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Category Archives: Legislation/Regulation

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Ninth Circuit Rules National Banks are Residents Only of Their Home State

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (encompassing nine Western states and two Pacific islands) has held that for purposes of diversity jurisdiction a national bank is a citizen only of the state in which its main office is located, and not of every state where it does business, or even the… Continue Reading

SEC To Demand More Public Accountability This Year From Wrongdoers In Financial Markets

SEC Chair Mary Jo White announced last week that the SEC is changing its protocol relating to admissions of guilt in settlements with wrongdoers in the securities markets. Historically, SEC practice was to settle cases against entities and individuals without requiring admissions of guilt. This was thought to promote swifter settlement of claims, payment of… Continue Reading

Dodd Frank Act: The Arrival of the ‘Ability to Repay’ Lending Restrictions

The days of exotic mortgage programs like “no doc” and balloon loans may be over. Earlier this month, the long awaited (and by many lenders and experts, dreaded), lending restrictions codified in the Dodd Frank Act finally went into effect. The rules, promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), attempt to constrain lenders’ abilities to… Continue Reading

Proposed Legislation Would Curb JP Morgan’s Potential Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Windfall

Late last month, we commented on JP Morgan Chase’s $5.1 billion settlement with the Fair Housing Financing Agency (FHFA), as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Wall Street Journal has since reported that JP Morgan will be able to deduct that entire amount on its 2013 tax returns, allowing the company to reap… Continue Reading

Upcoming MBA Regulatory Compliance Conference: September 29 in Washington, D.C.

I will be a panelist at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) upcoming Regulatory Compliance Conference 2013 in Washington, D.C. I will participate in a session on Monday, September 30 at 1.30 p.m. entitled “Addressing Repurchases in the New Rep and Warrant Model.” The session will address the latest developments involving the GSEs and FHFA, as well as private investors.  We… Continue Reading

Mortgage Servicing System Still Riddled With Problems According To Financial Watchdog

CFBP releases report detailing continuing failures with Mortgage Servicing System The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the financial watchdog agency created following the 2008 financial crisis to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in the financial products and services industry, has released a report detailing a host of continuing problems with the handling of mortgages… Continue Reading

Private Mortgage Insurers Return to Profitability after Housing Crisis

Best Quarter Posted in 6 years It should be no surprise that the private mortgage insurance industry was nearly decimated in the wake of the housing crisis. During that tumultuous time, the private mortgage insurers that survived lost a combined $20 billion. However, it appears that the tide has finally begun to turn. Diana Olick of… Continue Reading

Obama Supports Legislation to Replace Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Investing in the housing market’s recovery President Obama officially threw his support behind a bipartisan push to replace beleaguered housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during a speech to an Arizona crowd on Tuesday. “As home prices rise, we can’t just re-inflate another housing bubble,” Obama admonished.  Rather, government should invest in the housing market’s… Continue Reading

Proposed Legislation Would Replace Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

The Future of Housing Reform A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators recently proposed a bill that would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next 5 years. If passed by congress, the legislation would replace Fannie and Freddie with a newly created government reinsurer called Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC), modeled after the Federal… Continue Reading

Bank of America Settles Class Action Brought By Mortgage Investors

$40 Billion Settlement Bank of America  has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by investors who claimed they were misled by its Countrywide unit into buying risky mortgage securities. Bank of America acquired Countrywide Financial, a California-based lender, in July 2008 for $2.5 billion, but analysts have put the effective cost at more than… Continue Reading

Taking The Easy Way Out Again: Recent OCC/Big Banks Settlement

Amidst Evidence both Old and New of Big Banks’ Wrongdoing, OCC Again Drops the Ball by Settling Instead of Regulating the Culprits Any follower of this blog or the mortgage crisis at large will — sadly — not be surprised by the seemingly never-ending news of foreclosure misdeeds by the nation’s biggest banks. Recent news… Continue Reading

