Pam Marron Home Lending

Dodd-Frank: Trump says roll-back, consumers map fight back

June 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Kevin McCoy and Roger Yu , USA TODAY Published 7:02 a.m. ET June 14, 2017 |

Newly announced Trump administration plans to weaken or eliminate many financial-industry regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis mark the opening shot in what consumer groups predict will be a long Washington siege.

On Tuesday, the day after the Department of the Treasury issued the most detailed blueprint yet of proposed changes to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, banking and other financial groups celebrated Trump’s backing of changes they’ve sought for years. The list ranged from restructuring and weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to reexamining Wall Street trading and mortgage rules.

“The Treasury Department’s report is an important first step in recognizing how a duplicative and onerous regulatory environment harms banks, the economy, and, more importantly, consumers,” said Richard Hunt, the CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association, a trade association for retail banks.

Consumer advocates argue that the proposals represent an unwarranted weakening of rules that reined in banks and Wall Street after their excesses contributed to the nation’s worst economic crisis in generations. But major changes won’t come soon, if at all, because eliminating federal laws or Washington agency rules can take years, the advocates say.

“The prospects for preventing the rollback of many of these rules are actually quite good in terms of delay, and probably not bad in terms of preventing,” said Dennis Kelleher, the president and CEO of Better Markets, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that promotes the U.S. public’s interests in financial markets. “Enacting the administration’s regulatory agenda can be as difficult as enacting its legislative agenda if there is effective opposition.”

File photo taken in 2015 shows Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at a hearing in Denver, Colorado.(Photo: Brennan Linsley, AP)

Lobbying will likely spread across multiple fronts. But perhaps nowhere are the disagreements hotter than over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Echoing complaints from Congressional Republicans, the Treasury report said the CFPB’s leadership — a lone director only loosely accountable to the president and wielding authority to enforce 18 federal financial laws — has made the agency “unaccountable to the American people.”

In response, the Treasury report recommended:

Authorizing the president to remove the CFPB’s director at will, rather than only when he or she is found to have done something improper.

Considering an alternative leadership structure of an “independent, multi-member commission or board.”

Changing the agency’s funding procedure to require oversight by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, as well as congressional review.

Switching enforcement actions to federal courts, rather than administrative proceedings handled internally at the agency.

Eliminating public access to underlying data in the agency’s consumer complaint database by restricting that material to federal and state agencies.

Stripping the agency’s supervisory authority over banking and other areas covered by other regulators.

Paul Merski, a Community Bankers of America vice president, applauded yet another proposal, one that would exempt banks with assets of $10 billion or less from complying with CFPB rules that remove some risk features from mortgage loans. That list includes an “interest-only” repayment period, balloon payments required at the end of some mortgages, loan terms longer than 30 years, and excessive upfront fees charged to consumers.

“The main reason for community bank relief is so that they can support growth and jobs,” Merski said.

The CFPB maintained an official silence on the Treasury proposals. Instead, the regulator announced that its director, Richard Cordray, would hold a Thursday public event in Raleigh, N.C. to discuss student loan servicing issues, an area of continuing concern for students who say some loan servicers have not helped the get into income-based repayment plans.

However, Alys Cohen, a staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center, said the proposals would “kick the legs out from under the CFPB,” which reported it had provided nearly $12 billion in relief and assistance to more than 29 million consumers from its 2011 opening through the end of February 2017.

A random sampling of consumers referred by advocacy groups readily agreed.

In Minnesota, John Lukach said he filed a complaint with the CFPB after Navient, the servicer for his nearly $60,000 in private student loans, did not respond to his requests for more affordable repayment options that would cut his monthly bill. Within two days, a Navient representative contacted him to discuss available alternatives, “something that probably wouldn’t have happened” without the CFPB, Lukach said.

In Arkansas, Myra Brewer, 71, said a debt collector called her and tried to force her to repay a roughly $3,000 credit card debt the company said was owed by her late daughter. She refused, even as the company called multiple times a day for weeks, Brewer said. Ultimately, she obtained the name of the bank that had put the purported loan out for collection and then filed a complaint with the CFPB. “That got action,” she said.

In Florida, a mortgage loan originator Pamela Marron noticed that many former homeowners who’d been caught in a wave of financial crisis short sales — selling their houses for less than the mortgage total — had trouble reentering the housing market. The reason, she determined, was that the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies coded the short sales as foreclosures. That meant the consumers could not qualify for conventional, federal government-backed mortgages for seven years.

