At least one mortgage bank that sponsored a new shared data base of information on home loan professionals who may have been involved in fraud is threatening to dropout of the program.
A source familiar with the situation said one of the lenders is reevaluating its commitment to the Mortgage Industry Data Exchange, or Midex, because of concerns about high costs and unexpectedly large staffing requirements.
The sponsoring mortgage banks are Countrywide Funding Corp., PNC Mortgage Corp., Fleet Mortgage Group Inc., and GE Capital Mortgage Corp. The source said a decision would be made by the lender within the next few weeks, but he did not want to disclose its identity.
Officials at Mortgage Asset Research Institute, the Reston, Va., information company responsible for Midex, were not available for comment.
Midex received final approval from its sponsoring group of about a dozen industry heavyweights in July. A pilot version of Midex is currently being tested with about 15 lenders.
The project awaits a final go ahead from the Justice Department, which will determine by next month Midex's compliance with antitrust regulations.
Another shared data base on loan defrauders from Guarantee Asset Protection Services, Canoga Park, Calif., will come on-line by month's end, said Joe Ritter, regional vice president.
Midex's creation has not been smooth. Sponsors bickered over details early on.
Many were worried about the legal problems of broadcasting names and information on unconvicted defrauders on the data base.
Mortgage Asset Research Institute has set up "policies and procedures designed to provide safeguards in an optional informationsharing system."
The greatest problem cited by the dissatisfied sponsor is cost. Sources say the price tag of about $12 per name searched is prohibitive.
Lenders "can't afford that," one said.
Mortgage bank officials are also steamed at their requirement to submit data. The source said participants must dedicate valuable worker-hours to amass the information.
The lender considering backing out would prefer that Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac deliver the majority of the information. The agencies force all lenders to report crooked events. So, the agencies have all the information lenders do.
Lenders like the idea of a data base to share information. Often loan fraud is perpetrated by the same employee of a company in different locations.
But the data base's success "hinges on their ability to sell it to the masses," said a California quality control executive.