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VIDEO: Govt shutdown shuts off some expensive mortgages

The second week of the government shutdown is giving consumers and lenders second thoughts about the housing market. Lenders last week were giving assurances that they would use “work-arounds” for tax documentation on mortgage applications, but now the future is not quite as clear.

“As the government shutdown continues, we’ll continue to evaluate the circumstances,” said Tom Goyda, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest lender.

Goyda said Wells Fargo is following guidance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which does not require IRS verification unless the borrower is financing multiple properties. If that is the case, the lender can close the deal without the verification but cannot deliver it to Fannie or Freddie without the IRS documents.

Jumbo loans (mortgages with values exceeding $417,000) are getting trickier, however. Some lenders will not do them at all without tax verification from the IRS. Others are delaying the process. They will all have to verify the tax information once the government opens again, and that’s a gamble. These loans are inherently riskier because most are held on bank balance sheets.

Wells Fargo is continuing to originate jumbo loans without tax document verification from the IRS. As for the risk it is taking on in doing so, Goyda said, “I can’t really speculate on that.”

“The industry is doing what it can to make the shutdown as seamless as possible, but some lenders are more conservative about it than others,” said Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily.

Loans backed by government insurance from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are largely not affected, as their processes are mostly automated or lenders have delegated authority to close the loans.

“Bottom line here: Loans that are anywhere close to ‘vanilla’ are moving through the system more or less as normal,” Graham said.

“Vanilla,” however, does not include loans needing flood insurance through FEMA, loans for self-employed borrowers or loans requiring Social Security number verification, he said.

Hardest hit by far is the Department of Agriculture home loan program. USDA loans, which are 30-year fixed with no down payment, make up less than 5 percent of the total mortgage landscape but are a favorite among first-time buyers and builders. As the so-called exurbs expand, more borrowers are qualifying for these loans. USDA is currently closed and not processing any loans.

“Some lenders are using this to advance competitive opportunity, rather than calling for an end to this, by advertising that they can close the loans if others cannot,” wrote David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, in an email over the weekend. “This disruption is negative for housing and the consumer and will only get worse as this extends.”

Stevens circulated an online ad sent to him by Premier Nationwide Lending, which touts “Good news for most of your borrowers!” The company said it has revised its policies to allow loans to be funded without IRS tax transcripts.

It noted that its policy is “short-term” and “temporary.” John Hudson, Premier’s vice president in charge of regulatory affairs noting that USDA loans are still shut down, and that one family he’s working with is “homeless” because of the shutdown.

Uncertainty in the mortgage market could not have come at a worse time. After a robust spring and summer sales season, housing was already beginning to slow down this fall, thanks to higher mortgage rates. Now concerns about the shutdown and the potential debt crisis have potential buyers pulling back yet again.

“Our September National Housing Survey results show that the improvements in consumer housing attitudes witnessed in recent months softened ahead of the government shutdown,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Americans’ awareness of policy uncertainty leading up to the Oct. 1 shutdown and the pending debt ceiling debate appears to have grown as indicated by an apparent cautionary holding pattern in overall consumer housing and personal finance sentiment.”

SOURCE: CNBC

Banks Scale Back on Crucial Step in Home Buying

Banks are reportedly losing favor of mortgage pre-approvals, which are often viewed as an important first step in the home buying process. Mortgage preapprovals are a written commitment from lenders outlining the loan amount and interest rate that home buyers qualify for.

They give buyers an indication of how much they can afford on their home purchase, as well as show sellers their commitment to purchase. But last year, only 29,912 preapprovals resulted in mortgages from the top 25 mortgage lenders — down from 101,626 in 2007, according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council.

Preapprovals accounted for 4 percent of the purchase mortgages that lenders originated last year, and preapprovals did not precede any of the mortgages issued to home buyers by 14 of the 25 largest lenders last year, according to the council.

“The popularity of preapprovals is quite low,” says Mike Lyon, vice president of mortgage operations at Quicken Loans. Quicken loans’ preapprovals are down 43 percent from 2007. Why are preapprovals losing favor, particularly as competition has been heating up in many housing markets?

