When I grow up I want to be wealthy. And thanks to this list of the wealthiest zip codes in America, I know just where to move. (Interesting to compare those versus states with no state income tax.) Unfortunately it doesn't measure wealth based on friends and family and the chance to work in this business - many of us would be plenty rich.

Remember when Wells exited wholesale? The rumor was that basically that it couldn't guarantee all of its brokers complied with the avalanche of lender-accountable rules and regulations coming into the industry? Last week word broke that Provident Funding could be fined for exactly the same thing. And this was back between 2006 and 2011! "Federal regulators on Thursday sued a major mortgage lender, alleging that the company discriminated against African-American and Hispanic borrowers by overcharging them hundreds of dollars in broker fees."

Yes, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Justice Department have asked a federal judge to approve a $9 million settlement fund to compensate borrowers. The lender, Provident Funding Associates, says it complied with fair lending laws, but has agreed to settle the case and pay the amount. The announcement reminded many wholesalers that unfortunately the industry is being governed, to a great degree, by enforcement actions rather than actual regulations. (Like motorists knowing the speed limit from the citations given rather than the posted limit.) And critics pointed out that what is particularly bad about this is that the period covered was several years ago - pretty much prior to the CFPB even being in existence.

While we're on the CFPB, the president of the American Land Title Association, Diane Evans, testified before Congress regarding the upcoming TRID changes. Evans testimony highlights two ways the CFPB can help title companies implement TRID which include, allowing the title and settlement industry to disclose the price of title insurance accurately to consumers on the new Closing Disclosure and the CFPB should develop and publicize a way to offer implementation support during a hold-harmless period from August 1st through the end of the year. Evans stated that "complying with this regulation will require more than simply updating our systems for two new disclosure forms. Getting this rule correct requires a paradigm shift in the way real estate settlements occur in this country." To read the testimony, click here.

As a reminder recently the CFPB issued a final interpretive rule on how to provide mortgage applicants with a list of local homeownership counseling organizations. The interpretive rule restates guidance the CFPB issued in 2013, and provides further guidance for lenders who are building their own lists of housing counselors. The rule also includes guidance on the qualifications for providing high-cost mortgage counseling and for lender participation in such counseling.

Director Richard Cordray states in his introductory letter, "Buying a home is often the largest financial decision in a consumer's lifetime, and we want to ensure that consumers can access the independent and informed advice they deserve before making that decision." "Housing counselors are a crucial source of that helpful advice. We will continue to work to improve the home-buying experience for consumers, and the April 15th interpretive rule will help industry comply with these important protections."

Housing counselors can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. Advice from housing counselors can be provided at little or no cost to consumers. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act included a requirement that mortgage lenders provide applicants with a list of local housing counselors. Consumers will receive the list shortly after they apply for a mortgage so they know where to get help when deciding what loan is best for them. Lenders may fulfill the requirement by using CFPB-developed housing counseling lists, which are available through an online tool the Bureau created in 2013, or by generating their own lists using the same Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data that the CFPB uses to build its lists.

Lenders choosing to build their own lists can look to the interpretive rule for instructions. The interpretive rule restates the detailed guidance from 2013. It also includes new instructions about: how to provide applicants abroad with homeownership counseling lists; permissible geolocation tools; combining the homeownership counseling list with other disclosures; use of a consumer's mailing address to provide the list; and high-cost mortgage counseling qualifications and lender participation in such counseling. The online tool can be accessed here. 

Moving on, The CFPB's release of these chapters signals that it has begun, or will shortly begin, intensive examiner training on the rule. (No, no sign of a delay, or grace period afterward, at this point.) The narrative portion of the new TILA chapter specific to the TRID rule runs from page 35 through page 50, and the TILA examination procedures specific to the TRID rule run from page 4 through page 42.  The narrative portion of the new RESPA chapter specific to the TRID rule is on page 5, and, as discussed above, the RESPA examination procedures include no instructions specific to the TRID rule.

And then a few weeks ago we had the new toolkit that guides consumers through the process of shopping for a mortgage and buying a house. Developed as part of the CFPB's, "Know Before You Owe" mortgage initiative, the toolkit was designed to help consumers take full advantage of the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms that lenders are required to begin providing in August. Creditors must provide the toolkit to mortgage applicants starting August 1 as a part of the application process, and other industry participants, including real estate professionals, are encouraged to provide it to potential homebuyers. The toolkit is designed to replace HUD's existing booklet that creditors currently must provide to mortgage applicants.

The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to help consumers understand the nature and costs of real estate settlement services, define what affordable means to them, and find their best mortgage. The toolkit features interactive worksheets and checklists, conversation starters for discussions between consumers and lenders, and research tips to help consumers seek out and find important information.

