Scott Olson: Standing Up For Independent Mortgage Bankers In 2022 And Beyond

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The executive director of Community Home Lenders Association is working to educate policymakers in Washington, D.C., while articulating the perspective of members in a growing portion of the market: Independent Mortgage Bankers. Scott Olson has over 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill. For 15 years, he served on the House Financial Services Committee, according to his biography. On Thursday, Olson told The Mortgage Note they focus on articulating the perspective of IMBs, which don’t have a huge loan volume. “But collectively, we are pretty mighty because there’s a lot of us,” Olson said. Olson said banks can shift gears to make money on different types of loans as they look to make the most profit out…

CHLA Asks FHFA To Delay April Fee Hikes

The Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) sent a letter to FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson asking for adjustments to upcoming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fee increases. On January 5, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced “targeted increases” on upfront fees for certain high balance loans and second home loans, to go into effect April 1. Its stated goal is to “minimize market and pipeline disruption.” “These targeted pricing changes will allow the Enterprises to better achieve their mission of facilitating equitable and sustainable access to homeownership, while improving their regulatory capital position over time,” Thompson said in a press release. “Today’s action represents another step FHFA is taking to strengthen the Enterprises’ safety and soundness and to ensure…

Alanna McCargo Sworn In As Ginnie Mae President

Alanna McCargo has officially been sworn in as the 18th president of Ginnie Mae, becoming the first Senate-confirmed president in five years and the first woman to hold the position. The position has remained empty since 2017 when Obama-appointed president Toed Tozer stepped down. The interim presidents who followed him, Michael Bright and Maren Kasper, both stepped down to take other positions in the private sector. McCargo was nominated in September of 2021 and confirmed by the Senate in December 2021. “It is an honor to lead Ginnie Mae through its next phase of transformation, ensuring our MBS remains a secure, nimble, and reliable vehicle to support the U.S. mortgage market and continues to make affordable homeownership and rental housing…

2021 Finishes Strong, But Inflationary Concerns Weaken 2022 Projections

The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group boosted its expectation for full-year 2021 economic growth to 5.5% in its December commentary, up 0.7% from November’s projection. The group cited “stronger-than-anticipated consumer spending and inventory investment data” as the reason for its revised projection. Total home sales are now expected to increase 7.1% in 2021 rather than 5.3%. Total mortgage originations are expected to be $4.5 trillion, up from $4.4 trillion. But it also revised its 2022 expectations, downgrading its 2022 growth forecast from 3.7% to 3.2%. Though recent data appears strong, the group noted it “likely reflects a pull-forward of activity from the first half of 2022 and is unlikely to be sustained.” Inflation is the primary reason…

Analysts Respond To FOMC Tapering Announcement

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced it will double the pace of tapering its pandemic asset purchase program, and signaled it would likely raise interest rates next year. This would be its first rate hike since March 2020. The move comes in response to concerns about rising inflation. At its November meeting, the FOMC said it would reduce its purchases of Treasury securities from $80 billion to $70 billion and from $40 billion to $35 billion for mortgage-backed securities. Since then, inflation has reached a 39-year high and become a major sticking point for the American public. As to how this announcement affects the mortgage and real estate industries, analyst response has focused on rising costs. “Increasing mortgage rates…

Industry Responds To Thompson Nomination

President Biden will nominate Sandra Thompson to become the permanent director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the White House announced in a statement on Tuesday. Thompson is the current acting head of the FHFA, having taken over the position in June when Biden replaced Mark Calabria. She would serve a five-year term after her approval by the Senate. Though Thompson has held the position since June, her nomination was at one point in question. Biden faced criticism in September when rumors spread that he was considering nominating Center for Responsible Lending President Michael Calhoun. Thompson maintained support among Democratic politicians focused on housing, especially House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, which may have solidified her position. “We will…

OCC: Serious Delinquencies Down YOY At Major Banks

Seriously delinquent mortgages dropped by more than half year-over-year (YOY) at seven national banks, according to a report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Though the findings are optimistic, the banks in the study– Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo– were handling almost 1,900 fewer loans YOY, complicating the final picture. Overall, the banks serviced about 12.5 million first-lien residential mortgage loans, totaling $2.59 trillion in unpaid principal balances. This is 23% of all U.S. residential mortgage debt. In Q3 2020, $2.866 trillion or 14,393 loans. The share of mortgages that were current at the end of Q3 2021 was 95.6%, up from 92.5% in Q3 2020. The seven banks…

CFPB Singles Out Mortgage-Related Violations In New Report

Delinquency fees charged to forbearance-holders, payment handling violations, and pricing discrimination are among the mortgage-related violations highlighted by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) latest Supervisory Highlights report. “Today’s report reveals that irresponsible or mismanaged firms harmed Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “We will continue to supervise firms to halt harmful practices before they become widespread.” The report, which did not name particular companies, outlined illegal actions the CFPB claims to have observed in the first half of 2021. The CFPB supervises banks with assets of more than $10 billion and some non-banks, including mortgage companies, private student lenders, and payday lenders. The report called out mortgage lenders for the following: charging delinquency-related fees to…

Are Million-Dollar Conforming Loan Limits A Market-Crash Flashback?

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have raised their limits on government-backed loans to $647,200 in most of the country and nearly $1 million in some high-cost American communities.  Does that mean lenders are repeating the same mistakes which led to the 2008 crash? This 18% hike in the size of conforming loans is the highest single jump since at least 1970, outpacing the 15.9% increase seen in 2006. Two years later, on Dec. 30, 2008, the Case-Shiller home price index reported its largest drop in history. The credit crisis and housing bubble burst that followed led in part to the Great Recession in the United States. Now some observers fear U.S. markets are moving back to…

SitusAMC: Insurance Premium Hikes Coming As Natural Disasters Intensify

Both homeowners and lenders may be underestimating the rising cost of insurance following a growing number of natural disasters, according to a SitusAMC white paper titled “Weathering the Storm: Burgeoning Insurance Costs for Real Estate.” The paper found that natural disasters have impacted residential property nationwide, not just in areas with highly publicized disasters such as California and Florida. The states with the most natural disasters were Texas (where winter storms accounted for 40% in total insurance market losses in 2021), Virginia, and South Dakota. As the number of disasters rises and their severity intensifies, insurance companies will face more risk, leading to higher insurance premiums and reductions in coverage for property owners. “The growing number of climate events has…