Fannie Mae invests $14 million for low-income housing tax credit

Fannie Mae
announced Wednesday that it will invest $14 million for a Low-Income Housing
Tax Credit as it facilitates the development of a 110-unit multifamily
residence.

Back in 2017, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they were re-entering the LIHTC market, the federal program which encourages investment of equity into affordable rental housing.

Freddie Mac explained at the time that under the program,
qualified properties are allocated federal tax credits and investors are able
to invest in those properties to take advantage of those tax credits.

The new residence, Mino-bimaadiziwin Apartments, will be located
in Minneapolis, will house Native Americans and other low-income residents in
the community and is being developed by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

Fannie Mae will invest in the project through Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, a
Fannie Mae LIHTC fund partner.

“Our LIHTC financing of Mino-bimaadiziwin Apartments helps support much-needed housing and ancillary services for Native Americans and other members of the Minneapolis community near public transit options that enable them to commute to their places of employment,” said Dana Brown, Fannie Mae vice president of LIHTC investments.

“LIHTC enables affordable rental housing, and we are excited
to work with our partners to address our country’s pressing housing challenges,”
Brown said. “Projects like Mino-bimaadiziwin foster a healthier and more stable
living environment for individuals and families while also creating a more
sustainable neighborhood for all members of the community.”

The apartments will offer studios, one-, two- and
three-bedroom units for residents that earn 30%, 50% and 60% of the area median
income. And 24 of the units will serve as permanent housing for the metro’s
chronically homeless.

The new development will include a playground, daycare facility, wellness center, and the Red Lake Nation Urban Embassy community center. Residents will also have access to on-site healthcare and educational services.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians will provide a Housing
Support/GRH rental subsidy in partnership with Minnesota Department of Human Services. The project will cost $38.6
million. Developers have broken ground on the building project and expect to
open it to residents by fall 2020.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Cut the derivatives business some slack

Federal regulators should amend a capital buffer requirements for certain derivatives to avoid economic damage.
Source: American Banker

Fed eases rules on big regionals; Deutsche denies it has Trump tax returns

Large banks will have less onerous capital rules and stress test requirements; the president’s main lender said it has other returns, but not the president’s.
Source: American Banker

'Let's play a drinking game': Comments of the week

Readers react to whether the next presidential debate will discuss banking, how California’s financial policies are bleeding into other blue states, suggested reforms to the Community Reinvestment Act and more.
Source: American Banker

Opendoor partners with real estate software provider W+R Studios to boost iBuyer reach

Opendoor added to its ever-growing list of partnerships Thursday with the announcement that the iBuyer will be collaborating with W+R Studios, a real estate market analysis software provider.

The partnerships will specifically make use of W+R Studios’ Cloud CMA, a platform that allows agents to create comparative market analysis reports, buyer tours, property reports and flyers.

Through the new partnership, Opendoor offers will now be incorporated into Cloud CMA’s listing information. According to the companies, agents using the platform will now be able to present “a competitive cash offer from Opendoor to eligible customers, directly within the product and alongside the traditional listing information.”

“We have long admired Opendoor’s use of technology to simplify real estate, and we share a commitment to making the home selling process more convenient for agents and more transparent for consumers,” said Greg Robertson, CEO of W+R Studios. “Today’s real estate landscape is increasingly competitive, and agents need more tools in their arsenal to stand out. With Opendoor’s integration into Cloud CMA, we’re giving agents the opportunity to earn clients’ trust and present options that meet their unique needs.” 

According to the companies, Cloud CMA creates 260,000 listing presentations per month, and Opendoor purchases a home every 24 minutes. Through the partnership, the iBuyer and software provider aim to “enhance the selling experience for more consumers.”

“With the integration, agents can easily help sellers seamlessly line-up their home sale with a new home purchase—eliminating contingency risk, one of the biggest barriers to buying a new home,” Opendoor stated in a release.

The new listing experience is available for W+R Studios’ agent customers in Phoenix and Atlanta. The companies plan to expand the partnership offering to additional markets in 2020.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Maren Kasper abruptly steps down as head of Ginnie Mae

Ginnie Mae, the government agency that insures more than $2 trillion in mortgages, is about to be on the hunt for a new leader, again. That’s because, for the second time this year, the acting head of Ginnie Mae has abruptly stepped down to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.”

