Here Come the Changes! Fannie Mae Sets Release Weekend for Desktop Underwriter™ 10.0

Here Come the Changes! Fannie to release DU 10.0

Well, we finally know a *LITTLE* more about Fannie’s plan to release the brand-spanking-new version of Desktop Underwriter™ (DU™).

If you took Real Estate Institute’s live Mortgage continuing education class last year, you heard me talk about Fannie’s plans to revamp and update their underwriting engine to take into account “new and improved” (*your mileage may vary) credit report data that the mortgage industry has not previously utilized. The data to which I’m referring is called trended credit data, and it incorporates much more information about consumers than most of you have ever seen before.

Right now, our mortgage credit reports are basically “snapshot” reports – that is, they show the consumer’s payment history, current balance, credit limit, dates opened, etc. That data is updated typically once per month from each reporting account, and what we know about our customer is what is reported on that day from that creditor. Thus, if Joey Bagadonutz is someone who pays off his credit cards in full each month, but his outstanding balance on the day the account reports to the bureaus is $3,500, we see that balance as $3,500 with no indicator of how long it has been that high. Now, imagine that the limit on Joey’s account is $4,000. Our current underwriting algorithms see him as a SIGNIFICANT CREDIT RISK because of his credit utilization. Not good for Joey.

With trended data, not only will we be able to view the outstanding balance and limit, we’ll be able to see how much Joey has paid on his accounts each month for the past two years! For a guy like Joey who pays his account in full, this is fantastic; we’ll be able to really dig into his excellent credit history beyond today’s “well, he’s never been late.” Thus, Joey gets a better risk evaluation, which leads to a better rate, which leads to happy Joey, pink unicorns, rainbows and Santa Claus! Can’t get any better than this, right?

Well, if you’re Joey, yes.

However, if you’re someone who carries a balance each month, not so much. Let’s say you’re working with Bubba Buysalot on a purchase of a new home. Bubba is a guy who has 6 open credit cards, is under 50% utilization on all of them, and has never missed a payment. In today’s credit world, our algorithms see him as a TOP-TIER RISK LEVEL because of his utilization and payment history. Good for Bubba. Now, with the new trended data, we dig deeper and see that Bubba has made just the minimum payment on all six accounts and his balance over time has been increasing. Now, Bubba is no longer a top-tier borrower. He gets a worse risk evaluation (due to the fact that those who make minimum payments default on debt at a rate 3 to 5 times higher), which leads to a higher rate or a declined loan, which leads to sad Bubba, rain clouds, bee stings and Lucy pulling away the football when he tries to kick it.

You can see both sides of this coin, right? Deeper information and improved risk assessment is good for creditors, Fannie Mae and MBS investors, but it’s not good for every applicant.

OK. So WHEN is this new version of DU coming out? Good question. According to Fannie’s preview document released at the end of January, we can expect the rollout to occur on the weekend of June 25, 2016. We also can expect a series of training webinars and informational communications in the months leading up to the roll-out date. As of right now, all we really know is that this new release will evaluate trended credit data, as well as simplify the process for applicants with multiple financed properties. We’ll learn a lot more when Fannie issues the release notes sometime later this month. It will be interesting to see if they also incorporate some of the other changes they’ve been working on, such as creating a way for DU to evaluate borrowers with non-traditional credit histories, or if those will be relegated to a future release.

Now that you have this knowledge, it’s time to get out there and start educating your prospective borrowers about it, especially those who are sitting on the fence about purchasing a home. While you’re at it, start informing your referral sources, too! I’m sure there are gaggles of real estate agents and financial planners out there who’d like to know about these changes well in advance.

More to come when the Release Notes are, well, released. Until then…

Happy Originating!

Peter



Real Estate Institute is an NMLS-Approved Course Provider, #1400102. Each year, thousands across the country choose Real Estate Institute for its mortgage pre-license, SAFE test prep and continuing education programs. If you have questions about your education requirements, our compliance experts are available at 800-995-1700 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Central Time), Monday through Friday.

