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

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

(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.)

Jan. 18: MI & LO jobs, servicing for sale; upcoming conferences & training; conventional conforming changes

“Employee engagement is a hot topic for organizations big and small. Regardless of size, a highly engaged workforce is a company’s greatest asset and can be a determining factor in how successful the company is. But the only reliable way to measure engagement is through an employee survey.” Here are the top five employee engagement survey mistakes, per Clark Schaefer Hackett.
Employment, products, servicing for sale
“After 17 years of organic growth Fidelity Bancorp Funding is expanding and looking to hire and develop Residential and Commercial Loan Officers in its Orange County office. Fidelity’s platform has no peers with income opportunities in not only single family, but also multi-family, commercial, SBA and Bridge. Imagine doing one loan that leads to 1-2 others. Imagine being able to meet with a client and offer options for their entire real estate portfolio. Imagine being able to offer a bridge loan that allows the buyer to buy with no contingencies to compete with all cash offers. Imagine having recent college graduates being trained specifically to work with you to provide support and earn fee income as well. Fidelity thinks outside of the box… Is it time for you to consider your career options and consider joining a company that offers more?  If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our VP of Business Development Bobby Rizzo or 714-908-5119.”
MIAC’s capital markets group is pleased to announce its exclusive offering of ~$70mm reperforming residential whole loans. The collateral consists of >75% modified loans, ~12 months performing, average UPB of ~$230k. Bids are due Monday January 29th. Interested parties should contact their MIAC sales representative at 212-233-1250 or Steve Harris for additional information.
Floify, the mortgage automation and point-of-sale app for top-producing LOs, has kicked off the new year by investing heavily in optimizing its popular platform for on-the-go borrowers who crave the ultimate mobile mortgage experience. Floify’s fully redesigned and responsive borrower-facing interface means their home buying process is about to get a lot more enjoyable. Additional aesthetic changes to Floify are planned throughout 2018, with the grand finale being a completely redesigned 1003 loan application, inspired by feedback from industry veterans and top producers. To check out Floify’s newest improvements, and get the inside scoop on upcoming changes, request a live demo. If you’re already excited about the future of Floify and how their current and future enhancements will positively impact your mortgage business, then get started with a free trial, plus 25% OFF your first 4 months.
Radian is currently adding to its Georgia sales team and is seeking a Senior Account Manager in the Atlanta area! Interested candidates will be responsible for maintaining and growing existing accounts, developing and implementing strategies and initiatives to achieve NIW growth objectives, and building on and ensuring customer loyalty. Qualified candidates will have 3+ years of sales experience, preferably within the mortgage industry. This is a great opportunity to put your industry knowledge to work for one of the top mortgage insurers in the country! Please apply directly on our Radian Careers page.
The Money Source Inc. (TMS), a national financial services and mortgage company, announced it launched a companywide initiative to grow happiness, encouraging employees to give back to their local communities. to send you the second part to our launch as a heads up since it went out today. It’s on the lighter side, but it comes with a reflective video if you think it’s shareable or newsworthy in any way for the commentary. Here’s a link to the video.”
Upcoming events & training
Fully compliant, paperless e-closings for Calyx customers! DocMagic’s Director of eServices, Tim Anderson, will show you how to advance your mortgage process into the digital world to maximize your profits and deliver a superior customer experience at CalyxVision™ 18 February 11-14. Is your process faster, simpler and more convenient to meet customer expectations? Equifax’s Sr. Director of Product Management, Nathan Bruser, will show you how data insights can help you attract and serve borrowers as their expectations continue to rise. Stay competitive in a contracting mortgage market. Don’t delay. Receive 50% off your CalyxVision registration using discount code 50CV18. Register today!
There is just one month left to register for the Lenders One 2018 Winter Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, March 4-7 at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. This year’s conference theme, Visualize, will hone in on the data and technology we see for the future of our industry and feature keynote speaker Jer Thorp, a thought leader focused on making data more human. For this members-only event, Lenders One has curated 24 education sessions led by industry experts, including two Secondary Market panels that I will be moderating as well as hot topics like blockchain, leading in a down market, digitizing ops and the latest in housing policy. Touted as the most valuable part of conference, Lenders One has expanded networking opportunities for guests to connect with peers and explore best practices. Reserve your spot by February 12, or contact Lauren Ketchum to learn more about becoming a member.
“Get in the know on VA financing! American Pacific Mortgage’s VA Boot Camp gives you the perfect opportunity to become informed, inspired, and educated about the unmatched benefits of VA home loans allowing you to better serve the VA community. You will hear directly from APM’s Jeff Wilson, who is considered a national expert on the VA Loan Guaranty program having served for over 27 years with the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this interactive session, Jeff will dispel some of the common myths about VA financing. Michael Pankow, EVP of National Production, a Veteran himself, states, “We are excited to bring this level of education and expertise to the market to allow the real estate community to better serve our Veterans.” The first event is scheduled for Bellevue, Washington on January 22, and travels to 10 different cities. Click here to find and register for an event near you.
AmeriHome’s underwriting management team will be providing a Core Jumbo Underwriting Webinar on multiple dates in January. In this webinar we will: Discuss the latest changes to the Core Jumbo Program Guide. Review Core Jumbo guidelines. Provide best practices for underwriting Core Jumbo loan transactions. Note: Core Jumbo program underwriting is fully delegated. Friday, January 19th – 1:00 p.m. PST. Monday, January 22nd – 9:30 a.m. PST. Tuesday, January 23rd – 2:00 p.m. PST
Join the California MBA Mortgage Technology and Marketing Committee (MTAM)
on January 19 for a fast-paced presentation covering everything from how to gain a competitive edge with cybersecurity as a trust-builder to how to develop trust-building marketing messages to the public, your clients, and your staff. Presented by Raymond Hutchins and Mitch Tanenbaum of CyberCecurity and John Seroka of Seroka Brand Development. 
Learn how to use the 1003 as a roadmap to gather, review and verify required documentation, prepare the Loan Application for Underwriting and utilize Arch MI resources to assist your loan processing review. Register for Plaza’s webinar on Monday, January 22nd.
The deadline for implementation of FINRA Rule 4210, a new rule that establishes margin requirements for Covered Agency Transactions, is fast approaching. To help mortgage bankers prepare, Incenter is hosting a workshop for attendees of the MBA Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference, taking place next week (January 22-25).  In addition to understanding compliance requirements, participants will also explore how the new margin rules will interact with their pipeline and MSR hedging strategies, as well as develop innovative responses to the rules that also improve their bottom line. The session will take place on Wednesday, January 24 at 1:30 p.m. ET in the Talbot Ballroom D at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. For more information on the session or to schedule a meeting, contact Al Qureshi (651) 412-2044 or Jason Blair (651) 412-2017.
President Trump signed the Republican tax reform bill, which includes the most significant changes to corporate tax law since 1986. CliftonLarsonAllen is providing a webinar on February 8th at 8AM PT. This webinar with provide an overview of the new legislation and what these changes mean for your financial institution. It will also outline tax planning opportunities for institutions to consider in 2018.
Fannie, Freddie, conventional conforming updates from lenders & investors
There are too many for just two days, and this is Part 2 of recent news. Part 3 is tomorrow.


Should the mortgage market be supported by shareholder-owned utilities with regulated rates of return and an explicit government guarantee of mortgage bonds? That’s the current feeling of the FHFA, which oversees Fannie & Freddie.
New reimbursement criteria have been established for servicer expenses related to foreclosure attorney fees and sale publication costs, property inspections, legal sales tax, and non-recoverable advances. Additionally, line items have been updated in Fannie Mae’s LoanSphere Invoicing. For criteria details, review the updated Servicer Expense Reimbursement Job Aid. Refer to the Reimbursement Updates Notification for detailed line item updates and the LoanSphere Line Items Job Aid for a list of all servicer expense categories and subcategories for conventional loans that are available in LoanSphere Invoicing.
Freddie Mac is extending the February 9, 2018, effective date for the revised rental income requirements announced in Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide Bulletin 2017-12. The revised requirements will now be effective for mortgages with Freddie Mac settlement dates on and after November 30, 2018. Also, Seller/Servicers should note that approved mortgage insurance (MI) companies will issue new MI master policies later this year that will reflect the revised rescission relief principles Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are mandating.
In continued support of the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Fannie Mae has extended the suspension of all foreclosure sales for mortgages secured by properties in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands located in FEMA-declared disaster areas because of these storms, through Mar. 31, 2018. This change is effective immediately. Review Lender Letter LL-2017-11, Temporary Suspension of Foreclosure Sales in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, for details.
SunTrust Correspondent Fannie Mae Announcement SEL-2017-10 announced changes for Texas 50(a)(6) first mortgages, resulting from recently approved amendments to the Texas Constitution affecting home equity lending. “In response to these changes, SunTrust Mortgage reviewed the impacted guidelines and identified opportunities to more closely align with Fannie Mae requirements. Additionally, in support of our guideline improvement initiative, we reviewed our guidelines in their entirety and identified opportunities to refresh our guidelines to more closely reflect the Agencies’ language and/or presentation of guidance.”
Capital markets
Mortgage rates, along with longer-term Treasury note and bond yields, are determined by supply and demand. Plans to double the supply of US government bonds may cause demand to be temporarily outpaced by supply, and lead to adverse effects such as wider credit spreads and falls in the dollar and stock market. Other market watchers do not share this view, of course, pointing instead to numerous bullish indicators, including significant retail appetite for bonds.
There were plenty of headlines concerning the potential government shutdown and a temporary stop-gap funding bill, the fourth for fiscal year 2018, on Wednesday and the 10-year Treasury note ended the day yielding 2.57 percent. While the markets did appear to react somewhat to these, there were also other technical trading forces at play including an uptick in supply, a small FedTrade Operation and resistance at the 2.52 percent level and ensuing trades. Some days these technical movements drive the direction of the markets in lieu of fundamental data and news. 
As for the news, the MBA started the day reporting that purchase mortgage applications increased by a seasonally adjusted 3 percent from the prior week and refinance applications increased 4 percent, despite the rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increasing to its highest level in March 2017. Rebook reported that month-to-date sales in January vs. December were down 0.3 percent. Industrial production increased 0.9 percent in December and the annual increase for 2017 is the largest calendar-year gain since 2010. The NAHB Housing Market Index fell, as expected, to 72 in January from its 19-year high of 74 in December, but still suggesting that the housing market will continue to accelerate this year.
Today’s scheduled data included housing starts and permits (-8.2%, -.1%, unexpectedly weak) initial jobless claims (surprisingly -41k to 220k, a 44-year low!) and the January Philadelphia Fed (22.2, lower than forecast). After the initial strong volley of numbers, we find the 10-year T-Note yielding 2.61% and agency MBS prices worse .125-.250 versus Wednesday’s close.
Here’s an idea for a new clothing company: “Dad Duds.”
Do you want the world to know that you’ve sired children? That style has long since given way to comfortable functionality?
Do you crave clothing options that say, “Fine, you can have more arcade tokens”?
Then Dad Duds is for you.
At Dad Duds, we seek to streamline the process of opening your drawer and putting on literally the first thing your hand touches. Biweekly, you’ll receive T-shirts from charity runs that you did not attend, puzzling jeans that technically fit, and shoes that look like pool floats.
And sweat pants to be worn low, or high, depending on your personal preference.
Enroll today and receive a free cap, grabbed at random from our Hat Barrel!
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 17: Bus. Dev., LO, sales jobs; upcoming events; Freddie & Fannie changes – Single Security moving forward

