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Thursday, December 18

From John Councilman, NAMB President

Volume 4 News From NAMB.  At the end of each week, NAMB brings you a recap of the top news stories affecting the mortgage industry.  If you’re as busy as I am, you often don’t get a chance to read all of what is happening throughout the week.  News From NAMB will bring you up to speed in a matter of minutes.

If your business would like greater visibility, we are looking for a sponsor for News From NAMB.  It is a great opportunity to reach thousands of clients.  Email John Stevens at jstevens@englending.com if you would like to be a sponsor.

Banks and Wall Street Set to Attack Dodd/Frank
Some called the part of the budget bill just passed that gave banks back derivative swaps “The law that Citi wrote.”  Emboldened by this easy victory, the word is that the big banks and Wall Street will be pushing hard to set aside more of Dodd/Frank.  Perhaps some good things will trickle down to us little guys.  Now, more than ever, is a good time to support NAMB’s legislative efforts to make certain these are trickle downs and not flushes.

CFPB Takes Action on Medical Collections
The CFPB announced that the major consumer reporting agencies will be required to provide regular accuracy reports to the Bureau on how disputes from consumers are being handled.  These reports were in response to a study the CFPB made of medical debt.  The CFPB found that medical debt is different than other debt in that its occurrence is unpredictable and often is covered by insurance that may take time to resolve.  Many consumers do not even know the debt exists.  The majority of medical collections are posted to credit reports by third parties, not the medical service provider.  The CFPB provides staggering statistics such as half of all overdue debt on credit reports is from medical debt.  One out of five credit reports contains overdue medical debt.  15 million consumers have only medical debt on their credit reports.  The CFPB is requiring the repositories to investigate the largest collectors.

CRomnibus Shoots Down FHA HAWK
SEC. 235 of the Cromnibus states “None of the funds made available by thisAct nor any receipts or amounts collected under any Federal Housing Administration program may be used to implement the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) program.”  There is continuing argument whether counseling adds value. It seems NAR thought the counseling was an added expense to buyers.  HUD had been willing to cut FHA premiums in trade for counseling.  With NAR’s mighty PAC, perhaps they can get premiums cut anyhow.  A very good lesson why you donate to your PAC.

No FHA Loans On Eminent Domain Seizures
SEC. 236 of the Cromnibus spending bill just passed, threw a monkey wrench into any plans to use HUD funds to insure or finance eminent domain seizures.   This may make it even more unlikely that any municipality of county will consider taking mortgages under eminent domain.  HUD seemed to get more than its share of attention in the bill.

CBO Says Fannie and Freddie Will Lose Market Share
According to the Congressional Budget Office, more stable economics will cause private capital to re-enter the mortgage market over the next decade.  They project Fannie and Freddie’s share will drop from 60% to 40% by 2024.  They attribute the loss of share to the GSE’s continual raises in guarantee fees as well.  It will be interesting to see what will happen when Ability to Repay exemptions for the GSEs expire in a few years and every loan they make must hit 43% DTI.

Tax Breaks Extended
The Senate cleared the $41.6 billion package of tax breaks on Tuesday.  It will now go to President Obama who is expected to sign it.  The bill extended the tax break for homeowners who were given principal write-downs.

Banks Loosening Underwriting Standards
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said banks loosened underwriting standards for the third year in a row in 2014.  The regulator claims it is a trend mirroring the lax lending just before the financial crisis.  The survey looked at 91 banks and about 94 percent of loans in the federal banking system over the 12-month period that ended June 30.  That was the headline but looking deeper into the study showed that mortgage standards were little changed.

Could Mortgages Be In Bitcoin One Day?
The Conference of State Bank Supervisors' Emerging Payments Task Force released a model for regulating virtual currency such as Bitcoin on the state level. It allows states to decide whether to create programs such as New York's BitLicense.  Another alternative would be to regulate new currencies under existing rules as Texas has done. The model would require names, street addresses and IP addresses of parties in the transaction.  New York has proposed this in their BitLicense but many free thinkers oppose it.

LOs Not Optimistic on 4th Quarter
A survey by Fannie Mae of Senior Loan Officers shows mortgages will be slower in the 4th quarter.  It mirrored a similar survey by the Federal Reserve and MBA research.  The good news is that most expect the 1st quarter of 2015 to be better.  After all, who wants to move during Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Fed Open Market Committee Causes Volatility in Rates
In general, the Federal Reserve thinks things are going very nicely.  Unfortunately, that is not the best news for rates.  Better employment and investment by business are all indicators of an improving economy.  The one dim spot is the housing sector remains slow.  Inflation is running below expectations, mainly because of low oil prices.  The prognosis is not if the Fed will raise rates nut when.  Educated guesses say late spring.  Any sharp change in inflation numbers could drive up rates quickly so the watchword for 2015 is “be careful.”




Monday, December 15

Are you a volunteer? I mean are you a true volunteer? The reason I am asking this question is that I had a true reality check this past week on truly being a volunteer. Not just someone who says that they will help or someone who says, “Call me if you need someone” volunteer. Do you really put yourself out there to be a volunteer? 