After Marron filed complaints with the CFPB, banks re-coded the consumers’ mortgage applications and started processing them. “The CFPB people were very helpful because they understood the data we were looking at,” she said.

Armed with similar consumer experiences, advocacy groups are already discussing efforts to block Washington’s efforts to weaken the CFPB.

Kelleher, the Better Markets CEO, likened the efforts to the recent consumer drive that stopped the administration from derailing an Obama-era rule that now requires financial advisers to put consumers’ interests above their own. The regulation went into partial effect last week, but enforcement isn’t set to start until January.

“Big parts of that coalition will also work against deregulation” elsewhere in the financial industry, Kelleher said.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc

______________________________________________________________________________________________

In USA Today. Help that CFPB provided for short sale code problem noted. CFPB “Submit a Complaint” worked when other fixes did not. Directions: http://housingcrisisstories.com/submit-a-complaint-cfpb/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/06/14/dodd-frank-trump-says-roll-back-consumers-map-fight-back/102814996/

© 2017 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Dodd-Frank: Trump says roll-back, consumers map fight back

Call to weaken post-crisis financial safeguards could face long battle

When Unpopular Policy Works

December 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Our current administration inherited a financial crisis that this country has not experienced anything close to since the Great Depression. When the collapse occurred, it was visible by the number of unoccupied homes, and many of us knew of friends, relatives and colleagues who were affected. Initially, problems were blamed on the unscrupulous mortgage broker industry until it was learned that the banking industry had an equal amount of blame.

Almost every loan originator I know was negatively impacted by the housing crisis. They were either losing their homes or their income and in many cases, both. All of us saw the housing bubble, but complacency set in after it continued for years, not months. When the crash happened, it was fast and mammoth. It had to be dealt with and the depth of problems that housing faced during the last eight years was unprecedented. Drastic measures were necessary to be put in place immediately to stop the bleeding.

Many say that measures put in place went too far and stalled the progress of the housing market and ultimately added more cost to the entire mortgage process. Others say it could have been much worse if these safeguards were not in place, and that the inconveniences placed upon our industry need to be adapted to. But a few changes occurred that have provided end results that could be argued as good.

The Role of AMC’s and Home Prices

Many of us have concerns when we see housing prices increase quicker than normal trends again. How do we safeguard against alarmingly fast increases in home value that was the norm prior to the crash? The answer appears to be the Appraisal Management Companies, or AMC’s where all (or at least) Qualified Mortgage (QM) appraisals must go through. Appraisals are now done by third-party appraisal management companies (AMC) who lenders and realtors have no communication with until after the appraisal is completed. Even though the process can be frustrating, the value can’t be blamed on the buyers’ lender. A dispute in value can be done but it is with the appraiser through the AMC rather than the lender.

Qualified Mortgages (QM)

Due to requirements put in place by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), almost all secondary market sellable mortgage products no longer have prepayment penalties, negative amortization, balloons and interest only options. Prior to the housing crash, these negative options were mostly explained to consumers as “rare to happen”, but ultimately became a main reason so many homeowners were negatively affected by the housing crash.

Consequently, a new industry of non-QM mortgage products is out there. Though a rare few have limited “skin in the game”, most of these products require 20% equity to do the deal.

I know that many in my industry have opposite views of the above. And, yes, policies can be streamlined. Frustrating to all of us is that dealing with housing issues seem to come to a standstill 6 to 12 months before every election cycle, seeming to be a topic that no political candidate wants to touch.

Please don’t say the past housing crash won’t happen again with policy changes in the new administration. Instead, those of us in the mortgage and real estate industries need to ensure that this doesn’t happen again by looking at what policies have and have not worked. More effort needs to be placed in finetuning policy that does work.

When Frustration Hurts the Cause

November 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Pam Marron | November 2016 | for National Mortgage Professional Magazine

On May 19th, 2016, I was appointed to the 1st Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC) under HUD. This committee, consisting of 12 members from the mortgage, real estate, housing counseling industries as well as consumers, was formed by HUD to find better ways for HUD counseling to assist consumers with sustainable home ownership. Our first meeting was in Washington, D.C. this week.

While in Washington, a visit to the U.S. Treasury was made to talk about a government 2nd mortgage idea that might allow a refinance for 3.2 million negative equity homeowners who have conventional 1st mortgages not covered by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and for negative equity 2nd mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). The idea could provide a refinance where none exists for those who are current on their mortgage and struggle to stay put in negative equity homes. Many negative equity homeowners have resetting interest only loans and most are just looking for some relief to a lower, fully amortized interest rate that allows equity to build while values return.