“It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, as long as you have money.” Banks are where the money is, and plenty of them are paying attention to Congress. Eliminate Dodd-Frank? No. Revise? Perhaps. The most significant effort to revise the Dodd-Frank Act has bipartisan support, and we have a co-sponsored Senate bill. The proposed legislation mostly addresses regulations on small and midsize banks – in the future community banks or credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets could offer mortgages outside the typical Qualified Mortgage rule so long as they don’t sell that mortgage but keep it in-house. By holding that mortgage on the books, it would be deemed a Qualified Mortgage.
Products, employment, & promotions
If you are an independent mortgage company or retail production team closing $2M to $50M per month and are looking for an opportunity with a nationwide company focused on growth and branch support, contact Bank of England Mortgage. “Since opening our doors in 1898 in England, Arkansas, our family-owned and FDIC insured bank provides big bank benefits with a community bank feel. We have survived the volatility of the mortgage industry for 119 years using a combination of stability, our flexible and entrepreneurial approach in helping you run your business, and focus on the success of your team. We offer an extensive range of loan products, nationwide lending, the advantage of modern technology and a distinct marketing approach to ensure your success. Tired of changing companies and looking for your forever career home? Contact your regional Bank of England Mortgage representative: West – Randolph Winston, (615) 812-5885, Midwest – Jim Lind, (913) 972-0822, Southeast – Roger Phillips, (205) 910-9339, or Northeast – Chris Copley, (717) 440-3346.
“As a leading national servicer, Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC, can provide the expertise and capacity needed to sub-service government loans with a robust compliance and risk management structure. As the 10th largest GNMA servicer, 4th largest USDA servicer, and a top Non-Performing Loan servicer, Carrington is uniquely positioned to sub-service or specialty service your agency, government, non-agency or legacy PLS deals. Carrington has been a direct master sub-servicer for GNMA since 2013 and had successfully completed over 250 servicing transfers. We provide effective and efficient sub-servicing management to maximize value for investors. Our high touch platform can lower costs, minimize risk and enable better efficiencies, all while keeping families in their homes. Your portfolio is important, and Carrington can provide both the custom attention it requires and the service your customers deserve. Carrington tops the list of sub-servicers the experts choose. Consider Carrington today and learn more by contacting Tom Huddleston or Nolan Turner.”
Vendor Surf, the only vendor search engine for our industry, launched last month with a huge splash. With over 3,000 search filters and 82 different vendor categories across the end-to-end mortgage and credit union ecosystems, it makes finding your next vendor partner quick and easy. Firms with multiple affiliates, brands or stand-alone products can list and manage them all from a single account, at one affordable price. Vendor Surf’s slogan is, ‘If it’s happening in the mortgage or credit union space, you’ll find it on Vendor Surf.’ You can now plan your industry event travel from one place, as Vendor Surf consolidates the vast number of industry events, webinars, education and training opportunities. Click here to search for your next vendor partner. Searching is free, as is sharing your events, webinars and educational opportunities. Visit or contact Scott Roller or Craig Leabig for more information.
Valuation Partners, a leading national Appraisal Management Company, is looking to add a Vice President of Sales to manage the Southeast Region. “Valuation Partners ranks in the Top 10 of privately held AMC’s with a goal to be NUMBER 1. As Vice President- Regional Manager, the successful candidate will be responsible for managing and growing sales in the Southeast USA. We are seeking an individual based in Florida or Georgia with relationships throughout the Southeast territory.” Please visit its website at for more information. For confidential inquiries or resumes, please contact Keith Goatley.
“We at City National Bank believe that establishing and cultivating complex financial relationships will always require genuine high-touch service which produces results that exceed our discerning clients’ expectations.  Financial expertise, trust and authenticity are the basic qualities we hold in the highest regard and consistently apply to the client experience.  If you believe you qualify for the City National brand of mortgage banking, we look forward to hearing from you. With the sales team now under the direction of Josh Copeland (formerly of AIG Investments and Bank of America), we are searching for both Private Mortgage Bankers and Private Mortgage Banker Leads in New York City, Orange County/San Diego, the Bay Area and the greater Los Angeles area. Both roles call for entrepreneurial mortgage bankers who specialize in sourcing and cultivating banking relationships with high-net-worth clients, while providing City National’s extraordinary client service.” To learn more, visit CNBCareers or contact Bridget Purviance, Talent Acquisition, at 213-673-9155. 
OpenClose, an industry-leading multi-channel LOS and mortgage Fintech provider, has bolstered its development, integration, and support teams with the addition of seven new hires. The new team members will drive continued innovation of the company’s open-to-close digital lending platform, develop new solutions, enhance existing products, provide excellence in customer support, and meet the increasing marketplace demand for its enterprise-level software products. OpenClose is seeking a VP of Business Development to join its growing sales and marketing team. The ideal candidate desires a cutting-edge fintech environment and has experience in mortgage technology and lending for banks, credit unions, and mid to large size mortgage bankers. Knowledge of LOS platforms and vendor management is a plus. OpenClose provides a unique, boutique-style, very hands-on approach to LOS implementations, training, and support. The company is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Visit its website for more information
Movement Mortgage has hired former KPMG executive Stephen Polacek as its chief credit officer to lead Movement’s credit risk management strategy and operations, responsible for Movement’s credit quality, credit culture, credit risk management and overall credit processes.
And at Embrace Home Loans Kurt Noyce will lead Embrace’s expanded Financial Institution Services Division after serving as President for the last eighteen years. “During that time, he has been instrumental in helping to lead the national lender to become nearly a 1,000-employee company producing more than $3 billion annually in mortgage originations.” Dennis Hardiman will assume the role of President of Embrace and will also hold the title of CEO. Al Dussinger, Embrace’s CTO for 22 years, has been appointed to Chief Operating Officer.
Upcoming events
nmpU’s Purchase Bootcamp – a private 2-day Success Event, presented by Ron Vaimberg, nmpU’s President and Head Coach – is coming back to San Diego on Thursday, February 8th through Friday, February 9th. Only 40 originators are permitted to attend. If you are committed to mastering the steps to build or elevate your production to a 100% referral based purchase business, then this is the premier event to attend. This is a high level complete step-by-step success program that takes originations to an entirely new level regardless of your current production. nmpU’s Purchase Bootcamp brings together originators committed to earning six and seven figures in 2018, and is backed by the first ever industry $100,000 Income Increase Guarantee. Early registration discount expires Sunday, January 21st. For complete details visit  Use Code “Chrisman” and save an additional $100.
Cybersecurity as a marketing tool to build trust and sales? Yes, it makes sense! Come join the California MBA Mortgage Technology and Marketing Committee (MTAM) on January 19 for a fascinating, fast-paced presentation covering everything from how to gain a competitive edge with cybersecurity as a trust-builder to how to develop trust-building marketing messages to the public, your clients, and your staff (samples included!) Presented by Raymond Hutchins and Mitch Tanenbaum of CyberCecurity, and John Seroka of Seroka Brand Development.
American Mortgage Law Group’s next webinar on Tuesday, January 23rd will cover two areas of state regulation, one from California and one from Texas. If you lend in California, you must be aware of the California limitation on Per Diem Interest. If you have any questions regarding the webinar click here
Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC is offering a free, in-person “Reverse Mortgage Jump Start” accelerated learning course — one in Miami on Wednesday, January 31 , and another in Orlando on Thursday, February 1 . Each one-day session will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with lunch included. Find out how you can easily add this missing piece to your product mix, with a team of industry-leading professionals on your side. If you’re originating mortgage refinancing, home purchase loans, and/or lines of credit and not offering reverse mortgages, you’re missing out on a huge market opportunity — homeowners and homebuyers age 62+. This is a great way to learn the ropes and how you can get started. Admission is free, but seating is limited so reserve your place today!
Join MMLA Southeast Chapter on February 8th’ for its 2018 Kick-Off Event. Lunch and mingle with your MMLA SEChapter colleagues and hear why this will be an exciting year for all. Guest speaker will be Jim Wickham, CMB, the 2018 MMLA State Board President. 
Fannie, Freddie, conventional conforming updates
There are too many for just one day – so this is Part 1. Part 2 slated for tomorrow!
Lenders shouldn’t forget that the FHFA released an update on the Single Security Initiative (SSI) and the Common Securitization Platform (CSP), saying the key objective of the update "is to emphasize the need for market participants to begin now to plan and prepare for SSI implementation." The current timeframe is for the SSI to be implemented in Q2 2019 with TBA trading potentially starting in Q1 2019. As result, "market participants need to complete preparations by year-end 2018," said the FHFA.
The High Stakes in the Looming Fannie and Freddie Overhaul. Congress is gearing up to tackle the politically thorny issue of housing finance reform in 2018. So far, the plan is shaping up as workable compromise between the competing interests of investors, mortgage lenders, taxpayers and homeowners.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency and Treasury Department announced they will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each to retain $3 billion in capital for 2018. The move required amendments to the dividend and liquidation preference provisions governing the enterprises’ sale of senior preferred stock to the Treasury. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have capital reserves again. As expected, the government-sponsored enterprises recently made their quarterly dividend payments to the Department of the Treasury.
Fannie Mae has announced during the weekend of January 20, Desktop Underwriter for government loans will be updated to support the VA 2018 county loan limit changes, as well as the new FHA 2018 loan limits.
Fannie Mae has updated its Selling Guide in  Announcement SEL-2017-10. For a summary of key updates in this Selling Guide Announcement, view the executive perspectives video presented by Jude Landis, Vice President, Credit Policy, and the executive overview from Carlos Perez, Chief Credit Officer for Single-Family.
Freddie Mac published a comprehensive, three-year Duty to Serve plan for working with the mortgage industry, housing groups and other stakeholders. The plan addresses some of the nation’s most persistent housing challenges, focusing on three historically underserved markets: Manufactured housing, Rural housing and Affordable housing preservation. Freddie Mac will focus on increasing liquidity and stability in these markets as well as developing new initiatives, ground-breaking research and consumer education. For more information, read Freddie’s Single-Family News Center article.
Capital markets
Citi Correspondent Lending’s State geographic pricing adjusters will be changing for new best efforts rate locks and mandatory commitments established on/after Monday, January 15, 2018. These updates apply to various Conventional Conforming and Agency Jumbo 15- and 30-year term Fixed and ARM products.
Seems pretty quiet out there! After a mildly volatile trading day on Tuesday, the 10-year Treasury note finished yielding 2.54%, one basis point lower than Friday’s close. As equities rallied, bonds retreated, but they found support as the stock market backed off its intra-day highs amidst increased concerns of a government shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s general business conditions index – of secondary importance at most – declined to 17.7 in January, however this level still indications solid growth.  The report also indicated that price increases continued to accelerate with the priced paid index up seven points to 36.2 and the prices received index up 10 points to 21.7. 
Moving on to today’s calendar, first up is MBS Mortgage Applications (+4.1%, purchases +3% and refis +4%), followed by Redbook same-store sales at 8:55AM, Industrial Production at 9:15AM, NAHB Housing Market Index at 10:00AM, and the Fed Beige Book at 2:00PM. For any LO who held off locking yesterday, rates versus Tuesday’s close are up a bit, with the risk-free 10-year T-Note yielding 2.56% and agency MBS prices worse .125.
(Thanks to Mark S. for this one.)
A heavily pregnant woman hobbles painfully into the hospital with one hand on her back.
A nurse comes over to her and asks her what’s wrong, but the woman just shouts, “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Didn’t!”
The nurse shakes her head and says, “Sorry, I don’t understand.”
The woman screams, “Can’t! Won’t! Don’t!”
The nurse is really confused and turns to a doctor who says, “Admit her immediately! She’s having contractions!”
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 16: New products, Citi & digital; natural disasters & compare ratios; Q3 performance and fee changes

Replacing real estate agents with “something else that doesn’t earn a 6% commission” is certainly a discussion topic. Here’s one new venture: peer to peer real estate marketplace. But as Brian B. from New Jersey points out, “If a new company says it’s taking out the middleman and it will handle all the paperwork, isn’t it now the new middleman?” All I know is what I read in the newspapers, and The National Association of Realtors reports 88% of all buyers financed their homes the past year, but 98% of younger buyers financed, showing finding financing is especially key for young homebuyers. I guess they have less moola. At the other end of the mortgage process, servicers of loans along the Gulf Coast are now seeing increasing delinquencies from areas hit by the hurricanes. Will the government help adjust Compare Ratios? See below!
New products
Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC is now offering Non-Agency, Non-Prime loan programs. In our continuing effort to promote and support for the underserved borrower, our Non-Agency products allow borrowers with recent credit events, credit scores to 500, no MI loans and expanded ratio options, additional choices to qualify for a loan. Carrington began their journey to serve the underserved four years ago by expanding guidelines and manually underwriting government loan programs for credit challenged borrowers.  Today, mortgage brokers working with Carrington can further expand their business with these Non-Agency programs available on primary, secondary and investment properties. Fixed and ARM programs available. Loan amounts up to $1.5 million. Visit for more information on our non-agency program or call 866-705-9506 to speak with an account executive.
According to the 2017 STRATMOR Technology Insight Survey, lenders gave LendingQB a 94% satisfaction rating, the highest rating among all the major LOS vendors in the mortgage industry. LendingQB also ranked highest in end user experience and customer support, rating greater than 90% in characteristics such as system navigation, system documentation, intuitiveness and online help. More information on the STRATMOR survey can be found here
CitiMortgage will now offer a new single digital platform to its clients after inking an agreement with two digital technology platforms. The front-end digital originations platform will be powered by LoanFX from Digital Risk, a provider of digital technology platforms and services, and the new loan originations system will run on LoanSphere from Black Knight. The new digital capabilities will allow CitiMortgage clients to complete the full loan cycle, from research to application, processing, scheduling appraisals, handing title, to closing through one digital platform.
The Quality Jobs Fund, which was created by the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and is led and managed by the New World Foundation (NWF), provided its first investment – $5 million to the Central Valley Fund. The Davis-based investment firm provides flexible capital solutions that facilitate the expansion of small- and medium-sized businesses, creating quality jobs and training employees for better positions. FHLBank San Francisco seeded the Quality Jobs Fund (QJF) with a $100 million charitable contribution to facilitate quality job creation, finance small business expansion, and support job training in its three-state district of Arizona, California, and Nevada, and in other communities nationally. The groundbreaking initiative will improve the wealth-building potential of working families, help generate future homebuyers, and serve as a catalyst for sustainable, long-term community development programs, especially those in underserved communities. Specifically, the QJF is supporting innovative programs that upskill low-income workers in vital industries and that finance the expansion of businesses creating quality jobs. QJF investments will focus on helping to increase wages for working families, thereby increasing the pool of potential homebuyers and helping sustain vibrant communities.
Pacific Union Financial announced that its PacificPlus, a Down Payment Insurance (DPI) program, is now available in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. 
The PacificPlus DPI program provides optional insurance that protects all or part of the homebuyer’s initial down payment in the event of a loss when the property is sold in a down market, up to a maximum of $200,000 for purchase transaction that meet the required criteria.
Guaranteed Rate has a no-cost Red Arrow Approval Express program which can speed up the mortgage process and help homebuyers obtain their dream home more efficiently. This program delivers a full underwrite of credit, income and assets, providing an edge over competing buyers. For qualified buyers and conditions, the program allows buyers to: Secure credit approval before they’ve settled on a property, get full underwriting approval in as little as four hours, make an offer backed by an approval and compete with cash buyers and enjoy greater negotiating power. Consumers can call 773-290-0505 with questions and to be directed to a loan officer to further explain the program.
Guaranteed Rates’ announced its new proprietary program, GR Flex Power, a jumbo loan program. The program’s pricing is controlled and is underwritten by the company. It requires as little as a 10 percent down payment option for loans up to $3 million with no private mortgage insurance required. The program includes various financing options such as fixed rates and ARMs, and interest-only options are available with a 15 percent down payment.
Pacific Union announced its participation in the USDA’s Manufactured Homes Pilot Program that allows the financing (purchase and refinance) of an existing manufactured home constructed on or after January 1, 2006, in conformance with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (FMHCSS), as evidenced by an affixed HUD Certification Label.  Guaranteed loan applications submitted under the pilot program must be manually underwritten.  Additional details regarding the USDA’s Manufactured Home Pilot Program are available in Pacific Union’s Manufactured Homes Program Guide and/or USDA’s Manufactured Housing Pilots under the Section 502 Programs Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed unnumbered letter.
Unison Home Ownership Investors, provider of home ownership investments, announced multiple promotions and additions to its management team and substantial 2018 expansion plans. In 2017, Unison expanded into five additional states including Illinois, New York, Arizona, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, bringing its total footprint to twelve states plus Washington D.C. Unison has also processed over 14,000 consumer inquiries for its flagship programs. Earlier this year, Unison was recognized as a leader in today’s financial technology space by winning three Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, and the FinovateSpring ‘Best of Show’ Award. GoBankingRate included Unison on its list of ‘Startups to Watch in 2018‘ and Bank Innovation added Sponholtz and Riccitelli to its list of ‘Most Innovative CEOs in Banking.’ In addition, the company raised over $300 million in total investment capital, experienced significant growth in headcount and added industry veteran, Ron Suber, as an investor and strategic advisor. The company will also launch additional products and expects to grow origination volume by over 500 percent next year.
Caliber Home Loans’ 5-Star ARM allows the client to lock in a low initial interest rate for the first five years. After five years, the rate will adjust up or down, and lock in for the next five years. If it increases, it’ll never be more than 2% of the current rate. Caliber’s 5-Star ARM follows standard agency guidelines. To learn more, visit the Caliber website.
HomeXpress Mortgage Corp. is now offering AssetXpress on its PrimeX program. His product is solely based on the borrowers’ seasoned, liquid assets. Contact Steve Cutter with questions.
Impact of natural disasters
I received this note over the weekend. “After taking care of homeowners located in natural disaster impacted areas, LENDERS FEEL THE PAIN. Lenders are faced with navigating significantly increased Neighborhood Watch (NHW) Compare Ratios and early payment default penalties.  One lender’s NHW compare ratio increased 200% from August 2017 thru November 2017. Of this increase, 82% of the new delinquencies were active forbearance agreements directly attributable to the natural disaster. In these cases, the borrowers made 11 on time payments on average prior to the delinquency. Furthermore, there are significant variances in delinquency reporting for the status and reason codes; which makes loan performance analytics difficult to manage. Additionally, aggregators are exercising early payment default and indemnification triggers for borrowers in forbearance agreements related to the natural disasters. In some cases, the repurchase price of a loan can include administrative fees exceeding 10% of the loan amount; which can send small to mid-sized lenders into a financial tailspin. To make matters worse, HUD has not provided clear guidance on how it will handle increased NHW compare ratios which are due to natural disasters.  The uncertainty of potential HUD corrective action along with the financial risks will continue to plague lenders deep into 2018 and beyond.”
Fees changes & performance
The MBA 3Q17 Performance Report is out, and the industry earned 40 bps per loan in the quarter. The survey showed that those companies that were 100% retail or consumer direct earned 48 bps and those that were 75% or more wholesale earned 9 bps. There were only 23 wholesale respondents in the survey versus 223 retail respondents, so the results may not be representative.
Mountain West Financial Wholesale posted the following: Starting February 1, 2018, VA has raised appraisal fees in the state of Texas. LendingQB fee templates and Mortgage Works AMC appraisal fee sheets will be updated by the February 1, 2018 effective date to reflect revised VA appraisal fees in this state.
Effective Monday, February 5, 2018, Flagstar will no longer allow Borrower-Paid compensation or a flat fee as part of the compensation schedule.  Customers will still have the flexibility to choose a compensation plan up to 275 basis points, including amounts for minimum and maximum dollar amounts.
The first stage of Flagstar’s Loantrac portal upgrades are effective immediately. Navigate its simplified, streamlined new fee summary page without having to browse through multiple pages to find the needed information. Save commonly-used business contacts within the portal to reduce the need to re-enter information manually and Issue lump-sum credits easily.
Plaza will increase the fees in Minnesota for appraisal orders placed on or after January 29, 2018. As a reminder, if clients know the appraisal fee is higher due to complexity, they are required to disclose the most accurate amount. Click here for the fee schedule. 
Starting November 20th, Mortgage Works AMC added an additional $100 onto the base appraisal fees for properties located in the following counties: Alameda, Calaveras, Contra Costa Kern, Lake, Marin, Napa, Nevada, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma. Mountain West Financial has updated its appraisal fees to coincide with these changes.
Back in November the funding fee assessed for Fifth Third Correspondent Lending loans was reduced to $199 from the then current $399 per loan file. Effective for delegated loans locked on or after Monday November 27th, the funding fee will revert to $399.
Capital markets
The increase in rates/yields continues as the yield on the benchmark two-year Treasury note surpassed 2% Friday for the first time since 2008. Will the increase attract US investors back into the market as well as fresh foreign investment, as returns now compare with similar bond yields overseas? Perhaps. The 10-year wrapped up last week at 2.55%.
Last week, the first couple economic releases were a little soft followed by stronger reports as the week ended.  The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed job opening edging down for the second straight month in November, letting up from a robust advance through the first three quarters of 2017. The headline producer price index fell, surprising a market looking for a small increase, and showed widespread softness across the core measures of the index. As the week progressed, Treasury yields jumped as concerns of a swell of Treasury issuance transfixed the market. On Thursday, data released by the US Treasury showed the federal budget deficit was $23 billion in December and $225 billion through the first three month of fiscal year 2018, $200 billion above the estimate provided by the Congressional Budget Office.  As the deficit increases, so does the need to fund the deficit through debt issuance. On Friday, the headline consumer price index met expectations, however the core index rose 0.3 percent versus market expectations of 0.2 percent. Retail sales rose 0.4 percent in December and November’s figures were revised higher, indicating a strong holiday shopping season. 
When all was said and done, the 10-year Treasury note finished Friday yielding 2.55%, up from 2.47% the prior week and according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool, probabilities for a March Fed Funds rate increase jumped from 67.3% to 72.6%. 
Turning to this week’s calendar, today there is only the Empire State Manufacturing Survey (drops to 17.7, weaker than forecast) as well as three treasury auctions. Wednesday brings weekly MBA mortgage applications, December Industrial Production and Utilization, the January NAHB Housing Market Index, weekly Crude Inventories, and the January Fed Beige Book. Thursday’s data includes housing starts and permits, initial jobless claims and the January Philadelphia Fed. The week ends with consumer sentiment. We start the trading week with the 10-year yielding 2.54% and agency MBS prices better a few ticks (32nds) versus Friday afternoon.
Thank you to Auri R. for this one.)
Today, I’m enjoying the fact that S*ITHOLE is an anagram for HIS HOTEL.
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 15: LO jobs, borrower satisfaction tool; vendor updates; more bank fines over servicing flaws

