The CFPB has asserted broad RESPA enforcement authority in a recent decision significantly expanding the liability of PHH Corporation for accepting “kickbacks” from mortgage insurers. The CFPB upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s finding that PHH had violated RESPA but increased the number of separate violations involved, increasing the required disgorgement from $6 million to $109 million.
A narrowly divided (5-4) Supreme Court upheld the “disparate impact” theory, agreeing (with some qualifications) that policies may be discriminatory under the Fair Housing Act if they have a discriminatory impact, even if there is no intent to discriminate. The decision surprised most industry analysts, who had expected the court to come down on the other side of an issue that has come under withering criticism from lenders, and local housing agencies that have been on the receiving end of many Fair Housing enforcement actions.
Black Knight Financial Services estimates that 6.5 million borrowers would benefit from refinancing their existing mortgages. More than half-a-million of them could save $500 a month by lowering their rates, according to this analysis.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has approved massive pay increases for the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, boosting their compensation from n $600,000 to around $4 million. The Obama Administration has objected to the move, as have Congressional leaders and just about everyone else who has commented publicly on it.
Mortgage rates are inching up. Thirty-year fixed rates averaged 4.08 percent for the week ending July2, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) index. That was up from 4.02 percent the previous week and the highest level so far this year, but still below the year-ago average of 4.12 percent.
Rising interest rates have curbed mortgage applications; they’ve fallen 4.7 percent in the past month, according to the MBA. But home prices are still rising. CoreLogic reported a 6.3 percent increase nationally for May – the 39th consecutive month for year-over-year price gains.