June 20: LO jobs; credit scoring & HR products; Freddie & Fannie – never standing still

Tonight/tomorrow morning is the summer solstice. I am in Minneapolis at an ACUMA workshop and where the sun will set tonight at 9:03. (I suppose ACUMA could have held its event in Anchorage, where the sun sets at 11:42 tonight, which would be cool.) I mention credit unions because a) their market share is growing, and b) the talk is how President Trump is trying to reshape the National Credit Union Administration board by nominating former NCUA vice-chair Rodney Hood to fill an expired seat on the three member board.
Employment, business opportunities, & promotions
A National Mortgage Finance lender is seeking to acquire a fully operational loan origination center in the general area of Tampa Bay, Florida. Locations for prime consideration are Clearwater, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg. Turn-key operations contained in office space from 7,500 to 15,000 square feet that include underwriting and processing personnel where all office equipment is on site and leases are assumable or renegotiable will be given priority. Please send particulars in complete confidence to:
Wintrust Mortgage is pleased to announce that Debbie Uecker has joined its operation as its Minnesota Regional Manager. Debbie has been in the mortgage industry for 30+ years, is excited to join the Wintrust Mortgage team, and looks forward to working with the great people of Minnesota to further expand the Wintrust Mortgage presence in the region. Wintrust Mortgage is a 50-state licensing exempted lender (bank owned) located in Rosemont, Illinois, with offices throughout the nation. Wintrust Mortgage continues to seek great mortgage company operators, loan officers, managers or owners interested in hearing about Wintrust. Anyone interested in joining this great team should contact Bob Shield, EVP of National Sales (847.939.9361). Wintrust is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. Equal Housing Lender. Wintrust Mortgage is a division of Barrington Bank & Trust Company, N.A., a Wintrust Community Bank NMLS #449042.
Premier Nationwide Lending is excited to announce an elevated look to match our standard of service. A brand-new logo, website, and overall company rebrand have launched at LoansbyPremier.comThe company teamed up with America’s largest independently owned ad agency, The Richards Group, to develop a website that is modern, intuitive, and consumer-friendly. Premier is known for an operations team that is committed to closing every loan on time, as well as a full-service marketing department to support your business growth. Premier Nationwide Lending is dedicated to assisting our colleagues in achieving their best, and we are seeking experienced loan officers in multiple states. If you are interested in learning more about our dynamic team, please contact Joe Collins, Business Development Director, today at (214) 680-0216.
PrimeLending has promoted Jeremy Bordner to Area Manager for the Idaho, Montana and Alaska markets. With more than 17 years of mortgage industry experience, Bordner joined PrimeLending in 2015 as the branch manager in Eagle, ID. A results-oriented production leader, Bordner quickly made a huge impact leading his team to consistent triple digit growth and opening 4 additional offices in Idaho and Montana. Known for his relentless drive, infectious enthusiasm and tireless servant leadership, Bordner has received the support and opportunity to take his career to the next level at PrimeLending. If you’re a mortgage expert ready to take on new challenges and reap the benefits of you hard work like Jeremy, maybe it’s time to look at PrimeLending. For more information, contact Sherri White (972-852-8194).
Waterstone Mortgage announced the addition of A.W. Pickel III as President to the Waterstone Mortgage leadership team. “Due to Waterstone Mortgage’s significant growth in the past several years, the new role of President was created as part of a strategic initiative to support our ongoing expansion.” Mr. Pickel is a rookie in the biz with only 30 years of experience and is well known for founding LeaderOne Financial.
Lender products
Managers and executives have the constant challenge of managing their business in a rapidly evolving competitive landscape. How do you attract and secure the best LO talent? As the workforce shifts, whoever can captivate talent and retain all-stars will have a leg up. The mortgage industry is not the first industry to tackle this challenge and examining how companies in other industries attract and retain top talent can provide fresh insights and tactics that your team can implement today. This eBook “Attracting and Retaining Top Originators” is being distributed exclusively to Rob Chrisman readers today. Download your free copy here.
Whether you’re just starting out or need a quick refresher, it’s always important to understand the fundamentals of credit scoring! Check out Informative Research’s Ultimate Guide to Credit Scoring for Lenders, which covers everything from tips to helping your borrowers increase their FICO Score to debunking myths on credit scoring and how to correct errors on a credit report, among much more. And if you’re looking for something to help consumers, just send them the link to Informative Research’s Ultimate Guide to Credit Scores for Consumers, which provides important links and contact information, tips on what not to do, and how to avoid quick fix scams. With over 70+ years of industry experience and 3 security certifications, Informative Research is dedicated to educating both lenders and consumers to simplify your success and better serve the mortgage industry.
Fannie & Freddie changes
Those rascally, friendly competitors just don’t stop to take a breath and seem to be busy trademarking every phrase and new product. (Watch out for a little “TM” or an “R” with a circle around it in promotional stuff.) On a more serious note, let’s see what they’ve been up to lately.
Most loan officers will tell you that lower origination volumes are the result of a) millions of borrowers being content with their 3.5% 30-year loans, and b) lack of inventory in many parts of the U.S. It isn’t the result of a lack of trying by Freddie and Fannie, who continue to garner the lion’s share of business. And headlines. A group of civil rights organizations, mortgage lenders, and homebuilders wrote to FHA Director Mel Watt urging him to allow the companies to rebuild their capital. Always a good idea to set aside some money for a rainy day, right?
Freddie Mac announced a new website campaign called Borrower of the Future
Over the weekend of June 23, Fannie will implement an update to Desktop Underwriter (DU) Version 10.2. The update includes revised 2018 HomeReady mortgage income limits. “Note that income limits will increase for about 94% of census tracts and about half will go up by at least 5%, which may help more of your borrowers qualify for HomeReady.” The updated census tract lookup spreadsheet, income eligibility summary, and HomeReady Income Eligibility Lookup tool reflecting the changes will also be published on Fannie’s website.
Beginning July 1, 2018, the new imminent default evaluation business rule requirements are mandatory for imminent default evaluations. Check out the Freddie Mac tutorial for more information.
The Fannie Mae Servicing Guide has been updated with changes that provide forbearance plan options which assist borrowers experiencing a short-term hardship; and remove the requirement for servicers to grant separate relief during the 90-day period when attempting to contact a borrower impacted by a disaster. Respond to servicer feedback by removing the time frame associated with servicer reimbursements for escrow advances on delinquent loans. Clarify servicer requirements for submitting Form 1022, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Reporting and Disbursement Form. For a summary of key updates in Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2018-04, view the executive perspectives video presented by Jenise Hight, Director of Servicing Policy, and the executive overview from Carlos Perez, Chief Credit Officer for Single-Family.
Freddie Mac’s Guide Bulletin 2018-9 announces updates which include Consolidates requirements for short-term, long-term and unemployment forbearance plan offerings into a single policy. Introduces NextJob re-employment services for borrowers with Freddie Mac Home Possible® mortgages in Duty to Serve high-needs areas. Updates special insurance policy endorsement requirements for condominium and planned unit development projects.
The Freddie Mac Guide Bulletin 2018-8, includes the following updates: New pricing cap structure and updated minimum LTV ratio requirements for Enhanced Relief Refinance® mortgages. Updates to delivery requirements for Freddie Mac HomeOne mortgages.
Clarifications regarding income stability and credit inquiries. Revisions to Guide Form 960, Concurrent Transfers of Servicing, involving eMortgages. Updates to the access management provisions of the master systems license, in preparation for the future availability of a new tool, Freddie Mac Access Manager. Removal of the Seller’s option to choose super Accelerated Remittance Cycle.
Fannie Mae is continuing its transition to the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA)/Form 1003 is seamless and efficient. View the updated Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) Specification, FAQs, Rendering Options, and more to get up to speed on the latest changes. View the URLA page for more details.
The Fannie Mae new foreclosure-related title cost guidance will go into effect for all servicers for referrals on or after Sept. 1. The changes will update the maximum allowable foreclosure title costs, clarify what must be included in foreclosure title searches, and provide a new optional foreclosure title vendor list for law firms. Updated documents can be found on the Delinquency and Default Management page.
The Fannie Mae 2018-5 Selling Guide update includes: Announcement of MH Advantage, an innovative new homeownership option that pairs affordable financing with specially designated manufactured housing that has characteristics typical of site-built homes. Updated to its condo policies to increase simplicity and flexibility, making it easier for lenders to originate condo loans. Clarifies approved parties for performing inspections on manufactured housing with structural modifications. Provide additional HomeStyle Renovation forms, including special-purpose model documents and riders.
DU will apply the HomeReady 2018 income limits to new DU loan casefiles submitted or resubmitted on or after June 23. The Income Eligibility Lookup Tool will also be updated on June 23rd. DU will apply the 2017 income limits to loan casefiles submitted prior to June 23rd. 
Freddie Mac updated BPODirect with the most recent pre-disaster property values.
When you evaluate borrowers impacted by an eligible disaster that occurred on or after August 25, 2017, for a Freddie Mac Flex Modification®, use the property values provided in the “Auto Value” field in BPODirect. These have been updated to provide the most recent available value prior to the date of the eligible disaster. If there is no property value in BPODirect, then you must order a broker price option. Please refer to Guide Section 9206.5 for full eligibility requirements for the Flex Modification.
Beginning June 25 Freddie Mac will enforce the requirement to embed the Closing Disclosure PDF in the Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) XML file. Click here to see what this means for you and how to avoid receiving critical edits when delivering your loan to Loan Selling Advisor.
Capital markets
Rates closed slightly lower yesterday, including the 10-year yield hitting the lowest yield since the end of May, after Treasury futures spiked the evening before with President Trump calling to identify another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to a 10.0% tariff. The president said the tariffs will be imposed if China does not change its practices and implements tariffs that were announced on Friday. As far as economic releases went, housing starts increased 5.0% MoM in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.350 million (above expectations) while building permits declined 4.6% to 1.301 million (below expectations). Permits, which are a leading indicator, declined for both single-family and multi-unit dwellings, meaning there might not be help coming for poor single-family home numbers in June.
Today, we have already had the mortgage applications from the MBA for the week ending June 15 (nicely up over 5%, with refis jumping 6%). At 9:30am ET, Fed Chair Powell along with the ECB’s Draghi, Bank of Japan’s Kuroda and RBA’s Lower will participate in a panel discussion at the ECB Forum on Central Banking. May existing home sales are due out at 10AM ET with markets looking for a slight increase to 5.50 million compared with 5.46 million previously. Potentially market moving will be the Senate Finance Committee hearing on “Current and Proposed Tariff Actions Administered by the Department of Commerce" which kicks off in Washington at 9:00am. We begin Hump Day with the 10-year at 2.90% and agency MBS prices little changed versus yesterday’s close.
How to Write Good (part 1 of 3)
1.         Avoid Alliteration. Always.
2.         Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3.         Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4.         Employ the vernacular.
5.         Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6.         Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7.         It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8.         Contractions aren’t necessary.
9.         Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10.       One should never generalize.
11.       Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
12.       Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
13.       Profanity sucks.
14.       Be more or less specific.
15.       Understatement is always best.
16.       Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
17.       One-word sentences? Eliminate.
18.       Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
19.       The passive voice is to be avoided.
20.       Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
21.       Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 19: LO jobs; sales & broker products; interesting upcoming training & events; trade turmoil pushing rates

