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Nov 26, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie, Freddie Clarify Buyback Rules

In an effort to encourage banks to loosen lending standards, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released rules Nov. 20 that clarify exactly when banks would be required to repurchase bad loans. Banks have been reluctant to ease lending standards after suffering billions of dollars in penalties for having issued poorly documented loans in the wake of the financial crisis.

 
Nov 26, 2014 12:30 PM

Watt Updates Congress, Challenged on Lack of Progress

In his first appearance before Congress as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Nov. 19, Mel Watt gave the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee updates on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, but he came under fire for not doing enough to help underwater homeowners, HousingWire reported.

 
Nov 26, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie Mae Changes UCDP Proprietary Appraisal Messages

Fannie Mae announced on Nov. 18 changes to proprietary appraisal messages in the Uniform Collateral Data Portal that are designed to provide more information to lenders and help them identify potential defects during the appraisal review process.

 
Nov 19, 2014 01:52 PM

Bank of America Won’t Loosen Lending Standards

Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan said the bank will not loosen mortgage lending standards even though regulators are trying to increase credit availability, Bloomberg reported Nov. 12. He said the bank has no incentive to create more mortgage availability when customers are susceptible to default.

 
Nov 19, 2014 01:47 PM

CFPB Changes Compliance Guide for Mortgage Rules

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Nov. 10 announced two changes to its compliance guide for the new major qualified mortgage rules that took effect this year. The changes address lender and policymaker concerns.

 
Nov 19, 2014 01:44 PM

AI Cautions USDA about Raising Appraisal Threshold

The Appraisal Institute and the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers jointly submitted a letter Nov. 14 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in which they cautioned against proposed changes to the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program that would raise the threshold for when appraisals are required.

 
Nov 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Dodd-Frank, Bank Regulation Uncertain with New Senate

With Republicans about to take control of the Senate, the future of the Dodd-Frank Act remains uncertain, as new conservative lawmakers are expected to target the 2010 law that introduced financial regulatory reform, MarketWatch reported Nov. 5.

 
Nov 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Court Vacates HUD’s Disparate Impact Rule

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s disparate impact rule under the Fair Housing Act after it determined the rule made lenders unfairly vulnerable to discrimination claims even when they took steps to prevent discrimination or when intentional discrimination was absent, MBA NewsLink reported Nov. 5.

 
Nov 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Basel III Accords Scrutinize ‘As Completed’ Appraisal Values

New loan risk weight requirements that impact commercial real estate are putting greater emphasis on the “as completed” value within appraisal reports prepared for acquisition, development and construction loans, known as ADC loans, the Appraisal Institute reported Nov. 12.

 

Appraisers Able to Access RESNET Home Energy Ratings Database

The Residential Energy Services Network announced Oct. 28 that its National Registry is open to the public, which gives appraisers performing “green” property valuations access to valuable home energy ratings data. RESNET is the recognized national standards-making body for building energy-efficiency rating and certification systems in the U.S.

 

Fed Officially Ends Bond Buying Program

The Federal Reserve announced Oct. 29 that it ended its quantitative easing bond-buying program, The Wall Street Journal reported. The announcement was followed by an assurance that short-term interest rates would remain low. Ending the program reflects the Fed’s confidence in the nation’s economy, which grew almost 3 percent in the third quarter, significantly better than the economies in Japan and Europe.

 

Report: Mortgage and Valuation Fraud Increase

Instances of mortgage and appraisal fraud are on the rise, CoreLogic reported Oct. 28 in its 2014 Mortgage Fraud Report. During the second quarter, an estimated 11,100 mortgage applications, or 0.69 percent of all mortgage applications, contained fraud, as compared with 19,700 or 0.67 percent in the second quarter of 2013, when the total application volume was substantially higher.

 
Oct 22, 2014 12:30 PM

FHFA Announces Plans to Reduce Lender Liability

A plan announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Oct. 20 would clarify the representation and warranty framework for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so as to limit lender confusion and liability on loan buybacks, HousingWire reported.

 
Oct 22, 2014 12:30 PM

Valuations Part of New Rules for Nontraded REITs

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved a rule change that provides investors with greater insight into the costs of unlisted real estate investment trusts, Investment News reported Oct. 14. The change allows the use of two methodologies, including appraised value.

