LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Dec. 6: Ops & sales jobs; tech products & STRATMOR tech survey results; industry advice

December 6, 2017

How long will venture capital firms enjoy being in a declining margin business like residential lending, historically dominated by individual, family, or employee-owned companies? As rumors and unpublished news swirl about well-known lenders losing agency approval, laying off staff, being acquired, or closing their doors, especially west coast wholesalers, there is innovation. “Create Your Profile, Enter Your Loan Programs, Get Quality Leads for Free.” Leads for free? Not known to be consumer facing, yesterday the Scotsman Guide Media introduced Ask a Lender, “a unique online platform that uses powerful lender-matching technology to connect you with quality borrower leads — for free.”
 
Employment
 
“Looking for a challenge that will satisfy your desire for career success? Want a position where you will be developing and initiating the game-plan? The William Fall Group is seeking a self-motivated professional interested in driving business growth while building a best in class team. An individual experienced and well connected in residential appraisal field. Our firm is looking to rapidly expand our employee appraiser staff throughout the USA in response to significant client demand. We want a leader that can manage the challenge of growing revenue opportunities while strategically hiring dedicated and skilled residential appraisers. Respond today to Nicki Brazeau, HR Manager. College degree preferred. Minimum of 5 years of direct industry experience.”
 
Supreme Lending, a top 20 Mortgage Lender in the country, is rapidly expanding in Southern California. Supreme has recently opened 3 offices in Orange County and are seeking talented Senior and Junior Level Loan Processors, as well as Area Managers in LA, Orange and Riverside counties. “If you are an Area Manager, producing Branch Manager, or Loan Agent looking to double your loan business through technology, state of the art CRM platforms and local business decisions, contact us. Supreme is a direct seller servicer for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, offers competitive loan products and utilizes technology to achieve a 96% Customer Satisfaction rating. With almost $8B in funding’s in 2016, Supreme is poised for growth and looking to add talent to achieve that success.” Please send a confidential email to socal@supremelending.com
 
Built by Originators for OriginatorsPRMG Retail continues to expand its footprint nationwide by opening 6 new branch locations during the month of November!  Along with the drive and ambition to bring the American Dream of Homeownership to all cities across the country, PRMG has now opened its doors in Modesto, CASan Bernardino, CA;Wellington, FLDes Moines, IATulsa, OK and Mufreesboro, TN.  PRMG is devoted to growing their retail platform and is always looking for motivated Loan Originators to support the mission to being ‘Progressively Better in All that They Do.’ Voted TOP 5 of the 50 Best Companies to Work for in America, No. 1 Best in the Desert 2017, NMP Visionary Organization 2017, CAMP Corporate Affiliate of the Year 2017 and TOP 25 of 100 Mortgage Companies in America! PRMG employs over 1,600 people!  If you’re ready to join a top-tier team and company, then it’s time to talk!  Contact Chris Sorensen (909.262.0452).”
 
Caliber Home Loans, Inc., “America’s fastest growing mortgage company,” applauds the FHFA’s announcement to raise the maximum loan limits for 2018. The resulting increase of 6.8% is the largest move made since the pre-crisis era, as well as the second consecutive annual increase. Prospective homebuyers now have more purchasing power with conforming loan limits of $453,100 and higher cost areas up to $679,640. “Caliber is the nation’s premier purchase lender—and as interest rates are still hovering at historical lows, now is a great time to help more families realize the dream of homeownership. As the industry continues to experience positive changes, Caliber is committed to growing its national distribution force. If you’re interested in joining one of the nation’s top mortgage companies, visit Caliber or contact Jeremy DeRosa.”
 
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage is proud to announce that Jason Frazier, CIO & Chief Strategy Officer, has been selected as a HousingWire Vanguard Award Winner for 2017. The Vanguard Award recognizes executives for their leadership and the dynamic way they are changing the industry. These 45 winners were carefully selected by HousingWire’s editorial board, chosen for their vital contributions to their respective companies and the industry at large. “Our Vanguard winners represent an incredible cross section of the industry — the cream of the crop in lending, servicing, investing and real estate,” Magazine Editor Sarah Wheeler said. Frazier led Mason-McDuffie’s transition to paperless transactions and has brought a wide range of technology solutions designed to make loan officers more productive. The Top Tier coaching and selling program is backed with robust technology that includes a web interface that seamlessly connects with any device. He has described the firm as a media company providing mortgages.
 
Technology
 
As the market continues to shift towards home purchases, success won’t be about rate, it will be about experience. Maxwell recently released a new industry paper, “Happy Borrowers: Achieving Financial Success with Customer Satisfaction,” which explores new research that highlights the three driving factors of borrower satisfaction and how it’s linked to financial return. A great read for all mortgage leaders and their teams.  Download your Free Copy Here.

Floify, the mortgage automation software for modern LOs, has been investing heavily in their popular apps and integrations to make their solution a more convenient, one-stop-shop for its 250,000+ users. Floify’s existing suite of apps and integrations includes Equifax’s Trended Credit*Hi-Lite and The Work Number, Hippo Insurance, ScoreReturn, AccountChek, and DocuSign, among others. Floify’s offerings provide everything from credit reporting and VOE/VOI, to credit repair services and homeowner insurance quoting – all easily accessible from the Floify dashboard. Floify’s upcoming LOS and CRM integrations are guaranteed to set the mortgage automation bar even higher. If you’ve been considering Floify, now is a great time to take advantage of this powerful mortgage solution. Don’t wait, experience how Floify has helped LOs close loans an average of 8x faster and increase annual loan volume by more than 11%. To see Floify in action and lock in your 25% discount, request a live demo.