When I grow up I want to live in a ranch style… shipping container? If you have a builder complaining about lumber costs or labor to frame a house, there’s always metal. “From rooftop decks to custom wood floors, these repurposed shipping containers are anything but boring.” Air conditioning is a must, and the Hapag-Lloyd sign on the side might add character. In other housing news, we have this headline from Florida: “Freedom Mortgage CEO drops $20M on Ocean Ridge Estate.” Nice digs!
Jobs and promotions
How many more residential loans could you close with better back office support? You work too hard to experience the same chokepoints over and over again. Assurance Financial offers you a full-scale team of experts who have spent the last 17 years with only one objective: to help you close loans on time, every time. If you even THINK you may be losing money in your current situation due to poor support, call Paul Peters, CMB (225-239-7948)Assurance Financial is a growing private residential mortgage banker with offices throughout the South, East Coast, and Midwest US, and we may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
GSF Mortgage Corporation continues to expand the Single Close Construction program for both builders and lenders. This product is offered for FHA, VA, and USDA qualified borrowers. GSF is adding interested originators, processors, administrators, and underwriters with proven experience related to Single Close Construction products. If interested, please email Chad Jampedro.
Congratulations to Brad Shuster who will serve as the U.S. Mortgage Insurers new Chairman of the Board. Shuster is the Chairman and CEO of National Mortgage Insurance Corporation (National MI) and its parent, NMI Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: NMIH).
And congrats to Kat Cunningham who has joined Equifax in the Workforce Solutions Division as a Mortgage Business Consultant.  Kat is a subject matter expert for Equifax focusing primarily on The Work Number, employment and income verifications in the mortgage industry that have end-to-end employment and income verifications with real-time results meant to improve borrower experience, shorten turn times, and reduce fraud with a centralized, consistent and compliant process. 
Lender products
It seems every day, there’s news of another data breach – which, continues to raise concerns about data, how it’s used and how it’s protected. When the right data is isolated, it can be a great resource for lenders to ensure your marketing and sales efforts are targeted, on-point and effective. However, with data comes an element of risk, particularly when you start to put it to use. It is critical to understand the regulations, put policies and procedures in place, thoroughly train your employees who are involved with this data and document your training plan. Read Total Expert’s blog, Big Data: Friend or Foe? to ensure you’re making the most of the data at your disposal.   
bsnap™ is the ultimate broker tool. Borrowers want a simple, easy loan process – and brokers want clients to remember their name for referrals and future business. Stearns Wholesale has the solution. Our bsnap mobile app keeps things moving quickly and securely and can be branded with your company logo and info. Borrowers can complete a digital 1003e-sign formsshare photos of loan documents, and view loan details like loan type, rate, term, payments, closing date and more. Built-in communications and reminders make it easy for borrowers to get in touch with their mortgage team. Did we mention your logo and branding are included at no cost? Since our launch last month, we’ve had over 30% of our loans leveraging bsnap. Get bsnap™ and get an edge – reach out today to learn more!”
In this busy home buying seasons, mortgage professionals in every stage of their careers are seeing an incredible lift in their production by engaging with XINNIX, the Mortgage Academy. Experienced LOs who went through the EDGE program reported a 70% increase in monthly applications. A recent group of new loan officers who earned their XINNIX Certified Originator (XCO) designation averaged 5.3 loan applications in their first month of production. Want to see numbers like these in your business? CLICK HERE to contact a XINNIX account executive today!
Upcoming training & events
Most people will recognize that word of mouth is your best form of marketing. What can you do to harness the voice of your customers and make sure it is reaching the right people at the right time? Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine and Podium’s Nick Miller and Tyler Roberts for a free webinar on Thursday, June 21st at 2pm EDT to learn why targeting online reviews on the sites that matter most to your customers will help your business stand out from the crowd and ultimately influence purchase decisions. Click here to register for this free webinar. 
Freddie Mac is offering up a, “Discover the Possibilities with Home Possible Mortgages” webinar on June 20th. (Home Possible and Home Possible Advantage are Freddie Mac’s low down payment offerings.) “Join us for this free webinar and identify which option best fits your borrowers’ needs, as you understand income and property eligibility requirements along with flexible sources of funds.”
FHFA invites interested parties to submit comments on the proposed rule via within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register or via mail, FHFA, Eighth Floor, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC  20219.  FHFA will also be holding a webinar on the proposed rule on June 19 at 1:30 p.m. EDT to explain the proposed rule and answer questions.  Register for the webinar here.
On Tuesday, June 19th join Mortgage Market Guide for a free live training. Hosted by Bill Bodnar, MMG’s market expert and chief content writer/author, Bill will be sharing his market insight and advice to help you be that trusted advisor your clients and referral partners rely on.
Join Mark Reeve, VP, Reverse Mortgage Division for a webinar on June 19th to learn how to present a Plaza Reverse Mortgage to your borrowers like you were sitting around the kitchen table. details.
The new Colorado Privacy & Cybersecurity Law that affects virtually all businesses in Colorado takes effect on September 1, 2018. If you have prospects or clients in Colorado, then this is a law you MUST be familiar with. Join Mitch Tanenbaum of CyberCecurity LLC and Danielle Urban of Fisher Phillips on June 21st for a one-hour webinar that will teach everything you need to know about this important new law. 
If you’re involved with managing, valuing, acquiring or selling residential whole loans, register for MountainView’s June 28th webinar: re-performing Residential whole loan valuations. Brian Dunn, from its whole loan and structured finance securities valuation team, will share his team’s valuation insights. Mike Kelleher, from its transaction advisory team, will discuss RPL valuations amid the current and forecasted market conditions.
Margins, Basis Points, Par Pricing, Overlays, Risk Adjustments…learn about the enigma of mortgage pricing in July with webinars from Fair Lending Diversity. The Secrets of Mortgage Pricing on July 11th at 1-2:30 PM Central. De-Mystifying the Mortgage Pricing Engine on July 25th at 1-2:30 PM Central. TAKE BOTH and RECEIVE a DISCOUNT Register Here to Take BOTH Courses.
2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of the "Mortgage Meltdown." For all of us in the mortgage industry with PASSION and GRIT who persevered…come to the 45th Annual CMLA Convention at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort August 8th-10th.
The formation and execution of Third Party Risk Management (TPRM) programs has become a key area of focus for members of our industry and regulators alike. MBA Education is providing a half-day classroom course, offered on both coasts, that will help you learn best practices for how to develop a program that will assess the risks facing your business and will provide you with a plan of action to address these challenges. Register now for September 25th in Los Angeles or September 28th in McLean VA.
Be pro-active and register today for the first ever NALHFA Legislative Conference October 2nd-4th in Washington DC. Representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Treasury Department, Congressional offices, and industry leaders will discuss the driving issues HFAs need to know. Additionally, this forum will provide NALHFA members with a forum to discuss challenges that local communities are facing and share best practices offering solutions.
Capital markets
The Federal Reserve, and the markets, continue to talk about inflation as if we should be worried about it. It hasn’t been a huge concern in decades, although U.S. inflation accelerated in May to the fastest pace in more than six years, reinforcing the Federal Reserve’s outlook for gradual interest-rate hikes while eroding wage gains that remain relatively tepid despite an 18-year low in unemployment. Recall that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent from the previous month and 2.8 percent from a year earlier, matching estimates, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday. The annual gain was the biggest since February 2012 and follows a 2.5 percent increase in April. Excluding food and energy, the core gauge was up 0.2 percent from the prior month and 2.2 percent from May 2017, also matching the median estimates of economists.
The pickup in headline inflation partly reflects gains in fuel prices, though the annual gain in the core measure — seen by officials as a better gauge of underlying inflation trends — was the most since February 2017.
Mid-June’s economic indicators remain consistent with expectations for moderate-to-strong GDP growth for the second quarter.  Retail sales increased 0.8 percent in May, due in part to higher gasoline prices, but also a signal of healthy consumer activity.  Excluding autos, sales were up 0.9 percent.  Consumer prices increased 0.2 percent in May as moderating prices in many segments helped offset rising energy costs.  Prices were up 2.8 percent over the previous twelve months.  However, producer prices jump 0.5 percent for the month and are up 3.1 percent over the preceding twelve months.
Small business optimism increased to its second highest level in the past 45 years in May, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.  The report credits tax and regulatory relief as the driving factors behind the optimism.  However, the compensation sub-index hit a 45-year high and the percentage of businesses planning to increase prices reached the highest level since 2008.
Meanwhile the Federal Reserve raised the fed funds range 25 basis points to 1.75 – 2.00 as expected last week and the updated dot plots were consistent with two more increases this year. The language in their statement was more bullish on economic conditions than the previous statement in May. Look for the next rate increases to occur at the September and December meetings.  
Yesterday rates closed the day roughly unchanged despite concerns over the escalating protectionist standoff between China and the U.S. Investors have been anxious about the intensifying confrontation ever since President Donald Trump discussed tariffs a few months ago, and that wasn’t helped after China today responded to President Trump slapping tariffs on $50 billion of imports late last week by putting an additional 25% levy on $34 billion of American agricultural and auto exports starting July 6. Will tariffs cause more inflation but not help our economy? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May face tough weeks over migration and Brexit, respectively. Chancellor Angela Merkel will spend her time preparing an immigration policy that will be acceptable to two of the three parties in the current governing coalition. Back on the domestic economic release front, the NAHB Housing Market Index declined to 68 in June from 70 reported in May, failing to meet expectations of no change in the index.
Be careful what you wish for. Lower rates come at a price, and this morning nothing good is happening out there as markets everywhere respond to Trump’s latest trade/tariff threat. US S&P futures are down significantly, hitting household wealth. Last night Trump asked the USTR to formulate a list of $200B worth of Chinese imports that could be subject to a 10% tariff and warned there could be another $200B to follow – in total, Trump has now either imposed or threatened to impose tariffs on ~$450B worth of Chinese imports.
Today’s economic calendar is already underway, with St. Louis Fed President Bullard having presented before a panel at the 2018 ECB Forum on Central Banking in Portugal. May housing starts and building permits were released (+5%, strong, but permits disappointed) The Redbook Same-Store Sales Index for the week ending June 16 will be released at 8:55am ET. It was previously -0.2% MoM and +4.3% YoY. Also, as noted above the FHFA will hold a webinar, starting at 1:30pm on its Proposed Rule on Enterprise Capital for the GSEs which was released last Tuesday. This morning’s rates are pushed lower by the trade talk: the 10-year is yielding 2.87% and agency MBS prices are better .125 versus Monday’s close.
Plenty of mortgage bankers are music fans. A small subset may know who John Bonham was. Even if you don’t, and even if you only watch the first 40 seconds of this video, it’s fun.
Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 18: Sales & servicing jobs; compliance, construction products; Atlantic states legal changes for lenders

Rumors continue to swirl. Will a top-10 bank really terminate hundreds, possibly a thousand, of its retail originators in late July/early August for not meeting minimum production standards? Is Houlihan Lokey out there marketing a well-known company (a provider of compliance outsourcing solutions to lenders and servicers) to Radian, Black Knight, or overseas firms? Are hundreds of lenders engaged in small-scale unpublicized layoffs to eliminate overstaffing? Maybe I am merely making this stuff up. Maybe not.
Employment & promotions
Royal Pacific Funding is pleased to announce the promotion of Michael Turturro to the position of Vice President, Sales. Michael has been an integral part of the phenomenal growth of Royal Pacific Funding since he joined the company in mid-2016. He has achieved the Top Producer award for both 2016 and 2017 and is on a path to do the same in 2018. Michael Clary, COO, noted, “This promotion marks a stepping stone for Mr. Turturro and his plans to grow a dynamic team of top producing Account Executives. I’m watching the current growth trajectory of his team and looking forward to what the future holds. Congratulations to Michael on a very well-deserved promotion.” 
“If you are ready to utilize your loan servicing knowledge and strong management skills with a new opportunity, Republic Bank would like to chat with you. We have an opening for a Director of Loan Servicing based at our downtown Louisville KY Corporate Headquarters. As a leading regional bank and a 2018 Best Places to Work Award Winner, we value our commitment to our clients by setting high service standards. If you have a passion for loan servicing and administration excellence, we’d like to talk. Competitive candidates will have a minimum of 10 years of banking or related experience coupled with at least 5 years of senior level management in mortgage servicing. Please apply at Questions can be directed to Maggie Reimer. Republic Bank is an Equal Opportunity Employer EEO M/F/Disability/Veteran.
XINNIX, the mortgage industry’s premier provider of sales and leadership performance programs, is expanding its team and looking for two National Sales Executives regionally located in the Midwest and Texas. Each National Sales Executive is responsible for having a strategic plan for each client, implementing that strategy and managing the client relationship. Want to join a dynamic team with award-winning culture and a passion for transforming the industry? Send your resume to Kevin Knaus, VP of National Sales.
Lender products & services
The American Bankers Association announced its endorsement of Built Technologies, a Nashville-based fintech company focused on simplifying the administration of residential and commercial construction loans through secure, cloud-based software. Built’s construction loan administration and business intelligence software was specifically designed to complement a bank’s core system(s), reducing the cost of servicing, increasing interest income via faster draw processing, and introducing unprecedented credit and collateral risk management capabilities to banks of all sizes. “We are delighted to be chosen as the ABA endorsed provider for construction lending technology,” said Chase Gilbert, CEO, Built Technologies. “We were impressed by the ABA’s due diligence process when choosing to work with us and it’s great to know we’re completely aligned on what their members need to solve this important problem.” This endorsement is the latest step in Built’s continued focus on bringing construction lending into the digital age.
“With another record month on the books, Strategic Compliance Partners is busy growing our Onsite Compliance solution for lenders. SCP Onsite Compliance is a total compliance management system, located at a Lender’s location, supported by SCP staff and industry leading compliance technologies. Lenders find themselves no longer worrying about compliance, or the costs of non-compliance. Better yet, clients have raved that savings are pouring in from the restructuring and expertise leveraged by partnering and SCP. Simply email Leslie Benjamin to schedule time to discuss your current program and how this program can fit into your organization. Looking to hire a Compliance officer? We can help with the top five must-haves for your next hire!”
State lending law changes – mini-CFPBs springing up?
Federal regulations that impact residential lending everywhere are one thing, but when each state is making changes it makes it tough, and expensive, to be a multi-state lender and track all these changes. If you’re lending in only one state, do you think the lending laws are tough? Try lending in many states and keeping track of all the changes. And this is especially the case as the CFPB, or whatever its name is these days, shifts its model – plenty of states are willing to create their own CFPB-style regulatory body. Whack a mole?
Transitional licensing is now applicable to New Jersey. The MBA of New Jersey lobbied for the bill known as the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which deals with a variety of issues. Section 106 of the bill provides for transitional licensing that permits MLOs meeting specified requirements to originate loans when moving from a licensed company in one state to one in another state or from a depository institution to a state licensed company for a period of 120 days, while the MLO goes through the licensing process.
NJ’s bill requests that the CFPB give clear and authoritative guidance on several provisions of TRID. “Qualified Mortgage” status is provided to portfolio loans originated by banks and credit unions with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets. The status does not apply to loans with interest-only or negative-amortization provisions, loans with points and fees above the 3 percent cap, or loans with prepayment penalties that violate current QM requirements. HMDA is amended in Section 104 of the bill to expand exemptions on itemized disclosures to HMDA added by the Dodd-Frank Act. Exempted from these disclosures are closed-end mortgages and open-end lines of credit for banks and credit unions which originate fewer than 500 such loans or lines of credit in the last two years, respectively.
Connecticut has modified its provisions regarding reverse mortgages to increase protections for consumers effective as of October 1, 2018. A new section has been added which prohibits any state or federally chartered bank or credit union from accepting a final application for a reverse mortgage or assessing any fees for such mortgage until it has informed the prospective applicant of the requirement to attend reverse mortgage counseling. The lender must also provide the applicant with a list of independent housing counseling agencies approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and receive a certification, signed by both the applicant and the counseling agency, confirming that the applicant has received counseling in person or by telephone from an approved independent housing counseling agency. The certification must include the date of the counseling session, and the name, address, and telephone number of both the applicant and the counselor. Counseling agencies are prohibited from receiving any compensation, whether directly or indirectly, from the lender. Any violation of these provisions constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice.
Maryland has enacted House Bill 78 which amends the provisions of the Maryland Foreclosed Property Registry effective January 1, 2019. Current law requires the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to establish an internet based Foreclosed Property Registry to be utilized by the purchaser at foreclosure of a residential property. Bill 78 adds to the current provisions the requirement that any changes to the information required to be submitted to the registry be provided within 21 business days of the change becoming known to the purchaser. Further, the bill requires that the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation promulgate notice of the change to the authorized users of the database including those from the county and municipal corporation.
Maryland’s Senate Bill 755 amends provisions regarding the establishment of escrow accounts for utility assessments, effective October 18, 2018. SB 755 allows a lending institution, at the request of a borrower and at its option, to create an escrow account for a loan solely for the payment of water and sewer facilities assessments. Senate Bill 755 defines water and sewer facilities assessments as a fee or charge that is assessed to an owner of residential real property that is served by public water or wastewater facilities that have deferred water or sewer charges to cover or defray the costs of the installation or maintenance of said facilities. The fee or charge is required to have been established by a recorded Covenant or Declaration and the fee shall be paid to the lienholder of the lien recorded on the property.
Maryland also has amended its Consumer Protection Statute with House Bill 848 allowing a consumer to bring an action or proceeding against a consumer reporting agency. HB 848 also alters the method by which a consumer may place or remove a security freeze on his or her consumer report. The bill requires consumer reporting agencies to develop procedures to use secure connections to receive and process consumer requests to place a security freeze on a consumer report and to remove a freeze on a consumer report in an expedited manner. Agencies are required to register annually with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation using the form promulgated by the Commissioner. It must also file a bond or bond alternative with the Commissioner unless granted an exemption by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may require the consumer reporting agency to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. House Bill 848 also allows a consumer to file a written complaint against a consumer credit agency with the Commissioner.
Florida recently passed House Bill 193, which exempts certain individuals from the state’s mortgage loan originator and broker regulations, under certain circumstances. This bill will become effective on July 1, 2018. The new provisions exempt a securities dealer, investment advisor, or associated person registered under Ch. 517, F.S. from regulation as a mortgage broker or loan originator under Ch. 494, F.S. To be exempted, he or she must meet the specified requirements. The bill adds that any solicitation or referral made pursuant to the exemption must comply with the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Ch. 517, F.S. and any applicable federal law or general law of the state of Florida. The Office of Financial Regulation believes that any loss of licensure revenues will be insignificant.
Maine has modified provisions under its Probate Code including its Uniform Power of Attorney Act. These provisions are effective on July 17, 2018. Sec. A-2. 18-C MRSA includes the following: Article 1 General Provisions, Definitions and Jurisdiction. Article 2 Intestacy, Wills and Donative Transfers. Article 3 Probate of Wills and Administration. Article 4 Foreign Personal Representative; Ancillary. Article 5 Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings. Part 9 Maine Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Article 6 Non-probate Transfers on Death. Article 7 Trust Administration. Article 8 Miscellaneous Provisions. Article 9 Adoption. Maine Uniform Power of Attorney Act §5-902(7) defines power of attorney as “a writing or other record that grants authority to an agent to act in the place of the principal, whether or not the term ‘power of attorney’ is used.” The validity of power of attorney executed in Maine is determined by the date the power of attorney is executed.
Capital markets
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said US economic growth faces a slowdown as effects of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and a $300 billion increase in spending fade over the next two years. Bernanke said the stimulus comes at the "very wrong moment" because of low unemployment.
Looking at interest rates, it is relatively quiet out there. The 10-year dropped to 2.92% to close last week amid reports that President Trump would call for the imposition of a 25.0% tariff on $50 billion worth of goods imported from China. Chinese officials responded with a 25.0% tariff on $34 billion worth of imports from the United States to be imposed on July 6th while a tariff on another $16 billion worth of goods could be imposed later. Additionally, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index Expectations Index declined to its lowest level since the start of the year due to less favorable prospects for the overall economy, which were tied in part to higher inflation expectations.
This week’s U.S. economic calendar is relatively light on data with updates on housing, the current account and Markit PMIs. With the Federal Open Market Committee meeting out of the way, however, “Fedspeak” ramps up, with speeches this week from both the incoming and outgoing NY Fed Presidents, Draghi, Kuroda, Powell and RBA’s Lowe in a policy panel at the ECB’s Forum on Central Banking in Portugal. Kicking off today’s calendar is outgoing NY Fed President Dudley who will deliver opening remarks at the conference. The NAHB Housing Market Index (June) will be released at 10:00am with expectations for an unchanged reading of 70. Atlanta Fed President Bostic will speak on the economic outlook and monetary policy at 1:00pm in Savannah. Tomorrow we have housing starts and building permits. We start the week with rates a shade lower than last week: the 10-year is yielding 2.90% and agency MBS prices are better a couple ticks – mostly due to the trade war hurting the economy.
I picked up a hitchhiker yesterday.
He said, “Thanks for picking me up but how do you know I’m not a serial killer?”
I replied, “The odds of two serial killers being in the same car are statistically astronomical.”
Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 16: Notes on transitional licensing, recruiting tips, LO comp, and trigger leads

