Today I am in Albany for the NY MBA conference, but yesterday I was in Las Vegas with its hordes of retirees. People who say they want to live to be 120 years old seem to forget that it isn't as if they'll be just like they were 30 years old. In fact, from 0-30 is a great time of life, 30-60 is acceptable, but being 90 years old for 30 years sounds somewhat depressing. And research by the EBRI on retirement finds 46% of retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned. Primary reasons for leaving are: hardships, health problems or disability (55%), being able to afford earlier retirement (33%), and wanting to do something else (25%).
Once again the CFPB is making news. Last week the CFPB came out with its proposed rules for payday lenders: 1,341 pages. This prompted one SF reader to quip, "Based on a quick Google search, the average bible has about 1,200 pages. So the CFPB's rules on one type of lender are longer than a book that entire civilizations base their lives upon? What's wrong with this picture?" (Those wishing to comment on the Proposed Rule must do so by September 14.)
The likelihood of it going anywhere is slim, but the Republicans are drafting a bill to correct some of the issues with Dodd-Frank, particularly Volcker rule and some of the issues with the CFPB. The proposed bill would place the CFPB under Congressional oversight and have a Board instead of a single director. Are those so far-fetched?
For its part, the CFPB rolled out its eRegulations information: a web-based tool "that makes regulations easier to find, read, and understand. The tool has been expanded to include three additional Bureau regulations. We are also updating an existing regulation to reflect changes that the Bureau has recently made. We have added the following regulations to the website: Regulation X: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Regulation C: Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and Regulation DD: Truth in Savings Act.
Anyone paying attention to the avalanche of regulations, and the overlap of bodies regulating lenders will tell you that regulators are "running scared." Namely, they don't want to miss anything for fear of another regulator catching the mistake. And where there are no rules, well...make them up and let some other regulator deal with the consequences.
The Federal Trade Commission has provided its annual report to the CFPB covering the FTC's enforcement activities in 2015 related to compliance with Regulation Z (Truth in Lending), Regulation M (Consumer Leasing), and Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfers). (Under Dodd-Frank, the FTC retained its authority to enforce these regulations with respect to entities within its jurisdiction.) The FTC and CFPB coordinate their enforcement and related activities pursuant to a MOU entered into in 2012 and reauthorized in 2015.
Looking at Reg. Z/TILA, the FTC's enforcement activities primarily focused on auto title lenders, auto dealers, and payday lenders. (One TILA-related enforcement activities included a stipulated order in a federal court action against two online payday lenders settling claims that the lenders gave inaccurate TILA disclosures to borrowers and a final judgment in one federal court action and continued litigation in two other federal court actions against companies providing mortgage assistance relief services - including alleged forensic audit scams in which the providers offered, for a fee, to review or audit mortgage documents of distressed homeowners to identify legal violations.)
I don't know the exact difference between a "settlement" and an "agreement," and I hope I never have to know it. Word has it that there are scores of settlements being worked on by lenders and government agencies across the nation. Another one bubbled to the surface yesterday when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an agreement with First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, "resolving allegations that the bank denied mortgage loans to African American, Latino, and Asian American mortgage applicants at a disproportionately higher rate than white applicants. HUD's investigation concerned retail loans originated by the bank's predecessor, First Citizens Bank and Trust Co., six years ago.
Of great interest to lenders is the use of HMDA data in this disciplinary event, since it is expected that in a few years the revised HMDA reporting could lead to countless agencies slicing and dicing the data looking for some lending trend. "HUD filed a complaint against First Citizens Bank and Trust Co. in 2011 after conducting an analysis of 2010 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data...As part of the settlement, First-Citizens agreed to take several steps to ensure and protect equal access to credit including refraining from unlawful consideration of race or national origin when selecting sites for branch offices and services offered, conducting marketing, and defining Community Reinvestment Act assessment areas.
Also of interest to lenders is the checklist of penance items for First-Citizens - since other lenders may think about doing some of them even if they aren't in trouble. "Make $140,000 available to nonprofit organizations that provide credit and housing counseling, financial literacy training, and related programs to first-time homebuyers in South Carolina; adopt a new standardized and objective set of guidelines for a second review of retail channel residential loan applications initially denied by the automated underwriting system; require all of its employees and agents who have substantial involvement in manual underwriting of mortgages in their retail channel to attend fair housing training; hire three mortgage banker market specialists that will focus on diverse lending in (certain South Carolina) metro areas; spend $20,000 for affirmative marketing, advertising and outreach to residents in majority-minority census tracts in South Carolina; and partner with non-profit or community groups to conduct at least 24 financial education programs in South Carolina for individuals and small business owners."
And let's not forget lenders being focused on Dodd-Frank's ability to repay rules. Interestingly enough, CNBC ran a story on The Quontic loan which does not have to comply with strict new "ability-to-repay," or ATR, rules due to a little loophole: "Quontic is designated as a community development financial institution, or CDFI, under a small U.S. Treasury program which funds economic revitalization in low-income communities."
"The fund, established in 1994, 'serves mission-driven financial institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities,' according to the Treasury website. Quontic, based in Queens, New York, meets the requirements because it makes loans to borrowers in a low-income community. CDFI lenders are exempt from having to comply with so-called ability-to-repay rules. No doubt there are other hurdles to jump through.
