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Author Archives: Joy Leopold

Servicers Concede Several Points in Settlement Response

Servicers made several concessions in their version of the settlement proposal that they submitted to federal and state regulators. In an excerpt of the draft obtained by DS News, servicers agree to stop dual tracking, give borrowers a window to appeal a denied modification, and provide a single point of contact for borrowers. Perhaps most significant in the excerpt is a pledge by the servicers to establish standards for affidavits and sworn statements in foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings.

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FHFA Inspector General Evaluates Pay Structure for GSE Execs

In 2009 and 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) approved salary packages totaling more than $35 million for executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency's Office of the Inspector General has released a report detailing the compensation levels of GSE execs for the past two years, noting that the CEOs of Fannie and Freddie together made $17 million during that period. The report points out that although the GSEs have lost billions of dollars and depend on federal support, their senior executives continue to receive multi-million dollar salaries.

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Robo-Signing Settlement Disputes Continue After Wednesday’s Meeting

Attorneys general and federal regulators sat down with major servicers this week to discuss the details of the robo-signing settlement. Both sides have submitted their own version of what they believe a settlement should look like, and this week's meeting is just the first in what will likely be a long period of negotiations. Banks have repeatedly spoken out against what they believe to be terms that are too harsh and may even encourage moral hazard. Mortgage investors are also weighing in on the proposed terms.

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Study: Consumers More Likely to Pay Credit Cards Than Mortgages

A study by the credit bureau TransUnion shows that when choosing which bills they can afford to pay, consumers are more likely to pay their credit card obligations and fall behind on their mortgage payments. TransUnion says this trend has continued for the past three years, and while the number of consumers current on credit cards but delinquent on their mortgage has declined slightly, it is more than 70 percent higher than it was at the beginning of the ""Great Recession.""

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Three States Move to Ban Foreclosure Sales From Appraisal Values

With foreclosure sales steadily rising, four states are concerned that the use of the foreclosure sale prices in appraisals of neighboring homes is distorting the market. Legislators in Illinois, Nevada, and Missouri have all proposed separate bills that would exclude or restrict foreclosure sales from being used as comparisons to determine the value of homes around them. Maryland had proposed a similar bill, but withdrew the legislation on Tuesday.

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Treasury Will Publish Servicer Scorecard Based on HAMP Performance

Timothy Massad, acting assistant Treasury secretary, said this week that beginning next month Treasury will start publishing a scorecard grading the largest servicers based on their compliance with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Though members of the House voted yesterday to end the program, the Treasury is moving forward with its plans to hold servicers publicly accountable, basing the first report on performance in 2010. Massad says Treasury will withhold financial incentives for unsatisfactory grades.

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Servicers Release a Proposal in Response to Robo-Signing Settlement

Perhaps in preparation for the meeting between bank representatives and lawmakers scheduled for Wednesday, servicers have drafted their own proposal in response to the robo-signing settlement they were given earlier this month. Though specific details of the servicers' version are not yet available, the draft reportedly features some of the same guidelines as the 27-page term sheet sent by state attorneys general and federal regulators, although servicers made no mention of principal write-downs.

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House Republicans Introduce Eight Bills to Speed Wind-Down of GSEs

In a legislative hearing scheduled for Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee will listen to eight proposals centered around winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on a faster timeline than proposed by the Obama administration last month. The eight proposals include measures to raise guarantee fees the GSEs will charge for mortgage-backed securities they insure and to prevent the GSEs from offering any new products while they are under conservatorship.

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Fraud Criminals Migrate to Hardest Hit Areas

Data released Monday shows an increase in mortgage related fraud in areas with high rates of foreclosures and underwater borrowers. Risk analytics firm Interthinx released its annual Mortgage Fraud Risk Report which analyzes loan applications and determines the most significant mortgage fraud risk trends for the past year. According to the report, overall mortgage fraud risk is highest in areas that have been hit hardest by the housing and economic downturns, and fraud criminals are migrating to these regions.

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SEC Rules Banks Must Allow Audit of Foreclosure Practices

New York City Comptroller John Liu has announced a victory for the members of the New York City Pension Funds who have long been calling for banks to conduct an independent audit of their mortgage foreclosure practices. The NYC Pension Funds requested an audit of the banks' practices in November and again in January to no avail, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that the banks must put the group's request on the ballot at their annual shareholder meetings this spring.

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