Loan originator licensing rules are about to change: Here’s what you need to know | 2019-04-09 | HousingWire

It’s about to get much easier for mortgage loan originators to switch jobs and continue originating mortgages without any license-related delays.

Under the current rules of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act, an LO who moves between states or from a bank to a nonbank is required to wait for a new license before they can begin originating at their new job.

But after a years-long push from the mortgage industry, those rules are about to change.

Later this year, new LO licensing rules will take effect that will allow originators to move from a bank to a nonbank or to a new state and keep originating new mortgages without having to wait for a new license.

The changes to the LO licensing rules were part of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law last year.

In addition to rolling back many Dodd-Frank Act regulations, the bill also included changes to the LO rules, which the mortgage industry has lobbied several years for.

Beginning Nov. 24, 2019, LOs who change corporate affiliation from a federally insured institution to a nonbank lender, or move across state lines, will be granted “transitional authority” that will allow them originate mortgages while they work to meet the SAFE Act’s licensing and testing requirements.

LOs will then have 120 days to complete the SAFE Act licensing requirements.

As with these types of regulations, the rules are much more complicated than that, but luckily the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry recently published an “FAQ” that provides answers to many relevant questions about the new rules.

For example: Who is eligible for the temporary licensing authority?

The answer: LOs must be: 1) employed and sponsored through NMLS by a state-licensed mortgage company, and 2) either: A. registered in NMLS as an MLO during the one year preceding the application submission; or B. licensed as an MLO during the 30-day period preceding the date of application.

Compliance provider MQMR also recently published a bulletin on the matter, which sheds additional light on the new LO rules.

From MQMR’s bulletin, which references the NMLS FAQ:

Importantly, the FAQs explain that a MLO will not have to submit a separate application for temporary authority. Rather, an MLO applies for a MLO license through NMLS and, if eligible, will automatically receive temporary authority as the applicable state processes the license application. NMLS will be programmed to check certain eligibility requirements, such as criminal history and whether an applicant has had an MLO license application denied, revoked, or suspended. Before a licensing decision is made by the applicable state, an individual with temporary authority will show as being “authorized to conduct business” in the state – the actual license status will not be updated until the state makes a decision with regard to the license application.

An individual with temporary authority may originate loans as if he/she possesses a license in that state. The individual and the loans originated by that individual will be subject to the same rules and regulations as applicable to a licensed MLO.

One important piece of these new rules to note is that lenders “must monitor” the status of their LOs’ licensing status and temporary authority to originate. If an LO’s application is denied, the lender “must reassign any active loans in the pipeline originated by that MLO to a licensed MLO in that state.”

Additionally, if the lender “knew or should have known” of a “disqualifying event” that would cause the LO’s application to be denied, the lender may face enforcement action from their state.

For the full FAQ on the new LO licensing rules from the NMLS, click here.

Source: Loan originator licensing rules are about to change: Here’s what you need to know | 2019-04-09 | HousingWire

Can Americans travel to Cuba? Yes, but it’s complicated. – The Washington Post

For Americans traveling to Cuba, the future looks less like jaunts to the Ernest Hemingway estate and cigar factories and more like visits to community youth programs and quality time with artisans who make cigar humidors. As a result of tighter restrictions on how Americans are allowed to spend their time in Cuba, meaningful, supportive interaction with locals is imperative.

After the Trump administration’s latest crackdown on travel to the island nation last month, tour companies are consulting lawyers, poring over scant federal guidance and tweaking their offerings to provide legal trips that can still appeal to a wide swath of U.S. citizens.

The new rules, announced June 4, eliminated the two most popular ways for Americans to get to Cuba since President Barack Obama eased restrictions in 2016: cruises and “people-to-people” group tours that merely required interaction with locals.

Americans can legally visit Cuba only under approved categories, and the bulk of those — including family visits, educational purposes, professional conferences and athletic competitions — come with detailed requirements. With people-to-people trips now off the table, that leaves one, all-purpose category: “support for the Cuban people.”