The AllRegs “Ask-A-Regulator” program is back, this time with a focus on state licensing questions and answers. “Our compliance team is gathering questions to take to the NMLS Conference in February to get answers directly from the regulators, and report back. Everyone who submits a question will get a copy of the full Q&A document following the conference. Here’s the link to submit a question:”
No one is asking about if rates are going to go down, but I am often asked about products. And if you have a question about whether an investor offers a certain product, you can always enter the state and the program at and see which wholesale and correspondent investors turn up.
Employment & products
Prime Mortgage Lending continues its strong, steady growth all the way from the east coast to the west coast with the recent addition of two new branches. We are delighted to have branch managers Felipe Gonzalez, a loan officer with a rock-solid reputation, located close to the nation’s capital in Alexandria, Virginia and Yvette Agostini, an extremely talented veteran in the mortgage industry, located in sunny Palm Desert, California join the Prime team! Prime Mortgage Lending offers 401K with company match, group health and life insurance, in-house processing and underwriting, 24-hour underwriting, advanced technology and IT support, and an aggressive compensation package. Prime Mortgage Lending is currently hiring talented Loan Officers with a proven track record, that are ready for growth. We’d like to talk to you! Call 877-307-5667 today to start a conversation about joining the growing Prime team or visit
With so many moving parts in the loan process, it’s not always clear when (and how) lenders should go about providing updates. According to data from STRATMOR’s Borrower Satisfaction tool, MortgageSAT, the way the borrower receives loan updates impacts the likelihood that the borrower will recommend the loan officer. For example, borrowers who are contacted by phone are much more likely to recommend their LO or Processor than are borrowers who receive written communications. In this month’s MortgageSAT Tip, STRATMOR’s Mike Seminari shares tips on how to communicate updates in ways that increase the likelihood of the borrower recommending the loan officer.
Borrower satisfaction is critical, as is a lack of complaints over your servicing procedures. Just ask these big banks who were fined by the Federal Reserve over their servicing flaws.
Plenty of vendors hope to improve borrower satisfaction for their clients, cut costs, decrease compliance risk, etc., etc. Let’s play some catch up with vendors and what they’ve been doing, using the vendor’s own words.
Vendor news
Notarize and Westcor Land Title Insurance Company announced a partnership to expand online notarization to real estate transactions in 16 states across the country. The two companies will enable borrowers, independent title agents and lenders to benefit from 100% online closings utilizing Notarize’s platform offerings: Notarize for Mortgage and Notarize for Title Agents. For the full press release and Notarize’s blog post, click here.
Credit Plus announced that trended credit data is now available from Experian and has been incorporated into Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU) Version 10.0 as of December 18, 2017. Trended credit data is a two-year historical perspective on a consumer’s utilization of credit accounts, giving lenders the ability to determine if a borrower tends to pay off revolving credit lines each month or if they tend to carry a balance month-to-month while making minimum or other payments. In addition, seasonal and sudden changes in revolving credit behavior will be revealed. The trended data will be included on virtually all active tradelines, not just revolving accounts, and will include credit cards, Home Equity Lines of Credit, student loans, car loans and mortgages.
Finastra has added several credit unions to its growing client portfolio, based on its ability to provide a complete suite of lending, enterprise, and retail solutions. Among the latest credit unions added to the client roster are TruMark Financial Credit Union located in Pennsylvania, Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union and Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union located in Indiana. Financial institutions face the significant challenge of being able to offer their customers a clean and easy to navigate user experience. The solutions from Finastra automate manual processes and expedite the loan approval experience for credit union members. The resulting improvements help credit unions to capture greater market share and drive revenue growth. 
Ellie Mae announced the launch of Encompass Direct Mail. The extension of Ellie Mae’s Encompass CRM allows lenders – whether they utilize Ellie Mae’s Encompass CRM or not — to target direct mail campaigns that match their business needs to “segmentable” audience demographics, and then track response rates. If lenders utilize Encompass CRM, they can now take advantage of Encompass Direct Mail by simply selecting the mailer that matches their business needs and identifying their target audience. The solution leverages the contacts already in Ellie Mae’s Encompass all-in-one mortgage management solution, making it simple to access the necessary data, to deploy the mailers and target prospects with a tailored marketing message.
In today’s climate of security breaches, fraud internet scams, the protection of Consumer’s personal information should be top priority. Secure Insight recently conducted a survey regarding knowledge of data security requirements and internal control procedures. Questions were posed to settlement professionals and mortgage industry executives nationwide. When individuals were asked if they attended or participated in any industry data privacy and security education and training in the previous 12 months, 84% responded affirmatively. When asked if they had experienced or witnessed any data security breaches (email scams, wire fraud schemes, identity theft) in connection with any closing transactions they handled in the previous 12 months, 32% responded yes, 65% weighed in with no with 3% declining to answer. Finally, in response to the question “Do you presently carry cyber-liability insurance coverage?” 57% of title and settlement firms responding answered yes but a staggering 43% said no.
DataVerify announce that its joining forces with Finicity, a provider of application program interface (API) for real-time financial data aggregation and insights, to provide real-time asset verification for mortgage lenders. With this integration, lenders will now be able to access Finicity Verification of Assets (VoA) reports through the DataVerify’s DRIVE platform as part of their loan review process. They can now quickly access and verify a borrower’s financial information in a matter of clicks, and make smarter, faster lending decisions. 
DocMagic Inc. opened a 12,000 square-foot print fulfillment center minutes from its Torrance, California headquarters. DocMagic added the high tech “supercenter” to support lenders’ growing need for secure, compliant paper documents as the mortgage industry transitions to a 100 percent digital mortgage process. The new fulfillment center uses biometric authentication and video monitoring to provide auditable assurance that only authorized individuals access the building and specific areas within the structure. Inside, advanced technology automates nearly every step of the paper process. Once the documents are ordered, a printer automatically feeds the paper documents directly into an automated system that scans and reads the barcodes to assure that all documents are present. The documents are then inserted into envelopes, sealed and stamped—all without human intervention. The system logs and stores all actions, so lenders can review them and produce detailed information about any document’s activity, at any time. The result of this high-tech process for handling paper is a drastic reduction in the risk of errors, omissions and compromised data.
The Mortgage Collaborative has added FundingShield to its Preferred Partner network. FundingShield’s services to TMC members include, WAVs or Wire Account Verification Services, which customers can leverage wire verifications instantly from FundingShield’s proprietary dataset of over 40,000 verified settlement party wire accounts. Also offered is The Guardian Service, which is a loan closing transaction level monitoring system that provides a loan level certificate of assurance confirming good settlement, valid CPL coverage and forms, wire account confirmation, approved and authorized closing parties, licensing of agents and more on every closing.
The Mortgage Collaborative has added United Capital Markets, Inc. (UCM), an outsource provider of dynamic MSR hedging. UCM will provide TMC Lender Members strategic advice to bank-owned and private mortgage companies focusing on MSR investment strategies, balance sheet optimization and the capital stack. TMC also has added Loan Vision to its preferred partner network. Built on Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Loan Vision has transformed mortgage accounting, quickly establishing itself as the leading option for lenders looking for an industry specific, scalable financial software. With the ability to integrate directly with an organization’s LOS, Loan Vision tackles several of the most common business challenges found in mortgage bank accounting departments today. Through far greater access and visibility into loan-level and cost center performance data such as branch, LO, and product type, lenders can make far more educated decisions about the direction of their organizations.
Fundingshield operates in the mortgage market leveraging technology tools to prevent wire fraud from cyber threats and bad actors in the settlement process and provides tools to automate and manage thousands of credits, counterparty, service provider and other third-party relationships mortgage lenders, real estate firms and law firms must manage. FundingShield has been asked to join The Mortgage Collaborative. 2018 will be another breakout year of growth as it will be going into the consumer realm working to protect homebuyers’ payment security around their down payments.
Res/Title provides accurate closing cost quotes and coverage anywhere in the country without having to leave Encompass eliminating Loan Estimate variance and compliance issues. This works well for “out of area” loans as Res/Title guarantees quotes on transfer taxes, municipal recording fees, title insurance premiums and settlement agent fees.
Global DMS has integrated with Black Knight’s LoanSphere Exchange platform, an online, collaborative technology that connects more than 25,000 mortgage industry service and solution providers. This integration provides a gateway that helps support easy, secure lender access enabling lenders to order, check the status in real-time, review and upload completed appraisal files into the LOS. The bi-directional integration streamlines data exchange and facilitates ease of communication between the platforms, eliminating the re-entry of data from initial ordering through review, thus reducing errors, ensuring compliance, cutting costs and dramatically speeding up the appraisal process.
TRK Connection announced that Wisconsin-based Waterstone Mortgage Corporation has chosen the Insight Risk & Defect Management (RDM) platform to conduct its internal quality control (QC) audits. Built to be device-agnostic, Insight’s intuitive interface and sophisticated QC auditing tools streamline the loan defect management and remediation process. In addition, integrated action planning and business intelligence reporting from Tableau empower lenders to more effectively track, report and trend loan defects and proactively mitigate future risk.
LendingQB announced a new partnership with Blend. Through this partnership, Blend’s technology platform will integrate with LendingQB’s Web-based loan origination system (LOS), enabling lenders that work with LendingQB to easily deploy a digital mortgage experience for borrowers and loan officers. Blend’s digital mortgage platform completely streamlines lenders’ workflows, ensuring compliance and helping improve time-to-close metrics by providing a more accurate, holistic view of a borrower’s financial profile. In turn, borrowers receive a modern, transparent experience that allows them to complete an application from any device and get approved much more quickly.
Capital markets  
The bond markets are closed today in honor of Martin Luther King Day. If a lender accepts a rate lock today for 30 or 45 days, how can that lender hedge that lock, e.g., protect the lender from moves in interest rates today? They can’t. So, any lender taking locks today will have either estimated today’s production last Friday, and sold agency mortgage-backed securities, or make their pricing today very conservative to discourage locks. Fortunately, we have not been in a volatile rate environment.
There is no scheduled news today, and tomorrow we only have Empire Manufacturing out from New York. Wednesday things pick up with the usual MBA apps data from last week, the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization duo, some home builder stats, and the release of the Beige Book by the Federal Reserve with a read on its 12 districts.
Thursday the 18th we’ll see weekly jobless claims, the Housing Starts and Building Permits couplet, and Philly Fed survey. Friday ends in a whimper with a collection of sentiment and expectation numbers from the University of Michigan.
Today honors the birth of Martin Luther King. But this short clip of his last speech gives you an idea as to his oratory power.
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 13: Notes about 2018 & conferences; site for reporting cybercrime, and a tale of fraud from the closing table

Yes, it’s Saturday of a holiday weekend, but the business doesn’t stop.
Conference & 2018 thoughts
Conference organizers everywhere are concerned about LTV ratios in 2018. No, not the loan-to-value, but the lender-to-vendor ratio at various events.
From The Mortgage Collaborative, COO Rich Swerbinsky weighed in with his thoughts on 2018’s lending and conference environment. “Think about volumes: 2017 down 20% from 2016. 2018 likely to be down 20% from 2017. Forecasters are projecting 23% refi business (more profitable) in 2018. And the vast majority of lenders between $2B-$15B a year in annual production are growing aggressively through branch acquisitions, or the addition/growth of consumer direct or third-party origination channels. The cost to originate is already sky high. And there isn’t a lender in America that isn’t sifting through expensive technology enhancements that are costly/complex to integrate with other systems.
“Roll it all up and what do you have? 80-90% of the mortgage lenders in America will be forced to make some tough decisions in 2018. And 100% of lenders are looking to cut fat. Unfortunately, one of the easiest ways to cut fat is to eliminate or reduce travel and conferences. In addition, the explosion of companies that have entered the mortgage tech space has changed the dynamic of mortgage conferences to the point where vendors & non-lenders may account for 75% of attendees.
“The industry is changing so quickly, lenders are placing a high premium on networking with other lenders that are forced to deal with the same tough decisions on running a business in an industry that its increasingly difficult to be profitable in. We saw this coming over a year ago, and have changed The Mortgage Collaborative’s entire conference experience around it.”
Debora Aydelotte, COO at Altavera, anticipates some changes ahead for 2018 with waves of deregulation on our doorstep, potentially pushing the industry past the $1.6 trillion volume forecasts for next year, “The dis-arming of the CFPB will result in less enforcement, less focus on advocacy and consumer education,” said Debora. “The roll-back of precise parts of DFA, such as loosening of qualified mortgage rules, will in turn open up the credit market and counter the effects of interest rate increases.”
“There are potentially broader impacts due to the new administration’s turnover in leadership over the past months at the SEC, Federal Reserve, CFPB, Treasury, FSOC and the House Financial Services Committee (Banking Committee). There is a philosophical alignment occurring which isn’t unusual after the arrival of a new administration, but this is playing into and may magnify the deregulation cycle in our industry. This is nothing we haven’t seen coming, however, the larger concern comes when we recognize the US banking industry has not cured all of its issues since the global financial crisis—for example, the systemic risk of too big to fail.”
Computers & crime? Say it isn’t so!
Is bitcoin a Ponzi scheme… or the exact opposite? Here’s one piece supporting the latter idea. Bitcoin has hit the "mania" phase—with some people reportedly borrowing money to buy into the new craze. In an interview with Joseph Borg, President of the North American Securities Administrators Association, he told CNBC, "We’ve seen mortgages being taken out to buy bitcoin."
Intermedia research finds 31% of office workers surveyed say they are not familiar with ransomware. They’re not? That is scary when you consider an estimated 75 million phishing emails are sent every day and cyber experts indicate about 90% of those are ransomware. Continue to train your teams and your customers to protect your company!
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a new forum that will facilitate public and private sector information sharing on financial crimes data. The goal is to better coordinate with law enforcement and to provide regular briefings for financial institutions on threats.
ABC News indicates a report by cybersecurity firm IB-Group finds hackers have allegedly stolen at least $10mm from at least 15 banks in UT, NY and CA. This group of hackers reportedly targeted US community banks mostly through card payment systems as long ago as May 2016. Hackers reportedly opened accounts, removed withdrawal limits on legitimate cards and then hit ATM machines to withdraw money.
Michael D. submits this tale from a title company in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region where one of their buyers was taken for $54,000 in a wire fraud scam. “Unfortunately, wire fraud has happened to one of our clients in our sister company in —–.  The Buyer’s Gmail account was hacked.  The fraudsters then sent a spoofed email from the Selling Agent telling the Buyer that the title company required a wire and would not accept a cashier’s check and that a specific employee from the title company would be in touch. The fraudsters then followed up with an email from our sister company’s employee (they added an extra "t" in the word settlement in the email it was sent from, i.e. with fake wiring instructions and a fake phone number!
“The Buyer was savvy enough to know to call and ask the title company to verify the wiring instructions; however, they called the fake number on the fake wiring instructions instead of calling into the office. As you can guess, the phone call was answered by someone impersonating the title company employee and confirmed the wire instructions. The Buyer then proceeded to wire $54,000 to the fraudsters. The fraudsters immediately removed the $54,000 from the fake account into another account. The Buyers now have the police, FBI and CFPB involved in trying to retrieve their money that was stolen from them.
The wire fraud happened two days before closing…would your clients have another $54,000 to go to settlement in two days or would settlement be delayed/cancelled? We all know what happens then…
“Please, please, please be diligent with your email and the client’s email security. We have used encrypted email for several years, much to the dismay of some clients; however, I hope you all understand why we must send encrypted emails with sensitive information.
“Our encrypted emails do not always require a login, it depends on the level of encryption based on keywords and attachments. There are a few types of email accounts that will always require a password: Gmail, Yahoo, Google, Comcast, Go Daddy and Verizon, just to name a few.”
Cyberthreats are everywhere… in your computer, your laptop, your toaster. Do you have detection measures in place, procedures to follow when breaches are detected, strive to keep your fraud avoidance systems current? It aint enough.
There are difficulties in managing the risk of fraud in general, and cyber fraud more specifically, as customer usage in that area continues to expand. A recent March Networks survey of US bank customers found that 60% of those who experienced fraudulent activity in their accounts discovered the problem before their banks told them about it. That isn’t great, but it is admittedly a problem the goes back eons. The survey also found about 15% of customers reported fraudulent bank account activity in 2016.
Lenders and banks may be doing a better job of spotting and responding to cyber break-ins than customers realize, for instance. The fact that so many customers discovered that their accounts had been compromised before their banks notified them, however, suggests there is always more room to improve.
Keeping customers informed and updated on cyber breaches has become an important task for banks in this age of burgeoning cybercrime. Customers are bombarded with news on data breaches, which can make them jittery about the security of their bank account too. Continuing to emphasize with customer facing teams that communication is a priority will help with that.
The survey also finds that once banks get involved, customers approve of the results. The survey found 85% of customers said they were satisfied with how their bank handled incidents. That is nothing short of a rousing endorsement of how banks deal with customer account fraud or security issues and is an exceptional way to keep loyal customers.
Fraud detection will always be a critical area of concern for lenders and banks, so while things are probably ok now, there can always be more improvement. It doesn’t hurt to periodically review processes and procedures to ensure there are no gaps.
While this survey finds there is still work to do with fraud detection customer notification, at the end of the day, banks are doing their best to keep customers safe, and they seem to be responding well.
Regulators and customers alike expect banks to respond quickly to fraud issues as they surface. Some quick links to share with your teams can be the FBI field office, the Anti Phishing Working Group, the postal inspector, the Federal Trade Commission or the internet crime complaint center. In the meantime, keep speaking with your customers to help them understand the language of how your bank protects them.
Did you know that research finds 85% of successful data breaches target the top 10 known vulnerabilities? That isn’t the news here though. What is news, is that all those breaches could have been prevented because patches were available. The companies impacted had not updated their patches. Now you know why regulators are focused on something as mundane as asking about patch updates during IT exams.
Educating employees and customers about the myriad common cybersecurity threats that community banks increasingly face is critical. According to Chicago Fed research, there are 7 cyber threats or cyber-related risks that are most common in community banks and lenders.
Malware: This one is perhaps the best known and most widely discussed. It represents any software that is used to disrupt computers or networks, gather information or access private systems. As you likely know, malware typically works by breaching a bank’s network through vulnerabilities or weak points of attack, and can infect storage media like USB sticks, mobile phones or tablets. These are often connected to computers, and through malware, hackers deliver computer viruses, ransomware, spyware and botnets. Since malware is often distributed via drive-by downloads, email attachments, file sharing or phishing, it is the most common cyber risk. Prevention is about educating your employees and doing regular IT updates.
DDoS: Distributed denial of service attacks have been on the rise over the past 5 years as a main attack type on US banks. Here, cybercriminals utilize millions of computers to send simultaneous requests to a single bank computer or website. This floods the system, so the bank’s network is shut down or disrupted. While IT teams are distracted dealing with this issue, cyber criminals attack elsewhere and try to slip through defenses. Prevention here includes limiting router flows, adding filters, layering defenses, timing out open connections and increasing network scale.
Takeover: Corporate account takeover happens when cybercriminals essentially steal the identity of a business. They take control of a business customer’s bank account, steal legitimate online banking credentials and then use those to process a money transfer to an offshore account. Prevention here includes setting more safeguards and closely monitoring suspicious activity (business), as well as following proper procedures to the letter and alerting clients of oddities (banks). Leakage: Data leakage is the unauthorized transfer of confidential data without permission from the bank. This can happen either electronically or through storage devices such as USB drives. These incidents can also be intentional or unintentional, and, according to SANS Institute, nearly 75% of data leakage incidents involve customer data. Prevention includes disabling thumb drives and installing software that tracks, quarantines, notifies and blocks such attempts.
Vulnerabilities: Mobile and web application vulnerabilities are essentially flaws within the applications that sit on smart phones or at a bank’s website. These flaws are discovered by hackers and exploited to gain access to your mobile or online platform. Once inside, hackers steal data, take over customer accounts or even take control of a bank’s internal network. Unfortunately, the more mobile banking continues to grow, the greater this risk. Prevention includes improving server controls, improving authentications/authorizations and adding encryption.
Changes: Weaknesses in project or change management commonly occur because of poor documentation and risk analysis. These can expose a bank’s systems and important data. Since banks use project management to manage changes in their IT infrastructure, support new business processes or integrate new technologies and products, vulnerabilities in these processes can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access. The best thing to do here is to review your change management processes and beef them up as needed to ensure a quality structure.
Recall that regulators view cyber risk as a national security issue that goes well beyond residential lending and banking, so take proactive, strong and continual steps to protect yourself and your data. And keeping your yellow sticky note with your passwords inside your desk drawer instead of on your computer probably isn’t good enough.
The wife left a note on the fridge…
"It’s not working; I can’t take it anymore; I’ve gone to stay at my Mom’s!"
I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was still cold. What the heck is she talking about?
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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 Chrisma

