Friday, October 26, 2007

GMAC ResCap Offers Mortgage Relief to Californians Affected by Wildfires

GMAC Press Release

Minneapolis, MN

25 October 2007

About GMAC ResCap:

GMAC ResCap is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services. GMAC Financial Services is a global, diversified financial services company that operates in approximately 40 countries in automotive finance, real estate finance, insurance and commercial finance businesses. GMAC was established in 1919 and currently employs about 31,000 people worldwide.

GMAC ResCap Offers Relief to Southern California Wildfire Victims:

GMAC ResCap will offer mortgage relief counseling, and other assistance to about 330,000 and Homecomings Financial customers that may be affected by the Southern California wildfires within the areas that have been declared federal disaster areas.

"Mobile HOPE":

The company also will dispatch its "Mobile HOPE" operation, a group of specially trained customer service specialists, who will meet face-to-face with customers whose homes have been damaged by the wildfires. This is the first time the Mobile HOPE team has been mobilized since it assisted homeowners affected by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. "We are keenly focused on doing everything possible to make it easier for our customers to get through this tragic situation," said Tony Renzi, executive vice president and head of servicing operations for GMAC ResCap, which services the mortgages of more than 3.4 million customers throughout the United States.


Customers affected by the fires should call the "California Disaster Hotline" at 1-866-262-5363, toll-free, for assistance. The hotline will be maintained 24 hours a day starting today and will be maintained until further notice.

Customer care advocates staffing the hotline, as well as members of the Mobile HOPE team, are prepared to work with each customer and offer assistance such as loan modifications, alternative payment options, and other financial relief, to assist customers affected by the wildfires.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wells Fargo Closes Nonprime Wholesale Lending Division

2007 July 26
Des Moines, Iowa
Press Release
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., said today that it will close its nonprime wholesale lending business, which processes and funds nonprime loans for third-party mortgage brokers.

In 2006, this business represented 1.6 percent of Wells Fargo's total residential mortgage loan volume of $397.6 billion¹. "Wells Fargo will continue to offer non in channels where the company has direct relationships with consumers, including Wells Fargo Home Mortgage's retail channel and Wells Fargo Financial, an affiliate of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A," said Cara Heiden, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage division president.

"The decision to close our nonprime wholesale lending business has no effect on Wells Fargo's robust prime lending business which has long held an industry leading position. We will continue to offer prime loans through all our distribution channels, including wholesale." "For the foreseeable future, we believe continued turmoil in the nonprime sector will result in financial returns for our nonprime wholesale channel that are not commensurate with the risks inherent in this business," Heiden stated.

"As a result, we have chosen to discontinue this channel." As part of this decision, the company will close its nonprime wholesale operations in Baton Rouge, La., and Des Moines, Iowa. In Baton Rouge, where Wells Fargo does not have a significant presence, 170 positions will be affected and the company will work with other companies to identify local opportunities. In addition, team members will be encouraged to seek other positions within Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) which has 168,000 team members across North America and is one of the United States' 25 largest employers.

In metro Des Moines, where Wells Fargo has 11,700 team members, the Company is working to identify positions in other areas of the organization for the 67 affected team members. "An advantage of being part of a national diversified financial services company - with 80-plus businesses - is the ability to manage the ebb and flow of staffing required for each business," Heiden said.

"Retaining talented team members has always been and will continue to be a top priority for our company." Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the nation's No. 1 retail mortgage lender² and servicer³ of home mortgages. As a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., it has local presence in more than 2,400 mortgage stores and branches, plus the capabilities to serve the home financing needs of customers nationwide through its call centers, Internet presence and wholesale lending operations.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage services loans for more than 7.7 million mortgage customers. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the U.S., and one of only two banks worldwide, to have the highest credit rating from both Moody's Investors Service, "Aaa," and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, "AAA."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"It's Your Choice" Campaign Launched by Countrywide Home Loans

Countrywide Home Loans

PR Web Press Release

Calabasas, California

2007 July 23

National survey illustrates homeowners' desire for complete, transparent mortgage and home loan cost options.

