Home / Author Archives: Krista Franks Brock (page 38)

Author Archives: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.

Congressman Suggests Extension of Conforming Loan Limit

Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York has sent a letter to House Appropriators urging them to extend the temporarily increased conforming loan limit that will otherwise expire October 1. Ackerman was joined by 36 members of Congress in his request. He suggested the conforming loan limit extension be built into the continuing resolution that will keep the federal government functioning when the new fiscal year begins next month. Private investors, though, are advocating for the loan limit increase to expire.

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American Securitization Forum Proposes New RMBS Guidelines

The American Securitization Forum (ASF) recently released the ASF Model RMBS Repurchase Principles, which were designed to align the incentives of originators with those of investors. The trade group's guidelines deal specifically with maintaining skin-in-the-game through the enforcement of representations and warranties. ASF says the risk retention rules proposed by regulators, on the other hand, are not sufficiently tailored to various asset classes and will likely have negative consequences.

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LPS Offers Alternative Valuation System

Lender Processing Services (LPS) has released a new product that combines the objective precision of AVMs with the detailed review of BPOs. Because AVMs do not often take property condition into account, many default servicers rely on BPOs. However, BPOs allow for a greater amount of subjectivity and can result in inconsistencies. LPS developed the Distressed Asset Review to combine the best characteristics of each method.

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Americans Harbor Glum Outlook for Housing and the Economy

Americans continue to harbor a glum outlook for the housing industry and the economy at large. According to Fannie Mae's latest National Housing Survey, August was the third month in a row that more respondents expect housing prices to decrease than increase over the next 12 months. Twenty-seven percent of Americans say prices will likely head lower, while 20 percent hold out hope for appreciation. More than two-thirds say the economic recovery is on the wrong track.

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Industry Calls for Less GSE Action, More Investor Protection

At a congressional hearing Wednesday, witnesses voiced concerns about the government's participation in the mortgage market as well as the lack of transparency between servicers and investors. One analyst described the U.S. housing finance system, where the GSEs account for over 90 percent of new mortgages, as ""problematic."" Others said government is crowding out the private market with programs that make below-market-rate loans available to nearly all borrowers, and they advocated for the expiration of increased conforming loan limits.

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NY Fed Economists Suggest State Aid for Unemployed Homeowners

Two economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggest states may be able to help stabilize the housing market by making bridge loans to temporarily unemployed homeowners who struggle to make their monthly mortgage payments. James Orr and Joseph Tracy base their recommendations on a successful Pennsylvania program started in 1982 -- the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). In fact, 80 percent of HEMAP borrowers have been able to retain their homes and have repaid their loans.

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AG Settlement Will Not Release Banks From Securitization Liability

As state attorneys general and major U.S. banks continue to work toward a settlement, questions abound regarding the amount of legal liability the mortgage servicers should and will maintain after an agreement is signed. Media reports have surfaced claiming a draft proposal put forth by the attorneys general includes language that could prevent officials from bringing securitization claims in the future, but the negotiating committee for the states is adamant that servicers will not be released from all civil liability or any criminal liability.

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Mortgage Industry Layoffs May Reverse By Year-End

After the mortgage industry lost more than 2,000 jobs in the first half of 2011, things may pick up later in the year, according to a newly released analysis of mortgage sector employment. During the second quarter of this year, the mortgage industry recorded a net loss of about 500 positions. The loss for the three-month period is less than the previous quarter's net job loss of 1,804. Looking forward, the report predicts a possible increase in hiring as mortgage rates remain at record lows and poor loan performance necessitates more manpower.

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HUD Awards $10M to Housing Counseling Agencies

HUD has announced that it will distribute more than $10 million to housing counselors throughout the country. Grants have been awarded to 139 local counseling agencies and 23 housing counseling intermediaries. The funding is specifically earmarked to help distressed homeowners with mortgage modifications and other loss mitigation options, and to combat scams perpetrated by fraudulent foreclosure rescue companies. HUD says the grant money is unspent funding from its 2010 appropriation.

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CMBS Delinquencies Decrease for Third Month in Past Four

After rising in July, CMBS delinquencies picked up their downward trend again in August, decreasing 36 basis points to 9.52 percent. This drop is the third in the past four months, according to analysis released by Trepp LLC, a provider of commercial real estate data. Serious delinquencies also declined for the month and now make up 8.79 percent of commercial mortgage loans. According to Trepp, August's decline was the largest recorded since 2008 when the credit crisis began.

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