LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Feb. 21: AE jobs, new LO training white paper; product & vendor news; post-merger psychology; Ocwen back in CA

February 21, 2017

Through the wonders of modern air travel, I find myself in Miami. But everywhere, in front of the grocery stores, in truly exciting news, are reminders that it’s Girl Scout Cookie season. Yes, 200,000,000 packages every year made by two companies. Although many view this as a sign that March Madness will soon be here, or that baseball season is in the offing, they have their own season. Did you know Thin Mints are vegan? And those TM freeze well – buy a dozen boxes and throw them in the freezer for the summer – dinner party guests will be astounded.
 
In expansion & job news, First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation (FGMC), is coming off a record year, and sights are now set on making 2017 an even bigger year by growing its TPO platform (yet again) – all in conjunction with celebrating its 30th Anniversary! The lender recently named NanEtte Epperson as its new National Wholesale Sales Director—a clear sign that FGMC is seeking to renew and aggressively grow this channel in a big way. FGMC is seeking Wholesale Area Managers focused on brokers (nationwide) and small mortgage bankers funding non-delegated production. Interested candidates can send resumes to NanEtte Epperson, National Wholesale Sales Director, TPO Production. FGMC is also seeking Correspondent Account Executives nationwide who are focused on delegated and non-delegated production from mortgage bankers. If you are interested in joining the correspondent sales team or becoming an approved seller, please contact Tom Davis, FGMC’s National Correspondent Sales Director.
 
Open Mortgage, a nationwide residential mortgage lender, is looking for Wholesale/Non-Delegated Account Executives to join our team. Headquartered in Austin, TX, "Open Mortgage is hiring talented, experienced AEs in key markets across the country. Open Mortgage offers a full product line and dedicated operational teams to provide our business partners with fast, efficient, and personalized service. Our business model is built on proven practices that emphasizes superior customer service and results in repeat business from our clients. Join our team, grow with us, and see why our motto is ‘Where Better is Possible.’ If interested contact Kevin McKnight (214.616.8594).
 
Are you executing the Top 3 Steps for Managing a Rookie? Find out by downloading this complimentary white paper from XINNIX, The Mortgage Academy. Written by XINNIX CEO Casey Cunningham and featured in The Mortgage Professional’s Handbook, this powerful resource equips you with the insights you need to turn your new talent into some of the top producing members of your team. Ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? XINNIX is rolling out its newly-enhanced LEADERSHIP program on March 8th. Contact us now to sign up and learn more about how this incredible program can transform your business, and help you achieve your goals for 2017!
 
Product news?
 
Parkside Lending is pleased to announce the release of HomeReady. This FNMA product allows access to mortgages for creditworthy, low- to moderate- income borrowers who were previously underserved in the marketplace. Key highlights include lower down payment requirements, flexible income from non-traditional sources, and reduced MI coverage for FICOs 680 or higher that can be removed before the life of the loan. Combined with their recently expanded FHA guidelines, adding HomeReady to their product mix allows Parkside to bring their excellent service experience to that many more borrowers. Please contact your Parkside Account Executive for more information or sales@parksidelending.com.
 
As of Friday, February 10, Flagstar made significant enhancements to its Second Mortgage products. The program will now allow applicants to obtain financing up to 89.99% combined loan-to-value (CLTV). A Flagstar Second Mortgage can be paired with a conventional, agency-eligible Flagstar first mortgage product to avoid the mortgage insurance requirements of a single loan transaction above 80% LTV or an alternative to jumbo financing.
 
Effective immediately, NewLeaf Wholesale updated its NewLeaf 1 & NewLeaf 2 Conventional Hybrid ARM guidelines.
 
