LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Jan. 19: LO jobs & new products; report from NEXT; lender & investor Freddie & Fannie changes roll on

January 19, 2018

As if we don’t have enough measures of housing and real estate prices, here’s another one. The RE/MAX National Housing Report tells us what most already knew: The median home price rose 8.1% year-over-year, with 50 of the report’s 54 markets posting increases. While we’re at it, and since people seem to like lists, LendingTree ranked the top 100 Most Competitive Homebuyer Markets based on the house hunters who are putting more money down, have high credit scores, and start loan shopping before home shopping. I’ll save you some time – 6 of the top 10 are in California, despite its 13% state income tax. And sorry Detroit, San Francisco, Phoenix, and many others. Amazon announced the final 20 cities for its 2nd headquarters: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County (MD), Nashville, Newark, New York, Northern VA, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Toronto, and Washington.
 
Products, employment, and promotions
 
Freddie Mac is Reimagining the Mortgage Experience to create a smarter, simpler, and less costly origination processWe’re using big data and advanced analytics to offer an automated alternative to an appraisal through our new automated collateral evaluation (ACE) for certain loans submitted through Loan Product Advisor, our next-generation automated underwriting system and the gateway to Loan Advisor Suite. As of Sept. 1, ACE is available for purchase and refi transactions. This means you can potentially shave 7-10 days off the time it takes for loans to close, and save your borrowers in some instances up to $300 to $700 on the appraisal fee (Source: Freddie Mac Strategic Delivery and lender feedback). Ready to learn more? Visit the Loan Advisor Suite web page.
 
Caliber Home Loans, Inc. understands the value that technology can add to the level of service for buyers, particularly millennials who are often buying a home for the first time. This tech-savvy group of home owners accounted for over 40% of Caliber customers in 2017 and contributed to our strongest year ever, with industry-leading annual growth and over $30 billion in purchase business. Caliber has invested in new technology to further simplify the mortgage process for borrowers, streamline our business for improved service and give our Loan Consultants a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In 2018, Caliber plans to continue our path of aggressive growth in purchase volume and are looking for Loan Consultants to join our national network for successful producers. Visit www.joincalibernow.com or email Jeremy DeRosa to upgrade your career to Caliber.”
 
Homespire Mortgage (formerly New America Financial Corporation), one of America’s fastest growing companies in 2017 as ranked by Inc. 5000, is proud to announce its latest expansion in North Carolina and Florida. In January 2018, Homespire Mortgage will open its first branch office in Raleigh, North Carolina under the leadership of Arch Williams, VP of Business Development for the Southeast. Arch will manage the expansion of the company’s presence into the NC, SC, and Southern VA. Homespire will also open its first branch office located in Tampa this month. Branch Partners Troy Borkowski and Erika Butler will provide management and oversight of all branch operations. “We are looking forward to our growth and to serving clients in this new territory. It is a privilege to help families make the dream of homeownership a reality and we look forward to investing in these communities” said COO Todd Sheinin. Since its founding in 2006, Homespire Mortgage has expanded its presence into 18 states and DC.
 
Stearns is gearing up to roll out an amazing digital advancement to our Wholesale team. This exciting release, combined with all the powerful recent enhancements in SNAP 2.0, will add another tool to your arsenal of customer-focused resources and take your business to the next level. Let’s be partners in productivity so you can get back to the things that matter most. Contact wholesaleleadership@stearns.com or visit stearnswholesale.com and be part of a better way.”
 
Flagstar Bancorp announced an expansion of its direct-to-consumer mortgage lending platform with the addition of a team headed up by Rocky Stubbs, who now has a SVP and director of Consumer Direct Lending title. Stubbs will lead Flagstar’s Michigan-based direct-to-consumer group, along with a team of 20 professionals who will operate from Dallas.
 
Fannie, Freddie, conventional conforming updates from lenders & investors
 
This is the third straight day of listing recent & persistent conventional conforming changes.
 
ditech Approved Correspondent Clients: be advised that all mortgage loans secured by a property located in the state of Maine, with a note date on or after January 1, the new Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac MERS Mortgage Assignment form, to assign such loans to MERS must be used. MERS on the Mortgage document is not acceptable.
 
AmeriHome announced that transactions in Fannie Mae’s affordable lending program, HomeReady, was eligible for purchase starting Tuesday, January 16. Its recent announcement included a corrected reference to “non-occupant borrower income” which states Accessory Unit, Boarder, and Non-Occupant Borrower Income Permitted.
 
The 1003 generated with an application date of December 19, 2017 or later, will include the new Fannie Mae Addendum for demographic information, also referred to as Government Monitoring Information (GMI) Addendum, instead of the Information for Government Monitoring purposes on page 3 of the 1003 per Mountain West Financial.
 
Effective December 15th Sun West began accepting lock requests per the new 2018 Conventional loan limits published by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sun West will require the loans to be underwritten and approved in the DU or LPA in accordance with the new loan limits.
 
Mortgage Solutions Financial has updated the conforming loan limits in Optimal Blue for 2018. Click here for updated loan limits.
 
ResMac B2B is now accepting increased loan limits to conform with Fannie and Freddie guidelines effective immediately.
 
FAMC Correspondent began registering the new higher loan amounts in early December. For loans that were locked but looking to take advantage of the new loan limits, a request must be submitted to the Lock Desk at secondary@franklinamerican.com. Standard pricing policy applies, which may result in a price change. If a lock has expired, worst-case pricing applies.
 
Citi Correspondent Lending has posted a new bulletin with policy updates and clarifications.
 
Citi had system updates in late December that will allow registration of a conforming loan up to the 2018 maximum conforming loan amount. As an interim solution prior to December 26th, clients could register new loans exceeding the former maximum loan limits at the 2017 maximum loan amount. Upon receipt and review of the loan file, Citi will update the loan amount according to the documents submitted. Loans registered prior to the system update were not purchased before 12/26/17.
 
The new Freddie Mac rental income requirements should be implemented immediately (as originally announced) for all pipeline loans. Current version guidance can be used if the loan is purchased by M&T no later than January 12th, 2018 (change). Be aware that this is much earlier than the prior cut-off date announced. Please monitor Freddie Mac loan pipelines accordingly, and ensure compliance with the new guidance.
 
PennyMac posted information regarding Student Loan and Contingent Liability Calculation Update alignment with Freddie Mac.
 
Lenders facing challenges in obtaining the Seller data and Closing Disclosure PDF from settlement agents and converting them to a viable format are being provided relief by the GSEs. To address the issue Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have announced, jointly, the following updates: Neither will require the Seller Closing Disclosure PDF in the case of Split Disclosures. However, the full set of Borrower data in the UCD XML will still be required. We will not mandate submission of Seller data before January 2019. Read announcement here.
 
Check out Fannie Mae’s final In Case You Missed It 2017 summary of Selling Guide updates, Lender Letters, and DU/Desktop Originator® release notes in an easy-to-follow table format. It includes a brief description of each communication as well as links to related resources.
 
NewLeaf Wholesale posted the following information about Fannie Mae’s update on borrower(s) frozen Credit: Freddie Mac and the GSEs HAVE NOT made this change and STILL REQUIRE that the Borrower unfreeze the credit and that the AUS be re-run.
 
The M&T product page for Fannie Mae HomeStyle has been updated to clarify that properties with accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are not permitted.
 
As of Tuesday, January 16th, transactions in Fannie Mae’s affordable lending program, HomeReady, will be eligible for purchase by AmeriHome.
 
ResMac has introduced RESEXPRESS for all files meeting the following criteria: Conventional 30 and 15-year fixed, minimum fico 680, purchase and refinance, primary residence, single family 1-unit attached and detached no condos, no self-employed borrowers. Contact ProductionSupport@ResMac.com with any questions. 
 
