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Top Story Lending Related

04/29/2021

GSEs offer new refi option for low-income borrowers

The FHFA announced on Wednesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement a new refinance option this summer for low-income borrowers with Enterprise-backed single-family mortgages. Eligible borrowers will benefit from a reduced interest rate and lower monthly payment. The FHFA estimates that borrowers who take advantage of the new refinance option could save an average of between $100 and $250 a month.

The new refinance option includes:

  • A requirement that the lender provides a savings of at least $50 in the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment, and at least a 50-basis point reduction in the borrower’s interest rate;
  • A maximum $500 credit from the lender for an appraisal if the borrower is not eligible for an appraisal waiver (the Enterprises will provide the lender a credit of $500 upon the loan’​s sale to an Enterprise); and A waiver of the 50 basis point up-front adverse market refinance fee for borrowers with loan balances at or below $300,000.

To qualify, a borrower must:

  • Have an Enterprise-backed 1-unit single-family mortgage that is owner-occupied;
  • Have an income at or below 80% of the area median income;
  • Have not missed a payment in the past six months, and no more than one missed payment in the past 12 months; and
  • Not have a mortgage with a loan-to-value ratio greater than 97%, a debt-to-income ratio above 65%, or a FICO score lower than 620.

04/29/2021

House prices continue to rise

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has reported that house prices rose nationwide in February, up 0.9 percent from the previous month, according to the latest FHFA House Price Index. House prices rose 12.2 percent from February 2020 to February 2021. The previously reported 1.0 percent price change for January 2021 remained unchanged.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from January 2021 to February 2021 ranged from +0.3 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +1.6 percent in the Mountain division. The 12-month changes ranged from +10.5 percent in the West North Central division to +15.4 percent in the Mountain division.

04/28/2021

CFPB responds to claims of Mr. Cooper unauthorized withdrawals

CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio has issued a statement in response to apparent unauthorized withdrawals made by a mortgage servicer, Nationstar Mortgage LLC, d/b/a Mr. Cooper. Unauthorized duplicate-payment drafts by Mr. Cooper appear to have resulted in hundreds of thousands of consumers’ bank accounts being debited for multiples of their mortgage payments. Affected consumers have reported being charged overdraft fees and likely suffered additional harm as a result of these unauthorized withdrawals.

“The CFPB is taking immediate action to understand and resolve the situation that has affected hundreds of thousands of consumers. The CFPB will use all appropriate tools at our disposal to help ensure harmed consumers receive relief. Consumers affected by the incident should monitor their accounts and may contact Mr. Cooper directly. Consumers can submit complaints to the CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov or call toll-free at 855-411-2372."

National Mortgage News reported on Monday that Mr. Cooper was working on reversing unauthorized payment drafts from some of its borrowers' bank accounts. Mr. Cooper said in a blog post that "All duplicate transaction requests have been stopped. We are actively working with the banks involved and the payments vendor [where the errors reportedly originated] to correct the issue and prevent recurrence."

[Financial institutions holding deposit accounts affected by the apparent unauthorized transactions are likely to receive error claims under Regulation E, and must follow the requirements of the regulation in processing those claims. Part of their investigation of these claims should be checking to see if the duplicate debits have been reversed. Any bank-imposed fees (such as overdraft and return item fees) triggered by the duplicate debits will have to be reversed. - Editor]

04/28/2021

CFPB action against reverse mortgage lender

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken action against Nationwide Equities Corporation for sending deceptive loan advertisements to hundreds of thousands of older borrowers. The Bureau found that advertisements from Nationwide Equities misled consumers concerning how much money they could receive from a reverse mortgage, the fees and costs associated with the products, and the consequences of nonpayment. The advertisements violated the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule (MAP Rule), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). The CFPB is ordering the company to—

  • pay a $140,000 civil money penalty,
  • cease its illegal conduct, and
  • implement a compliance plan to affirmatively review every advertisement to ensure they do not violate federal law.

Nationwide Equities is a mortgage broker and direct lender that offers and originates reverse mortgage loans, primarily home equity conversion mortgage loans and private jumbo reverse mortgage loans. The company, headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, is one of the largest reverse mortgage lenders in the United States, is licensed in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and operates three retail branches across the country.