 
Oct 22, 2014 12:30 PM

FHA Insurance Fund Close to Achieving Required Minimums

After taking $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds last year to balance its books, the Federal Housing Administration is close to replenishing its troubled insurance fund to minimum required levels, according to a report by ratings firm Moody’s Analytics, Bloomberg reported Oct. 16.

 
Oct 08, 2014 12:30 PM

Lawsuit Challenging Fannie, Freddie Profits Dismissed

A judge dismissed a lawsuit Sept. 30 that challenged the way profits from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were funneled to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Mortgage News Daily reported. The lawsuit was filed by investors who claimed the profit-funneling violated terms of the 2008 conservatorship agreement for the government-sponsored enterprises.

 
Oct 08, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: Home Prices Undervalued by 3 Percent

Home prices nationwide are undervalued by an average 3 percent, the real estate site Trulia reported Oct. 1. Conversely, the report noted that around 7 percent of the nation's 100 largest metro areas have homes that are more than 10 percent overvalued.

 
Oct 08, 2014 12:30 PM

Fed Faulted for Badly Executing Foreclosure Settlements

The Federal Reserve's Office of the Inspector General faulted the regulatory agency for poorly preparing, managing and executing settlements in 2013 with 13 financial firms over foreclosure errors, Bloomberg reported Oct. 2.

 

Beige Book: Real Estate Activity Shows Modest Growth

The Federal Reserve Beige Book released Sept. 3 showed that markets improved modestly from June through late August, as slightly more than half of the 12 districts reported some growth in nonresidential real estate activity, with increased construction or leasing (or both) tied to steady or falling vacancy rates and rent increases.

 
Sep 10, 2014 12:30 PM

Comments Requested for Additional USPAP Changes

The Appraisal Foundation’s Appraisal Standards Board has issued a third exposure draft of proposed changes to its 2016-17 edition of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, and is seeking feedback on the proposed changes by Oct. 10.

 

VA Announces New Fannie Mae Appraisal Report Requirements

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Sept. 2 that it now requires appraisers to include Fannie Mae Form 1004MC, Market Conditions Addendum, in all VA appraisal reports.

 
Sep 03, 2014 12:30 PM

Obama Announces Partnership with Lenders to Help Military Homeowners

President Obama announced on Aug. 26 changes to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 that will make it easier for military families to lower their monthly mortgage payments, National Mortgage News reported.

 

HUD Finalizes Changes on FHA-insured ARMs, Prepayments

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development finalized on Aug. 26 two new rules for Federal Housing Administration-insured adjustable-rate mortgages, with one focused on how ARMs are adjusted and the other on post-payment interest charges on single-family FHA mortgages.

 
Sep 03, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: GSEs Still at Risk of Mortgage Scams

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General reported that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae remain vulnerable to scams, and that all three need to make significant improvements so as to avoid suffering multibillion dollar losses due to fraud, HousingWire reported Aug. 26.​

 
Aug 27, 2014 12:30 PM

Congress Challenges Fed Bailout Procedures

Lawmakers sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen in which they requested she rewrite the Fed’s proposed rule on bailing out banks considered “too big to fail,” HousingWire reported Aug. 18.​

 
Aug 27, 2014 12:30 PM

Bank of America Pays Record Fine for Faulty RMBS

Bank of America will pay a record $16.65 billion penalty in the largest civil settlement ever between a single entity and the federal government, USA Today reported Aug. 21.

 
Aug 27, 2014 12:30 PM

Study: Utah Lenders Pay Higher Fees for Complex Appraisals

Mortgage lenders are willing to pay higher fees based on complexity of an appraisal assignment, not on the appraiser’s experience and education; however, appraisers who have a professional designation are more likely to be hired, according to a study conducted by the Utah Association of Appraisers on customary and reasonable fees and released on Aug. 13.

 
Aug 20, 2014 12:30 PM

Freddie Mac: Housing Market on Path to Normal

The nation’s economy is stabilizing and the housing market is expected to return to a more normal state driven by fundamentals such as labor market gains and unemployment rates, Freddie Mac reported Aug. 13 in its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for August.

 
Aug 20, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie Mae: 80 Percent of Lenders Avoid Non-QM Loans

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Qualified Mortgage and Ability-to-Repay mortgage regulations that took effect in January have had little impact on lenders’ strategies so far, but most anticipate a tough environment going forward, according to an Aug.14 Fannie Mae survey of 2,000 senior executives from its list of approved lenders.

