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Servicing

BofA Sells Mortgage Rights to Fannie Mae

In an endeavor to get ahead of mortgage-related woes from the financial crisis, mortgage giant Bank of America has offered to sell a chunk of its mortgage portfolio servicing rights to GSE Fannie Mae, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sale of bad loan rights to the government entity may shift new bulk onto federal balance sheets at a time when the GSE recently posted second-quarter losses and announced plans to petition the government for more taxpayer funds.

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Study: More Lenders Fail to Follow Up with Borrowers

Fewer lenders take the time to follow up with potential borrowers, leading to turned-off applicants, according to a new paper by software and services provider Leads360. The paper said that only 21 percent of mortgage lenders made an attempt to call back borrowers after an initial inquiry. The paper, a "secret shopper study," according to Leads360, tracked customer service strategies and follow-up by mortgage lenders with leads and potential borrowers. It faulted mortgage lenders for their failure to implement customer service strategies.

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FBI: Mortgage Fraud Activity Up in 2010

Fraud

More brokers, loan officers, realtors, and others defrauded lenders, servicers, and homeowners over 2010 despite improving conditions in the housing market at large, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which released a comprehensive report Friday. Mortgage fraud cases and investigations amounted to 3,129 cases over the year, 12 percent more than in 2009 and some 90 percent above the same trends in 2008. Referencing CoreLogic, the FBI said that applicants fraudulently filed some $12 billion in loan applications last year.

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Investors Rush to Scoop Up GSE Mortgage Debt

While Treasury yields plummeted on low notes sounded by investors over panicked markets, recently downgraded GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to see spikes in interest from investors over their mortgage-backed debt. The Financial Times attributes the investor rush to the market bonanza created by the Federal Reserve, which decided Tuesday to keep interest rates at historically low levels until 2013. Some analysts say the investor rush to agency debt could crimp financing for U.S. federal debt and potentially frustrate mortgage rates.

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Super Committee May Axe Home Benefits, Agency Debt

On the heels of Standard & Poor's controversial downgrades for U.S. debt ratings, Congress passed the deficit reduction axe to a bipartisan, six-member "super-committee" for each chamber, with both parties finally naming lawmakers to the commission Thursday. Capitol watchers say important housing laws and provisions may await the congressional guillotine, with the mortgage tax rate deduction, mortgage debt, and other housing-related giveaways in line. The appointments follow a recent deduction-slashing proposal.

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AG Activiates IPO Capital

Putting capital earned from its recent initial public offering to good use, AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc., announced that it has achieved significant deployment of its new liquidity. The company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós IPO and simultaneous private placement were concurrently completed on July 6, and by utilizing the capital gained in that transaction as well as the underwriters├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó overallotment option, established and closed on July 20, AG has also been able to debut its initial portfolio.

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Markets Squeeze Banks, Homebuilding Companies

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swept clean Tuesday's historic gains with a 519.83-point nosedive Wednesday, reflecting widespread fears about contagious European debt, the impact of Standard & Poor's downgrades, and an economic slowdown worldwide. Signaling further distress for housing markets, banks with thick mortgage portfolios and homebuilding companies saw their stocks tumble in an investor stampede for the exits. Following the Dow closely, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 plunged 101.47 points and 51.77 points, respectively.

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Fidelity and PSMI Make Merger Official

Fidelity Mortgage, Inc. has new ownership. PSM Holdings, Inc., recently announced the completion of its acquisition, which fuses Fidelity with United Community Mortgage Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Prime Source Mortgage, Inc., via its parent company, PSMH.

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