Saturday commentaries are often a place to publish reader’s letters, many of whom are mortgage loan originators or sales managers. Originators have lots of questions and concerns, including MLO comp (a continuing source of confusion and trepidation), recruiting, and costs. But there are plenty of other issues on the minds of loan officers and AEs. Let’s jump in.
Cost vs. expense
Here’s a note I received from a lending vet on the Atlantic Seaboard. “I keep reading about lenders trying to cut costs. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if someone, anyone generates income, or has the potential to generate income, and have no real expense (i.e., MLOs) why start by cutting them? Keep them and restructure their package. What in the heck is a minimum threshold for an income generator? If they do little business, set them up with no cost to the company and let them bring in the occasional income.” (Editor’s note: that’s the trick – creating and supporting a “no cost” LO.)
“Then look at the dead wood that does not generate income. If I have management, processors, or underwriters who are slow, ineffective and not assisting the origination process – gone. And to this day, I am baffled by companies spending money on large palaces or office buildings only to cry poverty in the downturns. There are cycles, they will come and go, and the Federal Reserve Board can try to halt the cycles, but they are as natural as rain storms and the wind. Not so much on in California.
“Speaking of the FRB, it always perplexes me that the government cut its revenue steam, yes we will have short term gains from it but long term not so much, the debt piles on, and now they raise the treasuries cost of borrowing more debt. Why? It’s certainly not supply-side economics at work. If you were to put money in government bonds, are you going with Europe at just above 0% and looking at trade wars or something over a full percentage rate?”
I received this question from a branch manager in the Midwest. “Do you know when the 120-day MLO license transition goes into effect?” I turned to The Pete Mills, as he keeps up on these issues. Pete replied, “There is an 18-month mandatory adoption by the states. The MBA is meeting with CFPB later this month to ask them to make it clear that states can implement transitional authority early if they wish. Several states (for example, VA, NC, OH, NH, NM, and CO) already permit transitional authority but have been barred by CFPB because the Bureau opined a few years ago that the SAFE Act didn’t permit it. With the passage of S. 2155, that is no longer true. We are asking CFPB allow early adoption.”
(United Wholesale Mortgage has added a new Licensing Assistance Team for its broker clients. The team is comprised of licensing experts to answer licensing related questions such as adding new company, branch, and loan officer licenses, education requirements for new and existing loan officers, surety bond, Mortgage Call Report (MCR), criminal background checks and other similar requirements, and state annual report requirements. The team can be reached by calling 800-981-8898 or email at
General environment
And this from an originator. (And no, I have not checked the actual attendance.) “I just got back from the Mortgage Mastermind Summit in Las Vegas. This was my 4th year in a row. It felt different this year. Attendance was the lowest I have seen in 4 years. The parties were less ‘over the top,’ and the recruiting dinners less fancy. Everyone discussed margin compression and reduction of compensation. C level executives spoke more about selling higher rates and getting out of the concession game of matching rates constantly and expecting the same comp from years ago when margins were higher. All the regulars were there, pushing their coaching programs, and lots of tech companies were there as vendors selling their newest widgets. My production has not been affected this year yet, however I am certainly mindful of what may be coming.”
Trigger leads
A while back a reader suggested providing information on certain documents to thwart trigger leads and snatching clients. Aaron N. writes “Regarding a reader’s trigger lead suggestion. It is worth noting that when you are filling in incorrect information into the system on the client you are providing false details of that client that will be attached to their credit profile indefinitely. We all know how this works as we constantly must create Letters of Explanation for variances on addresses, social security numbers, and names. Furthering to ‘muddy the waters’ of someone’s credit profile by falsifying information doesn’t seem prudent, and I would almost guarantee if you asked your compliance officer they would tell you that falsifying information on a file is never allowed. To ever suggest that a ‘common sense’ approach to trigger leads is to falsify information goes against everything we have strived to build into our business. I know for my branches we focus on out selling our competition rather than just beating the system. False information in a file – no matter how trivial it seems – is not the solution for any problem and sets a precedence where loan originators might take liberty to change additional information on the file in future situations.”
In November 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a compliance bulletin that addresses detecting and preventing consumer harm from incentive compensation arrangements. Prompted by Wells Fargo Bank’s alleged improper incentive compensation arrangements, the CFPB’s bulletin makes it clear that while properly implemented and reasonable incentives can benefit companies, employers and the financial market overall, "incentive programs can pose risks to consumers, especially when they create an unrealistic culture of high-pressure targets." Financial institutions need to be aware of the CFPB’s new directives to ensure that their incentive compensation programs, both for employees and third-party service providers, comply with laws regarding unfair, deceptive and abusive (UDAAP) acts and practices.
The subject of loan officer compensation always prompts emails. As a refresher, last month from New Mexico Jason Pike wrote, "Rob, you mentioned LO comp several times. You are setting the tone since you believe, or the executives who depend on you believe, LO comp is the issue. The problem with our industry is one or two large lenders, with large marketing budgets, have brain washed the consumer thinking a loan is as easy as renting a car. The consumer believes it’s just a commodity. I have never in my 34 years been shopped as much as I have than in the last 12 months. The consumer uses the power of my pre-approval letter to get their offer accepted, as well as my solid advice on product and know how. They use my time on weekends and after hours for advice, then I get shafted by the consumer to save $600 on Monday morning for on-line lenders or credit unions. Meanwhile, some executives and managers above get off their yachts and still get a paycheck.
"Good, experienced LOs are worth their weight in gold. The good loan officers work hard to get the phone to ring and drive in the business. The good loan officer advises the customer and insures a timely closing. The good loan officers look out for their company. Yes, the first lender who drops the ball to lower LO comp will set the tone, and then every lender will have the excuse, just like layoffs." 
Elaine Roccio with PFI Financial, Inc. contributed, “I totally agree with Jason Pike. It’s happening everywhere and it’s because Equifax is still selling ‘hot leads.’ No sooner is a credit report pulled that a telemarketer is on the phone offering to cut the closing costs by whatever figure he/she must match. None of the ‘Big 3’ credit bureaus are government regulated.  They have been working for years on ethics and integrity, until they saw how much money could be made in selling the confidential info they collect. Until something is done to regulate them, they will continue to be in the pockets of the big telemarketing companies. I would love to see Mulvaney do something about this mess.”
Recently I noted, “Lenders aren’t likely to eliminate their owners or senior management, nor do they want to eliminate producers (who are meeting minimum thresholds) or slash their compensation.” It prompted one industry vet from Colorado to send, “For you opening statement in the commentary, I wanted to share an interesting pattern we have seen. We manage 7 branches in our ‘group’ for Lender X and are now regularly getting calls from ‘branch managers’ looking to move their teams over. What is funny about these calls is that all the managers seem to be non-producing, managing a team of 5 LOs with total production monthly of $4–6 million. They want top pay plans for their teams, LOAs because they are having trouble with capacity, and a salary plus override on team production. Yes, that WOULD be a sweetheart deal – but in what world does that make sense?
If you are a non-producing BM, managing 5 people with production of $6M or less – what exactly are you doing with the other 30 hours of your 40-hour work week? Even if you are coaching each person 1 hour per work, helping them structure files for 2 hours per week, and spending 4 hours on actual management work, you just filled up 19 hours. And to be honest, if you WERE coaching them for an hour per week and teaching them structuring techniques for 2 hours per week – shouldn’t they all be closing more than $1 million per month? Would it be too much to ask for these BM’s to go out and find a deal or two?
“This is unfortunately a direct result of companies taking an ‘increase production at all cost’ mentality. Good, quality, sustainable growth is only obtained through metrics on required production. If hires have occurred with the only purpose of increasing volume without regard to costs, then you are now in an ‘Old Yeller’ situation. As my senior management team regularly reminds me: ‘If you are losing a $100 per loan, doing more loans isn’t going to help.’ Something tells me that this sage wisdom has come to fruition and the scurry from non-producing managers to find a new home is the last stage of what was a poor recruiting trend.”
“Rob, I am trying to recruit loan officers for my company. (Editor’s note: what a surprise!) But you just don’t look them up in the Yellow Pages. I have heard of companies who use public data to pull together reports on individual originators. Are there companies that provide these kinds reports?”
First off, I am not a recruiter, although I play one on television. (In fact, I work with several recruiters.) I will throw some information at you, some current and some not, some expensive and some free, and you can take it from there. Some of the data you’re asking about comes from NMLS data. CoreLogic has a product – Marketrac NMLS ID
Model Match offers a product. “As the interest rates increase and the market begins to shift, companies are focused on recruiting more than ever to increase their production and bottom line. The Model Match Production Prospector can help you source recruiting candidates doing the type and amount of business best matched to your company. You customize criteria to find your ideal producers, we’ll identify them and provide you with visibility into their previous years volume, trailing 12 months and most recent 90 days, as well as unit count, average loan, product mix, purchase percentage and all the details you need to contact them today. Technology is changing the way we recruit in today’s industry and Model Match is leading the charge!" 
There is some potentially relevant data provided by the Scotsman Guide – but remember that this is only for people who report their numbers. Some companies frown on LOs sharing volume data with publications. But for example, here are top LOs from 2016. And some rankings for those that feel the need to report their numbers to the Scotsman Guide. I am sure there are more recent numbers.
States keep lists of originators. For example, here is Florida’s. And California’s information.
Companies can purchase LO mailing lists, from private companies like Exact Data. And there are other sources (Mortgage Executive Magazine, Business Wire, or loan officer lists through LinkedIn)which may or may not answer your recruiting source needs. I know for a fact that recruiters keep their own information and have their own sources. After all, am I really going to share my best fishing hole with you? And thousands of loan officers don’t pay to report their numbers – it helps cut down recruiting calls and saves money.
For candidates looking, here’s an easy-to-read article “Here Are The Questions I Hear Most Often From Job Candidates.”
Tomorrow is Father’s Day. With that in mind comes news that a child’s intelligence comes their mother’s genes. (What about the genes for that prize-winner to demolish the other burping contest contestants? Must be the Dad’s side.)
Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 15: Compliance, fraud prevention products; lender M&A and cutbacks; lenders’ digital notes & closings

