Share of Underwater Homes Declines in 3Q


The proportion of U.S. mortgages that were underwater dropped from the second quarter to the third quarter, according to RealtyTrac.

Seriously underwater homes represented 12.7% of all properties with a mortgage, as of Sept. 30, according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report. That was down from 13.3% at the end of the second quarter.

“Home sales volume and average sales prices picked up dramatically again in the second and third quarters of this year, resulting in a substantial drop in seriously underwater homeowners,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a news release.

The number of seriously underwater homes peaked in the second quarter of 2012, at 28.6% of all homes.

Additionally, the number of seriously underwater homes that were in a state of foreclosure declined, dropping to 33.4% of all homes, as of the end of the third quarter […]

What Banks Need to Know About Speaker Paul Ryan


Rep. Paul Ryan’s expected rise to House Speaker this week may ultimately prove a boon for the banking industry – especially for critics of the Dodd-Frank Act and the current mortgage finance system.

The Wisconsin Republican, the former vice presidential candidate to Mitt Romney and a longtime member of the House, agreed to take the role of Speaker last week, likely providing some needed stability after weeks of surprises for the Republican party.

Speaker John Boehner announced last month that he would leave Congress and make way for a new leader. His would-be successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, then abruptly backed out of the race for the top job.

Though Ryan was at first hesitant to step up, he’s seen by many as a central player to help mend the fractured Republican Party.

Below we answer some frequently asked questions about Ryan and what his impact will […]

Sales of Foreclosed Properties Fell in August


Sales of foreclosed properties in August fell to their lowest level in about eight years, according to Hope Now.

The number of foreclosed homes sold in August fell 7% to 27,000, compared to July, the advocacy group Hope Now said in a news release. The number of completed short sales fell 12% to 7,100. And the number of completed loan modifications fell 3% to 32,000, including those completed under the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Other categories that the Washington organization monitors did not show positive improvements. The number of deeds-in-lieu completed was unchanged at 1,600. The number of foreclosure starts rose 6% to 56,000.

“Although there is good news, on a nationwide level, with respect to foreclosures and serious mortgage delinquencies, Hope Now’s members remained focused on specific markets that need additional support,” Eric Selk, executive director, said in the release. “These […]

Ocwen Fails Four Servicing Tests But Makes Progress


Mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial failed four servicing tests in the second half of 2014 but is “beginning to show progress” in fixing its problems, said Joseph A. Smith Jr., the monitor of the $25 national mortgage settlement.

In a report released Thursday, Smith found that Ocwen also had major shortcomings on seven other tests because of the potential harm to borrowers from its backdating of foreclosure letters.

“I visit them regularly, I talk with their management regularly, and they’re working on these issues very hard,” said Smith, a former banking commissioner of North Carolina. “We’re not taking the Ocwen situation lightly.”

The Atlanta company emphasized that the report covers conditions from last year and that a lot has changed since then.

“Ocwen is committed to being fully compliant with all rules and regulations related to our business, and we continue to invest in our risk and compliance management […]

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