This de novo wants to be the go-to bank for fintechs

CEO Wendy Cai-Lee says Piermont Bank can do it all for financial technology firms: be their commercial banker, be their banking-as-a-service provider and develop APIs and other cutting-edge products for them.
Source: American Banker

Will a second lockdown cool off the red-hot Seattle housing market?


In November, the state of Washington was placed in a second lockdown until Dec. 14, a move that suspended open houses, although private showings are allowed with no more than five people. What is this second lockdown going to do to the red-hot Seattle housing market? A November study from Lombardo Homes found that it was the most competitive market in the country, with 71% of homes selling in under two weeks and the average time on the market at about 10 days.

That demand is easy to see on the sell side. According to the Northwest MLS, the median price of single-family homes and condos that sold in the 23 counties it tracks was $500,000, up 19% from last year. Members of the MLS added 10,428 new listings to supply in October, up 24% from last year, but pending home sales were only at 11,039.

In King County, where Seattle is located, the median-priced single-family home was $685,000, according to the Northwest MLS. In October, there was less than a month’s worth of inventory in this market.

Yusef Nadir, a RE/MAX broker based in Seattle, told HousingWire that although people are hunkering down again, he doesn’t see any slowdown in the housing market yet.

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The post Will a second lockdown cool off the red-hot Seattle housing market? appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

World Council of Credit Unions moves annual event online

The group is just the latest industry organization to already alter plans for a gathering scheduled for 2021.
Source: American Banker

Yellen at Treasury could resuscitate Fed’s loan programs

The Trump administration has compelled the Federal Reserve to shut down the Main Street Lending Program and other facilities that aid banks’ pandemic relief efforts, but President-elect Biden’s Treasury nominee could help turn the spigot back on.
Source: American Banker

Title fraud rises more than 30% in Q3

Title fraud continues to grow, seeing sharp increases in the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest report from FundingShield.

FundingShield’s Q3 2020 Wire and Title Fraud Analytics report shows a 31.5% increase in wire verification and ownership issues.

“The risk of wire and title fraud in the closing and settlement space persisted and grew in certain risk concentrations during Q3 2020,” FundingShield stated in its report.

The company’s data reports potential first or third-party fraud, misrepresentations, errors due to negligence or operational gaps, as well as cybersecurity threats.

The report also found a 30% increase in fraud/risk exposure in CPL errors and issues, and a 90% increase in state licensing issues from the second to the third quarter of 2020.

How to prevent wire fraud while increasing production

Comparing Q2 vs Q3 2020, FundingShield found a 30% increase in fraud/risk exposure in CPL errors and issues.

Presented by: FundingShield

Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated that $1.77 billion was stolen in 2019 due to wire fraud. Now, this threat is rising faster than predicted due to COVID-19 and the surge in digital transactions. 

For example, a recent FBI report showed a 50% surge in mobile banking since the beginning of 2020, likely due to stay-at-home orders, and as a result, the bureau issued a public service announcement cautioning users on the potential for increased risk of cyber fraud.

Earlier this year, Thomas Cronkright, CertifID cofounder and CEO as well as Sun Title Agency CEO, explained in a HousingWire interview  why this is so dangerous.

“You’ve got remote distancing, so the teams just aren’t synced as tight as what they were,” Croknright said. “A lot of the law enforcement at the federal level that helps with wire fraud are still working from home.”

But many companies have stepped up to the challenge, introducing new solutions to prevent wire fraud.

Fidelity National Financial, a provider of title insurance and settlement services to the real estate and mortgage industries, is working to prevent wire fraud in today’s growing digital environment. the company announced it delivered more than 800,000 of its digital opening packages to consumers. It reported that 70% of these packages were opened and 85% of consumers that started the startSafe interview completed it.

The post Title fraud rises more than 30% in Q3 appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Home prices see greatest gain in over 6 years

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index covering home prices of all nine U.S. census divisions rose 7% in September from a year ago, the greatest year-over-year gain since 2014, and nearly 23% higher than its last peak in 2006.

The September increase was also greater than the 4.8% uptick reported in August, and represented the largest annual gain since May 2014 as record-low mortgage rates and a lack of inventory continued to put upward pressure on home prices.

“Home prices are normally sticky, meaning that they often take a while to respond to market shifts,” said Matthew Speakman, economist at Zillow. “These elevated levels of market competition have been placing upward pressure on prices for months, but home prices have just recently begun to take off in earnest. Some measures show home prices now growing at a faster pace than they ever have.”

Homes went under contract two weeks faster in September than they did a year earlier, but construction is playing catch-up to feed the frenzy, said Speakman.

Single-family housing starts, driven heavily by low interest rates and changing consumer patterns, rose to an annual rate of 1.53 million in October, the highest since this February and far past 1.108 million recorded in September, according to the U.S Census Bureau.

The price jumps reported in the Case-Shiller Index roughly matched up with statistics from the Federal Housing Finance Administration, which reported that prices increased 3.1% over the second quarter, the biggest gain since at least 1991, when the agency began keeping records.