Taking a tour around the nation…No one has ever used the term “bespoke” in describing any place I’ve stayed. I barely know what it means. But if you’ve got the bucks, and want a nice place to bunk down in Hawai’i, here you go. Marlin jerky? 5,100 miles and six time zones away, a Martha’s Vineyard house that the Obamas have vacationed in sold for $15 million, $7.5 million under original asking. Falling demand on the high-end? In-between, here’s an article on the lay-offs to expect in the Dallas-Fort Worth lending industry. But Freddie Mac announced a new partnership with re-employment solutions company NextJob to provide job search assistance to current and aspiring homeowners living in high-needs and other persistent poverty areas.
Lender products
FundingShield, the Fintech market leader in wire fraud prevention, closing agent risk / compliance and vendor risk automation has estimated $3 billion in wire and closing fraud attempts in the first 4 months of 2018.This alarming amount is triple the $1 billion reported to the FBI for all real estate related wire fraud losses for the first 9 months of 2017. This report leverages FundingShield’s industry-leading proprietary software, analytics and transaction database of wire account information and is specific to lender impacted wire and closing fraud attempts only. The IBM X Force Threat Intelligence Index 2018 shared that 27% of all security incidents and 17% of attacks in 2017 were in the financial sector and 76% of this involved injection attacks. FundingShield’s newsflash shares what approaches various lenders are taking to manage these risks per the company’s unique market view. Contact (800.295.0135, ext. 2) for a demo or meeting.   
Agency and Regulatory Reporting Essentials – Leveraging Your Data with Technology: Watch the recent on-demand webinar presented by mortgage qc expert Sharon Reichhardt, VP of Client Success at  ACES Risk Management. The webinar covers valuable reporting tips and tricks when it comes to working with regulators and investors. Topics include: most valuable types of data to capture for regulatory and agency reporting; how to use data fields to create robust reporting charts; importance of action plans; and reporting on task tracking for FNMA. CLICK HERE to access the webinar.
Vendors Compliance Group has announced a special offer: a no-obligation, free, half-hour consultation. Plus, they will provide a free Policy and Procedures Manual for Vendor Management with the very first minimum order. Magdalena Castleman, Executive Director, will conduct each free half-hour consultation. VCG was one of the first compliance companies in the service provider review space. It is an affiliate of Lenders Compliance Group, the country’s first full service compliance firm. VCG conducts a deep dive, due diligence of closing agents and third-party vendors. Their audits of service providers are hands-on, decisive, comprehensive, and state-of-the-art – much more effective than a machine-driven method. The company has noted that Federal and state regulators have told their clients that VCG’s work product is comprehensive, reliable and well researched. Contact Magdalena by email at or call her at 866-602-6660 x 148. 
Floify, the mortgage industry’s leading end-to-end point-of-sale system, has just rolled out their newest integration with document generation, automated compliance and digital transaction services giant, DocMagic. Now, customers on Floify’s enterprise plan can empower borrowers to quickly review and electronically sign disclosure packages directly from their Floify dashboard, keeping them in one place throughout the entire mortgage process. Combined with Floify’s robust document management portal, powerful email and text notification system, and remastered “interview-style” 1003 loan application, the DocMagic integration is the perfect one-two punch for organizations looking to dramatically reduce their average time to originate a mortgage. If you’ve been considering Floify for yourself, your brokerage, or your enterprise, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this incredibly powerful solution and innovative 1003. Request a live demo today – plans start at $29/month!
Alterra Group, LLC (dba Alterra Home Loans), is actively seeking company growth through acquisitions. As the market faces never ending changes in demographics, capital requirements, risk and rate volatility, Alterra is expanding its presence by leveraging its resources. Recent events have shown that large scale banks have quietly put a hold on acquisitions, but Alterra realizes the value and potential in procuring growing companies today. With a mission of building wealth through homeownership, Alterra has a passion and understanding in serving first time home buyers. Whether your company is currently serving this segment or not, Alterra looks to beneficially work with existing platforms to expand its market focus and vision reaching the next level together. If your firm is exploring strategic options, contact Jason MadiedoVince White, and/or Alex Urmersbach
NewDay USA announced that David Loeser has been appointed vice chairman to the company’s board of advisors and will be serving as EVP of human resources to direct the company’s recruiting and staffing efforts.
M&A and layoffs
From Indiana comes news that Ruoff Financial Corporation and SBB Bancshares, Inc. announced they have executed a definitive merger agreement in which Ruoff will acquire SBB in a cash transaction. “As part of the transaction, the parties anticipate that State Bank of Burnettsville, the wholly-owned subsidiary of SBB, will be renamed and operate as Ruoff Bank.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to the approval of SBB’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. No job losses are expected to result from the merger.”
(Editor’s note: anyone displaced, streamlined, let go, fired, laid off, etc., can always post a resume, at no charge, at And potential employers can view them.)
Isn’t the first, won’t be the last, but news broke from the Pacific Northwest that HomeStreet will “consolidate” 19 home lending centers and fire 127 employees. Because of these actions, the company expects to book one-time charges of nearly $10 million on a pretax basis. Yes, HomeStreet, Inc., the parent company of HomeStreet Bank is taking steps to “streamline” operations in its Mortgage Banking segment after experiencing several quarters of single family mortgage market challenges that have reduced loan origination volume and profit margins. Among other things, the Bank will close, consolidate, or reduce space in nineteen single family home lending centers (“HLCs”), including both primary and satellite offices and at one regional processing center.
“Purchase demand has declined because of an ongoing shortage of new and resale housing in our markets and demand for refinance mortgages has also declined in the face of rising interest rates. Profit margins have declined due to competitive pressure and a shift in loan mix as a result of higher demand for jumbo non-conforming and high-balance conforming loans due to increasing property values, and lower FHA loan demand due to the reduced attractiveness of FHA loan products. Jumbo non-conforming loans and high-balance conforming loans have lower profit margins than conforming conventional loans and FHA loans have generally higher profit margins than conventional conforming loans. To mitigate the impact of these challenges on the profitability of our Mortgage Banking segment and to improve efficiency and reduce consolidated earnings volatility, the Company is closing or consolidating the affected HLCs that have been most affected by these market conditions.”
Digital mania
Digital: late 15th century, from Latin digitalis, from digitus ‘finger, toe.’ Meaning "using numerical digits" is from 1938, especially of computers after 1945. Lenders are using vendors, and vendors are scrambling for market share.
Veritas Funding, a Utah-based mortgage company, is the nation’s first mortgage lender to roll out electronic disclosures through Blend’s mortgage platform. “This new feature allows for more efficient, accurate, and speedier loan processing resulting in greater borrower satisfaction. “Veritas will continue to invest time and resources in leading-edge technology allowing us to attract and retain some of the best mortgage talent in our industry.  Blend is a valued partner helping us grow our business”, noted Josh Pratt, Vice President of Information Technology at Veritas Funding.
Out in California, Bay Equity Home Loans, just weeks after announcing it was unveiling its BE Express Closing Platform, has completed its first electronically signed mortgage note. President Casey McGovern sagely commented, “Our technology means borrowers no longer have to spend hours at a closing table, signing document after document.  We can reduce that process to just minutes.” Bay Equity had already closed “hybrid” loans through BE Express Closing. These loans still require some inked signatures due to certain state requirements.
Embrace Home Loans is now verifying assets electronically by allowing borrowers to share their banking data online. The new service takes only seconds, thanks to Finicity, a provider of software that enables real-time sharing of financial data. Because Embrace can collect complete bank statements, they can also use a borrower’s cash flow data to verify income instead of tax forms. The system now allows borrowers to rapidly verify assets through a digital experience, eliminating the need for borrowers to print, copy and email paper bank statements, effectively reducing the process to secure a mortgage by up to a week or more. When borrowers apply for a mortgage online, they can simply give Embrace permission to generate a verification of assets report using data direct from their bank.
BOK Financial has implemented a partnership with Roostify. This new digital platform is a tool that offers functionality and efficiency to customers including: Customers can start an application, provide documentation and follow their loan’s progress online. Applicants have a secure way to upload, send, and receive loan documents. Homebuyers can add other involved parties to transaction, such as the real estate agent. Users don’t have to guess where they are in the process – they will receive timely loan status updates.
MERSCORP Holdings is accelerating digital mortgage adoption through the launch of a new solution via digital transaction management company eOriginal. MERS eNote Solutions will enable the creation, execution, registration and management of the electronic promissory note, or eNote, to mortgage originators across the industry. This news comes on the heels of Quicken Loans’ partnership with eOriginal to digitally create an electronic promissory note – thus allowing the country’s largest online mortgage lender to move more than $7 billion in mortgage to the secondary market. Fannie Mae also recently selected eOriginal for the launch of its next-generation electronic vault, which moved billions of dollars of assets onto its hosted platform to enable the secure management of eNotes through their life cycle. “This solution will enable thousands of originators to realize the benefits of a digitally executed promissory note at the closing table. The eNote is the most important document of a digital closing because it is critical for the funding of electronic mortgages by investors,” said eOriginal Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Mortgage, Simon Moir. “MERSCORP Holdings, as the operator of the MERS eRegistry, has been instrumental to the advancement of digital mortgage. We are proud to have eOriginal’s technology power the MERS® eNote Solutions.”
Capital markets
The 10-year closed -3bps to 2.95% yesterday in response to the latest policy statement from the European Central Bank, which had a dovish twist to it. It was still a hawkish statement from the ECB, which indicated that their asset purchase program would end by the end of the year (with tapering beginning after September and ending in December), but ECB President Draghi turned dovish during his press conference when he spoke of uncertainty in the outlook due to global factors with lower staff projections further aiding that sentiment. The surprise came in the form of a rate hike forecast, as the ECB noted it will keep rates unchanged until the end of summer of 2019, a few months longer than July 2019 expectations. The understanding that the policy divergence will remain in place for longer boosted the U.S. dollar. The other news of note yesterday was strong retail spending on goods in May will feed expectations for a healthy pickup in Q2 GDP growth.
In the U.S. today’s economic calendar kicked off, besides China implementing tariffs, with the Empire State Manufacturing Index for June. Not a big market mover. Expected to drop to 18.0 from the 20.1 previous reading, it went up to 25. Also today are May’s industrial production and capacity utilization (seen at -0.1% MoM and 77.9% versus 0.7% and 78.0% previously), the University of Michigan Sentiment Index (seen ticking higher to 99.8 versus 98.0 previously), some Fedspeak following Wednesday’s decision with Dallas Fed President Kaplan in a moderated Q&A. Finally, from Japan the BoJ came out with its latest policy decision (adhering to accommodative monetary policy). We start today with rates lower versus last night’s close: the 10-year is yielding 2.92% but agency MBS prices are only a few ticks better. A trade war with China and others won’t necessarily help our economy and which one could argue could lead to lower rates.
Friends, let me tell you friends that one simple spelling mistake–even a typo–can make your life hell.
I recently texted a short, romantic note to my wife while I was away on a fishing trip, and I missed one small "e."
No problem you might say.
Not so. This tiny error has caused me to seek police protection to enter my own house.
I wrote, "Hi darling, I’m enjoying and experiencing the best time of my whole life, and I wish you were her!”
Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 14: LO jobs; construction, digital marketing products; Freddie & Fannie secondary activity picks up

