No one is immune to the housing crisis, even the White House has lost value. Where do they get comps?

And if anyone is looking for a cheap condo in Seattle...LOOK HERE...and folks wonder why they have a bad reputation.

"The fact that Bank of America's stock surged after this deal was announced only serves to fuel my suspicion." So spoke Maxine Waters, who is on the House Financial Services committee. I tried my best to come up with something witty to write after that quote, but couldn't. But one to keep in mind is that when uncertainty is removed, whether it is within a company or the entire economy, prices often improve. Anyway, Maxine went on to say that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae may have shortchanged taxpayers when the U.S.-owned firms settled loan disputes with Bank of America Corp. for $2.8 billion rather than demanding more funds. "This settlement may have been both premature and a giveaway," the California Democrat said today in an e-mailed statement.

How's biz? Yesterday I wrote, "I am hearing antidotal stories of locked pipelines and applications dropping 50% in recent weeks, given the combination of rates moving higher, existing pipelines funding, and new business being slow." I received several responses that confirmed pipelines are indeed down, summarized by, "I will second that, Rob.  Our hedged pipeline is just a hair over 50% of what it was 90 days ago, for all the reasons you've mentioned.  BTW, I think you meant "anecdotal".  If you hear about an "antidote" for shrinking pipelines, please let me know where to find it."

Well said.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement for mortgage lending, the SAFE Act, requires credit reports in order to achieve a new license in the mortgage industry or to renew an existing license. This has caused Mortgage Loan Originators with many years of experience to lose their ability to continue in their chosen profession. If you are an originator in Wisconsin who is upset with licensing being linked to credit reports, you might want to check out THIS PETITION or write to 

Another reader wrote, "I'm wondering if you've seen this press release from 360? Here is a paragraph right from the Federal Register: 'Comment 36(d)(1)-7 provides that loan originator compensation may be paid directly by the consumer whether it is paid in cash or out of the loan proceeds. However, payments by the creditor to the loan originator that are derived from an increased interest rate are not considered compensation received directly from the consumer.' Comment 36(d)(1)-7 further clarifies that origination points charged by a creditor are not compensation paid directly by a consumer to a loan originator whether they are paid in cash or out of loan proceeds. If a creditor pays compensation to the loan originator out of points, the loan originator may not also collect compensation directly from the consumer. This section, unless I am wrong, says that YSP (payments...derived from an increased interest rate) is not considered the borrower's funds. So 360's take on the new GFE solving this whole problem is misguided at best.  As much as I don't need additional competition, I also don't want to see several players in the industry adopt this philosophy/policy and end up putting themselves out of business. I have read nothing from the FRB, MBA or any other source that contradicts the highlighted statement and I don't think I'm reading it the wrong way.  Perhaps you could put something in your newsletter about it and get additional feedback.  I would be interested to get other opinions not only about this, but about what IS going to happen in April."

We have written a ton of content on the topic: CHECK IT OUT

New data requirements will be here before we know it, and Fannie Mae does not want you to be caught unaware. Information for the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP), Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset (ULDD) and Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) resources can be found at some training sessions that Fannie has coming up - probably a must for Ops folks:

January 19, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., ET

January 20, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., ET

January 26, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., ET

January 27, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., ET

PHH spread the word about the USDA's new Administrative Notice (4543) with several program changes that will be effective for all USDA Rural Development (971) loans that have not received a Conditional Commitment. It is best to check PHH's note, which involves retained property, adverse credit history waivers, borrowers enrolled in consumer credit counseling, etc.

GMAC Bank Correspondents noted that GMACB is updating the HomePath Conforming Fixed and ARM products. More specifically, GMACB is amending the current Condo requirements for insurance and verification of Condo Hotels.

I will say that for the most part, investors have been pretty quiet recently. Maybe it is the holidays, or maybe many are content with their current underwriting guidelines, who knows.

On to the market! Regardless of what happened yesterday, this morning we have had the monthly unemployment data. The number that will grab the headlines will be the unemployment rate dropping to 9.4% - the lowest in quite some time. But non-farm payroll rosters were lower than expected, at least lower than expected given the strong ADP number Wednesday. In terms of mortgage pricing, not only have mortgage spreads (to Treasury yields) tightened, but fixed income securities have improved in general - two bonuses!


Year to date statistics on Airport pat-down screening from the TSA:

Terrorist Plots Discovered:   0
Transvestites:   133
Hernias: 1,485
Hemorrhoid  Cases:    3,172
Incontinence:   6,418
Enlarged  Prostates:   8,249
  Implants:     59,350
Natural  Blondes:    3