President Obama just played his 100th round of golf since being elected President. In 4 years he has gone through more white tees than the cast of Jersey Shore. I am not a golfer, but many in the business are, and people are most focused on a) whether or not the nation is going to nearly shut down for an entire week, next week, given the middle-of-the-week 4th holiday, and b) making sure locked pipelines are closing. Will lenders close those pipelines and meet delivery timelines for trades? Were the hedges put on correctly, or will trades have to be rolled/extended and at what cost? Life in mortgage banking... 

And mortgage bankers continue to expand. Freedom Mortgage Corp. is looking for experienced AE's in most markets across the country.  Freedom is licensed in all states, has its FNMA Seller/Servicer & GNMA Servicer/Issuer approvals, and currently services in excess of $13 billion (retaining servicing on most of its current production). The lender offers the usual products to brokers but also the FHA Streamline, VA IRRL, and HARP loans.  If you are interested in talking with Freedom please contact Keith Bilodeau, who recently joined Freedom as their VP, as its Director of Recruiting.  Keith can be reached at keith.bilodeau@freedommortgage .com; Freedom's website is

Today at 1PM EST investment banker KBW is offering a conference call to discuss "Proposed Basel III Capital Rules for U.S. Banks -- How They Affect Regional and Community Banks, and What Bankers Should Be Doing Now." Basel III doesn't only drive down servicing values, which directly impacts borrower's rates & prices, and anyone who believes it only impacts the multi-billion dollar banks is mistaken. "These far-ranging rules will affect all banks as they are implemented in various stages over the next ten years.  But bankers need to be aware of how they may affect their industry and their banks, right now, during the comment period, if there is any hope of molding the final product.  On the call will be five KBW specialists on bank regulatory issues and research analysts." It will be followed by a Q&A session. Dial-In: (888) 212-5201, Passcode: 9343267; during the call, slides will be made available by following this link.

More lenders & investors, such as Stearns & Nationwide, changed their FHA Streamline pricing or polices. (See recent investor/agency/webinar updates below.) Why is this continuing? The headline from a well-known investment bank caught my eye: "Enormous Liability Poses Problem for FHA Lending." "Several of the mortgagees have publicly indicated that the moves are being made due to secondary market conditions or a desire to maintain service to existing borrowers. But what is really behind the retreat are emerging government actions and potentially enormous liability in originating and servicing FHA-insured business - and of course originators love the product given the low cost to process and service a streamline refinance. Out of the 237,698 refinance transactions for $47 billion that FHA has endorsed so far during fiscal-year 2012, around 53 percent have been streamline transactions per Mortgage Daily."

The piece goes on to discuss the "potential liability associated with originating and servicing FHA mortgages, especially streamline transactions." Per Dave Stevens, quoted in the piece, many FHA mortgagees are being contacted by the HUD Office of Inspector General about auditing issues, and concerns are increasing about accusations of False Claims Act violations. "The real issue here is reps and warrants, risks associated with originating FHA loans and the huge penalties that are involved in the FHA program if you make an error," Stevens said. "He explained that with defects on loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the worst-case scenario is repurchase liability or indemnification. But errors or defects discovered on FHA-insured loans that go bad where an FHA insurance claim has already been filed can be considered a violation of the False Claims Act. 'That means you've filed a claim on a loan that should have never been insured in the first place and it violates the False Claims Act,' Stevens explained. 'So, the difference here is that the False Claims Act comes with treble damage risk, meaning you pay three times the outstanding balance of the loan. Not three time the net of the loss; three times the outstanding balance of the loan.' While the extreme liability applies to both purchase and refinance transactions, streamline refinances have default rates that are twice as high as non-streamline transactions -- including fully underwritten refinances. Another problem outlined by Stevens is the length of time it takes to foreclose on an FHA loan as a result of the loss mitigation and loss intervention required by law."

Speaking of changes, here are some recent investor/agency/webinar updates, providing a flavor for the environment. As always, it is best to read the actual bulletin.

(This is the last darned note on cancelling MI for Freddie Mac, begun last week. A reader wrote, "To further clarify, mortgage insurance for a fixed rate mortgage on a one-unit primary residence can be automatically cancelled based on: 1.  When the mortgage would have been cancelled calculated on the original value of the mortgaged premises.  In other words, the calculation of 78% LTV is based on the original value of the mortgaged premises at the time of loan origination, not the current value of the mortgaged premises - or two - it is when the midpoint of the amortization period of the mortgage is reached. To illustrate, if a loan is amortized over 30 years, and the 360th month is December 2021, the midpoint is the 1st day of the 180th month, or January 2006. For an Adjustable Rate Mortgage or a Balloon/Reset Mortgage (either HPA or Pre-HPA), the above LTV ratio calculation and the midpoint of the amortization period are both based on the current amortization schedule following the most recent rate change. Paying down the mortgage principal will not eliminate the need for MI unless the current balance is 80% or less of the current value." So what the reader and the Guide are saying is the same thing: that the 78% is based on the original value and the original amortization.  That is correct.  But to pay down the balance to 78% and then cancel based on original value is not permitted.)


