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MHARR to FHFA: Duty to Serve Without Chattel is Unacceptable

January 31st, 2017 Comments off
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Capitol Building credit, Wikipedia. MHARR, Mark Weiss images MHProNews. MHARR logo is their intellectual property, and is shown here under fair use guidelines.

Washington, D.C. – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports to MHProNews that, at a Duty to Serve (DTS) “listening session” conducted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) in Chicago, Illinois on January 25th,  it advised FHFA officials and representatives of the FHFA regulated Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), that the December 29, 2016 FHFA final DTS rule which does not mandate manufactured housing chattel loan securitization and secondary market support by the GSEs is unacceptable as currently written.

In comments and a detailed written statement at the meeting, MHARR stressed that any DTS rule which fails to provide meaningful and timely securitization and secondary market support for chattel loans, which comprise upwards of 80 percent of the manufactured housing consumer finance market, cannot conceivably satisfy the mandate imposed by Congress via the DTS provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).

MHARR says that while the FHFA final rule and related guidance proposal issued on January 13th have been lauded by some as bringing consumers and the industry “closer to the realization of a manufactured housing chattel loan securitization and secondary market support program that would end decades of discrimination against the largest segment of the manufactured housing finance market,” the reality is that the final rule contains no affirmative requirement for GSE support of manufactured home chattel loans and no meaningful penalty or sanction for their continuing failure to serve that part, or any other part, of the manufactured housing finance market.

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Credit: Neon Tommy.

The final rule and evaluation guidance would only require that the GSEs consider such support, a formulation that particularly given the GSEs history, would allow them to either bypass and reject such support or engage in endless and ultimately meaningless research and outreach, with nothing more than a perfunctory explanation.

MHARR contends that the FHFA rule as confirmed at the meeting would leave major FHFA regulatory hurdles including its rule requiring approval of new products that could prevent or significantly delay any actual GSE support activity for manufactured housing chattel loans, in place.

The rule would thus continue to exclude the vast majority of potential manufactured housing purchasers from the market, because they cannot afford to pay higher-cost manufactured home chattel loan interest rates that are needlessly inflated by the discriminatory lack of GSE securitization and secondary-market support for such loans and by the lack of full and robust free-market competition, which is artificially suppressed by those same policies.

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Danny Ghorbani, photo credit, the Journal.

While discussing the GSEs, former MHARR President Danny Ghorbani further confirmed concerns.

Despite forty-years of on-again, off-again flirtation with the industry and its consumers, are socially active and engaged, but fiscally removed and divorced from each,” said Ghorbani.

[The GSEs] talk the right talk and go through the right motions, attending and sponsoring industry events and even hiring industry members as consultants to advise them, but have never formulated and implemented a positive and workable program to securitize the chattel loans that would allow low, lower and moderate-income consumers to become homeowners an underserved market that Congress decreed nine years ago, the GSEs must now serve.

For the full statement from MHARR, click here.

The Daily Business News covered the FHFA in a report linked here

Masthead commentary on this issue is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Qualified Mortgage Guidelines will not Change Initially

December 11th, 2013 Comments off

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is getting feedback from lenders regarding the Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule, and while it may alter some of the guidelines down the road, it will wait until lenders adjust to the new set of guidelines. Speaking to a Women in Housing and Finance gathering, head of the CFPB’s Office of Mortgage Markets (OMM) Peter Carroll says, “At this point, any new guidance might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.” According to what nationalmortgagenews.com tells MHProNews, the new QM rule, set to go into effect Jan. 10, 2014, does not include a method to correct a mistake after closing. Carroll says a lender should be able to repair an error within a certain amount of time. Additionally, the Office of Mortgage Markets is considering raising the threshold between prime QM loans that are better protected from litigation, and subprime loans, which receive less legal protection, from 150 basis points (bp) to 200 bp. The OMM monitors and analyzes mortgage markets and products and their affect on those involved.

(Image credit: HousingWire.com)

Federal Housing Administration Bailout Mandated by Law

October 1st, 2013 Comments off

Following a story from yesterday, Sept. 30, regarding the need for a $1.7 billion bailout of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) by Treasury, FHA Commissioner Carol Galante says the request for funds comes from an estimate of forecasted losses from Dec. 2012 that cannot be altered due to mandated accounting rules. She says the next report will document that the agency is in better shape than one year ago. But critics argue the FHA was too lax with bad lenders and borrowers with high default rates. Republican leaders want swift passage of the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH) Act which will eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reform FHA’s accounting system. As nationalmortgagenews reports, earlier this year the White House had projected a shortfall of $943 million, but that number has grown due to the slowdown of mortgage applications recently. However, Galante says the main reason is due to accounting, MHProNews has learned. The Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 requires the agency to cover all expected future losses for 30 years and maintain a 2% capital reserve. “No bank in America reserves for credit losses on a 30-year terms, instead banks get to adjust reserves based on economic conditions,” says David Stevens, president of Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). “But this is very complicated, very unique accounting and technically they have to draw the funds even if they don’t need the money.”

(Image credit: Federal Housing Administration)

Congressman Criticizes Cordray

September 10th, 2013 Comments off

Rep. Patrick McHenry, (R-N.C.) rapped Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray for suggesting credit unions make mortgages to borrowers they see as a reasonable credit risk even though they fall outside the guidelines of the qualified mortgage (QM) rule. Rep. McHenry says that is opening the door for potential litigation against lenders. As nationalmortgagenews tells MHProNews, the QM rule, which is scheduled to take effect in Jan., 2014, protects lenders from litigation in cases of default, and also protects Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loans. But McHenry, as Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight says: “If you truly desire that creditors venture outside the walls of the QM rule, I strongly recommend the CFPB work to remove the repercussions of legal action, rather than simply urge lenders to try their luck.”

