Author Archives: Joseph

About Joseph

Joseph is a graduate of Oregon State University. When he isn't at work, he stays busy with music and recreational sports.

Free 3-hour “Current Issues in WA Real Estate” course for Washington Real Estate License Renewal

OnlineEd SM Logo(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) – Try us for absolutely free! No strings or gimmicks:

Click here to sign up for a free 3-hour “Current Issues” course

Washington real estate licensees are required to take 30 hours of continuing education for Washington real estate broker license renewal, including a 3 hour “Current Issues in Washington Real Estate” course. When it comes to quality, our courses speak for themselves, and with our 3-hour “Current Issues” course available for FREE, why wouldn’t you give us a look?

blackboard_WARECE_free_smaller

Why OnlineEd?

  • We’re local! OnlineEd is a NW company based in Portland, OR.
  • Approved by the Washington State Department of Licensing.
  • This free course covers the 3 hour “Current Issues” topic required by the state of Washington.
  • Online, self-paced delivery method. Take courses when it works with your schedule. Compatible with PC, Mac, and mobile devices.
  • We report completions to the Washington DoL within one business day!
  • Our 3 hour course is 100% free! If you like OnlineEd, consider us for your remaining 27 hours of license renewal continuing education.

 

New to OnlineEd? Try Before You Buy!

Have a free course on us! If you like our style, join our free Club-O customer loyalty program to receive your personal Club-O code, good for 15% off select courses (including the remaining 27 hours of Washington real estate CE) and 10% referral cash back rewards for sharing us with your friends and coworkers.
Want more OnlineEd?  Browse Catalog  |  Real Estate Coaching Tips

 

Washington Real Estate Continuing Education Guidelines

All real estate licensees must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education during the two-year licensing term. The Department of Licensing mandates that real estate brokers in Washington are required to take a law update course at license renewal to ensure they are current on the issues facing licensees practicing real estate within the state.

For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Licensing website, or call OnlineEd customer support at 1-866-519-9597.

This school is approved under chapter 18.85 RCW; inquiries regarding this or any other real estate school may be made to the: Washington State Department of Licensing, Real Estate Program, P.O. Box 9015, Olympia, Washington 98507-9015

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Free offer expires without further notice.

For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

This article was published on March 18, 2015. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

Announcement: OnlineEd Offers Discount to Veterans

(Chris Culbertson, OnlineEd) – OnlineEd is proud to announce that we will be offering a 20% veterans discount on all Real Estate Pre-License Education. In order to qualify Veterans will need to submit a DD214 form to mail@onlineed.com or give us a call at (503) 670-9278.  If you or someone you know served to protect our freedoms, then we would be honored to help build the foundation for a successful career as a civilian.

veteran shaking hands houseA Career in Real Estate allows you to pursue a profession as your own boss. It allows you to work your own hours and work without a cap in pay.  The more houses a broker can close, the more a broker can make.  Finding an office to work from is relatively easy, what’s difficult is making sales. Veterans have already proven they have what it takes to protect and serve our country. We’d like to help prove they also have the capacity for success after their service.

Free 3-hour Law & Rule Required Course (LARRC) for Oregon Real Estate License Renewal

OnlineEd SM Logo(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) – Try us for absolutely free! No strings or gimmicks:

Click here to sign up for a free 3-hour LARRC course

Oregon real estate licensees are required to take 30 hours of continuing education for Oregon real estate broker license renewal, including a 3 hour “Law and Rule Required Course” (LARRC). When it comes to quality, our courses speak for themselves, and with our 3-hour Law and Rule Required Course available for FREE, why wouldn’t you give us a look?

free larrc

So, why OnlineEd?

  • We’re local! OnlineEd is a NW company based in Portland, OR.
  • No timers, and no minimum exam score! Learn at your own pace.
  • Approved by the Oregon Real Estate Agency.
  • Its a free course that covers the 3 hour “Law and Rule Required Course” topic required by the state of Oregon.
  • Online, self-paced delivery method lets you take your courses when it works with your schedule.
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, and mobile devices.

New to OnlineEd? Try Before You Buy!

 Have a free course on us! If you like our style, join our free Club-O customer loyalty program to receive your personal Club-O code, good for 15% off select courses and 10% referral cash back rewards for sharing us with your friends and coworkers.

Want more OnlineEd? Browse Catalog  |  Real Estate Coaching Tips

Oregon Real Estate Continuing Education Guidelines

All real estate licensees must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education during the two-year licensing term. The 30 hours must include the three-hour Law and Rule Required Course (LARRC).