Nationwide Advantage Mortgage sent a note to clients, "Due to the current lending environment NAMC has decided not to purchase FHA Streamlines at this time. NAMC will honor (underwrite and purchase) FHA Streamline loans that have been reserved prior to Monday, June 25, 2012. We will still require compliance with NAMC overlays with respect to the FHA Streamlines registered prior to June 25th."

Stearns Lending spread the word, "Due to continuing shifts in the FHA streamline refinance market, the following guideline changes are being made to minimize risk and remain competitive...effective with all transactions closed after June 29, 2012: Maximum LTV limit of 115% will be placed on all streamline refinances without an appraisal and non-credit qualifying streamline refinances with appraisal. CLTV/HCLTV will remain at 100% if there is existing subordinate financing. Value will be confirmed by an AVM for loans without an appraisal. If an AVM is inconclusive or is not available, a conventional 2055 will be required. Employment verification process will not change. Employer name, address, and phone number must be included on the 1003, income should not be included. A verbal VOE will continue to be obtained; a 4506T will not be executed. 12 months ownership history is required for the property being refinanced." But with yesterday's rate sheet Stearns changed pricing (no longer cumulative) and improved its pricing on FHA Streamline loans from a flat 1.0% fee plus FICO adds to no fee and combining the FICO and streamline charges into a tiered FICO structure.

Pacific Union Financial told clients that it "offers FHA products with limited to no overlays, which allows you to approve more loans with confidence. Just document and underwrite in accordance with HUD handbook 4155.1 as amended by any applicable mortgagee letter and submit them to us...We will purchase your streamline loans regardless of current servicer, no credit report required, loans submitted without a credit report will be priced using a 580 FICO, if a credit report is submitted, the credit score can be as low as 560 FICO, all non-credit qualifying streamlines must have a mortgage only rating, no appraisal or AVM required."

A while back GMAC, regarding DU Refi Plus loans, clarified, "the borrower being removed is also removed from the deed and retains no ownership interest in the property, and at least one of the original borrowers is retained on the new loan." Condo Requirements: The requirement to confirm fidelity insurance coverage for condo projects has been removed. Modified Loans: Permanent Modified loans are eligible for refinance under DU Refi Plus as long as the borrower benefit is met. The terms of the permanent, modified loan must be used for this comparison. If the borrower was previously in a trial period plan, but denied a permanent modification, the original terms of the loan must be used. Borrowers who have not completed the trial period are not eligible. Leasehold Estate Eligibility: Leasehold review required. Subordinate Financing (The following applies to all loans): Subordination of existing junior liens permitted without maximum CLTV/HCLTV limitations. Subordinate financing repayment terms must be documented by the Note but review and compliance is not required. There is no restriction on the type of subordinate financing, excluding Down Payment Assistance Programs (DPA). DPAs are not eligible."

SunTrust reminded clients to prepare for Virginia Senate Bill 409, which amended Section 58.1-803 of the Virginia Code, effective on July 1, 2012, by eliminating the "same lender" recordation tax exemption for deeds of trust and mortgages securing a refinanced obligation and changes the calculation of the amount of the recordation tax to be paid.

Yesterday in the markets, despite some intra-day volatility, there was much ado about nothing. The U.S.'s 10-yr T-note is still in the 1.60's (closing at 1.61%) after closing Friday at 1.67%. Mortgage-backed security prices improved about .125-.250 - whether or not that improvement made its way onto rate sheets is unlikely. There are too many companies out there tampering with profit margins to either slow business down or cover future overhead costs - and rightfully so.

Today the economic calendar has the S&P Case Shiller home price index for April with consensus estimates seen improved +0.3 percent versus +0.1 percent last, and also June's Consumer Confidence - estimated to drop. And at 1PM EST the Treasury holds the first of its three note auctions this week with 2-yr. notes leading off at $35 billion. (A total of $99 billion will likely be sold by Thursday after 5yr notes and 7yr notes complete the monthly sales.) In the early going MBS prices are nearly unchanged as is the 10-yr at 1.61%.

Here are the "Top 10 things you wish you could say to your borrowers but can't." (Part 2 of 2.)
5. Since you only have $6 worth of verifiable liquid assets, I will need more of an explanation regarding the four $3,000 non-payroll deposits. Right now, it looks like you are collecting income from a meth lab in your rental garage.
4. At what point when I was talking about the importance of not moving money did you decide to pay off $20,000 in student loans?
3. It's a little less hard to believe these "tax liens" and "mortgage rates" on your credit report are the "first you are hearing of this."
2. It took you three weeks to get me your documents. I will need a little more than five minutes to get your docs out.
1. No, we don't really need all of your tax returns - just the random pages that you feel like sending.