Industry Briefs Sept. 24, 2021: CFPB Says Renters at Risk as COVID Safety Net Ends

CFPB: Renters at Risk as COVID-19 Safety Net Ends

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report warning that millions of renters and their families may suffer previously avoided economic harms of the COVID-19 pandemic as federal and state relief programs end.

The report, “Financial conditions for renters before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said some government relief efforts likely helped maintain the financial stability of renters and their families, suggesting that many may be at risk as those programs expire. The report, which compared homeowners and renters, found that, on average, renters’ economic conditions were significantly more responsive to relief measures such as stimulus payments and changes in unemployment benefits. When these programs end, renters and their families may be at heightened risk

“Renters, when compared to homeowners, are more likely to be Black or Hispanic, more likely to have lower incomes and more likely to be women. They are also at particular risk of falling further behind as the nation recovers from the economic impacts of COVID,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “Past recessions and depressions have seen communities of color and low-income communities of all races and ethnicities left behind when the broader economy recovers. We cannot repeat that history. The CFPB is committed to helping renters and their families thrive. We must amplify and protect the modest gains renters made during the pandemic to ensure this nation’s full and equitable recovery from COVID-19.”

The report can be accessed here.

LBA Ware Webinar Oct. 6 Features Kristin Messerli of

LBA Ware, Macon, Ga., announced the third installment in its 2021 webinar series. The Myths that Keep Millennials from Buying: Data-Driven Direction for Growing Your Share of America’s Largest Homebuyer Market will feature special guest Kristin Messerli, a leading expert on NextGen (a.k.a. millennial) homebuyers.

The free webinar will take place Wednesday, October 6, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET. Registration is here.

Fitch Ratings: Ongoing Supply-Chain Issues to Constrain Building Product Sales

Fitch Ratings, New York, said supply chain challenges in the U.S. building products and materials sector are taking longer than expected to normalize, limiting companies’ ability to fully benefit from strong end-market demand and grow sales. The disruption is causing production delays, which have been exacerbated by ongoing port congestion, pressuring sales volumes and leading to higher raw materials and transportation costs.

Fitch said it expects demand for building materials will continue to be supported by strength in new home construction and residential remodeling combined with improvements in government infrastructure and commercial construction spending. However, some building product companies, such as PPG Industries and Sherwin-Williams recently lowered 3Q21 sales guidance. A shortage of raw materials, logistics/transportation issues, force majeure declarations and lower allocations from suppliers drove the downward revision in sales expectations.

The report also noted the Port of Long Beach, the second-busiest gateway in North America by container volume, is experiencing significant congestion due to increased cargo. Some shippers are chartering small vessels, which are more expensive, to go to other ports in order to circumvent bottlenecks in some of the larger ports. However, some Gulf and East coast ports were temporarily shut down by recent hurricanes, causing additional shipping delays.

Fitch Ratings: Hurricane Season Has Limited Impact on RMBS and CMBS

Fitch Ratings, New York, said hurricane damage to commercial and residential properties during 2021 season is not expected to affect the ratings of Fitch-rated U.S. residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Fitch said hurricanes could negatively affect loan performance if damage is severe and widespread or if recovery is prolonged, but RMBS and CMBS loan deterioration is mitigated by servicer advancing, insurance coverage and pool diversification. The impact of Ida and Nicholas on residential mortgage performance can be compared with prior hurricanes, notably Dorian, Harvey, Irma and Maria, the effects of which were temporary, with delinquencies returning to or near pre-storm levels within 12 months.

Fitch said geographic diversification of residential mortgage pools mutes the effect of increased delinquencies due to natural disasters, which have not affected RMBS ratings over the last 30 years. In addition, loan performance is supported by private insurance, federal disaster funding and economic stimulus as a result of recovery.

Fannie Mae to Re-Engage in Credit Risk Transfers

Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C., announced its intention to enter into new credit risk transfer transactions in the fourth quarter. It said it expects to transfer mortgage credit risk via its Connecticut Avenue Securities and Credit Insurance Risk Transfer programs.

For additional details about potential CRT issuance plans, visit Credit Risk Transfer Update Frequently Asked Questions. For additional information on Fannie Mae’s CRT programs, visit:

TitleEase Offers Title & Settlement Services Franchise Opportunities

The Lincoln Family of Companies, Providence, R.I., launched a title and settlement services franchise business, TitleEase, to allow entrepreneurs involved in the real estate sales and financing industries to expand their businesses and enter new revenue streams via turnkey.

