Zillow’s iBuyer Program Resumes In 5 Markets

Zillow’s iBuyer program resumed buying homes in five more markets Tuesday, bringing the total to 20 of the 24 markets it was operating in prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutting everything down. Zillow Offers resumed operations in Los Angeles, Riverside, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Orlando. The program paused nationwide March 23 and has gradually begun operating in markets across the country in recent weeks. “Home sellers want a more convenient, seamless and safe way to sell their home, and we’re excited to bring Zillow Offers back to more sellers around the country,” Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman said.  Zillow Offers is currently available for sellers in Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Colo., Dallas, Denver, Fort Collins, Colo., Los Angeles,…

Major Home Seller Settles With CFPB – For $35,000

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Tuesday it had reached a $35,000 settlement with Harbour Portfolio Advisories and two of its subsidiary companies over allegations they had violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Dallas-based Harbour – along with National Asset Advisors (NAA) and National Asset Mortgage (NAM) – is one of the largest sellers of foreclosed homes. The companies were accused of telling customers they had to tell the CFPB of alleged errors on their credit reports – which the bureau called “deceptive acts and practices.” CFPB noted, “Regulation V, which implements the Fair Credit Reporting Act, required NAA or NAM to investigate written disputes and contact the consumer-reporting agency to resolve any errors.  Also, either company could investigate a…

Zillow Updates Listings To Include LGBTQ Info

Zillow updated all property listings on Tuesday to include whether homes are in communities where state and local laws protect individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender from discrimination. All listings on Zillow, including those that are on or off the market, include the updated information. “It’s 2020, and yet, unfortunately, in many parts of the United States, LGBTQ+ home shoppers still face housing discrimination,” said Dawn Lyon, Zillow chief corporate relations officer. “That’s why we strongly support federal-level protections as part of the Equality Act. In lieu of federal law and in the spirit of ‘turning on the lights,’ we want to give people the most information possible when buying, renting and financing a home, including which communities…

Google To Ban Housing Ads Targeted To ZIP Codes

As the nation grapples with issues on racial equity, Google has announced that it will no longer allow realtors to target ads for housing based on ZIP code – in addition to several other changes. The change, announced on Google’s blog, is designed to “improve access to housing, employment and credit opportunities.” “This policy will prohibit impacted employment, housing, and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP Code, in addition to our longstanding policies prohibiting personalization based on sensitive categories like race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability,” said Scott Spencer, Google’s vice president of product management, ads privacy and safety. Spencer said Google will provide more information…

Q1 Net Income Of FDIC Banks Drops 70%

Net income fell nearly 70 percent in the first quarter for the commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, according to the FDIC’s quarterly banking profile released Tuesday. The 5,116 banks totaled $18.5 billion in net income in the quarter, a drop of $42.2 billion from a year ago. “The banking industry has been a source of strength for the economy in the first quarter despite unexpected shocks,” FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said. “Although bank earnings were negatively affected by increases in loan loss provisions, banks effectively supported individuals and businesses during this downturn through lending and other critical financial services.” Other highlights from the report include: Net Interest: The average net interest margin declined 29…

Zillow Reopens 6 More iBuyer Markets

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is resuming its iBuyer program in six additional markets – bringing the total to 15 – after shutting it down in all markets at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Zillow is reopening Zillow Offers in Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, San Diego and Sacramento. Previously, Zillow Offers opened up in Portland, Oregon; Nashville; Denver; Fort Collins, Colorado; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Raleigh; Charlotte; Phoenix; and Tucson, Arizona. The company paused buying homes in the 24 markets where Zillow Offers operates on March 23 in response to housing market uncertainty and public health concerns. “Our goal at Zillow is to help people navigate what can be a stressful and complex process, and with Zillow Offers, give…

Shellpoint Again Tops Monthly CFPB Complaints

By Jessica R. Towhey For the second straight month, Shellpoint Partners racked up the highest number of mortgage-related consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to publicly available data on the federal agency’s website.  In April, 159 people filed complaints against Shellpoint citing various issues; another 101 people filed complaints in May. Wells Fargo had the second most complaints in May at 82, followed by Freedom Mortgage Company (66), Ocwen Financial Corporation (66) and Nationstar Mortgage (64). Shellpoint Partners could not be reached for comment. In 2018, Shellpoint was acquired by New Residential Investment Corp. in a $190 million deal. Shellpoint is the parent company for several subsidiaries, including Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing and mortgage lender New Penn Financial.…

Former Oklahoma Mortgage Co. President Indicted

Ronald J. McCord, the former president of First Mortgage Company of Oklahoma City, was indicted by a federal grand jury for bank fraud and money laundering as part of a scheme to defraud banks and pay for lavish homes for himself and his family, prosecutors announced. Ronald J. McCord McCord, 69, of Oklahoma City, allegedly defrauded two Oklahoma banks, Fannie Mae and others over a three-year period, said Timothy J. Downing, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. According to the 24-count indictment, McCord defrauded Spirit Bank and Citizens State Bank – as well as their mortgage subsidiaries American Southwest Mortgage Corporation and American Southwest Mortgage Funding Corporation – by selling $14.1 million in mortgage loans and failing to…

Freddie Appoints CFO Amid Conservatorship Exit Prep

Christian M. Lown will be the new chief financial officer and executive vice president of Freddie Mac as the company seeks to emerge from conservatorship, Freddie announced Tuesday. Lown replaces Donald F. Kish, who has served as interim CFO since December. Kish will continue serving as Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Officer. “I am excited to join Freddie Mac as the company prepares for its next chapter and I look forward to working with such a talented management team and innovative company,” said Lown said. At Navient, Lown was responsible for the accounting, corporate development, financial planning and analysis, investor relations, procurement, treasury, and vendor management functions. Prior to joining Navient in 2017, Lown was Managing Director,…

Airbnb, Vrbo Booming In Beach Communities

By Jim Perskie The short-term rental market is bouncing back quickly, with travelers taking advantage of lockdowns ending just as the summer tourism season starts across the country, according to a report released Wednesday by AirDNA. There was a 202 percent increase in rental bookings on Airbnb and Vrbo in the United States between April 5 and May 18. “After weathering a flood of cancellations and scrambling to market themselves as immaculate, virus-free stays, it seems like the suffering may be somewhat short-lived,” AirDNA concludes in the report. The report also found, “After the multi-month lockdown brought global travel to a standstill, it now seems that — whether or not we’re ready — the road to economic recovery is clearly taking shape.…