Looking through a more localized lens, Phoenix experienced the steepest year-over-year gain, rising 11.4% – the 16th consecutive month Phoenix home prices rose more than those of any other city. Seattle took the second-greatest increase once again, up 10.1%, with San Diego following at 9.5%.

Housing prices were consistently robust nationally even in the worst-performing cities – New York (4.3%) and Chicago (4.7%)., according to Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“Our three monthly readings since June of this year have all shown accelerating growth in home prices, and September’s results are quite strong. This month’s increase may reflect a catch-up of COVID-depressed demand from earlier this year; it might also presage future strength, as COVID encourages potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes,” said Lazzara. “The next several months’ reports should help to shed light on this question.”

Though home prices continued to rise in September, homebuyers showed little interest in slowing down, driving existing home sales up for the fifth consecutive month in October, 4.3% year-over-year.

However, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined slightly in November to 96.1 from 101.4 in October. The index, a key measure in gauging whether people are willing to make big-ticket purchases like homes, fell as consumers lost morale for business conditions and the labor market.

“While the worsening spread of COVID-19, and the economic uncertainty that accompanies it, do pose some potential risks to the booming housing market, it appears unlikely that this remarkable growth in home prices will abate in the coming months,” Speakman said.

The post Home prices see greatest gain in over 6 years appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac conforming loan limits increase for 2021

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a new baseline conforming loan limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2021: $548,250.

This is a 7.5% increase from 2020’s limit of $510,400 and marks the fifth consecutive year of increases from the FHFA. In 2016, the FHFA increased the Fannie and Freddie conforming loan limits for the first time in 10 years, and since then, the baseline loan limit has gone up by $131,250.

The conforming loan limits for Fannie and Freddie are determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which established the baseline loan limit at $417,000 and mandated that, after a period of price declines, the baseline loan limit cannot rise again until home prices return to pre-decline levels.

For high-cost areas, where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit, the maximum loan limit is higher than the baseline loan limit. HERA establishes the maximum loan limit in those areas as a multiple of the area median home value, while setting a “ceiling” on that limit of 150% of the baseline loan limit.

Median home values generally increased in high-cost areas in 2020, driving up the maximum loan limits in many areas. The new ceiling loan limit for one-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $822,375 — or 150% of $548,250.

Freddie Mac on the state of housing affordability

This panel will identify significant data and trends impacting the future and outline key challenges. Get up to speed on today’s housing market and discover how the industry can evolve to better serve tomorrow’s market, together.

Presented by: Freddie Mac

Special statutory provisions establish different loan limit calculations for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In these areas, the baseline loan limit will be $822,375 for one-unit properties.

These increases in the baseline loan limit and the ceiling loan limit will drive the maximum 2021 conforming loan limits higher in all but 18 counties or county equivalents in the U.S.

Click here to see a map of the new conforming loan limits across the U.S.

The post Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac conforming loan limits increase for 2021 appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

JPMorgan fined $250 million for problems in advisory business

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency says JPMorgan Chase’s fiduciary unit lacked sufficient controls to manage risk and avoid conflicts of interest.
Source: American Banker

Banks see billion-dollar cyber costs soaring even higher in 2021

Big banks and other financial firms predict the cost of warding off cybercriminals will keep climbing in 2021 as they work to secure digital financial services popularized by the pandemic.
Source: American Banker

Introducing the HousingWire 2020 Tech Trendsetters


This year’s 2020 list of Housingwire Tech Trendsetters certainly earned their status as the housing industry was met with incredible challenges and new opportunities.  

This diverse group of tech professionals helped to bring about the long-awaited modernization of the housing industry. Some would even say that it’s tech trendsetters like these who have helped to not only stabilize, but propel the housing economy even in the worst of circumstances. Navigating through stay-at-home orders, rising unemployment and record low interest rates, these tech professionals drove forward the tech solutions that not only helped the housing market stay afloat but drove it to flourish. 

Many of this year’s winners stepped forward to navigate the “new normal” as COVID-19 hit last spring. One of the 2020 Tech Trendsetters, Kallol Das worked quickly to shift digital lending tech provider Blend’s product roadmap to its rapidly-changing client needs. Within 72 hours, Blend developed a digital portal with M&T Bank to enable lenders to accept Paycheck Protection Program applications from small businesses through the CARES Act. Blend’s platform funded nearly 100% of the requests received, assisting 718,000 employees in the U.S.

This year’s list also included Housingwire’s first “internal callout,” recognizing FinLedger’s Managing Editor, Mary Ann Azevedo. Azevedo began her role in August 2020 and has since built a team of fintech journalists to keep the industry up-to-date on timely fintech topics like banktech, insurtech, proptech and payments.

These Tech Trendsetters earned their way on the list with their blood sweat and tears and helped keep the housing market afloat during a chaotic time.

This is an HW+ preview of our 2020 Tech Trendsetters, full winner profiles will be published on December 1st. 

The rest of this content is for HW+ members. Join today with an HW+ Membership! Already a member? log in

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The post Introducing the HousingWire 2020 Tech Trendsetters appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine