Ben Lane

Ben Lane

Ben Lane is the Senior Financial Reporter for HousingWire. In this role, he helps set a leading pace for news coverage spanning the issues driving the U.S. housing economy. Previously, he worked for TownSquareBuzz, a hyper-local news service. He is a graduate of University of North Texas.


NCUA reveals it paid $1 billion to lawyers in fight to recover credit union crisis losses

Total settlement agreements top $4.3 billion
In 2013, the National Credit Union Administration filed suit against some of the world’s biggest banks over the sale of nearly $2.4 billion in faulty residential mortgage-backed securities to several corporate credit unions, which subsequently failed during the financial crisis, due in part to losses from those very same mortgage bonds. The total amount recovered for the failed credit unions in those settlements is more than $4 billion, but for the first time, the NCUA revealed just how much it cost to reach those settlements.
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DOJ planning to sue Moody's over crisis-era mortgage bond ratings

Ratings agency discloses looming lawsuit from government
In the fallout from the financial crisis, many argued that the credit ratings agencies’ competition for business led to ratings shopping among bond issuers and relaxed ratings standards for the ratings agencies themselves. Last year, Standard & Poor's reached a $1.375 billion settlement over just such claims. And now the Department of Justice is taking aim at Moody's Investors Service.
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Bank of America doubles down on 3% down mortgages without insurance

Expands "Affordable Loan Solution" for low- and moderate-income homebuyers
Earlier this year, Bank of America, in partnership with Freddie Mac and Self-Help Ventures Fund, began offering mortgages that only required consumers to put down 3% and did not require the consumers to obtain mortgage insurance either. Bank of America said Thursday that the "Affordable Loan Solution" program is proving so successful in its first few months that the bank is doubling its annual commitment to the program – from $500 million to $1 billion.
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Freddie Mac: Mortgage market soaring in 2016, will fall back in 2017

Time to get while the getting's good
Freddie Mac continues to believe that mortgage lending is on track for a big year this year, but now expects the market to tap the brakes in 2017. But it won’t be purchase mortgage originations that will drag down 2017’s origination total, as purchase and home improvement mortgage activity is actually expected to rise next year. According to the Freddie Mac report, next year’s drop will be driven by a significant decline in refinances.
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Game changer: California investigating Wells Fargo for identity theft

Could lead to charges against former employees who opened fake accounts
A group of senators is already asking the Department of Justice to use a new policy to target individuals at Wells Fargo for corporate misconduct (and maybe even more) in the wake of the fake account scandal surrounding the bank. But the state of California is making a move that could lead to a whole new world of hurt for Wells Fargo, its current and former executives, and the 5,000 former employees who opened the fake accounts.
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First American Mortgage Trust to pay $1 million for FHA lending violations accused of knowingly submitting false claims for FHA insurance
First American Mortgage Trust, which does business as, and the company’s CEO will pay slightly more than $1 million to settle charges brought by the Department of Justice, which accused the lender of submitting false claims on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
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HUD watchdog: Servicer foreclosure delays cost FHA $2.23 billion

Report finds FHA overpaid servicers due to foreclosure, conveyance delays
A new report from a government watchdog shows that mortgage servicers’ delays in foreclosing on properties and subsequent delays in the conveyance of those properties to the Federal Housing Administration cost the FHA as much as $2.23 billion in unnecessary payouts.
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When it rains, it pours: Wells Fargo loses Better Business Bureau accreditation

More bad news for megabank
Well, it’s a day that ends in “y,” and right now that means there’s more trouble for Wells Fargo. In the last few weeks, the megabank lost its CEO, and lost business from the state of Ohio, the city of Chicago, the state of California, the state of Oregon and maybe the city of San Francisco too – all as fallout from the bank’s fake account scandal. And there’s something else that Wells Fargo apparently lost recently, its accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.
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Mortgage Contracting Services announces acquisition of Lenders Title Solutions

Latest in string of acquisitions for growing company
Mortgage Contracting Services, which provides property preservation services, inspections, REO property maintenance and valuations for the financial services industry, announced Tuesday that it is expanding again. Earlier this year, MCS acquired EPIC Real Estate Solutions, and now MCS is adding Lenders Title Solutions into the fold.
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EXCLUSIVE: Caliber Home Loans sued by Chronos Solutions over nearly $3 million in unpaid bills

Caliber, Lone Star Funds accused of not paying expenses on foreclosures
The New York Department of Financial Services is already reportedly looking into how Caliber Home Loans and its parent company, Lone Star Funds, after receiving complaints from consumers about how the companies handle foreclosures. But now, the companies have another fight on their hands over their foreclosure practices, and it comes from an unlikely source – one of their own vendors.
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