That leaves some big questions for travelers: What makes a trip supportive? What is off-limits? And what’s the best way to get there?

“It’s been confusing, to say the least,” says Gus Maxwell, head of the Cuba practice at the law firm Akerman. “You have seen the elimination of a category overnight.”

The answers are tied up in a tangle of federal regulations that aren’t always clear, even to experts. And not every company is making the same changes as they adapt to the new category.

Commercial flights are still allowed, and people can either travel independently or with an organized group. But visitors must comply with the somewhat murky requirements set out by the Treasury Department, keep careful track of their activities and hold onto their records for five years.

Anyone who booked a people-to-people trip before the new changes went into effect can still travel under that category, though cruises ended immediately. Pure tourism (such as a beach vacation) is prohibited, as it has been for decades.

Staying at a private home and eating at privately owned restaurants go some (but not all) of the way to meeting the latest requirements, and in some cases, staying at a hotel would be allowed. No one is permitted to stay, shop or do business with companies on the government’s list of restricted entities — which includes many hotels — that are affiliated with the Cuban military. Tour companies are familiar with which hotels, restaurants and stores keep U.S. tourists within the guidelines.

According to federal authorities — specifically, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control — individuals and organizations can travel under the support-for-the-Cuban-people category. To stick to the rules, they must have a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with locals, support civil society in Cuba, result in meaningful interaction with residents or promote independence from Cuban authorities.

The department lays out some scenarios that would fall within the law: staying in a room at a private home while engaging with the host; eating at privately owned restaurants; shopping at private stores run by locals; and supporting entrepreneurs who are launching their own businesses.

Under another example, a group of people volunteering with a nongovernmental organization to build a school for local children would also be compliant. They would even be fine to rent bikes to explore and visit an art museum in their downtime.

The government also provided an example of what is not allowed: staying at a hotel and renting a bike to explore neighborhoods and beaches with brief exchanges with beach vendors. “None of these activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba,” the regulations say.

“It’s not really like it’s purely black-and-white; there’s a lot of gray,” says James Williams, president of the advocacy coalition Engage Cuba. “I think you have to err on the side of caution.”

Collin Laverty, founder of Cuba Educational Travel, said the category of “support” is similar to the old people-to-people one but goes further than just visiting and interacting with people on the ground.

“You have to kind of prove how you’re helping them and supporting them,” he says. “So there’s … more of a ‘doing’ component and a little bit more of a deliverable.”

His company offered several categories of travel before the latest changes were announced but is now tweaking itineraries that fell under the people-to-people category to meet the new requirement.

He said that under a people-to-people trip, a group might have gone to a dance school and watched a performance and done a walking tour with an architect. Under the new requirements, they might bring donations for the dance school or artist, have conversations about how they could improve their operations and connect them with U.S. resources. Instead of just an architecture tour, visitors might go to private homes, hear from families about their living conditions and offer donations.

“Not everyone wants to go and do a volunteer vacation,” Laverty says. “It’s kind of like trying to figure out how to support people without making it overbearing — and having fun.”

Tom Popper, president of InsightCuba, said his company operated the bulk of its tours under the people-to-people category but has adjusted activities to comply with the updated rules. He said about 15 to 20 percent of the programming has been changed.

Instead of going to cigar factories, Popper said, the company will bring travelers to meet with craftspeople who make humidors. Rather than going to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, groups will visit an artists’ studio cooperative that has a focus on promoting art by vulnerable social groups.

Although, Popper said, some tour operators might still find ways to include famous spots such as Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s house, InsightCuba will leave it off the schedule, along with the Che Guevara memorial and famous cemeteries. Instead, the company will facilitate private meetings with university students and young entrepreneurs, a visit to an organic farm and restaurant that provides programs for youths and time with a community ballet company.

“We took out anything that, under the new rules, might be questionable and just found a superior replacement,” he says.

