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Is your customers' personal information secure? Should Cordray get the ax?

Up to 70% of mortgage lenders may be careless with customer data, a new study says. And the House wants to overhaul the CFPB. See the news that matters to our industry on this week's MPA Mortgage News.

Video transcript below:

Happy Friday everyone, I'm Ryan Smith and this is MPA's Mortgage News.  

A new study by a cyber security firm indicates that many large and small mortgage lenders are being careless with customers’ personal and financial data.  The study by Halock Security Labs of 63 US Mortgage Lenders found that 45, that’s about 70% allowed risky information sharing practices, such as letting applicants send personal and financial data over unencrypted email as attachments.  One anonymous mortgage professional told Halock that he had his client send sensitive information through unencrypted email because “everyone has access to an email account and that most lenders didn't want to take the time to explain what a secure email portal was or how to use it”.  

But here's why you use it.  Two suspected hackers are facing charges after allegedly breaking into mortgage brokers computers and stealing the personal information of more than 4,000 clients.  Jason Ray Bailey and Victor Alhandro Fernandez, both of California have been charged with computer hacking and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Prosecutors say Bailey and Fernandez used the stolen information to impersonate brokers customers, open credit lines: in their names and steal their assets, often by wiring victim’s’ money directly into their own accounts.  Some of those wire transfers were upto 20 or 30,000 dollars apiece according to the US Attorney's Office.  Bailey and Fernandez could each face up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

A recently passed House bill would eliminate the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in favour of a commission and tie the agency's funding to the congressional appropriations process among other changes.  The bill passed largely along party lines with Republicans saying that the current organisation of the CFPB renders it unaccountable to Congress or even the President, while Democrats were saying that the Agency needs political independence.  Meanwhile CFPB Director, Richard Cordray was saying please don't fire me and dreading the prospect of going back to work for the NBC page program.  The bill is almost certain to be a symbolic gesture since it’s unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.  Even if it does it would be extremely surprising for President Obama to sign it into law, but who knows stranger things have happened.  

Mortgage rates were down this week in the wake of weaker-than-expected economic data. The 30 year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.28% this week, down from last week's average of 4.37%, the 5-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.03% down from last week's 3.05 and the 1-year ARM held steady this week at 2.52%.  

For MPA Mortgage News, I’m Ryan Smith, have a great weekend everyone. 
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    The last few years have seen a lot of change in the mortgage industry. And now, continued home-price gains, regulatory uncertainty and a new administration mean even more change on the way. MPA recently chatted with Raymond Bartreau of Best Rate Referrals about the current state of the industry.

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