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Countrywide Home Loans among 3,435 adults (aged 18 years and older) within the United States between June 13 and 15, 2007, among whom 2,280 were homeowners.

Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 3,435 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for subsamples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., a member of the Countrywide® family - America's #1 home loan lender - (as ranked for 2006 by Inside Mortgage Finance, Feb. 2, 2007, Copyright 2007), originates, purchases, securitizes, sells and services home loans and is the primary subsidiary of Countrywide Financial Corporation (NYSE: CFC).

Countrywide Financial Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides mortgage banking and diversified financial services in domestic and international markets. Founded in 1969 and a member of the S&P 500 and Fortune 500, Countrywide Financial Corporation is headquartered in Calabasas, California and its family of companies has a workforce of more than 50,000 in over 900 offices across the country.

Countrywide Home Loans today unveiled a broad national initiative designed to educate mortgage consumers about the fact that they have many options available to them regarding how certain costs are paid when refinancing or obtaining a home loan, no matter which mortgage lender they choose.

Today, Countrywide is arming its more than 9,000 loan officers and mortgage sales force with new and improved tools, such as specialized mortgage cost calculators, that will allow them to thoroughly and transparently show customers cost-effective choices for structuring their home loan packages.

To understand how strongly consumers feel about the issue of choice versus a one-size-fits-all mortgage, Countrywide commissioned a national survey of more than 2,280 homeowners.

The results show that the majority of respondents (76%) strongly agreed that they wanted to be informed by about as many closing cost choices as possible in order to arrive at a decision best suited to their individual circumstances.

Other findings include:

Of those surveyed, 69 percent strongly agreed that they are more likely to trust a mortgage lender who is open and honest about the many options available to them given their individual situation.

When U.S. homeowners were asked their level of agreement with the notion that the way in which closing costs are paid should be tailored to the individual based on the borrower's unique set of circumstances: 87 percent strongly agreed or somewhat agreed.

Nine out of 10 U.S. homeowners agree that there is really no such thing as a mortgage without fees.

Three of five U.S. homeowners (61%) indicated strong agreement with the idea that "one size fits all" mortgages aren't necessarily the best option for everyone.

"People clearly understand that there will be costs when they finance a home," said Dan Hanson, managing director of Countrywide. "Home buyers look to us for information, so we've decided to recommit ourselves to educating people about the cost options that work best for their unique situations.

By presenting our customers with a menu of options, they can make an informed choice that's right for them now and into the future. And, the best choice in the long run isn't necessarily the one with the least out-of-pocket costs, but rather the one that brings the best total value over the life of the loan." According to Hanson, one size most definitely doesn't fit all. The right home loan choice can be radically different from one buyer to the next.

For example, a young couple with a growing family has tremendously different financial circumstances than a couple buying a home for retirement. As part of the It's Your Choice campaign, Countrywide will advise customers about their mortgage cost options, including choices such as...

No money needed for closing costs: A mortgage lender can pay your closing costs. In this scenario, the lender does not require cash from the borrower to pay fees at the closing table. Instead, the home buyer obtains a loan with a slightly higher interest rate.

It can be a smart move for buyers who have little money set aside or who plan to be in a home for a short time because their savings in closing costs can often more than offset their increased interest expense.

Reap the rewards of lower interest when you pay closing costs upfront: Buyers who pay loan costs at closing are rewarded with a lower interest rate on their mortgage.

A customer who is planning on staying in their home for more than a few years may see the benefit of selecting to pay the costs at closing and having a lower interest rate to help them save over the long term.

Minimize your mortgage interest rate: Some homeowners may benefit from paying loan discount points to lower their interest rate. By paying loan discount points, buyers can "buy down" their mortgage interest rate, a particularly attractive option if the buyer intends to retain the mortgage for more than five years.

Mix it up: A combination of a first mortgage and a second mortgage is yet another choice. This option allows many homeowners to avoid private mortgage insurance and enables them to pay down the second mortgage separately. If the second mortgage is a home equity line of credit, borrowers may reuse the available credit in their line as they pay it down.

No monthly mortgage insurance payments: In most instances, private mortgage insurance is required when a borrower is unable to make a down payment of 20 percent or more. There are different types of mortgage insurance available to borrowers.

