On February 27, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it reached a settlement with French bank Société Générale of an RMBS suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. FHFA alleged violations of federal and state securities law in connection with RMBS purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2006. The settlement agreement contains no admission of liability or wrongdoing. Société Générale and four of its subsidiaries will pay $122 million dollars to the agency. Press Release.
On February 25, FHFA announced that Philip A. Laskawy will step down from the chairmanship of Fannie Mae effective March 31, 2014, and will be succeeded by the current board member Egbert L. J. Perry. Press Release.
On February 14, Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Bank of America’s request to reconsider the court’s earlier order disallowing use of documents produced by plaintiff Federal Housing Finance Agency in a case against Countrywide pending in California. The court found that the parties had obtained sufficient documents to litigate the claims and defenses at issue and that allowing a party to use documents from other litigation in motion practice or at trial would undermine the discovery procedures established by the Court. Order.
On January 8, the FHFA announced that it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to delay the implementation of the increases to the guarantee fees that were originally to be effective in March and April 2014. FHFA Release.
On December 20, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced it had reached a settlement for $1.925 billion with Deutsche Bank AG to resolve claims pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York related to the sale of private-label RMBS between 2005 and 2007. The FHFA asserted claims for violations of federal and state securities laws on the basis of allegedly false and misleading statements and omissions in the registration statements and prospectuses of securities sold to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Press Release.
On December 9, the FHFA, in connection with its fulfillment of the ‘Strategic Plan for Enterprise Conservatorships,’ directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to raise their guarantee fees in three separate components: (i) increase the base (or ongoing) fee by 10 basis points; (ii) update the upfront grid to better align pricing with the credit risk characteristics of the borrower; and (iii) eliminate the upfront 25 basis point adverse market fee except in the four states where foreclosure carrying costs are more than two standard deviations greater than the national average. For loans exchanged for MBS, the price changes will be effective starting April 1, 2014. For loans sold for cash, the price changes will be effective starting March 1, 2014. FHFA Release.
On December 12, the Fed, FDIC, CFPB, FHFA, NCUA and OCC issued a final rule that creates exemptions from certain appraisal requirements for certain higher-priced mortgage loans. The final rule provides that loans of $25,000 or less and certain “streamlined” refinancings are exempt from the Dodd-Frank Act appraisal requirements, which go into effect on January 18, 2014. Joint Release. Joint Final Rule.
On November 26, the FHFA announced that the 2014 maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain at the existing levels in most areas. Press Release.
On December 2, the FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have completed the first major overhaul of mortgage insurance master policy requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with FHFA oversight, addressed gaps in the existing master policy framework, focusing on loss migration, establishing timeframes for claim processing, setting standards for determining when coverage must be maintained or could be revoked, and promoting information sharing. Press Release.