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02/24/2021

$2.7B awarded for public housing

HUD has announced the award of more than $2.7 billion in funding to nearly 2,900 public housing authorities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to make capital investments in their public housing units. The grants are provided through HUD's Capital Fund Program, which offers annual funding to all public housing authorities to build, renovate, and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. Housing authorities can use the funding to complete large-scale improvements such as replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to heating systems and installing water conservation measures.

02/24/2021

FHA extends 203(k) rehab projects

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has announced the extensions of a set of policy flexibilities for single family lenders and servicers designed to maintain new mortgage originations for homebuyers and allow 203(k) rehabilitation projects to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. These temporary policies recognize the sustained need for flexibility during this critical time to ensure mortgage financing remains available for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, and that home rehabilitation work can continue. The temporary policies will be in place through June 30, 2021. For more information see Mortgage Letter 2021-06 and Mortgage Letter 2021-07.

02/23/2021

U.S. house prices up 10.8 percent over last year

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reports that U.S. house prices rose 10.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index. House prices were up 3.8 percent compared to the third quarter of 2020. FHFA's seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 1.1 percent from November.

“House prices nationwide recorded the largest annual and quarterly increase in the history of the FHFA HPI," said Dr. Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of FHFA's Division of Research and Statistics. “Low mortgage rates, pent up demand from homebuyers, and a limited housing supply propelled every region of the country to experience faster growth in 2020 compared to a year ago despite the pandemic. In particular, house prices in western states and cities saw the highest rates of growth, where annual gains often rose above 10 percent."

02/23/2021

Regulators' supervisory practices following Texas storms

The OCC, FRB, FDIC, NCUA, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued a statement Monday that they recognize the serious impact of Texas winter storms on the customers and operations of many financial institutions and will provide appropriate regulatory assistance to affected institutions subject to their supervision. The agencies encourage institutions operating in the affected areas to meet the financial services needs of their communities. A complete list of the affected disaster areas can be found HERE.

02/23/2021

Administration tweaks PPP for small business

The White House has issued a Fact Sheet to announce reforms to build on the success of the Payroll Protection Program by further targeting the program to the smallest businesses and those left behind in previous relief efforts. About $150 billion of the PPP funds are still available, but the program is currently scheduled to end March 31, 2021.

The reforms announced in the Fact Sheet include:

  • Instituting a 14-day period, starting February 24, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the Program
  • Revising the loan calculation formula for sole proprietors and independent contractors to offer more relief, and establishing a $1 billion set aside for businesses in this category without employees and located in low- and moderate-income areas
  • Consistent with a bipartisan bill in Congress, eliminating a restriction that bars small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions from the program
  • Eliminating a restriction that bars small business owners who are delinquent on their federal student loans from the program
  • Clarifying that non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents may use ITINs to participate in the program

The Small Business Administration has confirmed it will take the actions described by the White House. The 14-day exclusivity period will begin tomorrow, February 24, 2021, at 9 a.m.; the other four changes will be implemented by the first week in March.

02/22/2021

FEMA to suspend communities from flood program on Friday

FEMA will publish in the Federal Register for February 23, 2021, a notice listing communities in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia that it has scheduled for suspension from the National Flood Insurance Program on February 26, 2021, for noncompliance with the program's floodplain management requirements.

  • Pennsylvania: East Buffalo and Susquehanna
  • Tennessee: Brentwood, Cheatham County (unincorporated areas), Hendersonville, Pegram, Pleasant View, Ridgetop, and Robertson County (unincorporated areas)
  • Virginia: Culpeper, Culpeper County (unincorporated areas), and Rappahannock County (unincorporated areas)

If FEMA receives documentation that a listed community has adopted the required management measures before February 26, the community will not be suspended.

UPDATE: Published at 86 FR 10837 on 2/23/2021.

02/19/2021

OCC announces enforcement actions

The OCC has announced enforcement actions it took in the month of January.

  • A federal savings and loan association in Sidney, Nebraska, was issued a consent order to cease and desist related to management issues
  • A federal savings bank in Chicago, Illinois, was ordered to pay a $193,000 civil money penalty for violations of the OCC's regulation on Loans in Areas Having Special Flood Hazards
  • A bank in Vinita, Oklahoma, received a Prompt Corrective Action Directive
  • A former banking center manager for Webster Bank, N.A. (Waterbury, CT) was issued a consent order of prohibition, after a finding that she withdrew more than $70,000 from a bank customer's account for her personal benefit without authorization.
  • A former store manager for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Sioux Falls, SD) received a consent order of prohibition following a finding that she misappropriated bank customers' confidential information and sold it to a third party for at least $8,000, resulting in a loss to the bank of over $300,000.

02/17/2021

Bureau publishes HPML escrow rule

The CFPB has published at 86 FR 9840 its final rule exempting certain insured depository institutions and insured credit unions from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for certain higher-priced mortgage loans for publication in today's Federal Register. The rule becomes effective on publication.

See our January 20, 2021, story for details.

02/17/2021

FDIC final rule on deposit insurance fees and CECL

The FDIC has announced the adoption of a final rule addressing the temporary deposit insurance assessment effects resulting from certain optional regulatory capital transition provisions relating to the implementation of the current expected credit losses (CECL) methodology. The final rule removes the double counting of a specified portion of the CECL transitional amount or the modified CECL transitional amount, as applicable, in the calculation of certain financial measures that are used to determine assessment rates for large or highly complex insured depository institutions (IDIs). The rule becomes effective April 1, 2021, the beginning of the second quarterly assessment period for 2021.

The FDIC stated the rule does not affect institutions with less than $10 billion in assets, unless they are being treated as large institutions for deposit insurance assessment purposes.

02/17/2021

Fannie and Freddie scorecards released

The FHFA yesterday released the 2021 Scorecard for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), and Common Securitization Solutions. The 2021 Scorecard aligns the 2019 Strategic Plan with the Enterprises’ tactical priorities and operations, serving as an essential tool to hold the Enterprises accountable. The three objectives of the 2021 Scorecard are to ensure that the Enterprises continue to:

  • Focus on their core mission responsibilities to foster competitive, liquid, efficient, and resilient (CLEAR) national housing finance markets that support sustainable homeownership and affordable rental housing;
  • Operate in a safe and sound manner appropriate for entities in conservatorship; and
  • Prepare for their eventual exits from the conservatorships.

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