 
Aug 20, 2014 12:30 PM

CFPB Fines Lender, AMC for Inflated Appraisal Fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Aug. 12 that it fined mortgage lender Amerisave Mortgage Corp., its affiliate, Novo Appraisal Management Company, and the organizations’ collective owner, Patrick Markert, $19.3 million for allegedly luring prospective borrowers with misleading interest rates and trapping them with inflated appraisal fees.

 
Aug 13, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: Banks Making Fewer Loans Due to New Mortgage Rules/ mortgage scrutiny

The Federal Reserve Board released a survey Aug. 4 in which it reported that some banks are making fewer loans because of new qualified mortgage rules enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January, National Mortgage News reported.

 

Federal Regulators Critical of Bank Living Wills

The Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation criticized 11 of the nation’s biggest banks Aug. 5 for their failure to create adequate plans for dismantling themselves in the event of a financial crisis in a way that would not be harmful to the overall financial system, USA Today reported.​

 

FHA Commissioner Galante Stepping Down/ galante

Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante announced Aug. 11 that she will be leaving the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and stepping down from her role as assistant secretary for housing at the end of this year, HousingWire reported.

 
Aug 06, 2014 01:00 PM

CFPB Wants More Lender Disclosures

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a proposal July 24 that would require lenders to disclose more information on mortgages, including homebuyer age and credit score and details about property value and interest rates.

 

House Committee Passes USPAP Exemption Bill

The House Financial Services Committee on July 29 approved H.R. 5148, the Access to Affordable Mortgages Act, which would grant certain “high-risk” mortgages an exemption from having an appraisal performed in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, the Appraisal Institute reported.

 
Aug 06, 2014 01:00 PM

FHA Issues Draft of New Appraisal Requirements

The Federal Housing Administration on July 31 issued drafts of four new appraiser policy documents that it plans to add to its Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook. The FHA is seeking feedback before the documents are finalized.

 
Jul 30, 2014 12:30 PM

CFPB, FTC Launch Sweep against Foreclosure Relief Scams

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and 15 states initiated a crackdown on foreclosure relief scams that allegedly used deceptive marketing tactics to rip off distressed homeowners, the CFPB announced July 23.

 

Nonbank Mortgage Lenders Fight FHFA Watchdog Report

Nonbank mortgage lenders are furious about a report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General that claimed they are less regulated than large banks and pose increased risks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, National Mortgage News reported July 22.

 

Four Years of Dodd-Frank have Changed Wall Street

With implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act four years ago, the federal regulatory climate has changed Wall Street, leading banks to sell off once profitable business lines, cut back short-term funding markets and break ties with entities that fall under extra regulatory scrutiny, The Wall Street Journal reported July 21.

 
Jul 23, 2014 05:00 PM

Beige Book: Real Estate Activity Mixed Across Districts

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book released July 16 showed that real estate activity varied across the districts, with many reporting low inventories and increasing home prices but mixed consumer demand.

 
Jul 23, 2014 05:00 PM

CFPB Wants to Publicize Consumer Complaints

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a policy that would allow consumers to publicize their complaints about financial products and services — including mortgages, HousingWire reported July 16.

 
Jul 23, 2014 05:00 PM

Illinois Considers Bill to Clarify BPOs, CMAs

Legislation that would clarify several aspects of an Illinois law governing broker price opinions and comparative market analyses has passed the state legislature and currently is under consideration by Gov. Pat Quinn, the Appraisal Institute reported July 21.

 
Jul 16, 2014 12:30 PM

Senate Confirms Julian Castro as HUD Secretary

The Senate on July 9 confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by a 71-26 vote, HousingWire reported.

 

Fed Defends Settlement with Banks over Foreclosures

In a July 7 report, the Federal Reserve defended its decision to halt its review of banks’ foreclosure practices last year in favor of a general $9.3 billion settlement to reimburse borrowers who may have wrongly experienced foreclosure, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 
Jul 16, 2014 12:30 PM

Citigroup Settles Mortgage Probe, Pays Record Penalty

Citigroup will pay $7 billion to resolve claims it misled investors who purchased shoddy mortgage-backed securities that helped lead to the financial crisis six years ago, Reuters reported July 14. The deal includes the largest civil fraud penalty ever levied by the U.S. Department of Justice.

 
Jul 09, 2014 12:30 PM

FHFA: Nonbank Mortgage Servicers Lack Sufficient Funds, Pose Financial Risk

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said that nonbank mortgage servicers that process payments on delinquent loans may lack sufficient funding and could pose a financial risk for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee the mortgages, The Wall Street Journal reported July 1.

