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Justin Fitzhugh

The Mortgage Industry Monitor: A Look at Last Weeks Developments

Monday, August 25, 2014 - Article by: Justin Fitzhugh - Nations Lending Corporation - Message

The economy appears to be kicking and screaming; the MBA reported increased activity of mortgage applications, Freddie Mac reported lower fixed rate mortgage interest rates, and NARS reported increased home sales during July. A lot happening in the policy making and regulatory arena; the CFPB issued its annual adjusted ATR / QM and HOEPA loan limits thresholds, and it reminded mortgage servicers about mortgage transfer best practices; ABA complained about CFPBs revised proposed consumer survey, and HUD proposed and request public commentary regarding the collection of data for the 2015 American Housing and Rental Housing Finance Surveys. Bank of America and Goldman Sachs settle with Federal agencies to solve allegations of wrongdoing which may have contributed to the sub-prime lending crisis.


August 20, 2014, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported mortgage applications for refinancing and home purchase demand increased 1.4 percent from the previous week (ended August 15th). Refinancing applications rose 2.7 percent, while loan request for home purchases fell 0.4 percent.

August 21, 2014, Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) which indicated fixed mortgage rates edged lower:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average dropped from last weeks 4.12 to a 4.10 percent
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage average dropped from last weeks 3.24 to a 3.23 percent
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed ARM average dropped from last weeks 2.97 to a 2.95 percent
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM average increased from last weeks 2.36 to a 2.38 percent

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac said: "Mortgage rates were down slightly amid a week of light economic reports. Of the few releases, retail sales were virtually unchanged in July after a 0.2 percent increase in June, ending five months of increases. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales were up 0.1 percent last month."

August 21, 2014, the National Association of Realtors, NARS, said July home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.15 million units. Average sale price of a home was $222,900, 4.9 percent higher than July 2013. The number of homes on the market for resale increased to 2.37 million, 5.8 percent above July 2013:


August 18, 2014 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, published the final rule on annual adjustments for HOEPA, and the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage provisions of Dodd Frank. These adjustments become effective on January 1, 2015. You may read amount adjustments here:

August 19, 2014, the CFPB issued a bulletin to remind mortgage servicers about the Regulators expectation with regards to the transfer of loans. Director Cordray said: At every step of the process to transfer the servicing of mortgage loans, the two companies involved must put in appropriate efforts to ensure no harm to consumers. This means ahead of the transfer, during the transfer, and after the transfer .... We will not tolerate consumers getting the runaround when mortgage servicers transfer loans. The bulletin includes examples of policies and procedures the CFPB may consider when evaluating servicers involved in the transfer of a mortgage, guidance regarding new servicing requirements, and the description of other Federal consumer financial laws that apply to the servicing of transfers. You may access the bulletin here:

August 19, 2014, The American Bankers Association, ABA, issued a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Bureau, CFPB, recommending the Office of Management and Budget reject the Bureaus proposed debt collection survey. ABA complaints the Bureaus response, provide consumer survey submission via the internet, is but an illusory change to the form. The problem with the original format of this survey, is that the consumer experience field. The revised survey does not reflect a commitment to transparency, public participation, and collaboration, and it is likely to lead to misunderstandings of a consumer experience with first-party creditors and third party collectors. You may read ABAs letter here:

The CFPBs proposed survey is intended to learn about their experiences interacting with the debt collection industry. You may read details about this proposal and submit comments here:

August 22, 2014, The Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, HUD, issued a 60 day notice of proposed information collection for the 2015 American Housing Survey. The purpose of this Survey is to supply current information about housing related data, quality, costs, and neighborhood assets. These data helps support policy makers and market participants on their decision making. Member of the public may submit commentary on HUDs proposed additional collection of topical data: potential health and safety hazards in the home, modifications made to assist occupants living with disabilities, food insecurity, the use of housing counseling services, and the presence of arts and cultural opportunities in the community. You may read more details about the proposed data collection and submit your commentary through the Federal Registers website:

August 22, 2014, HUD issued a 60 day notice of proposed information collection for the 2015 Rental Housing Finance Survey. This survey provides a measure of financial, mortgage, and property characteristics of rental housing properties. In particular, it focuses on mortgage financing of rental housing properties, with emphasis on new originations for purchase money mortgages and refinancing, and the characteristics of new originations. HUD proposes the 2015 Survey for the collection of: property values of residential structures, characteristics of residential structures, rental status and rental value of units within the residential structures, commercial use of space within residential structures, property management status, ownership status, a detailed assessment of mortgage financing, and benefits received from Federal, state, local, and non-governmental programs. You may read more details about the proposed data collection and submit your commentary through the Federal Registers website:


August 21, 2014, the Department of Justice, DOJ, announced it reached a settlement with Bank of America Corporation to resolve Federal and State allegations of wrongdoing in relation with the packaging, marketing, sale, arrangement, structuring and issuance of mortgage backed securities, collateralized debt obligations. The bank acknowledged it sold these instruments to investors without disclosing key information. The $16.65 Billion settlement is the largest in our history. Here you may access the announcement, and all related material:

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