Sierra Pacific spread the word of some of its Freddie Mac program changes. Businesses owned LESS than 5 years will require 2 years of business AND personal tax returns (currently, its only year of tax returns AND one full year of being self-employed). Use of business bank statements as verification of a business’s existence when no other 3rd party verification exists.
The use of handwritten paystubs will be allowed with additional requirements. The use of year end paystubs and W2 transcripts in lieu of W2’s will be allowed. Allowing the use of income up to 60 days AFTER the note date (example: promotion, raise, new contract, etc.). Income history and stability LESS than 12 months may no longer be acceptable (example: recent college graduate or returning mother to the work force). Verification of a business will ONLY BE required when that income is used to qualify. Clients should contact Sierra Pacific for full details.
 
Ditech Approved Wholesale Clients should note the DU Refi Plus Fixed High Balance and DU Refi Plus Fixed Texas Equity products will now offer 10 to30 year loan terms in annual increments.
 
Angel Oak now offers a 12-month personal bank statement program.
 
Mountain West Financial, Inc. has temporarily suspended the origination of all NHF Sapphire programs in all states. Until further notice, new originations of the programs will not be accepted. MWF is actively monitoring the situation surrounding these products and will update its position as new information arises.
 
HomeXpress is offering loans up to 1.5MM. Interested in details? Contact Andrew Goldthorpe.
 
As detailed last week in this commentary, Finance of America is launching its new division, Finance of America Commercial which will provide single-property, portfolio and short-term bridge loans to real estate investors across the country. Jordan Capital Finance CEO Mark Filler will serve as president of the new business unit. Jordan Capital SVP Ben Fertig and B2R SVPs Joe Hullinger and Matt Soto will continue to lead sales efforts and oversee operations for the organization.
 
Post-Merger or Acquisition Psychology
 
A fair number of lenders, both depository and non-depository, merged or were acquired in 2016, and 2017 is expected to rival it. Owners are aging, tired of the maze of rules and regulations keeping them from helping their borrowers, or tired of watching costs mount. So much thought and work is put into planning for a merger or acquisition, but how much is put into what happens afterward? Do half the LOs go to lunch and not come back after the acquisition?
 
I received an e-mail from Jeri Yoshida, founder of Yosh Communications (provider of PR & marketing for the mortgage industry) who is moderating a panel at the MBA’s Mergers and Acquisitions Workshop this week in Dallas. Regarding M&A communications, Ms. Yoshida observes, “Loss is almost inevitable if a company doesn’t control M&A messaging. Internal and external communications are one of the most overlooked aspects of M&A transactions. Ineffective communication increases the risk of employee turnover, reduced productivity and weakened client and partner relationships. Most companies communicate too little or too late, or they don’t communicate at all. They need to take control of communication with messaging that stabilizes the organization and establishes the company culture moving forward. Silence is like a petri dish for rumors, which tend to undermine employee commitment and morale.
 
“Even though mergers and acquisitions look attractive in theory to management and investors, the reality of their execution is that organizations are composed of employees who generally view such organizational changes as a threat. Accordingly, many merger and acquisition (M&A) deals have inherent retention issues resulting from negative attitudes often felt by employees, including, but not limited to: uncertainty about the future organizational direction, feelings of loss of previous organizational culture, uncertainty about personal job security, perceptions of lack of leadership credibility, feelings of confusion due to a lack of communication, survivor guilt due to downsizing of other employees, and perceptions of increased job stress and workload.
 
“In essence, employees often lose trust in their organizations and feel betrayed by leadership. Consequently, in an attempt to regain control over individual job situations, many employees begin to contemplate ‘jumping ship’ as the merger or acquisition is implemented. During a merger or acquisition, however, it is essential to keep employee turnover low for two significant reasons. First, business continuity is key to realizing the benefits of a merger or acquisition. And second, there can be large financial implications from the cost of hiring new employees, the loss of knowledge/ intellectual capital, and the loss of client relationships.” Thank you, Jeri!
 