Even some companies that didn’t have to change much of their programming are scrambling.

“The biggest effect is in the minds of the U.S. traveler,” says David Lee, founder of Cultural Cuba, which provided custom trips under the “support for the Cuban people” category. “I read articles where ‘ban on travel to Cuba’ was the headline. Some people don’t even read past headlines. That sounds like ‘Well, Cuba’s done, can’t go to Cuba anymore.’”

What followed has been, as Lee put it, “a period of reeducation” — another one, after the Trump administration clamped down on travel in 2017.

The immediate ban of cruise ships last month has resulted in far fewer travelers on the ground in Cuba; according to Cruise Lines International Association, the sudden change hit nearly 800,000 bookings that were scheduled or underway at the time.

But business isn’t necessarily drying up for tour companies. After the administration warned in April that it was putting more travel restrictions into effect, some travelers were motivated to make plans right away.

“That was when people who had Cuba on their list were, like, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to book it right now, I’m grandfathered in,’” Lee says. “That created a really big rush.”

Laverty said a number of cruise travelers who had signed up for private excursions with the company have now booked land vacations after their cruises had to lose the Cuba stop.

Popper believes that while the overall market for American travel to Cuba will shrink without cruises, tour operators will get some of the business from those who would have otherwise taken a cruise.

And, he says, there is still a silver lining: “Amidst all of these different changes and negative headlines really since June of 2017, the good news is, any American can still legally travel to Cuba, and it’s still easier than it was back in 2014.”

Source: Can Americans travel to Cuba? Yes, but it’s complicated. – The Washington Post

A Russian Navy Warship Is Visiting Havana

A Russian Navy task force has docked at Havana, Cuba on a goodwill stay that sends a pointed message to the United States. The guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov, accompanied by an entourage of support ships, pulled into Havana earlier this week. The voyage is meant to project Russian strength, but that quickly fades when the circumstances of the frigate visit are examined closely.

The Admiral Gorshkov pulled into Havana on Monday, the latest stop on a ‘round-the-world tour that kicked off on February 26 in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to U.S. Naval Institute News, Gorshkov is the lead ship in a four-ship formation that includes the multifunctional logistics vessel Elbrus, the medium sea tanker Kama, and the rescue tug Nikolai Chiker.

The Russian task force has already visited Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and China, and made a stop in Ecuador before passing through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean. This is the first significant voyage for Admiral Gorshkov, which entered Russian Navy service in 2018.

Admiral Gorshkov is 426 feet long and displaces approximately 4,500 tons. The frigate is armed with one 130-millimeter A-192M Armat naval gun, eight SS-NX-26 Yakhont anti-ship missiles, and the Hurricane surface-to-air missile system. According to reports, the ship is also equipped with BrahMos anti-ship missiles.
Developed by India and Russia and named after the Brahmaputra and Moscow rivers, BrahMos is a ramjet-powered anti-ship missile with a 600-pound high explosive warhead. BrahMos is perhaps the fastest anti-ship missile in existence, capable of zipping over the wave tops at Mach 3 (2,300 miles an hour.)

The Russian government uses fleet visits such as these to show support for its allies—or former allies—abroad. The Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, for example, has made two voyages to Syria. While the prospect of a Russian warship visiting Havana—only 227 miles from downtown Miami—seems unusual, it really isn’t. U.S. warships regularly sail near Russian territory, particularly in the Black Sea, and this is just Russia returning the favor.

Under closer scrutiny, the trip hardly looks threatening. Gorshkov may be a new ship, but it’s a poster child for everything wrong with the Russian military. Construction began in 2006 and was only completed in 2018, meaning it took 12 years to complete. Frigate-sized ships typically take only two to three years to complete. Here’s the ship during the 2018 commissioning ceremony.

Like much of the Russian military, Gorshkov experienced repeated setbacks with funding and technical problems. The fact that Gorshkov is a new ship but traveling with a rescue tug says Russia is not confident in the ship’s mechanical reliability, nor in the willingness of local authorities to allow a broken-down Russian warship to dock locally.

