You remember the HARP program, don’t you? Originally, the idea was to refinance current but high LTV Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac borrowers into new, lower-rate loans—provided they were current. Home values (and lack of equity) reeked havoc on the concept so Uncle Sam took the LTV girdle off. (Big can be beautiful. Just ask Rubens, the painter.) But then Uncle realized the megabanks control 55% of the servicing market (according to figures compiled by National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report) and tried to do something about it. The answer: Get Fannie and Freddie’s AU systems upgraded so any lender can fund a HARP 2.0 refi. Of course, the megabanks had a three-month head start, but it appears that yes, HARP competition is finally here. (I would guess that Bank of America won’t bother to compete, knowing its recent history.) We keep hearing stories about aggressive nonbank lenders that are moving into the market and plan to provide readers with an update shortly. Meanwhile, a friend of ours with a high LTV loan recently received a pitch letter from a lender called National Lending Corp., saying he is “prequalified” for a mortgage refi even though he is underwater. The loan, though, wasn’t a HARP product. It’s called MHAP. His servicer is the IBM-owned Seterus which has been screwing up his paperwork ever since JPMorgan Chase sold the servicing rights to them last year. He would love nothing more to get away from Seterus, a firm that refuses to talk to the press about what exactly it’s up to in the mortgage space. Loose lips sink ships (and servicers) I guess…
Meanwhile, we decided to google the name National Lending Corp. You might say someone on the Internet wrote some unkind words about them. Then again, it’s the Internet…
An up-and-coming wholesaler (whose name we know but are trying to confirm) recently fired all of its outside account executives, favoring the in-house crew instead. More to come on this story next week…
Bill Kidwell is mad as hell (about the CFPB’s LO comp proposal) and isn’t going to take it anymore. The former head of the Colorado Association of Mortgage Brokers has launched an online petition to amend Dodd-Frank and attack the LO comp rule. His petition can be viewed at http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-amend-the-dodd-frank-act.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Since the beginning of time mortgages have been sold, traded and priced in basis points not flat fees, we are not Scottrade with a flat fee per trade as seen in commercials on TV Friday nights. Mortgages are priced according to risks in basis points based on LTV, credit scores, property type and occupancy, how on earth can you change this?” —Mike Anderson, president, Essential Mortgage, a Latter & Blum Realtors company.
I wonder what the National Association of Realtors would do if Congress proposed a flat fee on real estate commission instead of the current 6% or so they charge?
Have servicing values reached bottom and have no where to go but up? See the Monday paper edition of National Mortgage News. Don’t subscribe? Call 800-221-1809. A paid sub gets you all of our web content totally free…
Not only did Residential Capital Corp. file for bankruptcy protection this week but it mailed out a letter to all of its mortgagors telling them as much and noting, “While nothing has changed in relation to the amount of your mortgage payments or where you send those payments, we understand you may have questions.”
WASHINGTON NEWS: The National Flood Insurance Program is due to expire at the end of this month. The Senate still can’t seem to find a way to pass a short-term extension or move ahead with a comprehensive NFIP reform bill that re-authorizes the program for five years. The program enjoys strong bipartisan support. (For the full story see the NMN website. Reporting by Brian Collins.)
MORTGAGE PEOPLE: Mark Korell recently departed from JPMorgan Chase’s mortgage division.
THIS COLUMN’S FOR SALE: Send an email to Steven.Schloss@SourceMedia.com. Steve can tell you about advertising opportunities online.
MORTGAGE BANKERS/SERVICERS, GIVE US YOUR NUMBERS AND GET LISTED FOR FREE: NMN and its sister publication Mortgage Servicing News, the most widely read news magazine in the servicing sector, have launched its annual origination/servicing survey. Eventually, we’ll use this information for stories. To receive a survey drop a line to Deartra.Todd@SourceMedia.com.
DATA STUFF: If you need to find out which tech vendors the nation’s top lenders and servicers use check out our MortgageStats.com product. For more info drop an email to Deartra.Todd@SourceMedia.com and ask about our site license rates. If you want exclusive stats on the nation’s top 100 lenders and servicers ask about the Quarterly Data Report. Free samples available, the operative word being “sample.”
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LAST WORD: No longer with us: Duck Dunn and Chuck Brown.