What Mortgage Companies Need to Know About Advertising to Stay Out of Trouble

Gavel_Regulation NSurely you’ve seen the recent headlines. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is cracking down on mortgage companies for unfair and deceptive advertising practices. These companies are incurring multi-million-dollar fines for improper advertising.  Understanding the rules is critical. Here’s an overview of what you need to know about REGULATION N: Mortgage Acts and Practices (Advertising) to stay out of the headlines.

Regulation N Defined

Regulation N is a CFPB regulation that is intended to ensure that mortgage credit is not advertised in a misleading manner and that there are no material misrepresentations made – either explicitly or implicitly – about any term or mortgage credit product in a commercial communication (advertisement).

Under Regulation N, it is unlawful to:

  • Misrepresent the amount of interest a consumer will be charged, including any misrepresentations of, or failure to disclose, negative amortization.
  • Misrepresent the APR, simple interest rate, periodic rate or any other rate. (This is also prohibited separately in Regulation Z.)
  • Fail to disclose whether separate payment of taxes or insurance is required or misrepresent the extent to which those payments are included in the consumer’s mortgage payment or loan amount.
  • Misrepresent the existence, amount or duration of a prepayment penalty.
  • Using the word “fixed” to describe an ARM, unless the term “Adjustable Rate Mortgage” is clearly used before the term fixed and it is obvious that the loan is an ARM.  (For example, you can’t advertise a “five-year fixed” unless that really is a loan that amortizes over five years with no rate change.  You can, however, advertise “an adjustable rate mortgage with an initial fixed rate period of five years after which time the interest rate may adjust once per year.”
  • Misrepresent the type of mortgage credit product.  For example, it is illegal to lead a customer to believe that a balloon loan is a fully-amortizing mortgage.
  • Misrepresent the amount of the loan, or the amount of cash or credit available to the consumer, including claiming that no payments are required in a reverse mortgage.  (The payment is made when the loan matures, and the borrower can also make payments at any time during the term.)
  • Advertise or imply that the mortgage company or loan product is sponsored by or affiliated with the government.
  • Insinuate that the advertisement in question is coming from the borrower’s current servicer when it is in fact not.
  • Tell consumers that they are pre-approved or guaranteed for a loan when that is not true.
  • Promise a refinance or loan modification unless that refinance or modification has actually been underwritten and approved and cannot change.

Finally, under Regulation N, all advertisements must be retained by the lender for a period of 24 months after their last publication or broadcast.

Helpful Hint for Prospective MLOs

If you’re thinking of becoming a loan officer, you will need to know Regulation N for the National SAFE mortgage loan originator exam. This is the licensing test that prospective loan officers need to pass to become a state-licensed mortgage loan originator. For more help preparing for the NMLS / SAFE test, try out these free practice tests.

 


Real Estate Institute encourages all readers to consult with a qualified attorney on all matters of law or regulation, as no blog post can or should be a substitute for competent legal counsel.

 

TILA-RESPA DISCLOSURE RULE – VERBAL CLARIFICATION FROM CFPB ON DOC REQUESTS AT PRE-APPROVAL

If you’ve taken Real Estate Institute’s 2014 CE class, you know there have been some questions raised regarding the borrower providing documentation to the creditor before receiving the new Loan Estimate under the rules that take effect on August 1, 2015.  Specifically, the question was how pre-approvals would be conducted given the language in Section 1026.19(e)(2)(iii) of Regulation Z going into effect next year, which states:

“The creditor or other person shall not require a consumer to submit documents verifying information related to the consumer’s application before providing the disclosures required by paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section.” (Referring to the Loan Estimate.)

The official comments to the rule further state:

“A mortgage broker may ask for the names, account numbers, and balances of the consumer’s checking and savings accounts, but the mortgage broker may not require the consumer to provide bank statements, or similar documentation, to support the information the consumer provides orally before the mortgage broker provides the disclosures required by § 1026.19(e)(1)(i).” (Comment 19(e)(2)(iii) to the TILA-RESPA Rule)

As our instructors have mentioned in class, I wrote a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau some months ago asking for clarification on this section of the rule.  Specifically, I was concerned about the CFPB’s interpretation of the word “required” and whether a lender or broker would be in violation of the rule if we went through the typical pre-approval process as it exists in 2014.