 
Jul 09, 2014 12:30 PM

Fed Chair Urges Stronger Regulation

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in a July 2 speech to the International Monetary Fund in the District of Columbia that she thinks stronger regulation is necessary to preserve financial stability, and that raising interest rates would be a second line of defense and unnecessary at this time, The New York Times reported.

 
Jul 09, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: Property Valuation Fraud Risk Rises Nationwide

Property valuation fraud risk increased during the first quarter, and indicators suggest that the rise of properties being appraised well above traditional valuation thresholds in order to create “equity” is a contributing factor, analytics firm Interthinx reported July 2 in its 1Q 2014 Valuation Fraud Risk Index.

 
Jul 02, 2014 12:30 PM

New Bill Changes Louisiana Appraisers Law, Board

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law a new bill that takes effect Aug. 1 and makes multiple changes to the state's Real Estate Appraisers Law, including provisions related to examination applications, experience review and license renewal and continuing education requirements, among others, Valuation Review reported.

 
Jul 02, 2014 12:30 PM

Hawaii Mandates Transparency for Appraisers Acting as Arbitrators

An alleged "lack of openness and transparency" in the oversight of appraisers who act as arbitrators led Hawaii lawmakers to enact legislation that took effect July 1 that requires arbitration awards, records of award and related supporting materials to be public records, Valuation Review reported.

 
Jul 02, 2014 12:30 PM

Inspector General: FHFA Should Sue Over Forced-placed Insurance

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Inspector General said the agency should sue forced-placed insurance companies and large banks for inflating prices and causing losses for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mortgage Servicing News reported June 25.

 
Jun 18, 2014 12:30 PM

Fight Brewing over Small Business Tax Write-offs

A $73.1 billion tax reduction bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives June 12 would allow small businesses to write-off capital purchases more quickly, Bloomberg reported. The House voted to revive the provision that lapsed at the close of 2013; the White House, however, opposes the bill.

 
Jun 18, 2014 12:30 PM

Freddie to Host Multifamily Appraisal Webinar

Freddie Mac will host a webinar June 26 that will highlight upcoming changes to its multifamily appraisal requirements. Freddie’s new requirements, which take effect July 1, will address tying together an appraiser’s multifamily data with their conclusions.

 
Jun 18, 2014 12:30 PM

Bank of America, Justice Department Reach Impasse

Bank of America and the U.S. Department of Justice failed to reach an agreement on a multibillion-dollar settlement that would resolve state and federal investigations into the bank’s sale of failed mortgage-backed securities, The New York Times reported June 10. The case now heads to trial with the Justice Department seeking $17 billion.

 
Jun 11, 2014 12:30 PM

Beige Book: Real Estate Lending Activity Increases Nationwide

The Federal Reserve Beige Book released June 4 showed that real estate markets improved unevenly across the 12 districts from April through late-May, but overall lending activity increased nationwide, with roughly two-thirds of the districts reporting rising loan demand particularly in the New York and San Francisco districts.

 
Jun 11, 2014 12:30 PM

Green Homes a Growth Sector in Housing Market

Green construction is a growth sector in the recovering housing market, McGraw Hill Construction reported June 5 when it released its report “Green Multifamily & Single Family Homes: Growth in a Recovering Market.”

 
Jun 11, 2014 12:30 PM

South Carolina Passes New Appraiser Licensing Standards

South Carolina has instituted the new Real Estate Appraisers License and Certification Act in order to bring appraiser licensing and standards in line with uniform national standards, Valuation Review reported June 5. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed HB4644 into law May 16.

 
Jun 04, 2014 12:30 PM

Fed has Little Control over Housing Recovery

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has expressed concern about a slowing housing recovery that could pose a risk to the overall economic outlook, but there is very little the regulator can do other than influence mortgage rates, Bloomberg reported May 28. Adjusting rates, however, has no impact on other factors contributing to a sluggish housing sector, including lagging household formation and cautious lenders and borrowers.

 
Jun 04, 2014 12:30 PM

Conservation Easement Credit Included in House Tax Plan

On May 29, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation that makes permanent the bonus depreciation of improvements for qualified properties; the legislation also made permanent a number of tax measures related to charitable giving.