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Discarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac = A Nightmare

August 12th, 2013 Comments off

While the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee is supporting legislation to totally eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the mortgage business with no government interference , the Democrat-majority Senate Banking Committee says the government needs to be a backstop to make certain borrowers of modest means can continue to obtain financing. Even President Obama, as MHProNews reported here Aug. 7, states the mortgage industry would be better served with more private sector involvement. Meanwhile, as HousingWire reports, Fox News blogger Peter Morici and USA Today both say eliminating Fannie and Freddie would raise the cost of borrowing to a level that would be out of reach of the middle class.

(Image credit: Fotosearch)

Center for Housing Studies says Housing Recovery is Real

July 29th, 2013 Comments off

While the Census Bureau says home ownership is at its lowest point in 15 years, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reports “After across-the-board declines in 2011, all major house price indexes registered significant increases in 2012.” As documentation, the Center says the March 2013 median house price was up 11.6 percent over March 2012, and as of April 2013, home prices have risen in all except two states and in 94 of 100 major metropolitan markets. Between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012, the number of underwater borrowers dropped 1.7 million to 10.4 million, which represents 23 percent of all mortgage holders. Further, as philly.com informs MHProNews, the rise in prices resulted from increased sales and fewer listings. April 2013 marked the 34th consecutive month of rent increases as ranked by the Consumer Price Index, and last year rental households grew by 1.1 million. Eric S. Belsky, the joint center’s managing director, says, “Even as historically low interest rates have helped make the monthly cost of owning a home more favorable than any time in the past 40 years, the national homeownership rate fell for the eighth straight year in 2012.” He adds, noting the challenges still ahead, “Long-term vacancies are at elevated levels in a number of places, millions of owners are still struggling to make their mortgage payments, and credit conditions for home buyers remain extremely tight.”

(Photo credit: knoxnews)

CFPB Sues Lender for Violating Compensation Rule

July 25th, 2013 Comments off

A mortgage lender is being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for allegedly paying bonuses to loan originators that charged consumers higher interest rates in violation of the loan officer compensation rule. The 85th largest lender in the country, Castle and Cooke Mortgage LLC of Salt Lake City is said to have paid 150 loan officers quarterly bonuses ranging from $6,100 to $8,700 for leading borrowers into higher-priced loans. The Bureau

 

says loan officers who did not charge higher rates did not receive bonuses, and that 1,100 of the loans were illegal. According to what MHProNews has learned from nationalmortgagenews, C&C originated $332 million in loans in the first quarter. The lawsuit seeks restitution and civil penalties, and specifically cites company president Matthew Pineda and senior vice president Buck Hawkins. “We are taking action against the type of practices that precipitated the financial crisis,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray.

(Photo credit: top, ABCNews; bottom, HousingWire)

Plenty of Hardship in the Land of Plenty

July 6th, 2013 Comments off

Adding to a story we posted July 4, 2013 from Harvard University’s annual Joint Center for Housing Studies, the report reveals 42.3 million families (37 percent of the nation’s total) pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing, including 20.6 million who pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing. Between 2007 and 2011, 2.4 million homes changed from owner-occupied to renter-occupied, well above the 900,000 rental unit starts during these four years. 258,000 new rentals came onto the market in 2012, the highest number since 2004, as MHProNews has learned from thewestsidegazette. Meanwhile, the report states racial disparity in homeownership continues: White homeownership stands at 73 percent, but only 44 percent of African-Americans and 46 percent of Hispanics are homeowners. In addition, in 2011 despite historic low interest rates, African-Americans were denied mortgage loans 37 percent of the time, while the rate for white borrowers was 14 percent.

(Image credit: firstbanktrust)

Harvard Study Cites Critical Shortage of Affordable Housing

July 5th, 2013 Comments off

According to the State of the Nation’s Housing report released by Harvard University’s Joint Center on Housing Studies, the housing recovery is well underway, but the millions of borrowers delinquent on their mortgages or underwater continue to pull at the edges of the recovery. In addition, the number of renter households grew in 2012 by 1.1 million, the second year of double-digit growth in the rental market. As that sector increases, homeownership declines, MHProNews has learned from appliancemagazine. The report states, “With rising home prices helping to revive household balance sheets and expanding residential construction adding to job growth, the housing sector is finally providing a much needed boost to the economy. But long-term vacancies are at elevated levels in a number of places, millions of owners are still struggling to make their mortgage payments, and credit conditions for homebuyers remain extremely tight. It will take time for these problems to subside. Given the profoundly positive impact that decent and affordable housing can have on the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities, efforts to address these urgent concerns as well as longstanding housing affordability challenges should be among the nation’s highest priorities.”

(Image credit: Fotosearch–homeownership)

CFPB: Cap Excludes Comp

May 31st, 2013 Comments off

Saying it is too difficult to calculate individual pay early in the origination process, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) now says loan officer compensation should not be included in the three percent cap threshold under the qualified mortgage rule. However, as nationalmortgagenews informs MHProNews, compensation paid by the creditor to a mortgage broker should be included, and so should fees paid by the consumer to the creditor. “This cap ensures that lenders offering qualified mortgages do not charge excessive points and fees,” says the CFPB. Mortgage Banker Association (MBA) president and chief executive David Stevens, says, “We welcome the stipulation that compensation paid by brokers and lenders to loan originator employees do not count toward the points and fees threshold for what constitutes a qualified mortgage. Both of these provisions should facilitate a more efficient and affordable marketplace for borrowers.” He adds the CFPB is trying to balance consumer protection with access to affordable credit.

(Image credit: hansafx)