At the HCFAC meeting, representatives of top housing agencies that assist homeowners assembled on panels in front of us throughout the day. It was tough to contain disappointment after learning that pre-foreclosure housing counseling funds were gone from the 2017 budget. The aftermath of the housing recession was brought up in multiple conversations and I felt compelled to bring up that we can’t forget the 6.7 million homeowners who still have negative equity in their homes. I was determined to make sure that these people who were in top agencies would know “it wasn’t over yet”. The cringe on the face of a panelist after letting him know that most lenders still required negative equity homeowners to go delinquent before help is provided signaled that this probably wasn’t the first time he had heard this.

Being the bearer of bad news wasn’t what I intended to relay, especially when the direction was shifting to helping consumers purchase homes again.

But, then it turned. One of the panelists was with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). He talked about credit, acknowledging where we had come from and that there was still work to do.

It was then that my greatest frustration was realized:  the lack of attention to damaging current loss mitigation policy that knowingly harms credit built over a lifetime…. credit that is the benchmark of the mortgage and real estate industry and the driver of our economy.

Most homeowners trying to stay in negative equity homes refuse to go delinquent on their mortgage just to get a modification, often their only option available. Five years of trying to expose current policy of most lenders that requires mortgage delinquency first before help is offered is still unbelievable to many. Policy that destroys credit of those already in trouble, that has long term negative consequences and that is affecting a growing number of elderly homeowners can be changed. Allowing for a solution that promotes keeping credit intact with sustainable refinancing can allow responsible homeowners with negative equity to stay put in homes while values return.

Realization occurred that the best agencies who can help were in this room, and that the day before the Treasury had given good news on the forefront and provided valuable information and more contacts that might be able to help. I realized that something very valuable that will come out of getting this HCFAC committee of twelve from four different sectors of housing together. It is also clear that our task will not be easy.

There is still more to be done. The Freddie Mac automated system is turning down past short sellers, reading the short sale credit as a foreclosure, even after the four-year wait needed to get a new mortgage. The fact that loan originators must pay for rapid rescores when helping eliminate disputed accounts on credit has prompted delays on mortgage closings and has resulted in a lack of loan originators wanting to help correct this credit. Finally, patience to wait until after this contentious election is over in order to push forward on getting problems resolved has been short.

But, for the first time in years, progress feels attainable. We are going in the right direction. Stay tuned.

Erroneous Foreclosure Code still results in Loan Denial for Past Short Sellers in Freddie Mac Loan Prospector(LP) for Conventional Loans

October 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Loan originator is asking your assistance to share LP conventional mortgage “Caution” files of past short sellers that have passed the 4-year mark.

