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Loss Mitigation

Bank of America and Freddie Mac Settle Repurchase Claims

Bank of America has agreed to pay Freddie Mac $404 million to be released from existing and future repurchase claims on approximately 716,000 loans originated in the last decade by BofA and sold to the GSE. The payment also compensates Freddie Mac for past and future mortgage insurance-related losses on the loans, but doesn't cover loan servicing obligations or private-label securities.

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Eminent Domain Takes Root in Areas with High Unemployment, Poverty

To address widespread negative equity, at least 15 cities and counties are considering using eminent domain to seize underwater homes and lower borrowers' mortgage principal balances, according to the Urban Institute. The institute conducted a study to see what commonalities these communities share and found that all 15 suffer from high levels of poverty and unemployment, stagnant incomes, and low housing prices.

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FDIC Institutions Report First Loss in More Than Four Years

For the first time in more than four years, banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported an annual loss, according to the regulator's Quarterly Banking Profile released Tuesday. At $36 million, the net income of FDIC-insured banks in the third quarter is $1.5 million below earnings reported in the third quarter of last year.

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Nationstar Shifts Focus to Servicing

Mortgage originators and servicing companies are facing the reality of decreasing new loan volumes and the entrance of new players to the industry, forcing them to reassess where the best sources of revenue can be found. Following an abrupt drop in its stock price, Nationstar recently announced the sale of its wholesale channel, indicating a shift toward its servicing business, and others appear to be following suit.

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GSEs Update Short Sale Policies

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced changes to their Servicing Guides Monday aimed at helping more borrowers avoid foreclosure through short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure (DILs). Some of the changes are to align with certain Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules and regulations that implement the mortgage servicing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, and some are simply to ease eligibility requirements for liquidation workout options.

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U.S. Bank Executive Pleads Guilty to Bribery

A former U.S. Bank executive plead guilty to receiving bribes from Oxford Collection Agency over the course of several years in exchange for business, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Wilbur Tate III served as the assistant VP at U.S. Bank from January 2004 through February 2011. He allegedly accepted bribes from Oxford starting in 2008--bribes which began as expensive cigars and escalated to cash payments disguised in cigar boxes.

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Negative Equity: A New Way of Life in the Recovery

Fast-paced price increases helped bring 1.4 million homeowners to the surface in the third quarter as their home values finally clipped their equity, according to the latest Negative Equity Report from Zillow. The third-quarter drop in negative equity was the largest on record for Zillow, dating back to early 2011. The negative equity rate now stands at 21 percent, down about one-third from a peak of 31.4 percent.

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Foreclosure Inventory Plunges Nearly 30%

The nation's foreclosure inventory has contracted for 18 consecutive months and is now at its lowest point since the end of 2008, totaling 1.28 million loans, or just 2.54 percent of today's active mortgages, according to Lender Processing Services. The company's latest report assessing the performance of mortgage assets through the end of October shows the industry's foreclosure inventory rate has plummeted 29.61 percent from last year.

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M&T Bank Takes Action to Help Unemployed Borrowers

Who ever heard of banks helping their unemployed borrowers find jobs? Though it may be hard to believe, this concept is becoming a reality thanks to a company in Bend, Oregon. Realizing that job loss in the current economy is the major reason homeowners default on their mortgages, management of M&T Bank announced they'll be offering a pilot program of the company's services to their unemployed borrowers at no cost.

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