"The 'Lite Doc' loan is not the 'low-doc' loan of the past. It is only for owner-occupied properties, so no investors, and it requires a 40 percent down payment on the property, far higher than most conventional or government loan products. There is a minimum FICO credit score of 700, and the borrower must show he or she has a minimum of 12 months' worth of principal, interest, taxes and insurance in the bank at closing.
CEO Schnall said a lot of the bank's customers are immigrants where seven or eight family members may be pooling the money to make the down payment. They don't have the traditional income documentation that other borrowers might have, as they get some payment in tips and bonuses." And Quontic has to hold the loans on its own books. That increased the risk on the bank. The loan requires only verification of employment and two months' worth of bank statements. For self-employed borrowers, it requires documentation of one year of profit and losses. The Lite Doc loans are five-year adjustable-rate mortgages with interest rates in the low- to mid-5 percent range, according to the bank. Thirty-year fixed-rate loans, which when fully documented can offer rates in the high-3 percent range, are not part of the program.
While we're discussing down payment alternatives, the primary markets are still ruminating on the news from Chase and Wells about their 97% LTV products, and how much business will shift away from the FHA program.
Mountain West Financial spread the word to its broker clients of a free, but mandatory, webinar tomorrow, June 10, at 11AM PDT. "We are bringing back CalHFA DPA's to our Wholesale Partners this month. If you are going to be sending us these loans it is mandatory that you take this 45-minute live webinar on Friday, June 10th at 11 am. The webinar will go over the following topics: program specifics, how to pair the program with other products, how to recognize if your borrowers qualify, Q & A session shortly after the presentation, certification by completing a brief quiz."
Private mortgage insurance companies certainly are tuned into low down payment programs. For example, in April, as mentioned in this commentary, Arch MI announced changes to its EZ Decisioning (EZD), Standard Program, and Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program Guidelines.
Shifting our gaze to the bond markets, rates are creeping back down... Wednesday U.S fixed-income securities' rally was attributed to a) European sovereign yields sinking, and b) data on job openings in the U.S. showed that the labor market weakening in April. The $20 billion 10-year note auction was met with the highest interest from foreign investors on record, further supporting our bond market. Interest rate futures are now showing that the FOMC rate decision next Wednesday is likely to be a non-event.
Here we are at Thursday already. Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending 6/4 came out -4k to 268k. And that about does it for scheduled news today, although those politically inclined are watching the Obama-Sanders meeting today at the White House. We'll also have a $12 billion 30-year T-bond Treasury auction. We closed yesterday with the new 10-year's yield at 1.71% and this morning it is hovering around 1.68% with agency MBS prices better between .125-.250.
Jobs and Announcements
In job news, an East Coast Lender is expanding its successful retail platform to direct to consumer, and "has an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated Digital Marketing Coordinator to join our team. The successful candidate will be up to date on the current evolution of online technology, and be responsible for optimization and testing of digital marketing for this division. Responsible for SEO marketing including creation of AdWords campaigns, update and maintenance of landing page, web site, banner and content across all platforms; ensuring SEO best practices are followed and content has been optimized; updating graphic elements and content as needed, to support the brands' overarching communications strategy and goals. Candidate should have Bachelor Degree in Marketing/Communications and a solid working knowledge of SEO, Email Marketing, and Paid Search best practices." Please send confidential resumes to me - and specify the opportunity.
And Data Facts is hiring Senior Account Executives in Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas for its Lending Solutions division. Responsibilities include promoting Data Facts' banking solutions to prospects in geographic territories by prospecting, presenting, proposing, closing, and retaining business. Candidates should have the ability to uncover customers' business requirements using a consultative customer approach, be able to generate new business leads through personal efforts and professional follow-up on marketing generated leads, a proven track record managing "Sales Cycle" from introduction to close, and be adept at handling customer issues and retaining business, and managing sales efforts on multiple accounts simultaneously. Proven ability to produce consistent monthly sales revenue and accurately forecast future business utilizing CRM. Data Facts offers a base salary, unlimited commission and quarterly bonus opportunities, 4% matching 401K, profit sharing, and comprehensive benefits. Send cover letter and resume to Julie Wink.
Have your ideas, vision and voice heard in the valuations/appraisal space. 3W Partners, a full service consulting and professional services firm, has launched an Appraisal Insights Survey that will remain open only until June 16. "There are numerous catalysts converging in the valuations space and this survey will gather market intelligence on the overall value of products and providers today, but has a primary focus on the NEXT GEN products and the emerging data and technologies (disruptors) behind them, and who or what will be the driving forces. Share your opinions and thoughts on the 'next big thing' to come, and why. Key findings from the survey results will be shared at no cost to participants in the survey. You can participate in the Appraisal Insights Survey by clicking here.
Speaking of surveys, "How connected are you? Who follows you? Are you actively participating in social media? National Mortgage Professional Magazine is searching for the 50 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals. Ideal candidates are individuals who have a large number of real followers on Twitter or Instagram or Likes on Facebook or maybe big on Pinterest, have a very popular blog or video show. These individuals will be featured in our July 2016 edition, which has a special focus on Social Media. To nominate yourself or someone else, follow this link by Friday, June 24th."