 
Jun 04, 2014 12:30 PM

Investigators Probe Mortgage Fraud at Smaller Banks

After making billion-dollar settlements with the nation’s largest banks, federal investigators are now focusing their attention on smaller lenders, looking at the banks’ mortgage lending and loan servicing practices in the years leading up to the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported May 28.

 
May 28, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie: Housing Remains Economy’s Weakest Link

Fannie Mae economists said the U.S. economy is poised for growth despite having stalled during the first quarter, but they noted that housing remains the weakest link, Inman News reported May 21. Fannie Chief Economist Doug Duncan said that the growing financial and labor market should reflect a rebound when reports come out for April, May and June, and show that growth accelerated to an annual rate of 3 percent.

 
May 28, 2014 12:30 PM

Change Proposed for Conservation Value of Wildlife Habitats

In a move that would affect the valuation of wildlife habitats, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed to amend the definition of “destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration May 21 news release.

 
May 28, 2014 12:30 PM

Connecticut Law Could Shift Appraiser Requirements

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is expected to sign into a law a bill that will change the state’s real estate appraiser and appraisal management regulations to bring them into compliance with federal requirements, Valuation Review reported May 21. Senate Bill 205 was introduced Feb. 19 and sent to the governor May 14.

 
May 21, 2014 12:30 PM

NAR Considers Policy Change on Automated Valuations

The National Association of Realtors is reviewing a proposed policy amendment that would require multiple listing services to provide data feeds to brokers who want to use them to establish automated valuations of properties, Inman News reported May 14. If adopted, the policy would also not allow brokers to opt out of including their data in these feeds.

 
May 21, 2014 12:30 PM

Senate Banking Committee Approves Fannie, Freddie Overhaul

The Senate Banking Committee approved a bipartisan bill to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, though it was a narrow and likely hollow victory, according to a May 15 article in The Wall Street Journal. Thirteen committee members, including seven Republicans and six Democrats, approved the bill on May 15, a narrow majority of the 22 lawmakers on the committee.

 
May 21, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: Big Banks Improve Loan Servicing

A court-appointed monitor overseeing the $25 billion settlement between the nation’s five largest banks, 49 states and the U.S. Department of Justice issued a compliance report May 14 that said the banks are improving treatment of troubled borrowers, Bloomberg reported.

 
May 14, 2014 12:30 PM

Watt Unveils Major Shift in FHFA Housing Policies

In his first major policy statement, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced a shift in housing finance policies May 13 that signals a new strategic plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, CQ Roll Call reported.

 
May 14, 2014 12:30 PM

Key Democrats Reject Johnson-Crapo GSE Reform Bill

Four formerly undecided Senate Democrats announced that they would not support the Johnson-Crapo bill to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, Mortgage News Daily reported May 9. The bill’s co-author, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., had hoped to have 16 favorable votes in the Senate Finance Committee before bringing S 1217 before to the floor; the bill obtained only 12 “yes” votes on May 8 with six Republicans and six Democrats in favor of the legislation.

 
May 14, 2014 12:30 PM

Yellen: Housing Market Not Helping Economy

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a joint congressional committee May 7 that the nation’s housing market has gone from boosting economic recovery to stalling it, HousingWire reported. Yellen said that the lack of growth in the first quarter was largely due to the housing market, which was impacted by bad weather.

 
May 07, 2014 12:30 PM

Congress Asked to Reinstate Land Conservation Tax Breaks

Supporters of an “enhanced” but expired federal tax deduction for landowners who donate property for conservation or preservation want Congress to reinstate it and make it permanent, CQ Roll Call reported May 2.

 
May 07, 2014 12:30 PM

GSEs May Require another Bailout if Recession Returns

If the nation faced another major economic downturn, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could require an additional taxpayer bailout of around $190 billion, according to stress test results released April 29 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Bloomberg reported.

 
May 07, 2014 12:30 PM

GAO: Lack of Foreclosure Reviews Led to $1.5 Billion Loss

If regulators had conducted a comprehensive review of bank foreclosure files, they could have netted an additional $1.5 billion in cash payments, the Government Accountability Office reported April 29, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 
Apr 30, 2014 12:30 PM

Vote on GSE Reform Bill Postponed

On April 29, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee postponed a vote on legislation to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a move that may reflect the difficulty the committee has had rounding up enough support for a vote in the full Senate, Reuters reported

 
Apr 30, 2014 12:30 PM

CFPB Announces Mortgage Closing Pilot Program

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told the Mortgage Closing Forum in Washington, D.C., April 23, that his agency will launch an eClosing pilot project later this year that's designed to improve the closing experience for homebuyers, Mortgage News Daily reported. ​

 
Apr 30, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: Fracking Can Decrease Property Values by 15 Percent

In its "Oil and Gas Exploration for Mortgage Bankers" presentation, the law firm Ballard Spahr reported that fracking, which is the practice of accessing natural gas reserves from shale, can cause property values to decrease by as much as 15 percent, HousingWire reported April 22.