Some banks say that they are holding off on the preapproval until seeing the home appraisal. Until then, they prefer a prequalification, which tells borrowers the average size of loan they can qualify for based on stated income and based on an average of mortgage rates. It’s not as formal of a commitment for a loan.

Preapproval are usually binding for two to three months. Some banks, such as Bank of America and Chase, say they are doing more pre-qualifications than pre-approvals.

Chase, for example, says it gives buyers a “conditional approval” that usually lasts 90 days, but does not provide a written commitment. Chase says it often waits to give a written commitment until after verifying borrowers’ income, employment, and the home’s appraisal.

Bank of America also says it waits to approve a buyer until a home is appraised and the borrowers’ finances are fully reviewed. Some analysts say that while preapprovals are showing signs of losing some favor, the federal data may not be a fully complete picture of how big of a decrease in prequalifications.

The federal data relies on lenders submitting data on their preapprovals, and some lenders say their preapprovals don’t meet the federal government’s formal federal definition.

Government shutdown could slow housing recovery

The fight may be in Washington, but the effects of the government shutdown will ripple through every neighborhood in America—without a fully functioning government, an already tight mortgage market may become even more prohibitive. It is exactly what the housing recovery does not need.

“This is going to be very disruptive to the mortgage industry and pretty much result in a freeze of the pipeline,” said Craig Strent, CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based Apex Home Loans. “New loans can be taken, but without IRS and Social Security number verifications, [they] will not be able to proceed to closing.”

Shut Down - Closed for BusinessAfter getting burned badly in the housing crash, most lenders now check everything on a borrower’s loan application. It has become standard to verify tax returns as a quality control measure, according to Strent. If the IRS is closed, it will not process any forms, including tax return transcripts, so the loan applications will be stalled. For government workers themselves, it’s even worse, because they will likely be unable to verify their employment on a mortgage application.

The Federal Housing Administration, which represents about 15 percent of the mortgage market, the lights will still be on, but the staff will be reduced.

This is going to be very disruptive to the mortgage industry and pretty much result in a freeze of the pipeline

“The Office of Single Family Housing will endorse new loans under current multi-year appropriation authority in order to support the health and stability of the U.S. mortgage market,” according to a post on the federal Housing and Urban Affairs’ website. Lenders with “delegated authority” will be able to go on making FHA loans. That is about 80 percent of FHA lenders. They will also be able to get FHA case numbers through the usual on-line service. The FHA will continue to collect insurance premiums from borrowers during a shutdown as well.

“The FHA program can weather a shutdown as long as it doesn’t last too long,” said Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance. “But a shutdown could also seriously impact FHA’s ability to police lenders and loan quality.”

The shutdown, if lengthy enough, could hit home mortgage refinances as well, delaying rate locks and resulting in costly extension fees.Now What?!!

“What could happen is that our customers could be put in a hold status and then subject to interest rate gyrations that are very likely to occur between the time a government shuts down and reopens,” said David Zugheri of Houston-based Envoy Mortgage.

Of course, mortgage rates could move lower if investors head to the relative safety of the bond market and drive yields down. Mortgage rates follow loosely the yield on the 10-year Treasury.

“Rates may go up this week if…Friday’s job’s report stays on the schedule,” said Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily. “Markets would have to defend against the possibility of a strong report reigniting October taper expectations.”

If the shutdown lasts for a few days or even a week, the immediate effects on mortgage availability will be minimal. It’s the message this whole battle has already sent that is already doing much of the damage.

“It certainly won’t help housing. Among other things, it is likely to spook would-be homebuyers,” said Cecala.

Consumer confidence is a key component of the housing recovery, and while rising home prices have helped, more uncertainty in the economy can only hurt.

“Some home-buying consumers are reluctant to buy because of the uncertainty,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist at Metrostudy. “They see the factions in Congress as ‘daring’ each other, with extremely high stakes. People are not especially comfortable making the biggest investment of their life when the government seems to be unable to solve important problems.”

SOURCE: CNBC

Bank fees rise for 15th straight year

Bank fees rose for the 15th straight year, with fees for overdrafts and out-of-network ATM usage hitting record highs, according to Bankrate.com.

The average overdraft charge rose 3 percent in 2013, to a record $32.20, Bankrate says. The average cost for using another bank’s ATM rose 2 percent, to $4.13—also a record.

