LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Feb. 17: Encompass job, product, appraisal news; events next week; FHA/NHF/Sapphire drama; SoFi, Altisource, Blackstone news

February 17, 2017

“There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control his pupils.” You think life is tough in teaching, or in mortgage banking? Try being the thimble in a monopoly set. You just got voted off the game. (Is it wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly?)
 
In appraisal news, MyAMC, a nationwide valuation services provider that offers a full range of residential products, including origination appraisals, post-closing QC, compliance audit, and AVM, will appear at the at Ellie Mae Encompass Experience 2017 Conference, Booth #215, highlighting all their latest integration into the Ellie Mae suite of products. MyAMC’s proprietary appraiser management software factors in distance, geographic competency, product competency, exclusionary lists, licensing status, and past performance – as well as Encompass Integration expanding the already feature-rich platform with current turn times provided by an Automated Pricing Engine and Robust QC customizable with lender’s business rules, and more. At Experience 2017, the exclusive conference for mortgage industry professionals, MyAMC will be one of the exhibitors displaying their full range of products. The Ellie Mae Encompass Experience 2017 Conference will be held at Wynn Las Vegas March 6-8. Do not miss the chance to have a live session with their representatives. Contact: Roy McGregor VP of Sales.
 
Do you (or someone you work with) have mad skills with Encompass? A national independent mortgage lender is looking for a creative and collaborative Encompass Administrator who is also detail-oriented and can think quickly on his/her feet. As the job title implies, this person will be responsible for the development, management, and configuration of the company’s loan origination system (LOS). The company requires at least one year advanced configuration and scripting experience with Encompass, and one year of end-user experience is also preferred. Fortunately, Encompass is commonly used in the industry. Other desired abilities include: product management experience, strong Microsoft Excel skills, VB.NET or C# programming experience, and at least one year experience with mortgage lending practices and processes. Please email me directly, including your resume, if you are interested in this position.
 
Green Bank is celebrating its 5th year in Warehouse Lending, and now is offering a correspondent channel. “2017 will bring fresh correspondent opportunities for hybrid 5&7 yr. IOs, the return of 80/20’s and Non-QM, bolstered by the ‘New Electronic Underwriting of Complex Tax Returns.’ Introduction of these new products will provide an answer to a significant pent-up demand from buyers in need of these new types of products.” To find out more on product and warehousing contact Stan Bomar –Director of Warehouse Finance at Green Bank.
 
In retail job news, Little Rock, AR based Bank of England Mortgage, a company that checks all the boxes for what top producers are looking for, is searching for individuals that want to take their career to the next level. “After a record setting 2016, we are seeking experienced regional managers in the Mid-West, Northeast and Texas areas to help us grow our existing branch network to new heights in 2017. If you have retail multi-branch recruiting and management experience, the customer service attitude of an account executive and desire to work for a progressive company committed to your success, please contact us today. (Bank of England Mortgage is a division of Bank of England, NMLS 418481. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. Equal Opportunity Employer. It is the policy of the Company to provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.)
 
Congrats to Tom Conklin! NewLeaf Wholesale has brought on the 35-year vet to lead the Sales Division in national growth and recruitment in expanding markets. “Tom’s energy infused, relationship based approach of business cultivation breeds trust, motivation and high level results for Clients and Team Members alike.” NewLeaf Wholesale is a division of Skyline Financial.
 
Training & events of note?
 
Get referrals from Facebook without begging or annoying your friends and followers. Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine on Thursday, February 23 at 2PM EST for a 45-Minute complimentary webinar, presented by The TBWS Group, about getting Facebook referrals without upsetting friends and family. “How many loan officers do you know that can say Facebook is a critical referral source? Very few I bet. Yet, per State of Inbound Marketing, 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical to their business. During this webinar you’ll get proven strategies to get social media referrals without selling. Company compliance doesn’t allow you to market on social media? That’s OK…that’ll be covered too. This might seem mind-boggling, but they’ll even share with you how to get compliance revved up about social media marketing.” Sign up for this complimentary webinar here.
 
“Don’t miss next week’s Dave Savage interview with LEIF BABIN a decorated former Navy SEAL officer and author of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. This is great leadership for loan officers and mortgage leaders. CLICK to sign up and be sure to watch with your team on Tuesday.
 
Also on Tuesday, February 21st, Mountain West Financial is providing a training webinar on Cyber Security tips.
 
Register for California MBA’s FREE Legal Issues Committee webinar on February 21st.
 
Time is running out to register for the Georgia Real Estate Fraud Prevention and Awareness Coalition (GREFPAC) 2017 Annual Fraud Prevention Conference at the Cobb Galleria on Tuesday, March 7th. Representatives from HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FBI will be joining Rachel Dollar and others to provide the latest updates on fraud, fraud trends and ethics. “Get exposure to excellent speakers at a bargain price plus eligible CE and Ethics credits. Lunch is included and parking is free. Also, only a couple of sponsorship opportunities remain. Visit our website to register for the conference or become a sponsor.”
 
Lender & regulator news
 
SoFi (Social Finance) is reportedly close to raising $500 million in fresh funds from an investor group led by Silver Lake & SoftBank.
 
Bloomberg reported that during an earnings call this week Blackstone Mortgage Trust plans to expand construction loan business. With plenty of undeployed equity at Blackstone, CEO Steve Plavin observed that it is a challenging environment for banks to compete and there is still demand from developers, and that BXMT has a unique opportunity. Banks “are not really in it” and BXMT wants to fill void. He believes that higher rates can produce a “very attractive ROI.”
 