Broker licensees renewing for the first time must complete a 27-hour Broker Advanced Practices (BAP) course, plus LARRC, for a total of 30 hours. Property Manager licensees renewing for the first time are required to take a 27-hour Property Management Advanced Practices (PMAP) course, plus LARRC, for a total of 30 hours. Principal Broker licensees do not have a required first time license renewal course.

Real estate licensees renewing the second time onward can take LARRC and any combination of 27 hours of CE.

OnlineEd® is an Oregon Real Estate Agency Certified Continuing Education Course Provider. Our School Number is 1038.

 

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Free offer expires without further notice.

For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

  This article was published on March 9, 2015. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

CFPB Enforces Deceptive Mortgage Advertising Violation in $2M Consent Order

(Joseph Mikkelson, OnlineEd) – This week, the CFPB made good on the promise that they would be taking action against companies deceptively marketing products to veterans when it slapped NewDay Financial with a $2 million fine for RESPA violations and deceptive acts or practices within its mortgage advertising.

canstockphoto2148582The Maryland-based mortgage company allegedly deceived consumers about being endorsed by a veterans’ organization, in addition to active participation in a kickback scheme for referrals.

“NewDay profited from the trust that veterans place in their veteran service organization,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB Director. “Veterans, and any consumers getting a mortgage, deserve honest information about lender endorsements.”

According to the CFPB, NewDay allegedly sent over 50 million solicitations over the span of three years to members of a veterans’ organization, with the title of “exclusive vendor” for the veterans’ association. The company claimed this title was based on their high service standards and value, when in fact NewDay had agreed to pay illegal kickbacks to the organization in the form of lead generation fees, and a monthly licensing fee to use the mailing list. The violation was twofold:

  1. NewDay willfully participated in an illegal kickback scheme and,
  2. Failed to disclose its financial relationship with the veterans’ organization, despite using language such as “exclusive lender” in its direct mail campaigns.

This didn’t come out of the blue; at the top of this article it is mentioned that the CFPB made good on its promise to take action against companies they deem to be “targeting” veterans. In November 2012, CFPB examiners, in conjunction with the FTC, reviewed over 800 randomly sampled advertisements of mortgage credit products and found a number of red flags. The CFPB issued warning letters to dozens of mortgage companies for unfair or deceptive marketing materials that targeted veterans:

CFPB advertising red flags for targeting veterans and service members:

  1. “Suggesting, through the use of a logo very similar to that of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the prominent display of a website address that includes the acronym “VA,” and the use of language stating “the VA is offering you” the advertised product, that the company is affiliated with a government agency or government-sponsored program
  2. Indicating that specific “fixed” rate is available for a “30 year” loan when, in fact, the rate is for an ARM.
  3. Suggesting that the rate is being offered as part of an “economic stimulus plan” that will expire shortly, despite the VA’s loan guarantee programs do not have an expiration date.”

Source: CFPB sample letter to mortgage advertisers targeting veterans and servicemembers

If you suspect you or your company has participated or is participating in similar activities, you can use the precedent set by the CFPB’s order to take steps now to get back on the path to compliance. Taking these steps and being proactive might save you a similar $2 million fine:

  • End the deceptive marketing practice. In this case, the deceptive marketing practice was claiming exclusive vendor status based on merit instead of financial relationship, and not disclosing this relationship (licensing a mailing list) with the veterans’ organization.
  • End deceptive endorsement relationships. The CFPB directed that the company terminate its relationship with the veterans’ organization. If you suspect a violation, it might be better to just end the relationship and start over.
  • Cease making payments for referrals. This is an easy one; payments (or conferring anything of value) to another party for referral of settlement business is a violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and if you know or suspect the occur within your business, discontinue that practice immediately.

For more information on prohibited advertisements and how to eliminate advertising violations, stay tuned in to your Club-O Newsletter for OnlineEd’s upcoming 2015 NMLS SAFE Comprehensive continuing education course, which features a mortgage advertising practices spotlight, and everything else you need to renew your standard 8-hour CE requirement for 2015.

For more information on the CFPB’s Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP) standard, consider integrating OnlineEd’s upcoming UDAAP Training course into your compliance training curriculum. For more information and updates regarding this course, contact our compliance division at inlineed@onlineed.com.