 
Apr 23, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie Mae Updates Appraisal Policies

On April 15, Fannie Mae announced updates to its Selling Guide that affect appraisal policies relating to appraisal updates, required photos and acceptable comparable properties. The changes, which are effective immediately, follow a comprehensive review of the Guide’s appraisal requirements chapters.​

 
Apr 23, 2014 12:30 PM

Senate May Delay Vote on GSE Reform

The Senate Banking Committee may delay a pending vote on reform of government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as it looks to acquire further votes, National Mortgage News reported April 14.

 
Apr 23, 2014 12:30 PM

Housing Industry Tires of Waiting on Direction from FHFA Chief

Lawmakers and those involved in the nation’s housing industry remain frustrated by a lack of communication and guidance from the office of Mel Watt, who took over as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in January, regarding his plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Reuters reported April 14.​

 
Apr 16, 2014 12:30 PM

Appraiser, Lender Feedback Sought for New FHA Handbook

On April 8, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asked appraisers, lenders and other stakeholders to provide feedback on its new Federal Housing Administration handbook, which will serve as a consolidated resource for the agency’s single-family housing policy. The comment period will last 30 days.

 
Apr 16, 2014 12:30 PM

FHFA, Chicago Settle Feud over Vacant Property

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the city of Chicago settled their nearly three-year legal battle over Chicago’s vacant property ordinance that requires mortgagees to register, secure and maintain foreclosed properties, HousingWire reported April 8.

 
Apr 16, 2014 12:30 PM

FHA Reconsidering Spot Loans for Condos

Condominium owners in buildings that are not approved for Federal Housing Administration lending may soon be able to obtain “spot loans,” which the agency banned nearly four years ago, Inman News reported April 8.

 
Apr 09, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: CFPB Slow to Complete Bank Examinations

The Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Reserve reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took too long to complete bank and non-bank examination reports and failed to meet its own timeline when offering feedback to financial institutions on their compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act, Bloomberg reported April 1.

 
Apr 09, 2014 12:30 PM

Lawsuits Targeting Appraisal Reviews on the Rise

The frequency of negligence claims against appraisers for work performed at the height of the real estate bubble is winding down, but as this occurs, new areas of litigation are emerging and focusing on appraisal review, according to an article published in the First Quarter 2014 issue of Valuation magazine.​

 
Apr 09, 2014 12:30 PM

Mortgage Complaints Skyrocket in 2013

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 163,700 consumer complaints in 2013, almost double the amount it received in 2012, and mortgages were the most groused about item, accounting for 37 percent of all complaints, according to the 2013 Consumer Response Annual Report released March 31.

 
Mar 26, 2014 12:30 PM

Regulators Propose Supervision Requirements for AMCs

Six federal agencies jointly issued a proposed rule March 24 that would implement minimum requirements for state registration and supervision of appraisal management companies.

 
Mar 26, 2014 12:30 PM

FHA to Launch New Appraisal Portal

The Federal Housing Administration’s Office of Single-Family Housing will soon offer a web-based appraisal portal similar to the Uniform Collateral Data Portal already in use by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, HousingWire reported March 20.

 
Mar 26, 2014 12:30 PM

IRS Bans Appraiser Group from Façade Easement Valuations

The Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Professional Responsibility announced March 19 that it reached a settlement with a group of appraisers from a firm accused of aiding in the understatement of federal tax liabilities by overvaluing façade easements for charitable donation purposes.

 
Mar 19, 2014 12:30 PM

White House, Senate Agree on Plan to Wind Down GSEs

The White House and Senate leaders have agreed on a proposal for winding down mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac almost six years after the federal government bailed out the two firms, The Wall Street Journal reported March 11.

 

Report: DOJ Failed to Adequately Prosecute Mortgage Fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice has repeatedly emphasized that prosecuting mortgage fraud is one of its top priorities, but the DOJ Inspector General released an audit showing that between 2009 and 2011, the agency had done little to fulfill its commitment, HousingWire reported March 13.