Fees continue to go up, and it’s best to spend time strategizing how to avoid them

“Overdraft and out-of-network ATM fees are the low-hanging fruit in terms of raising fees,” says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

Overdraft fees have risen so far that a recent study by Moebs Services says that it’s cheaper to borrow $100 from a payday lender than it is to bounce a $100 check. The median price for a $100 loan from a payday lender is $18, Moebs says.

atmfeesThe fees in both cases are entirely avoidable, McBride says.

Overdraft fees were steepest in Milwaukee, where they average $34.16, and lowest in San Francisco, where they average $27.18.

Out-of-network ATM fees were highest in Denver, where they average $4.70, and lowest in Baltimore, when they average $3.59. The calculation includes the fee from the owner of the ATM and from your bank. The charge for using another bank’s ATM rose 4 percent, to $2.60, while the average fee from your bank for using another bank’s ATM fell 3 percent, to $1.53.

A few bank products became more affordable, according to the Bankrate survey of 10 banks in each of 25 large U.S. markets. The average minimum balance to offer a no-interest checking account fell 19 percent to $60.27—about where it’s been since 1998.

Good luck finding a free interest-bearing checking account: Just 3 percent were free to all customers, unchanged from 2012. But 95 percent of all the institutions surveyed would waive the fee if you kept an average balance of $5,802, down 5 percent from last year. Average monthly service fee fell 1 percent to $14.65. Average monthly service charge for a non-interest-bearing checking account: $5.54, up 1 percent from last year.

So far, fewer than 1 percent of banks charge for using a debit card.

“Fees continue to go up, and it’s best to spend time strategizing how to avoid them,” McBride says. “There’s always room for consumers to shop around.”

Banks do take notice when you leave, particularly when you take a big balance with you, McBride says. Seventy percent of consumers consider switching banks when checking account fees get too high, and those who are most likely to do so often have the highest balances.

SOURCE: CNBC

Case Shiller: Home Prices Continue To Rise

Home prices rose in July by less than two percent for the first time since March but still reached their highest level since August 2008, according to the Case Shiller Home Price Indexes released Tuesday. The 20-city index was up 1.8 percent in July – 12.4 percent in the last year — while the companion 10-city index was up 1.9 percent, 12.3 percent since July 2012.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the 20-city index to increase 2.0 percent from June, a 12.4 percent annual improvement.

All 20 cities included in the survey improved both month to month and year to year.

The two surveys have improved month-month and year-on-year for 14 consecutive months.

The Case Shiller report came as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said its House Price Index rose in July at the fastest pace since March. The FHFA index tracks values for only those homes with loans eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac generally those with lower values.

The Case Shiller 20-city index rose 1.4 percent in March and then by more than 2.0 in April, May and June. The 10-city index rose 1.3 percent in March followed by three straight months of gains greater than 2.0 percent.

The 10 city index rose to 176.52, up 3.23 from June’s 173.29, June’s index itself was revised down from the originally reported 173.37. The 20-city index was up 2.90 from June’s 159.59. The June index was not revised. In August 2008, the 10-city index was 176.71 and the 20-city index was 164.65.

In July, according to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing since family home dropped 0.1 percent but was up14.7 percent from a year earlier.

Even with the slower growth in July, the two indices have improved by double digits year-year for five straight months and the July year-year growth was the strongest since March 2006 for the 10-city index and since February 2006 for the 20-city index. While good news for home sellers, the continued sharp increases are likely to revive concerns of a growing housing bubble as personal income growth continues to stagnate.

Still the increase in home values, according to economic theory, should mean improved consumer spending. The “wealth effect” theory holds that consumers spend based on increase in net worth, not income. Home values accounted for about 25 percent of the increase in net worth in the first quarter, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve.

The Case Shiller indices have gone up for eight straight months and 14 times in the last 16; each index dipped last October and November.

The month-month increases were led by Chicago, where prices rose 3.2 percent from May to July. Prices have increased more than 3.0 percent per month in Chicago for three straight months and the index there is at its highest level since August 2010.

Prices rose more than 2.0 percent in July in Las Vegas (2.8 percent), Detroit (2.7 percent), Tampa (2.3 percent), San Francisco (2.2 percent), Atlanta (2.2 percent), Los Angeles (2.1 percent and San Diego (2.0 percent).