President Obama Touts Refinancing Plan in State of the Union Address

The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013 In his State of the Union Address on February 12, 2013, President Obama called on Congress to make it easier for families to refinance their mortgages. Specifically, the President urged Congress to pass refinancing legislation being sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.,… Continue Reading

DOJ Lawsuit Against S&P and McGraw Hill

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil suit in the Central District of California against Standard & Poor’s Financial Services (S&P) and its parent company McGraw-Hill. The suit alleges that S&P engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) and Collateralized Debt Obligations(CDOs). As noted in the DOJ’s… Continue Reading

New Precedent that Holds Banks Responsible?

Judge Rakoff awards $90.1 million judgment to Assured Guaranty Corp The legal press is abuzz with reports of a New York federal judge’s award of a $90.1 million judgment to mortgage insurer Assured Guaranty Corp. after a lengthy trial in its suit against Flagstar Bank FSB. The lawsuit arose from Assured’s claims that Flagstar had… Continue Reading

Important Buyback Victory

Order Severing Claims and Requiring Supplemental Briefing There was a very favorable development recently in one of my buyback cases. The federal district court in Miami issued a final order that has great potential application to other buyback suits, whether already pending or merely threatened at this point. The ruling is not something that other courts… Continue Reading

FHFA Announces Representation and Warranty Framework

Lack of Certainty Facing Lenders Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a new “representation and warranty framework” for conventional loans sold or delivered to Fannie and Freddie after January 1, 2013. In a clear acknowledgment of the lack of certainty facing lenders in this era of rampant repurchase demands, the agency’s announcement… Continue Reading

Banks’ After-The-Fact Appraisals Fuel Buyback Demands

Justin T. Hilley  of HousingWire.com reports that audits done by Quality Mortgage Services (“QMS”) “indicate that many demands by financial institutions that lenders buy back mortgages are based on fraudulent appraisal schemes in an attempt to increase the success of repurchase claims.” According to Hilley’s report, QMS “believes some appraisers are systematically being pressured to use a… Continue Reading

SEC Investigating ResCap for Possible Mortgage Fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating bankrupt Ally Financial mortgage unit Residential Capital, LLC, for possible misconduct and misrepresentation in its mortgage lending and underwriting practices. The SEC disclosed in court documents on Monday that it formerly commenced an investigation in February of this year to probe possible fraud in the offer and… Continue Reading

Insurer Gets Early Win on Buy-Back Causation

Proof of Causation Not Required for Insurer to Trigger Repurchase Demands On June 19, 2012, Judge Paul Crotty of the Southern District of New York provided a boon to monoline insurance provider Syncora Guarantee Inc. in its protracted litigation with JPMorgan Chase & Co. unit EMC Mortgage Corp. The focus of the litigation is a… Continue Reading

New York Attorney General: Foreclosure Fraud and “Robosigning”

New York Attorney General Takes On Foreclosure Fraud, Including “Robosigning” New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman,  has announced the introduction of a bill that would protect New Yorkers from fraudulent business practices in the foreclosure process, including “robosigning.” The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2012  imposes new criminal penalties for those who intentionally engage… Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Makes Morgan Stanley Pay For Some Foreclosures

Consent Order Issued Morgan Stanley may have sold off its mortgage servicing unit, but that did not stop the Federal Reserve from holding the company accountable for robo-signing and other improper foreclosure proceedings which occurred during 2009 and 2010. The Federal Reserve announced on April 3rd that it had issued a consent order against Morgan Stanley,… Continue Reading

Strange Bedfellows – SEC v. CitiGroup Litigation

SECOND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS ISSUES STAY IN LITIGATION BETWEEN S.E.C. AND CITIGROUP In a sharply worded opinion, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay to the district court proceedings in S.E.C. v. Citigroup, in the Southern District of New York. There, Judge Rakoff had previously refused to approve a proposed $285 million settlement… Continue Reading