Finally, although just 4,500 tons—less than half that of a modern U.S. destroyer—Gorshkov is the largest surface ship built in Russia in nearly 20 years. The U.S. Navy has received nearly three dozen ships during the same time period; Arleigh Burke- and Zumwalt-class destroyers, for example, are two to three times larger than Gorshkov by displacement.

USS Jason Dunham destroyer visits Gdynia port, Poland
USS Jason Dunham visiting Gdynia, Poland, 2015.
NURPHOTOGETTY IMAGES
According to USNI News, the U.S. Navy is keeping tabs on the Russian task force. The guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham is shadowing the four Russian ships from a distance. U.S. Northern Command, also known as NORTHCOM, told USNI News, “We are aware of the deployment of the Russian ship Gorshkov and are taking steps to actively track it. We won’t discuss all measures being taken, but NORAD is conducting air operations in defense of the U.S. and Canada and USNORTHCOM has deployed maritime assets to track Gorshkov.”

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a28197756/russian-navy-warship-visiting-havana/

Fox Business: Treasury Plan for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac near complete

Fox Business: Treasury Plan for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac near complete.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/financials/treasury-plan-for-fannie-and-freddie-nearly-complete-said-to-be-issued-after-labor

Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan Decreases Holdings in NMI Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:NMIH) – Mayfield Recorder

Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan cut its stake in shares of NMI Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:NMIH) by 72.7% in the second quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 19,870 shares of the financial services provider’s stock after selling 52,850 shares during the period. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan’s holdings in NMI were worth $564,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. FMR LLC increased its stake in shares of NMI by 44.8% in the 1st quarter. FMR LLC now owns 2,501,047 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $64,702,000 after purchasing an additional 773,781 shares in the last quarter. Ellis Investment Partners LLC boosted its holdings in NMI by 2,203.8% in the 1st quarter. Ellis Investment Partners LLC now owns 1,384,458 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,384,000 after buying an additional 1,324,364 shares during the period. Boston Partners boosted its holdings in NMI by 3.0% in the 1st quarter. Boston Partners now owns 813,142 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $21,036,000 after buying an additional 23,808 shares during the period. Norges Bank bought a new position in NMI in the 4th quarter worth $13,216,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. bought a new position in NMI in the 1st quarter worth $5,914,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.82% of the company’s stock.

Shares of NASDAQ:NMIH opened at $27.91 on Tuesday. The company has a current ratio of 0.43, a quick ratio of 0.43 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.18. NMI Holdings Inc has a 12 month low of $15.62 and a 12 month high of $31.34. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $27.15 and a 200 day moving average price of $26.61. The company has a market cap of $1.88 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.81 and a beta of 1.29.

NMI (NASDAQ:NMIH) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 31st. The financial services provider reported $0.59 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.55 by $0.04. NMI had a net margin of 41.31% and a return on equity of 19.65%. The firm had revenue of $91.18 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $85.11 million. As a group, equities analysts forecast that NMI Holdings Inc will post 2.4 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CFO Adam Pollitzer sold 4,092 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $28.05, for a total value of $114,780.60. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 4.20% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on NMIH. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of NMI from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $31.00 target price for the company in a report on Friday, July 26th. BTIG Research set a $36.00 target price on shares of NMI and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 31st. Zelman & Associates raised shares of NMI from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, August 2nd. BidaskClub raised shares of NMI from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, August 6th. Finally, B. Riley set a $30.00 target price on shares of NMI and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, August 2nd. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $30.63.

NMI Company Profile

NMI Holdings, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides private mortgage guaranty insurance services in the United States. The company offers mortgage insurance; reinsurance on loans; and outsourced loan review services to mortgage loan originators. It serves national and regional mortgage banks, money center banks, credit unions, community banks, builder-owned mortgage lenders, Internet-sourced lenders, and other non-bank lenders.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for NMI (NASDAQ:NMIH)

Source: Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan Decreases Holdings in NMI Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:NMIH) – Mayfield Recorder

Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert returns to Michigan from Chicago rehab center

Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert has returned to Michigan after spending the past two months at an out-of-state rehabilitation center following a stroke, Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner said in a statement Tuesday.