Half of the cities which showed month-month price gains of 2.0 percent or greater were in the West; none in the Northeast.

Prices have increase for 22 consecutive months in Phoenix, 18 straight in Minneapolis and 17 straight in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The price index for Denver, according to the July report is at its highest level since the Case Shiller tracking began in January 1987.

The four cities with year-year price growth of greater than 20 percent were also in the West.

Year-year the price gains were led by Las Vegas where prices were up 27.5 percent since July 2012 and San Francisco where prices rose 24.8 percent in the last 12 months followed by Los Angeles, up 20.8 percent in the last year and San Diego which saw a 20.4 percent year-year gain.

Despite the July improvement, the 10-city index is down 22.0 percent from its June 2006 high of 226.29 and the 20-city index is off 21.3 percent from its July 2006 peak of 206.52.

SOURCE; DC News

 

VIDEO: Are we still heading toward 5% mortgages?

Prospective buyers who have been shying away from the housing market due to rising rates may have reason to start shopping again.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve surprised market watchers when it announced that it would not start tapering its purchases of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds.

100912RATES

Mortgage rates have risen significantly amid concerns that the Fed would cut back on its $85 billion a month bond-buying program. Rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage are currently averaging 4.6%, up from 3.35% in early May. That rate increase has meant an extra $140 a month in payments for a homebuyer with a $200,000 30-year loan.

But now that the Fed has said it will continue to purchase the bonds, rates will likely retrace some of those gains, said Keith Gumbinger of mortgage information provider HSH.com.

Buyers may have reason to start shopping again

“Now, we do have some space for rates to fall,” he said. “I don’t expect a plummet, just a drop of 0.1 percentage points or so over the next week or two.”

Should the economy gain more momentum, however, fears that the Fed will taper off its bond purchases will most certainly resurface and rates will move higher again, he said.


Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, expects rates to hit about 5% by mid-2014. That’s an increase of less than $24 a month for every $100,000 borrowed — enough to weed out borrowers who are struggling to afford homes but not enough to impact overall demand.

Despite recent increases, rates are still low by historical standards. During the housing boom years, they typically ranged between 6% and 7%.

And higher rates should prompt some banks to ease up on their lending standards, helping more people to buy homes, said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.

“Rates will be slightly higher next year but not enough to derail the housing market recovery,” he said.

SOURCE: CNN Money

FHA offers mortgage backing to the once bankrupt

The Federal Housing Administration is making it easier for once-struggling homeowners to qualify for a mortgage backed by the agency.

For borrowers who meet certain requirements, the FHA is trimming to one year the amount of time that homebuyers must wait after a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale before they may qualify for a FHA-backed mortgage.

The waiting period had been two years after the completion of a bankruptcy and three years after a foreclosure or a short sale.

But only certain consumers who’ve been in those circumstances will be able to meet the criteria attached to the eased restrictions. Borrowers must be able to show their household income fell by 20 percent or more for at least six months and was  tied to unemployment or another event beyond their control. They also must prove they have had at least one hour of approved housing counseling and, among other things, have had 12 months of on-time housing payments.

“FHA recognizes the hardships faced by these borrowers, and realizes that their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage,” said FHA Commissioner Carol Galante, in a letter to mortgagees announcing the changes.

FHA-backed mortgages are a popular option for first-time buyers and for consumers with lower credit scores who might not otherwise qualify for a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, the agency has recently increased the fees tied to FHA-backed loans.

VIDEO: Starting to Become Easier to Get a Mortgage

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) — In today’s “This Matters Now,” Doug Lebda, founder and CEO at Tree.com, talks with Tom Keene about the mortgage market and why it is becoming easier for lenders to secure a mortgage. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

FHA Waives 3-year Foreclosure Waiting Period

Effective for FHA Case Numbers assigned on, or after, August 15, 2013, borrowers with a recent history of bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgment, short sale, loan modification or deed-in-lieu can apply — and get FHA-approved — for an FHA-insured mortgage.

