LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Feb. 10: Lender sought by fund, servicing mgt. job; appraisal trends & updates; primer on stock market moves vs. bonds

February 10, 2017

The stock market is not the economy. That’s a simple financial truth, but it is hard to keep in mind during rallies or sell-offs. Especially when mainstream press seems to forget it. More on stock & bond prices several paragraphs down.
 
In servicing job news, Northpointe Bank is looking for a qualified individual to join its management team within the Mortgage Loan Servicing department. Primarily focused on mortgage lending, Northpointe, recognized as one of the top performing banks in the country, is a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae approved lender and the candidate must have extensive experience with the intricacies of servicing that each government agency has. If interested, please forward a resume to Sheri DuChemin, VP Human Resources, Northpointe Bank (616-974-8490).
 
An investment firm with $3 billion in assets under management is looking for acquisition opportunities in the residential retail origination channel. The firm has an experienced mortgage leadership team and is deploying significant long-term permanent capital in the mortgage space by building a portfolio of autonomously operated mortgage originators and complementary mortgage related businesses. The firm brings value-add activities to its portfolio companies through enhanced secondary execution, warehouse lending, operational/financial support and seeks to eliminate “de-motivating” factors for owners that occur in traditional M+A transactions, including lack of access to capital for growth, bureaucracy and change in culture. The ideal candidate companies are distributed retail originators producing more than $500 million per year in annual originations, have existing agency approvals, and be owned & operated by an individual looking for additional capital to expand their business. Retained servicing is a plus. Confidentiality is critical, and interested parties (principals only please) should send me a note for more information about the opportunity. (Please excuse delays in response due to travel.)
 
In personnel & hiring news, American Pacific Mortgage Corporation (APM), a top-15 independent mortgage bank, has promoted Michael Pankow to Executive Vice President of National Production. "Because of his standing in supporting our position in the market, I am confident that Michael will help drive this organization forward with the goals of making our branch managers and originators look good and helping create an extraordinary experience for our consumers,” stated Bill Lowman, CEO of APM. "I am extremely honored for the opportunity to serve APM in this role. I am deeply committed to supporting our branch managers and loan officers with the culture and resources to provide a unique and great customer experience for our borrowers,” Pankow said. Join a team that has been voted as one of the best places to work and earned the distinction as a leading mortgage company by producers year after year per Scotsman Guide & Mortgage Executive Magazine. Visit www.apmortgage.com/join today. NMLS #1850. Equal Housing Opportunity Lender.
 
And here’s some good news! Banc of California, Inc. announced that the Special Committee of its Board of Directors has received the final report of the independent investigation into previously disclosed blogger allegations. The report concludes that there was no violation of law and that Jason Galanis had no indirect or direct control or undue influence over the Company. As you recall, in October an anonymous blog post raised questions about related party transactions and other issues with respect to the Company. In response to these allegations, the Board formed a Special Committee which commenced a process to identify and engage an independent law firm to review the allegations.
 
The Special Committee retained WilmerHale, a law firm with no prior relationship with the Banc of California, to conduct an independent investigation to address certain issues raised by the blog post, and items identified by the Special Committee, as well as other questions raised by an auditor. WilmerHale has made a final report to the Special Committee and KPMG and has confirmed its earlier conclusion that the inquiry has not found any violation of law.
 
All of these companies know a thing or two about evaluating collateral and appraisals. Change is afoot in the appraisal business as the industry strives to alter the process for becoming an appraiser, as there are 50 states with a myriad number of rules and restrictions. Stay tuned on that, but in the meantime, let’s see what various lenders and investors have been doing regarding appraisal & collateral changes and assessing storm damage.
 
The NAR’s quarterly survey of mortgage lenders came out and problems with appraisers (or lack thereof) dominate the headaches. Over half of all respondents reported issues in this area, with 11% characterizing them as significant. One problem is the lack of new entrants, however 28% of lenders won’t accept an appraisal done by a trainee, and 44% require direct supervision of all aspects performed by a trainee. Non-QM lending fell slightly during the quarter, however investor demand for the product is rising. Rising rates are expected to have some effect on purchase demand, however there is such tight supply that it shouldn’t affect volumes overall. 
 
Some believe that the appraiser shortage is clogging up the system, at least until volumes sank. There were 2000 fewer appraisers in 2016 versus 2015, and the average age is 53. Many are looking to retire, and the pipeline of new appraisers is shrinking. Regulatory challenges have largely caused the problem, and the industry is looking for ways to attract new blood into the industry, via waiving the degree requirement and shortening the number of apprentice hours required. The ones that remain however have so much work that they don’t have the time to train anyone. 
 
The newest update to the Fannie Mae Selling Guide includes appraisal policies related to property inspection by an appraiser trainee, appraisal adjustments for sales concessions, and comps in new projects or subdivisions. It also provides updated guidelines for confidentiality of information and data breach, changes to seller/servicer financial eligibility requirements and removes duplicative content in the Selling Guide and Servicing Guide.
 
Fannie Mae Limited Reviews are now permitted for condominiums under the Wells Fargo High Balance Conforming Loan Program for Prior Approval Loans. In addition, Wells Fargo Funding Solar Panel System Approval Request (Exhibit 9) has been updated to no longer require the two most recent solar billing statements if the agreement is a Power Purchase Agreement.
 
