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HUD Scorecard Touts Initiatives Despite Housing Health

Housing market conditions remained fragile despite numerous initiatives put forward by the Obama administration, according to a recent scorecard released Thursday by HUD and the Treasury Department. The administration cited numerous industry-respected analytics sources and painted a helpful portrait of the homeownership and refinance endeavors it has made possible. Sources polled for the government gauge of housing and economic health included CoreLogic and Standard & Poor's, among others.

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REITs May Lose 50-Year Exemptions Under SEC Rule

Publicly traded real estate companies, commonly known as Real Estate Investment Trusts, could see their industry fall under new rules and regulations if a new rule-making proposal sees approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The federal commission voted Wednesday to investigate whether these companies meet definitions under the Company Investment Act, a law from which publicly traded real estate companies have been exempt for nearly 50 years.

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Appraisers Get New Standards

As of Thursday, appraisers and realtors must now use a new universal grading rubric when it comes to their assessments for properties with government-backed mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently revised their appraisal guidelines to streamline a sometimes unclear process, but some warn of the potential for fallout among appraisers, realtors, and homeowners unfamiliar with the new standards. Appraisers will need to weigh property values against new codes and abbreviations.

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North Texas Hiring Hub for Lenders

Lewisville, Texas, will gain 700 new employment opportunities courtesy of JPMorgan Chase & Co. The financial institution is set to open a major mortgage servicing center in the area, adding to 2,000 area workers.

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JGWPT to Enter Reverse Mortgage Market

Private holding company JGWPT, which recently announced the acquisition of J.G. Wentworth and Peachtree Financial Solutions, has made another advancement, with the launch of its reverse mortgage division. The newly formed reverse mortgage segment will operate as part of the Peachtree group of companies and will be based in Boynton Beach.

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MBA Proposes Transitional License for Originators

If the Mortgage Bankers Association has its way, loan originators may soon have the ability to legally transition from entities under federal supervision and regulation to institutions under subject to state rules and authority. The trade group recently proposed amending the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act in a way that would supply originators with a transitional license. The MBA drafted the amendment to reshape language under the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and American Association of Mortgage Regulators.

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BofA Plans to Close Mortgage Correspondent Unit

On the heels of attempts by investors to derail a mega settlement in the courts, Bank of America continued to shake up headlines Wednesday with multiple news outlets confirming that the mortgage giant plans to sell off its share of the correspondent mortgage market. With mortgage correspondents in the bank├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós unit set to soon receive their pink slips, multiple news outlets quoted suggested that some 3,500 could feel impact in their jobs. New job losses would follow recently reported second-quarter fallout.

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CMBS Deal for Deutsche Bank and Starwood

With its recent participation in a major commercial mortgage loan securitization, Starwood Property Trust, Inc. is enhancing its debt-related funding. The transaction, led by Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc., included four first mortgage loans contributed by Starwood, which when combined carried an aggregate principal balance of $154.

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FOMC Minutes Portray a Pessimisstic Fed

Fed

Minutes released by the Federal Reserve Tuesday portrayed the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting as one given to doubts about the health of the U.S. economy, housing recovery, and global markets. Discussions between the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós central bank presidents reveal concern over the state of the economy and the Fed├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós ability to promote positive capital movements. The minutes also shed light on the controversial the Fed's decision to keep interest rates low until 2013.

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U.S. Bank Sues BofA Over $1.75B in MBS

US Bancorp joined a field of investors taking issue with the $1.75-billion deal proposed by Bank of America, filing suit to recover losses over alleged falsifications, according to multiple news outlets. Following a filing in New York by the FDIC Monday, the suit emerges as the newest in a barrage of legal maneuvers to hit the bank over bad mortgage-backed securities. The litigation, which Bank of America continues to fend off as it seeks to finalize a $8.5-billion settlement, concerns loans allegedly misrepresented by Countrywide.

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