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Mortgage

U.S. sues Wells Fargo, alleging a decade of mortgage deceit

Implying Wells Fargo has acted as an assembly line for mass FHA lending, regardless of quality, the government is suing the bank for deficient lending and a cover up.

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U.S. government versus Wells Fargo

United States prosecutors have filed charges against Wells Fargo, alleging the mega bank lied about the quality of mortgages it serviced under a federal housing program for over a decade, then lying about their condition to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

The loans under scrutiny were not eligible for the government insurance through the FHA, and when the loans failed, the FHA was obligated to cover those losses. In response, the Justice Department is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

“Yet another major bank has engaged in a longstanding and reckless trifecta of deficient training, deficient underwriting and deficient disclosure, all while relying on the convenient backstop of government insurance,” U.S. Attorney, Preet S. Bharara said in a statement.

Wells Fargo denies wrongdoing

Wells Fargo denies the claims in a statement to the Consumerist, stating, “Wells Fargo denies the allegations and believes it acted in good faith and in compliance with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules. Many of the issues in the lawsuit had been previously addressed with HUD.”

“The Bank will present facts to vigorously defend itself against this action. Wells Fargo is proud of its long involvement in the FHA program, which has helped so many people obtain affordable mortgages and become homeowners. The investigation that led to this action was previously disclosed in Wells Fargo’s second quarter 2012 10-Q,” the bank spokesperson added.

The takeaway: it’s an alleged cover up

Court documents imply Wells Fargo’s lone goal was to increase profits and loan volumes, which ended up with low quality loans processed by poorly trained temporary staff in an environment akin to an assembly line. Overall, the Justice Department is saying Wells Fargo deceived the government and consumers by covering up the deficient loans.

HUD Inspector General David A. Montoya said: “As long as these companies fail to exercise ethical corporate responsibility to their customers and their obligations as participants in the Direct Endorsement Lender program administered by FHA, we will endeavor to investigate and hold them accountable.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Nicole Torres-Cooke

    October 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

    WOW!

  2. bradhanks

    October 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    @shonajesta Thanks for the RT!

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Mortgage

Mortgage application volume falls 8.1 percent in one week

Mortgage application volume fell last week, even accounting for the federal holiday, as certain interest rates jumped up a bit in the same period.

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Mortgage application volume took a dip last week

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 25, 2013, mortgage application volume fell 8.1 percent from the week prior, including adjustments to account for the federal holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 8.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 17 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 10 percent from the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased two percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased six percent compared with the previous week, but was two percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of the mortgage application volume fell to 79 percent of total applications from 82 percent the previous week, continuing to hover around 80 percent where it has been for years. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 4 percent of total applications. The HARP share of refinance applications increased to 26 percent from 25 percent the prior week.

The MBA reports, “The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances rose to 3.67 percent, the highest level since September 2012, from 3.62 percent, with points decreasing to 0.42 from 0.43 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The contract interest rate for 30-year fixed mortgages has increased for six of the last seven weeks. The effective rate increased from last week.”

Current average contract interest rates

According to the MBA:

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased to 3.95 percent from 3.85 percent, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.34 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.48 percent from 3.40 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.53 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 2.95 percent from 2.87 percent, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to 2.60 percent from 2.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.33 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

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Mortgage

Mortgage application volume surges in second week of 2013

Mortgage application volume in the second week of the year jumped, led by new mortgage applications, a healthy sign for housing and buyer interest.

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Mortgage application volume jumps in January

According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 11, 2013, mortgage application volume increased 15.2 percent from one week earlier, led by a strong increase in new mortgage applications.

The Market Composite Index increased 15.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week prior, and on an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 45 percent during the same period as the Refinance Index increased 15 percent from the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 13 percent from one week earlier to the highest level since April 2011. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 47 percent compared with the previous week and was 5 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity remained unchanged at 82 percent of total applications from the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3 percent of total applications.

Current mortgage interest rates

According to the MBA:

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) remained unchanged at 3.61 percent, with points decreasing to 0.38 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased to 3.88 percent from 3.78 percent, with points unchanged at 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.39 percent from 3.35 percent, with points decreasing to 0.58 from 0.69 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 2.88 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.66 percent from 2.64 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.37 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

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Housing News

Fiscal cliff uncertainty means new low for mortgage rates

While mortgage rates have remained low in recent years, mortgage application volume rose last week as rates hit a new low, resulting from uncertainty over the fiscal cliff, according to the MBA.

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Mortgage rates hit new low, application volume rises

According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending December 7, 2012, mortgage application volume increased 6.2 percent from the previous week, with an 8.0 percent increase in refinance applications and a 1.0 percent increase in new mortgage applications.

“Continued uncertainty due to the lack of resolution regarding the fiscal cliff led interest rates lower last week, with mortgage rates reaching a new low in our survey,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics.

“Refinance activity increased,” Fratantoni said in a statement, “with the refinance index hitting its highest level in two months, and the refinance share reaching its highest level since January 2009. Applications for purchase increased for a fifth consecutive week, and are running almost ten percent above their level at this time last year.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 84 percent of total applications from 82.0 percent the previous week, while the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained at 3.0 percent of total applications. The HARP share of refinance applications increased to 29.0 percent from 27.0 percent the prior week.

Current mortgage rates

According to the MBA:

  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) decreased to 3.47 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 3.52 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from 0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased to 3.77 percent from 3.79 percent, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.32 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 3.34 percent, with points decreasing to 0.51 from 0.62 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 2.85 percent, the lowest rate in the history of the survey, from 2.86 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.
  • The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 2.63 percent from 2.62 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.40 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

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