivered to PHH ('In Post Closing' status) by Tuesday, July 31, and the loan must be funded/purchased by PHH on or before Wednesday, August 15. Tier 7: Loans must also be delivered to PHH ('In Post Closing' status) by Tuesday, July 31 and the loan must be funded/purchased by PHH on or before Wednesday, August 15. *A non-PHH Serviced FHA Streamline Refinance loan is defined as a refinance that is paying off a loan which is not currently in the PHH Servicing Portfolio."

This change, and others, prompted the president of one West Coast investor to write, "Several of our mortgage banker clients selling us FHA Streamline products asked me what I know that the big boys don't.  Rob, it is absolutely concerning to me that our industry has truly forgotten its roots and culture and has allowed big bank overlays to influence better decision making.  The same irrational thought parallels yesterday's commentary on the encroaching CFPB's employment of socialistic compensation tactics.  What concerns me is the more time these things manifest, the more they're legitimized.  We need to push back on these things, hard."

In an attempt to help the liquidity of our markets, recently FHA and HUD jointly announced the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, allowing private investors to purchase pools of mortgages headed for foreclosure with the hope of bringing the loan out of default. Thousands of borrowers severely delinquent on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration will be aided under an enhanced government note sale program. With this, loans available for purchase could increase by as much as 10 times, making it easier for borrowers to avoid foreclosure. Bringing these loans out of default helps both the borrower and the neighborhood avoid the disinvestment and decline in value that accompanies a distressed property. This note sales program was originally launched by the FHA as a pilot in 2010, resulting in the purchase of more than 2,100 single family loans to date. But what loans are eligible to enter the pool? The borrower must be at least six months delinquent on their mortgage; the servicer has exhausted all steps in the FHA loss mitigation process; the servicer has initiated foreclosure proceedings; and the borrower is not in bankruptcy. Under this program, FHA-insured notes are sold at a market-determined price usually below the outstanding principal balance. When the note is purchased, foreclosure is delayed for a minimum of six additional months as the borrower gets direct help from their servicer to help to find an affordable solution to avoid foreclosure. The investor purchases the loan at a discount and then takes additional steps to help the borrower avoid default, whether through modifying their loan terms or helping them through a short sale, in order to maximize the return on the sale. The FHA's goal is to help mitigate the negative effects of the foreclosure process as part of the Administration's broader commitment to community stabilization. FHA eventually hopes have the number of loans available for purchase at a quarterly rate of up to 5,000, and add a new neighborhood stabilization pool to encourage investment in communities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. And HUD will require that no more than 50% of the loans within a purchased pool become real-estate owned (REO) properties and that the servicer hold the loan for at least three years if unable to bring the loan out of default. With FHA's inventory of REO properties available for sale is at its lowest level since 2009, it is hoped that many neighborhoods still fighting to recover from the housing crisis will potentially avoid foreclosures and homes going into the REO portfolio.

Well, we had another Greek election Sunday. It was hoped that the outcome will help reduce some of the uncertainty in Europe. The election featured a conservative party which supports the EU bailout package against a radical leftist party which opposes the bailout plan, and as polling indicated, it was a close race. (Prior to the election, analysts said that if the leftist candidate wins, it likely will destabilize the country and call into question whether Greece will remain in the EU.) Given the small size of Greece, its exit from the EU would not have a major impact on economic activity in the region. The major concern is that once one country leaves the EU, it could open the door for other countries to follow, which could have a destabilizing effect on economies around the world. European issues will be with us for years.

As it turns out, Greece's center-right New Democracy won, and the party will try to form a coalition on Monday to back the country's international bailout after its narrow victory. As the market breathes a collective sigh of relief, no one should get too carried away with euphoric feelings. "Greece is a highly divided, highly volatile and deeply troubled country. A coalition government is by no means a done deal and anything that does get formed, will likely break quickly," as one Wall Street analyst put it.

The Federal Reserve kicks off a two-day meeting tomorrow, and the situation in Europe likely will have a strong influence on it. With slow economic growth in the US, a prolonged period of economic weakness likely in Europe, and slowing growth in most emerging economies, the Fed may be more willing to provide additional stimulus. And as we've seen, bond purchases are one form of stimulus, which has certainly helped mortgage rates.

For the second consecutive week an ostensibly "game-changing" weekend development in Europe has been quickly dismissed by investors (Spain's banks and now Greece's elections). Here, besides the Fed meeting, with no change to overnight Fed Funds expected, this week is pretty dry for news out of the U.S. Tomorrow we'll have Housing Starts and Building Permits; Thursday we have Existing Home Sales. Our benchmark 10-yr T-note, which closed Friday at 1.59%, this morning is at 1.57%, and MBS prices are a shade better.

Men are like... (Parental discretion advised; Part 1 of 2)

1. Men are like weather. Nothing can be done to change them.
2. Men are like blenders. You need one, but you're not quite sure why.

3. Men are like laxatives. They irritate the cr-p out of you.
4. Men are like bananas. The older they get, the less firm they are.
5. Men are like chocolate bars. Sweet, smooth, & they usually head right for your hips.
6. Men are like commercials. You can't believe a word they say.

(Part 2 tomorrow.)