How lenders can prepare for growing fraud threats


As origination volumes hit record highs in 2020, Truework’s verification experts saw a spike in fraud, and expect that trend to continue this year. HousingWire recently spoke with Jeffrey Morelli, General Manager of Truework Verifier, about what lenders can do to prepare for and overcome the growing threat of fraud and data inaccuracy.

HousingWire: As we head into 2021, what are some challenges you foresee for lenders regarding employment verification?

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Jeffrey Morelli: Throughout 2021, we foresee an ever-growing presence of fraud and disinformation in the employment verification process. Looking back to 2020, Truework’s verification experts saw an enormous spike in fraud—a notable case being the rise of income misrepresentation on TPO loans in Southern California last fall. This can be attributed to increasing mortgage applications and refinances due to COVID-19 and low interest rates. Given that the majority of lenders were overwhelmed with the sheer number of applications—it became easier for fraud to proliferate. 

All lenders should expect this trend to continue well into 2021 given that the economy should not expect relief from COVID-19 until the latter half of the year—keeping interest rates low, and mortgage and refinance volume high. 

HW: How can lenders prepare for and overcome those challenges?

JM: Lenders can prepare for fraud and data inaccuracy by automating their verification process, which helps keeps data more secure than a manual process and monitoring extensively for key signs of fraud such as misrepresented information from small businesses, generic emails such as an @gmail.com  or an @yahoo.com, altered or completely altered forms of documentation (ie W-2 forms), large financial windfalls. 

Outsourcing the verification process to a solution like Truework can also be incredibly helpful when dealing with fraud. Our verification providers focus solely on your verifications, data, and monitoring—and have deep knowledge of the landscape with higher rates of fraud detection—freeing lenders like yourself from the process. 

Furthermore, with Truework’s integrated partnerships with several top payroll providers, we give you the latest payroll data for each of the 35 million active employees on our instant network. If your verification happens to be outside of the 35 million employees on our network, our manual team will source data directly for you from HR departments, so that you can be sure that any verification on Truework has the most accurate and current data. In addition, our automated validation engine runs on every completed report to make sure the data is accurate and complete. Based on Fannie Mae guidelines—Truework goes above and beyond what is necessary to flag improper reports.

HW: How has Truework helped lenders through the high-volume environment of 2020?

JM: Truework’s unique combination of software and services has been pivotal in ensuring speed, security, and efficiency for lenders through the high-volume environment of 2020. Our platform uses a tech-based and data-forward approach along with an expansive and ever-growing network—so that lenders can instantly and accurately verify tens of millions of employees across the United States, and take advantage of Truework’s manual verifications—the fastest and most accurate in the industry. 

Along with Truework’s extensive team of mortgage professionals—lenders have, and continue to count on Truework as their one-stop-shop for all of their verifications. 

HW: What are some of the most common pain points you see when it comes to employment verification?

Some of the most common pain points we’ve seen when it comes to employment verification have been: 

  • Slowness: Verifications often take too long, and slow down the overall lending process—creating inefficiencies and often forcing lenders to leave valuable loans on the table. 
  • Inaccuracy: Lenders often are given out-of-date data, or inaccurate information. 
  • Fraud detection: Especially in high-volume times, lenders often cannot identify fraud either due to lack of insight, or lack of time. 

Truework can help lenders with all of these pain points and more. With our tech-enabled platform, expansive and growing network, and a team of mortgage professionals—lenders can count on Truework to provide friction-free verifications, enabling them to complete the verifications faster and more accurately than ever before. 

The post How lenders can prepare for growing fraud threats appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

CalHFA’s former director to join Biden administration

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Tia Boatman Patterson

The California Housing Finance Agency announced Friday former executive director Tia Boatman Patterson will join the White House Office of Management and Budget as the associate director for housing, treasury and commerce in the new administration.

Boatman Patterson began serving on the CalHFA’s board of directors in 2012 and was appointed as Executive Director just two years later by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. According to a statement from CalHFA, Boatman Patterson would go on to lead CalHFA through its most successful period in its 46-year history following her appointment.

During her tenure, Boatman Patterson oversaw the expansion of CalHFA from less than $100 million in lending the year before she took over, to nearly $5 billion last fiscal year.

She also established CalHFA’s downpayment assistance program which offers a deferred-payment junior loan to first-time homebuyers, and the mixed-income program that provides construction financing on multifamily housing projects for a range of incomes.

Other efforts included a special needs housing program that allowed counties to continue financing housing for individuals with serious mental illness experiencing homelessness after the state’s Mental Health Services Act housing program ended in 2016.

At CalHFA, Boatman Patterson also worked with Apple to establish a California Bond Recycling program that saw Apple supplying a credit facility alongside a $2.5 billion commitment to combat California’s housing crisis.

The former director was reappointed last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom, for whom she also served for a year as a senior housing advisor.