By Pam Marron   July 28, 2016
In August of 2014, Fannie Mae successfully implemented an automated system workaround that enabled lenders to correct conventional loan Refer/Ineligible findings when past short sale credit shows up as a foreclosure in the Desktop Underwriter or Originator. Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector automated underwriting system never implemented a correction, and past short sale credit still results in a Loan Prospector “Caution”, or loan denial, for those trying to obtain a new conventional mortgage after a shortsale. The problem does not occur for government FHA and VA loans. Freddie Mac’s Caution findings commonly lists in the reasons for denial under Credit Risk Comments: “13. Recent foreclosure/signif derog appears on credit report”.
A Freddie Mac “Caution” denial requires a manual underwrite to overcome this error.  Lenders that will do a manual underwrite on either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae conventional loan files are rare to find. The good news is that the credit repository(s) reporting the foreclosure is now able to be found and seen in raw data through credit reporting agencies.
This would not be of such great concern if the mortgage industry was not approaching the rollout of the new “Trended Credit Data” that will work with the Fannie Desktop automated system in Version 10.0 set to be implemented on September 24, 2016.
If there are any glitches in the DU 10.0 format, lenders will likely put their loans through the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector automated underwriting system. Because a work around was never implemented for Freddie Mac, past short sellers eligible for a new mortgage will receive an automated “Caution”, or a denial for a new mortgage.
When the problem of the “Caution” in Freddie Mac’s automated system is brought up, the response from Freddie Mac has been that their system has been corrected and problems are with individual files. This article was written to alert Freddie Mac that as more past short sellers become eligible to purchase a home again, we as lenders are experiencing the problem of the “Caution” denial of new conventional mortgages on all files that are conventional, and more often.
This is what we are finding. All files currently being entered into Loan Prospector for a conventional mortgage purchase where a past short sale exists in credit are receiving a “Caution”, even when the past short sale is past the four-year mark, the wait time required after a short sale for a new Freddie Mac conventional mortgage.
A few lenders have stated they have received an “Accept” for a past short seller on a conventional mortgage, but we have found that only loans submitted for an FHA or VA loan appear to receive an “Accept”. This is believed to be due to the fact that Total Scorecard, an additional credit mechanism found in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allows the loan to receive an Approve or Accept respectively through both systems but verification of the short sale account must be backed up with documentation proving a short sale rather than a foreclosure. Additionally, it was checked to see if the problem was due to specific credit reporting agencies. Thus far, multiple credit agency reports for the same borrower have resulted in the same denial.
Unfortunately, Freddie Mac Loan Prospector does not designate which account it is classified as a foreclosure. However, the repository(s) that reports the short sale as a foreclosure can be visually found in raw data of the three repositories, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax in the credit report. Lenders who want to specifically see this to distinguish the problem need to make sure they contact their credit reporting agency and ask for the MOP (method of payment) and a horizontal payment history grid to be available on their report. A screen shot of raw data may ultimately be needed if where the foreclosure code exists is not evident on the visual credit report.
Because of the concern that mortgage traffic will increase in Freddie Mac Loan Prospector if a problem arises in Version 10.0 of the Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter with the introduction of Trended Data Credit, we are proactively and respectfully bringing this known problem of short sale credit that shows up as a foreclosure on conventional loans only again to Freddie Mac’s attention. If you are a loan originator or lender that encounters a “Caution” denial in the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector automated underwriting system for past short sellers trying to obtain a conventional mortgage, please contact Pam Marron at 727-375-8986 or email pam.m.marron@gmail.com.
To best prepare, make sure that you run past short seller files through both Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter/Originator and Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector automated underwriting systems upfront. Don’t wait until the final submission to underwriting.
Stay tuned!

What Could Drive Another Mortgage Crisis?

October 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Continued Policy That Damages Credit of Responsible Homeowners and the Apathetic Reason Nothing is Done

By Pam Marron
For National Mortgage Professional Magazine | Sept. 2016 Issue
There is no refinance available for as many as 6.4 million negative equity homeowners who have a conventional first mortgage not backed by government sponsored enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC) that is “underwater”, where more is owed on the mortgage than the home is worth. Many of these mortgages are interest only loans that are now resetting to fully amortized payments with increases seen as high as 400%+. Simply, because these loans have negative equity, there is no refinance available to reduce initial higher interest rates from years ago. The only option for affected homeowners is a modification or a short sale and both require the homeowner to be delinquent on their mortgage first.
These homeowners struggle to “stay put” in negative equity homes awaiting home values to return. If this problem is not taken seriously, the result will be a new wave of short sales that will have a negative impact on the housing industry. It is already happening.
And this time it is affecting the elderly.
Caps placed on the maximum loan-to-value of non-GSE 1st mortgages and the combined loan to value when 2nd mortgages and HELOCs exist are what holds back a refinance for these specific negative equity loans. Compound this with the interest only reset of many of these loans, and the problem is disastrous.
For too long, there has been a lack of attention to a refinance where none exists for negative equity homeowners. Many believe these homeowners “did it to themselves” and massive press about short sellers labeling them as “strategic defaulters” (or those able to make payments but refuse to) was overshadowed by the fact that negative equity homeowners who worked with banks to short sell homes were told by their own lenders that they could not get approved for the short sale until they were delinquent on their mortgage first. This policy continues to this day for most lenders.
But since 2013, reports have proven that 1”ruthless” or “strategic” default during the 2007-09 recession were relatively rare. In a 22015 follow up of this study, job loss and adverse financial shocks in addition to divorce, large medical expenses and other severe income loss attributed greatly to mortgage default. Most importantly in this report… While household-level employment and financial shocks are important drivers of mortgage default, analysis shows that financially distressed households do not default. More than 80% of unemployed households with less than 1 month of mortgage payments in savings are current on their mortgage payments.
Disdain of reasons for why negative equity occurred is often the primary focus of apathetic attention to a refinance solution. Instead, focus should be on a sustainable refinance for those on time with their mortgage payment to assist them to “stay put” longer.
There is no argument of “moral hazard” or “strategic default” for a refinance option that allows responsible homeowners breathing room to stay put. When homeowners are not struggling to make their payments, they keep up homes which increases the value of our communities.
We can continue to think that the negative equity problem has gone away in the United States but it has not.  More calls are coming in from elderly with no chance of increase in their income. Many of them did a refinance or a second mortgage to help other family members but are now stuck themselves. The reason for a refinance should not matter. And we shouldn’t require affected homeowners to be delinquent on their mortgage first causing a destruction of good credit that results in negative unintended consequences for future credit.
Instead, we should be questioning how we can stabilize areas where negative equity still exists.
There are solutions available with existing mortgage programs now. A white paper entitled “Urgent Attention Needed: Two Problems and Solutions That Exist for Responsible Homeowners Who Have Negative Equity in Their Homes” that provides U.S. and Florida data showing how many negative equity homeowners can be helped is at http://housingcrisisstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Urgent.pdf.

