CFPB Warns Of Double Dealing On Digital Mortgage Comparison Shopping Platforms

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are warning shoppers about pay-to-play mortgage comparison shopping platforms. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in a statement on Tuesday that given current mortgage interest rates, it is important for homebuyers to shop and compare loan offers. “We are working to ensure that online platforms are not manipulating their search results in order to coerce kickbacks from lenders,” Chopra said. Rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered just above 6% last week. In a press release, CFPB officials said that American consumers looking for the best deal on mortgages often turn to comparison-shopping platforms and mobile apps. “Many of the websites and applications claim to offer ranked lists of providers suitable…

Powell On Inflation: “We Will Stay The Course Until The Job Is Done”

By KIMBERLEY HAAS After officials at the Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points, Chair Jerome Powell said that the fight against inflation isn’t over and he does not see them cutting rates this year. During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Powell said the disinflationary process has started in some sectors of the economy but they remain cautious. “Certainty is just not appropriate here. Inflation, it’s just hard to forecast inflation. It may come down faster. It may take longer to come down, and yet, our job is to deliver inflation back to target and we will do that, but I think we’re going to be cautious about declaring victory and sending signals that we think that the…

Opinion: For a Strong Mortgage Market, Strengthen the Ginnie Mae PTAP Program

By SCOTT OLSON Recently, Wells Fargo announced it was exiting the correspondent mortgage loan business, eliminating an important execution source for smaller independent mortgage banks that originate FHA, VA, and Fannie/Freddie loans but are not Ginnie Mae-approved issuers or Fannie/Freddie seller-servicers. This development is only the latest in a persistent 10-year trend, documented in our latest IMB Report issued last October by the Community Home Lenders of America. As large banks have exited the mortgage business, independent mortgage banks picked up the slack. IMBs now originate 90% of FHA and VA loans and issue 90% of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed securities. When an IMB acts as a Ginnie Mae issuer, it not only services the loans, but it is also legally…

Tenant Protections And Homelessness Addressed By Federal Officials

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The Biden-Harris administration announced new actions to protect renters this week and leaders at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development celebrated helping over 100,000 families through their homelessness initiative. On Wednesday, administration officials issued a fact sheet describing key actions officials are taking “to increase fairness in the rental market and further principles of fair housing.” They include: Identifying practices that unfairly prevent applicants and tenants from accessing or staying in housing. Ensuring accurate information in the credit reporting system and holding background check companies accountable for unreasonable procedures. Providing guidance updates around anti-competitive information sharing, including in rental markets. Requiring public housing authorities and owners of project-based rental assistance properties to provide at least…

BofA Invests Up To $150M To Preserve Housing For Middle-Income Earners

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Leaders at Bank of America Community Development Banking have announced an up to $150 million investment to preserve more than 3,000 affordable homes for middle-income households. In partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that offers solutions, capital, and community development, Bank of America will help workers earning between 80% and 120% of an area’s median income remain in housing they can afford. According to Maria Barry, national executive for Bank of America Community Development Banking, as rent costs outpace income growth the lack of affordable housing inventory is forcing families to make difficult decisions on how and where they live. “This fund will focus on the ‘missing middle,’ which refers to middle-income individuals who make…

HUD Officials To Fight Inequities In Housing With New Proposed Rule

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A new proposed rule meeting President Joe Biden’s call to fully enforce the Fair Housing Act was announced by officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday. “Affirmatively furthering fair housing means more than merely steering clear of housing discrimination violations,” Demetria McCain, principal deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said in a statement. “Today, HUD is taking new, bold action to eliminate the historic patterns of segregation that continue to harm American families. This action will help make the purpose of the Fair Housing Act reality by making it easier for local communities to identify inequities and make concrete commitments to address them.” According to a press release, the rule…

Largest Bank Headquartered In LA Will Pay Over $31M In Redlining Settlement

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday that they have secured over $31 million from City National Bank to resolve allegations of redlining in Los Angeles County. City National is the largest bank headquartered in Los Angeles and among the 50 largest banks in the country. This is the largest redlining settlement agreement in the department’s history, according to a press release. Redlining is an illegal practice where lenders avoid providing credit services to individuals living in communities of color because of the race, color, or national origin of the residents in those communities. According to the complaint filed in federal court, City National avoided providing mortgage lending services to majority-Black and Hispanic neighborhoods…

Fed Minutes Show Interest Rate Hikes Likely to Continue

Minutes from the December meeting of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee were released this week, and they show Fed members still focused on fighting inflation, not lowering interest rates. (The full minutes can be found here.) “Participants generally observed that a restrictive policy stance would need to be maintained until the incoming data provided confidence that inflation was on a sustained downward path to 2%, which was likely to take some time,” according to the summary of the meeting. “In view of the persistent and unacceptably high level of inflation, several participants commented that historical experience cautioned against prematurely loosening monetary policy.” While the December rate hike of 50 basis points was smaller than the…

AEI Housing Center Leaders Demand More Complete Research On Mortgage Inequity And Race

By SCOTT KIMBLER Racial inequity and home appraisals have caught the attention of leaders at the American Enterprise Institute Housing Center in Washington, D.C. AEI is a think tank supported by contributions and designed to keep an eye on policies and trends regarding the U.S. housing market. Leaders there say their goals are to provide transparent and objective mortgage and housing market trends, foster a stable system of mortgage finance that promotes sustainable homeownership, and develop market-based solutions to the nation’s shortage of economical housing. Tobias Peter, research fellow and assistant director of the AEI Housing Center, explained how people have been uncovering racial bias in appraising in recent years, oftentimes making news headlines. “A black homeowner wants to get…

Forget Student Loans, How About Forgiving Our Mortgage Loans?

By CHUCK GREEN and KIMBERLEY HAAS The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing two cases challenging the legality of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on Feb. 28 and The Mortgage Note is asking the question, why not mortgage debt relief when that is a bigger burden to average Americans? Mortgage balances rose by $282 billion in the third quarter of 2022 and were at $11.67 trillion by the end of September. According to a press release issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loan balances slightly declined to $1.57 trillion. Total household debt reached $16.51 trillion in Q3. That includes mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. Sarah Paulson, a certified financial planner at Valkyrie Financial…