The FHA has waived its 3-year foreclosure waiting period. If you’ve experienced any of the following financial difficulties, you may be program-eligible :

  • Pre-foreclosure sales
  • Short sales
  • Deed-in-lieu
  • Foreclosure
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Loan modification
  • Forbearance agreements

The FHA realizes that, sometimes, credit events may be beyond your control, and that credit histories don’t always reflect a person’s true ability or willingness to pay on a mortgage.

FHA mortgage insurance is available for any loan which meets the following two conditions :

  • The loan must be made by an approved FHA lender
  • The loan must meet the minimum standards of the “FHA Mortgage Guidelines”.

The minimum standards of the FHA mortgage guidelines are straight-forward.

Some of the more well-known rules require mortgage applicants to show a minimum credit score of 500; to make a downpayment of at least 3.5% on a purchase; and, to verify income via W-2 or federal tax returns.

The guidelines also include such arcane topics as U.S. citizenship requirements for borrowers; relocation rules for trailing homes and income; and, minimum standards for condominiums and co-ops.

Loans failing to meet FHA mortgage guidelines do not get insured and the Federal Housing Administration has been steadily tightening its requirements since last decade’s housing downturn.

On August 15, 2013, though, the Federal Housing Administration moved to relax its guidelines for borrowers who “experienced periods of financial difficulty due to extenuating circumstances”.

Dubbed the “Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances Program”, the FHA removed the familiar waiting periods that typically followed a derogatory credit event.

Use the Q&A below to learn more about the FHA’s Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances program. 

What is the FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program?

The FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program is the FHA’s “second chance” for mortgage applicants who have experienced financial hardship as a result of unemployment or severe reduction in income.

Can I use the Back to Work as a first-time home buyer?

Yes, you can use the program as a first-time buyer.

Can I use the Back To Work program as a repeat home buyer?

Yes, you can use the program as a repeat home buyer.

Can I use the Back To Work program for an FHA 203k construction loan?

Yes, you can use the program for an FHA 203k construction loan.

Does the FHA Back To Work program waive the traditional 3-year waiting period after a foreclosure, short sale, or deed-in-lieu?

Yes, the program waives the agency’s three-year waiting period. You no longer need to wait three years to apply for an FHA loan after experiencing a foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu.

Does the Back To Work program waive the traditional 2-year waiting period after bankruptcy?

Yes, the program waives the agency’s two-year waiting period. You no longer need to wait two years to apply for an FHA loan after experiencing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Which types of “events” are covered by the FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program?

The program can be used by anyone who’s experienced a pre-foreclosure sale, short sale, deed-in-lieu, foreclosure, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, loan modification; or who has entered into a forbearance agreement.

How do I apply for the program?

You can apply for an FHA Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances mortgage with any FHA-approved lender. The mortgage approval process is the same for any other FHA-insured mortgage.

What are mortgage rates for the FHA Back To Work program?

Mortgage rates are the same as mortgage rates for any other FHA loan. There is no premium on your interest rate, nor are there additional fees to pay at closing. Your mortgage rate will be unaffected by the FHA Back To Work program.

My current lender says that it’s not participating in the program? What do I do?

If your current lender is not participating in the FHA Back To Work program, you can find another lender that does.

What are the minimum eligibility requirements of the FHA Back To Work program?

In order to qualify, you must meet several minimum eligibility standards. The first is that you must have experienced an “economic event” (e.g.; pre-foreclosure sale, short sale, deed-in-lieu, foreclosure, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, loan modification, forbearance agreement). The second is that you must demonstrate a full recovery from the event. And, third, you must agree to complete housing counseling prior to closing. You must also show that your household income declined by 20% or more for a period of at least 6 months, which coincided with the above “economic event”.

How do I document a 20% loss of household income for the FHA?

In order to document a 20% loss of household income, you must present federal tax returns or W-2s, or a written Verification of Employment evidencing prior income. For loss of income based on seasonal or part-time employment, two years of seasonal or part-time employment in the same field must be verified and documented as well. Income after the onset of the economic event, which should represent a loss of at least 20% for at least six months, should be verified according to standard FHA guidelines. This may include W-2s, pay stubs, unemployment income receipts, or other. Your lender will help you determine the best method of verification.

How do I document a “satisfactory” credit history since my “economic event” for the FHA?