Jan. 12: Bus. opportunity, LO jobs, personnel moves; Guild to buy Cornerstone; broker news – Penny’s in!

Plenty of people tell me that I’m “long in the tooth.” (A way of gauging a horse’s age.) Tooth? Thanks to Emily W. for sending in something that all of us have probably wondered about, even though you weren’t aware that you were wondering about it: an article on the origin of “Bluetooth,” “eBay,” “Google,” and other terms and names. Nomenclature, and technology, are always changing. The car business certainly changes, and it appears that with the recent Toyota/Mazda plant announcement, foreign auto manufacturers are on a path to soon surpass the Detroit giants as the largest auto producers in the US by volume! Foreign automakers and their US competitors are expected to produce the same number of vehicles in the US for the first time ever in 1Q18.
Business opportunities, personnel moves, & employment
A fast-growing independent mortgage bank seeking either experienced retail branch leaders, retail branch managers or very successful retail loan officers (who are ready want to open up their own branch finally) to join their family-oriented company. This company is known for closing loans on time every time, has industry leading and award-winning technology along with a plethora of products. If you are tired of working for the big bureaucratic companies who take forever to close your loans and want to be a visionary and leader in your local market or region then please email your confidential resume asap to me. Looking for immediate opportunities in TX, CA, FL, GA and NC. (Please specify the opportunity.)
Wholesale Capital Corporation (WCC) is currently expanding and hiring Motivated Licensed Loan Officers in its offices located in Moreno Valley, Corona, Temecula, West Lake Village and Covina. It is also looking to expand its foot print in Central and Northern California. “Here at WCC our purpose is ‘Serving Our Community with personalized homeownership Solutions.’ WCC is a well-established direct lender for over 26 years. WCC sells direct to several of the largest aggregators, as well as FNMA Direct, and have a multitude of products to offer, as well as a dedicated operations staff. We provide professional services to our clients and give your files and business the individual attention it deserves. We are looking for loan officers that are self-motivated and have a drive to be the best they can be. Owner Ed Hoffman was voted one of MPA’s HOT 100 Mortgage Professionals in 2017.” Please Contact Ed Hoffman at 951-488-3112 or Ryan Ellis at 951-571-2721. For Temecula area interest, please contact Chris Wiggins at 760-519-7090.
Caliber Home Loans, Inc., one of the fastest growing top-ten mortgage companies in America, finished 2017 with over $2.4 billion in jumbo loan volume. This is a 67% increase over its 2016 jumbo volume. 2017 was a strong year for Caliber, producing its highest overall sales volume – in excess of $43B and reporting the largest year-over-year gain among all top-ranked mortgage companies. Caliber is committed to purchase lending and has plans for continued success in both jumbo and the purchase business in 2018 and is hiring Loan Consultants in markets across the country. Visit or email Jeremy Derosa to learn about a career at the fastest-growing mortgage company in America.
Consistent with American Pacific Mortgage’s commitment to serve the Veteran community, APM has added 2 new branches that do 99% VA loans for over $30 million a month. Michael Pankow, EVP of National Production, said, “We’re thrilled to have 2 new branches in Hawaii and San Antonio. Aligned Mortgage, formerly a branch of Veterans United, will help us further serve Veterans and their families.” If you’re interested in finding out more on how to serve our Veterans, please reach out to Peter Schwartz at 916-770-0053, or Dustin Block at  303-378-3166.
Under the category of industry moves, Total Expert, a leading marketing, co-marketing and CRM platform serving seven of the top fifteen lenders as clients, announced that industry vet Sue Woodard has joined the company as its first Chief Customer Officer. Woodard, a renowned industry speaker and executive, comes to Total Expert with more than 25 years of experience in mortgage originations, management, and mortgage technology. Total Expert founder and CEO Joe Welu is thrilled to have her on board, saying “Sue is very highly regarded in the industry. Her integrity, work ethic and thought leadership makes her a key component to our continued growth in the mortgage space and beyond.” Sue stated, “Helping lenders and their mortgage loan officers better serve their clients and achieve greater productivity and success has always been my passion. The ability to power that with innovative technology is the heart of Total Expert, and ensuring customer success will be my number one focus and priority in my new role.” 
Freddie Mac announced that Jacqueline M. Welch has been named head of the Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion (HRDI) division and chief diversity officer (CDO) of Freddie Mac. “In her expanded role as senior vice president of HRDI and CDO, Welch will be a member of the company’s senior operating committee and will report directly to Freddie Mac CEO Donald H. Layton.”
And CoastalStates Mortgage, the mortgage lending arm of South Carolina-based CoastalStates Bank, has named Ric Spiehs as the company’s president and CEO.
Lender M&A
Isn’t the first, won’t be the last in 2018. Guild Mortgage announced plans to acquire Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc., of St. Louis, Mo., a fast-growing independent with 19 offices in three states and loan volume of $1.0 billion in 2017.
Co-founder Angi Stevenson, current president and CEO, will join Guild as regional VP of its newly established Midwest Region. For anyone who likes the branch model, Cornerstone is impressive: 19 offices in three states, $2017 loan volume of $1 billion, the 10th largest woman-owned company in St. Louis, more than 200 employees in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, and #2 in mortgage volume in St. Louis the past three years, according to media surveys. The acquisition is expected to close by March 1, 2018.
Guild, of course, is no slouch. It had loan volume of $15.9 billion in 2017, some 4,000 employees nationwide, more than 250 branches in 27 states, servicing volume of $38.5 billion, and a top-10 national lender by purchase loan volume.
Broker news – a lot of skirmishing over 10% of the mortgage biz
PennyMac Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE: PFSI) announced the launch of its Broker Direct channel, “offering mortgage brokers access to the Company’s state-of-the-art POWERSM platform combined with its unique centralized sales, client engagement services and best-in-class fulfillment capabilities.”
Certainly an interesting move, given US Bank’s withdrawal from the identical wholesale channel late last year. Doug Jones, President of PennyMac Loan Services, LLC, an indirectly controlled subsidiary of PFSI, noted, “We spent considerable time evaluating this channel and believe it is the right time for us to participate. Our new broker channel will provide opportunities to grow volumes in attractive segments of the market, such as purchase-money and prime jumbo mortgages. We expect to leverage our leading market position to successfully grow our Broker Direct platform and achieve a leadership position over time.”
“Through PennyMac’s POWER platform, brokers will have unprecedented access to data and the ability to proactively manage their pipelines. By providing detailed, accurate and timely communication to their customers on every loan, brokers and their loan officers can provide best-in-class service for their customers and maintain trust with their referral sources. POWER enables the broker to self-serve for a variety of functions and seamlessly communicate with PennyMac’s client engagement team.”
Congratulations are due to Kim Nichols, Penny’s Broker Direct organization’s new Managing Director, Direct Lending Channels.
Effective Monday, February 5, 2018, Flagstar will no longer allow Borrower-paid compensation or a flat fee as part as part of the compensation schedule. Customers will still have the flexibility to choose a compensation plan up to 275 basis points, including amounts for minimum and maximum dollar amounts. Flagstar Bank is committed to providing our partners with the tools and services necessary to remain competitive and fully compliant in the marketplace. As a federally regulated financial institution we continually assess the regulatory landscape to ensure compliance for us and our trusted partners. We are making these changes to the Loan Originator Compensation Policy to best meet regulatory expectations. Flagstar remains committed to the broker channel.
Landmark Network, Inc. announced the launch of Wholesale365, a specialized program to enhance the service experience for wholesale lenders and their clients. This new program gives account executives and underwriters support 365 days a year via both phone and email from senior Landmark Network executives. The Wholesale365 program includes custom scorecards and turn time data, enabling executives to set proper expectations and monitor performance from day one. Wholesale managers will have deep visibility into their broker pipelines, including real time updates while the orders are still in progress. Underwriters will receive a similar menu of support tools to streamline their workflow.
United Wholesale Mortgage announced that it has lowered its Borrower Paid Mortgage Insurance (BPMI) premiums. With its cheap lender paid mortgage insurance, UWM has packaged them together as Elite M.I. The better pricing is available for 640+ FICO borrowers. “Since Elite M.I. is also Instant M.I., UWM will save brokers 3-7 days on every loan by eliminating the second underwrite. Elite M.I. won’t show up in pricing engines.”
UWM is accepting increased conventional loan limits that went into effect January 1. Regular conventional limit up to $453,100 from $424,100 and the high-balance limit has gone from $636,150 to $679,650.
And UWM introduced its latest partnership tool, the Client Loyalty Manager, which was created to further support mortgage brokers’ abilities to retain past clients. The Client Loyalty Manager platform is built into UWM’s EASE loan origination system, and features an interactive dashboard that allows brokers to create customizable parameters and proactively stay in front of their clients. Brokers will receive notifications and pre-written emails to send to borrowers for situations that include when rates change in their favor, when borrowers may be able to drop MI, and birthdays & loan anniversaries.
As mentioned yesterday in the commentary, Freedom Mortgage Wholesale announced the launch of its newly redesigned website, enhanced with their broker clients in mind.
Capital markets
So much for Wednesday’s China news that they were reducing U.S. Treasury purchases as their State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) went on the record yesterday saying, “We think the report might have cited wrong sources or may be fake news,” according to a statement posted on their website. Thursday morning, minutes released from the European Central Bank were not bond friendly and reminded participants of improving European economic activity that will likely lead the ECB to cease asset purchases later this year. 
While this affected European bonds more, it did help to move Treasuries lower at the open. A strong 30-yr auction, however, proved to be the catalyst for a course reversal and the 10-year Treasury note closed lower, yielding 2.53%. In other news, the Freddie Mac Primary Market Mortgage Survey saw mortgage yields increase with the average 30-year fixed at 3.99%, 15-year at 3.44%, and 5/1 ARM at 3.46%. Yes, mortgage rates are still very good – but there won’t be any “rate and term” refis away from a 3.50% 30-year fixed rate loan.
Today’s calendar brings the highlights of the week including the December Consumer Price Index (expected +0.4%) and December Retail Sales (expected +0.2%) at 8:30am, and November Business Inventories (look for +0.4%) at 10:00am. In the afternoon, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker speaks at 12:30pm and Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 4:15pm.
Don’t forget that Monday is a bond market holiday, so beware of rate sheets which tend to be conservative. (It is hard to hedge pipelines when the bond market is closed.) In the early going, as I prepare to board this plane from Miami to San Francisco, and before the first set of economic numbers, rates are versus Thursday’s close. The 10-year yield, which ended yesterday at 2.53%, is yielding 2.55%, and agency MBS prices are worse slightly.
There was a university in New England where the students operated a "bank" of term papers and other homework assignments. There were papers to suit all needs. You had your choice of papers for an A-grade, B-grade, and C-grade.
A student who had spent the weekend on pursuits other than her assignment, went to the bank and took out a paper for a C-grade. She went home, retyped it, and handed it in.
In due time she received it back with the grade of an “A.” The professor left the following comment: "I wrote this paper myself twenty years ago. I always thought it should have received an A, so now I am glad to give it one."
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 11: Bus. opportunity, Ops & AE jobs; LIBOR replacements; a primer on what is moving mortgage rates

