LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Apr. 19: Sales jobs, new lender products; Freddie and Fannie changes continue, as do rates moving higher

April 19, 2018

Rumors continue to swirl about practically every lender out there, and exaggeration is rampant. A company eliminates low producing LOs in Arizona and suddenly the jungle drums are saying it is closing its Southwest division. A middle layer of management is cut, and word on the street has the company shuttering a whole channel. On the flip side, some companies effectively eliminate an entire channel but leave a few personnel in the headquarters for appearance or to close out the pipeline and eventually be jettisoned – to avoid making a formal announcement.
 
Employment & promotions
 
GSF Mortgage Corporation continues to expand its Construction Lending Division by adding 12 loan originators in March. The FHA, VA and USDA Single Close Construction programs are hot products in this time of thin inventory. If you are interested in joining the GSF Mortgage Construction Lending Team, and offer this product in your market, click here.
 
Ameris Bank (Symbol: ABCB) is growing through acquisition and its diverse mortgage banking related activities.  Post the signing of a definitive merger agreement to acquire Hamilton State Bancshares, at nearly $11 billion in total assets our growth trend for 25 years continues.
Ameris Bank Mortgage is a full-service entity of Ameris Bank, growing through warehouse and MSR financing, portfolio whole loan purchases, and platform acquisitions. The mortgage division is committed to being “The Bank” for all mortgage bankers and emerging mortgage bankers nationwide. We are highly committed to meeting the diverse needs of our partners’ no matter how large or small. For details regarding Ameris Bank Mortgage, our products, and various opportunities, please contact Jill Gainer, VP Warehouse Lending or Brett J. Hively, SVP Mortgage and Finance today!
 
For Top 10 National Purchase Lender, PrimeLending, fostering a workplace of support, appreciation and belonging for all employees is a top priority. That’s why PrimeLending sponsors and promotes such events as last week’s NAMMBA Connect (National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America) and mPower (MBA Promoting Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach). At mPower, Latonia Donaldson, National Director of Multicultural Lending for PrimeLending, shared her experience and valuable experience on the Words of Wisdom panel. PrimeLending empowers all its employees to succeed, which is why the company was recognized by Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work as a Best Workplace for Women, Diversity and Parents in 2017. Are you looking to join a company with an award-winning culture? Contact Dudley Strawn or visit www.primelending.com/recruiting.
 
XINNIX, the mortgage industry’s premier provider of sales and leadership performance programs, is expanding its team and looking for four National Sales Executives regionally located in California, the Midwest, New England, and Texas. Each National Sales Executive is responsible for having a strategic plan for each client, implementing that strategy and managing the client relationship. Want to join a dynamic team with award-winning culture and a passion for transforming the industry? Send your resume to Kevin Knaus, VP of National Sales.
 
Would you like to be more involved with setting housing policy? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a Federal Register Notice announcing vacancies on its Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC).
 
Congrats to Marcus Davis whom On Q Financial, Inc. has welcomed as SVP, National Retail Sales Executive. “Davis brings over 27 years of experience in the mortgage industry and is poised to lead the retail sales team as the company aims to grow from $3 billion to $10 billion in annual loan volume over the next few years.”
 
Lender products
 
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc (PRMG) rolls out its PRMG Plus Down Payment Protection program. “When it comes to putting borrowers first, PRMG has got you covered.  Where title insurance, private mortgage insurance and homeowner’s insurance each make lending more secure for the lenders, only PRMG Plus covers borrowers against unpredictable market losses. So why settle for an old school mortgage when you can get PRMG Plus with Down Payment Protection at the same great rate? Contact your local PRMG Representative or call 855.PRMG.FAN! for more information.”
 