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects increasing customer usage of technology will reduce the number of bank tellers by 42,000 through 2026. Given their average pay is a little over $2k per month, I can see why some of the smarter ones are being wooed and hired as loan officer trainees. (And yes, the BLS mentions loan officer forecasts.) While we’re talking about banks, and possible good news for them, Goldman Sachs analysts believe Amazon won’t go so far as to open a bank, due to the extra regulatory scrutiny and credit risk. Amazon, however, will likely continue to provide supplementary financial services and it has partnered with various banks on their financial products already, and has a large pool of customers for financial products.
Lender products & training
Learn to grow your business with LinkedIn! Join Sierra Pacific Mortgage and experts on June 21st to learn how to engage and share insights to grow your network and become a trusted resource in this platform. You will learn how to increase connections and enhance relationships. Participants will leave workshop with a specific plan for full utilization of the power of their LinkedIn® Profile for increased referrals for mortgage loans. Register now.
National MI has several great trainings lined up for you this month: Wednesday, June 13, – Fannie Mae’s HomeReady Mortgage Overview, Thursday, June 14, – Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation Mortgages Simplified, Tuesday, and June 19, – Appraisal Review – Recent Changes and What’s Ahead. Sign up to attend any of these webinars here.
In response to Ginnie Mae’s new restriction on pooling unseasoned VA loans, APM 18-04: Eligibility of VA Refinance Loans, Mid America’s Whole Loan Trading Group has added this product to its “Scratch and Dent” program. To be eligible, the loans must have a VA guaranty and be performing. This complements Mid America’s existing program, which specializes in government insured and conventional conforming loans with minor compliance or eligibility issues. These loans will also be eligible for Mid America’s new warehouse partnership with Spectrum Mortgage Holdings that provides immediate warehouse financing for loans undergoing due diligence for purchase. For more information, please contact Michael Lima, Managing Director.
Freddie Mac OR Fannie Mae? The “OR” is a decision lenders make every day. But if you run both GSE AUSs, you have options which is why Freddie Mac is taking a stand for AND: AUS-Neutral Design. With results from both GSEs you can maximize secondary market loan fungibility and identify opportunities for borrowers to save money and get to closing faster. It’s better to see all your options before you make a decision – knowledge is power. So say goodbye to the days of OR. Demand #AND. Make your voice heard at Sponsored by Freddie Mac.
It’s no secret that with rates rising, margins shrinking and a transition towards purchase money that its getting more difficult to grow (dare I say maintain?) origination volume. But while most mortgage professionals are complaining about lack of volume — they’re not adding new marketing tools to find new sources of leads. In fact, most mortgage pros are neglecting one important aspect of their overall marketing strategy: digital marketing. Are you struggling to find out how to leverage digital marketing to generate more leads? Want to see how real-life mortgage companies are using digital marketing to generate leads? Tobe Agency is a marketing agency focusing on the mortgage industry and they’re offering a free, on-demand, webinar to help mortgage pros understand the concept of inbound digital marketing and its application to the mortgage industry. You can access the audio and video versions of the webinar here.
The American Bankers Association announced its endorsement of Built Technologies, a Nashville-based fintech company focused on simplifying the administration of residential and commercial construction loans through secure, cloud-based software. Built’s construction loan administration and business intelligence software was specifically designed to complement a bank’s core system(s), reducing the cost of servicing, increasing interest income via faster draw processing, and introducing unprecedented credit and collateral risk management capabilities to banks of all sizes. “We are delighted to be chosen as the ABA endorsed provider for construction lending technology,” said Chase Gilbert, CEO, Built Technologies. “We were impressed by the ABA’s due diligence process when choosing to work with us and it’s great to know we’re completely aligned on what their members need to solve this important problem.” This endorsement is the latest step in Built’s continued focus on bringing construction lending into the digital age.
Employment and promotions
Academy Mortgage recently introduced its newly created Sales Leadership Team who have over a combined 75 years of production experience in the mortgage industry. The team is led by Executive Vice President Kevin Haycock, who is joined by industry veterans and Academy SVPs Bill Sohan, Patrick Welberg, and Rob Shockley. The objectives of this innovative and dynamic team are simple: To help Loan Officers and Branch Managers grow their production, customer base, and partner base, and aid them in recruiting A+ individuals. To accomplish this, the team is passionately working to streamline processes, expand product offerings, and connect with referral partners to deliver the best platforms and experience possible for our originators and their customers. To see how Academy’s Sales Leadership Team can benefit your growth and production, contact Kevin Haycock or John Owens.
Movement Mortgage, a national top 10 retail mortgage lender, is excited to announce Michael Nasserfar has joined the company as a market leader in Austin, Texas. Nasserfar has received multiple mortgage lending awards, including the STAR Award (State of Texas Mortgage Professional of the Year) in 2013, 2014 and 2016. He has also received numerous Austin MAX & STAR award nominations. Recently, he was awarded the prestigious “Circle of Excellence” award, which recognizes the top 10% in production and customer service at his previous employer, a large national lender. Movement is building a team of top producers and leaders in Texas. To learn more about opportunities, email Regional Director Chris Blevins.   
How many more residential loans could you close with better back office support? You work too hard to experience the same chokepoints over and over again. Assurance Financial offers you a full-scale team of experts who have spent the last 17 years with only one objective: to help you close loans on time, every time. If you even THINK you may be losing money in your current situation due to poor support, call Paul Peters, CMB at 225-239-7948. Assurance Financial is a growing private residential mortgage banker with offices throughout the South, East Coast, and Midwest US, and we may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Ever-changing landscape
For those keeping score at home, EverBank has a new name, TIAA Bank. And another ever – Evergreen Home Loans, a full-service direct home loan lender offering origination, funding and home loan servicing with offices in six Western states, announced the launch of a new brand, logo and website to enhance the customer experience. Evergreen Home Loans started in West Seattle with five associates in 1987. It has grown to more than 800 associates and 65 offices throughout the Western United States. It was recently named the best workplace in the country in finance and insurance by Fortune and Great Place to Work.
And don’t forget that in August SunTrust Mortgage will be officially folded into SunTrust Bank.
Capital markets
Last week I discussed efforts of Freddie and Fannie to shift risk from the taxpayer to other entities that would pay for it. I received several questions about the process. For example, Freddie Mac completed an auction of subordinate non-guaranteed certificates. The Subordinate Certificates will be issued by Freddie Mac Seasoned Loans Structured Transaction (SLST), Trust 2018-1, which will also issue guaranteed senior certificates (the “Senior Certificates”). The Senior and Subordinate Certificates will be backed by 2,617 seasoned re-performing loans (RPL) and moderately delinquent loans serviced by Nationstar Mortgage LLC, d/b/a Mr. Cooper.
The SLST program is a key part of Freddie Mac’s seasoned loan offerings to reduce less liquid assets in its mortgage-related investments portfolio and shed credit and market risk via economically reasonable transactions. The servicing of the loans will be in accordance with RPL requirements, like FHFA’s requirements applicable to the sale of nonperforming loans (NPLs), which prioritize borrower retention options in the event of a default and promote neighborhood stability.
This transaction involves a two-step process. The initial step involved the auction of the right to purchase the Subordinate Certificates via a competitive bidding process subject to the terms set forth in a securitization term sheet. In the second step, the loans will be deposited into a Freddie Mac trust which will issue the Senior and Subordinate Certificates. Freddie Mac will guarantee, purchase and initially retain the Senior Certificates.
Fannie Mae is marketing its seventh sale of reperforming loans (RPLs) to reduce the size of its retained mortgage portfolio. The pool contains roughly 27k loans with a UPB of $6.17bn. Fannie Mae’s total retained mortgage portfolio dropped from $231bn to $228bn in Q1, down from $272bn at the beginning of last year.
Jobs and housing drive the U.S. economy, and therefore are watched closely to determine the direction of rates. Private employment increased by 223,000 as job gains were widespread across many industries. The unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low and was 3.8 percent (3.75% if you go out one more decimal). Additionally, the U6 unemployment rate, which considers those marginally attached to the labor force, fell to 7.6 percent. The labor participation rate fell slightly to 62.7 percent.  When looking at cumulative job gains by age, it is interesting to note that for the year, more net job gains have occurred in the 55+ age group (+720,000) than the 25-54 group (570,000).
This week’s meeting of the European Central Bank might produce an indication of the ECB’s stance on tapering quantitative easing, but expectations are far from certain on whether this will happen. The ECB must balance delicate and occasionally conflicting factors, knowing any announcement is likely to affect markets.
There are only four FOMC meetings a year that also have updated economic projections – March, June, September and December – and these meetings are seen traditionally as ‘live’. The market view is that if Powell communicates after every meeting, all eight FOMC meetings will be considered as ‘live’, where policy changes can occur. Yesterday the markets took note of the hawkish tone of the post-meeting statement, suggesting that relatively soon the Fed may need to deliberately slow the economy with still tighter monetary policy.
As expected, the FOMC statement called for a 25-basis point rate hike (to 1.75%-2.00%), approved 8-0. Members acknowledged that inflation is moving closer to the Fed’s stated 2% target and affirmed the committee’s intention to continue a gradual trajectory of rate increases going forward. The post-meeting press conference is to communicate transparently rather than signaling further policy changes. The “news” du jour was the accompanying dot plot showing policymakers see a high likelihood that two more rate hikes will be announced before the end of 2018. Additionally, the Fed upgraded its outlook for GDP and inflation, as household investment has picked up and business investment has continued to grow strongly. Finally, the committee voted to increase the interest rate paid on excess reserves by 20bps, to 1.95%. This is 5bps below the normal spread, saying that the correction was necessary to better manage the effective fed funds rate in the middle of the target range.
Fed interest-rate increases almost guarantee short-term Treasury rates moving higher. A bigger question for investors is whether those increases will curb growth along with inflation. That would pull down yields further out on the yield curve (like with 30-year or 15-year mortgages, to some extent), potentially signaling a slowdown.
Today, we have already had the ECB statement, leaving rates alone until the summer of 2019, but scale back asset purchases late in 2018. Back on this side of the pond, we had May retail sales and import / export prices along with weekly jobless claims. Expectations were for Retail Sales to increase 0.4% MoM in the headlines, and 0.6% ex-auto. Sales were much stronger, +.8% and +.9% ex-auto. Import and export prices came in as expected, both increasing 0.6%. Initial claims for the week ending June 9 were expected to decline 2k versus the prior week to 220k but actually dropped to 218k. Finally, April business inventories are seen increasing 0.3% versus the previously unchanged figure. We start Thursday with the 10-year at 2.94% and agency MBS prices a few ticks better, so rates are down slightly versus last night’s close.
Speeding in Oregon (part 3 of 3):
A young woman was pulled over for speeding. An Oregon State Trooper walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book.
She said, "I bet you are going to sell me a ticket to the State Trooper’s Ball."
He replied, "Oregon State Troopers don’t have balls."
There was a moment of silence. He then looked into the distance, closed his book, tipped his hat, got back in his patrol car and left.


Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 13: LO jobs, data, LO sales products; lender events; primer on inflation and what the Fed’s been saying about rates

