Fannie-Freddie Pay Pits Obama and Republicans Against Watt


A dispute over pay for the chief executive officers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could put Barack Obama and House Republicans together in an unusual alignment against a housing official appointed by the president.

Mel Watt, who oversees the mortgage giants as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, this month approved plans for Fannie Mae’s Timothy Mayopoulos and Freddie Mac’s Don Layton that could see their total compensation rise sixfold to about $4 million. The House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday will consider a bill by Rep. Ed Royce that would impose new limits on pay at the two U.S.-owned companies.

“Holding compensation packages at taxpayer-backed organizations to responsible limits is in the interest of the public trust,” Royce, a California Republican, said last week.

Royce’s proposal would ensure that no one at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac gets more than the […]

CFPB Fines Fidelity National Financial, Western Union $38M


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is charging two companies affiliated with Western Union and Fidelity National Financial more than $38 million in total charges for allegedly steering consumers into a mortgage payment program that cost them millions of dollars in fees.

Paymap Inc., a payment processor that is part of Western Union, and LoanCare, a mortgage servicer that serves as a subservicer for ServiceLink (which is majority-controlled by Fidelity National Financial), were cited by the CFPB for wrongfully promising “tens of thousands of dollars in interest savings” to consumers if they made more frequent mortgage payments. The “Equity Accelerator Program” deducted automatic payments for a mortgage on behalf of the consumer, but also typically charged a $295 enrollment fee as well as a $2.50 transaction fee for each debited payment. As a result, about 125,000 consumers paid more than $33 million in fees since July 2011, the […]

B of A Foreclosure Fight Tied to Corruption Case


Utah’s attorney general revived a potential billion-dollar battle with Bank of America Corp. over foreclosure practices after two of his predecessors were charged with corruption for abandoning the fight.

The lawsuit is deja vu for U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins, who last week allowed Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to join a homeowner’s case accusing Bank of America unit ReconTrust Co. of illegally foreclosing on Utahans’ homes.

Jenkins expressed puzzlement when outgoing Attorney General Mark Shurtleff bowed out of a similar case two years ago, just months after the judge ruled the suit could head to trial.

Last year, prosecutors provided an explanation: They charged Shurtleff and a deputy elected to succeed him, John Swallow, in a wide-ranging bribery case.

The allegations included charges that they did illicit favors for several businessmen. The two officials allegedly dropped the state’s case against ReconTrust after a […]

House Committee Passes Bills to Delay TRID Enforcement, Revise QM


The House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would delay the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement of the new TILA-RESPA integrated disclosure rules. It also approved two additional bills addressing the qualified mortgage rule and GSE executive compensation.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., would delay the CFPB’s ability to enforce violations of its new mortgage disclosure form if lenders have made a “good-faith effort” to comply. The measure passed the committee vote 45 to 13 on Wednesday.

The CFPB issued a rule in 2013 integrating requirements from the Truth in Lending and Real Estate Settlement Procedures acts into a single set of disclosures to mortgage borrowers, known as TRID. The rule was meant to go into effect Aug. 1, but the agency extended the deadline to Oct. 3 after a clerical error. Critics still argue lenders need more time to get […]