Here is an interesting site for Realtors, or anyone looking to compare housing costs in different states and communities: LOCAL HOUSING VALUES

Credit unions, who usually don't make headline news, certainly received some press late last week. The National Credit Union Administration & regulators seized three undercapitalized wholesale credit unions Friday, but the credit union industry, not taxpayers, will bear the cost, estimated at more than $7 billion, of the new conservatorships.

Wholesale CU's deal with other credit unions, not with the general public.  The NCUA announced that credit unions in the U.S. may absorb as much as $9.2 billion in losses over the next decade, due to bad real estate and consumer loans. NCUA, which insures accounts for 90 million credit union members, will be packaging $50 billion in distressed securities for sale. Only two credit unions were seized in 2009: U.S. Central Federal Credit Union (KS) and Western Corporate Federal Credit Union (CA). To help fund the rescue, the National Credit Union Administration plans to issue $30 billion to $35 billion in government-guaranteed bonds, backed by mortgage-related assets.

Haven Trust Bank Florida (FL) was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the FDIC was appointed the receiver, and First Southern Bank (FL) will assume its deposits. Kitty-corner in the country, in Washington, North County Bank was closed and its deposits taken over by Whidbey Island Bank.

With all the talk about the diminishing market share of mortgage brokers, and how the investor world is run by Freddie and Fannie and FHA/VA, it is easy to overlook the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (which are also regulated by FHFA). FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco recently noted that the Banks' assets have been declining in the last few years and now stand at $937 billion. FULL STORY

Anyone interested in the reverse mortgage biz may want to listen in on Cantor Fitzgerald's conference call to discuss the HECM program change, including a Q&A session. It is at 1PM EST, 10AM PST today. The dial-in number is 1-800-556-9047, pass code 71046349. The primary focus may be on recent findings that these borrowers do not refinance, and the recent changes may only potential benefits for younger borrowers and those whose current loan is 6 months or less in age. Also, flat to declining house values, the need for new appraisals, and accrual eating into the current home equity amount will mute many benefits. For questions about the call contact Dave Gottfried at

Got flood insurance? We're a step closer to not having to worry about it for 11 more months, since early last week the Senate passed legislation extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September 30, 2011, and then it passed the House. The bill will now go to the President for his signature. READ MORE

It's hard to jump start securitization in the jumbo/Alt-A market if investors don't have comfort about how safe the securities are. And the primary rating agencies (Moody's, S&P, and Fitch) "dropped the ball" on MBS's in recent years. Unfortunately it has come to light that a section of the recently enacted Dodd-Frank Act is delaying U.S. implementation of international rules for how much capital banks need to hold against securitized assets. It requires regulators to remove all references to credit ratings of securities from their rules, but revised standards on how much capital banks need to hold against such assets in their trading books, approved by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (made up of 27 countries, and which sets capital and liquidity requirements for banks worldwide) in 2009, rely on such ratings. That means the U.S. will have to develop another mechanism besides the rating agencies. Put another way, Basel III is a guide for international investors on financial regulation, and the language in Dodd-Frank makes implementing Basel III here more complicated than in other countries.

Speaking about the mortgage process, "It's a nightmare on the front end, now it's becoming a nightmare on the back end." So wrote a friend from the servicing business. Last week news broke about GMAC temporarily suspending foreclosures in 23 states - those that require a court order for foreclosures. Ally said it had found a "technical problem" with documents it submitted in support of them, and then an employee of Ally's GMAC mortgage unit, Jeffrey Stephan, admitted in sworn depositions that he signed off on 10,000 documents a month without reading them. (Is this any surprise to anyone who's signed a rental car agreement lately?) News soon followed that the California attorney general (who is running for governor) demanded that Ally Financial stop foreclosures in the state if it could not "immediately prove" its compliance with the law. State attorneys in Illinois, Iowa, Texas and Florida have also announced they are investigating the matter.