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  This article was published on February 12, 2015. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

QM/ATR Cure Extension Helps Both Lenders and Borrowers

October 31, 2014 – Some good news for both lenders and borrowers: the compliance burden from the Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Ability-to-Repay (ATR) regulation just got a little bit lighter.

check canstockphoto0103599Earlier this month, the CFPB responded to comments made during a public review period for its controversial QM and ATR regulation and granted more time for lenders to refund loan costs and still constitute a qualified mortgage. The extension nearly doubles the grace period – part of a proposed rule issued in May – from 120 days to 210 days, and applies to both lenders and the secondary market. Some lenders have adopted the practice of utilizing buffers that ensure they are not penalized if a miscalculation occurs, and according to the CFPB, this extension should provide more access to credit by giving lenders enough leeway to cut down on some of these such as buffers on points and fees and other self-imposed safeguards.

So how good is this news? The answer is, “Pretty good, actually.”

For consumers: Enacting buffers much lower than 3% directly affects consumers by effectively putting a floor on the minimum loan amount a lender would reasonably be able to originate and still retain QM status. With the threat of litigation and CFPB-imposed monetary penalties looming over their heads, many lenders drew the line well below 3% with a buffer to account for any possible overages or miscalculations. It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics to know that if a loan originator or lender needs to make a certain amount in points and fees to keep the doors open, the margin of error gets very small, and even a buffer zone of a few tenths of a percent can dramatically impact the final loan amount. When considering loans on the smaller end of the scale, this can negatively affect first-time or lower-income home buyers for whom loans would not be possible.

For lenders: The compliance burden for the QM/ATR regulation was and still is significant. If a lender wants to sell the mortgage to a Government-Sponsored Entity (GSE) such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the loan must be a qualified mortgage. Similarly, creditors may be faced with a repurchase demand from an investor if the lender agreed to only deliver qualified mortgages. And while there is no prohibition on making a non-QM loan, the creditor is responsible for being able to demonstrate that it was otherwise compliant with the ATR determination. Furthermore, the creditor also loses the protection that a QM designation provides, and faces more risk of accusation from a borrower or regulator. By relaxing the refund period to give lenders more time (180 days for a review period, and an additional 30 days to process and provide cure payments to consumers), lenders get a little more flexibility and leeway in making qualified mortgages.

It should be noted that the CFPB has chosen to “sunset” this provision, with the provision expiring on January 10, 2021, the seventh birthday of the regulation’s effective date. This is the same date that the temporary QM designation will expire as a qualifier for purchase by GSEs such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. According to the CFPB, “creditors will develop greater confidence…originating loans that are not qualified mortgages under the general (ATR) standard, and price loans at the margin of the points and fees limits.”

The pendulum tends to swing both ways, and in what used to be a loosely regulated industry, we saw many dramatic changes from 2011-2013 that impacted lenders and borrowers alike. These recent changes go to show that the CFPB is listening, and while they still are intent on keeping a close eye on an industry rebuilding in the wake of the housing crisis, it is clear that fostering a mortgage market that is relatively safe for borrowers and lenders alike is a high priority going forward for the CFPB.

CFPB Goes Hunting for Zombie Foreclosures

From 2006 to today, 10 million homes have fallen into foreclosure.   Of those homes, more than 2 million remain in foreclosure.  An estimated 152,000 homes are zombie foreclosures.   That's 22% of the 676,000 homes that are owned by banks but are not listed for sale.

Zombie foreclosures can cost already struggling borrowers thousands of dollars.

(Joseph Mikkelson, OnlineEd) Zombies have been enjoying a renaissance as of late. Ever since George Romero’s 1968 film, “Night of the Living Dead,” zombies have maintained a steady presence in the media. However, one doesn’t have to look far to see that their popularity has risen to new heights in recent years. Zombies are represented in the theater, on TV, in adventure 5K races, and now in . . . real estate?

With the flood of foreclosed homes in 2008, many banks found that many low-value properties simply weren’t worth the cost to repair the home, and opted not to complete the foreclosure. Zombie foreclosures are properties that have had foreclosure proceedings initiated and have been vacated by the owners, but have not yet been reclaimed by banks. The owner of the foreclosed home may have been long gone, only to find out years later that he or she technically still owns the home and may owe thousands.

The walking dead these properties may not be, but they still pose a threat to borrowers. The CFPB aims to help bring these zombie properties back to life.

