HR2161 saves First-Time homebuyers approx. $5,000.  Will McConnell highjack?


Above image courtesy of Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

[Washington, D.C.]  Today First-Time homebuyers received more welcomed news at Nancy Pelosi’s (Speaker of the House/D-CA/12th) House of Representatives passed HR2161.  Labeled as the “obstruction party” by leaders of the Trump administration the bill was passed and headed to the Senate where members are hoping majority leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t try and high jack the bill.  Lately he has proudly accepted the moniker to be known as ‘the grim-reaper.”

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 04: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media after attending the Republican weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill June 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. McConnell took questions on various subjects including President Trumps proposed tariffs with Mexico. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The bill essentially can result in borrowers using FHA mortgages saving $5,375 and is based on an average loan of $211,000.  Current FHA borrower must pay three percent which is known as the standard rate for mortgage insurance or the program which allows the agency operate.   Unlike conventional mortgages where insurance is normally mandated if the mortgage exceeds 80% of the value of the home, FHA mortgage through their mortgage insurance premium (MIP) is mandated regardless of loan to value.

HR2161 would allow borrowers who successfully complete authorized counseling to have their premiums reduced to 2.75%.  If passed and Donald Trump signs it into law you could see millions of buyers enter the marketplace.

 

Many borrowers use FHA insured mortgages as their entry into home ownership.  Contrary to popular belief, especially political leaders who have attempted to vilify the program, historically it helped the United States of America define a middle-class standard.

Mortgage News: Discount Rate, Weekly Survey & D & I


The Feds led by Jerome Powell announced yesterday, discount rates would remain unchanged.  Although Donald Trump has been up to his usual antics of butting in to agencies which demand independence, Powell has been clear and intimated to Trump to stop harassing him or threatening to fire him.


Here is his remarks about why there was no need to change rates.


This week’s mortgage rate survey

June 20, 2019

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 3.84 % 3.25 % 3.48 %
Fees & Points 0.5 0.4 0.4
Margin N/A N/A 2.76

Diversity & Inclusion

While some will swear congress, specifically the House of Representative is doing nothing for the people was they are mired down in whether to impeach Donald Trump or not, in fact there is lots going on.

One such group, the Financial Services Committee has been busy (in addition to coordinating impeachment discussion) hold critical hearings about financial issues affecting the American people.  Today, they held a very important hearing on Corporate Diversity & Inclusion.

Here is the full hearing

Mortgage news: GSIBs as a group have paid at least $163.7 billion in fines!!!


above photo - House Financial Services Committee Holds Hearing On Keeping Megabanks Accountable
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: (L-R) Michael Corbat, chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc., Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., James Gorman, chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, and Brian Moynihan, chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp., listen during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Seven CEOs of the country’s largest banks were called to testify a decade after the global financial crisis. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

The news was initial reported in April but it is worth repeating today because at first the amount seemed like a prank but it truly is real!  Ever since the Democratic party assumed control of the House of Representatives they have moved quickly to implement more accountability as part of their oversight.  Global Systemically Important Banks known as GSIB’s make us some of the largest U.S. commercial banks.

The TARP Bailouts

During the financial crisis or mortgage meltdown of 2008, in 2009 the GSIB’s as mentioned appeared before the Financial Services Committee to discuss the bailouts they received.  On April 10th they reappeared before the committee chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters.  The purpose was to discuss “lessons learned” as well as steps they have engaged to balance the lending spectrum across the nation.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Seven CEOs of the country’s largest banks were called to testify a decade after the global financial crisis. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

$163.7 in FINES

As a group to date they have paid $163.7 BILLION in fines for various consumer abuses and other violations of the law.  Questions remain but one thing is clear; many banks chalked up the fines as the cost of doing business as evidenced by their current behavior and fact collectively they have made over $780 billion in profits.  Has anything changed?

The hearing shed light on why accountability is critical.  The committee has more hearings planned to address specific steps the banks plan on incorporating to benefit all consumers, particularly those that have been historically marginalized.

Here is a list of the fines some of the largest banks have paid in the last ten years:

  • Bank of America has paid $76.1 billion in fines.
  • JPMorgan Chase has paid $43.7 billion in fines.
  • Citigroup has paid $19 billion in fines.
  • Wells Fargo has paid $11.8 billion in fines.
  • Goldman Sachs has paid $7.7 billion in fines.
  • Morgan Stanley has paid $5.4 billion in fines.