“Tia’s tenacity, her leadership ability to build successful collaborative relationships and innovative ideas have turned CalHFA into a model for all other housing finance agencies in the country,” said Michael Gunning, acting chairperson of the CalHFA board of directors.

Boatman Patterson’s appointment arrives on the heels of a bold campaign platform Biden took in addressing America’s housing crisis.

The President’s Feb. 2020 housing plan detailed opportunities for every American to have access to housing that is affordable, stable, safe and healthy, accessible, energy efficient and resilient and located “near good schools” with a “reasonable commute to their jobs.”

To do so, Biden’s plan would invest $640 billion over 10 years, with a $100 billion Affordable Housing Fund to construct and upgrade affordable housing. Still, a collection of affordable housing groups have expressed some wariness over the American Rescue Plan’s affect on affordable housing.

Under the new administration, Biden has also brought back key CFPB players, appointed Marcia Fudge as HUD secretary and Jenn Jones as its new chief of staff (and then called the organization out to address racial equality), announced plans to release aid to Puerto Rico and extended the foreclosure moratorium.

There’s also that $15,000 tax credit proposal the industry is still keeping its eye on.

 “Our loss is the country’s gain, and I’m sure the Office of Management and Budget will benefit greatly from her deep passion and deep knowledge of housing,” said Lourdes Castro Ramírez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, which oversees CalHFA.

Newsom has named CalHFA’s Don Cavier as acting executive director until a permanent replacement is appointed. Cavier has served as the organization’s chief deputy director under Boatman Patterson since 2015.

The post CalHFA’s former director to join Biden administration appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Top renovations to protect homes from natural disasters

From hurricanes and floods to earthquakes and wildfires, 2020 saw its fair share of natural disasters — and pretty damaging ones, too. According to tallies, damages clocked it at over $1 billion for at least 10 different events.

If your area wasn’t hit by a major catastrophe last year, you got lucky. But it doesn’t mean you’re safe from harm. In fact, according to the latest Catastrophe Report from CoreLogic, nearly a third of all U.S. homes are at high risk for natural disaster damage. 

Want to make sure your home is protected in case the worst happens? Try one of these renovations:

1. Storm shutters

Installing storm shutters can help protect your home from wind, hail, strong rains, flying items and the other various effects that come with natural disasters. There are several kinds of shutters you can install, including automatic, roll-down, accordion-style and full-panel options, which are put on with tracks or bolts. 

If you’re concerned about aesthetics, you might think about colonial-style shutters, which offer a more traditional look, with a little extra protection.

2. Impact-resistant windows

If you want to take your window protections to another level, you can install fully impact-resident windows (sometimes just called “impact windows”). These windows are designed to withstand heavy winds and impact from flying debris, and they’re usually shatterproof, too. 

In some areas, impact windows are actually required per local building codes (especially in very hurricane-prone areas), but if your home wasn’t built with them, they can easily be retrofitted. Each window costs anywhere from $90 to $400, depending on brand and quality.

3. Safe rooms

A safe room can be helpful if you’re in an area liable to tornadoes, hurricanes or other natural disasters. The rooms are typically steel-enforced spaces that withstand strong winds, storms and other threats. Underground is usually the best location for these, but you can choose elsewhere in the house if necessary. You can even purchase a prefabricated one to simplify things.

4. Stronger garage doors

The garage is your home’s single-biggest entry point. So a weak door? That can pose a major danger, paving the way for flooding, fire entry and more. 

If your garage door isn’t up to snuff — or it has windows that can easily break or fail — you’ll want to consider upgrading to something sturdier. When you do, pay attention to the door’s wind load. If you’re in a hurricane or tornado-prone area, you’ll want one that withstands up to 140 miles-per-hour winds or higher. Choosing a door with a lock is also important. 

Other options

If you’re not up to funding any major renovations at the moment, there are smaller changes you can make to reduce your risk in the event of a natural disaster. First, trim any low-hanging trees and remove dead or dying ones. Cleaning out your gutters can also help.

Finally, double-check your insurance policy. Make sure your dwelling coverage is enough to cover your home’s full replacement value, and pony up for loss of use coverage as well. If your home needs major repairs, this will cover the costs of staying in a hotel and other living expenses while the work is underway. 

The post Top renovations to protect homes from natural disasters appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

JPMorgan’s Thasunda Duckett named next CEO of TIAA

TIAA Bank has tapped JPMorgan Chase‘s head of consumer banking, Thasunda Brown Duckett, to succeed longtime president and CEO, Roger Ferguson, Jr.

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Thasunda Brown Duckett

With the hire, TIAA is now the first Fortune 500 company to have two Black CEOs in a row.

At JPMorgan Chase, Duckett has led a banking network with more than $600 billion in deposits, 4,900 branches and over 40,000 employees.

Under Duckett’s leadership, JPMorgan Chase was the nation’s fifth largest mortgage lender in 2020, originating about $133.4 billion in mortgages, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance.

