Lead generator Intermundo Media, LLC has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it falsely advertised free mortgage refinancing services online. Intermundo Media used the name "Delta Prime Refinance" in ads that claimed homeowners could refinance their mortgages for free to attract leads it then sold to refinancing companies. How would $500k impact your balance sheet? How about $550 million? The U.S. division of HSBC has agreed to pay $550 million (out of its $289 billion) to the FHFA to resolve claims that it made false representations when it sold mortgage bonds to Freddie and Fannie between 2005 and 2007: $374 million to Freddie and $176 million to Fannie. The FHFA filed lawsuits against 18 banks in 2011 to recoup losses, and has now reached settlements with all but two of the banks. That helps the Agency's earnings. HSBC denied the allegation and, as part of its agreement, has not admitted wrongdoing.

As a reminder, the FHA announced an extension of the condominium project approval guidelines issued in ML 2012-18, dated September 13, 2012. These guidelines, which were set to expire on August 31, 2014, have been extended through August 31, 2016. The extension provisions is effective for all condominium project approvals, recertifications, annexations or reconsiderations submitted for review as of the date of this directive.

FHA published two final rules in the Federal Register: Handling Prepayments: Eliminating Post-Payment Interest Charges Docket No. FR-5360-F-02, and Federal Housing Administration (FHA): Adjustable Rate Mortgage Notification Requirements and Look-Back Period for FHA-Insured Single Family Mortgages Docket No. FR-5744-F-02. Collectively, these final rules provide consistent protections for mortgagors (borrowers) with FHA-insured mortgages, while supporting FHA's efforts to ensure borrowers have early access to information when making decisions about their FHA mortgages. The rules are responsive to the regulations implementing the Truth in Lending Act, as recently revised by the CFPB.

Fannie Mae posted a Lender Letter reminding lenders that if a mortgage loan is selected by Fannie Mae for an anti-predatory lending and HOEPA compliance review, the lender must provide requested information regarding that loan's points and fees and other relevant information. To assist lenders in providing this information, Fannie Mae has prepared an optional worksheet that may be completed and submitted with the loan file or on request by Fannie Mae. Servicers interested in identifying and proactively contacting active duty service members who may be eligible for Fannie Mae military indulgence relief benefits can review how to use dmdc. Additionally, FNMA Announcement reports that the following updates have been made: References to loans with terms greater than 30 years, interest-only, growing-equity mortgages, and loans with prepayment penalties that were previously announced. The Standard ARM Plan Matrix, Loan-Level Price Adjustment Matrix and Adverse Market Delivery Charge Information and the Refi Plus Mortgages Matrix were also updated (as applicable) as a result of these changes. Implementation of Suspended Counterparty Program (SCP) established by FHFA. Clarification of Fannie Mae's policies with regard to the allowable age of credit documents and requirements pertaining to lender review of disputed tradelines.

Freddie Mac's Loan Prospector Liabilities Enhancements is scheduled for October 19, 2014. Details on how LP liability changes may impact your loan submission are available for reference. Freddie Mac is encouraging participation in the initiative announced by the White House, the new Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) initiative. This initiative was created so service members can maximize all of the protections under SCRA, including the six percent interest rate cap. To facilitate SCRA relief, Servicers are now able to accept alternative documentation to verify an eligible service member's military status. Lenders can search the online Defense Manpower Database Center (DMDC) on a quarterly basis to find service members in their portfolio that have Note Rates greater than six percent. More information regarding the initiative can be found on both the White House blog and Freddie Mac's Single-Family News Center article.

This Notice, Fannie Mae's list of approved mortgage insurance forms for each mortgage insurance provider, now includes the state-required variation endorsements that have been approved to date by the respective states. See Fannie Mae's Business Portal for the current version of Approved Mortgage Insurance Forms. Implementation updates to Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) for government loans are scheduled over the weekend of Oct. 18, 2014. The changes include the retirement of a DU for government loans version, an update to data entry guidance for FHA Gift Funds, a change to Mortgage Insurance Premium information sent to FHA, updates based on HUD Mortgagee Letters 13-24 and 13-25, and miscellaneous FHA and VA calculation and message updates. Review the DU for Government Loans October 2014 Release Notes for additional information.

In terms of interest rates, boy oh boy there's a lot of stuff going on this week. And that is merely here in the United States for scheduled news - who knows who might attack who this week? Today we have Empire Manufacturing and the Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization duo. Tomorrow is the Producer Price Index (measuring inflation at the producer level - of course inflation has not been an issue in several years). Wednesday, 9/17, brings us the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with its change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased at the consumer level, and the NAHB Housing Market Index.