ACT Appraisal, Inc., AMC since 1998, with headquarters in Chicago, branch offices in Virginia and California. “Aggressive turn-times, in all 50 states, plus DC and Puerto Rico. Bryan Franks, founder, offers 25+ years of appraisal expertise and experience. ACT has a unique ‘call first program,’ dedicated team contacts, and ‘AQPM reporting tool’ for all order parameters down to the county level. All appraisals in QC are read by an appraiser, and we have Certified and FHA appraisers nationwide. You should have ACT as one of your AMCs.”
 
Total Expert and Blend have partnered to elevate the lending experience with end-to-end efficiency and transparency. Total Expert, the company that created the first enterprise-grade marketing operating system specifically for regulated financial institutions, announced the first partnership of its kind with Blend, a leading provider of digital mortgage workflows that improve the loan application process for loan officers and consumers. “When considering new technology, we look for platforms that are true solutions – that remove friction and offer an easy-to-use experience for our salesforce and borrowers,” said Scott Weeks, chief information officer for LendUS, LLC. “We chose Total Expert to power our CRM and marketing platform, and Blend to support our digital mortgage, because they are each powerhouse pieces of technology.” The partnership enables data integration between Total Expert and Blend, allowing loan officers to originate mortgage loans more efficiently and transparently while building stronger relationships with customers.
 
Center Street Lending is excited to announce the promotion of Erik Brown to Relationship Manager on the Sales Team. Erik has been with Center Street Lending for three years, working in operations and sales support. His background and experience allow him to work effectively with his clients, provide them with the best financing solutions, and ensure a smooth and successful process. Center Street Lending has built a reputation as a premier private money, portfolio lender. It provides business-purpose loans through wholesale and retail channels for investments in: fix and flip, fix and rent, buy and rent; buy, tear down and build; new construction, and bridge loans. Contact Erik for more information.
 
Fannie & Freddie (GSEs) continue to modify requirements – more tomorrow
 
Remember that the FHFA has a dual role as both regulator and conservator of the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and is also regulator of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks). The GSEs, even though they are highly leveraged, have a diminished capital buffer and are in conservatorship, but have a combined market share of 60 percent of newly issued mortgage-backed securities, and collectively reported $5.4 trillion in assets at the end of last year. The FHLBanks together reported assets of $1.1 trillion. How is the FHFA doing? Not so well: room for improvement.
 
Fannie Mae has added new choices for income, employment, and asset verification. Plaid, PointServ, and Veri-Tax have been approved as new verification report suppliers for the Desktop Underwriter (DU) validation service. Plaid and PointServ will be providing asset verification, and Veri-Tax will provide verification of income and employment. A full list of current DU validation service vendors is available on its website.
 
If you are looking for a single close construction conversion loans for manufactured housing, and beginning this month, Freddie Mac is making it happen. Read its  Single-Family News Center article to learn more.
 
Fannie Mae updated its AAA matrices for all jurisdictions to reflect an increase in the hourly rates for non-routine litigation detailed in the Schedule of Legal Fees and Costs attached to the Mortgage Default Counsel (MDC) Retention Agreement. For hours billed on or after June 1 for matters which Fannie Mae has specifically approved MDC law firms to handle, Fannie Mae will pay: An hourly attorney rate of $225 for any attorney with less than five years of experience.
An hourly attorney rate of $275 for any attorney with five or more years of experience.
A maximum hourly paralegal rate of $85. Previously, the maximum hourly attorney rate was $215 per hour regardless of years of experience and there was no established maximum hourly paralegal rate. To view the updated matrices, visit the Excess Attorney Fee/Cost Guidelines page.
 
Freddie Mac Guide Bulletin 2018-6 servicing changes include: Automating subsequent transfers of servicing requests. Introducing a new process to facilitate the move of servicing of one or more mortgages from one Seller/Servicer number to another (“intra-servicer portfolio move”). Providing more specific guidance regarding cancellations of borrower-paid mortgage insurance. Updating its mortgage modifications requirements related to: Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Escrow shortage and advance repayment.
 
