Tag Archives: sector

A closer look to be taken at nonbank mortgage lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday disclosed key details about how its examiners will size up mortgage companies that aren’t banks but still offer home loans to consumers, noting it will be leaning on other regulators for help as it embarks on the enormous task of reviewing thousands of nonbank lenders.

The details are crucial given that the consumer watchdog agency, through a supervision program it launched last week, is preparing to bring many of the nation’s nonbank financial companies under federal supervision for the first time.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - CFPBThousands of nonbank financial firms are not chartered as banks but still offer mortgage, student and payday loans, and many have faced only light federal scrutiny. The sector has faced criticism from consumer advocates and other groups who say some home lending practices by the nonbank sector contributed to the recent financial crisis.

The consumer bureau noted Wednesday the sector is indeed “a significant part of the mortgage market” that included many of the largest subprime lenders during the housing bubble.

“The mortgage market cannot work well for consumers if the spotlight shines only on one part of it, while the rest is left in darkness,” said the consumer bureau’s director Richard Cordray. “Our supervision program will illuminate the entire marketplace by making nonbanks play by the same rules as the banks.”

The bureau’s new “Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures” guide released Wednesday makes clear the bureau’s examiners will be conducting broad reviews of nonbank mortgage lenders’ business practices and the agency will be coordinating with state regulators and other federal agencies.

Consumer bureau staffers will be examining the companies’ volume of business as well as the types of products and services the firms are offering. Also, the bureau will be evaluating lenders’ advertisements and marketing practices as well as closing practices, another indication that just about every part of a firms’ business model will be under review.

The goal will be to assess whether nonbank mortgage lenders and brokers are in compliance with financial laws.

But the bureau also made clear that, unlike other banking regulators, the watchdog has another focus: identifying risks to consumers.

The bureau, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law to root out fraudulent financial practices thought to have contributed to the recent financial crisis, had already been supervising some of the nation’s largest banks. But its powers to oversee nonbank lenders didn’t kick in until last week, when President Barack Obama recess-appointed Cordray as the bureau’s first director. Cordray has said the agency will move forward on programs and probes despite concerns about how the president bypassed the Senate to install him as the agency’s chief.

This article is by the Wall Street Journal, viewable here: “New Bureau Plans Close Look at Nonbank Mortgage Lenders.”

Thirty-Year Fixed-Rate Matches All-Time Low

Fixed mortgage rates started the year at or near their all-time record lows, according to market data published by Freddie Mac Thursday.

The GSE reports the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 3.91 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending January 5, 2012. That’s down from 3.95 percent the previous week and matches the record low set just two weeks earlier.

This marks the fifth consecutive week the 30-year rate has come in below the 4.00 percent mark. To put things into perspective, last year at this time, it was averaging 4.77 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate averaged 3.23 percent (0.8 point) in Freddie Mac’s survey this week, down from 3.24 percent the week prior.

The current average rate on a home loan with a 15-year fixed term is just two basis points above its all-time low of 3.21 percent, which was hit in two weeks during the month of December. A year ago, the average 15-year rate was at 4.13 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, attributed the declines seen among fixed rates to recent data reports which indicate the housing market and manufacturing industry are showing signs of improvement.

“Pending existing home sales in November jumped 7.3 percent, nearly five times greater than the market consensus forecast, to its strongest pace since April 2010,” Nothaft noted.

“In addition,” he said, “construction spending rose 1.2 percent in November, supported by the residential sector which exhibited its fourth consecutive monthly increase. Similarly, manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months.”

Freddie Mac’s report shows the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) came in at 2.86 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from 2.88 percent. This time last year, the 5-year ARM was averaging 3.75 percent.

The GSE’s survey puts the 1-year ARM at 2.80 percent (0.6 point). It was the only loan product included in the GSE’s study to head higher, up from 2.78 percent last week. Flip the calendar back 12 months, and the 1-year ARM was averaging 3.24 percent.

This article is from DSNews.com: “Thirty-Year Fixed-Rate Matches All-Time Low.”