04/28/2021

SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund registration information

The SBA has announced it will begin registrations on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT and open applications on Monday, May 3, 2021, at noon EDT for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.

The Fund was established under the American Rescue Plan and provides a total of $28.6 billion in direct relief funds to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023.

04/28/2021

FEMA to suspend communities in four states next week

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has published [86 FR 22357] in today's Federal Register a notice that it has scheduled communities in Mississippi, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, for noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. The listed communities include:

  • Mississippi: Byhalia, Holly Springs, and unincorporated areas of Marshall and Tunica Counties
  • New York: Lewiston (Town), Lewiston (Village), Niagara Falls, Porter, Somerset, Wilson, and Youngstown
  • Ohio: Eastlake, Fairport Harbor, Grand River, Lake County (unincorporated areas), Lakeline, Mentor, Mentor-on-the-Lake, North Perry, Timberlake, Willoughby, and Willowick
  • South Carolina: Duncan, Greenville County (unincorporated areas), Lyman, Spartanburg, Spartanburg County (unincorporated areas), Union, and Union County (unincorporated areas)

If FEMA receives documentation that a listed community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to May 4, 2021, the community will not be suspended.

04/28/2021

CFPB delays compliance date for General QM rule

The CFPB announced Tuesday afternoon that it has delayed the mandatory compliance date of the General Qualified Mortgage (QM) final rule from July 1, 2021, to October 1, 2022.

The CFPB said it is taking this action to help ensure access to responsible, affordable mortgage credit, and preserve flexibility for consumers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects. Delaying the mandatory compliance date of the General QM final rule allows lenders more time to offer QM loans based on the homeowners’ debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and not solely based on certain pricing thresholds.

Delaying the final rule’s compliance date would also give lenders more time to use the Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Patch, which provides QM status to loans that are eligible for sale to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, the availability of the GSE Patch after July 1, 2021, may be limited by recent revisions to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements entered into by the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The changes are reflected in the BankersOnline Regulations page for § 1026.43 of Regulation Z.

  • Tuesday's final rule delaying the mandatory compliance date
  • Summary of Tuesday's final rule
  • PUBLICATION AND EFFECTIVE DATE UPDATE: This rule will be effective 6/30/2021. Published at 86 FR 22844 on 4/30/2021.

04/27/2021

New home sales decline

HUD and the Census Bureau have reported that the March 2021 sales of new single-family homes declined by 20.7 percent below the revised February rate of 846,000 but were 66.8. percent above the March 2020 estimate of 612,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2021 was $330,800. The average sales price was $397,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 307,000, a supply of 3.6 months at the current sales rate.

04/26/2021

HOME-ARP grantees announced

HUD Secretary Fudge on Friday held a Zoom call to discuss the nearly $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds allocated by HUD to help communities across the country create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The supplemental funding, known as HOME-ARP, was provided by the American Rescue Plan and is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.

04/26/2021

HUD to resume housing inspections

HUD Secretary Fudge has announced that HUD will substantially increase housing inspections beginning on June 1, 2021. Thirteen months ago, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with public health guidance, HUD took many steps to protect HUD-assisted households and the people who provide that assistance from exposure to COVID-19. Among those steps was the suspension of most in-person housing inspections by the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) last year along with waivers that enabled Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Multifamily housing owners and managers to reduce activities that could contribute to COVID-19 transmission.

Multifamily housing owners and property managers were informed on Friday that HUD has developed detailed protocols guiding all aspects of the inspection process. HUD, in collaboration with the CDC, will implement additional protocols and associated safety measures, including:

  • The inspection of high priority/risk properties for both the Public Housing and Multifamily portfolios before other properties;
  • Evaluation of known property-specific health conditions prior to the inspection;
  • Regular COVID-19 testing of inspectors and efforts to facilitate the vaccination of inspectors;
  • Travel and quarantine guidelines for inspectors;
  • Detailed operational protocols for inspectors pre-inspection, during the inspection, and post-inspection reviewed by the CDC;
  • Ability for residents to opt-out of unit inspections when inspectors arrive on-site.

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