government affairs blog

OLD Gov't Affairs Blog
We stopped using this blog after the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and created a new Government Affairs Forum, which will allow us to better control distribution of information.  This one will be maintained as an archive. 

More formal bulletins, summaries of legislation, position papers and the like appear on the Government Affairs page

  • 10/22/2012 4:05 PM | Anonymous
    The Palm Beach County Tax Collector's website indicates:

    "Property tax search and payment functions will be inactivated and unavailable effective 10-16-12 through 6:00 a.m. 11-1-12.  This is a system requirement as our office loads the new tax data and completes final preparations for the 2012 Property Tax Season. 

    We apologize for any inconvenience."

    During this period, title agents may email and FLTA members report that the collector's office has been responding within a day or so.

    Because of past problems with the accuracy of information from this office (which we hope will be corrected by this upgrade), please continue to follow any special instructions from your insurers.
  • 10/10/2012 1:18 PM | Anonymous
    Wells Fargo lied about the quality of thousands of loans it certified for a federal insurance program, a decision that ultimately cost the government $190 million in claims when those loans failed, according to a civil lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors on Tuesday.

    Citigroup, Flagstar Bank, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and FBC collectively have repaid the FHA $1 billion following legal settlements in cases similar to the one brought against Wells Fargo.

  • 09/20/2012 9:49 AM | Anonymous
    A fake press release with Fannie Mae letterhead, links and contact information was sent to some media outlets, announcing a new principal reduction program.

    The fictional HomeRight Community Relief Program in the fake press release would force servicers to reduce principal "to reflect their current market value" through HAMP modifications. A phone number is even assigned to press contact Andrew Wilson, but the area code is from Georgia – not really close to Washington, D.C., where Fannie is based.

  • 09/19/2012 10:29 AM | Anonymous
    In the continuing saga of attempts to deal with underwater mortgages, some companies have made a business around trying to "Quiet Title" as a means of eliminating the mortgage on the property -- and in a few cases have actually gotten default judgments. 

    Here's an article from the Palm Beach Post describing the practice and naming some of the companies involved. 

    Because a default judgment can be set aside fairly readily and the legal theory for making your mortgage disappear is a bit tenuous, we urge all of our members to contact their underwriter before insuring a property that has allegedly been cleared of its mortgage.
  • 09/11/2012 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    Fannie Mae’s first auction of foreclosed homes to be managed as rentals sold for $78.1 million, or 96 percent of the properties’ estimated value, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said.

    The purchase, of 699 homes in Florida, was the first to be completed in Fannie Mae’s auction of almost 2,500 repossessed properties in six states. The buyer was San Diego, California- based Pacifica Companies LLC, the FHFA said in a statement today. The homes had a total value of $81.5 million, including joint-venture financing from Fannie Mae, according to a transaction summary.

    More from Bloomberg Business Week

  • 09/11/2012 10:33 AM | Anonymous
    In a move aimed at making it easier for consumers to get mortgages, the federal regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FMCC 0.00% said Monday the mortgage giants would address a big controversy of the housing bust: who gets stuck with bad loans.

    Fannie and Freddie have forced banks to repurchase billions of mortgages that have defaulted over the past few years. To protect themselves from facing similar demands, banks have raised their lending standards beyond what the two mortgage companies require, scrutinized appraisals, and demanded extensive documentation of a borrower's income and assets.

    To ease lenders' concerns, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said on Monday it would issue guidance that would detail steps that could limit their risk of having to buy back defaulted mortgages in costly loan "put-backs."

  • 09/07/2012 2:03 PM | Anonymous
    While not truly a "Government Affairs" Topic, it is a question I've long found interesting and on which I've gotten conflicting stories.

    Bradley Graham, senior director of scores product management at FICO, was quoted as stating that there’s no significant difference in FICO score impact among foreclosures, short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure.  

    You can find more on this topic here,   here and here.

    It sometimes makes me wonder if we are doing our customers a service by facilitating their short-sales given the potential tax differences, especially where the deficiency is not being released. 
  • 09/06/2012 9:50 AM | Anonymous
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has offered the outline of his housing policy proposals.

    In a new page added to the candidate's website, Romney presents what he calls "A Plan To End The Housing Crisis." The four-part solution, presented here verbatim, is as follows:

    • Responsibly sell the 200,000 vacant foreclosed homes owned by the government;
    • Facilitate foreclosure alternatives for those who cannot afford to pay their mortgage;
    • Replace complex rules with smart regulation to hold banks accountable, restore a functioning marketplace and restart lending to creditworthy borrowers; and
    • Protect taxpayers from additional risk in the future by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    Romney's website claims the federal government owns "almost half of all of the foreclosed homes in the country," while the candidate promises to "facilitate creative alternatives to foreclosure for those who cannot afford to pay their mortgage" - however, the specifics of these alternatives were not spelled out.

  • 09/06/2012 9:47 AM | Anonymous
    The Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight (OSMO) has issued its first progress report on how the five financial institutions that signed the National Mortgage Settlement are meeting their obligations.

    "The report discloses that the banks have granted $10.56 billion in consumer relief to borrowers between March 1 and June 30," says Joseph A. Smith Jr., monitor of the settlement. "Additionally, first lien principal reduction trials were offered and begun for about 28,000 homeowners, totaling approximately $3 billion of potential relief. This information is self-reported and has not been confirmed by the professional firms working with me. Further, it represents gross dollar amounts and cannot be used to evaluate progress toward the banks' $20 billion obligation.

    The OSMO's full report is available online.
  • 08/20/2012 4:36 PM | Anonymous
    The federal district court was recently called upon to review one of claims that a borrower can "quiet" a mortgage based on defects in the subsequent assignment or securitization.   Even though the court didn't address the ultimate issue, granting leave to amend, it is interesting reading.

    Even where a borrower is successful with this tactic, my understanding is that most underwriters are hesitant to insure over a recorded (albeit quieted) mortgage.  Please discuss with your underwriter.

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