I’m pleased to report that I received a call from Jeff Riley at the CFPB and had a lengthy discussion with him about this issue.  Jeff provided verbal clarification* that it is permissible for creditors/brokers to REQUEST information and documentation from the borrower prior to providing a loan estimate, including at the pre-approval stage.  However, the borrower cannot be REQUIRED to provide documentation before a creditor (or broker on behalf of a creditor) provides a loan estimate, nor can the collecting any of the six pieces of information that constitute an application be intentionally delayed until the borrower provides the documentation.  Put simply, if borrowers verbally provide you the six pieces of information (name, income, Social Security number, subject property address, estimate of value of the subject property and the desired loan amount), you must provide a loan estimate within three business days even if they refuse to furnish any documentation to substantiate what they verbally disclose.

What’s the takeaway here?  Carry on with your pre-approvals as you normally would after August 1, 2015.  Obtaining documentation from the borrower in order to issue a pre-approval would not appear to put you in violation of the TILA-RESPA rule (although I would certainly avoid giving the impression through verbal or non-verbal clues that any documentation is “required” or “mandatory”).  Also, if borrowers want to give you all of the required information verbally, don’t stop them from doing so until you’ve seen documents, as that would be a violation of the rule.

*NOTE – Verbal clarification is NOT official staff guidance or an official interpretation of the rule by the CFPB.  I encourage all readers to consult with a qualified attorney on all matters of law or regulation.  I am not an attorney (nor do I play one on TV), and no blog post can or should substitute for competent legal counsel.

Happy originating!

Peter

TODAY'S THE DAY – New Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rules Are In Effect!

Well, today is the day we’ve all been anxious about for the past year; the CFPB’s new Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage rules have gone into effect.  Mortgage brokers – do you know how your funding lenders are going to handle non-QM loans, if at all?  Are you prepared to review points-and-fees upfront to avoid the need for last minute changes or – worse – fatal compliance issues within the rubrics of your funding lenders?  Mortgage bankers, do you have a plan to handle loans that “fall out” of QM because of issues with points-and-fees calculations or investor interpretations?  Tammy Butler over at Optimal Blue has some excellent advice on having a “Plan B” for the mortgage bankers and depositories out there.  You can check out her latest blog here.

For those of you doing VA loans, the VA issued a circular yesterday indicating that all TILA requirements regarding ATR/QM will apply to VA loans until the VA has issued its own ATR/QM regulations, which it anticipates doing “in the near future.”  Note that any loan that is NOT a QM but meets VA eligibility requirements will still be guaranteed by the VA.

Remember that HUD’s FHA QM definition – implementing rebuttable presumption and safe-harbor thresholds for FHA loans – also goes into effect today.  HUD released a summary of that rule back on December 11 and you can find the actual text of the rule in the Federal Register.

Finally, I’m interested in hearing about your experiences with ATR/QM as we venture into this brave new world together!  If you have any difficulties – or good experiences – that you’d like to share as these new applications make their way to the closing table, feel free to leave a comment below. (Just keep it clean!) or send me an email.

Happy originating!

Peter

CFPB Finalizes Rules on New RESPA & TILA Disclosures

As widely expected, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued the final rules to implement the “unified disclosures” required under the Dodd-Frank Act.  Rules will go into effect on August 1, 2015. Readers who have been following this blog will recall that getting to this point has been a relatively long and in-depth process, with the agency issuing several draft documents and soliciting comment from the public and industry in a process it named “know before you owe.”

The big surprise today, however, was the length of time the agency gave to industry to implement these new requirements.  A 20-month implementation period comes as a surprise, especially in light of the compressed time period the industry has been working under to implement the oft-amended ability-to-repay and qualified mortgage rules.

In a very brief overview of the final rule (I’ll be getting much more in-depth into it over the next few months to prepare next year’s CE course), it becomes apparent the reasoning behind the extended implementation widow becomes apparent:

  • There is no exemption from the rule given to small creditors, despite heavy involvement from the Independent Community Bankers of America and various State Community Bankers Associations.
  • The fairly controversial provision in the proposed rule requiring borrowers to receive the new Closing Disclosure (replacement for the current HUD-1 and final TIL disclosure) three days before closing was not removed from the final rule – over the objections and warnings of many industry trade groups.

