fhfa - Articles

Housing Industry Wonders: What Does Mel Watt Want?

APMel Watt: "meeting all day and reading all night." By Margaret Chadbourn The U.S. housing industry has waited three months to find out how Mel Watt will govern taxpayer-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and has been frustrated by his silence. The former 11-term congressman from North Carolina, who... Continue Reading »

Former FHFA Chief DeMarco Departing the Agency in April

APEdward DeMarco had been acting chief of the FHFA. By Margaret Chadbourn Edward DeMarco, former acting director of the housing regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said on Monday that he would leave the agency at the end of April. DeMarco led the Federal Housing Finance Agency in an acting capacity from... Continue Reading »

Fee Hikes for U.S.-Backed Mortgages Are Put on Hold

AP The U.S. regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday instructed the two taxpayer-owned mortgage finance companies to delay the increase in fees on government-backed loans that the agency announced last month. Mel Watt, the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said he would postpone the price... Continue Reading »

Mortgage-Fee Hikes Will Be Put on Hold, Mel Watt Says

The Associated Press By Margaret Chadbourn Congressman Mel Watt, the incoming director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said he plans to delay the increase in fees on government-backed loans that the agency announced this month. The North Carolina Democrat was nominated by President Barack Obama in May and... Continue Reading »

Federal Housing Agency Sued in Battle Over Eminent-Domain Bailouts

Getty Images By Katie Zezima NEWARK, N.J. -- The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Federal Housing Finance Agency, asking it to disclose efforts to stop municipalities from using eminent domain to bail out underwater homeowners and make its dealings with the financial industry more transparent. The ACLU,... Continue Reading »

Fannie and Freddie's Mortgage Size Limits Won't Drop in 2014

Alamy By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON -- The maximum size of U.S. home loans that taxpayer-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy will hold steady next year, their regulator said on Tuesday, deferring a decision on when to pull back government support for the housing market. The mortgage financiers will continue to... Continue Reading »

JPMorgan's $13 Billion Deal Hits Stumbling Blocks

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesJPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon By Aruna Viswanatha and David Henry JPMorgan Chase and the U.S. Justice Department have hit snags in working out the final details of their $13 billion settlement over the bank's mortgage bonds, two people familiar with the talks said. The bank and the... Continue Reading »

California City Backs Plan to Seize 'Underwater' Mortgages

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images By Jim Christie RICHMOND, Calif. -- Richmond, Calif.'s leaders approved Wednesday morning a plan for the city to become the first in the nation to acquire mortgages with negative equity in a bid to keep local residents in their homes. The power of "eminent domain" allows governments to seize... Continue Reading »

Giants Masking Billions in Losses for Overdue Mortgages

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images WASHINGTON -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are masking billions of dollars losses because of the level of delinquent home loans they carry, a federal watchdog said in an internal report, and it said the companies should be required immediately to recognize the costs of some bad... Continue Reading »

Thousands of Borrowers to Get Mortgage Payments Reduced

By Les Christie Starting this week, hundreds of thousands of struggling borrowers could be in for a pleasant surprise: a quick and easy way to get their mortgage payments back on track -- and save considerable money. Through a new effort called the Streamlined Modification Initiative, borrowers with mortgages backed by... Continue Reading »

Existing Home Sales Jump, Home Prices Rise More than Expected

By Paul Ausick We have two data points on the U.S. housing market this morning. The National Association of Realtors reports that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing home sales in November rose 5.9 percent to 5.04 million from a downwardly revised total of 4.76 million in October. Sales are up 14.5 percent... Continue Reading »

REO to Rental: Fannie Mae Dips Further Into Foreclosure Pool

Fannie Mae waded further into the foreclosure pool on Monday as it released new details on its plan to sell its repossessed homes as rental properties. The pilot program, first announced in August as an effort to clear the mortgage giant's backlog of foreclosures, is launching with an initial offering of 2,490 residential... Continue Reading »

FHFA Plan for Government Lenders Could Hike Loan Cost

WASHINGTON -- The government regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has submitted a plan to Congress that would shrink the mortgage giants' roles in the housing market. The Federal Housing Finance Agency's proposal for a leaner Fannie and Freddie was released Tuesday and would mean fewer mortgages are backed by the... Continue Reading »

Foreclosure Fire Sale: Will Bulk 'REO to Rental' Program Fly?

With an estimated 3.6 million more foreclosures expected over the next two years, the government-backed mortgage giants have a proposition for you: How'd you like to take a couple (hundred) homes off their hands? In a recently announced program, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates the quasi-government... Continue Reading »

State AG Sues Fannie and Freddie for Answers

SAN FRANCISCO -- California's attorney general filed lawsuits against mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Tuesday, demanding that the companies that own some 60 percent of the state's mortgages respond to questions in a state investigation. Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office filed the lawsuits in San... Continue Reading »

Fannie Mae Allowed Widespread Robo-Signing, Agency Says

WASHINGTON -- Fannie Mae missed chances to catch law firms illegally signing foreclosure documents and its government overseer did not take the right steps to ensure Fannie was doing its job, according to a federal watchdog. The Federal Housing Finance Agency's inspector general said in a report Friday that Fannie... Continue Reading »

Private Transfer Fees: Hidden Homebuyer Fee Coming to an End

Buried in the arcane pages of many homebuyers' contracts is a hidden fee with an equally esoteric name: private transfer fee covenants. Essentially, these cryptic addenda, which are still legal in more than 30 states, require payment to a third party every time the property changes hands. On average, these fees can average... Continue Reading »

Fannie and Freddie: Duped by Big Banks?

While everyone discusses the likelihood that Fannie and Freddie were duped into buying subprime mortgages that didn't meet their investing criteria, we may finally get a definitive answer when banks answer the 64 subpoenas issued this week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The agency didn't release the names of the... Continue Reading »

Are Appraisals the New Organized Crime?

Greedy appraisers, who put lofty valuations on properties to please lenders and line their pockets, played a large role in the housing bubble. And the fallout continues: On Jan. 29, a former Beverly Hills real estate appraiser was sentenced to three years in federal prison for her role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to... Continue Reading »

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