 

CFPB Scrutinizing ‘Zombie Foreclosures’

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is starting to scrutinize mortgage servicers’ practice of starting foreclosures and then walking away from them, leaving homeowners who may already have vacated the property on the hook for mortgage debt, taxes and maintenance, National Mortgage News reported March 12.

 
Mar 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Congress Wants Answers from SBA on ‘Going Concern’ Appraisals

Responding to growing concern from the real estate industry over the U.S. Small Business Administration’s policy change on the appraisals of special purposes properties, 15 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter March 6 to the SBA’s acting administrator Marianne O’Brien Markowitz seeking clarification on the matter.

 
Mar 12, 2014 12:30 PM

AI Addresses ‘Green’ Issues at White House Appraisal Roundtable

On March 11, the Appraisal Institute participated in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mortgage Appraisal Roundtable at the White House to help identify ways in which the mortgage appraisal process can be improved. 2014 President Ken P. Wilson, MAI, SRA, and Sandra Adomatis, SRA, attended.

 
Mar 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Risk of Mortgage Fraud Drops, Valuation Fraud Steady

Lenders faced a reduced risk of mortgage fraud during the fourth quarter of 2013, yet borrowers were three times as likely to lie about occupancy on multi-unit properties compared to single-unit properties, according to the National Mortgage Fraud Risk Report released Feb. 28 by analytics firm Interthinx.​

 
Mar 05, 2014 12:30 PM

Yellen Says Fed May Slow Quantitative Easing

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee Feb. 27 that the Central Bank may suspend further reductions in quantitative easing if economic growth continued to slow, although she conceded that some of the slowdown could be the result of severe winter weather, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 
Mar 05, 2014 12:30 PM

Bank of America Investigated for FHA Compliance

Bank of America is undergoing another federal probe, this time by the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York over the bank’s alleged failure to comply with the Federal Housing Administration’s Direct Endorsement Program, Reuters reported Feb. 25.

 
Mar 05, 2014 12:30 PM

Morgan Stanley Settles with SEC for $275 Million

Morgan Stanley has agreed to a $275 million deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle allegations that it traded toxic subprime mortgage bonds, HousingWire reported Feb. 26. The trades date back to 2007.

 
Feb 26, 2014 12:30 PM

SBA Nominee Queried on Going Concern Appraisals

Maria Contreras-Sweet, the nominee for administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, was questioned during a Senate confirmation hearing Feb. 12 on a policy change that prevents qualified real estate appraisers from performing going concern appraisals.

 
Feb 26, 2014 12:30 PM

CFPB Targets Servicers Who Fail to Follow Reforms

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Deputy Director Steven Antonakes said that the agency will crack down on mortgage servicers that are in violation of new rules that went into effect Jan. 10, noting that they had a year to prepare for changes, National Mortgage News reported Feb. 19.

 
Feb 26, 2014 12:30 PM

Federal Reserve: Economy Strong Enough for More Quantitative Easing

Officials from the Federal Reserve banks of Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis said they believe the U.S. economy is performing strongly enough that the central bank will be able to stick to its plan to wind down quantitative easing this year, Reuters reported Feb. 19.

 
Feb 19, 2014 12:30 PM

GSEs Updating Method for Processing Appraisal Reports

According to guidance released Feb. 11 by Fannie Mae, beginning July 13 both Fannie and Freddie Mac will only accept MISMO XML submissions in the Uniform Collateral Data Portal. The PDF extraction service in UCDP will be retired as of that date, and the GSEs will no longer accept appraisals submitted in other file formats.

 
Feb 19, 2014 12:30 PM

Bipartisan GSE Reform Bill Nearing Completion

The Senate Banking Committee is near completion of a bipartisan bill that would reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, National Mortgage News reported Feb. 12. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said it is critical to move on reform now, given pending litigation.

 
Feb 19, 2014 12:30 PM

HUD Seeks Court Guidance on Eminent Domain

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told attendees at a Feb. 12 Politico event that the use of eminent domain to force the sale of private-label mortgages out of securitized trusts needs to be decided by the courts, National Mortgage News reported Feb. 13.

 
Feb 12, 2014 12:30 PM

FHFA: Fannie, Freddie Fail to Analyze Appraisal Data

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed to fully analyze data from the Uniform Collateral Data Portal and continue to take unnecessary risks when purchasing and guaranteeing mortgages, according to a report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General, Mortgage Daily reported Feb. 6.