“The CFPB is beginning to look very closely at abandoned properties and zombie foreclosures. There is direct borrower harm if a borrower believes a foreclosure on their property has been conducted and they are no longer responsible, and months or years later find out that they are, that there was never a foreclosure and they have large financial responsibilities that they never knew about.” – Laurie Maggiano, CFPB servicing and secondary markets program manager

[ezcol_2third]Servicers typically send dozens of letters and calls to defaulted homeowners notifying them that their home is going into foreclosure, but usually don’t communicate nearly as well, if at all, when the foreclosure is stalled. The CFPB found it was “extremely common” for servicers to charge off low-balance loans and not notify borrowers or municipalities if they did not take title to the property. Consequently, borrowers had no idea that they were still on the hook for continuing to pay not only the mortgage debt, but code violations, municipal services, taxes and upkeep as well.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]

Quick Facts:

  • Since 2006, 10 million homes have fallen into foreclosure.
  • More than 2 million homes remain in foreclosure.
  • An estimated 152,000 homes are zombie foreclosures.

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The CFPB indicated that consumers had repeatedly asked the agency for help, saying the servicers were not complying with disclosure requirements. The agency has joined a task force to identify the estimated 152,000 zombie properties. It intends to help resolve the problem by creating a national definition of “abandonment,” which will accelerate the foreclosure process, making vacant homes available for transfer to potential owners, as well as creating a national registry of these zombie properties.

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This article was published on March 14, 2014. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements, laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

CFPB Faces Unfair Employment Accusations, Overhaul Bill

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau logo

(Joseph Mikkelson, OnlineEd) – The CFPB is off to a rocky start in 2014.

In an interesting turn of events, the CFPB will undergo a probe regarding how the entity treats its employees.  According to an American Banker report, there are striking racial disparities in how employees are ranked in performance reviews.

According to the report, CFPB managers specifically ranked white employees “distinctly better” than minorities in performance reviews.  There reviews are used to determine raises and issue bonuses.  The CFPB ranking system rates employees on a 1-5 scale, where employees with higher ratings receive better benefits than employees with lower rankings.

The report found that overall, whites were twice as likely in 2013 to receive the agency’s top grade than employees of a different race.

Some quick facts from the report:

  • Nearly three quarters of white employees received a rating of 4 or 5, compared with 65.5% of Asians, 65.2% of Hispanics, and 57.6% of African-Americans.
  • The disparities were even greater towards the extremes of the range: one-fifth of white employees (20.7%) received a 5 – and were dubbed “role models” – compared with 10.5% of African-Americans and 9.1% of Hispanics.
  • These discrepancies carried over into the lower ratings as well, with 42% of African-Americans, 34.5% of Asians, 34.8% of Hispanics receiving a 3 rating, the lowest grade given out in high volume.  Only 24.4% of white employees received the low 3 rating.

These findings are disappointing to proponents of the CFPB and serve to fuel the fire of its detractors, as the government entity is expending millions trying to enforce regulations aimed at reducing just this kind of disparate impact.  In the mortgage industry, the emphasis on fair lending and responsible financial practices has never been higher.  The CFPB must now answer serious questions about addressing their own shortcomings in an area that they were being reasonably expected to be setting an example.

This report comes at an inopportune time for the bureau, as a bill was recently passed in the House of Representatives approving an overhaul of the CFPB, which would effectively hamstring the agency.  The bill, which passed 232-182 would replace director Richard Cordray with a five-member commission, and would subject the CFPB to regular budget appropriations and includes no funding beyond the next two years.  This bill is not likely to go much of anywhere, however, as majority leaders in the Senate have said the bill would not even be considered, and President Obama has indicated willingness to veto the legislation.

Whether these two obstacles will be bumps in the road, or lingering issues, it is clear that it’s still business as usual for the CFPB, with a period of vigorous rulemaking on the horizon.  After a few years focusing on the mortgage industry, the CFPB is shifting focus to the debt collection, student loan, and mortgage loan servicing industries. Stay tuned for more developments coming out of the CFPB.

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This article was published on March 13, 2014. All information contained in this posting is deemed correct and current as of this date, but is not guaranteed by the author. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements, laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

7 Common “Qualified Mortgage” Myths

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau logoThe CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage and Ability to Repay rules have been effective for just over a week, and there still seems to be confusion from both consumers and industry professionals.  While truthfully we will not know the full effects of these rules for some time, there has been a lot of speculation regarding how these rules will be a detriment to consumers.  In an attempt to dispel some of the rumors that have been floating around the industry, the CFPB released a three-page document that shoots down some of the myths surrounding the rule.