1 Unemployment, Negative Equity, and Strategic Default | August 2013 |Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta | http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/gerardi-kerkenhoff-ohanian-willen-strategic-default.pdf 2  Can’t Pay or Won’t Pay? Unemployment, Negative Equity, and Strategic Default | Sept. 21, 2015 | https://www.bostonfed.org/publications/research-department-working-paper/2015/cant-pay-or-wont-payunemployment-negative-equity-and-strategic-default.aspx

Feds Plan to Sue Moody’s Over Pre-2008 Securities Ratings

October 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

, as published on National Mortgage Professional.com

Friday, October 21, 2016 – 15:07

Moody’s Corp. has announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning to bring a civil complaint that charges the company with violating the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act for its rating of residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations in the period before the 2008 financial crash.

According to a Bloomberg report, Moody’s revealed that it was informed of the DOJ’s plans in a September 29 letter from the department. Moody’s added that an unspecified number of state attorneys general may pursue similar claims, adding that the governmental probes into the case “remains ongoing and may expand to include additional theories.”
The DOJ offered no public comment on the report. Last year, another credit ratings agency, S&P, paid $1.5 billion to settle federal charges accusing it of improper ratings prior to the 2008 crash. S&P added that it accepted the settlement rather than deal with the “delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense” of litigation.

Yellen Raises the Possibility of a “High-Pressure” Economy

October 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

from National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Friday, October 14, 2016

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen took a dramatic departure from her usual talking points to wonder aloud if a “high-pressure” economy would be able to erase the lingering economic wreckage created by the 2008 crash.

According to a Reuters report, Yellen used a speech today before an economics conference to outline potential solutions to the continued problems that have prevented a complete recovery from the last recession. Yellen stated whether a fix could be achieved “by temporarily running a ‘high-pressure economy,’ with robust aggregate demand and a tight labor market. One can certainly identify plausible ways in which this might occur. Increased business sales would almost certainly raise the productive capacity of the economy by encouraging additional capital spending, especially if accompanied by reduced uncertainty about future prospects. In addition, a tight labor market might draw in potential workers who would otherwise sit on the sidelines and encourage job-to-job transitions that could also lead to more efficient—and, hence, more productive—job matches. Finally, albeit more speculatively, strong demand could potentially yield significant productivity.”

Yellen did not speculate on what this scenario would mean for the housing market, which has seen home prices rising far ahead of wages. Nor did she address what has become the new guessing game in economic political circles: when will the Fed start to raise interest rates with greater regularity? Instead, her comments pointed to a new toolbox that central bankers would be able to use in the event that the 2008 situation were to happen again.

“If strong economic conditions can partially reverse supply-side damage after it has occurred, then policymakers may want to aim at being more accommodative during recoveries than would be called for under the traditional view that supply is largely independent of demand,” Yellen said, adding that it would “make it even more important for policymakers to act quickly and aggressively in response to a recession, because doing so would help to reduce the depth and persistence of the downturn.”

FHFA Announces New Streamlined Refinance Offering for High LTV Borrowers: HARP Extended through September 2017

September 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

8/25/2016

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), at FHFA’s direction, will implement a new refinance offering aimed at borrowers with high loan-to-value (LTV) ratios.  The new refinance offering will provide much-needed liquidity for borrowers who are current on their mortgage but are unable to refinance through traditional programs because their LTV ratio exceeds the Enterprises’ maximum limits.