TitleEase provides a simplified, streamlined and fully compliant path for mortgage originators, servicers and real estate professionals to own and operate a title agency without the burden and expense of building a platform from scratch. The fully RESPA compliant franchise model also addresses and eliminates many of the potential complexities and compliance risks associated with entering into a joint venture agreement. In addition, a franchise business is a tangible asset with its own terminal value.

ENACOMM Connect Credit Unions with Contact Center Platforms

Intelligent contact center platforms that optimize the customer experience are now accessible for credit unions nationwide, through ENACOMM, Tulsa, Okla.

ENACOMM’s contact center integration technology with screen pops that provide the call center agent with details on the caller and his or her requests ensures that members get their needs met quickly, without unnecessary frustration.”

Mortgage Coach Integrates with LoanSense

Mortgage Coach, Corona, Calif., announced its partnership with LoanSense, an online student loan advisor that helps federal student loan holders enroll in affordable repayment and forgiveness plans.

The partnership equips mortgage lenders to help homebuyers with high monthly federal student loan payments achieve better home financing outcomes by enrolling in federal student loan Income Driven Repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Mortgage Coach’s partnership with LoanSense gives lenders access to a purchasing power calculator that determines how much borrowers’ monthly student loan payments can be reduced – and how much their home purchasing power can be increased – through enrollment in an IDR plan. Once borrower eligibility is determined, loan originators can electronically refer borrowers who would benefit from enrolling in an IDR plan to LoanSense, where they will receive assistance navigating the complexities of correctly completing and submitting their IDR application. Upon IDR plan enrollment, LoanSense notifies lenders so they may resume the home financing process with increased purchase power, which can be accessed in as little as three weeks.

Black Knight: Foreclosure Activity Increases with Moratoria Lifted

Black Knight, Jacksonville, Fla., said with the foreclosure moratoria on federally backed mortgages lifted as of the end of July, its First Look Mortgage Monitor noted an increase–albeit a slight one–in foreclosure activity in August.

The report noted, however, improvement in the national delinquency rate continued in August and, at 4.00%, is the lowest it’s been since pandemic-related impacts first caused mortgage delinquencies to spike in early 2020. Serious delinquencies – homeowners who are 90 or more days past due on mortgage payments, including those in active forbearance– fell by 108,000 from July and are now down more than 1 million from last August. Even with that strong improvement, there are still roughly 930,000 more serious delinquencies than there were prior to the pandemic.

LBA Ware Integrates with

LBA Ware, Macon, Ga., announced it partnered with, developer of an Experience Management Platform, to provide customers with a way to track customer satisfaction as a key performance indicator in LBA Ware’s LimeGear BI platform.

The customer satisfaction KPI allows lenders to measure the customer experience as rated by borrowers, co-borrowers, real estate agents and other parties to a loan across the home financing journey and incorporate it into the performance evaluations of branch locations and individuals across the lending organization. The customer satisfaction KPI resides within LimeGear’s performance management dashboard. Because LBA Ware’s partnership with tracks customer feedback surveys by loan number, lenders can tie customer experience to performance scorecards for loan officers, processors and branch locations. Lenders can assign a relative weight to the customer experience metric as part of an overall performance score. Role-based scorecards provide an at-a-glance view of how employees rank among their peers for volume, units and other configurable conditions.

HUD Announces HBCU Center of Excellence Grants

HUD announced $5.5 million will be awarded to two Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Howard University and Texas Southern University will receive $4.5 million and $1 million, respectively, to establish Centers of Excellence for housing and economic development research.

The grants will be used to provide the universities with funding to conduct research on housing and economic development, particularly in underserved communities. The universities submitted proposals to carry out a series of reports focused on housing, community, and economic development in underserved communities that can serve as national, local, or regional benchmarks and will also assist in support of COE(s) that expand the housing and community development research efforts at HBCUs. 

Redfin: Homebuyer Demand, Sellers’ Asking Prices Get Late-Summer Boost

Redfin, Seattle, said early homebuyer demand reached the highest point in at least three years during the week ending September 19. Mortgage purchase applications also increased 2%, on top of an 8% increase the prior week.