At the other end of the spectrum shares of PHH Corp fell as much as 20% yesterday. Apparently, investors are disappointed it did not announce a sale on the investor/earnings conference call. KBW analyst Bose George says the earnings call "raised concerns about future expenses and the timeline to capital return" and wondered how much money PHH could lose over next couple of years. From the company’s perspective, it sees operating losses in its servicing segment until it hits a break-even in 2018, profitability in 2019.
 
And another stock took a tumble of over 20%. Headline earnings from Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS -22.2%) beat some forecasts, but the company suggests 2017 earnings will be much less than previously forecast. This week Altisource also disclosed that the CFPB is considering potential enforcement action over violations concerning certain technology services provided to Ocwen Financial. "Our biggest concern would be a compromising of the relationship between Ocwen and ASPS due to regulatory action," says Piper Jaffray’s bearish Kevin Barker.
 
Bloomberg’s Matt Scully writes, “Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA said the CFPB is weighing an enforcement action over mortgage technology services that the company provided to its former parent, Ocwen Financial Corp. Altisource received the warning in November and responded in December that it doesn’t believe an enforcement action is warranted, per a securities filing Thursday. The matter involves an alleged violation of federal law related to ‘certain technology services provided to Ocwen,’ the company said. Altisource said it’s ‘committed to resolving any potential concerns of the CFPB’ and premature to estimate any financial impact.” Remember that Ocwen, a mortgage servicing giant, spun off Altisource in 2009.
 
In FHA news, there is change afoot with the National Homebuyer Fund (NHF) highlighting the maze of overlapping state vs. federal rules governing lenders. Last Friday, FHA Headquarters staff started calling lenders to advise them of FHA’s concerns with the origination of loans using NHF programs. FHA has told lenders that the issue pertains to questions about NHF’s “not for profit” status and its eligibility to offer down payment assistance programs. Apparently in 20 counties in California, NHF is considered an instrument of the local government.
 
Respected consulting firm Potomac Partners noted, “This issue apparently stems from a HOC loan review that was then escalated to FHA Headquarters.  FHA’s management reviewed the transaction and apparently concluded that the NHF programs did not comply with the law (thereby precipitating the FHA phone calls to lenders). We understand that NHF obtained a legal opinion from a reputable law firm justifying their position, and NHF also sent an email to lenders on Monday night.”
 
NHF’s email said, “It has come to our attention that HUD has reached out to several NHF’s client lenders indicating that, under certain circumstances and depending upon the location of the underlying property, NHF’s DPA program loans may not be eligible for FHA insurance. This is surprising and we disagree with HUD’s position. We are reviewing this issue with HUD cooperatively and will report back on our progress soon."
 
Of course, any lender who originates this product should contact their FHA or HUD office with questions about the NHF program. Supposedly for loans in the pipeline, while FHA has told lenders that they will not be “punitive”, there is the risk of FHA requesting indemnification if the loans are reviewed.   
 
Lenders reacted. For example, Freedom Financial’s retail division was on top of it, and sent out, “The NHF Sapphire program was suspended on February 15th. Freedom does not want this suspension to affect borrowers in the active pipeline who need the Sapphire grant money to close their loan. Sapphire loans currently in the pipeline with an Encompass status of Initial Disclosures Finished or greater will be permitted to close. These loans must be registered with NHF and locked by the close of business Friday, February 17th. No new NHF registrations or locks will be accepted after Friday, February 17th.”
 
The Mighty Capital Markets
 
No one can reliably predict the future with precision. Any LO out there paying for rate forecasts should save their money – they’d learn just as much from asking the local used car dealer or contractor how business is. But there is a growing consensus among bond traders that US Treasury yields will experience a downswing before rising again. The prediction could change if inflation forecasts of about 2% turn out to be wrong.
 
In terms of the bond markets, which set interest rates, prices improved Thursday, and agency MBS prices improved relative to Treasury prices. ThomsonReuters observed that, “Of interest…as the noticeable shift in demand as 4.5% and 4% saw much more buying than 3%, which remain one of the largest components of the MBS Index.” The 10-year note hit a low yield of 4.44% but closed at 4.45% rallying almost .5 in price. The 5-year note and MBS prices improved about .250, depending on coupon and security.
 
Besides Leading Economic Indicators at 10AM ET there is no scheduled news today of any consequence, and although there is no early close ahead of Monday’s holiday (the bond markets are closed) things could get quiet after lunch Eastern time. We find rates better this morning: the 10-year is at 2.40% and agency MBS prices better by .250 vs. last night.
 
 
One morning, three Cajuns and three Yankees were in a ticket line at a train station. The three Northerners each bought a ticket and watched as the three Cajuns bought just one ticket.
“How are the three of you going to travel on only one ticket?” asked one of the Yankees.
“Watch and learn,” answered one of the boys from Louisiana.
All six boarded the train where the three Yankees sat down, but the three Cajuns crammed into a toilet together and closed the door.
Shortly after the train departed, the conductor came around to collect tickets. He knocked on the toilet door and said, “Ticket, please.”
The door opened just a crack and a single arm emerged with a ticket in hand. The conductor took it and moved on.
The Yankees saw this happen and agreed it was quite a clever idea. Indeed, so clever they decided to do the same thing on the return trip and save some money.
That afternoon when they got back to the station, they bought a single ticket for the return trip and watched, while to their astonishment, the three Cajuns didn’t buy even one ticket.
“How are you going to travel without a ticket?” asked one of the perplexed Yankees.
“Watch and learn,” answered the three Cajun boys in unison.
When they boarded the train, the three Northerners crammed themselves into a toilet and the three Cajuns crammed into another toilet just down the way. Shortly after the train began to move, one of the Cajuns left their toilet and walked over to the toilet in which the Yankees were hiding.
The Cajun knocked on the door and said, “Ticket, please.”
 
 
 
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.)