Freddie Mac announced its new eNote specification to help gain more traction in the eMortgage space. To allow sufficient time for testing, anticipate permitting delivery of the new format in Q2 of 2018. Read today’s eNote specification announcement for more details.
 
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (the GSEs) have been gathering industry feedback on the implementation timeline for the redesigned URLA and the automated underwriting system specifications. During this time, the Demographic Information Addendum was also updated. Freddie Mac will publish an updated version of the redesigned URLA, the Loan Product Advisor specification and supporting documents. Customers may begin using the redesigned URLA starting July 1, 2019. Read today’s Single-Family News Center article for more details and what you can expect.
 
Credit Requirements for Manual Underwriting with Sun West is available for review here.
 
From the field
 
Planet Home Lending’s Dona DeZube is attending NEXT and wired this note from Dallas. “Women in mortgage banking technology gathered for the conference here in Dallas, making connections with nearly 200 women like themselves. Opening Speaker Marcia Davies, COO of the Mortgage Bankers Association and founder of Mpower, MBA’s networking platform, said the event was important because it highlights the journey of women in the industry.
 
The event had a different vibe than a traditional mortgage conference. There was more sharing, less competition, and an app to help you find dinner companions. People were listening to the speakers and taking notes during the sessions. It was enlightening and encouraging to see women sharing ideas with each other – we are strong as a team!
 
“The most common theme touched upon by virtually every speaker was the need to capture and analyze data at all points of the lending process to improve profit and reduce risk. Freddie Mac’s Mortgage Innovation Director at Freddie Mac Loretta Ibanez and Risk Analytics Director Lakshmi Purushothaman spoke about using machine learning to identify market opportunities. To take advantage of the growing availability and democratization of artificial intelligence, you need historical data to train your models, Ibanez said. Fannie Mae Vice President of Product Development and Affordable Housing Jonathan Lawless shared the role capturing and leveraging home building draw data played in the company’s coming construction lending program.
 
“‘NEXT Mortgage Conference was a wealth of information about the technology available within the industry. More important than that, it allowed women to share ideas, innovations and to network to drive success not only in the mortgage industry but within their lives,’ said Suzy Lindblom, moderator for two of the panels and one of the many trailblazing woman in mortgage banking at the conference.” Thank you, Dona!
 
Capital markets
 
No one disagrees that the Fed is much more transparent about its thoughts on the economy than it was several years ago – a good thing. Two Federal Reserve officials have publicly disagreed on whether the US economy is so hot it needs to be cooled off by higher interest rates. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said that he is concerned about the economy overheating and that the central bank should raise rates three times this year, while Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said that he isn’t troubled by asset valuations and that fewer than three rate increases are "probably appropriate."
 
The 10-year Treasury note continued Wednesday’s selling and finished yielding 2.61% after reaching a session high of 2.62 percent. From a technical perspective, 2.60% has been a key level of resistance and should the selling continue, there is only modest resistance seen between this level and 3%, a level last seen during the first weeks of 2014. Today’s session will see the Fed provide some support when it purchases $885mm 30-year conventional 3.5% and 4% securities at 11:45am. 
 
New Residential Construction report showed that housing starts declined 8.2 percent from November to December, however completions increased by 2.2 percent and permits increased by 0.1 percent month-over-month. Despite a reduction in starts, units completed in December were 7.4 percent higher than one year ago. This is good news as we have previously mentioned the effects that the lack of new home supply combined with increasing demand have had on nominal prices. 
 
Today’s calendar is light with only the University of Michigan consumer sentiment (97.0 expected) at 10AM. Most of the price movement today will likely be driven by headlines surrounding the resolution to fund the government. The US gov’t shutdown noise is just a distraction – a shutdown is more likely than not, but this really isn’t material to stocks & bonds (also it’s still possible that a multi-day budget gets passed at the last second). Another kick of the can down the road? We find the 10-year this morning yielding 2.62% and agency MBS prices nearly unchanged versus last night’s close.
 
 
Dang millennials.
Walking around like they rent the place.
 
 
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 2018 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.)