Industry Briefs June 18, 2021
Fannie Mae: Inflation Risk Takes Center Stage as Strong Economic Growth Expected to Moderate
Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., said economic growth expectations for full-year 2021 were revised modestly upward to 7.1 percent, one-tenth higher than the previous forecast, due to stronger-than-expected consumer spending data year to date.
The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group also continues to forecast a deceleration in the recently rapid growth trajectory, projecting economic growth to slow to 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 2.2 percent by the end of 2022. However, Fannie Mae said housing appears poised to become a meaningful driver of inflation over the next year and a half, contributing to the ESR Group’s prediction that domestic inflation measures will remain near 5 percent through year-end 2021 – before decelerating to approximately 3 percent by the end of 2022 – well above the Federal Reserve’s 2.0-percent inflation target.
While demand for housing remains quite strong, the ESR Group’s latest forecast reiterates that supply-side factors continue to significantly limit construction, mortgage origination, and home sale activity. In fact, the ESR Group meaningfully downgraded its forecast for second and third quarter home sales – to 6.6 million and 6.5 million, respectively, from 6.9 million and 6.7 million in the prior forecast – due to the ongoing lack of available listings and a softening pace of new construction due to supply constraints. The ESR Group’s 30-year fixed mortgage rate forecast was little changed at 3.0 percent and 3.3 percent on a full-year 2021 and 2022 basis, respectively.
FHFA Issues 2020 Report to Congress
The Federal Housing Finance Agency released its annual Report to Congress, covering calendar year 2020. The report highlights FHFA’s policy response it said helped borrowers and renters stay safe in their homes while also ensuring mortgage markets continued to function.
Additionally, the report addresses several topics related to fulfillment of FHFA’s statutory responsibilities and the financial condition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Topics include finalization of a regulatory capital framework for the Enterprises and reorganization of FHFA. The Report makes recommendations to Congress about potential legislation to enhance the safety and soundness of the regulated entities and move our nation toward a stronger, more resilient housing finance system.
The report can be accessed at https://www.fhfa.gov/AboutUs/Reports/ReportDocuments/Annual-Report-to-Congress-2020.pdf.
CFPB Issues Interpretive Rule on Authority to Resume Examinations Regarding Military Lending Act
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an interpretative rule that explains the basis for its authority to examine supervised financial institutions for risks to active duty servicemembers and their dependents (i.e. military borrowers) from conduct that violates the Military Lending Act.
“The Military Lending Act is an essential law protecting the finances of our military families and we are excited to announce this rule change prior to July, which is Military Consumer Month,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “Through our enforcement of the MLA, companies that harmed military borrowers have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in redress and civil penalties. To fulfill its purpose and protect military borrowers we must supervise financial institutions and hold them accountable for endangering consumers.”
In 2018, the CFPB’s leadership discontinued MLA-related examination activities, based on its stated belief that Congress did not specifically confer examination authority on the CFPB with respect to the MLA. Uejio said the current CFPB leadership “does not find those prior beliefs persuasive” and the CFPB will now resume MLA-related examination activities.
RealtyTrac Enhances Foreclosure Search and Analytic Functionality
RealtyTrac, Irvine, Calif., enhanced its foreclosure search and analytic functionality. The new RealtyTrac platform, powered by ATTOM, provides instant access to individual property information and offers interactive resources, including property investment analysis tools and finance options.
These expanded services provide a single source for those looking to either fix and flip, or buy, fix and rent properties for ongoing revenue generation. For real estate agents, the site helps them find inventory for their clients who are interested in buying foreclosure homes.
Fitch Ratings: 1Q Loss Mitigation Trends Diverge for U.S. RMBS Servicers
Fitch Ratings, New York, reported active borrower forbearance agreements for bank servicers continue to fall while borrower repayment plans are up significantly.
The agency’s 1Q21 U.S. RMBS Servicer Metric Report said non-bank servicers reported a modest decline in repayment plans and a continuing modest increase in loan modifications during the most recent four quarters, while forbearance agreements remain unchanged from fourth quarter 2020. Due in large part to federal and state moratoria on foreclosures and evictions, aged Real Estate Owned inventory continues to increase from an average of 344 days to 431 days.
This could present challenges for servicers when moratoria expire, said Fitch Director Richard Koch. “The hiring boom brought on by the increase in the volume of new coronavirus-related relief requests from borrowers has now largely subsided as servicers have ‘right-sized’ their staffing during the pandemic,” he said.
The report said bank servicers experienced a decline of 28% in active forbearance agreements and a 4% drop in loan modifications as a percentage of all loss mitigation plans, while repayment plans rose 30%. The current percentage of active forbearance plans is 50% less than reported in 2Q20. Koch said for bank servicers, these results indicate that borrowers are exiting forbearance agreements in favor of repayment plans or paying current on accounts. Non-bank servicers meanwhile report a continued modest quarterly increase in loan modifications and virtually no change in forbearance agreements from 4Q20 to 1Q21 indicating that those borrowers have likely requested forbearance agreement extensions.
Usherpa Adds Lead-Scoring Power to UsherpAlerts
Usherpa, Denver, added of a new form of UsherpAlert specifically designed to provide leads to loan officers.
The new Opportunity Alerts are derived with an algorithm developed by applying business analytics to six million mortgage loans closed over a 30-year period. The company’s Smart CRM mines the lender’s database and then returns the best contacts and opportunities with the highest likelihood of generating a new loan. As with all UsherpAlerts, information required to make the call is provided onscreen for the LO.