 
Feb 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Suit Alleges Banks Filed False Mortgage Claims with HUD

A whistleblower filed suit against 22 banks, mortgage companies, trustees and custodians Feb. 3, alleging that they submitted fraudulent mortgage claims to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Mortgage News reported. Damages are expected to amount to around $10 billion.

 
Feb 12, 2014 12:30 PM

Judge Postpones $8.5B Bank of America Settlement

Bank of America’s proposed $8.5 billion settlement with investors who purchased allegedly faulty mortgage securities from the bank’s Countrywide unit during the financial crisis has been delayed, Reuters reported Feb. 5.

 
Feb 05, 2014 12:30 PM

NJ Governor Vetoes BPO Legislation...Again

Legislation that would have significantly expanded the ability of New Jersey real estate brokers and salespersons to offer broker price opinion services did not become law because of a Jan. 21 “pocket veto” by Gov. Chris Christie. This is the second time Christie has vetoed BPO legislation.

 
Feb 05, 2014 12:30 PM

Government Increases BofA Penalty by More Than $1 Billion

The federal government increased by more than $1 billion the penalty amount it’s seeking from Bank of America for selling defective mortgages through its Countrywide unit, Reuters reported Jan. 30.

 
Feb 05, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie Mae Resolves $18.9 Billion Claim against Lehman Brothers

Fannie Mae reached a settlement with the remnants of Lehman Brothers Holdings that will resolve an $18.9 billion claim against the investment bank over mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities it sold the government-sponsored enterprise before the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 24.

 
Jan 29, 2014 12:30 PM

Treasury Supports Comprehensive Housing Finance Reform

Despite Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s recent and significant profits, the U.S. Department of the Treasury still is pushing for comprehensive housing finance industry reform, Mortgage News Daily reported Jan. 22.

 
Jan 29, 2014 12:30 PM

Super Bowl Real Estate Showdown: Denver vs. Seattle

More than 50 percent of the population in the cities of Denver and Seattle are homeowners, but Seattle homeowners pay a lot more for property than those in Denver for virtually the same square footage, according to data released Jan. 21 by real estate analytics firm Redfin.

 
Jan 29, 2014 12:30 PM

Fed to Cut Bond Buying Program Again

The Federal Reserve is ready to make a second cut to its bond-buying program, reducing its purchase of Treasurys and mortgage bonds from $75 billion per month to $65 billion per month, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 20.

 
Jan 22, 2014 12:30 PM

Congress: Qualified Mortgage Rule Could Stall Recovery

Some congressional members have expressed concern that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new Qualified Mortgage Rule could curb mortgage credit access and slow the housing recovery, HousingWire reported Jan. 14.

 
Jan 22, 2014 12:30 PM

Report: Property Appreciation Approaching Peak Levels

Residential real estate values and appreciation grew during the fourth quarter of 2013, but at a slower rate than previous quarters, which may indicate that the market is topping out, analytics firm Veros Real Estate Solutions reported Jan. 16.

 
Jan 22, 2014 12:30 PM

Fed Settlements Could Cost Wall Street Firms $50 Billion

Wall Street banks looking to settle with federal authorities over their alleged roles in helping to set off the mortgage crisis could be on the hook for as much as $50 billion, The New York Times reported Jan. 9. Wall Street is using the Fed's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase as a guide for determining how much each bank might have to pay in order to settle with regulators.

 
Jan 15, 2014 12:30 PM

Feds Probe Alleged Intentional MBS Misrepresentations

Federal regulators have launched an investigation into whether or not numerous large Wall Street banks cheated customers in the aftermath of the financial crisis by deliberately mispricing mortgage bonds, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 7.

 
Jan 15, 2014 12:30 PM

Mortgage Firms Settle for $320M after Whistleblower Complaint

Home America Mortgage and Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage will pay more than $320 million to settle allegations they falsified loan applications and documentation - including appraisals - in order to secure government backing for mortgages, National Mortgage News reported Jan. 7.

 
Jan 15, 2014 12:30 PM

Fannie Mae Launches Appraiser Quality Monitoring Website

Fannie Mae launched a website Jan. 6 focused on its new Appraiser Quality Monitoring process, which evaluates appraisals for data accuracy and consistency. The site gives lenders access to a list of appraisers whose reports will be subject to 100 percent review or no longer accepted by Fannie.

 
 
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