Response to David H Stevens, Dept. of HUD

Mortgage and Lending with Private Venture Capital

Thank you for being accessible and your service. I hope you take my comments in the spirit they are intended. First off I sincerely believe there is a huge disconnect. HUD is running around making changes that do not impact the consumer positively and in fact doing harm.

The revised Good Faith Estimate is the first item. Explain to me what the problem was with the previous format. To me the purpose of this "improved" document is to regulate how much a mortgage professional can make (nothing to do with consumerism) even though every other profession in the world including the medical community do not have to show how much they make on each transaction. No other industry is required to itemize with precision or within tolerances the exact costs etc. The consumer should take some responsibility to shop as they do with everything else that is consumed and HUD it seems is trying to 'protect' the consumer in a manner that is not possible, ackward but also ineffective and for sure confusing to everyone including HUD itself.

The notion that a document as it is designed will safeguard the consumer from bad behavior or their own stupidity is baffling to me. This document should be scrapped and I sincerely believe you instinctively know this. Humility is not a bad thing in fact it is a sign of character and integrity. I ask HUD to exercise it.

Oversight has been the problem and continues to be the problem and unfortunately all the agencies have dropped the ball including congress (obviously). HUD should be focused on policy to bring the real estate market back to include programs that really do assist the struggling home buyer not these ineffectual non-solution solution programs that continue to be pitched across America only to fall on their face as evidenced by the increasing foreclosure rate.

"Reduce allowable seller concessions from 6% to 3%....o   The current level exposes the FHA to excess risk by creating incentives to inflate appraised value.  This change will bring FHA into conformity with industry standards on seller concessions."

The above change at least is consistent with the other changes in that it is meaningless and in fact it harms or is yet another nail in the coffin of what is a very dead and more bad news to come real estate market. Where is the magic with the number of 3% vs. 6%? No magic.

This policy is based on a false premise that was first offered up by New York Attorney General Cuomo and that is the appraiser is the problem here and the result of such bizarre analysis is the gutting of an entire sector - banks and "AMC's" coming in gutting the modest fee the appraiser receives in the name of making sure the report has integrity and accuracy. The AMC's are vultures in an economy that is in peril. Since HUD likes disclosures so much you could add a form for the borrower, appraiser, realtor and lender to sign that simply says he was not influenced by anyone. There...we all are covered ...kind of like the lead paint notice if you will.

My point to the appraisal issue is in today's market as it had been up until the year 2000 (before the repeal of the Glass Steagall act of 1933)appraisals were and are underwritten by underwriters so any report that has irregularities can be picked up by an underwriter...that is their job. 2nd, all the major lenders have an automated system they run the appraisal through with the sole purpose to dumb down a reports value even though the data they glean from electronic sources may be flawed which is why we have an appraiser in the field in the first place. This secondary check is a direct result of the nonsense created by Cuomo and friends as a defensive move for cover in case Barney Frank & friends decide to offer up punitive ridiculous regulation or penalties.

 How can you inflate an appraisal in a declining market anyway? I suppose the next thing you will do is decide to increase the down payment. From the beginning of time the folks with the gold wanted to lend only to those that could pay back the loan. For the folks that put 30% down three years ago and since lost their jobs sure wish they had the cash in the bank now wouldn't you agree? So down payment is not the issue here which is why HUD should BRING BACK THE DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM!!! For heaven sakes... a cost neutral incentive and yes the appraiser will have to do their job ... they can do it...!!!

I am not a fan of HUD right now and the less tinkering the better. Please re-consider the approach. Take a step back and bring in some mortgage professionals. We can help and we are not the enemy even though we are made out to be.

I have been doing this for 25 years and I have been successful because my clients have been treated fairly and that is why they continue to come back. The mortgage professional has developed systems and education for the consumer over the past 25 years that the banks never considered offering or delivering yet the regulation favors the banks. And Mortgage Brokers are being wiped out and the Mortgage Banker is next because there is no way to make a living the way things are going so what's left are the banks just like it was 30 years ago. Higher costs (terrific profits - undisclosed of course) and it will take months to close. I REMEMBER, I WAS THERE, I WORKED FOR A BANK.

You buy a loaf of bread at a store that has to tell you how much they make on the bread yet the other store sells the same bread at the same price and doesn't have to disclose what they make and on top of it points to the other store to note how much they are making .... the result is the consumer is then wondering if they are taken advantage of because the profit is disclosed? Why do the banks get a pass on this?

Increasing the upfront MIP back to 2.25% is the smart thing to do and should have been done years ago so not all is bad or wrong and I do believe we both want the same thing however HUD must revisit the approach....we the people beg you to do so!

That's all I have for now. Thanks for listening. I wish us all well.

Comments (1)

John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Kirk, thank you for sharing an informative and helpful post.

John Pusa

Jan 26, 2010 04:38 AM