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Daily Dose

Prudential Settles Lawsuits with Bank of America over Mortgage-Backed Securities

New Jersey federal court documents filed earlier this week revealed that Prudential Insurance Co. has moved to settle its ongoing lawsuits with Bank of America NA, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., First Franklin Financial Group, and a number of lenders in the mortgage industry. The suits, which were first filed in March 2013, alleged Bank of America and others knowingly sold Prudential $2.1 billion in low-quality mortgage-backed securities—and made false statements about them.

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OCC Head Shoots Down Volcker’s Plan

Last week, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker had proposed a plan for overhauling the federal regulatory system—one that included eliminating the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) altogether. Since dubbed the “Volcker plan,” the head of the OCC, Thomas Curry, has come out against the proposal, saying it would be ineffective at solving the nation’s regulatory issues.

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FICO Expands Program to Offer Financial Counseling

FICO has announced it is expanding its Score Open Access program, which offers complimentary credit score access to consumers with credit management problems. Now, the program will also provide credit and financial counseling to approximately one million Americans.

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Economists Expect Housing to Move Steadily in 2015, Pick Up Pace Next Year

The housing market will move steadily in 2015 driven by solid labor market improvements, low mortgage rates, an economy that is growing, and pent-up demand–but the pace should really pick up next year, according to economists who attended the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2015 Spring Construction Forecast Webinar earlier this week.

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Justice Department Suit Accuses Quicken of Improperly Underwriting FHA-Insured Loans

The government alleges that Quicken had a "value appeal" process in place where Quicken would request an inflated value for a home appraisal if the appraisal was too low to approve for a loan, and that the lender granted "management exceptions" in which managers would allow underwriters to break the rules to approve a loan. According to the complaint, Quicken's most senior executives were aware of these practices based on several emails.

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Single-Family New Home Sales Jump Nearly 20 Percent Year-Over-Year

The report also reveals that the median sales price of homes sold in March was $277,000, while the average price was $343,000. Additionally, by the end of March, the number of new homes on the market was 213,000. At the current sales rate, this supply should last approximately 5.3 months. Results of the report are gathered through sample surveys, and the majority of houses are chosen randomly from selected building permits. Census field representatives collect the data, visit permit offices, and track when single-family units are started, completed and sold.

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Freddie Mac: Index Shows Most Metro Housing Markets Are Improving

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The most improved states in the last three months were Oregon, Michigan, Florida, California and Kentucky, with Oregon jumping more than 2 percent. And on a year-over-year basis, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Oregon and Rhode Island saw the biggest increases. In fact, since this time last year, MiMi values for Nevada have improved more than 11 percent.

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