Such a long window of preparation is likely to make beleaguered technology vendors struggling with the QM/ATR implementation – such as LOS providers like Ellie Mae and Calyx – as well as compliance consulting companies, loan pricing engines and mortgage law firms, breathe a long sigh of relief.

You can find a narrative description of the disclosure initiative, as well as links to the final disclosures and the rule itself, at:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/a-final-rule-that-makes-mortgage-disclosure-better-for-consumers/

Additionally, the CFPB will be publishing the rule in the Federal Register as required by law.

Happy originating,

Peter

HUD Rescinds "Disputed Item" Guidance for FHA-insured Mortgages

Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued Mortgagee Letter 2012-10 which rescinded the guidance that was published March 1 in ML 2012-03.  I wrote about those updates as part of a larger post dealing with the MIP changes that were front-and-center at the time.

The guidelines, which many complained (rightfully so, in my opinion) would add undue stress to FHA’s targeted demographics and further strain the housing market, were scheduled to go into effect on July 1.   They would have required borrowers with disputed credit accounts in excess of $1,500 to resolve all of the disputes before a loan could be eligible for FHA insurance.  Further, the guidelines would have required all collection accounts to be paid off if the aggregate balance of the accounts exceeded $1,000.  As you’ve likely seen in your origination business, a healthy number of applicants for FHA-insured mortgages show some older, unresolved collections exceeding that $1,000 amount.

This is welcome news to those of us who work with borrowers using the FHA product.  Yes, the volume of FHA-insured purchase and credit-qualifying refinance loans has dropped since the recent MIP changes took effect, but HUD still captures a large market share, and artificially limiting homeownership opportunities for creditworthy borrowers with older blemishes on their bureaus is just bad policy.  It’s refreshing that HUD came to that realization before July 1and took these actions, although we do expect them to “provide further clarification” on disputes and collection accounts again in the future.

The full mortgagee letter detailing the credit guidance rescission (but leaving other guidance intact) can be found here.

Happy originating!

First-Ever Comprehensive Look at U.S. Residential Mortgage Originators

Based on the NMLS Federal Registry Quarterly Report for the first quarter of 2012 that was released today, there is reason to be optimistic about mortgage origination in the United States.  This report, along with the Nationwide View of State-Licensed Mortgage Entities report, provides a comprehensive overview of all individuals, mortgage companies and depository institutions originating residential mortgages in the country.  According to the report:

  • 15,883 companies are licensed through NMLS, up 6% from Q1 2011;
  • MLOs totaled 105,595, an increase of 5.5% from Q1 2011;
  • The total number of licenses held by companies increased 12% from Q1 2011 to 31,686; and
  • The number of total licenses held by MLOs increased by 13% from Q1 2011 to 207,187.

The Real Estate Institute can attest to an increase in the number of students enrolling in NMLS mortgage licensing courses.  According to Peter Citera, Director of Mortgage Education at the Real Estate Institute, “A growing number of our pre-license students were formerly in the mortgage industry.  As they hear about the opportunities with the historically low rates and the increasing number of refinances, they are getting back into the business.”

NMLS Issues Late CE Deadline Reminder

The NMLS issued a reminder to course providers that late CE reporting must be completed by February 28, 2012.  This will allow MLOs to apply for reinstatement by the deadline, February 29, 2012.  According to the NMLS, this is the absolute final deadline to have 2011 CE completed and reported to the NMLS.

Real Estate Institute’s comprehensive late CE course is specifically intended to meet the education requirements needed for you to reinstate your license.  Please note: Some states require mortgage loan originators to complete state-specific hours in addition to the CE hours required under the SAFE Act.  Be certain to confirm your state’s requirements for late CE reinstatement.

If you did not complete your 2011 CE requirement by December 31, 2011, the following course is approved and available for enrollment.  Real Estate Institute’s online, self-paced continuing education course is designed to help you meet your SAFE CE requirement in a convenient and engaging format.

Late 2011 CE: 8-Hour SAFE Comprehensive Continuing Education (NMLS-Approved Course ID: 2720)

The SAFE Act requires 8 hours of continuing education annually.  If you are unsure of your 2011 requirement, click here to view a helpful document on the NMLS website.  Click here for more information from the NMLS about license reinstatement.