“On Friday, Dan Gilbert returned to Detroit to continue his rehabilitation locally,” Farner wrote. “We are extremely thankful for all of the skilled medical professionals who have played a significant role in Dan’s recovery and are glad to have him back home.”

The chairman and founder of the Detroit-based home mortgage lender returned Friday to the state, after recovering at the Chicago Rehabilitation Institute from a May 26 stroke, a company spokesman said. He is not back to work, and it was unclear if he was home in Franklin or at another inpatient center.

“While Dan focuses on his energy on the rehabilitation process, our teams across the family of companies will continue to execute at a high level, serving and supporting our clients and team members,” Farner said.

Gilbert, who has invested millions into the comeback of downtown Detroit, went to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak on May 25 because he was feeling poorly. He had a stroke while at the hospital early the following morning.

He had a catheter-based procedure and was put into an intensive care unit. Twenty-four days after the stroke, Gilbert was discharged June 19 to inpatient rehab. Earlier this month, a video of Gilbert was sent to employees at Quicken, real estate firm Bedrock and other affiliated companies in which he thanked them for their support and continuing work.

“Whatever you’re doing is great,” Gilbert told his employees. “It’s going much better since I left a few weeks back, I noticed.”

Inpatient rehabilitation for several weeks is typical following a severe stroke, according to doctors who have not treated Gilbert. A majority of a patient’s recovery occurs within three to six months, though ongoing recovery can occur through the first year following the stroke.

A stroke can happen when a large clot blocks blood supply to the brain. Brain cells begin to die because of the lack of oxygen and can lead to brain damage, disability or death. Symptoms of stroke can include difficulties with speaking, walking, seeing, paralysis on one side of the body or a sudden headache.

Strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States and can result in serious disability in adults. Risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity and age.

Part of Detroit’s turnaround has been credited to Gilbert’s investment in the city’s central business district. Bedrock and its affiliates have invested and committed more than $5.6 billion in its efforts to help revitalize Detroit.

Gilbert moved his employees from Livonia and other suburbs to a Detroit headquarters starting in 2010. Now, Gilbert’s Rock Family of Companies employs 17,000 people downtown.

Source: Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert returns to Michigan from Chicago rehab center

Cuba Sanctions

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx

About Cuba’s Water Shortages and Other Needs | Havana Times

https://havanatimes.org/diaries/pedro-pablo-morejon/about-cubas-water-shortages-and-other-needs/

Mortgage News Daily: Fannie Mae Predicts Two Additional 2019 Rate Cuts, Here’s Why

Mortgage News Daily: Fannie Mae Predicts Two Additional 2019 Rate Cuts, Here’s Why.
http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/08192019_fannie_mae_forecast.asp

Why Did Jeffrey Epstein Visit Cuba on Fidel Castro’s Personal Invitation?

https://townhall.com/columnists/humbertofontova/2019/08/17/why-did-jeffrey-epstein-visit-cuba-on-fidel-castros-personal-invitation-n2551811

Bill on unrestricted travel to Cuba: Building the “momentum” | OnCuba News – English

https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba-usa/bill-on-unrestricted-travel-to-cuba-building-the-momentum/

Business Insider: The doomsday warnings about the US housing market are getting it backward

Business Insider: The doomsday warnings about the US housing market are getting it backward.
https://www.businessinsider.com/us-housing-market-mortgage-rate-troubles-overblown-opinon-2019-8

Condo Buyers Will Soon Have an Easier Time Scoring a Mortgage | realtor.com®

https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/condo-buyers-will-soon-have-an-easier-time-scoring-a-mortgage/

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