Here is the full hearing on video

HUD’s Inconsistency a blow to DACA


above photo - Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Imagine!  “you are a person living in the place you know as home; the United States of America.  You are not a citizen, instead you are known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).   You have broken no laws (of significant consequence) other than your parent(s) did not bring you here through the normal immigration process.”  Some will profess saint-hood and claim the law is the law, without trying to understand the majority in the DACA population entered as infants.


AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

When Donald Trump was declared the victor in the 2016 presidential election some signaled a warning bell (and not all were Trump haters) that he was hellbent on appointing cabinet members who would do the bidding for himself, his cronies and supporters regarding the agency’s they would administer.  In other words unlike normal cabinet leaders it was not that important for you to have subject matter expertise.  It was more important for you to do as you were told while high-jacking agencies that millions of American’s would need to engage in their day to day activity.

During the nearly three years of the Trump administration many have left  after their malfeasance became too much for the administration to keep deflecting.  Take the case of Dr. Ben Carson who was appointed to lead Housing Urban Administration (HUD).  He rightfully earned the respect and admiration as a gifted surgeon.  With respect to housing or public policy which impacts how HUD operates he knew ZERO.  Some of Trump supporter’s snickered that he would be a good fit because as a child he grew up in HUD housing or the projects in Baltimore.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I’m sure we have plenty of DACA recipients who have FHA mortgages,” Carson said. “I would simply say that I have instructed everyone to follow the laws of the United States with regard to DACA, with regard to anyone who is an immigrant or a potential immigrant to this country, and as long as you continue to follow the laws you will have my approval.”

 

Today, Carson sided with his boss engaging an updated policy to insure DACA recipients have difficulty in accessing public programs.  The latest is to make it impossible for them to secure an FHA or U.S. backed mortgage.  Again, while the move may appease some, you have to probe and ask the question what is the ulterior motive of withholding a popular program to gain homeownership?

 

In a response to HUD’s updated guideline or a legislative rebuttal, this afternoon the Financial Services Committee led by Representative Maxine Waters introduced H.R. 3154,

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California and chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, listens during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 16, 2019. A top Democratic lawmaker yesterday questioned whether the Federal Reserve Vice Chairman can be trusted when he says leveraged lending isn’t a current threat to the financial system, pointing to his failure to foresee similar dangers before the credit crisis a decade earlier. Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Homeownership for DREAMers Act, legislation to clarify that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients cannot be denied mortgage loans backed by FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) solely on the basis of their DACA status.

Stay tuned.

Mortgage Payoff Tip:  What does SB2 have to do with you?


Paying off your mortgage loan is a big achievement.  Make sure you, your escrow officer, your attorney or whoever is handling the final payoff pays attention to the fees you are charged.  Most lenders or servicing company’s which handle your payments are straightforward.  Unfortunately, some stray from full transparency and collect fees which are in excess of what is actually owed.  Keep in mind final fees vary from state to state.

 

SB2

In California, Senate Bill 2 took effect January 1, 2018.  Called the Building Homes and Jobs Act anyone paying off their mortgage were assessed a $75 fee.  While the fee may appear excessive, it was approved so that amount “Is what it is!!”

 

Paying off a mortgage normally consist of your lender receiving the final payment, preparing a “Reconveyance Deed” and filing it with the County Recorder where your property is located.  Using Los Angeles county as an example the lender will charge a statement fee ranging from $25-$40, which includes preparing the Reconveyance document.  They send the document to the Recorder who charges anywhere from $15-$25.  The key is any fees charged must be for work actually completed.  By the time you add SB2 your total fees to payoff your loan should NOT exceed $100.

 

It’s the SB2 fee that is raising concerns as some lenders have been known to manipulate communicating to borrowers the exact amount due.  Some will add on a blanket amount over and above the State mandated $75.  For some homeowners the amount could range from $150-$250 and more.  Most homeowners do not know about SB2 and are forced to take “their lenders word” in getting an explanation of the charge.  Lenders on the other hand have been known to use a very dubious answer such as, “Oh! it’s a State mandated fee.”  The facts are simple, you can only be charged for actual work and for SB2 the fee is clear at $75.

“Most homeowner’s never question the fees their lender charges because as long as they are within reason, they just pay them.  They don’t realize many of those fees are posted and you can only be charged on what the actual fee is.”  anonymous Los Angeles County Registrar staff

Pay attention to your payoff statement and make sure you receive a FULL explanation on any fee you are not sure about.

 

Mortgage rates continue to drop……..but


Consumer mortgage rates have continued their decline and normally this would be great news for those financing the purchase of their home or refinancing their existing mortgage.

 

Low rates do not mean a thing if you can’t qualify!!!

MATTHEWS, NC – JANUARY 8: Brooks Troxler, owner of a small IT company called TroxTech, poses for a portrait at his office in a small office park in Matthews NC on January 8, 2019. Troxler is waiting for loan approval from the Small Business Association so he can close on a property that will allow him to expand his business. Because of the government shutdown, there are no federal workers at the SBA to approve his loan and his property deal is in jeopardy. (Photo by Logan Cyrus for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Today Freddie Mac released its weekly rate survey.  The benchmark thirty-year mortgage is now at 4.450%.  The fifteen-year mortgage came in at 3.890%.  The Freddie Mac rate survey is the industry standard which consumers and professionals used to gauge and monitor rate activity.  The report data is compiled from a sample of Freddie Mac lenders across the nation.

 

Verifying income hampered

 

The dip in mortgage rates has resulted in a spike in mortgage applications.  The trick for lenders processing those applications is being able to have the loans fund in light of the Government shutdown.

Some applicants who are tied to the shutdown have voluntarily pulled their applications and some have seen lenders pull their applications because it is hard to verify income that does not exist.

 

IRS affected by shutdown

Another effect is not being able to verify income using the standard 4506T process.  The 4506T is a process initiated by lenders in wake of the 2008 financial crisis.  It is an internal revenue form that most borrowers execute as part of the documents when making an application.   It is used to match the income as reported on your federal income tax reporting.   Unfortunately, due to the shutdown the IRS cannot verify income as reported.


The drop-in rates have helped to spur what was stalled real estate activity.  While the shutdown is one metric affecting the economy, experts are pointing to the imposed tariffs and basic international uncertainty as further softening that may erode consumer confidence.

In the meantime, those whose income can be verified are more aggressive in taking advantage of the rate dip before the window closes.

 

Snapshot of this week’s rates:

  • 30 year fixed rate – 4.450%
  • 15 year fixed rate – 3.890%
  • 5/1 Adjustable rate mortgage 3.83%

Conforming Loan Limits increased


above photo Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), from left, Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, and Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), listen during a Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) meeting at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Powell said at the meeting he is worried about a spillover from hard Brexit, but stocks and Treasuries showed little reaction. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced conforming loan limits would increase from $453,100 to $484,350.  For higher cost areas (see map below) the new limit will be $726,525.  FHFA was created as the umbrella agency for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).

Fannie Mae Headquarters, Washington, DC (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Freddie Mac Headquarters, McLean, VA (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

They purchase home loans from a network of lenders across the nation.  The lenders originate the loans from consumers who are seeking to finance their home purchase or to refinance their existing mortgage.  The lenders also work with mortgage brokers, credit unions and other organizations who have direct contact with consumers.

Once the loans are funded, they are packaged and sent to respective investors (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and sold as securities, which are backed or collateralized from the property.

 

The Impact

Nationally the average loan amount is $229,000.  The new guidelines take effect for mortgages that originate starting January 1, 2019.  The increase will help those who see home prices continue to rise.

Conforming loans are those where the loan amount is $484,350 OR LESS.  Any loan amount in excess of that loan is defined as a “Non-Conforming” loan.  For borrowers the impact is typically ½ point or 50 basis points on the interest rate.

 

As an example based on current limits

Loan Amount Rate Payment Mo. Difference
$453,100.00 4.81% $1,816.00 -$188.00
$453,101.00 5.31% $2,004.00

The bottom line difference could be approximately $190 each month.  So, while the monthly payment is crucial, the move also provides those with higher loan amounts an additional $31,250 to deal higher prices, while being able to obtain more affordable interest rates.

 

Mortgage rates jump to near 5%


COVER PHOTO.  Traders work on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on October 10, 2018 in New York. - Wall Street stocks plunged Wednesday, with major indices losing more than three percent in a selloff prompted by the sudden jump in US interest rates. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 3.1 percent or 830 points to finish at 25,613.35, in the biggest fall since February. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Mortgage rates jumped to 4.90% which is a number not seen in nearly seven years based on Freddie Mac’s weekly rate survey.  Although an increase was expected the jump of nineteen basis points caught some by surprise.  As strong as the economy is purchasing a home continues to be an illusive transaction for many.  The rise in rates buffeted by the increase in home prices have left many reconsidering their plans as evidenced by the drop in mortgage applications.

Remember that tax break earlier in the year?

Last December president Trump and the GOP controlled congress touted the tax cut as a “cure-all” and justification of their leadership prowess.  Indeed, a good chunk of working people did receive benefits from the tax cut and a few were lucky enough to get bonuses.  The average cut was about $1,600.


For those who were positioning to buy a home or refinance their existing mortgage the recent mortgage rate hike has wiped out that savings.

Time Rate Payment Annual
Oct. 2018 4.90% $1,252
Oct. 2017 3.90% $1,113
Diff $139 $1,668
**based on average mortgage of $239,000

Cyclical

Most understand rates and economic metrics are cyclical.  In other words when you have an improved economy, you will also see a rise in consumer goods.  Also, recently the Feds increased the discount rate.  This was done as a preventative measure to thwart inflation.  Normally political leaders stay out of the Fed’s business but Donald Trump has continued to intimate their move has contributed to rate increases claiming they will result in a negative impact.

“I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy,” President Donald Trump 

Tariffs

Another pressure-point for the economy is the recent drop in the DOW Jones and financial markets.  Business leaders, especially those in the real estate sector attribute the decline to the uncertainty of the Trump imposed tariffs and other measures.  They feel recent gains may be wiped out.

“These tariffs will translate into higher costs for consumers and U.S. businesses that use these products, including home builders,” Randy Noel, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders 

Here is a snapshot of this week’s rate survey

October 11, 2018

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 4.9 % 4.29 % 4.07 %
Fees & Points 0.5 0.5 0.3
Margin N/A N/A 2.77
Freddie Mac produces the weekly rate survey.  It is the industry standard for consumers and mortgage professionals to gauge consumer mortgage rates.

 

Mortgage Fraud on the rise


Today mortgage information provider CoreLogic released its “Annual Fraud Report” documenting a rise in consumer mortgage fraud.  The report highlights that recently convicted former Trump campaign manager isn’t the only one who submitted false applications to secure mortgage loans.  As in the case of Manafort, mortgage fraud is a federal offense and the penalties can be stiff, including incarceration.

ALEXANDRIA, VA –  Manafort was charged with financial frauds and is the first defendant in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to face trial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Even though the economy has improved, the rise in home prices and corresponding amount of income needed to qualify for a loan has increased.  Although it is a risk management issue the numbers note approximately 1 in 109 applications have some type of fraud.  The report reflects the fraud index has increased for the past seven quarters.

Two fraud issues that are top of mind for risk managers right now are false credit disputes and income misrepresentation.

Video discusses the report shown here

https://players.brightcove.net/75895570001/EJUJuZYOl_default/index.html?videoId=5822617829001

 

 

Feds raise discount rate to 2.250%


Above caption.  Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Holds A News Conference Following Federal Open Market Committee Meeting
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference on September 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The US Federal Reserve raised the short-term interest rates by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, the third increase of the year, and signaled two more hikes were coming in 2018 and four in 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 26: Traders monitor offers in the S&P options pit at the Cboe Global Markets exchange shortly after the Federal Reserve announced it was raising interest rates on September 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Fed agreed to increase the federal funds rate a quarter percentage point, to a range of 2% to 2.25%. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

[Washington, DC]   In a move that was forecast several weeks ago, this afternoon Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve raised the discount rate to 2.250%.  This move occurred to the chagrin of his boss and the person who appointed him Donald Trump,  as since June of this year he has been quite vocal that Powell should not raise rates.

The Feds are non-partisan and to effectively operate are independent of political interference.  As customary,  president’s and those in leadership refrain from making comments about monetary policy.  That is most, except Trump who once again has demonstrated his lack of understanding  regarding political protocol.

 

“I’m not thrilled,” Trump said in an interview last month

 


Powell has stood firm and justified the move to control a positive economy.  The discount rate is the cost commercial banks pay for funds.  Their impact does not immediately affect consumers but they typically result in higher borrower costs.

 

You can’t have it both ways

 

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2 to 2-1/4 percent.  Jerome Powell, Fed Chairman

 

Ever since the financial meltdown of 2008, systemic changes were adopted to strengthen the economy.  In Trump’s case, even though it is very tough for him to admit he inherited an economy that had all the signs of positive growth, as a practical measure it must be properly managed.  As the economy moves forward, it is the Fed’s who are in control of monetary policy and to manage interest rates so that inflation of other negative factors are mitigated.

The nine member panel of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee voted unanimously to support the increase.

Here is Powell’s full report to the media.