LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Jan. 11: LO, AE jobs; digital white paper, bid tape product; Fitch rates Cascade; shutdown lending update

January 11, 2019

E Street Band (think Bruce Springsteen) aficionados know that today is Clarence Clemons birthday (he would have been 77). Music changes, although other things can go on, and on, and on, with little change (like an actual 5-day work week). Keeping with the musical theme, did you know this year is the 50th anniversary of the formation of ZZ Top? Yes, the same three have been playing together for many decades – amazing! One thing that is always changing, however, is the economy. News from companies worldwide is painting a darkening picture of the economy’s outlook. About a half-dozen of the biggest corporations announced thousands of layoffs, downgraded profit forecasts, or abandoned projects on Thursday (yesterday) alone. And don’t forget the Federal workers not being paid today, some percentage of whom live paycheck to paycheck.
 
Employment
 
loanDepot is proud to announce that John Bianchi has been named to the organization’s leadership team as EVP, National Sales. Bianchi has 30 years of experience leading nationally-recognized sales organizations and in inspiring high-performance, customer-centric sales cultures. He’s widely considered to be a transformative leader and one who understands the needs of top and emerging producers. “I am very excited to partner with the sales organization and the ops, marketing and tech teams to create, deliver and execute a playbook unlike anything the industry has ever seen,” Bianchi shared. In his new role, Bianchi will be focused on creating market penetration strategies that will fuel individual producer, channel and Company growth. If you’re looking to join the industry’s leader in modern lending, contact Shane Stanton @ sstanton@loanDepot.com. To check out Bianchi’s full announcement, click here.
 
Join the best Brand in the business! BrandMortgage is fully independent and lending in AL, DC, FL, GA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN and VA. Brand is in search of seasoned and emergent loan officers across our entire footprint. Brand offers a digital loan platform with the full array of Fannie, Freddie and government lending products, and an extensive offering of portfolio programs including jumbo, super jumbo, construction perm, non-warrantable condo and bank statement programs, all in-house. BrandMortgage has a foundation of integrity, innovation and teamwork with a collaborative, results-driven approach, enabling originators to deliver exceptional service and successfully grow their business. To learn more about joining the Best Brand in Mortgage, email Gabe Santiago, Corporate Recruiter (678.226.7585).
 
SCL Mortgage, based in Colorado is expanding into Utah, Nevada, and Arizona and is looking for Mortgage Originators that want to make a difference in people’s lives. “If you are looking for a lender who can do all the conventional loan programs, as well as the new exploding NON-PRIME market, that’s SCL Mortgage. Leads Provided! We generate quality leads in house with our marketing and advertising programs – we do NOT buy generic leads that waste your time! Qualifications: Honesty, Integrity and hard work are the most important qualities to have. You must always do the right thing for the customer. You must possess the desire to make money. Successful Originators will make money at SCL Mortgage. You must have fun. If you are not having fun at what you do, then make a change. NMLS required. Contact us here or visit MySpecialMortgage.”
 
The Towne Family of Companies are pleased to announce seasoned mortgage veteran, Mark Janssen has been appointed as their CEO. Mark brings over 37 years’ experience in mortgage sales, operations, capital markets, servicing compliance and finance. “I am excited to take the helm of this established company and experienced team of senior leaders as we seek to expand our footprint nationally in both the TPO and Retail Channels” said Mark. Towne Mortgage Company is an established 37-year-old independent mortgage banker and servicer based in Troy, Michigan. Towne, as a licensed mortgage lender in 43 states, is looking to grow across all of its business channels nationally. Towne has diverse product offerings, a best in class back room, multiple delivery mechanisms all provided with a passion for customer service. Branch Manager, Loan Officer and Account Executive positions are available with competitive compensation packages including medical and 401K. Email Cassi Sluka.
 
Lender products and services
 
SimpleNexus is hosting its inaugural User Group Conference Feb 10-12, 2018 at Utah’s picturesque Snowbird Ski Resort. This conference provides a great opportunity for mortgage executives to learn from industry leaders on how to stay profitable in a down market. Conference sessions will cover topics including “Competing with Online Lenders,” “Using Technology to Recruit/Retain Top LO Talent,” “Mastering Referral Partner Opportunities,” and more. Attendees cap off the conference experience with a free ski excursion at Snowbird Resort. Rob Chrisman readers can receive a $150 registration discount by using the code CHRISMAN at checkout. Additional conference info can be found at SimpleNexus User Group 2019. If you are a mortgage executive wanting to thrive and succeed despite tough market conditions, you should seriously consider the SimpleNexus platform. With 20,00+ loan officers and 15 of the Top 25 retail lenders using SimpleNexus, the company is the industry leader in digital mortgage solution technology.
 
Triserv Appraisal Management Solutions has formed a strategic partnership with The Mortgage Collaborative, a fast-growing independent mortgage cooperative of banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers ranging in size from $200 million to over $5 billion in annual originations. “Our newly formed partnership with The Mortgage Collaborative is based on a mutual respect of values, alignment in strategic direction and the opportunity to have an impact on the financial outcomes of their member network,” said Joe Bryant, president of Triserv. “We focus on one simple motto: ‘provide incredible customer service and follow-up on every order’. This has been key to our phenomenal growth and high level of client satisfaction since inception.” “We are thrilled to have Triserv join our preferred partner network. Its industry reputation and company values align with our guiding principles of offering best-in-class products and services to our lender member network,” said Rich Swerbinsky, COO for The Mortgage Collaborative. 
 
BCG has released their first industry white paper of 2019 on the next wave of digital transformation in mortgage. The paper analyzes mortgage market conditions, details how many lenders are using digital solutions to establish differentiated value propositions, and provides initial results observed from new solutions by review data from Blend, a leading lending platform that processes more than 100,000 applications per month and is used by more than 125 lenders nationwide. The next generation of homebuyers wants a digital-first experience from end-to-end. The paper takes a close look at how digital solutions are poised to help lenders fight their way through tough times ahead. View the white paper here.
 
In broker news, “UWM is dropping its pricing, making its pricing more competitive than ever. For years, United Wholesale Mortgage has topped mortgage brokers’ lists in a variety of categories, but pricing wasn’t necessarily one of them – until now. UWM has dropped its rates across the board, for conventional, government and jumbo, giving the nation’s No. 1 wholesale lender the best pricing in the country, to go along with its leading client service, technology, turn times and partnership tools. UWM has removed all state adjustments and most Loan Level Price Adjustments (LLPA), as well. Now, not only will mortgage brokers enjoy the fastest and easiest experience by working with UWM, they’ll also obtain the best rates for their customers.” To learn more, visit www.UWM.com/have-it-all.
 
Congratulations
 
In manufactured housing news, Fitch Ratings has assigned Cascade Financial Services, owned by affiliates of Centerbridge Partners, a primary Manufactured Housing (MH) specialty servicing rating of ‘RPS3-‘; Outlook Stable. Cascade is the only MH-focused servicer rated by Fitch. “The rating reflects Cascade’s modest but established position within the MH sector and recent portfolio growth, its experienced management team, adequate risk control framework and technology upgrades. The rating also considers the company’s financial condition.” Arizona’s Cascade, licensed in 48 states, is a residential mortgage loan origination and servicing company focused on MH. (In addition to handling its own retail originations Cascade also does third-party subservicing, and its total servicing portfolio had 18,680 loans as of Dec. 31, 2018, which totaled $1.3 billion in unpaid principal balance.)
 
Shutdown
 
As announced on December 22, 2018, during a lapse in government funding, Ginnie Mae will continue to remit timely payment of principal and interest to investors. There will also be no disruption of essential functions, including the granting of commitment authority and support for continued issuance of Ginnie Mae-guaranteed Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) and Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (REMICs).
 
Freddie Mac published Bulletin 2019-1 to provide temporary selling and servicing requirements to assist borrowers who may have been impacted by the federal government shutdown. These temporary requirements are effective immediately and will automatically terminate once the federal government resumes full operations.
 
Fannie Mae issued a Lender Letter to provide temporary guidance on selling and servicing policies that may be impacted by the federal government shutdown that began on Dec. 22, 2018.
 
USDA has announced it will not issue commitments during a partial government shutdown, despite rumors of companies funding these loans. Rural Housing Service (RHS) loans that have a valid Conditional Commitment in effect as of the date of closing are eligible for closing/funding.
 
Despite the government shutdown, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the NFIP program will resume the sale, renewal, and monetary endorsements for flood insurance policies. This update in policy treats the NFIP program as operational since December 21, 2018, without interruption.
 
During the government shutdown, Fifth Third is temporarily suspending the requirement for Tax Transcripts. Once the shutdown ends, Fifth Third will obtain the transcripts after purchase for impacted loans. If issues are discovered upon receipt of the transcripts, loans may be subject to repurchase.
 
