LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Nov. 23: Ben Carson at HUD? More on PHH v. CFPB; vendor management & vendor updates; refis continue to drop

November 23, 2016

My cat Myrtle is old school. A traditionalist. Even though she has never said it out loud, I know that she doesn’t approve of me putting one space after a period. She prefers two – but anyone who does a lot of writing knows that two spaces after ending punctuation (like a period or question mark) is 20-30 years out of date. Folks who learned how to type on a typewriter often still do it. But unless you are typing on an actual typewriter, you no longer have to put two spaces after a period or any other ending punctuation to help readability. There’s your trivia du jour.
 
In company news, ValuAmerica announced that it has integrated with Ellie Mae’s Encompass platform. The functionality includes access to ValuAmerica’s appraisal, title, closing and settlement services. The announcement follows an enhanced Encompass integration executed by ValuAmerica’s sister company, Radian Guaranty, earlier this year. ValuAmerica and Radian’s integration with Encompass allows lenders to better leverage a full suite of services across the Radian family of companies, so they can more efficiently process mortgage loans and grow their business. You can learn more about ValuAmerica’s integration with Encompass at www.valuamerica.com/Encompass.
 
Congrats to Ben Carson who is considering, and according to some early reports accepted, the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The retired neurosurgeon ran an “outsider’s campaign” (see a theme here?) for the Republican presidential nomination and later backed Donald Trump. Mr. Carson would be the first African-American member of Mr. Trump’s cabinet.
 
Saturday’s commentary, which focused on the CFPB’s appeal of the PHH v. CFPB verdict, mentioned “…if the full D.C. Circuit agrees to hear the case, the judgment of the three-judge panel is immediately vacated and has no legal effect. Thus, the CFPB would continue to be structured as Congress intended and the CFPB Director would not be removable at will by the President.”
 
I received this from an attorney knowledgeable about the case. “The CFPB’s filing of the petition for en banc review stays the issuance of the 3-Judge panel’s mandate. The mandate would encompass the case being sent back to the Bureau for evidentiary proceedings around RESPA Section 8 elements, as the 3-Judge panel said in its opinion. The rest of the court’s ruling remains in place. The constitutional ruling remains citable precedent unless and until vacated by the en banc court.” Thank you for clarifying!
 
Yes, residential lending continues to be at the vertex of federal, state, and local regulators. For those wondering what might be coming up, this legal update from Mayer Brown LLP summarizes reports released by the CFPB, the OCC and the FCA about recent developments in their respective efforts to facilitate responsible financial innovation and offers predictions on what the industry can expect in this space during the coming months.
 
Earlier this week I reminded readers of the CFPB’s Compliance Bulletin 2016-02, which updates the Bureau’s guidance on vendor management and oversight. The Bulletin clarifies that the depth and formality of the risk management program put in place to monitor service providers may vary depending on the type of service(s) being performed and the performance of the service provider in complying with federal consumer financial laws and regulations. Specifically, the Bureau noted that the size, scope, complexity, importance, and potential for consumer harm were factors to take into consideration when assessing the scope of a vendor risk management and oversight program.
 
Jonathan Foxx wrote in addressing the CFPB’s update to its service provider review requirements (“Compliance Bulletin and Policy Guidance 2016-02, Service Providers”) which is an update to its Bulletin that was issued on April 13, 2012, called “CFPB Bulletin 2012-03, Subject: Service Providers.” The new update has been carefully outlined in a downloadable article by Mr. Foxx of Lenders Compliance Group, on behalf of his affiliate, Vendors Compliance Group. A great feature of the article is that is provides a Question & Answer format, which brings a lot of clarity to understanding the CFPB’s expectations. Head on over to Vendors Compliance Group to download his article, entitled “Compliance Bulletin and Policy Guidance 2016-02 – Service Providers – Questions and Answers.”
 
What else is new with a random sampling of vendors out there?
 
On the capital markets side of things, Mortgage Capital Trading has added new features to its best execution service offering. The enhanced tool is an extension of MCT’s existing best execution methodology, which is traditionally offered with its proprietary hedging services. The option to leverage the new feature set is ideal for lender clients that are interested in deepening the retain/release decisioning process and cash management concerns. It offers additional dimensions of time to payback, cash drain, corporate tax structure, subservicing terms and MSR financing possibilities. The enhanced best execution solution works in conjunction with MCT’s proprietary HALO hedging and loan sale program and with its award-wining capital markets platform MCTlive! 
 
LoanLogics announced it ranked No. 250 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America based on their revenue growth during the period from 2012 to 2015. LoanLogics grew 291 percent during this period. Overall, 2016 Technology Fast 500™ companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 121 percent to 66,661 percent from 2012 to 2015, with median growth of 290 percent.
 
Indecomm’s Knowledge Management Portal offers your mortgage bank the opportunity to create your own "Private University" by combining off the shelf content and customized content. Each team member is provided a customized curriculum setting a clear path for professional development that speaks to mortgage operations staff unlike any other self-paced training program. With features that foster guideline management, corporate policies and procedures along with social forums, it provides the foundation for the new generation of mortgage bankers. Call John Feehan at 760-212-2268 for more information.
 