But more importantly, Wednesday brings us the Federal Open Market Committee meeting announcement with its policy decisions and brief comments on the FOMC's view of the economy and how FOMC members voted. This will move the market. On Thursday September 18th we have Housing Starts & Building Permits, along with the Philadelphia Fed Survey, Leading Economic Indicators, and the usual Thursday Jobless Claims.

For numbers, since most folks in this biz are quantitative, we had a 2.61% close on Friday on the 10-yr. and that is pretty much where we are this morning with agency MBS prices roughly unchanged.


Jobs, Opportunities, and Announcements

In jobs news, HeritageBank Mortgage, a boutique mortgage lending institution serving Colorado and the Southeast, has been in the banking business for nearly 60 years. The bank's Mortgage Division is growing rapidly with production volume over $100 million/month and a heavy emphasis on purchase business. Management has developed a solid presence in Southern Colorado and Denver and is looking for serious and seasoned originators to fill only eight more openings. "The Colorado Mortgage Division is truly changing the game for originators looking to dominate in their market. HeritageBank (Nasdaq: HBOS) is a direct lender and servicer with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Headquartered in Atlanta and supported by a 5-Star Bauer Financial Rated bank with close to $2B in assets, HeritageBank Mortgage is an exceptional career option for the experienced originator. If you're ready to take your origination business to a whole new level while working at a State Chartered Bank, email Jeff Garman, head of Business Development. NMLS #412081. Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC.

On Q Financial, one of the top 50 mortgage companies in the United States is seeking a strong Operations Manager at its headquarters location in Scottsdale to lead the overall loan process for the Western US. This position is responsible for ensuring that all service level agreements as set by the company are maintained, while efficiency, quality and productivity goals are met. The individual in this position will also work to facilitate a positive, dependable, team-oriented environment among Operations and Sales staff. Requirements include a bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience, a minimum 5 years of ops management and a proven track record in mentoring and leadership. On Q Financial has over 400 employees, 50 branches in 11 states, and has increased closed loan volume every year from $70 million in 2005 to nearly $2 billion in 2013. Contact Betty Nay for a complete job description or confidential inquiries.

Carrington has recently announced that it is now a "No Fee Lender" and continuing to gain market share with its "Serving the Underserved" loan products with FICO's down to 550. Continued growth and expansion are a priority for Carrington who was also recently named master sub servicer by Ginnie Mae, expanded its Jacksonville Operations Center and as a result is adding experienced Wholesale Account Executives in the following markets: Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Utah. If you are interested please send your confidential resume to John Cervantes.

Dr. Rick Roque is teaching a course at Bakhtar University in Kabul, Afghanistan on Banking/ Financial Leadership (amidst other things); he writes:  "Rob, thankfully my American cell phone works perfectly as I am getting a number of calls from small to mid-sized mortgage banks (or brokers) looking to explore other options. In Afghanistan there are no regulations on lending, and as a result there is little investor confidence in the assets governed by the small amount of mortgage lending that exists (anyone like 60% down, 40% pay off in 3 year terms at 24%?  Ohh, I forgot to mention, if you don't repay, it is punishable by death- and who needs a functioning title when you can just take the property by Military Coup).  Anyhow, I am amused with the image of having dozens of calls per day with the back drop of war all around - it gives me a remarkable perspective on the status of our industry and the opportunities that do exist provided people remain realistic as to their choices. I spoke to one woman from Florida who runs a decent sized mortgage production team (30 Loan Officers) for a mortgage lender that is having difficulties; and the biggest challenge she is having is taking the time to investigate other options - she says, 'Dr. Roque, I am struggling because I don't know what to ask for, and I cannot make the wrong mistake for my team'.  This is at the heart of the issue, and the value that my firm brings to mortgage brokers and mortgage banks across the U.S. Regardless of your production size, in any state, if you want to understand options that may improve your competitive position today, email me."  For more information you can also visit MENLO's website.

Members of the Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) convened in Washington on September 8-9 for their Annual Legislative Conference. CHLA members heard from GNMA President Ted Tozer and convened panels with representatives of other associations representing small and mid-sized lenders, as well as consumer organizations. The conference is part of CHLA's ongoing effort to grow its membership base and advocate on behalf of the distinct perspective of community based mortgage lenders. In fact, the CHLA is the only national trade association exclusively representing non-bank lenders. CHLA members met with senior Administration officials at the White House and senior staff from both sides of the aisle from the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. Scott Olson, Executive Director of CHLA and former Housing Policy Director of the House Financial Services Committee, called the conference a success, saying, "This week's CHLA conference gives Washington policy makers the opportunity to hear from community lenders who the ones out there are actually making the loans. And our members get access and the chance to provide input on critical issues like FHA, SAFE Act parity, and GSE reform."  To inquire about membership please e-mail Scott Olson.