Fraud Anecdotes, Economic News Preview For Week

I want to warn people from Nigeria that if you get any e-mails from Washington DC asking for money, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it! Or maybe from Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s been a while since I have seen anyone use the word “hoodwinked” in a sentence, but this reporter did in describing a potential fraud ring led by two Charlotte developers.

Fraud In Texas
Those developers in Charlotte don’t have a monopoly on being accused of fraud. In the Great State of Texas, several foreclosure rescue companies have been sued by the state’s top prosecutor, who accuses them of running mortgage rescue scams. “Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit against Houston-based Excel Loss Mitigation Inc., United Servicing LLC and some related assets held by Bell Investments & Developments LLC and key directors Frank Bell, David Bell and David Espy. They are accused of taking money from financially troubled homeowners and promising to help them with their mortgages but doing nothing for them.” Their assets have been frozen. The complaint states both companies used telemarketers with a high pressure script to contact homeowners in mortgage trouble and falsely promise to renegotiate their debt to help them avoid foreclosure or reduce monthly payments, and that they told homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments not to talk to their lenders even though that is what they should have done, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Paramount Equity Settles Compliance Suit
On the good news side, Paramount Equity Mortgage announced that it has reached a settlement with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions’ Division of Consumer Services over the Department’s action filed last July. According to the consent order signed between Paramount Equity and the Washington DFI, the department stated, “Paramount Equity has undertaken significant efforts to investigate, address, and correct the compliance issues that led to the Statement of Charges. Those efforts have resulted in the expenditure of significant resources of time and money by Paramount and have resulted in improved compliance systems.” Paramount Equity Mortgage renewed its license for mortgage lending in the state of Washington earlier this year with no conditions and the company’s license is currently in good standing with the state.

GMAC Lending Update
Remember the mortgage company “RFC”? Easy to remember. Then it became GMAC/RFC. Still manageable, especially since it morphed into plain ol’ GMAC. Now, as part of their transition to a bank holding company, they are launching a new consumer bank brand to distinguish GMAC Financial Services in the industry. For their consumer bank customers, GMAC Bank is going to become “Ally Bank”. Eventually “the increase in self-funding through the bank will better support the financing activities of GMAC Bank’s correspondent and warehouse lending operations.” The announcement makes it clear that “GM is now a minority stakeholder and that GMAC LLC is no longer a captive finance company. The brand for GMAC Bank correspondent and warehouse will remain GMAC Bank for the immediate future, though we will be adjusting our legal disclosures on the web and in print to reflect the name of the new legal entity. There are plans in place to re-brand our B-2-B mortgage operations (including correspondent, warehouse, sub-servicing and trust services) in the coming months.” So suddenly my GMAC pen is a collector’s item!

Rate Adjustments For FHA Loans
The Wells Fargo correspondent group, after apparently seeing trends in FHA/VA business that need “tweaking”, put in pricing adjusters for this product. Up until June 1st, there is no price adjustment based on FICO for government loans. After June 1st, they will hit sellers .250 if the FICO is below 660, and improve the price by .125 if the FICO is 720 or above. Look for others to follow.

Flagstar’s Appraisal Policy
Flagstar sent out a note reminding their customers of their appraisal policy. “At this time, FHA has not implemented the HVCC policies that are required for conventional loans. Flagstar Bank requires all appraisers of properties secured by FHA-insured loans to be both FHA-approved and Flagstar-eligible. The appraisal may also be ordered from a Flagstar-approved appraisal management company.” In the scenarios described below, the appraisal must be obtained from a Flagstar-approved appraisal management company.

Light News Week
Every month has a week that is almost devoid of market-moving economic news. This is it. Last week was a little more interesting. On Friday Industrial Production fell .5%, less than forecast, after having fallen 1.7 percent in March. Its partner Capacity Utilization fell to a record low of 69.1%. But we had the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey preliminary reading rise to 67.9 in May. The news made Treasury securities fall for the first time in three days. If anyone asks you about the economy, however, you can tell them that a survey of economists projected that the recession will end in August and that slow growth should return by the third quarter. Tomorrow we will receive Housing Starts and Building Permits for April, and on Thursday we’ll have Jobless Claims and Leading Economic Indicators, along with the “Philly Fed” survey of economic conditions in their neck of the woods. This morning we find the 10-yr at 3.10% and mortgage pricing roughly unchanged from Friday.

Daily Humor
(Warning: don’t read if easily offended!)

A guy goes to the post office to apply for a job. The interviewer asks him, ‘”Are you allergic to anything?” He replies, “Yes – caffeine.”

“Have you ever been in the military service?”

“Yes,” he says. “I was in Iraq for two years.”

The interviewer says, “That’ll give you five extra points toward employment.” Then he asks, “Are you disabled in any way?”

The guy says, “Yes…an IED exploded near me and I lost both of my testicles.”

The interviewer grimaces and then says, “O.K. You’ve got enough points for me to hire you right now. Our normal hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. You can start tomorrow at 10:00 – and plan on starting at 10:00 A.M. every day.”

The guy is puzzled and says, “If the work hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., why don’t you want me to be here until 10:00?”

“This is a government job,” the interviewer says. “For the first two hours we just stand around drinking coffee and scratching our nuts. No point in you coming in for that.”

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