When I grow up I want a million-dollar house! Tight inventories, costs, and appreciation have created an increase of houses worth seven figures – the number has quadrupled in fifteen years. (Builder reasons? Higher profits & profit margins and building & labor costs, to name a few.) There probably aren’t too many of those that are impacted by the CRA program (Community Reinvestment Act) – bankers should know that regulators are working on “revamping” the program.
Employment, business opportunities, products, & promotions
Galton Funding, a non-agency correspondent conduit, is continuing its expansion with the addition of 3 senior sales associates. Brideen Gallagher joined Galton Funding last month as a Business Development Associate and will manage Eastern Region relationships. In the Western Region), Marc Feltman joined Galton Funding last May as a Business Development Associate with Zenon Zorij coming on board last month. “With the addition of Brideen, Marc and Zenon, Galton Funding is well positioned to grow our platform and capitalize on the increasing interest in non-agency programs” says Doug Potolsky, Head of Galton Funding. In 2018, Galton Funding will continue to grow its Correspondent Business Development team, and add to its Credit/Operational team in their newly opened Bloomington, MN office. Interested Correspondent Business Development candidates, please contact Jim Karr – West Regional Manager or Maria D’Anza – East Regional Manager. Interested Credit/Operational candidates for our Bloomington, MN office please view the current job listings in the Careers tab on the Galton Funding portal, and submit your resume/cover letter to Ranae Lacey.
Freedom Mortgage Wholesale is proud to announce the launch of its newly redesigned website, enhanced with their broker clients in mind. “While our new site offers a sleek and intuitive design, we’ve also added some exciting new features based on client feedback that includes an all new broker portal and our very own blog”. Brokers can now experience direct access to their pipeline’s dashboard, forms & disclosures, a specific loan or the Price It tool right from client login. “This launch reveals the powerful combination of our LE 2.0, Loan Registration 2.0, Loan Update Alert system, and improvements, also reflected in our mobile application capabilities, in a way that is streamlined and user-friendly”. See for yourself at!
There’s a lot of movement in the industry with many lenders evaluating their existing subservicers and some are in the process of switching subservicers. Lenders must ensure they’re thoroughly evaluating and monitoring their subservicer from both an operational and loan-level servicing QC perspective. Subsequent QC, LLC (SQC) and Mortgage Quality Management and Research, LLC (MQMR) are gearing up for their annual circuit of audits of the most widely used subservicers. SQC, a servicing risk mitigation and compliance advisory firm, performs annual audits of subservicers and ongoing loan-level servicing QC testing. With hundreds of servicing reviews underneath our belts, see why the top lenders in the industry entrust us with their oversight needs. Contact to learn more or schedule time to meet at the upcoming IMB Conference or Servicing Conference. 
GSF Mortgage Corp. is seeking to acquire small to mid-sized lenders who are considering a transition of their firm. As an alternative to a large box lender or regulatory intense bank, GSF will work with the owner on a transition that preserves the culture, staff and legacy of the company. GSF is a direct seller/servicer with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and a Ginnie Mae Issuer. We retain the majority of our loan originations and are well capitalized. GSF has access to resources, technology and pricing power of the large lenders, along with the ability to adapt your existing business plan to our platform. As an owner, you can be assured that your teams will be set up for long-term success and growth. All conversations are confidential. Please reach out to me for forwarding to set up an informal discovery call or visit us at the upcoming IMB conference on Jan 22-24. (Please specify
TD Bank has appointed Rick Bechtel as EVP, Head of U.S. Mortgage Banking, and Scott Lindner as National Sales Director, as part of its strategic commitment to growing the mortgage business for 2018. Bechtel will oversee all aspects of the lending business, including product development, P&L management, capital and secondary markets, Customer experience, and leadership of the national sales team. He will be responsible for driving growth and optimizing best-in-class technology, while maintaining the bank’s risk appetite and unique focus on the Customer.
Congrats to Krista Sabol who Indecomm Global Services has brought on as Marketing Director, Mortgage Group, responsible for planning and implementing marketing Indecomm Mortgage Services strategies and programs. “She will manage marketing initiatives for outsourcing services, software as a service (SaaS) technology, and mortgage learning solutions to support the various needs of mortgage industry clients.”
Capital markets – they’re where the capital is – what is moving rates higher?
For anyone anxious about Libor’s replacement, the Fed announced three new reference rates banks can use instead of Libor, as that index is scheduled to be phased out in 2021. The new indices are based on overnight repurchase agreement (repo) transactions that are secured by Treasuries (risk free rates). The indices are known as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), the Triparty General Collateral Rate (TGCR) and the Broad General Collateral Rate (BGCR). SOFR is the broadest measure of overnight Treasury financing transactions and is the recommended alternative to Libor. Meanwhile, TGCR will be based solely on triparty repo data from Bank of New York Mellon and BGCR will be based on triparty repo data from Bank of New York Mellon and General Collateral Finance Repo data from The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC). All rates will be produced by the Fed NY beginning in Q2 2018.
Vice Capital Markets and Resitrader have announced a strategic relationship which allows clients to “seamlessly combine hedging advisory services and whole loan trading. Vice and Resitrader have established deep system connectivity so clients can either trade using Vice or perform trading in-house with automated data feeds between the two platforms. ‘This helps give our clients the additional flexibility they want along with Resitrader’s world-class technology.  We’re excited about this partnership and the ability for our clients to connect to a true online marketplace for whole loans,’ said Chris Bennett of Vice Capital.”
Although rates have jumped this week, volatility in the bond market has been at a 52-year low, according to a Bank of America / Merrill Lynch report. Volatility is generally a sign of stress in the system, and it tends to fall during periods of stronger growth. The drop in bond market volatility has major implications for the mortgage market as well, and helps explain a bit of why mortgage rates are behaving the way they are. While the 10-year has been steadily moving higher over the past few months, mortgage rates have been relatively stable. While mortgage rates do tend to lag Treasuries, something else has been going on, and that something has been low volatility.
“30-year fixed rate mortgages have an embedded option in them, which is the right of the borrower to prepay their mortgage without penalty at any time,” Brent Nyitray, Director of Capital Markets with iServe Residential Lending reminds us. “That right to prepay is worth something, and that value explains the yield differential between government backed mortgage debt and Treasuries. The value of the prepayment option is determined largely by the volatility of the bond market – when volatility rises, the right to prepay is worth more, and when volatility falls, it is worth less. So, when the market is stable, investors bid up mortgage backed securities as the value of that option falls, which translates into tighter MBS spreads and lower mortgage rates.
“In fact, the difference between a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and an adjustable rate mortgage is driven by the value of that prepayment option and risk-shifting between borrower and lender. When volatility is low, the borrower is paying less for that option and 30-year fixed rate mortgages will be more attractive than ARMS. When volatility is high, ARMS will be much cheaper. During periods of low volatility, it makes sense to scoop up that prepay option on the cheap and take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. When volatility is high, you will end up getting a much lower initial rate with the ARM. Co-incidentally, the economic backdrop (stronger growth, accelerating inflation, and a Fed raising short term rates) also favors the 30-year fixed over ARMS.” Thanks Brent!
For anyone concerned about a flat yield curve, those fears have been somewhat alleviated recently has long-term rates have gone up while short-term rates have not. The curve is usually measured by comparing risk-free Treasury yields, mostly between the 2-year and 10-year maturities as well as between the 10-year and 30-year. Recently we’ve seen the 2s/10s bearing the brunt of the curve steepening, with 2s/10s 5.1bp steeper on the day, to 57 basis points, with 10s/30s 1 bp steeper to 34 basis points.
The Fed pretty much determines short-term rates, but long-term rates are determined by supply and demand. The bond markets continued Tuesday’s sell-off in the early going after a report revealed that officials in China recommended reducing or pausing purchases of US Treasuries vaguely citing trade tensions as a reason for the pullback. (Where are they going to put their money – bitcoin?) Chinese officials are considering scaling back or stopping their purchases of U.S. bonds in response to trade tensions with the U.S.? This caused investors to become concerned about the potential for less demand in the future. Since mortgage rates are set based on MBS prices, lower demand for MBS drives their prices lower, and that is a negative for mortgage rates.
Is the passage of the tax bill moving rates? Yes. Since tax cuts became likely, and then reality, in mid-December, the 10yr breakeven rate broke higher – and is also a delayed response to good economic data in late 2017. The improving stock market is garnering all the headline press, but the “10-yr breakeven inflation rate,” the key variable in many securitized products valuation frameworks, finally pushed higher and moved above 2% for the first time in almost a year.
But can inflation expectations remain above 2%? Or are the recent spread moves simply a year-end/January effect? Some of this depends on the Federal Reserve. Will the new Fed (under Jerome Powell) assert itself “hawkishly,” in response to the recent move higher in inflation expectations, or be patient and “dovish,” waiting to see the real economic impact of the tax cuts? Many think the latter is more likely and that we remain in a “bad news is good news” world. But that means we may need to see some weak economic data over the near term to convince markets the Fed is still on their side – and weak data doesn’t help borrowers.
But the press is talking about concerns of over-supply in the bond markets as reduced global quantitative easing will lead to upward pressure on yields. Wednesday’s $20 billion 10-year note reopening was met with strong demand, however, and the 10-year note finished unchanged yielding 2.55%, and by the end of the day positive reprices abounded. The Fed also provided some support in the late morning when they purchased $1.44 billion 30-year conventional MBS with 3.5% and 4.0% coupons. 
Today’s calendar includes the December Producer Price Index (PPI, which came in at -.1% and core -.1%) and Jobless Claims (+11k to 261k), and the results of a $12 billion 30-yr bond auction at 1PM ET.  At 3:30PM New York Fed President William Dudley, who is a permanent FOMC voter, speaks at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association “U.S. Economic Outlook: What’s in Store for 2018” event. With this as a backdrop we start with the 10-year yielding 2.56% and agency MBS prices are roughly unchanged versus Wednesday’s close.
(Thanks to Joe G. for this one; sorry Myrtle.)
How to Wash a Cat
1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.
2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.
3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close the lid. You may need to stand on the lid.
4. At this point the cat will self-agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet – the cat is actually enjoying this!
5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a “power-wash” and “rinse.”
6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people between the bathroom and the front door.
7. Stand well back, behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift the lid.
8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.
9. Both the toilet and the cat will be sparkling clean.
Yours sincerely,
The Dog
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 10: Correspondent job, lender products; reverse to forward, LOs to CFOs, CA to NY, webinars & conferences run the gamut