The CFPB is also providing an electronic version complete with fillable text fields and interactive check boxes so that consumers can save and print their progress as they work through the toolkit. The electronic version meets federal accessibility standards to ensure that all consumers, including those with disabilities, can use the resource. The CFPB encourages lenders to keep this level of accessibility when delivering the PDF to consumers.

Of course lenders and investors must react. For example, Plaza has introduced the new TILA-RESPA resource page on its website which can be located under "Tools" in the right-hand navigation bar. You will find a helpful "Old/New Comparison" document that clearly outlines the changes ahead, as well as CFPB resources and other tools and information. As training materials are developed continued information will be added.

The National Association of Mortgage Bankers (NAMB) endorsed the Medical Debt Relief Act of 2015, which has been recently introduced by two congressmen. This bill would modify the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to allow relief for patients and consumers and protect them from unfair credit reporting practices due to medical bills. To read the Medical Debt Relief Act of 2015 endorsement letter, click here.

The U.S. Mortgage Insurers (USMI) wrote a letter to members of the Senate Banking Committee which welcomed efforts to increase the dependence on private capital in housing finance and supports Section 706, which asks for the GSEs to take part in risk sharing transactions. Section 706 should lower the exposure and costs for enterprises and taxpayer, as well as borrowers. The promotion of greater up front risk sharing will allow for a more stable housing finance system. Click here to read the letter.

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) submitted a letter to the New York Times Editorial Board to respond to an article that did not inform readers about the benefits of title insurance. In the letter, ALTA called out that title insurance protects the homeowner's financial investment in their property if a claim arises and the costs for protection are minimal. For example, an owner's title insurance policy for a $500,000 home is about $2,000, so over the average time of home ownership, this equates to $154 annually or $13 per month. The cost for title insurance has decreased 6.2 percent since 2003.The title process has resulted in many agents collecting $4.8 billion in back income taxes and recuperating $325 million in unpaid child support every year.

And don't forget that in late April Federal agencies have promulgated a final rule of 128 pages that implements minimum requirements for state registration and supervision of appraisal management companies (AMCs). The rule permits states to elect to register and supervise AMCs, as defined under the rule but does not require states to institute an AMC registration and supervision program. Any non-federally regulated AMC is barred from providing appraisal management services for federally related transactions in states that do not create a regulatory structure after 36 months from the effective date of the final rule. The rule will mandate states to apply certain minimum requirements in the registration and supervision of AMCs. The effective date for the rule will be 60 days after it's published in the Federal Register.

Yes, another week of news is ahead of us. The fun never ends! We're off to a roaring start today with Personal Income and Consumption (+.4%, spending was unchanged), a series of PCE inflation numbers (Personal Consumption Expenditures) showed inflation is tame with core year over year inflation only +1.3%; later is Construction Spending, and some Institute of Supply Management (ISM) figures. Tomorrow we have the second-tier Factory Orders number. Wednesday is some ADP figures measuring private payrolls, as well as the Trade Balance numbers. (Trade "imbalance" is more appropriate.) We also have the Federal Reserve releasing its Beige Book. On the 4th will be Nonfarm Productivity, Unit Labor Costs, and Initial Jobless Claims. Friday we'll have the numbers that seem to captivate the press: Nonfarm Payrolls, the Unemployment Rate, the Underemployment Rate, and Hourly Earnings - that kind of thing.

For anyone wondering if they should have locked, or sold that pool of loans, Friday, we closed the 10-year at 2.10% and this morning we're sitting around 2.11% with agency MBS prices worse a tad.

Jobs and Announcements

A well-capitalized, national mortgage lender based in Southern California is looking for an Executive Level Credit Risk Director to work from its headquarters. With over 15 years in the mortgage industry this well established lender is seeking an individual to lead its credit risk/underwriting team, consisting of 3 direct reports, managing teams of Underwriters, as well as continue to build policy and procedure in all channels within its current structure. Interested parties can send confidential resumes to me at rchrisman@robchrisman. com. (Please specify the opportunity.)

A few thousand miles away on the correspondent side, AmeriHome Mortgage is looking for an experienced, proven high performing correspondent sales professional for their North Central Region (CO, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, SD, and WY). If you have the experience and relationships in this market and are interested in joining a strong and growing company please contact Chase Wixom or submit your resume to jobs@amerihome. com

On the ops side a 20 year old company in the northeast is looking for an experienced Chief Compliance Officer. The company is a Ginnie, Fannie, and Freddie approved lender, issuer and servicer with a large servicing portfolio. 100% of all loans are servicing retained and the company is currently funding $1B per month in loan originations through correspondent, third party origination and retail channels. If you are interested please forward your confidential resume to me at rchrisman@robchrisman. com. (Please specify the opportunity.)