OpenClose has redesigned and added new features to its borrower-facing ConsumerAssist solution to deliver exceptional online and mobile point-of-sale tools. The enhancements create a straightforward and interactive experience for consumers. It can be accessed via the web or any mobile device, providing portability and accessibility at any time and from anywhere. This results in an increase in leads and a decrease in production costs. Lenders also have the flexibility to offer on-demand program eligibility and pricing for borrowers by leveraging OpenClose’s DecisionAssist product and pricing engine (PPE), which instantly returns decisioning at the point-of-sale.
 
Switching gears to the capital markets…To be or not to be. Will there be a rate hike in December? Or will this be a year of one and done? There was a consensus view that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) “would elect not to raise the fed funds rate after its November meeting.” That turned out to be the case. But the world has changed, and practically every economist and trader believes that the December meeting will result in a move in short-term rates. Inflation continues to increase; CPI is up 1.5% year over year. “Continued strength in services inflation and energy base effects should allow prices to rise further toward 2 percent in the coming months.” The Fed has previously stated that they would like to see 2.0% inflation. Each passing month sees inflation inching closer to that target.
 
Speaking of things that the fed has previously stated, they continue to discuss that they would like to see a strong labor market in order to raise interest rates. The labor market continues to improve, and some think we’re already at full employment as they estimate payroll gains of at least 100,000 jobs per month – enough to reduce remaining labor underutilization and spur modestly higher wage growth. Overall, the outlook is for a tightening labor market and rising inflation to prompt a fed funds rate increase in December. 
 
Economists and traders are still ruminating on the stock and bond markets surrounding the election. Besides the ups and down of the stock market over uncertainty in the election, it was a light week for economic data. During the day of the election, when there was uncertainty in the air in what was supposed to be a Clinton victory, stock market futures crashed, global financial markets were affected. Leading the charge was the Mexican Peso plummeting. Afterward there were two days of strong U.S. financial market performance, following the shock of Trump’s campaign victory, led by the Dow charging to an all-time high, few expect to see a repeat of the Tuesday election night swan dive. This is important for the upcoming FOMC meeting in December which is set to raise interest rates at that time. 
 
In Tuesday’s bond market rates improved somewhat with the 10-year closing at 2.32%. Agency mortgage-backed security prices rallied almost .125, and spreads were mostly tighter versus treasuries – a good thing. The Treasury auctioned $34 billion five-year notes at a yield of 1.76%, the highest mark since December 2015.
 
It will be interesting to watch the supply and demand dynamics over the coming months as supply falters and demand continues to be strong. November prepayment speeds are expected slow 4% to 5%, and certainly that was seen in today’s MBA application data for last week with refis continuing to drop. Will lenders and vendors who made their money on refis be nimble enough to switch to a purchase market?
 
Looking at today, it is a full trading day in the bond market, but one must ask who is working a full day today. Tomorrow is a holiday; Friday bond markets are open but everyone will be lightly staffed – and who is going to lock in a loan? The holiday likely contributed to the relatively light volumes yesterday.
 
Today we have a full platter of news with typical Thursday releases moved up a day with Friday being an early close. Weekly mortgage applications (w/e Nov 18) from the MBA kicked off the day (+5.5% with purchase apps +19%, refis -3%). We’ve also had the always volatile Durable Goods orders for October (+4.8%, higher than expected) and weekly Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending November 19 (251k, up from 233k, still solid).
 
Coming up are the FHFA Housing Price Index (Sep), at 9AM ET, Markit Manufacturing PMI (preliminary Nov.) at 9:45AM ET, Michigan Sentiment (final for Nov.) at 10AM, October’s New Home Sales, a $28 billion 7-year note auction at 1PM ET, and the minutes from the November FOMC meeting will be released at 2PM ET. Whew! To start the day, after those strong numbers, the 10-year is at 2.35% with agency MBS prices worse .250 versus Tuesday night. Given the holiday, trading will most likely be choppy and liquidity may be an issue as we move into the afternoon.
 
(There will be no commentary on Friday – with any luck I’ll be on my bike or finding a Christmas tree. Or both, but not simultaneously.)
 
(Warning: Rated… R I guess? Definitely racy.)
Things you can only say at Thanksgiving
1.  Talk about a huge breast!
2.  Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist and warm.
3.  It’s Cool Whip time!
4.  If I don’t undo my pants, I’ll burst.
5.  Wow, that’s one awesome spread!
6.  I’m in the mood to try some dark meat!
7.  Are you ready for seconds yet?
8.  It’s a little dry.  Do you still want to eat it?
9.  Just wait your turn.  There’s plenty for everybody.
10.  Stop playing with your meat!
11. Did you think you could handle all those people at once?
12.  Just spread the legs open and stuff it in.
13.  I didn’t expect everyone to come at once!
14.  You still have a little on your lip.
15.  How long does it take after you stick it in?
16.  You know it’s ready when it pops up.
17.  Wow, I never knew I could handle so much!
18.  That’s absolutely the biggest one I’ve ever seen!
19.  How long should I beat this before it’s ready?
20.  That’s gives a whole new meaning to the sandwich concept!!
 
 
If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Election Day 2016 is Over – Now What?” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.
Rob
 
(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are over 300 mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2016 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.)