The SunWest Mortgage disaster area policy is as follows: For loans submitted with an appraisal dated on or before the incident period end date or for those submitted without an appraisal, Sun West will require an interior and exterior inspection prior-to-funding or purchase of any loans with subject properties that are determined to be at risk. The inspection must verify that the property is sound, habitable and in the same condition as when it was appraised.
 
NewLeaf issued the following information regarding active loans in the pipeline: Because of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Straight-Line Winds occurring in Georgia from January 21, 2017 (incident start date) through January 22, 2017(incident end date), the President issued a federal disaster declaration on January 26, 2017 for the following counties: Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Turner and Wilcox. All subject properties in the areas impacted by the disaster require evidence that the subject sustained no damage from the identified disaster. If the subject property is located in an impacted area, with a completed appraisal dated prior to the incident start date, a 1004D re-inspection completed by the Appraiser must certify that the property is free from the applicable natural disaster damage.
 
Per FAMC’s Correspondent Lending Bulletin, effective immediately, a buyer will be allowed to assume the seller’s flood insurance policy and retain the same rates provided the loan is not a construction loan and the policy states it is transferrable. Please review the updates to the Flood Disaster Protection Act chapter of the manual for specific requirements.  Also, FAMC has updated its guidelines to align with FHA’s current 4000.1 policy, as announced in FHA INFO#16-64. The total amount of required repairs must not exceed $10,000 for HUD REO properties insurable with a repair escrow.
 
In response to the severe storms, tornadoes and Straight-line winds and in response to a Federal Disaster Declaration, M&T Bank will enforce the Disaster Re-Inspection Policy for all Georgia properties located in the counties of Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Turner, Wilcox. The same is true for Mississippi Counties of Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale, Perry.
 
Because of severe storms, tornadoes and straight-line winds in Georgia (Georgia Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Straight-line Winds (DR-4294 and DR-4297), FEMA declared a major disaster area. Loans scheduled to close in these areas may need to be delayed until confirmation of the property’s condition can be obtained. Plaza will reassess the collateral for these loans and prepare them for closing as soon as possible.
 
Quicken Loans released its monthly Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) and Home Value Index (HVI). The gap between homeowner estimates and appraiser opinions widened for the first time in six months. On average, appraised values were 1.33 percent less than what homeowners estimated in December, per the National HPPI. The gap between the appraisal and homeowner estimates widened slightly since the previous month when appraiser opinions were 1.00 percent lower than homeowner expectations. This widening of opinions between homeowner and appraiser is a reversal of the narrowing trend that dominated the second half of 2016 as homeowner and appraiser opinions had been moving steadily closer.
 
The average appraisal values fell 1.19 percent from November to December, per the National HVI, but increased 3.85 percent compared to the previous December. This growth, however, is a slower pace than the 5.28 percent annual increase in November. Appraised values showed strongest annual growth in the West, while the Midwest had the slowest gains.
 
The divergence between the opinions of buyers / sellers and appraisers isn’t new. According to Quicken loans, appraised values came in about 1.3% lower than owner expectations in November. Interestingly, appraised values fell in November, while house prices (at least per the home price indices) have been rising. That said, appraisal values did increase almost 4% YOY, however that is much lower than the 6% or so home price appreciation we have been seeing in the other indices. That said, since appraisals use historical comparisons, some lag is to be expected.
 
The markets
 
The stock and bond markets do not have to move in opposite directions. Heck, just look at how both bond and stock prices both improved throughout the 80’s, 90’s, and into this century. Both incorporate future expectations. Typically, stock market moves indicate investor’s genuine hopes or anxieties about the future – or day trader’s hopes or anxieties about the future. But those hopes or anxieties have surprisingly little to do with the current state of the American economy.
 
Often problems in China are blamed when our stock market heads south. But exports to China are less than 1% of our gross domestic product. So Chinese problems may squeeze a few companies like Apple, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut), and Iowa farmers, most American companies would barely notice it. And the flow of goods we import from China is unlikely to be affected by any Chinese downturn at all.
 
To say that the stock market isn’t the economy doesn’t mean that stock market crisis can’t become contagious; they can dampen the “animal spirits” of managers and consumers, leading them to cut back on investment and spending. Stock prices do have some impact on consumer spending (the richer consumers feel, the more willing they are to spend). Still, market moves need to severe and long-lasting to make a real difference. The 1987 crash, for example, saw stocks drop more than twenty-two percent in a single day. Yet it had no measurable impact on corporate investment, and only a short-lived effect on consumer spending.
 
Turning to the bond market and interest rates, plenty of NY bond traders stayed home Thursday due to the storm and we began with treasury yields modestly higher vs. Wednesday’s close as risk assets (e.g., stocks) were poised for a positive open. Not much changed throughout the day and the new 10-year note closed 1/2 point in price lower to yield 2.40% while 5-year T-notes and agency MBS price declined about .250 in price.
 
This morning we’ve had January’s import prices: +.4%, a bit less than the prior month, and up 3.7% over the year. Coming up is the University of Michigan Sentiment figures. Hopefully it will be a quiet trading day, and we start it with the 10-year yielding 2.42% and agency MBS prices worse about .125.
 
 
On her first day at the senior complex, the new manager addressed all the seniors pointing out some of her rules.
"The female sleeping quarters will be out-of-bounds for all males, and the male dormitory to the females. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time."
She continued, "Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60.  Being caught a third time will cost you a fine of $180.  Are there any questions?"
At this point, a crusty old retired loan officer stood up and asked: "How much for a season pass?”
 
 
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, “Are You Sure that Rates are Going Higher?” 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.)