Sharing a king bed with your 80-year old aunt, or the refrigerator with your twin 25-year olds who can’t afford to move out, probably isn’t high on your list. But looking at builder’s building trends shows that they are certainly cognizant of, and reacting to, multi-generational housing needs.
Jobs & products
FirstBank’s Correspondent Lending division is a buyer of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA, and Jumbo loans, purchasing both flow and bulk, best efforts, as well as mandatory. FirstBank, charted in 1906, is a publicly traded company (NYSE: FBK) with more than $4.5 billion in total assets and is in the top 5 percent of all U.S. banks based on assets. FirstBank is searching for a correspondent account representative to its team in the Pacific Northwest territory. If you have correspondent experience and would like to work for a well-capitalized, growing correspondent, please contact Michael Wold, Regional VP of Correspondent Sales – West; Pacific Northwest contacts a plus.
For those companies using Dovenmuehle as their subservicer, Richey May & Co., a public accounting and advisory firm recognized as a leader in the mortgage industry, will again be conducting its annual subservicer oversight review to assist lenders with their monitoring and oversight responsibilities. The on-site review at Dovenmuehle’s facility is scheduled for January 30 and 31, and Richey May’s review is performed on behalf of multiple clients at the same time, thereby sharing expenses and creating cost savings that are passed on to participating clients. Please contact Kurt Blohm to learn more about this comprehensive oversight review program. Richey May has also released its latest whitepaper, "Mortgage Subservicer Oversight: Understanding Your Selection and Oversight Responsibilities," which provides guidance on selecting a subservicer, as well as recommendations regarding the timing and frequency of oversight procedures.
“22 lenders are rolling out Sales Boomerang’s Borrower Intelligence program in the first quarter of 2018 which is probably why Sales Boomerang is now the fastest growing mortgage technology company in North America. Raving clients of all sizes: ‘Love it, Lovit it,’ ‘Best idea I’ve heard in years,’ ‘This is phenomenal,’ ‘We are going to have our biggest year thanks to you.’ See for yourself why No Borrower Left Behind is the most powerful idea in the mortgage industry.”
AnnieMac Home Mortgage welcomes Josh Lund, Branch Manager, and we are excited announce his market launch in Minneapolis MN! Josh and his team are forecasted to grow production more than 30% in 2018 powered by “The Worx” platform to complement existing production. The Real Estate community can expect a white label realtor productivity platform complete with coaching, tech, marketing, designations, and much more to support a broker owner with per-person-productivity, agent recruiting, and agent retention. Yes, Josh and his team will also have great rates, great service, all the products and available 24/7 as standard protocol. If YOU read this and want a business solution to expand production in a contracting marketing, we encourage you, like Josh – do the research on credible solutions to your impending need of more production in 2018. You can learn more about ‘The Worx’ platform by contacting Paul Zinn, SVP of Business Development at 856.577.7749.
Congrats to Ian Miller who Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. (MCT) announced has joined as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In this newly created position, he is responsible for ensuring that MCT’s marketing strategy effectively supports the company’s business plan and helps drive growth.
Upcoming events, training, and webinars
Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC is offering a free, in-person “Reverse Mortgage Jump Start” accelerated learning course — one in Miami on Wednesday, January 31 , and another in Orlando on Thursday, February 1 . Each one-day session will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with lunch included. Find out how you can easily add this missing piece to your product mix, with a team of industry-leading professionals on your side. If you’re originating mortgage refinancing, home purchase loans, and/or lines of credit and not offering reverse mortgages, you’re missing out on a huge market opportunity — homeowners and homebuyers age 62+. This is a great way to learn the ropes and how you can get started. Admission is free, but seating is limited so reserve your place today!
With passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late December, the mortgage experts at Richey May & Co., LLP are hosting a webinar for all independent lenders to discuss the impact of this historic tax reform on the industry. Join them on January 16 for an in-depth review of the key provisions in the Act, how they specifically affect lenders, and what steps you should be taking in the new year to best position your business. Register for this free webinar here; CPE credit is offered to CPAs who attend.
Brawl is doing a lender only webinar on Monday January 15th at 3PM ET. “In this webinar, we will do a presentation of the new ‘BRAWL: Lender Scorecard,’ a detailed review of the scoring system, provide instructions on lender participation, and go over how BRAWL will verify information provided by lenders to make sure accurate data is disclosed on each lender scorecard. Wholesale lenders who are interested should email with the lender name, primary contact person name, phone #, and email address and you will be sent an invitation to join the webinar.”
On January 18 & 19 in Dallas NEXT Mortgage Events LLC is offering the only women’s event focused on the technologies that are changing the mortgage industry. Agenda items are centered on the technology and tools that can influence business outcomes, fast-paced tech demos, an integrated expo hall, and networking events. Register at or contact co-founders Molly Dowdy or Jeri Yoshida.
In light of recent hurricane, flood, and fire disasters in Florida, Texas and California, Ellie Mae has created two webinars to help lenders prepare for these types of disasters, and be able to effectively assist their customers when these types of events occur. “Staying Above Water: Preparing for a Flood-Related Natural Disaster” will be offered on Wednesday, January 17th at 11AM PT, and “Keeping Ahead of the Smoke: Preparing for a Fire-Related Natural Disaster” will be held on Wednesday, February 7th at 11AM PT. Registration is $199 per person, and more information is available through the links provided or from the Ellie Mae Education calendar.
When reviewing the plan and budget for 2018, any successful mortgage or title company needs to keep in mind not just internal goals and constraints but a slew of macroeconomic indicators.  Since most of us are business professionals and not professional economists, how does one get an accurate view of the entire economy? Our favorite economic sage is famed forecaster and blogger for Calculated Risk, Bill McBride. And we are lucky enough to have him present the first String webinar of the new year, “Calculated Risk’s Top 10 Questions Of 2018: A New Year Preview.” From economic growth, to Fed interest rates and, of course, the tax plan, McBride will discuss how they will play out in 2018 and what effect it will all have on the real estate industry. Come join us, on January 23rd at 2pm, for this insightful presentation.
Register for SunWest’s webinar on January 24th to lean about the VA loan program and guidelines.
Ditech offers a comprehensive monthly training curriculum on the latest developments for ditech products and processes. Updated regularly to reflect recent changes in the industry, trainings include various Government Basic Sessions (FHA, VA and USDA) and other customized sessions including a new training on Mortgage Insurance Alternatives.
FAMC Wholesale has published its January Wholesale Customer Training Calendar. This month’s calendar offers a variety of training opportunities such as “Analyzing Appraisals”, “K-1 Workshop”, “Asset Review”, “Evaluating and Calculating Borrower Income”, and “Detecting Fraud”.
In Texas, the Austin Mortgage Bankers are hosting attorney Ari Karen for its luncheon on Tuesday, February 6th at the Austin Country Club from 11:30-1PM. RSVP today at the AMBA web site. Become a member of the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association for 2018 by simply filling out the online membership form!
National MI is offering three live webinar trainings in February. Discover the Possibilities with Home Possible Mortgages: February 7th from 10:00–11:30 PST. Advanced Self-employed Borrowers: February 13th from 10:00 am–12:00 pm PST. AI, Bitcoin and the Future of Mortgage: February 15th from 12:00 pm–1:00 pm. PST.
The Mortgage Collaborative will host its 2018 Winter Conference in San Diego, CA, Sunday, February 11th through Tuesday, February 13th. TMC’s conferences provide a format that is almost exclusively lender-led discussion based sessions on very specific industry issues and topics. Contact Rich Swerbinsky for more information.
Join NAMB for NAMB Focus: Sales and Marketing Conference, February 15-17 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Miramar Beach, Florida. NAMB Focus will feature sales and marketing focused breakout sessions, a large exhibit hall and plenty of opportunities to network and share ideas with fellow mortgage professionals.
Not registered for the February 14th–16th 2018 Eastern Secondary Market Conference? Get your registration in today. Yes, the MBA of Florida’s 15th Annual Eastern Secondary Market Conference & Exhibits is coming up starting February 14th.
Mortgage companies have recently come under increased pressure from regulators and the GSEs to have an internal audit function, representing a third line of defense. On February 9th, the NYMBA has put together a presentation with presenters Brian J. Mischel, Partner at BKD Cincinnati, OH and Ryan Sailor, Director at BKD New York, NY. Click here for registration information.
In Colorado, the CMLA is providing two workshops designed to help mortgage professionals identify when fraud or misrepresentation is occurring. The workshop registration is available for Tuesday, February 6th in Denver or Wednesday, February 7th in Fort Collins.
The TMBA will be holding its Warehouse Conclave in conjunction with the Southern Secondary Market Conference on February 6th. You MUST register separately for the Warehouse Conclave and the Secondary Conference; register today.
Wells Fargo Funding, in cooperation with Freddie Mac and National MI, is hosting in-market, first-time homebuyer/affordable product events in Emeryville, CA (February 6) and Costa Mesa, CA (February 7). Each event runs from 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Pacific (including complimentary lunch from 11-Noon) – and is focused on helping lenders grow market share in the affordable/first-time homebuyer space. Presenters will cover strategies to connect with first-time homebuyers, Freddie Mac’s Home Possible and provide tips for strengthening your marketing and networking. LOs, sales/production/affordable lending managers, underwriters, and marketing teams should consider attending. Approved and prospective Wells Fargo Funding, Freddie Mac and National MI clients are welcome. If interested, contact a member of your regional sales team or send an email to
Cheryl Glover, CFO of Essex Mortgage, is organizing a CFO roundtable in Orange County, CA on February 22nd at 4;30PM at Il Fornaio in Irvine. The purpose of this roundtable is to share industry best practices and collaborate on other mortgage specific challenges, and will be like other industry roundtables but is specific to the CFO’s role. (Proprietary or price specific information will not be discussed.) The dinner cost is $30 including tax and tip. Email Cheryl to RSVP.
The National Association of Professional Mortgage Women will hold its Annual Education Conference at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas April 4-6. This year’s theme will be “Unmasking Mortgage.” Contact Tobi Libbra, Rolanda Legg, or Robin Hart for more information.
Join the MBA’s National Secondary Market Conference & Expo May 20-23 in New York. This conference brings together over 1,500 secondary market professionals.
Capital markets
What the heck happened to rates yesterday? The 10-year Treasury note yield jumped 7 basis points on Tuesday to 2.55% as the long end of the yield curve steepened. This is the first time the 10-year note was above 2.50% since mid-March 2017, and had some market participants declaring a “bear market” in bonds. Don’t blame the economic data for Tuesday as it was muted: The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, same-store sales, and JOLTS all declined slightly from their previous levels, but remained in positive territory. The Bank of Japan announced that it purchased fewer bonds, though within their published range, during their first of 5 buying occasions of the month which led some to comment that is was a potential source of Tuesday’s selloff. The announcement occurred overnight, however, and did not have much of an impact on the Treasury market at the time. 
Some attribute the sell-off to supply & demand concerns in the market. There are many sovereign debt issues (including the U.S.) scheduled in the near future and these issues are focused more on longer-dated securities, and there is speculation that officials in China could slow or curtail their current demand for treasuries. Some also pointed to oil prices as U.S. Crude hit a three-year high as a source of the selloff.  While it’s not likely accounted for the full market move, it does play into the global growth narrative that may lead to an increase in inflation expectations. Despite the headlines, Tuesday seemed to be one of those days where momentum led the market lower. 
Moving on to today’s calendar, we’ve had MBA’s mortgage applications data from last week (up over 8%), Import/Export Prices (+.1%, -.1%), and Wholesale Trade. Additionally, the Fed will be buying $1.455 billion 30-year conventional MBS at the 3.5% and 4.0% coupons which should provide some price support. We commence Wednesday with the 10-year yielding 2.59% and agency MBS prices are worse .125-.250 versus Tuesday’s close.
Claustrophobia is the fear of closed spaces.
For example: I am going to the liquor store.
And I am afraid it’s closed.
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, “Servicing: All It’s Cracked Up to Be?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
(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.)