A borrower may accept a slightly higher interest rate or pay additional points at closing to avoid paying monthly premiums.

All of these options may have some tax advantages, so borrowers are encouraged to consult their tax advisor to learn if they qualify for a tax deduction and the different rules that apply to purchase and refinance transactions.

These are just a few of the many scenarios that can suit a homebuyer's very unique situation. "Some of these options can be combined to make the final result a thoroughly customized solution, a far cry from the one-size-fits-all approach," said Hanson.

As with any financial decision, home buyers and owners should carefully evaluate their options and fully understand the advantages and disadvantages before making a choice.

"Our new It's Your Choice initiative further distinguishes Countrywide when it comes to home loans," said Hanson. "People know they have choices, so our job is to make sure we put them all on the table and share our 37 years of home loan expertise with the customers who trust us every day."

About Harris Interactive: Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance.

Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online.

Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Primary Mortgage Market Survey Released by Freddie Mac

McLean, Virginia

July 5, 2007

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.63 percent with an average 0.4 point for the week ending July 3, 2007, down from last week when it averaged 6.67 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.79 percent. The 15-year FRM this week averaged 6.30 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 6.34 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.44 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.29 percent this week, with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 6.30 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 6.39 percent. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.71 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.65 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.83 percent. (Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.)

"Long-term mortgage rates continued to move lower for a third consecutive week, in part reflecting a moderation in core inflation," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist."

"In the statement accompanying their decision to leave the target federal funds rate unchanged, the Fed noted that core inflation had declined recently, though a 'sustained' moderation is still to be seen, and signaled that inflation risk continues to figure prominently in their policy decisions." "Helping to ease some inflation concerns, May's personal consumption expenditures report found that the core price measure had increased 1.9 percent for the year ending in May, within the 1 percent to 2 percent range with which the Fed is comfortable, and the lowest year-over-year rise in more than 3 years."

Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned company established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac fulfills its mission by purchasing residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage-related securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than four million renters in America.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

73rd Anniversary of FHA

27 June 2007
HUD Press Release

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) celebrated the 73rd anniversary of its Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today at HUD Headquarters.

HUD Deputy Secretary Roy Bernardi joined Assistant Secretary for Housing-FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery to discuss FHA Modernization, the importance of providing housing counseling programs to prospective homebuyers, and the need for Congress to pass legislation to let FHA make the American Dream a reality for more families. "FHA has given millions of families the opportunity to pursue the dream of homeownership," said Deputy Secretary Bernardi.

"Our goal is to continue our education and outreach efforts while also retooling and refining FHA to insure safer mortgages that will keep the dream alive for the next generation of homebuyers. "This is an historic occasion," said FHA Commissioner Brian D. Montgomery. "In the 73 years since its creation, FHA has been able to help over 34 million families achieve the dream of . It is fitting that FHA's birthday takes place in the month we set aside every year to promote homeownership in this country."

Since its inception in 1934, FHA has helped more than 34 million people become homeowners, making it the largest insurer of mortgages in the world. The 109th Congress introduced the Expanding American Homeownership Act in June 2006.

This legislation would enable FHA to be an option for more underserved low- and moderate-income families so they can achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Once enacted, the reform legislation would create a new risk-based insurance premium structure, eliminate the current three percent minimum downpayment, and increase FHA's loan limits. "FHA, despite all its success, does need to adapt to today's marketplace," said Montgomery. "We strongly support legislation that would modernize FHA and enable it to offer many Americans a variety of homeownership options that are safe and fairly priced."

Vendors and numerous representatives from the housing industry participated in the event. Games, music, and food were available for visitors, as well as opportunities to tour the Healthy Homes pavilion. "Although June is National Homeownership Month, people can learn about the homebuying process throughout the year by contacting a HUD approved housing counseling agency," explained Bernardi. There are 2,300 HUD-approved housing counseling programs around the country that help potential and current homeowners learn about safe loans products available through the FHA's mortgage insurance programs and other responsible lenders.

FHA's mortgage loans have helped nearly 50,000 people stay in their home and avoid foreclosure this year.