Due to the partial Federal Government shutdown, Plaza is temporarily suspending the requirement for tax transcripts on all agency, government, and our Preferred Purchase Jumbo (PPJ) loan programs. Non-Agency Jumbo (with the exception of PPJ), Non-QM and Second Lien programs must adhere to the program guidelines with respect to obtaining tax transcripts prior to funding. Plaza will continue to require a signed 4506-T in accordance with program guidelines. Plaza will continue to close and fund both forward and HECM loan transactions. FHA is operating with limited resources but new FHA case numbers and the Credit Alert Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS) will continue to be issued in FHA Connection.
 
Capital markets
 
MCT has improved the accuracy of indicative pricing for lender clients in time for year-end mark-to-market pipeline valuations, as part of an ongoing collaboration with leading investors. Lenders using MCT’s loan pipeline management software, MCTlive!, received bid tape pricing at the loan level on their open pipeline in year-end mark-to-market reports, a major improvement over the rate sheet and direct trade pricing typically used for this purpose and the first step in addressing a recent crisis in derivative asset pipeline valuation. “This year-end reporting is the first-time loan-level bid tape pricing has been made available to lenders on their open pipeline. We’re proud to provide more accurate derivative asset accounting to our clients and look forward to the next stages of this ongoing initiative to improve indicative pricing,” said Phil Rasori, COO of MCT. Read more about bid pricing on open loan pipelines and the associated upcoming client-exclusive webinar.
 
Cleveland Fed President Mester said the economy is "in a really good spot" and that the Fed could pause in hiking rates if inflation doesn’t pick up. Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Kaplan said the Fed should not "take any further action on interest rates" until it gets a clearer picture of where the economy is going, and he would be fine if the Fed did not do anything "in the first couple of quarters of this year." At the December meeting, Fed officials projected two rate hikes for this year. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said yesterday he expects rate hikes to continue, but he added that the Fed can show some patience before resuming rate hikes. And Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said he does not rule out changes to the pace of balance sheet reduction in the event of a slowdown.
 
The bond markets? Steady as she goes this week. The U.S. 10-year closed Thursday unchanged yielding 2.73%. Some attention was directed at a dull update on trade talks between China and the United States from China’s Ministry of Commerce, which claimed the “communication was good and the two sides have agreed to remain in contact.” That report came as the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials have blocked some exports from Huawei’s unit located in the Santa Clara Valley.
 
Fed Chairman Jay Powell gave remarks that were similar to comments made last week in which he reiterated that monetary policy is not on a pre-set path and that the number of rate hikes in 2019 will depend on the FOMC’s outlook. Chairman Powell once again said that current inflation readings give the Fed the ability to be patient and flexible, adding the Fed would like to return the balance sheet to a "more normal" level. He did concede that the Fed does not know what that exact level will be once quantitative tightening ends. Jobless claims from yesterday fit the recent narrative that the labor market has held up fine despite the growing concerns about the economy slowing.
 
With the December budget statement postponed due to the partial government shutdown, December CPI is the only U.S. release today. Expected -.1% for the month, it was, and +1.9% for the year, it was indeed +1.9%. Real average weekly earnings were +.7% in December Friday starts with rates little changed from yesterday: agency MBS prices are +.250 and the 10-year is currently yielding 2.70 percent.
 
 
 
PARACHUTE CLUB (Warning: Rated R. Don’t read if easily offended. Thank you to RB for this one.)
Yesterday my daughter e-mailed me, again, asking why I didn’t do something useful with my time. Like sitting around the pool and drinking wine isn’t a good thing?
Talking about my "doing-something-useful" seems to be her favorite topic of conversation.
She is "only thinking of me," she said, and suggested I go down to the Senior Center and hang out with the fellas.
So, I did and when I got home, decided to play a prank on her. I sent her an e-mail saying that I had joined the Senior Parachute Club.
She replied, "Are you nuts? You’re 76 years-old and now you’re going to start jumping out of airplanes?"
I told her that I even had a Membership Card and e-mailed a copy to her.
Immediately, she telephoned me and yelled, "Good grief, Dad, where are your glasses?! This is a membership to a Prostitute Club, not a Parachute Club."
"Oh man, am I in trouble," I said, "I signed up for five jumps a week!"  The line went dead.
Life as a Senior Citizen isn’t getting any easier, but sometimes it can be fun.
 
 
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, “Low Down Payments Can Help Borrowers AND Lenders.” 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 hundreds of 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 2019 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.)