Jan. 9: Sales management & LO jobs, new branding, products; servicing rankings & news; rates edging up

“A sea change:” A radical change or transformation. One wouldn’t call last Friday’s note from the CFPB a sea change, but the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it will be re-evaluating expanded reporting and data resubmission requirements under its Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2018, is viewed by many as a very good sign. Here’s what real estate agents see about this development.
Jobs, products, & personnel moves
James Brody, who was the senior managing member and face of the American Mortgage Law Group ("AMLG") since roughly 2007, made the decision to leave and join another one of AMLG’s three founding attorneys, Ryan Thomas, as the Chairman of Johnston Thomas’ Mortgage Banking Group ("MBG"). In addition, James will also be working with Ingrid Petersen who has joined Johnston Thomas as the MBG Co-Chair. According to James, "While the decision to leave was a difficult one, Johnston Thomas and its talented team of mortgage banking professionals have the resources, depth of experience and support necessary to aggressively and competently serve our diverse mortgage banking clientele, in connection with the many regulatory compliance, mitigation and/or litigation challenges that have been and will continue to face our industry in 2018 and beyond." If you would like to contact James to learn more, he may be emailed or reached at (415) 246-3995. 
The Money Source Inc. isn’t wasting any time this year, already announcing exciting news for 2018. The fintech company launched a new brand campaign on Tuesday, laying the foundation for its massive expansion plans for the next five years. The company announced it is igniting its mission to Grow Happiness, challenging the notion that mortgage finance is an impersonal industry. And remember wholesale lender Endeavor America Loan Services? Through the rebrand, the wholesale lender will fold into its parent company, The Money Source, creating a unified and streamlined megabrand, now called TMS, in support of all its lines of business. As TMS grows to become a one-stop fintech company, it plans to hire more than 400 new team members across all lines of business in 2018, taking its total headcount from 600 to more than 1000. Come join us as we look to Grow Happiness
“A billion-dollar Community Bank headquartered in SE Michigan is looking to add like-minded mortgage professionals to our growing sales team. Would you like to add one-time close construction financing and doctor loans to your portfolio of products? Level One Bank offers great compensation packages while keeping our interest rates competitive and has put tools in place to help you achieve your goals. If you are looking for supportive processing, quick turn times with our on-site underwriters, automated and supportive marketing, Level One Bank may be a great fit for your 2018 production goals. We are looking for individuals or existing teams to fill our growing markets in Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, and the Grand Rapids area.” Click here to schedule a confidential conversation.
A large wholesale lender based in Orange County, CA has initiated a search for a seasoned executive to manage and grow its national sales and operations platform. The company funded $6 billion in volume over the past three years across its purchase-focused, 35 state footprint. The parent company is well-capitalized with a large servicing portfolio and has long standing approvals with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae as a direct seller. To learn more about this executive opportunity, please send your resume to me for forwarding. (Please specify opportunity and excuse any delays due to travel.)
TPOs, third-party processors and wholesale lenders have the unique opportunity to differentiate their services with a proprietary digital mortgage solution. As the market contracts, delivering more volume will require a better experience to deepen relationships with originators and win new ones. Maxwell is a digital mortgage platform that also enables TPOs, third-party processors and wholesale lenders to create a seamless end-to-end experience with their origination partners – seamless collaboration on 1003 and borrower documents across multiple organizations from the beginning of the loan through clear to close. Maxwell can revolutionize your process with fast deployment. What’s more, with custom white labeling and branding for each team, the borrower will enjoy a delightful experience. To learn more about Maxwell and see how they can help your business you can request a demo herecall 888-256-6067 or email VP of Sales, Scott Stein.
“Last year was more than another great year for Caliber Home Loans, Inc., a rapidly growing top-ten mortgage company in America. All areas of the organization worked together to break records, introduce new products and increase our purchase business. In November 2017, Caliber introduced its 5-Star ARM – which replaces the annual rate adjustment with a five-year adjustment – and closed over $15 million by the end of the year. Caliber participates in many state-sponsored down payment assistance programs and as a result closed over $700 million for families looking to purchase a home. Caliber’s wide range of financing options includes its suite of Portfolio Lending products, which lent over $1 billion last year. And finally, Jumbo volume grew by 67% since 2016, with over $2.4 billion in closed loans. Caliber didn’t just have a great year – it had its BEST year in its history. We are kicking off another prosperous year and we’re looking for talented Loan Consultants to join us! To learn more about careers at Caliber, visit or email Jeremy DeRosa today.”
As mentioned yesterday in this commentary, Situs, a provider of strategic business and technology solutions to the real estate industry, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Denver’s MountainView Financial Solutions.
Also, as a refresher, last week PHH entered into a $45 million settlement with 49 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia for alleged mortgage servicing delinquencies. Buckley Sandler writes, “The settlement resolves a complaint that alleges that between 2009 and 2012 the servicer, among other things, failed to (i) timely and accurately apply payments; (ii) maintain proper documentation to establish standing for foreclosure; (iii) respond to borrower complaints and reasonable requests for assistance; (iv) properly process loan modification applications; and (v) properly oversee third party vendors responsible for foreclosure operations. The $45 million settlement payment includes $30.4 million in restitution to homeowners; $5 million in attorney’s fees and investigative costs and fees payable to the state attorneys general whose offices led the investigation; and almost $9 million in administrative penalties to state mortgage regulators. The settlement also requires the mortgage servicer to comply with a set of “Servicing Standards” outlined in the consent judgment and to submit quarterly reports to the state attorneys general Executive Committee for a period of three years.”
PHH stated that it admits no wrongdoing and is currently using the adopted new Servicing Standards.
For folks who like lists, Fitch Ratings released its latest U.S. Residential Mortgage Backed Security Handbook. Basel III is not helping, and the report notes that, “Ongoing regulatory scrutiny is continuously pushing banks further away from servicing residential mortgage loans even as nonbanks continue to grow stronger.” Portfolios for the largest bank servicers (namely Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and CitiMortgage) dropped by 1.6% in the third quarter 2017.
Wells Fargo’s servicing dropped 2.9% from last year’s $1.5 trillion portfolio to $1.46 trillion in the third quarter of 2017. It is still the #1 servicer in the U.S. by portfolio volume. Wells saw a decrease in its servicing portfolio from last year, but that is balanced by its $51 billion acquisition of mortgage servicing rights from Seneca Mortgage Servicing. JPMorgan Chase Bank saw its servicing drop 4.87% from last year’s $864 billion portfolio to $821.9 billion in the third quarter of 2017. Bank of America weighed in with a portfolio of $503.6 billion in the third quarter of 2017, ranking it #5 after a couple non-banks.
Fitch reported that CitiMortgage’s portfolio dropped nearly 27% (last year’s $235.6 billion portfolio to $172.6 billion in the third quarter of 2017), and is #8 based on portfolio volume.
Fitch also reported that many regional banks saw growth including Flagstar (+4.7%), HomeStreet Bank (+4.4%), First Republic Bank (+3.6%) and PNC Mortgage Services (+2.2%).
Lastly, Fitch’s report tells us that the largest non-bank servicer, Nationstar Mortgage, aka Mr. Cooper, continued its acquisition activity through the year, growing 7.6% over the year.
A while back PennyMac has issued an announcement regarding updates to conventional SRP values.
Anyone servicing Fannie’s loans knows that additional relief to borrowers impacted by natural disasters is available in the new Extend Modification for Disaster Relief, which brings an eligible borrower’s loan current without having to incorporate capitalization. This new modification type was implemented in Servicing Management Default Underwriter (SMDU) on Nov. 18, 2017, and servicers are required to evaluate borrowers for the Extend Modification for Disaster Relief no later than Feb. 1, 2018. For additional information, refer to LL-2017-09 and the SMDU 7.5 Release Notes.
As a reminder, Fannie Mae has extended the suspension of all foreclosure sales for mortgages secured by properties in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands located in FEMA-declared disaster areas because of Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria, through Mar. 31, 2018. Read Lender Letter LL-2017-11, Temporary Suspension of Foreclosure Sales in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
There were a few packages of servicing for sale over the holidays.
IMAC #104525 a $28mm (86 loans) S&D package; 4.25 WAC, 81.78% CLTV, 3465 WaRemaining Term, 14 WALA, 706 WaFICO, 41.99 WaDTI, 95% Owner Occupied, with top states CA (19%) & NY (27%).
IMAC #SB1228-17 is a $3b (12,115 loans), FNMA/FHLMC, 100% retail, $248k average loan size, 3.862 WAC, 750 WaFICO, 89% Owner Occupied, 90% SFR, 66% Purchase, 19% R/T, Top States: CO (31.9%), TX (22.3%), WA (10.7%), and OK (10.5%).
MountainView Financial Solutions, LLC has had two packages recently; the first a $3.5 Billion FHLMC/FNMA Servicing Offering. The package was 98% FRM, 100% 1st lien product, 4.04 WAC (4.13% on 30yr product), $261k average loan amount, 755 WaFICO, 71% WaLTV, with top states: California (83.6 percent), Oregon (3.6 percent), Nevada (1.8 percent), and Arizona (1.7 percent); the second package was $1.4 Billion FNMA/Private Servicing Offering. The 100% retail package was 89% fixed rate, 100% 1st lien, 3.98 WAC, 762 WaFICO, 66% WaLTV, $331k average loan amount, low delinquencies, with top states: California (59.8%), Washington (16.6%), Oregon (11.9%), and New Hampshire (4.6%)
From MIAC Steve Harris offered up a $2.5mm S&D pool (MIAC# 401101) with bids due yesterday – but contact him if you have questions.
Capital markets
Jobs and housing make up the lion’s share of the economy, and looking back to Friday, December’s nonfarm payrolls came in below expectations for December at +148k. While the number is not bad, recent labor related metrics, as well as a stronger than expected ADP Employment Report, set the bar high for Friday’s data. Job gains were broad-based across must industries although retail employment fell by 20,300 despite a strong holiday shopping season. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent in December, which remains below the Fed’s average estimate of longer-run normal unemployment of 4.6 percent. Many believe this signifies that the labor market is at full employment.
Average hourly earnings increased by 0.3 percent, or nine cents for the month. The Fed will keep a close watch on earnings as economic theory predicts lower unemployment leads to higher wages which should then lead to more consumer demand and then inflation. Wage growth, however, has been subdued and the inflation index favored by the Fed has remained below their 2 percent target for most of the last five years, and this will factor into the timing and magnitude of future short-term interest rate increases. 
Looking at interest rates, Monday the 10-year Treasury note finished the day unchanged, yielding 2.48% after a quiet trading session. Agency MBS prices faded towards the close as supply out-paced demand by days’ end. The only economic release of the day, consumer credit, blew through expectations in November in the largest monthly expansion since November 2001.  Both revolving and non-revolving credit saw large increased over the month. It is difficult at this point to say whether the increase was due to consumers not having as much reluctance to run up their credit cards or an easing of credit standards.
There were a handful of economic speakers from the Fed and IMF that all commented on the Fed’s 2.0 percent inflation target. Comments ranged from it being arbitrary and lacking theoretical basis to reassessment to adopting a price-level target. The reluctance of inflation to rise above the Fed’s 2.0 percent target has been one of the reasons cited in their policy statements for a gradual removal of accommodation. Today we’ve already had the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (faded, and below forecasts); coming up is the November Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reports at 10AM. The day starts with the 10-year yielding 2.49% and agency MBS prices worse a few ticks versus Monday night.
A wife went to the police station with her next-door neighbor to report that her husband was missing. The policeman asked for a description. She said, "He’s 35 years old, 6 feet 4, has dark eyes, dark wavy hair, an athletic build, weighs 185 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children."
The next-door neighbor protested, "Your husband is 5 feet 4, chubby, bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children."
The wife replied, "Yes, but who wants HIM back?"
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