Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news across HousingWire's weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
Ginnie Mae may be headed for trouble, big trouble.
According to Bloomberg, the firm, which issues the only mortgage bonds with a government guarantee, does not keep "reliable" records according to a government audit:
"The government-owned corporation failed to verify the value of $6.6 billion in mortgages it holds because contracted servicers didn’t maintain sufficient data, the inspector general said. Ginnie Mae’s statements also contained accounting errors relating to those assets, according to the report. That happened because of under-staffing in the company’s financial office, the inspector general said."
The Inspector General pulled support for both 2013 and 2014 financial documents, as a result. Ginnie issues bonds using collaterol from the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages. But their troubles, according to Bloomberg, are from a different type of mortgage business — mortgage servicing.
"The problems stem from actions outside of that core business: a 2009 takeover of a $25 billion portfolio of government-backed loans serviced by Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., which filed for bankruptcy that year amid the unraveling of a $3 billion scheme involving fake assets."
In June 2011, Lee Farkas, the former chairman of failed mortgage lender and servicer TBW, was sentenced to 30 years in prison and forced to forfeit $38.5 million for orchestrating a $2.9 billion fraud scheme over the last decade.
Here's a list of all the bad things TBW got up to in the mortgage space.
Credit Suisse (CS) is readying for trouble ahead. The Zurich-based banking giant told Reuters on Friday it would put aside more funds for a U.S. probe and other litigation about whether the Swiss bank deceived investors in risky mortgage-backed securities it had issued in the run-up to the financial crisis.
"Developments in industry-wide litigation and investigations in the United States relating to mortgages have resulted in an increase in provisions relating to this issue subsequent to the disclosure of the bank's preliminary 2014 results," Credit Suisse said in a written statement, not saying what specifically triggered this move now.
The firm added $290.66 million to legal reserves. Last week, Morgan Stanley (MS) said it expects to pay $2.6 billion to resolve potential claims stemming from its sale of mortgage bonds before the financial crisis.
The examination of financial crisis-era mortgage abuses is now Credit Suisse's biggest legal worry in the United States. Last year, the Swiss firm pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of assisting U.S. customers avoid taxes, and agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in penalties.
There’s a dog in the fight but it won’t be listed on the New York Stock Exchange just yet. Cerberus Mortgage Capital, a mortgage REIT investing in agency and non-agency RMBS, withdrew its plans for an initial public offering on Friday. They aren’t the first to face this. Sutherland Asset Management postponed its IPO in January and Great Ajax is trading below its offer price.
The New York, NY-based company was formed in 2013 and planned to list on the NYSE.
Speaking of, the tone in the private mortgage bond market was strong this week, as several large lists traded well, according to analysts Ryan Asato, Matthew Carr, and Mao Ding at Bank of American/Merrill Lynch.
“We continue to like down in credit, lower dollar priced non-agency RMBS,” they write, about mortgage bonds that are not issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “We revise our 2015 issuance forecast from $10 billion to $15 billion and have a neutral view on 2.0 RMBS.”
The economy slowed more in the fourth quarter than expected. Fourth-quarter GDP growth was revised down to 2.2.% rather than the initial estimate of 2.6%, largely on a lower estimate for inventory investment.
Monday will give the industry a reading on construction spending in January. Construction spending rebounded 0.4% in December after dipping 0.2% the month before. December's increase was led by public outlays which rebounded 1.1% after dropping 1.8% in November.
Private residential spending rose 0.3% after edging up 0.1% in November. Private nonresidential construction spending eased 0.2% in December after a 0.8% rise the month before.
The other big metric this week revolves around jobs. The early sounding for February will come Wednesday with the ADP and Gallup job creation surveys, with the big report on the employment situation coming from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.
Nonfarm payroll employment showed payroll jobs gains of 257,000 in January after strong increases of 329,000 in December and 423,000 in November. With the revision, November is the strongest month since May 2010. Private payrolls increased 267,000 in January after a 329,000 boost the month before.
The labor force may be tightening a bit as average hourly earnings rebounded 0.5%, following a 0.2% dip in December. January's increase was the largest in about six years.
One bank, the Doral Bank En Espanol in Puerto Rico, failed the week ending Feb. 27, according to the FDIC.