 
Through the lens of the lenders: STRATMOR has released its 2017 LOS Technology Insight Survey report. “This is the only independent technology survey in the industry today that gathers lender data on how lenders feel about their LOS experience. More than 200 Independent and Bank-Owned/Affiliated mortgage companies, ranging in size from under $250 million to more than $10 billion in annual production, participated in this year’s survey.
 
“Two years ago, STRATMOR launched its first LOS Technology Insights Survey with one goal: offer lenders much needed, non-vendor-provided data on the loan origination systems at work in the mortgage marketplace,” says Lisa Springer, STRATMOR CEO. “This information is vital to lenders considering the procurement of a new LOS or other mortgage technology, those assessing the capabilities of their existing mortgage technology relative to competing systems, and those lenders—in the context of Mergers & Acquisitions transactions—assessing the capability and value of the buyer’s or seller’s technology.”
 
“STRATMOR expanded this year’s survey to capture more feedback on vendor support, adoption of Digital Mortgage technology, opinions on cybersecurity and considerations of the Consumer Direct Channel. “The vendors are very aware of this report, and are definitely paying attention, says Springer. “They want to improve their systems and they want to hear what their clients have to say.”
 
STRATMOR reports that for the third year in a row, Ellie Mae — Encompass is the clear leader with 32.39 percent lender share. LendingQB with 14.55 percent and Mortagagebot with 9.39 percent round out the top three based on overall survey participation. To purchase this comprehensive LOS technology report, contact STRATMOR Group through its website: STRATMOR Tech Insight Survey.”
 
In the vendor space, LoanLogics announced Craig Riddell has been promoted to EVP, chief business officer. Riddell will be responsible for establishing and developing ongoing relationships with clientele, growing the company’s LoanHD AppQ Network of data services and integration partners, as well as overseeing the LoanLogics’ account management and consulting services teams.
 
Advice for those in the industry
 
I asked people of color and women in the industry about their early careers, and appreciate the time they spent responding. Others have chimed in as well. I will happily circulate more responses if you care to write, and have more already to publish. “What do you think the best advice you can give women starting out in the mortgage industry?” or “What is the boldest move you made that helped advance your career?” or “What do you wish someone would have told you about being successful in this industry?” 
 
I heard from Gregory Sher, the Chief Business Development Officer for NFM Lending. “I believe most women to be more practical, grounded and long-term thinkers than men. With this in mind, the shift in requirements necessary to get in to this business has laid the kind of stable foundation that has and will continue to attract more women. In other words, the “wild, wild west” that this business use to be didn’t appeal to as many women as men. Prior to the meltdown and subsequent restructuring of our industry, anyone could get in…and often male bullies would strong-arm their way to the top bringing their buddies with them. Now that there is more structure and qualification involved in the process of entering the mortgage business – more women are and will continue to gravitate towards the industry. At NFM Lending, many of our most powerful influencer’s and top producers are women. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
 
Mickey Schilling, SVP and Mortgage Division Manager of First Landmark Bank, answered the questions. “What do you think the best advice you can give women starting out in the mortgage industry? Be visible, volunteer, and always be ready to take on the next project. Do not pass up an opportunity to gain more experience, even if you’re not sure you meet all the requirements to take on the test.”
 
“What is the boldest move you made that helped advance your career? I took a step back in my career both financially and in responsibility and one that was not in sales to gain more information on the backroom part of the industry. Learning about products, the GSE’s, Investor relations, pricing, etc., gave me another experience layer which then propelled my career to where I am today. My advice is to younger women growing their career in the mortgage industry is do not be afraid to take a position slightly outside your comfort zone.
 
“What do you wish someone would have told you about being successful in this industry? Take more risks sooner on. You may not think you’re ready, but you can always learn along the way.”
 
Capital markets
 
Another day, another flattening of the yield curve. The difference between the yield on the 2-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury has decreased than 70 basis points in the last year. Gradually some are using the “recession” word – in the past sometimes the result of a flat yield curve. But Goldman Sachs expects that four rate hikes will take place in 2018 due to a strong economy. Place your bets! For the day, the 2s10s spread narrowed five basis points to 52 bps while the 2s30s spread contracted six basis points to 90 bps.
 
In other exciting news, Jay Powell’s nomination to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen cleared the Senate Banking Committee. There are no concerns about Mr. Powell’s ability to be confirmed by the full Senate. Factory orders for October showed that business spending is increasing to help drive stronger GDP growth, and the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index showed that business activity in the non-manufacturing sector is still expanding, but at a somewhat slower rate that is still consistent with 3.0%+ real GDP growth.
 
In Mortgage Land, near Candy Land in the toy aisle, mortgage prices did well relative to Treasury prices – a good thing. The 10-year note price improved nearly .250 to yield 2.36% while agency MBS prices improved nearly .125.
 
This morning we’ve seen last week’s residential applications (+4.7%, refis +9%, purchases +2%), as well as the ADP employment report (+190k, as expected). Also out was Q3 (final) productivity (3%, unchanged) and unit labor costs (surprisingly down). After the numbers rates are down versus last night: the 10-year is yielding 2.32% and MBS prices are better by .250.
 
 
As I mentioned yesterday, paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous. (Part 2 of 2.)
10. In filling out an application, where it says, “In case of emergency, notify…." I answered, “a doctor.”
11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
13. I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
15. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
16. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
17. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder to find one now.
 
 
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” 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 2017 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.)