Your lender will review your credit report as part of the FHA Back To Work approval process. All accounts will be reviewed — ones which went delinquent and ones which remained current. Your lender will attempt to determine three things — that you showed good credit history prior to the economic event; that your derogatory credit occurred after the onset of the economic event; and, that you have re-established a 12-month history of perfect payment history on major accounts. Minor delinquencies are allowed on revolving accounts.

Does the “20 percent loss of income” eligibility condition apply to me only, or to everyone in the household?

The “20 percent loss of income” eligibility condition applies to everyone in the household. If one member of the household lost income as the result of a job less but the household income did not fall by 20 percent or more for a period of at least months, the borrower will not be FHA Ba Extenuating Circumstances-eligible.

Is the FHA Back To Work Program limited by loan size?

No, the program is not limited by loan size. The FHA will always insure up to your area’s local FHA loan limit. Your lender, however, may not. If your lender will not make a loan big enough for your needs, find another FHA-approved lender. There are many of them.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after foreclosure?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after a foreclosure.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after a short sale?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after a short sale.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

With the FHA Back To Work Program, how soon until I can buy a home after Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Via the program, you can buy a home 12 months after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Is there a counseling requirement in order to use the FHA Back To Work program?

Yes, in order to the use the program, you must agree to attend housing counseling.

Will my housing counselor help me shop for mortgage rates?

No, your housing counselor will not help you shop for mortgage rates. However, many counselors can help you read a Good Faith Estimate which may help you make better lending decisions.

Why do I need to take housing counseling?

The housing counseling required by the FHA Back To Work program will address the cause of your economic event, and help you consider actions which may prevent reoccurance.

How long is the housing counseling session I am required to take?

The housing counseling required will typically last one hour.

Do I have to take housing counseling in-person?

No, you do not have to take the housing counseling in-person. Housing counseling may also be conducted by phone or via the internet.

If I complete counseling, am I automatically approved for the FHA loan?

No, you are not automatically approved for the FHA loan if you complete the housing counseling required. You must still qualify for the FHA mortgage based on Federal Housing Administration mortgage guidelines.

What is the minimum credit score requirement for the FHA Back To Work program?

There is no minimum credit score requirement for the FHA Back To Work program, necessarily. The program follows standard FHA mortgage guidelines. Credit scores below 500 are not allowed, but borrowers with no credit score whatsoever remain eligible. The Federal Housing Administration doesn’t change mortgage rates based on credit score.

Are modified mortgages eligible for FHA Back To Work?

Yes, modified mortgages are eligible.

Are loans on a payment plan eligible for FHA Back To Work?

Yes, loans on a payment plan are eligible.

I lost my job because my employer went out of business? Does this qualify for the program?

Yes, job loss resulting from an employer going out of business is Back-to-Work eligible. Your lender will ask you to provide a written termination notice or publicly-available documentation of the business closure.

Can I use Unemployment Income receipts to document that I was out of work?

Yes, you can use Unemployment Income receipt to document that you were out of work.

I am unemployed. Can I still use the program?

Yes, you can use the FHA Back To Work program if you are unemployed.

I am still in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Do I need the court’s permission to enter into the mortgage?

Yes, if your Chapter 13 bankruptcy has not been discharged prior to the date of your loan application, you must have written permission from Bankruptcy Court to enter into the purchase transaction.

When does the FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program end?

The FHA Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program ends September 30, 2016.

CLICK HERE to read the release from HUD

SOURCE: The Mortgage Reports

Wells Fargo eliminates 2,300 mortgage jobs

Wells Fargo is cutting 2,300 jobs from in the mortgage production unit, the company said on Wednesday.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo was the largest employer among U.S. banks at midyear with about 274,000 people. That figure jumped 4 percent from the previous year and was little changed from end of the first quarter.

The latest round of cuts brings the total number of jobs cut by the country’s largest mortgage lender to 3,000 since July.

The company expects the pace of mortgage lending to slow for the remainder of the year as higher interest rates cut into the demand for refinancing.

Applications for U.S. home loans fell for a second straight week as higher interest rates reduced refinancing activity, an industry group reported Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 4.6 percent in the week ended Aug. 16.

The decline came as 30-year mortgage rates rose 12 basis points to 4.68 percent, matching the year’s high first hit in July.