Lenders aren’t likely to eliminate their owners or senior management, nor do they want to eliminate producers (who are meeting minimum thresholds) or slash their compensation. And good Ops staff is worth its weight in gold. In this time of margins being squeezed, what’s left? There is this note: “Given lender profits and LO commissions, I think one factor is a lot of expensive middle managers who do little or nothing to help improve, increase, or drive production. Lenders need to evaluate their role.” There are many great and talented individuals at that level, but yes, I am already seeing companies doing exactly that.
Lender products, capital partner wanted
In the age of big data there are massive opportunities to personalize marketing using data, but there are equally large risks associated with the use of this data. When the right data is isolated, it can be a great resource for lenders to ensure your marketing and sales efforts are targeted, on-point and effective. However, with data comes an element of risk, particularly when you start to put it to use. Learn how to make the most of your data by reading Total Expert’s free download: The Risks and Rewards of Big Data in Financial Services. This guide outlines how your organization can properly collect and protect your data, and more importantly, empower you to get the most out of your data while building trust with regulators. The opportunities with data are too big to miss out on, but don’t use your data improperly either.    
Never lose another preapproved customer again! HomeScout-HBM understands the challenges that lenders face when trying to service and retain preapproved borrowers who need to find a house. A local branch manager recently revealed that they estimate they are losing up to 25% to 30% of their preapproved buyers to the competition via public search sites. Siting the lack of monitoring and timely communications as being the culprit. HomeScout provides the only lead conversion solution that features an online back office that gathers business intelligence, indicating to loan officers when to communicate with buyers, without them feeling the pressure they would from strangers who bought their information from public search sites. Stay relevant with borrowers throughout the entire buying process and keep them off sites where they can be sold to the competition. Find out how by contacting them HERE and scheduling a demo or give them a call at 952-831-0623.
When a large national bank struggled with high costs and inefficiencies in its REO management and disposition strategies, Altisource’s proven technology-driven processes and innovative marketing strategies helped to improve their overall workflow, reducing costs by $4.3 million annually. Read the full case study here.
A regional retail lender is searching for a capital partner to expedite its growth, build a regional company, and establish servicing entity. This lender is currently licensed in DE, NJ, MD, PA and VA, looking to expand up and down the east coast and more. This is a great opportunity for a private equity company looking to expand instantly into the industry, or a current banker or commercial bank interested in establishing a separate mortgage banking division independent of current operations. Interested parties should send a note to me
Job opportunities & promotions
Motto Franchising recently announced that 80 Motto Mortgage franchises have been sold, with more than 50 offices now open across the U.S. As the first and only national mortgage brokerage franchise in the country, Motto Mortgage is focused on improving the consumer experience by increasing competition and providing personalized guidance to borrowers with more clarity and less jargon. The brand, which launched in October 2016, has offices in 27 states and the District of Columbia. “This a tremendous achievement for the Motto Mortgage team and network,” said Motto Franchising President Ward Morrison. “We knew from the beginning that our unique brokerage model was needed in the industry. It’s a very exciting time for all of us at Motto Mortgage.” Loan originators in the Motto Mortgage network work close by – and closely with – real estate agents to deliver a one-stop solution, and they have access to quality loan options from various sources. Anyone interested in purchasing a franchise or joining the network is encouraged to visit
Promontory MortgagePath is pleased to announce several senior level hires to its bank relations, technology, and fulfillment teams. Paul Katz, veteran American Bankers Association executive, has joined the company as Head of Bank Relations after serving the ABA in a host of senior level positions spanning nearly two decades. Scott Stein joins as Regional Vice President of Sales for the company’s technology unit, PromonTech. Previously, Stein was the Vice President of Sales & Business Development of Maxwell Financial Labs. David Sears joins as Regional Sales Director of Promontory Fulfillment Services. Prior to joining the company, Sears was a Regional Account Executive with Gooi Mortgage.
Special events
Come celebrate with Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions! As the leader in non-QM lending, it’s growing rapidly and happy to announce the Grand Opening of the newest Operations Center in Dallas. To celebrate management is hosting a Town Hall meeting and Open House on Tuesday, June 19th. The Town Hall discussion will kick off at 4:30 with the Open House following at 5:30. Mingle with senior executives from Angel Oak along with local Account Executives and learn more about non-QM and how brokers and correspondents can grow their pipelines. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
When you hear the term "Millennial," does your mind conjure up an image of a Martian with a smartphone at the end of their wrist instead of a hand? Do you assume that the only way to reach a Millennial is through social media and sort of shudder at the thought of having to possibly alter the way you currently do business in order to attract these creatures? Well, Sierra Pacific Mortgage is hosting a webinar to help you push past any barriers when selling to Millennials. Register for this free session on June 19th  which can help you understand this customer a little better and how to market to them, communicate with them, and, ultimately increase your customer base.
Just us Thursday, June 14, at 2PM EDT for a DealDesk focus on Bank Statement Programs. Each DealDesk webinar is product focused and only presented by lenders that have unique and/or proprietary loan programs. This DealDesk offers mortgage professionals an opportunity to discover how other successful originators use bank statement loans to close more loans. Our featured lender, Fund Loans, will review scenarios live. Sign-up and submit your bank statement program scenario here.”
Capital markets
The rates offered to borrowers in the primary markets is determined by the value of that mortgage in the secondary market. And there is a lot going on in the secondary markets that originators should be aware of.
It was announced yesterday that BofA’s Merrill Lynch has settled a case with the SEC about traders and salespeople over-charging bond buyers between 2009 and 2012.
Inflation continues to hover around the Fed’s 2.0 percent target and in addition to increasing gasoline prices, the core PCE index increased 0.2 percent to 1.8 percent and is also approaching the Fed’s inflation target. This has made the need for stronger wage growth more relevant for workers. Although hourly earnings only increased 0.3 percent in May, hours worked have ticked up and when multiplied by earnings has led to a 5.4 percent annualized pace over the last three months.
I pay 10% more for a set of tires, but they last 10% longer. Is the price increase inflationary?
All this caterwauling about inflation led me to do a little research. We should all remember that no one knows exactly what causes inflation, what effects it has, what is the best measure of it, what a normal rate is, and how to move it up or down. The Fed’s Tarullo stated, “We do not, at present, have a theory of inflation dynamics that works sufficiently well to be of use for the business of real-time monetary policy making.” Of course, prices don’t all rise or fall in unison. My gasoline prices don’t mean that my dry cleaner is going to cost more, or my printer cartridges. Most economists will tell you that “inflation” is a weighted average of the ups and downs of the prices of all goods and services in a basket that reflects the spending of all American consumers. Prices changes due to technology, consumer preferences, the cost of imports, speculation, etc. The impact depends on your age (put another way, what you buy changes with your age), the sales channel (online versus retail outlet), whether you buy more goods or services. But the Fed’s monetary policy treats the services side and the goods side of the economy the same. (“The average of landing at two airports is called a crash.”)
Even if the Fed does nothing, inflation may increase if banks make more loans and if the money circulates through the economy faster. The Fed is in tough spot and must keep an open mind and an eye on the data. Janet Yellen stated, “You have to keep an open mind and not assume you have a monopoly on truth.”
What have Federal Reserve officials been saying about rates? After all, they’re in the driver’s seat. Fed SF President Williams said the Fed may increase interest rates above the so-called neutral level if the economy continues to expand and inflation is at or above the 2% target level. Fed Governor Brainard projects US GDP will pick up this year, encouraging the Fed to continue rate increases, though at a slow pace. She furthered that the Fed “will want to see inflation coming in around target on a sustained basis after seven years of below-target readings.” Cleveland Fed President Mester concurred with other Fed speakers that the economy is still doing well and supports gradual rate increases. She said she could accept “a couple” of inflation readings above 2%. Dallas Fed President Kaplan said four more rate hikes are likely to occur before the Fed funds rate reaches its desired level. He also said that the inflation rate could go above 2% as that happens, but that any such upward drift should happen gradually. Fed Chairman Powell said he doesn’t believe rate hikes will upset the economy even though rates have been kept low for an extended period. Richmond Fed President Barkin said the economy is “remarkably strong” and gives the Fed reason to continue with rate hikes.
JPMorgan projects the Fed will raise rates at the June meeting and again in September and December given such strong economic conditions.
The 10-year closed unchanged at 2.96% yesterday as investors put the U.S. – North Korea summit in the rearview and turned their attention to the trio of central bank decisions that close out this week. Despite Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump signing a document pledging to work toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, markets moved little in response ahead of today’s release of the June policy statement by the FOMC. We did observe a slight flattening of the yield curve due to reports that the Fed is considering conducting press conferences after every policy meeting, a move some saw as preparation for the Fed to accelerate the pace of its rate hikes.
A rate hike is a near certainty, but of interest will be if both the upper and lower end of the range will be increased 25bps. Based on the May minutes, some market participants are expecting a 20bps hike in the upper band versus the standard 25bps (so 1.75% to 1.95% instead of 2.00%). Also of note will be the continued use of "accommodative" in describing the current monetary policy stance in the statement. Finally, investors will look to the dot plot for increased odds for an additional rate hike this year. Futures have September odds of a hike at about 65% with odds for another hike in December at just under 40%.
As far as Tuesday’s economic releases went, a CPI reading in line with expectations had a minimal impact on markets, though it further validated expectations of a 25bps rate hike and provided some backing for the prevailing expectation among Fed members that there will be at least three (possibly four) rate hikes in 2018. There are only four FOMC meetings a year that also have updated economic projections – March, June, September and December – and these meetings are seen traditionally as ‘live’. The market view is that if Powell communicates after every meeting, all eight FOMC meetings will be considered as ‘live’, where policy changes can occur.
Looking at today, the FOMC statement and related events are clearly the highlight of the calendar. The statement and updated Summary of Economic Projections are both due out at 2PM ET, followed by Chair Powell’s press conference. Already out this morning is the latest mortgage application data from the MBA for the week ending June 8 (-1.5%) and May’s Producer Price Index (+.5%, core +.3%, both higher than expected). We start the day with the 10-year yielding 2.96% and agency MBS prices little changed versus yesterday’s close.
Speeding in Oregon (part 2 of 3):
A motorist was mailed a picture of his car speeding through an automated radar post in Pendleton. A $40 speeding ticket was included. Being cute, he sent the police department a picture of $40. The police responded with another mailed photo of handcuffs.


Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)

June 12: Processing, warehouse, non-QM products; upcoming training; another lender bought – why bank M&A is picking up

Some banks have concluded they will have to support Libor after 2021, when alternative rates are in place. The banks hope to avoid disruption from a sudden discontinuation of Libor. Why does it matter? Plenty of adjustable rate mortgage, and lender warehouse lines, are tied to it.
Position wanted & promotion
A current VP (level executive) is looking for opportunities in Chicagoland, available beginning in July. The Candidate is licensed and experienced in Consumer Direct, proficient in sales training, sales management, originations, lead gen, analytics and telephony. The person will certainly entertain remote opportunities as well. Interested parties can send me a note for forwarding to the Candidate.
Congrats to Plaza Home Mortgage’s Mike Fontaine who, in addition to his role as CFO, is now Plaza’s COO. He will be overseeing its day to day operations, strategic initiatives, and financial management, and be reporting to CEO and President Kevin Parra, last seen somewhere waiting for the perfect wave.
Lender products
Amazon Mortgage? Are you equipped to compete with a tech giant that has a loyal clientele and that is known for low prices and efficiency? Lenders today need to get tech savvy fast. “Tech companies understand data, trends and consumer preferences and will focus on consumer desires to grab major market share quickly. Talk’uments can help you compete in the consumer-focused mortgage loan environment. Talk’uments is a multimedia, multilingual (English & Spanish) interactive loan technology that appeals to consumer needs, enhances lender sales, opens new business opportunities (LEP, Millennials, Minorities), and cuts costs through efficiency and advanced compliance protocols. To combine interactive loan technology with a human approach, contact George Baker (301.651.6198) for more information.”
More than ever before, lenders want to integrate a variety of product and services to their LOS that allows them to deliver a better experience for their borrowers and employees. APIs have become a necessity in the new digital lending environment and LendingQB is known for having a robust API framework to enable lenders to achieve their unique workflow solutions. Today, LendingQB announced that they have gone one step further and have built PlayRunner, a developer tool designed to simplify the process of developing API integrations. PlayRunner provides an interactive dashboard for developers to quickly identify and test their API integrations in real-time. For more information about LendingQB, go to to schedule a demo today.
Deephaven Mortgage is excited to announce that through strong 1st Qtr growth they have just closed Deephaven Residential Mortgage Trust, (DRMT) 2018-2, their second $300MM securitization of Non-QM loans in 2018. This growth is being driven by Deephaven’s continued emphasis on responsible Non-QM loans made through a growing network of the top mortgage companies in the industry. The goal at Deephaven is to continue to simplify our product line to make originating Non-QM loans easier, while rolling out helpful point-of-sale origination tools to help loan officers more easily pre-qualify their clients. Since March of this year, Deephaven has simplified three of our four core programs, Near Prime, Non-Prime, and our Investment Property products to make originating loans easier and more streamlined. To find out more about how Non-QM can help you grow your business, please contact Wholesale or Correspondent.
Do you have an RFP out for best-in-breed digital mortgage solutions for your business? Be sure that you are evaluating all the top providers in the space. Maxwell, recently recognized by Progress in Lending as the Industry Innovator, is continuing to make a huge impact in the mortgage industry. From independent lenders and community banks to credit unions and even TPOs, I’ve seen their product deliver tangible reductions in cycle time and dramatically improve the borrower and referral agent experience. They’re scaling incredibly fast, now facilitating over $1B in origination volume every month. See how partnering with their team can help you achieve your digital mortgage needs. Learn more about Maxwell here.
PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending, a subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings (NYSE: HTH), is a team of talented individuals committed to all our customers. Warehouse facilities available from $5 million to $50 million to fit customers of all different sizes. Low to No Doc Express Funding that reduces time and increases efficiency of the funding submission process. Accepting renovation programs and products; FNMA HomeStyle, FHA 203K Full, Limited and USDA Rural Housing. Providing ways to reduce warehouse lending costs with Tiered Utilization and Deposit Incentive Rates, we reward customers for utilizing their line and taking advantages of the Treasury Management services we offer. Extended dwell times for all State Housing Bond, FNMA Home Ready, FHLMC Home Possible and USDA programs and products at the same rate and advance as all other loans funded. To learn more about PlainsCapital Bank National Warehouse Lending, please contact Pamela Robinson, SVP National Sales.
Upcoming events
Do you want to close more loans but feel they are getting harder to source? Find out what originators can do when the conventional well runs dry. Join industry veterans, the CFO of CoreVest, and the company’s VP of Wholesale, via live webcast on June 20th to discover how investment property loans can be your ticket to growing more business and more clients. Sign up for the free webcast through this link. You can also its website or call 844.262.8177.
Register for the June 12th California MBA Legal Issued Committee webinar. Featured topics include New Developments in Receivership, Employment Law and Wells Fargo Ruling and an update on CFPB and RFIs.
On June 12th, Plaza is providing a webinar learning opportunity on how to review and calculate miscellaneous income sources.
Lending solutions provider Data Facts is sponsoring a complimentary webinar "TRID 2.0: Clarity and Improvement Coming in 2018" today, June 12, at 1 pm CDT. Register here. Keep Data Facts in mind as a trusted partner you can rely on for credit reports, debt monitoring, fraud products, tax return and social security verifications, flood certs, appraisal ordering, bankruptcy, lien, and judgment reports, and more.
AmeriHome’s underwriting management team will be offering a new Core Jumbo webinar on the following dates in June: June 12th or June 19th and June 21st.
Learn the benefits of digital closings with eOriginal’s June 14th webinar. In this session, industry experts will focus on digital closings, including what is possible today, key components, the benefits of a fully digital solution and the obstacles that remain for full adoption. 
ACUMA is holding a workshop for mortgage-lending credit unions in Minneapolis next week.
Join SWMC’s Reverse Mortgage Specialist on June 20th to learn the basic principles required to originate and process reverse mortgages.
This year’s MBAH Annual State Conference, "Loan Rangers" is scheduled for June 28th and 29th at The Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki in Honolulu. Presentations by key speakers will discuss the mortgage industry, the local economy and what to expect in 2018. Click here for info.
loanDepot Wholesale offers live 60-minute Renovation Lending webinars: Tuesday, June 26 at 11AM PST or Friday, June 29 at 11AM PST.
Register for the CMLA Western Chapter luncheon on June 28th. Steve Richman National Spokesperson, Genworth Mortgage Insurance, will explore common business clichés and how they need to be changed to be relevant in today’s evolving market.
The fabled Western Secondary Market Conference will be July 16th-18th at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco.
M&A: Katy bar the door
California’s AmWest Funding Corp. (doing business in 29 states and the District of Columbia with retail, wholesale, and correspondent channels) has acquired Georgia’s Bridgeway Financial, LLC, a retail mortgage lender doing business in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Texas and Virginia. Bridgeway is a direct lender that provides consumer-direct mortgage origination services, and Bridgeway Financial will operate as a DBA of AmWest Funding Corp. (Questions can be addressed to Richard Donine, AmWest’s National Marketing Director.)
German building materials maker Knauf is buying American building products maker USG for $44 per USG share. Recall that Citizens Bank ($158B, RI) will acquire Franklin American Mortgage Co. (TN) for about $511mm in cash (100%) or about 1.1x tangible book. FAMC manages a $41B mortgage servicing portfolio. On the credit union side of things, the NCUA approved 43 credit union mergers in Q1 of this year vs. 47 for the prior quarter and 44 in Q1 of 2017. What about banks?
When President Trump signed legislation modifying regulations imposed after the credit crisis, banks with assets greater than $10 billion immediately surged onto the radar screen as acquisition targets. That’s due in large part to the fact that the new law raises the asset threshold for systemically important financial institutions to $250 billion from $50 billion. As such, banks with assets of $25 billion on up to about $200 billion can now buy smaller banks without having to deal with onerous regulatory scrutiny and limitations as to how they deploy capital. Banks $10 billion or larger in assets will likely see a significant surge in selling in the next few years, as larger banks ramp back up their M&A activity. In the last few weeks…
CapStar Financial Holdings, Inc. (Nashville, TN) and Athens Bancshares Corporation (Athens, TN) agreed to merge. CorTrust Bank ($801mm, SD) will acquire State Bank of Delano ($91mm, MN). In Illinois Midwest Bank ($444mm) will acquire Andalusia Community Bank ($40mm). In Kentucky, newly formed bank holding company First Capital Bancorp Inc. will acquire The First National Bank of Jackson ($104mm. In Pennsylvania Orrstown Bank ($1.6B) will acquire First Community Bank of Mercersburg ($184mm) for about $32.4mm in cash (15%) and stock (85%) or about 1.53x tangible book, and The Farmers National Bank of Emlenton ($756mm, PA) will acquire Community First Bank ($131mm, PA) for about $17mm in cash and stock.
Hanmi Bank ($5.3B, CA) will acquire Southwestern National Bank ($411mm, TX) for about $76.7mm in cash (20%) and stock (80%) or about 1.58x tangible book. Fifth Third Bank ($142B, OH) will acquire MB Financial Bank ($20B, IL) for about $4.7B in cash (10%) and stock (90%) or about 2.76x tangible book. Bank of Ruston ($290mm, LA) will acquire First National Bank of Crossett ($157mm, AR) for about $12.8mm. German American Bank ($3.1B, IN) will acquire First Security Bank ($587mm, KY) for about $101mm in cash (30%) and stock (70%) or about 1.62x tangible book.
Independent Bank ($8.8B, TX) will acquire Guaranty Bank and Trust ($3.7B, CO) for about $1.0B in stock (100%) or about 3.19x tangible book. In Washington Timberland Bank ($1.0B) will acquire South Sound Bank ($187mm) for about 1.54x tangible book. In California Poppy Bank ($1.6B) will acquire Blue Gate Bank ($130mm). In South Carolina Citizens Bank ($443mm) will acquire Heritage Community Bank ($111mm) for about $11.3mm in cash (40%) and stock (60%). In Massachusetts Rockland Trust Co ($8.1B) will acquire The Milford National Bank and Trust Co ($365mm) for about $54.2mm in cash (25%) and stock (75%) or about 2.03x tangible book.
But all isn’t unicorns and walks on the beach. First Midwest Bank ($14B, IL) will close 19 locations and reduce its total workforce by 7% to improve efficiencies and respond to evolving client preferences.
Capital markets
“What exactly is a digital mortgage? John Ardy, CEO of Resitrader, says a loan isn’t truly digital unless it includes secondary market delivery. At an MBA Secondary Conference panel last month, Ardy explained an end-to-end digital mortgage must include the investor’s decision-making process and loan trade—which means trading must take place digitally, too. “If the process stops when the keys are handed to the buyer,” he says, “you’re not taking full advantage of going digital.” Makes sense to me!
Rates moved little yesterday, with the 10-year closing up 2bps to 2.96% ahead of tonight’s Trump-Kim summit and the three major central banks interest rate decisions later in the week. The other big international news Monday was Canada’s dollar falling in the wake of the G-7 meeting, which ended with deepening tensions over U.S. tariffs and a dispute between Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In Italy, the country’s new finance minister confirmed his commitment to the common currency. The pound fell as data showed a downturn in U.K. manufacturing in what could be a key week for Theresa May’s Brexit strategy.
Everyone worries about inflation, but it is not a big issue. The May CPI report was +.2%, core +.2% (versus expectations of +0.3%). Real weekly earnings are seen unchanged after falling 0.1% MoM previously. The Redbook Same-Store Sales Index for the week ending June 9 will be released, and we have three Treasury events: a $35 billion 1-month T-bill auction, a $14 billion auction of reopened 30-year bonds, and finally the release of the May budget statement where the CBO’s early estimate sees the deficit increasing to $144.0bn vs. $88.4bn in the prior fiscal year. The Senate Banking Committee is expected to vote on the nominations of Rich Clarida and Michelle Bowman to the Board of Governors of the Fed. Rates are little changed from Monday’s close, with the 10-year yielding 2.97% and agency MBS prices worse a few ticks.
Speeding in Oregon (part 1):
GOOD: A Bend, Oregon policeman had a perfect spot to watch for speeders but wasn’t getting many. Then he discovered the problem: a 12-year-old boy was standing up the road with a hand painted sign, which read "RADAR TRAP AHEAD". The officer also found the boy had an accomplice who was down the road with a sign reading "TIPS" and a bucket full of money. (And we used to just sell lemonade!)


Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)




June 11: DTC & LO jobs; the ever-changing world of private mortgage insurance

Residential lenders aren’t the only ones having a tough time out there. Builder Hovnanian reported a Q2 loss of $9.8 million. The Social Security program’s costs will exceed its income this year for the first time since 1982, forcing the program to dip into its nearly $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits. (It is estimated that the trust fund will be depleted in 2034 and Social Security will no longer be able to pay its full scheduled benefits unless Congress acts to shore up the program’s finances.) And while our stock market has rallied nicely, many large consumer food companies have seen their share prices drop by more than 30% in the last year as consumers move to fresh food and new brands.
LO products
What if there was finally a way to eliminate the uncertainty and generate enough referrals to achieve the mortgage success you desire? Learn to work smarter – not harder from Cindy Ertman, one of the industry’s Top 100 Loan Originators in the U.S. for over a decade. Cindy’s 90 Day Jumpstart to Mortgage Success program will help you learn in 90 days what has taken other Mortgage Loan Originators years to accomplish on their own. You’ll get access to Cindy’s proven sales scripts, her 90 Day Total Success Blueprint, her 10 New Referral Partners program and her new Connection to Conversion Training Guide to jumpstart your business NOW! 90 Day JumpStart kicks off on June 19th. All calls are live with Q and A.  To take advantage of a huge one-time only discount, sign up HERE now and get a FREE copy of Cindy’s ‘10 Hacks to 10X Your Mortgage Results’.
If you are looking for a strategic merger offering unlimited potential, think New American Funding. Right away, you’ll be joining a company with skyrocketing growth (watch this) – from zero purchase in 2012 to more than $10 billion annually today. Fueling this amazing growth is our industry-leading technology and our proprietary mobile apps (watch this), led by our Agent Intelligence (watch this), giving Originators a sizable competitive advantage and keeps them relevant with millennial first time buyers.  We also offer award-winning cobranded marketing (watch this) and a captivating culture (watch this), winning New American Funding perennial accolades as an outstanding place to work. All told, these forces have produced a scalable model of success that we’ve duplicated across more than 160 branches nationwide with a continued growth trajectory at an accelerated level of performance. Let’s get started! Contact us today at
Caliber Home Loans, Inc. is the #1 retail mortgage lender in Florida, according to housing market intelligence firm Metrostudy. Caliber’s 34 Florida branches closed over 11,000 loans in 2017, contributing to the lender’s overall volume of $43 billion. Caliber is a leading national mortgage originator and servicer – and has the numbers to prove it. It is unique in that Caliber has a large servicing portfolio that currently exceeds $140 billion. This strategy requires significant capital but yields customers for life for this lender and its Loan Consultants. Caliber is growing in Florida, and in competitive markets across the U.S. Contact Jeremy DeRosa or visit
Ally Home is expanding its Mortgage division in Charlotte, to handle our rapid growth! We want someone who is self-driven, detail-oriented, and consistently achieves their goals. We are looking for experienced, dedicated sales professionals to be a major contributor on our sales team. The DTC (Direct to Consumer) Mortgage Originations Loan Officer proactively solicits new and existing residential mortgage business primarily from Ally’s customer base and leads provided by Ally’s Marketing partners. Mortgage Loan Officers help effectively match Ally’s mortgage product(s) to each customer’s unique loan objectives / financial goals. We demand and compensate our sales professionals for producing high quality, compliant loans and providing superior customer care according to Ally’s brand promise. Responsibilities include managing lead and loan application pipeline, prioritizing work, ensuring application quality, performance and loan quality standards are maintained and production goals achieved.”
Evergreen Home Loans continues to grow, both as a company and individual loan officer production. Average production per Loan Officer at Evergreen increased 42% over the past 3 years. More impressive, the top 25 loan officers grew their production on average by 90% from 2014 -2017. GROWTH is a core conviction at Evergreen and the company is committed to helping their loan officers grow – personally and professionally. Evergreen plans to continue this growth trend, including hiring loan officers seeking a great culture and place to work. Candidates can find a testament to the Evergreen culture on their awards and recognition page and the latest job openings on the Evergreen Home Loans Careers page.
Private mortgage insurance news
National MI announced the introduction of Rate GPS, a new risk-based pricing platform that assesses a variety of loan characteristics to more closely align National MI’s premium rates to the risk associated with individual loans. Rate GPS evaluates a variety of factors (including credit scores, loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios and other borrower, loan, and lender characteristics) to precisely calculate the appropriate mortgage insurance rates for individual loans. The new, granular risk-based pricing approach supports National MI’s goals for maintaining capital strength, generating strong risk-adjusted returns, and bolstering the credit quality of its loan portfolio. Based on the company’s current mix of business, Rate GPS represents an estimated overall rate reduction of less than 10%. “Rate GPS aligns with our lender customers’ desire for more targeted pricing and will ultimately enable lenders to structure their loans with more precision. We believe it will provide a more affordable option for borrowers,” said Brad Shuster, CEO of National MI. With Rate GPS, National MI leverages modern analytical and modelling tools to evaluate and assess historical loan data to produce rates that are closely calibrated to loan risks. The technology supporting Rate GPS is intended to deliver a smooth and seamless pricing process for lenders and their borrower customers.
LOs remind borrowers that, due to last year’s tax bill, several tax provisions were extended that expired at the end of 2016 and were retroactively reinstated for 1 year through 2017. Families with total adjusted gross income up to $100,000 may deduct 100% of the mortgage insurance premiums paid in 2017. The MI tax deduction gradually phases out until adjusted gross income reaches $110,000, at which point, the deduction reaches $0.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have worked with the mortgage insurers (MIs), at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), to revise the GSE Rescission Relief Principles. During 2018, the MIs will revise their master policies to reflect the new principles and obtain the required approvals from the GSEs, FHFA, and the state insurance commissioners. Once finalized, the GSEs and MIs will then coordinate an implementation date and notify lenders accordingly.
USMI (a group that includes 5 of the 6 major MI companies) released a new report on the private MI’s role in homeownership nationwide. The report found that nearly 30 million homeowners have been served by MI for more than 60 years, and breaks down low down payment mortgage lending with MI in all 50 states. The report also underscores the historic importance of MI, how MI has helped promote homebuying in the U.S. especially with first-time buyers, and the protections that MI provides to American taxpayers and the federal government. The complete report on MI in the U.S. is available here. All 50 states fact sheets, plus data for the District of Columbia, are available here.  
USMI submitted a comment letter on FHFA Notice of Regulatory Review. The comment letter suggests that FHFA should reassess its “Prior Approval for Enterprise Products” interim final rule for the GSEs, because though the regulation establishes a process for the GSEs to obtain prior approval from the FHFA for new products—and provide prior notice to the FHFA for new activities—the regulation is “unused [since its implementation in 2009] and apparently not fit for purpose.”
A U.S. national security panel approved a Chinese conglomerate’s $2.7 billion takeover of Richmond, Va.-based insurer Genworth Financial Inc., after the companies convinced authorities they would take extraordinary steps to secure Americans’ personal data. The approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. for China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co.’s deal marks the largest publicly reported Chinese deal to win CFIUS’s blessing during the administration of President Donald Trump. (CFIUS is a secretive, interagency committee that reviews proposed foreign takeovers of U.S. businesses. Led by the Treasury Department, it can advise the president to block deals on national-security grounds.) This materially increases the likelihood of GNW’s sale to China Oceanwide, as CFIUS was the most controversial review. The regulatory focus now moves to the Delaware Department of Insurance and Chinese regulators.
MGIC has turned heads with new rates for Borrower-Paid Monthly Premiums, Borrower-Paid Non-Refundable Single Premiums and Borrower-Paid Annual Premiums. MGIC is modifying its borrower-paid monthly and non-refundable single premium rates to include risk-based adjustments for DTI ratios greater than 45% and for 2 or more borrowers. These changes are effective with MI applications we receive on or after Monday, July 9, and subject to regulatory approval.
Its new BPMI monthly rate card modestly increases base premiums and aligns its rate card with those of peers (RDN, ESNT, and GNW). The card also introduces more granularity through adjustment factors, like those from peers. Is pricing stabilizing in the industry?
MGIC will insure loans with DTIs exceeding 45% only when the Representative Credit Score is 700 or greater, effective with mortgage insurance applications received on or after March 1, 2018. This change applies to loans with an Agency automated underwriting system (AUS) response. MGIC’s non-Agency Underwriting Requirements currently do not allow DTIs exceeding 45%.
And MGIC released its May data. Total new notices decreased -16.1% YOY, while total delinquent inventory fell by -10.5% YOY. IIF growth remained strong at +7.4% YOY, tracking above +7.0% forecasts for 2Q18.
Arch MI has announced its integration with Byte Software. Equipped with the newly designed integration, BytePro users now have direct access to RateStar, a risk-based pricing solution without leaving the BytePro LOS. Chris Hovey, Arch MI’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer stated, “We are committed to bringing technology solutions to the marketplace that improve lender efficiency and accuracy, and this new integration on the BytePro LOS will help lenders close more loans with RateStar – Arch MI’s most dynamic rate program.”
UWM has made improvements to its Single Premium Financed Mortgage Insurance rates for correspondent loans. Click this link to price a loan.
Wells Fargo Funding issued a reminder for loans with borrower-paid private mortgage insurance (PMI), Sellers must satisfy Homeowners Protection Act (HPA) requirements and accurately disclose to the borrower when/if PMI can be requested to be cancelled and when/if it will be automatically terminated.
Recall back earlier this year we had a “PMIERs 2.0 overhang.” Late last year Compass Point Research and Trading had refreshed its views on mortgage insurers, highlighting the potential trading risk of the pending PMIERs 2.0 capital rules.
Capital markets
Tad Dahlke, Managing Director at Incenter, sent out, “Ginnie surprised the market and VA originators last week with a significant rule change that took effect without warning: Starting June 1, VA refi loans are banned from all Ginnie pools if the loans refinanced out of were less than 6 months’ seasoned. What this means: Many originators were caught with loans that will never be securitizable in Ginnie pools – not even single-issuer custom pools. While these loans retain their VA guarantee, they will need to trade to investors as whole loans. The market will take a few days to settle on pricing; our initial estimate is somewhere between 2 and 5 points below TBA.”
Rates were flat to close last week ahead of this week’s busy calendar. The headline news will come Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve is expected to announce a 25-bps rate hike. A day later, the European Central Bank could provide some guidance about the end of its asset purchases, and Friday, we will have a decision from the Bank of Japan. Those come after several international central banks took the spotlight. Central Bank of Brazil President Goldfajn pledged to defend the real through currency swaps and other instruments, if needed. Earlier in the week, Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly hiked rates and Bank Indonesia Governor intervened verbally, as emerging market economies struggle to contain capital outflows.
Today is the calm before the storm, so to speak, with no economic releases. Things kick back into gear tomorrow with the May NFIB Small Business Optimism Index and May CPI figures. In addition, the U.S. North Korea summit is slated to begin on the island of Sentosa in Singapore while further headlines regarding tariffs are also expected. Wednesday sees the usual MBA Mortgage Applications, PPI readings, and the FOMC rate decision. Thursday, we have import/export prices, weekly claims, and Retail Sales. The week closes with some manufacturing and production numbers as well as the preliminary June Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. Rates are a shade higher to start the week versus Friday’s close: the 10-year is yielding 2.96% and agency MBS prices are worse nearly .125.
Whoever decided, in the English language, to put an “s” in lisp?
And while we’re at it, did you know that there is a word for the fear of palindromes? It was deliberately constructed to be a palindrome itself: aibohphobia.
Visit 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, The Plight of the Small Independent Lender.” 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.
(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 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.)



