It did not take long after the Silicon Valley Bank failure for politicians in Washington to rush to the next available microphone and lament the “loosening of bank regulations”. Instinctively the finger pointing began, and in many quarters ended up in the direction of the prior administration’s policy to generally roll back stringent business regulations and allow free market decisions to govern various industries. Chief among the complainants (no pun intended) was Sen Elizabeth Warren, who emerged out of the 2008 crisis as an architect and advocate for the Wall Street Reform Act and the creation of the vaunted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ( CFPB), which she briefly directed. Just yesterday in DC’s The Hill publication, Sen Warren was reported as blaming the the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on Republicans in Congress, which in 2018 helped pass a law to ease bank regulations put in place following the 2008 financial crisis. “No one should be mistaken about what unfolded over the past few days in the U.S. banking system: These recent bank failures are the direct result of leaders in Washington weakening the financial rules,” Warren is quoted as saying. According to The Hill piece, Warren, who voted against the 2018 bank deregulation bill, said that the crises would have been avoided if the banks were required to hold more liquid assets because the bill exempted banks with less than $250 billion in assets from rigorous Fed stress tests. Warren and other Democrats say the old rules could have caught the issues at SVB sooner. Given that politicians generally “never let a crisis go to waste,” many now suspect that the banking industry is about to be slammed with heightened regulatory scrutiny, tighter operational rules, more audits and exams, and larger and very public fines, penalties and consent orders. What does this mean for independent mortgage bankers (IMBs)? It means that they have to get back to the compliance mindset they were frightened into adopting between 2008 and 2018, and before the bottoming out of interest rates led everyone to believe that easy money was here to stay and that self-regulation meant hiring more loan officers. Keep those risk management officers and compliance directors close by folks, we are all in for a bumpy ride on the regulatory
Lending in New York? Purchase money business always carries closing fraud risk, however New York business tends to be riskier for many lenders. The state has high average loan amounts, features instrument recording procedures that delay evidence of mortgage and deed recordings for long periods of time following the closing, and there is no CPL (closing protection letter) in the state. Lenders doing business in New York should be pleased business is on the uptick, however if they do not have a closing table fraud prevention tool in their arsenal they may be facing more risk of potential losses due to fraud.
The NYSAR report released today stated in part:
“With 46,883 new listings and 29,100 pending sales across the Empire State in the first quarter, the real estate market is trending upwards, according to the housing market report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®. New listings were up 4.1 percent from the first quarter of 2018 while pending sales rose 0.8 percent.
Median sales prices were also up in a quarter-over-quarter analysis, rising 6.8 percent to $275,000. The average home sales price increased 1.5 percent as well to $360,526.
While closed sales declined from the first quarter of 2018, dropping 6.2 percent to 24,405 homes, other factors are allowing potential home buyers to remain optimistic. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate has steadily decreased since the beginning of 2019, falling to 4.27 percent, its lowest rate since January 2018.
With the typically strong spring season just around the corner, inventory continues to rise, increasing 3.4 percent to 63,504 homes for sale across the state. The month’s supply of homes for sale was up 5.6 percent in year over year comparisons to 5.7 month’s supply. A 6-month to 6.5-month supply is considered to be a balanced market.”