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 […]

Pressure Mounts on FHA to Relax Condo Rules


Lawmakers and housing groups are urging the Federal Housing Administration to relax its condominium regulations to help open up homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers and urban families.

More than 50 House members signed a letter last week asking the FHA to make policy changes.

“FHA places significant restrictions on the purchase and sale of condominium, even though they are often the most affordable homeownership option for first-time buyers, small families, urban and older Americans,” said the Oct. 13 letter, whose signers included Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, the chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing, held a hearing Tuesday on his bill that would force the FHA to make significant changes to its condo rules. The “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” would streamline FHA’s certification requirements for condo projects, allow more commercial space in agency-approved condo […]

Fannie, Freddie Reshaping Mtg Market W/O Congress’ Help

The chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are moving forward with a bevy of changes that will continue to transform the mortgage market without input from Congress.

After eight years in conservatorship, housing finance reform in Congress remains in limbo, leaving the Federal Housing Finance Agency to force the government-sponsored enterprises to make changes.

“There is no playbook for how to run in conservatorship,” Don Layton, Freddie Mac’s CEO, told a group of lenders Monday at a Mortgage Bankers Association conference in San Diego. “We are now in our eighth year of conservatorship and every expert says the big bill to do a major reform of the housing finance system is several years away at least, so we are going to be in this status for a long time.”

Both GSEs said they are looking to partner with individual lenders and with housing finance agencies to […]

Avoiding the Indirect Pitfalls of TRID Compliance


The mortgage industry is still coming to terms with the day-to-day tasks of maintaining TRID compliance. But other, broader systemic risks still loom, which, if overlooked, could significantly disrupt lenders’ operations.

For instance, there may be more riding on the accuracy of initial closing cost estimates in the new Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosures than mortgage lenders realize.

“People can make mistakes. They can forget to put a charge on the form. Sometimes charges are manually inputted and that can lead to a disclosure with an inaccurate estimate. But if the CFPB sees a pattern or practice of these, that’s when you can really get into trouble,” said Richard Horn, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau senior counsel and special advisor who led the final TRID rule.

Overestimating’s Hidden Cost

At first glance, TRID estimate deviations sound simple […]