LBA Ware June 24 Webinar: Better Together: How to Keep Pipelines Full with Borrower + Business Intelligence
LBA Ware, Macon, Ga., will hold a June 24 webinar, Better Together: How to Keep Pipelines Full with Borrower + Business Intelligence, at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Sales Boomerang’s Alex Kutsishin, LBA Ware’s Chris Gassel and Homespire Mortgage’s Bill Napier will discuss how the combination of borrower and business intelligence can help lenders turn orphaned deals from a cold-calling nightmare into an instant pipeline that results in more revenue for.
Registration is free and is available at https://bit.ly/3iJj4T5.
SRE.com, NAMB Partner on SRE Marketplace
SRE.com, Torrance, Calif., and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers announced a partnership that will provide a new member benefit aimed at preparing loan originators to compete more effectively today and in the coming purchase money mortgage market.
NAMB and SRE will cooperate to build a new online marketplace that will connect consumers with the mortgage loan originators of their choice. The SRE marketplace will include profiles for mortgage loan originators across the U.S. Consumers can create search terms for property type and mortgage loan expertise, such as condo, second home, investment property, single family or any other mortgage type. Search results connect them with mortgage professionals who have been reviewed by past borrowers.
Redfin: More Than 31% of Homebuyers Looking to Move to Another Metro
Redfin, Seattle, said 31.4% of Redfin.com users nationwide looked to move to a different metro area in April and May, roughly the same share Redfin saw in the first quarter and up from 27% from a year earlier.
Redfin reported although the overall housing market is starting to stabilize after a red-hot start to the year, homebuyer interest in relocating remains elevated above pre-pandemic levels, and Redfin agents in popular destinations say they’re still seeing an influx of out-of-towners.
Relatively affordable areas tend to be the most popular destinations for Redfin.com users looking to relocate, with Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Austin and Miami topping the list. But as home prices continue to rise at a rapid rate, some of the most popular destinations in the U.S. are quickly becoming less affordable for migrants and locals alike.
“Even though homes in popular destinations are much more expensive than they were a year ago, it’s still well worth it for many people to leave expensive coastal cities in favor of inland metros,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “That’s especially true if they’re working remotely and keeping the same salary. The story is different for locals, many of whom are being priced out of their hometowns.”
Credit Plus Integration with Liquid Logics Expands to Allow Soft Credit Inquiries
Credit Plus, Salisbury, Md., expanded its integration with Liquid Logics to now include soft credit inquiries.
In addition to hard credit pulls, private lenders can now choose to pull only a soft inquiry—which does not impact the applicant’s personal credit—on their applicants for business purposes with a click of a button.
FFIEC Announces Availability of 2020 HMDA Data
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council announced availability of data on 2020 mortgage lending transactions at 4,475 U.S. financial institutions reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
The FFIEC releases include several data products to serve data users. The HMDA Dynamic National Loan-Level Dataset is updated, on a weekly basis, to reflect late submissions and resubmissions. The Snapshot National Loan-Level Dataset contains the national HMDA datasets as of a fixed date, in the case of 2020 data, May 1, 2021. Aggregate and Disclosure Reports provide summary information on individual financial institutions and geographies. The HMDA Data Browser allows users to create custom tables and download datasets that can be further analyzed. In addition, beginning in late March, the FFIEC made available Loan/Application Registers for each HMDA filer of 2020 data, modified to protect borrower privacy.
The data include 48 data points providing information about the applicants, the property securing the loan or proposed to secure the loan in the case of non-originated applications, the transaction and identifiers. A complete list of HMDA data points and the associated data fields is found in the FFIEC’s Filing Instructions Guide for HMDA Data Collected in 2020. The 2020 HMDA data use the census tract delineations, population and housing characteristic data from the 2011–2015 American Community Survey. In addition, the data reflect metropolitan statistical area definitions released by the Office of Management and Budget in 2018 that became effective for HMDA purposes in 2019.
FFIEC said for 2020, the number of reporting institutions declined by about 18.8 percent from the previous year to 4,475. One reason for the change is that, in 2020, the Bureau issued a final rule amending Regulation C to increase the threshold for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans from 25 to 100 loans, effective July 1, 2020.
The 2020 data include information on 22.7 million home loan applications. Among them, 20.4 million were closed-end, 1.7 million were open-end, and, for another 563,000 records, pursuant to the EGRRCPA’s partial exemptions, financial institutions did not indicate whether the records were closed-end or open-end. The number of closed-end loan applications increased by 63.2 percent, and the number of open-end line of credit applications decreased by 19.0 percent. A total of 14.5 million applications resulted in loan originations. Among them, 13.2 million were closed-end mortgage originations, 906,000 were open-end line of credit originations, and, pursuant to the EGRRCPA’s partial exemptions, 432,000 were originations for which financial institutions did not indicate whether they were closed-end or open-end. The 2020 data include 2.8 million purchased loans, for a total of 25.6 million records. The total also includes information on 129,000 preapproval requests that were denied or approved but not accepted.
RES.NET Releases Enhanced REO Portal
RES.NET, Lake Forest, Calif., announced an enhanced version of its REO portal with advanced features and functionality providing a more intuitive user experience, as well as helping users more effectively manage an existing client base, while preparing for future growth. It also includes the ability to select task-based workflow and the new role-based workflow providing users additional flexibility and scalability of operations across any type of portfolio.
RES.NET’s REO portal enables users to manage the entire REO disposition process, while optimizing communication, automating task management and centralizing data. In addition to tools such as tasking, messaging, reporting, document sharing and storage capabilities, the portal now has the flexibility of a new role-based workflow in addition to the existing task owner-based workflow.