Earlier this year, Michael Bright, who had been leading Ginnie Mae on an interim basis for nearly 18 months and was the Trump administration’s nominee to lead the agency, stepped down to become president and CEO of the Structured Finance Industry Group, a trade advocacy group for the securities markets.

Bright was replaced as acting president by Maren Kasper, who
also served as executive vice president of Ginnie Mae. But now, Kasper is
leaving too.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that Kasper is stepping down from her roles as acting president, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Ginnie Mae to pursue an unnamed opportunity in the private sector.

According to HUD, Kasper informed HUD Secretary Ben Carson on Thursday that she plans to leave Ginnie Mae in just over a week. Kasper’s resignation letter, which can be read in full here, states that her last day at Ginnie Mae will be Oct. 18, 2019.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you and this Administration since joining the Department on January 20, 2017,” Kasper said in her letter to Carson. “I am proud of all that we have accomplished over the last three years. Our efforts under the Ginnie Mae 2020 strategic plan have protected taxpayers, continued to evolve the Ginnie Mae platform for the future, and improved the performance of the Ginnie Mae security, all to the benefit of American homeowners.”

Kasper’s departure will only extend the search for a
permanent leader at Ginnie Mae, the government agency that issues mortgage
bonds backed by Federal Housing Administration or Department
of Veterans Affairs
 loans.

The agency has been without a permanent president since Ted Tozer stepped down in early 2017 when President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Kasper then joined the administration in January 2017 after serving as a director at Roofstock, an online marketplace for single-family rental home investing.

Earlier in her career, Kasper worked for Dwell
Finance
, which also focused on the single-family rental market.

According to New York Magazine, Kasper joined the Trump administration early on, serving on the administration’s “beachhead team” that worked at HUD before HUD Secretary Ben Carson was confirmed.

According to the article, in those early days, Kasper butted heads with Shermichael Singleton, an associate of Carson, who was eventually fired after anti-Trump writings surfaced from before he was part of the administration.

Kasper also reportedly had issues with Lynne Patton, who is close with the Trump family, and was eventually chosen to lead HUD’s Region II office, which oversees federal housing programs in New York and New Jersey.

Despite those reported issues, former HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude vouched for Kasper, telling HousingWire that she had full confidence in Kasper’s ability to lead Ginnie Mae.

In the end, Kasper led Ginnie Mae for roughly 10 months.

According to HUD, Seth Appleton, assistant secretary for
policy development and research, will concurrently serve as principal executive
vice president. Additionally, Michael Drayne will assume the role of acting executive
vice president. Drayne is currently senior vice president for strategic
planning and policy.

In Kasper’s letter to Carson, she tells the HUD secretary
that she will “ensure a seamless transition” in her remaining time at Ginnie
Mae.

“Effective immediately, all executive decisions have been
delegated to Ginnie Mae senior officials,” Kasper writes. “Ginnie Mae remains
committed to delivering on the agency’s strategic plan and key initiatives
underway. It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to serve alongside you. It
is your leadership and support that have made our significant accomplishments
possible.

Carson, in a statement, thanked Kasper for her “significant contributions”
to the administration.

“I want to thank Maren for her significant contributions to
both Ginnie Mae and the Department which have helped enable more Americans to
become homeowners,” Carson said. “She has done a tremendous job stepping in to
lead Ginnie Mae and its talented team. We all wish her well and know the future
for her is bright.”

According to HUD, it is planning to have a conference call
next week with global investors and stakeholders to discuss the leadership
transition.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

NewDay USA adding more than 100 new employees as VA loans soar

After seeing its Department
of Veterans Affairs
mortgage originations jump by more than 30% in the
second quarter due to three-year lows in interest rates, NewDay USA is planning
to hire more than 100 new employees to deal with the rising demand.

The company announced recently that it is planning to hire
more than 100 new employees in the Baltimore area.

According to the company, the move comes after the company originated
approximately 2,500 VA loans with an aggregate principal balance of $576
million in the second quarter, a 32% jump over the prior quarter.