HAMP modifications reduce a borrowers' monthly payment by an average of $608, while bank modifications lower it only by $307. This has implications for delinquencies, in that about 11% of mortgages modified under HAMP have fallen two months behind in payments versus about 22% of non-HAMP adjustments becoming problems again. The figures look at loans modified in the fourth quarter of last year. FULL STORY

Bank of America correspondents learned that BofA, "effective with case numbers assigned on or after October 4, 2010, all FHA loan transactions submitted to Bank of America will require a new minimum credit score of 640. CLUES will be updated with this change. This overlay is not supported in DU or LP; therefore Clients must manually apply this requirement." On the good news side, starting today BofA will buy conventional loans from correspondents with MI issued by Essent Guaranty.

In the pricing engine world, Optimal Blue reports that BB&T has posted an update to its guidelines which applies to its Non-Conforming product line(s), and Citi has posted an update to its guidelines which applies to its Agency Fixed & ARMs (Standard) product line(s).

Flagstar told its clients that "USDA-Rural Development (RD) has announced that due to unexpectedly high refinance volume they have exhausted all remaining funding to guarantee refinance transactions for the remainder of the 2010 fiscal year, which ends September 30. They will not have additional funding until at least October 1, 2010. Therefore, we are suspending refinance transactions from any further loan approvals." Remember - this is for refi's, not purchases. "Going forward, all GRH refinance transactions will be subject to the new 2.25% refinance guarantee fee."

SunTrust, following Freddie Mac, announced a revised look back period for the review of inquiries on a borrower's credit report. "In response to this update, effective for loans closed on or after November 1, 2010, SunTrust will be implementing the guidelines outlined below for ALL traditionally underwritten and AUS processed Conventional and Government loans." SunTrust also told its clients that after 10/1 it will be adopting Fannie Mae's revised waiting period and maximum LTV/TLTV/HTLTV requirements for borrowers who have experienced a previous foreclosure. Who says it's not a Fannie/Freddie world?

On the markets & mortgage rate radar screen, the average production has been running about $2 billion a day of MBS's. This does not include jumbo or Alt-A production, of course. But mortgage prices on Friday finished worse by about .250 with $2.5 billion crossing the wires, which is probably not all that surprising given some decent economic news, the rallying stock market garnering some headlines, and the Treasury selling over $100 billion in debt (2's, 5's, and 7's) this week. There is no real news today, but tomorrow we have the Conference Board's September Survey of Consumer Confidence, Jobless Claims on Thursday, final revisions to consumer sentiment and August household income & spending on Friday. The Chicago PMI is out on Thursday and the national ISM is out on Friday. ECON CALENDAR


Two priests decided to go to Hawaii on vacation.  They were determined to make this a real vacation by not wearing anything that would identify them as clergy.  As soon as the plane landed they headed for a store and bought some really outrageous shorts, shirts, sandals, sunglasses, etc.

The next morning they went to the beach dressed in their "tourist" garb.  They were sitting on beach chairs, enjoying a drink, the sunshine and the scenery when a "drop dead gorgeous" blonde in a bikini came walking straight towards them.  They couldn't help but stare.  As the blonde passed them she smiled and said "Good morning, Father, and good morning, Father," nodding and addressing each of them individually, then she passed on by. They were both stunned. How in the world did she know they were priests? 

So the next day, they went back to the store and bought even more outrageous outfits.  These were so loud you could hear them before you even saw them! Once again, in their new attire, they settled down in their chairs to enjoy the sunshine. After a little while, the same gorgeous blonde, wearing a different colored topless bikini, taking her sweet time, came walking toward them. Again she nodded at each of them, said "Good morning, Father, and good morning, Father," and started to walk away.

One of the priests couldn't stand it any longer and said, "Just a minute, young lady."

"Yes, Father?" 

"We are priests and proud of it, but I have to know, how in the world do you know we are priests, dressed as we are?"

She replied, "Father, it's me - Sister Kathleen!"