“Thasunda is widely recognized as an exceptionally dynamic and inspirational leader,” Ronald Thompson, TIAA board of trustees’ chairman said in a statement. “She brings invaluable experience leading and growing large, complex businesses, setting and executing strategy, improving client experience and attracting and developing talent.”


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Ferguson, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, will retire after 13 years at TIAA in May. He will stay on in an advisory role for Duckett, the company said.

“I am very grateful and heartened that we have found a leader who is as inspired by our mission as I have been ever since I had the great fortune to join this amazing company almost 13 years ago,” Ferguson said.

Duckett began her career at Fannie Mae, leading affordable housing initiatives for people of color. She holds a B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.

One of Duckett’s key initiatives at Chase’s consumer division was undertaking the bank’s first major branch expansion in 10 years, with the ultimate goal of adding 400 new branches in 20 new markets over five years.

She also held the title of executive sponsor of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways program, an initiative aimed at helping Black Americans close historical achievement gaps in wealth creation, educational outcomes and career success. 

Over the last year, Duckett has run point on Chase’s focus on communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. That led to her becoming Chase’s executive sponsor of the bank’s Fellowship Initiative, which offers young men of color academic and social support.

JPMorgan co-president Gordon Smith said on Thursday that Duckett’s successor as head of consumer-banking would be named shortly.

TIAA, which manages pensions on behalf of colleges, healthcare networks and nonprofits, had $1.3 trillion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, though it is far less active in the mortgage space than JPMorgan Chase.

“Thasunda’s dedication to putting people first – clients and colleagues – ensures that TIAA will continue to create lifetime income for millions of people working in higher education, healthcare, government, the arts and other nonprofit sectors,” said James Chambers, TIAA board of trustees chairman-elect.

Duckett, who has talked extensively about the need to close the wealth gap between white and Black Americans, expressed enthusiasm for the new role.

“I often think about the day my father asked me to help him plan his retirement, and I had to tell him, ‘Dad, your pension is not enough,’” Duckett said. “Now, thanks to his work and sacrifices and the support of many others who have guided me throughout my life and career, I am blessed to join TIAA.”

TIAA has paid out over $500 billion of lifetime income and other benefits since its founding in 1918.

The post JPMorgan’s Thasunda Duckett named next CEO of TIAA appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Downside of Biden’s PPP plan, CFPB’s hiring binge, HSBC’s U.S. endgame: Top stories of the week

Biden plan to help smallest PPP applicants has drawbacks, banks warn; CFPB goes on hiring spree as it looks to ramp up enforcement; seeing if HSBC’s patience on fate of U.S. retail unit will pay off; and more from this week’s most-read stories.
Source: American Banker

Michael Neal on the history of housing discrimination

This HousingWire Daily podcast transcription features the first episode of Honest Conversations, a new miniseries that examines the state of minority homeownership. In this episode, Michael Neal, a senior research associate in the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute discusses the history and data behind minority homeownership and housing discrimination.

During the episode, Neal explains how housing inequality came to be and what it means for today’s borrowers.

Listen to the full episode here or below and make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction:

The post Michael Neal on the history of housing discrimination appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Citi's Corbat has parting words: 'Banking is quickly changing'

Michael Corbat’s departure comes as Citigroup is facing fresh scrutiny from regulators about its underlying technology and internal controls, work that will continue on incoming CEO Jane Fraser’s watch.
Source: American Banker

Why do mortgage rates need to cool down?

HousingWire Lead Analyst Logan Mohtashami joins the HousingWire Daily podcast to talk about why low mortgage rates need to end. During the interview, HW+ Managing Editor Brena Nath interviews Mohtashami on his most recent article, “We need higher mortgage rates to cool the housing market.”

In his opinion piece, Mohtashami states, “For 2021, we need to root for a repeat of what happened in 2013-2014 and 2018-2019. Home prices have caught up to per capita income, just like what we saw in 2002. However, mortgage rates are lower today, and demographics better. I feared this could be the case and it’s part of why I wrote the Chaos Theory for HousingWire back on Feb 3, 2020. I wrote that if COVID-19 hit us, stocks, the economy, and bond yields would fall, and this means mortgage rates would go down with it.”

Listen to the full episode here or below and make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction:

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The post Why do mortgage rates need to cool down? appeared first on HousingWire.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Heat's on lenders to reduce climate risk. Big question is how.

Going green takes time, so lenders need to start revamping entire business relationships now, according to one sustainability-focused nonprofit. That process could include setting environmental goals for fossil-fuels companies and other customers that are conditions for continuing to finance them.
Source: American Banker

CFPB pick’s past statements set stage for testy confirmation hearing

Rohit Chopra, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has not minced words in calling out private companies for wrongdoing. He could get a grilling from Banking Committee Republicans and some opposition on the Senate floor.
Source: American Banker