Zillow’s iBuyer Program Reopens In 5 More Markets

Zillow announced Wednesday that it is resuming its iBuyer program in five more markets – bringing the total to nine – after shutting it down across the country two months at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Zillow Offers is reopening its home-buying programs in Portland, Oregon; Nashville; Denver; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Zillow announced last week that it had resumed home buying in North Carolina (Raleigh and Charlotte) and Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson). “We know that people still want to move, and Zillow Offers is a way for them to do so safely and easily,” Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman said. When fully operational, Zillow Offers operates in 24 markets. To help ensure buyers shopping for a…

GSEs Seek Advisors To Leave Conservatorship

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are looking for financial advisors to help them emerge from conservatorship. Each of the GSEs announced they will be issuing a request for proposal on Tuesday to “secure a financial advisor that will facility the company’s responsible exit for conservatorship. The advisors will help Fannie and Freddie on everything from capital considerations to business plans to capital raising activities and more. “Even as we work to stabilize the housing markets during this unprecedented pandemic, Freddie Mac has remained focused on exiting conservatorship responsibly,” David Brickman, Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman said. “Today we begin the competitive selection process for a financial advisor that will ultimately facilitate our return to full private capital ownership. This is…

Zillow Resumes Home Buying In Four Markets

Nearly two months after shutting down its iBuyer program across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zillow announced Monday it is resuming home purchases in four markets. Zillow’s purchase program – known as Zillow Offers – is restarting in Phoenix; Tucson, Ariz.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Charlotte, N.C. Purchases in the other 20 Zillow Offers markets remain on pause, as they have been since March 23. “We are excited to begin purchasing homes again and making it even easier for home sellers to move — with new cleaning protocols and more virtual tools and services,” Zillow President Jeremy Wacksman said. “These past two months have confirmed our belief that real estate is resilient. In fact, we’ve seen that people – despite these…

“Please Help!” CFPB Flooded With Complaints

As the economic impact of the coronavirus fully took hold in April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was deluged with calls from Americans looking for help as they struggled to pay their mortgages and other bills. In April, the bureau fielded 31,422 complaints about financial institutions – up from 29,538 in March and 22,915 in April 2019. Of those calls, 1,938 were concerning mortgage related-issues – the vast majority relating to struggles with paying their loans. A huge chunk of the complaints – 75 percent – were resolved with an explanation from the lender. A substantial portion of these complaints come from borrowers seeking forbearance, only to learn that their loans were not eligible. The $2 trillion CARES Act includes…

Fannie Mae Earnings Drop 90% In Q1

Fannie Mae’s net income dropped 90 percent in the first quarter of 2020 as credit expenses piled up as the coronavirus pandemic shook the economy beginning in mid-March. Net income dropped from $4.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $461 million in the first quarter of 2020 – with more challenges on the horizon due to a growing number of borrowers taking advantage of forbearance. Fannie increased its allowance for loan losses to reflect the losses it currently expects to incur, including $4.1 billion as a result of the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, which are reflected in its $2.7 billion of credit-related expenses for the quarter. Fannie Mae estimates that 7 percent of its single-family…

DOJ: Guaranteed Rate To Pay $15M Fine

Mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate Inc. has agreed to pay a $15 million fine to resolve allegations it failed to properly and adequately underwrite federally backed loans, the Department of Justice announced. DOJ said Guaranteed Rate “knowingly failed to comply with material program rules that require lenders to maintain quality control programs to prevent and correct underwriting deficiencies, self-report any materially deficient loans that they identify, and ensure that the underwriting process is free from conflicts of interest.” Guaranteed Rate said in a statement that the company “worked with the DOJ to identify some mistakes and made the necessary improvements to our operations.” “Guaranteed Rate is committed to doing the right thing and serving the needs of our customers,” the company…

Freddie CEO: Greatest Housing Challenge In Decade

By Jim Perskie Freddie Mac CEO David Brickman said Thursday the housing market is “facing its greatest challenge in more than a decade” and that the impact of the coronavirus will be felt over the next year, at least. Brickman expected home sales – and perhaps home prices – to fall significantly in the second quarter before beginning to recover. “While home prices increased in the first quarter, the future effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is highly uncertain and dependent on the pace of economic recovery,” he said in discussing Freddie Mac’s first quarter financial results. “The decline in home prices could be significant if forbearance and foreclosure mitigation do not limit the effect on home prices.” The Labor Department…

Freddie Mac Earnings Tumble

Freddie Mac on Thursday reported significantly lower earnings for the first quarter of the year as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic began to seep into the mortgage markets late last month. The company’s first quarter net income of $200 million was down from $2.6 billion for the fourth quarter of 2019. Comprehensive income dropped from $2.4 billion in Q4 2019 to $0.6 billion in Q1 2020. Freddie Mac attributed the decrease to: Higher credit-related expense of $1.1 billion primarily driven by higher expected credit losses on loans as a result of the pandemic.Losses on single-family loans held in inventory due to effects from the pandemic, combined with lower gains on single-family reperforming and nonperforming loan sales due to a…

Mr. Cooper Shutters Wholesale Business

Mr. Cooper is leaving the wholesale mortgage business. The Dallas-based lending giant said Wednesday it “made the decision to cease its wholesale lending operations, a segment of the business we entered as part of the Pacific Union Financial, LLC acquisition.” The company said the challenges presented by the pandemic were “not the driving force” in the decision and that the wholesale business accounted for less than 5 percent of its total originations volume. The change will lead to some job cuts, the company said. “As the market has evolved, we’ve increased our focus on our current customers and continue to prioritize investments in their experience to create customers for life,” the company said in a statement. “Additionally, we will continue…

Zillow Extends Work-From-Home Timeline

Zillow told employees they will be allowed to work from home through the end of the year, extending the flexible working arrangement brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. “Today we let our team know they have flexibility to work from home (or anywhere) through the end of 2020,” Zillow CEO and co-founder Rich Barton tweeted. “My personal opinions about WFH have been turned upside down over the past 2 months. I expect this will have a lasting influence on the future of work … and home. Stay safe.” Zillow, launched in 2006 and based in Seattle, employees more than 5,000 people. The web-based company has a database of more than 110 million properties. “Software and the people who create, deploy,…