Speaking of large financial implications, Ocwen will pay $225 million to settle allegations it violated mortgage servicing rules. The $198 million in refund and loan forgiveness money goes to Californians over the next three years, and settles & terminates the January 2015 Consent Order between Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC and the State of California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) – without Ocwen admitting any wrongdoing. The DBO has lifted its prior restriction on Ocwen’s ability to acquire mortgage servicing rights associated with California properties. It also terminated the engagement of the independent auditor Fidelity, which was previously in place under the prior Consent Order in California.
 
What’s new with vendors out there?
 
Lendsnap allows lenders and brokers to automate document collection for all the borrowers they work with whether they need conventional, non-agency, or FHA/VA financing. We gather original bank statements, W2s, paystubs, tax returns, and more, directly from the source institutions delivering the actual statements to our clients. Just ask our customers what they think: "Lendsnap has improved our signed application conversion almost overnight because of its speed and ease of use. Once clients send us the documents and we can deliver a full Pre-Approval, they are more likely to stay with us and use us to satisfy their mortgage needs." – Jared, Access Mortgage Partners. Click here to schedule a demo or email Mike Romano to learn more.
 
eValuation ZONE Inc., a business specializing in real estate appraisal management services, received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Development Center- Chicago, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).  “We are thrilled to receive WBE Certification and honored to be a part of this wonderful community of women-owned business. The Certification brings many great opportunities for our company, opening doors to compete in both public and private sector projects,” commented Inesa Tomaszewski, president.
 
Equator, a default software solutions for servicers, real estate agents and vendors, released its end-of-year performance metrics. Equator’s REO, short sale and loss mitigation modules have now processed transactions totaling more than $315 billion since its inception with more than 2.2 million distressed properties sold to date. 2016 saw the launch of new Equator SaaS and data services aimed at helping Equator customers improve their operational efficiency. Equator increased its nationwide network of active real estate agents to over 60,000 and unveiled a new data-infused product called Equator Agent Elite.
 
Interest rates & business days
 
That’s right, yesterday was a holiday. Some lenders were open yesterday, some offered floating holidays (mixed up with others days like Veteran’s Day, the day after Thanksgiving, etc.), and others took it off entirely. Yesterday bond market was closed, no funds were wired, no fundings took place, bulk trades executed, and the IRS, Federal Reserve, & Social Security Administration Service Centers were closed. And yesterday is not considered a specific business day for purposes of Closing Disclosure delivery/waiting period or rescission timeline calculations.
 
Ahead of yesterday (looking back to the markets on Friday), not much happened. Investors are still hopeful that fiscal stimulus and tax cuts are forthcoming – remember the Laffer Curve telling us that with tax cuts comes more money, with more money comes more spending, and with more spending comes economic activity. Number-wise, on Friday the 10-year’s price rallied about .250 (and the yield closed at 2.43%) whereas the 5-year note and agency MBS prices improved about .125.
 
And now we’re into Tuesday already! And it’s a light week for economic news, with little of substance scheduled for today. Tomorrow we’ll have the MBA’s read on applications for last week, along with Existing Home Sales and the FOMC meeting minutes. Thursday holds Initial Jobless Claims, the FHFA (overseer of Freddie and Fannie) House Price Index, and some other secondary reads on the economy. Friday the 24th we will see New Home Sales for January and a bunch of University of Michigan numbers of varying & questionable importance. We start the week with rates nearly unchanged: the 10-year is hovering around 2.45% and MBS prices are little changed versus Friday afternoon.
 
 
Last week Mike walked into a post office just before Valentine’s day, he couldn’t help noticing a middle-aged, balding man standing in a corner sticking "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. Then the man got out a bottle of Channel perfume from his pocket and started spraying scent over the envelopes.
By now Mike’s curiosity had got the better of him, and so I asked the man why he was sending all those cards. The man replied, "I’m sending out 500 Valentine cards signed, ‘Guess who?’"
"But why?" asked Mike.
"I’m a divorce lawyer," the man replied.
 
 
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.)