During the four-week period ending September 19, most other housing market measures showed a typical late-summer seasonal decline with pending sales down 12% from their 2021 peak, the share of homes sold above list price falling below 50%, and time on market inching up to 20 days. Asking prices, which often increase in September, were up 2.4% from the four-week period ending September 5.

“Home prices have room to grow,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “This fall will be a litmus test for how hot the 2022 housing market will get. And it looks like we are heading into another unseasonably hot fall as ultra-low mortgage rates and employers’ remote-work policies mean Americans are still on the move.”

Clear Capital Completes Acquisition of CubiCasa

Clear Capital, Reno, Nev., completed its acquisition of CubiCasa, a Finland-based proptech startup. Through this acquisition, Clear Capital will enable CubiCasa to expand its mobile technology that automates floor plan sketch creation and digitizes property data collection. CubiCasa will continue to operate with autonomy and service a wide variety of customers and verticals.

CubiCasa’s mobile capture technology can be used without prior training by anyone with a smartphone. From a simple walk-through of a home, the technology produces a precise floor plan sketch and calculates gross living area aligned with American National Standards Institute standards.

PennyMac Expands Use of ICE Mortgage Technology Suite

ICE Mortgage Technology, Pleasanton, Calif., announced its latest partnership with PennyMac Loan Services LLC. The integration with ICE Mortgage Technology’s Encompass Investor Connect will make PennyMac the largest correspondent aggregator within a network of correspondent investors available on one platform.

The partnership will enable a more streamlined loan delivery, resulting in improved efficiency, loan quality, and speed of funding, all at no additional cost to Encompass customers. PennyMac is further digitizing loan review and the purchase process by leveraging Encompass Investor Connect’s digital loan delivery. The process also enhances two-way communication to enable sellers to both receive and clear conditions from within their loan pipeline.

HUD, FHFA Announce Clarifications to Freddie Mac’s Policies on Purchasing Mortgages Secured by Group Homes

HUD and the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday announced clarifications to Freddie Mac’s policies that make clear it will purchase mortgages secured by a property owned by an individual and rented to a group home for persons with disabilities.

Group homes, which are protected under the Fair Housing Act, are dwellings occupied by unrelated persons with disabilities and can provide them opportunities for ongoing interaction and socialization in a familial setting. This assurance that Freddie Mac will purchase mortgages secured by group homes, where the property is owned by an individual, should encourage lenders in extending credit for such mortgages, thus providing more community-based living opportunities for persons with disabilities. These clarifications were included in Freddie Mac’s September 1 update to Freddie Mac’s Seller/Servicer Guide.

Redfin: Demand for Second Homes Falls 19% in August

Redfin, Seattle, said demand for second homes dropped 19.3% year over year in August, marking the third-straight month of declines. Demand for primary homes also fell, slipping 1% year over year in the second-consecutive month of declines.

“The pandemic isn’t over, but the desire to escape isn’t as intense as it was before. People are increasingly returning to life as normal, with kids going back to school and cities coming to life again,” said Redfin Economist Taylor Marr. “The housing market as a whole is still booming, just not as strongly as it was in the second half of 2020. Homebuyer competition, migration and home-sales growth have all slowed.”

WFG Survey Finds Rising Concerns over Real Estate Transaction Turn Times

Williston Financial Group, Portland, Ore., released findings of its 2021 survey of WFG Executive Roundtable members and other industry leaders, with the results signaling a marked increase in concern over the impact lengthy turnaround times are having on real estate transactions.

Conducted in June and July of this year, the survey asked mortgage lending executives from community banks, credit unions, bank and non-bank lenders, as well as members of the WFG Executive Roundtable to identify the biggest operational challenges facing the industry.

Topping the list was “turnaround times,” which 56 percent of respondents selected. In WFG’s first survey, taken in fall 2020, only a quarter of those surveyed chose turnaround times as a major challenge. The other most concerning operational challenges were: Operational Capacity, Volume and Staffing (34%), which tied with Technology Implementation and Integration (34%), followed by Communication (31%), Training and Time Management (both at 19%), and Process improvement/QC/Errors & Delays (16%).

Regarding title and settlement, the chief concern identified by those surveyed was again Turnaround Times (41%), followed by Communication (34%), Data Accuracy & Quality (25%), and Process Improvement/QC/Errors & Delays and Customer Service (both at 22%).