While mortgage professionals are surely intimately familiar with the rule by now, here are the guidelines for a Qualified Mortgage (QM) for the rest of our readers:

A Qualified Mortgage:

  • Cannot have excessive upfront points and fees, for example, points and fees greater than 3% on loan amounts equal to or over $100,000;
  • Cannot be longer than 30 years;
  • Cannot have certain risky features like interest-only payments;
  • Must fulfill one of these three criteria:
    • The monthly loan payment and other debt payments must not exceed 43 percent of the borrower’s monthly income; or
    • The loan qualifies for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or is insured or guaranteed by a federal housing agency; or
    • The loan is made by a small lender that keeps the loan in portfolio

Now, just because a mortgage loan is not a “Qualified Mortgage” does not mean it is illegal or cannot be made. So long as the mortgage lender has considered the customer’s ability to repay, lenders can choose to not follow the QM guidelines and still make a loan based on their good faith determination. For more information on this, and other common QM and ATR misconceptions, click here to read the full CFPB article.

OnlineEd’s CFPB Preparedness Article Published in Scotsman Guide

December 5, 2013 – OnlineEd was recently published in the December Scotsman Guide’s Residential Edition. Click the link below to read or download the complete article.

Our article outlines the need for mortgage businesses, both large and small, to prepare for CFPB examinations. We break down the CFPB examination guide’s criteria for education and training, and outline some best practices for staying ahead of the curve and being proactive with compliance. The article stresses the importance of having a suitable training program in place in accordance with written policies.

For the online version of Scotsman Guide’s December Residential Magazine, visit their website by clicking here. Some of this month’s topics include helpful tips on qualified mortgages (QM) for independent mortgage brokers, paperless cloud-based loan management, and tips on how to remain profitable in the face of tumbling refinances.

Make sure that you are not operating under the impression that the CFPB isn’t going to be concerned with your small mortgage business. For more information on preparing a training program and policies for your mortgage business, call OnlineEd at (866) 519-9597.

New Mortgage Disclosure Final Rule Released

November 22, 2013 – At a field hearing in Boston on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, Richard Cordray of the CFPB took the opportunity to unveil the new “Know Before You Owe” forms, which will replace their better known “good-faith estimate” predecessors.  The final rule issued on Wednesday will require lenders to replace the oft-confusing good faith estimate with the easier-to-use form by August of 2015.
 

Loan Estimate Preview

Follow the links below for an early look at sample versions of these forms.

Loan Estimate | Closing Disclosure


 

The 3-page Loan Estimate replaces both the early Truth in Lending statement and the current Good Faith Estimate, while the 5-page Closing Disclosure replaces the final Truth in Lending statement and the HUD-1 settlement statement.
 
The CFPB explains each form:

The loan estimate: This form will be provided to consumers within three business days after they submit a loan application. It replaces the early Truth in Lending statement and Good Faith Estimate and provides a summary of the key loan terms and estimated loan and closing costs. Consumers can use this form to compare the costs and features of different loans.

The closing disclosure: Consumers will get this form three business days before closing on a loan. It replaces the final Truth in Lending statement and the HUD-1 settlement statement and provides a detailed accounting of the transaction

Spanish language versions: The CFPB is also including Spanish-language versions of the forms in the final rule, which it tested with Spanish-speaking consumers.  These Spanish-language versions will provide important benefits to industry in communication with Spanish-speaking consumers.

Compliance actually gets a little simpler this time around, since the industry will no longer have to administer compliance with two different sets of regulatory requirements.  Paperwork is cut in half, meaning long-term savings and less redundant work for the lender.

The two forms are nearly identical in layout, making it much easier to compare information in the estimate and the closing disclosure.  This will make shopping for loans a much simpler process for the consumer, showing up to a 42 percent improvement in comparing loans.  An extensive study showed statistical improvement of 29 percent in participants who used the new forms being better prepared to ask questions about a sample loan.  Specifically, consumers were better able to identify:

  • Risk Factors like prepayment penalties, balloon payments, or an increase in the loan balance in a negative amortization loan.
  • Short-term and long-term costs .
  • Monthly payments

While many of the CFPB’s final rules have been met with a decidedly mixed reception, this looks to be an improvement for both mortgage lenders and consumers.  Keep checking back from more compliance news from OnlineEd.