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Friday, February 26, 2016

Arbitration, Overdraft, Mortgages, Business Loans on CFPB Radar 

Arbitration, mortgages, small business lending and small-dollar loans are among the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s policy priorities over the next two years, according to a document released yesterday.

The bureau said it will continue its ongoing rulemaking limiting mandatory arbitration agreements and begin a rulemaking intended to “make the overdraft market fairer and more transparent.” In the mortgage area, the CFPB said it will focus its supervisory and enforcement programs on Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule implementation, fair lending issues around mortgages and servicing rule implementation.

Meanwhile, the CFPB will build a new focus on small business lending, assembling a team and conducting research in advance of an eventual rule requiring the collection of business lending data. The bureau also said it will work to begin collecting complaints about small business lending.

Other areas of supervisory and rulemaking focus for the bureau will include consumer data reporting, debt collection and student loans. The CFPB will also conduct major research projects on consumer decision-making and household balance sheets.

--ABA Daily Newbytes

Friday Rate Update

Mortgage Rates Decline 

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.62 percent this week, down from the previous week’s average of 3.65 percent, Freddie Mac said yesterday. At this time last year, the 30-year FRM rate averaged 3.8 percent.

This week’s 15-year FRM rate averaged 2.93 percent, down from last week’s 2.95 percent rate. A year ago, the 15-year FRM rate averaged 3.07 percent. 

--ABA Daily Newsbytes

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Home Sales Fall in January 

Sales of new homes fell 9.2 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000 units, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Sales were at their lowest since October and were 5.2 percent below last year’s number. The median new home price for the month was $278,800---ABA Daily Newsbytes

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Existing Home Sales Up Slightly
Existing home sales rose a slight 0.4 percent to 5.47 million in January -- the highest annual rate in six months, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday. The January figure is 11 percent higher than a year prior, the largest year-on-year gain since July 2013. Read more.

Home Price Growth Continues
Home price growth in 20 major metro areas rose again in December, with year-over-year growth landing at 5.7 percent, equal to November’s gain, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released yesterday. Twelve cities reported increases in December, with Tampa and San Diego seeing the highest monthly gain. Year-on-year growth was highest in Portland, San Francisco and Denver.

---ABA Daily Newsbytes

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Unchanged in Latest Week

Freddie Mac reported that average fixed mortgage rates held steady in the latest week but remained near last year's lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65 percent in the week ended Feb. 18, unchanged from last week and down from 3.76 percent a year ago. The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.95 percent, the same as last week but down from 3.05 percent last year. Meanwhile, five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.85 percent, up from 2.83 percent last week but down from 2.97 percent a year ago. Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti said, "After another week of financial-market oscillations driven by rumors of potential limits on oil production, [the 10-year Treasury yield edged up 0.05 percent, and the 30-year mortgage rate remained unchanged]."

From "U.S. Fixed Mortgage Rates Unchanged in Latest Week"
Wall Street Journal (02/18/16) Stynes, Tess

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Rate Update

Fixed Mortgage Rates Remain Unchanged 

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 3.65 percent this week, unchanged from the week prior, Freddie Mac said yesterday. At this time last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.76 percent.

This week’s 15-year FRM averaged 2.95 percent, also unchanged from last week. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.05 percent.

---ABA Daily Newsbytes

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mortgage Rates Fall for 6th Straight Week, Hit 10-Month Low

Freddie Mac reported on Feb. 11 that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 3.72 percent to 3.65 percent, its lowest point in 10 months. Meanwhile, the average rate on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage slipped from 3.01 percent the week before to 2.95 percent. Despite the Federal Reserve's decision to hike interest rates at the end of 2015, mortgage rates have continued to dip. Volatility in financial markets driven by the falling price of oil and concerns of a global economic slowdown has pushed investors more towards U.S. Treasuries. This, in turn, has kept rates low for potential home buyers. The week-to-week decrease came soon after Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen's testimony on Capitol Hill in which she was vague on the topic of a rate increase in March. Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti says the drop in mortgage rates is not a surprise considering that mortgage rates adjust slower to capital market rates.

From "Mortgage Rates Fall for 6th Straight Week, Hit 10-Month Low"
USA Today (02/11/16) Mitchell, Benjamin F.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Underwater Property Numbers Fall: RealtyTrac

At the end of 2015, RealtyTrac reports that 6.4 million U.S. properties -- or 11.5 percent of all properties with a mortgage -- were "seriously underwater," with the combined loan amount secured on the property at least 25 percent higher than the property's estimated value. This figure was down from 7.1 million, or 12.7 percent of all mortgaged properties, in the fourth quarter of 2014. Moreover, the number of seriously underwater properties has significantly declined from its peak in the second quarter of 2012, when 12.8 million, or 28.6 percent of mortgage properties, were seriously underwater. However, Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, notes that "it will likely be another five years at least before most of those remaining underwater properties move into positive equity territory." The highest levels of seriously underwater properties were in Florida and Ohio. In contrast, 12.6 million, or 22.5 percent of all mortgaged properties, were equity-rich, with at least 50 percent equity, at the end of 2015.

From "Underwater Property Numbers Fall: RealtyTrac"
Credit Union Times (02/03/16) Atkinson, William

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Rate Update

Mortgage Rates Move Lower 

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.72 percent this week, down from the previous week’s 3.79 percent, Freddie Mac said yesterday. At this time last year, the 30-year FRM rate averaged 3.59 percent.

This week’s 15-year FRM averaged 3.01 percent, down from 3.07 percent last week. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.92 percent.

--ABA Daily Newsbytes

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lenders Tighten Lending Standards for Some Loans

A new Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers reveals that lenders tightened standards on commercial and industrial loans and commercial real estate loans in the fourth quarter of 2015. Survey respondents expect further tightening this year, citing the uncertainty surrounding economic forecasts and concerns about the performance of the oil and gas industries. They indicated that rising interest rates and delinquencies on many types of commercial loans are likely. However, they reported stronger demand for commercial real estate loans during the quarter. Meanwhile, some lenders reported easing standards for residential mortgages, including jumbo loans, and expect mortgage standards to further ease this year.

From "Lenders Tighten Lending Standards for Some Loans"
Wall Street Journal (02/01/16) Harrison, David

Monday, February 1, 2016

ABA: Fraud Losses Are Up - But Don't Blame Banks

A new report by the American Bankers Association (ABA) reveals that although financial losses related to fraud against bank deposit accounts rose 12 percent from 2012 to 2014, banks have made significant strides in fraud prevention efforts and are not to blame. According to Doug Johnson, senior vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy at the ABA, "We saw an increase in fraud losses in 2014, most likely due to the number of large-scale retailer data breaches, which resulted in a significant increase in attempted debit card fraud. Banks recognize that many customers are moving online to perform banking transactions and have invested billions of dollars to create very effective online fraud-prevention systems that include features like multifactor authentication and monitoring IP addresses." He says 66 percent of the financial losses were tied to debit compromises, while check fraud accounted for 32 percent of overall losses. Only 2 percent of the industry's overall fraud losses were related to online banking, wire, and Automated Clearing House transactions. According to Johnson, "Banks' sophisticated fraud-prevention systems and customer vigilance successfully stopped 85 percent of fraud attempts in 2014."

From "ABA: Fraud Losses Are Up - But Don't Blame Banks" (01/29/16) Kitten, Tracy