The company said it expects that increased demand for VA loans to continue, and views hiring the new team members as a necessity to deal with the company’s increasing mortgage production.

According to the company, many of its new employees are
recruited from local colleges after graduation. Once they’re a part of the company,
new recruits receive an “extensive mortgage education” at NewDay USA University,
the company’s mortgage training program.

“Our staff is one of the best-educated workforces thanks to
the major investments we have made in NewDay University,” NewDay USA Founder
and CEO Rob Posner said. “It’s these high achievers who will be running the
mortgage industry in the next decade, many of whom will remain in the area and
continue contributing to Baltimore’s economy.”

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Wells Fargo reportedly plans mortgage hiring push thanks to rising originations

Last year was full of cuts and layoffs in Wells Fargo’s mortgage business as rising interest rates drove originations down. This year, it appears, is going to be just the opposite.

Interest rates have fallen for much of this year, and the latest projections are that those low interest rates are going to make 2019 the best year for mortgage originations since 2016.

And as a result, just one year after cutting more than 1,000
jobs from its mortgage business, Wells Fargo is now reportedly preparing to
staff back up to keep up with the current mortgage environment.

Reuters reported Thursday that Wells Fargo is “boosting its teams that process mortgage loans to prepare for higher mortgage volumes,” citing an internal memo.

According to Reuters, “many” of the hires will be in Des
Moines, Iowa and Minneapolis, both of which were impacted by the layoffs of
2018.

The Reuters report stated that the staffing plans are “fluid,” and noted that the bank did not place a specific number on its hiring push. Regardless, Wells Fargo appears to be back in expansion mode after a year of cuts.

Last year, the bank revealed that it planned to cut as many as 26,500 of its employees over the next few years as the bank works to reorganize itself.

Among those cuts were more than a thousand people in the
company’s mortgage division.

In August 2018, it was reported that the bank was laying off 638 mortgage lending employees in different parts of the country. Earlier that year, the bank announced it was laying off 100 employees at a North Carolina mortgage office, and another 63 mortgage employees at a Maryland office.

And in November 2018, the bank said that it would be eliminating 900 jobs in the company’s home lending division. According to the bank, the cuts were due to “ongoing decreases in the number of customers in default who as well as declines in application volume.”

Of those 900 job cuts, approximately 400 were in Des Moines.

But now, Wells Fargo is hanging a metaphorical “help wanted” sign and hiring again.

Source: HousingWire Magazine

Sallie Mae seeks to fill CARD Act void with student credit cards

In a move to tap into an underserved market opportunity — but with the potential for political backlash — Sallie Mae launched three different cash-back reward credit cards aimed at college students and young adults.
Source: American Banker

Fallout from U.S.-China trade war was top concern at Fed meeting, minutes show

The fallout from the U.S.-China trade war was the overriding concern of Federal Reserve policymakers at the September meeting, according to minutes released Wednesday.

FOMC voting members “remained attentive to a range of global risk factors that could affect the policy rate path, including trade tensions between the United States and China,” the minutes said, one of 28 times trade was cited in the 17-page document. No other issue was mentioned as much.

The policymakers blamed the trade war for the abysmal performance of the manufacturing sector. Earlier this month, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index fell to a 10-year low in September.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal said two-thirds of economic forecasters believe the U.S. is in the middle of a manufacturing recession.

“A persistent drag from trade tariffs pointed toward continued softness in factory output in coming months,” the FOMC minutes said.

Besides trade, the FOMC members were worried many investors seemed to expect more rate cuts than they intended to deliver.

“Several participants suggested that the committee’s post-meeting statement should provide more clarity about when the recalibration of the level of the policy rate in response to trade uncertainty would likely come to an end,” the minutes said.

Several FOMC members said prices in futures markets “were currently suggesting greater provision of accommodation at coming meetings than they saw as appropriate,” according to the minutes.

The FOMC approved a quarter-point rate cut at the September meeting, putting the overnight funds rate in a target range of 1.75% to 2%. That matched the rate cut in its July meeting that was the first since the financial crisis more than a decade earlier.

Source: HousingWire Magazine