June 9: Robo-calls, travel scams, phishing, spearphishing, bitcoins, blockchain – it’s a tech jungle out there!

“I can’t tell if people who wear pajamas in public have given up on life, or are living life to the fullest.” Regardless, plenty of people in pajamas are on their computers, using technology, planning trips, etc., so let’s see what is going on with IT out there.
Bitcoins & blockchain
Part of an experiment in using the blockchain technology, Bitcoin is transforming the New York housing market. In real estate deals blockchain can reduce paperwork and the need for lawyers and other third parties by allowing people to buy and sell portions of buildings more efficiently than by crowdfunding or creating LLCs.
The risk of data breaches continues to grow as more information is stored online and as software becomes more complex. Lawyer Andrew Rossow details what organizations can do to prepare, including using artificial intelligence, creating or updating incident-response plans and utilizing blockchain.
Commerzbank has used blockchain to replicate a foreign exchange forward trade with thyssenkrupp, a German industrial group. Reconciliation is costly and time consuming for banks trading FX, and this experiment shows how blockchain can "digitalize the processes in this space", says Nikolaus Giesbert of Commerzbank.
Distributed-ledger technology can strengthen financial infrastructure by protecting against attacks, De Nederlandsche Bank says, but blockchain is not yet cost- and energy-efficient and cannot take on a mass number of transactions. These conclusions are based on a three-year research project that tested DLT prototypes.
Phishing & spearphishing
Phishing: In a blink of an eye, an employee or customer can download malware and do great damage. It never hurts to keep this on top of mind bank-wide through your regular communications. These attacks are still done since they are valuable to hackers. Verizon notes that more than 75% of these attacks were financially motivated last year.
But FBI agents will often tell you that the #1 threat to financial institutions today is spearphishing. Huh? Spearphishing is the practice of sending fraudulent and spoof emails to a company’s employees seeking to deploy malware or ransomware or some other form of monitoring or intrusion software as soon as someone clicks on the otherwise legit looking email.
Lenders and banks must “stay dynamic” and continue to evolve with the threats, train, train and train your staff, engage in email monitoring and install email protection type software, and implement system segmentation (where it’s not easy to get from the system that opens/operates email to the systems that house key data). Everyone is under the same level of threat, and everyone is in the same boat. There are no easy answers and no inexpensive solutions. Financial services companies must remain active, vigilant and aggressive to protect ourselves and our customers.
Mitch Tanenbaum recently contributed, “It is an epidemic and that is being polite. One industry executive friend of mine says that his national title company receives 300,000 phishing attempts every single day! We have multiple mortgage clients that have fallen for phishing attacks. The result is that one or more user’s credentials are compromised.
“Once a user’s credentials are compromised, the attacker can log in remotely, say from Ukraine. One way they can exploit this is to log in only one time and during that very brief login they add a rule to forward all inbound mail, whether it comes from an internal user or an external user (such as a client) to the hacker’s Gmail account. Once the hacker has done this, he or she never has to log in to the compromised account again. This attack will continue to work even if the user changes his or her password. Once the hacker has copies of all your emails, he or she can peruse them at his or her convenience, using them to create attacks against your customers and against your employees. At his or her leisure. Forever. There are tools that you can use to protect from these attacks, but most companies have not implemented them.
“Another use of compromised credentials is to use them as a safe launching pad for sending out spam to the spammer’s list of email contacts. This attack is usually relatively short lived because eventually, someone will contact your company and complain that you are sending out spam. Alternatively, your entire company’s email can get blacklisted (and this is not that hard) and all your company’s email from all employees will be rejected by any recipient that subscribes to one of the blacklists that you are one. Getting yourself off some of these blacklists can take multiple days, in which time all your email will be rejected.
“There are many things that you should do to mitigate this risk and one of them is phishing your own employees. We have seen mortgage companies where the percentage of people who fall for the phishing emails is very high (say in the 40% range) and very low (less than 5%), but even at the very low range, there is significant risk. Remember that compromised credentials mean at least an investigation and likely it means notifying regulators in multiple states that a breach has occurred. This generates reputational damage and the potential for lawsuits – all from one compromised account.
“Modern phishing training tools are affordable and easy to use. The tools must be able to phish users automatically with limited work on the administrator’s part, with different phishing emails for different users and delivery of the training phishing emails at different times of the week for different users. Executives MUST be included in the phishing tests and optimally, they should tell the entire company if they fall for one. This removes the stigma of falling and lets people know that this is sufficiently important to the company that even the executives are participating. Please contact us if you need help with phishing training or protecting your email.”
Travel scams
Lots of people will be traveling this summer, and Experian advised that Americans should be particularly wary of these six travel scams.
1. Third-Party “Discount Travel” Scams
Travelers may be tempted to reach for discounted vacation offers from third-party firms. Such companies offer “instant” travel discounts designed to lure consumers to make impulse decisions on hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and other travel packages. Consumers will provide a credit card or debit card number, and these discount firms will pocket the charges, and all too often not provide the services promised or skimp on the offerings.
2. Free Vacation Offers
Travel scammers also often offer free vacations that are more about stealing money from your bank account that providing a dream trip that’s “on the house.” Travelers wondering if free travel vacations are on the level are onto something—free vacations from companies you’ve never heard of before just don’t happen, not unless there’s a major catch involved in the deal. To recognize a fraudulent deal, know the warning signs, which include offers of gorgeous locales with no specific mention of hotels, resorts, or airlines.
Additionally, the free travel offer doesn’t list any specific dates or any fees attached to the offer. If you’re considering such an offer, read the fine print included in the offer (especially on fees included), check the listing companies’ track records on websites like Trip Advisor, and review the listed record of the company on the Better Business Bureau website.
3. High-Pressure Booking Tactics
Unscrupulous travel services firms will often try to put the pressure on to close a toxic travel deal. They do so for a reason: Travel consumers who book a travel package well in advance often do so with a credit card payment. The fact is, according to the FTC there’s a 60-day limit on disputing a credit card purchase (you must dispute it 60 days after receiving the first bill with the charge on it). By the time the consumer figures out the travel company is ripping him or her off, it’s often too late to get their money back.
4. Rental Fraud
With the rise of Airbnb and other private residential home rentals, vacation rental scams involving apartment dwellers or homeowners who offer deep discounts on travel rentals are growing more pervasive. Here, consumers looking to book a place to stay will search for a good deal and dig up a home with a great rental price and contact the “owner.” In reality, the owner is a scammer who insists on an immediate down payment on the property rental.
Often, the scam artists will insist on a bank wire payment, which can be transacted in a day or two, and goes directly into the scammer’s account. When the traveler shows up at the property they find the property in a deteriorated state, or they find that the property is owned by some else and isn’t available for rent at all.
The good news? Online rental companies are now offering built-in protection against such scams. Airbnb, for instance, doesn’t release payment to the homeowner until 24 hours after the renter checks in. HomeAway provides secure payments and money-back guarantees, as well. Also, read reviews to get the scoop on a property. Past travelers can tip you off to something shady. Be cautious on sites like Craigslist where you don’t have guarantees and reviews aren’t available.
5. Bait-and-Switch Scams
Another form of rental fraud comes in the form of bait-and-switch rental scams. In this instance, unscrupulous rental providers list a highly desirable, but unavailable, rental property. When a travel consumer signs off on the rental, upon arrival, the renter is told the original listing is unavailable and is steered to a much-less desirable property.
6. Fraudulent Currency Exchange Scams
Americans traveling overseas may use street-based storefront currency exchanges, which bill themselves as accessible and user-friendly. Travelers who use storefront currency exchanges should take caution. Such exchanges can charge onerous fees and provide the wrong amounts on currency exchanges, always in favor of the storefront currency exchange.
These fraudsters count on the foreign travelers not knowing the currency rates while traveling abroad, and that they’ll embrace the convenience of exchanging currencies right on the street. Travelers should avoid storefront currency exchange services; instead, only use banks and other financial institution currency exchange services, or “currency exchange-only” stores that are accredited and that specialize in currency exchange services. U.S. travelers should always know the current exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the relevant currency used in the country they’re visiting.
Using a credit card, especially if you don’t have foreign transaction fees when possible helps you avoid carrying around too much cash. And you can use well-known companies’ ATMs as needed, though you’ll want to be aware of any fees from that bank and yours.
Knowing How to Avoid a Travel Scam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a handy guide to help you spot and avoid travel fraud scams. The FTC also provides an online complaint form to report travel fraud or travel scams.
In general, consumers planning and booking travel should be on guard against clicking on suspicious emails offering free or deeply discounted vacation packages. The adage that “if it seems too good to be true, it likely is” is a handy rule of thumb when considering such deals. Also, if you do sign on to any vacation package deal, get all the terms in writing, and don’t make any payments until you do. A reputable travel service will have no problem doing so, but a scam artist likely won’t want any record of the deal.
Read the fine print on any travel deal and scour your invoice or contract for any hidden fees and charges that weren’t clear upfront. Common travel fees include processing fees, late booking fees, and international departure and arrival fees. Get an explanation on any fees charged for travel and ask if any can be eliminated or discounted. Traveling these days can be time-consuming enough without worry about getting scammed while on the open road. Watch for the travel scams listed above and make sure you don’t fall victim to any one of them.
(No joke today – but instead a piece on annoying robo-calls which seem to be plaguing everyone.)
The Federal Communications Commission said consumers received an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls per month last year. If your phone is being inundated with such calls, there are steps you can take to try to block them out:
The most simple and effective remedy is to not answer numbers you don’t know.
If you do answer, don’t respond to the invitation to press a number to opt out. That will merely verify that yours is a working number and make you a target for more calls.
List your phones on the National Do Not Call Registry. If your number is on the registry and you do get unwanted calls, report them.
Download apps such as Truecaller, RoboKiller, Mr. Number, Nomorobo and Hiya, which will block the calls. YouMail will stop your phone from ringing with calls from suspected robocallers and deliver a message that your number is out of service.
And then there is the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, which turns the tables on telemarketers. This program allows a customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot, which understands speech patterns and inflections and works to keep the caller engaged. The robots string the callers along with vocal fillers like “Uh-huh” and “O.K., O.K.” After several minutes, some will ask the callers to repeat their sales pitch from the beginning, prompting the telemarketers to have angry meltdowns, according to sample recordings posted on the company’s website.
Watch what you say. One recent scheme involves getting consumers to say “yes” and later using a recording of the response to allow unauthorized charges on the person’s credit card account, the F.C.C. warned in March. When the caller asks, “Can you hear me?” and the consumer answers “yes,” the caller can gain a voice signature that can later be used to authorize fraudulent charges by telephone. Best to answer with “I can hear you.”
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