“Providing a sustainable refinance opportunity for high LTV borrowers who have demonstrated responsibility by remaining current on their mortgage makes financial sense both for borrowers and for the Enterprises,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  “This new offering will give borrowers the opportunity to refinance when rates are low, making their mortgages more affordable and thus reducing credit risk exposure for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Eligibility

In order to qualify for the new offering, borrowers: (1) must not have missed any mortgage payments in the previous six months; (2) must not have missed more than one payment in the previous 12 months; (3) must have a source of income; and (4) must receive a benefit from the refinance such as a reduction in their monthly mortgage payment.  Full details will be available in the coming months through the Enterprises, but the offering will make use of the lessons learned from the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and its streamlined approach to refinancing.

Read more

What Could Drive Another Mortgage Crisis?

September 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Continued Policy That Damages Credit of Responsible Homeowners and the Apathetic Reason Nothing is Done

By Pam Marron, for National Mortgage Professional Magazine | Sept. 2016 Issue

There is no refinance available for as many as 6.4 million negative equity homeowners who have a conventional first mortgage not backed by government sponsored enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC) that is “underwater”, where more is owed on the mortgage than the home is worth. Many of these mortgages are interest only loans that are now resetting to fully amortized payments with increases seen as high as 400%+. Simply, because these loans have negative equity, there is no refinance available to reduce initial higher interest rates from years ago. The only option for affected homeowners is a modification or a short sale and both require the homeowner to be delinquent on their mortgage first.

These homeowners struggle to “stay put” in negative equity homes awaiting home values to return. If this problem is not taken seriously, the result will be a new wave of short sales that will have a negative impact on the housing industry. It is already happening.

And this time it is affecting the elderly.

Caps placed on the maximum loan-to-value of non-GSE 1st mortgages and the combined loan to value when 2nd mortgages and HELOCs exist are what holds back a refinance for these specific negative equity loans. Compound this with the interest only reset of many of these loans, and the problem is disastrous.

For too long, there has been a lack of attention to a refinance where none exists for negative equity homeowners. Many believe these homeowners “did it to themselves” and massive press about short sellers labeling them as “strategic defaulters” (or those able to make payments but refuse to) was overshadowed by the fact that negative equity homeowners who worked with banks to short sell homes were told by their own lenders that they could not get approved for the short sale until they were delinquent on their mortgage first. This policy continues to this day for most lenders.

But since 2013, reports have proven that [1]”ruthless” or “strategic” default during the 2007-09 recession were relatively rare. In a [2]2015 follow up of this study, job loss and adverse financial shocks in addition to divorce, large medical expenses and other severe income loss attributed greatly to mortgage default. Most importantly in this report… While household-level employment and financial shocks are important drivers of mortgage default, analysis shows that financially distressed households do not default. More than 80% of unemployed households with less than 1 month of mortgage payments in savings are current on their mortgage payments.

Disdain of reasons for why negative equity occurred is often the primary focus of apathetic attention to a refinance solution. Instead, focus should be on a sustainable refinance for those on time with their mortgage payment to assist them to “stay put” longer.

There is no argument of “moral hazard” or “strategic default” for a refinance option that allows responsible homeowners breathing room to stay put. When homeowners are not struggling to make their payments, they keep up homes which increases the value of our communities.

We can continue to think that the negative equity problem has gone away in the United States but it has not.  More calls are coming in from elderly with no chance of increase in their income. Many of them did a refinance or a second mortgage to help other family members but are now stuck themselves. The reason for a refinance should not matter. And we shouldn’t require affected homeowners to be delinquent on their mortgage first causing a destruction of good credit that results in negative unintended consequences for future credit.

Instead, we should be questioning how we can stabilize areas where negative equity still exists.

There are solutions available with existing mortgage programs now. A white paper entitled “Urgent Attention Needed: Two Problems and Solutions That Exist for Responsible Homeowners Who Have Negative Equity in Their Homes” that provides U.S. and Florida data showing how many negative equity homeowners can be helped is at http://housingcrisisstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Urgent.pdf.

[1] Unemployment, Negative Equity, and Strategic Default | August 2013 |Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta | http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/gerardi-kerkenhoff-ohanian-willen-strategic-default.pdf

[2]  Can’t Pay or Won’t Pay? Unemployment, Negative Equity, and Strategic Default | Sept. 21, 2015 | https://www.bostonfed.org/publications/research-department-working-paper/2015/cant-pay-or-wont-pay-unemployment-negative-equity-and-strategic-default.aspx

How to Prevent the Next Housing Crisis

August 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Staff KnowledgeWharton – from The Fiscal Times

Next Page »