Don’t forget to take advantage of Fannie Mae’s free, customizable marketing materials. The Marketing Center offers easy-to-use marketing templates to help you reach new markets. You’ll find pieces to help you promote the benefits of HomeReady, HFA Preferred™, HomeStyle Renovation, and more to your borrowers and real estate partners. While you’re there, check out the Condo Buyer’s Guide. If you want to learn more about the Marketing Center, click here to view this one-minute video. And then sign in or create a new account at fanniemae.com/marketing to begin accessing our materials, many of which are also available in Spanish.
 
Freddie Mac has been in collaboration with fintech LoanBeam to simplify the underwriting of self-employed borrowers. Read the bulletin for more information.
 
Lenders in the manufactured housing market will soon get an enhanced financing option from Freddie Mac. In April, through its Duty to Serve plan, it will expand its documentation options for construction conversion mortgages, secured by manufactured homes titled as real property, to include an option for a single closing with integrated documentation (also known as single close). Click here to learn more.
 
Capital markets
 
U.S. stocks continue to grab headlines and they edged higher yesterday on the back of mixed earnings reports; rising oil prices due to crude inventories falling boosted energy producers; and the dollar advanced as did rates amid signs that geopolitical tensions are cooling (Korean denuclearization, Putin saying he wants a better relationship with the U.S., etc.). The 10-year Treasury yield closed above 2.87% after a Federal Reserve report showed trade concerns cast a shadow over an otherwise solid outlook for the economy, and the 5-year closed at its highest level in eight years. The release of the Fed’s Beige Book provided little new economic insight save for a moderation in wage pressures being reported by respondents. In some Fed speak, New York Fed President Dudley said he believes the neutral policy rate is around 3.0%.
 
After a quiet night we’ve had weekly jobless claims (-1k to 232k) and the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index for April (23.2, higher than forecast). At 10AM ET, March leading indicators are expected to rise 0.2% MoM after a 0.6% previous reading. This afternoon the Treasury will conduct its annual new 5-year TIPS auction when $16bn is auctioned. An hour later, the NY Fed will report MBS purchases for the week ending April 18 which are expected to total $1.9 billion net compared with $2.2bn in the previous week. We also have three scheduled Fed speakers, beginning with Governor Brainard, Governor Quarles, and Cleveland Fed President Mester. Thursday starts with agency MBS prices worse .125 versus last night’s close and the 10-year yielding 2.90%.
 
 
(Thanks to Spencer D. for this one.)
Four old guys are walking down a street. They turn a corner and see a sign that says, "Old Underwriter Bar – ALL drinks 10 cents."
They look at each other and then go in, thinking this is too good to be true.
The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room,
"Come on in and let me pour one for you! What’ll it be, gentlemen?"
There’s a fully stocked bar, so each of the men orders a martini.
In no time the bartender serves up four iced martinis shaken, not stirred and says, "That’s 10 cents each, please."
The four guys stare at the bartender for a moment, then at each other. They can’t believe their good luck. They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis, and order another round.
Again, four excellent martinis are produced, with the bartender again saying, "That’s 40 cents, please."
They pay 40 cents, but their curiosity gets the better of them. They’ve each had two martinis and haven’t even spent a dollar yet. Finally, one of them says, "How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?"
"I’m a retired loan officer from Phoenix," the bartender says, "and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery Jackpot for $125 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime. Wine, liquor, beer it’s all the same."
"Wow! That’s some story!" one of the men says. As the four of them sip their martinis, they can’t help noticing seven other people at the end of the bar who don’t have any drinks in front of them and haven’t ordered anything the whole time they’ve been there.
Nodding at the seven at the end of the bar, one of the men ask the bartender, "What’s with them?"
The bartender says, "They’re retired real estate agents from New England. They’re waiting for Happy Hour when drinks are half-price.”
 
 
Visit www.robchrisman.com for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “How Good is Your Company’s Cyber-Security?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
Rob
 
(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are over 300 mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2018 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job listings do appear. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of Rob Chrisman.)