Wells Fargo hoped it would help it avoid a very costly sit-down with Preet Bharara, but a federal appeals panel didn’t buy the “we’re just an old-timey stagecoach company that didn’t know we were saddling the government with the bill for all of the bad loans we were making, and oh yea didn’t we already settle this thing already?” argument. Expect another “Bank X To Pay $Y Billion To Settle Mortgage Claims” headline between now and early next year. Read more »
Wells Fargo Managed To Sell Bad Mortgages Without Sending Embarrassing Obscenity-Filled Emails About ItBy Matt Levine
Ooh so Wells Fargo screwed the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars of mortgage insurance by fraudulent underwriting, allegedly. We’ve all heard big-bank mortgage fraud stories by now and they’re usually pretty juicy and smoking-gun-tastic: “shit breathers,” etc. And the government claims that WFC submitted somewhere between 6,000 and 50,000 bad loans, while specifically describing a dozen or so in the complaint, presumably cherry-picked for maximum offensiveness. Let’s look at one:
92. FHA case number 352-4948464 relates to a property on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Newark, NJ (the “King Blvd. Property”). Wells Fargo underwrote the mortgage for the King Blvd. Property, reviewed and approved it for FHA insurance, and certified that a DE underwriter had conducted the required due diligence on the loan application and that the loan was eligible for HUD mortgage insurance. The mortgage closed on or about July 23, 2003.
93. Contrary to Wells Fargo’s certification, Wells Fargo did not comply with HUD rules in reviewing and approving this loan for FHA insurance, and did not exercise due diligence in underwriting the mortgage. Instead, Wells Fargo violated multiple HUD rules, including HUD Handbook 4155.1 ¶¶ 2-3 and 3-1, HUD Handbook 4000.4 ¶ 2-4(c)(5), and Mortgagee Letters 1992-5 and 2001-01.
94. Wells Fargo’s violation of HUD Handbook 4155.1 ¶ 2-3 is illustrative of the multiple rules that Wells Fargo violated in approving the King Blvd. Property. HUD underwriting guidelines state that lenders must analyze a mortgage applicant’s credit and determine the creditworthiness of the applicant. Specifically, lenders must verify and analyze the borrower’s payment history of housing obligations, and obtain written explanations from the borrower of past derogatory credit. HUD Handbook 4155.1 ¶ 2-3. Contrary to this clear requirement, Wells Fargo failed to verify the borrower’s history of housing obligations or obtain explanations from the borrower for past derogatory credit. In violating HUD Handbook 4155.1 ¶ 2-3, Wells Fargo endorsed the King Blvd. Property for FHA insurance without sufficiently analyzing the borrower’s creditworthiness.
Gosh! Failure to verify history of housing obligations! Unobtained explanations for past derogatory credit! INSUFFICIENT ANALYSIS!
What? Read more »
If the mortgage market blows up again, the FHA told you so. Faced with record high demand for government backed home loans, the FHA is concerned that it can’t properly handle the additional volume and is going to get picked off.
“FHA will be challenged to handle its expanded workload or new programs that require the agency to take on riskier loans than it historically has had in its portfolio,” Kenneth Donohue, the inspector general for the Housing and Urban Development Department, told lawmakers today. “The surge in FHA loans is likely to overtax the oversight resources of FHA, making careful and comprehensive lender monitoring difficult.”
Evidently saying ‘no’ to loans that appear suspect is not a viable option.
Demand for FHA Loans Is Overtaxing Agency, HUD Official Says [Bloomberg]