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Wells Fargo Celebrates a New Board Member

Wells Fargo has a new face to celebrate with the addition of Federico Pena to the board of directors for the major mortgage lender. Increasing the board├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós size to 16, Pena will serve on the audit and examination committee for Wells, according to a statement released by the lender.

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Ex-HUD Officials, Lawmakers Lead New Housing Commission

Lawmakers and policymakers from both sides of the aisle recently teamed up to head a bipartisan commission on the future of U.S. housing policy. The Bipartisan Policy Center, a D.C.-based nonprofit organization, floated commission leaders whose names include former HUD secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez, ex-Sen. Kit Bond, and onetime Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who also founded the organization. The commission will finalize the details of these recommendations in a major package for current lawmakers and policymakers.

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Nation’s Big Four Banks Sign Up for HARP Expansion

The nation's four biggest mortgage lenders recently signed up for modifications to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, adding credibility to a mass refinance opportunity that met with cheers and criticism this week. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced this week that it would lift the 125-percent loan-to-value ratio for mortgages, do away with risk-based fees for borrowers with short-term loans, and extend the lifetime of the program until 2013. B of A, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo all came forward.

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Bank Shares Soar on Europe’s Grand Debt Bargain

Bank shares lifted in the enthusiastic market response to news that European Union states reached a grand bargain to save the euro, but analysts speaking with MReport pare jubilation with forecasts for fewer refinance applications and home purchases. After two years of time spent in a debt crisis, European leaders cobbled together a third bailout measure to salvage debt-ridden Greece and prevent further peril for the continent├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós common currency.

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Court Sentences Bank Execs for Trying to Bilk TARP

A U.S. federal judge handed prison sentences and $100 million in fines to two former bank officials and a borrower Thursday for their roles in trying to bilk the Troubled Asset Relief Program during the financial crisis. Former Orion Bank EVP Thomas Hebble and SVP Angel Guerzon, along with onetime borrower Francesco Mileto, received time in federal prison for falsifying information about bad loans under the pretenses that their financial institution qualified for bailout funds from the federal government.

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FHFA: Fannie, Freddie May Need $142B More in Taxpayer Funds

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released projections Thursday that showed the GSEs may need anywhere from $51 billion to $142 billion more taxpayer funds over the next few years, even as one Republican lawmaker offered a plan that would siphon federal support for the companies. The scenarios show that the companies will ultimately need to withdraw anywhere from $220 billion to $311 billion from the federal government, a lower estimate for forecasts that originally fixed their needs at anywhere from $221 billion to $363 billion.

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Mortgage Rates Unchanged from Week Earlier

Mortgage rates largely remained near historic lows from the week earlier, reflecting a sense of uncertainty that continues to persist among wary homebuyers. Bankrate.com denoted a new low for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which fell from 4.38 percent last week to crest at 4.33 percent this week. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage giant Freddie Mac polled financial institutions and the like in their weekly surveys. Freddie differed by few turns, signaling the loss of one percentage point this week.

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Morgan Stanley Rolls Out New Global Division

Despite its complicated moniker, Morgan Stanley's newly formed Financial Institutions Group Global Capital Markets team has a simple mission - to help banks around the globe navigate financial and capital challenges. The advisory division will target organizations worldwide, offering strategies, underwriting, and decision-point support for clients. Morgan Stanley's Shyam Parekh will head up the FIG division out of London, and New York-based Kevin Ryan and Taylor Wright will round out the leadership.

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Kansas Bank Boosts Borrower’s Tech Options

National Bank of Kansas City is adding to its arsenal of technology tools. Recently announcing that it will now utilize DocuSign├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós eSignature platform to enhance all aspects of mortgage processing, the financial institution will be able to boost borrower├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós integration into loan procedures.

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Fed Rejects MetLife Plan, Likely Speeding Mortgage Exit

Fed

In a blow to MetLife, the Federal Reserve rejected a plan by the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós biggest life insurer to move forward with stock repurchases and capital redistribution plans, likely accelerating the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós departure from the mortgage markets. The news arrives on the heels of an announcement by the company to sell off MetLife Home Loans, the division responsible for originating residential and reverse mortgages. In a statement, MetLife said that it had recently sent a capital redistribution proposal to the Fed in order to shore up annual dividends.

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