I am sure that you all know I am one of the truly many people that volunteer my time and efforts to NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals, and anything that I can do to help, I am there. I have discussed in this column that my father believed you MUST volunteer and pay back some of your life to your profession, and I have really taken this message seriously. I am not patting myself on the back, but you all know my record at NAMB. When the opportunity came to serve my association at the state level, I jumped right in and the feeling I had was great that I could help. Then, the chance to become involved nationally arose, and I jumped in with both feet. And after being NAMB president, I jumped right back in as your CEO.

But this week, I felt that what I have done is miniscule to what my sister had accomplished, and it is not about money, or talking about it. She lived it every day and asked for nothing in return … NOTHING! 

This past week, I had the distinct honor to be the big brother, along with my twin brother Jim, and my baby sister Sandy, as we planned for our sister Carole’s funeral. She was too young at the age of 59, and she was not sick with any sort of bad disease. She had a blood clot that went to her lung. It was an honor, but a real wake-up call. She was a single woman who worked for the City of Dayton Municipal Courts as a bailiff. She was there for 25-plus years. Before that, she worked for Chase Bank in the vault department. She didn’t have a hard job, but she had an important job. Every jury duty letter that went out to the citizens in Dayton, Ohio had her name on it. When people would walk in her door looking for whatever, she helped them. Depending on what some of the judges wanted, she was there. But it is what she did before and after work that really opened my eyes. She was a full-time aunt to five nieces and one nephew. And when these nieces and nephews got married, she jumped into their new lives with both feet as well. As their aunts, Carole and Sandy, rewarded each of these nieces and nephews with a trip to wherever they wanted to go in the United States when they turned 13, it was their gift to them for becoming a teenager. Family was number one on their list. They weren’t always perfect, but they loved being involved. 

So as we were putting together her obituary, I found out that she was the current president of the BEHCC (the local community council in Dayton, Ohio), where she had given service for almost 30 years. She was a member of the Southeast Dayton Priority Board (a county-wide elected position) for 30 years, and an instrumental member of the Belmont Historical Society, which she kept active when they were about to shut down several years ago. She was also a graduate of the City of Dayton Neighborhood Leadership Institute and an active member of the Dayton Dragons Baseball Friends Booster Club. In the past, she also was involved in the Dayton Dynamo Soccer Booster Club. 

Nine years ago, she asked my opinion if a 50-year-old woman should go back to college and get her business degree. I told her it was a matter that she had to feel good about it as it would not be easy. I urged her to do it and reach for the stars. She enrolled and completed her degree from Ohio Dominican College in 2009. Most of her classmates were less than half her age at the time of graduation, but she did it and graduated CUM LAUDE. We were all proud of her. 

In her spare time, she found a love for making rosaries and jewelry, at which she then gave pieces that she made to family and extended family. The pieces that she made were special to each person. She gave my wife a necklace that reflected my love for giraffes and it was perfect. When she had friends who were laid up with medical issues, she went to their home and cooked them food. She was always there if someone needed something. She single-handedly took charge of putting together our large family reunions every other year, and I have to admit, we had a lot of people attend these events from all over the Midwest. She also found time to join a card club with friends. 

She and my sister had season tickets to the Dayton Dragons Baseball Team (the Single A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) and was a member of the Dragons Booster Club. This Booster Club would travel with the team and would make cookies and brownies and such for the players to enjoy while on the road. 

She never asked for anything in return. She was just always there if someone or some organization needed her. She was always available to help … to volunteer her time, to give someone the time of day, and treated everyone as though they were the most important person at that time. But what she got in return for her time was the admiration from everyone. 

On Tuesday night, we started receiving friends at the funeral home. It started at 3:50 p.m. and we had people lined up to meet the family and pay their respects until well after 8:00 p.m. It was a real situation that she cared about people and that people cared about her in return. Every judge who worked at the municipal court came by and made sure that we knew that she was going to be missed and the court would never be the same without her. Members of all the clubs and organizations she belonged to came by and said that they wished that some people would donate just 25 percent of the time she had given them over the years. She was truly the best at volunteering, a trait taken up where my father had left off. She definitely got the message. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that both my brother Jim and my sister Sandy are also involved in a lot of things. It is the “Frommeyer Way.” It is a way of life and we all got it. Carole will always be remembered for that smile and the ability to say, “What can I do to help?” 

The moral of this story is that people and organizations need people to join and volunteer. It can be a lot of time or it can be a little time. But, you have to give to receive and that is what is needed to complete you as a human being. You need to volunteer, especially giving back to your profession, to complete your life. Carole lived her life the way she wanted to and it was a full life. I can tell you that she did not leave a stone unturned. She gave 100 percent to everything and they gave back to her. Yes, she will be missed. But best of all, she will always be remembered for answering to call to help. Carole, I will miss you and all of your friends will miss you. But you have shown us the way, yet again! RORO … Rest in Peace. 

But now is the time for me to ask myself, “How can I help NAMB, again?” Is there anyone out there who wants to join me? 

Until next week!

Donald J. Frommeyer, CRMS, CEO 
NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals 
namb.ceo@namb.org www.joinnamb.com






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