LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Oct. 18: Sales jobs, CRA & 203(h) offerings; LOS products & CRM white paper; USDA rural back on track

October 18, 2017

The United States is filled with thousands of pieces of geographic trivia. Alaska is more than twice as big as Texas. El Paso, Texas is closer to San Diego than it is to Houston. In the South, Johnson City/Bristol, Tennessee is 100 miles closer to Canada than it is to Memphis, a city in its own state! 20 (out of 58) California counties are larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Yup, a lot going on out there.
 
Jobs & promotions
 
First United Bank Mortgage, a top 10 market leader in Dallas/Fort Worth and Top 3 in Oklahoma, is looking for a Regional Manager to continue growth in the South Texas Market. The role would support the existing retail branch platform which includes 3 Scotsman Guide originators and $360M in annual volume. First United Bank is a $6.2B community bank based in Oklahoma which offers competitive Portfolio products including in-house Jumbo, OTC and 2X close Construction, Doctor Program, and Non-Warrantable Condos. FUBM is a direct seller/servicer to FNMA, FHMLC, and GNMA. To learn more about joining our team, please contact Tara Price, Sr. Managing Director of Mortgage, Kristofer Sanders, Mortgage Director of Talent Acquisition, or call 972-569-2352.
 
Close loans on time, every time. That’s our goal, and the best way to achieve it is to hire great people, not just great Loan Officers and Branch Managers. Strong character and exceptional customer service are a way of life at Assurance Financial. If you’re a successful MLO or Branch Manager with outstanding ethics and a desire to make a difference – we should talkAssurance Financial, recently named among 2017’s “Best Places to Work”, is a full-service private mortgage banker with offices throughout the country. Contact Sales Recruiting Manager Paul Peters, CMB, at 225-239-7948 or visit LendTheWay.com/Careers.
 
State Bank Financial Corporation, the holding company for State Bank and Trust Company (“State Bank”), announced the appointment of Jason Hultgren as senior vice president and mortgage production manager in Atlanta. “Hultgren will be responsible for growing retail mortgage production and market share across metro Atlanta, provide sales leadership to manage and grow State Bank’s services, and be responsible for recruiting and hiring efforts, talent development, business development and the expansion of State Bank’s retail mortgage practice.”
 
Vendor products & Denver conference exhibitions
 
“Title production costs have skyrocketed over the past decade, as productivity has fallen off a cliff. Outsourcing your back-office processes to String Real Estate Information Services can help you solve these issues right away. After 14 years and 20 million transactions, String’s expertise in mortgage and title is unparalleled. String supports the entire title production life cycle: title agency production, closing & settlement services, curative processing, title plant building, tax certs and other VMC services. We can help shorten your cycle time, turn your fixed costs into variable costs, and improve your margins by up to 20%. If you’re attending the MBA Annual Convention in Denver, schedule a meeting with us to learn how String can improve your P&L within 30 days or less.”
 
Manually calculating income for borrowers is time-consuming and costly. As a result, consumer mortgage lenders have been looking for ways to quickly acquire income-related documents and data while processing them more accurately, completely, and consistently. Until now many digital solutions fell short of their advertised promise when tested against real applications, forcing mortgage lenders to establish multiple vendors to perform the same function – income calculation. LoanBeam simplifies these process redundancies by combining income from key data aggregators with powerful OCR technology to supply qualifying income for any applicant, regardless of the income source. Going live to all LoanBeam customers by Q1, 2018, this platform will allow lenders to leverage LoanBeam’s proven accuracy and proficiency in dealing with complex income streams (including self-employment income, rental property income, multiple 1040s, and schedules), and apply that expertise to W2’s and paystubs. For more information about LoanBeam, visit its website at www.loanbeam.com or contact a sales representative at sales@loanbeam.com for a demo.
 
Did you know that up to 50% of LOs don’t use software that has been purchased at the enterprise-level, and that mortgage companies could be losing a whopping $90,000/year in lost revenue opportunities for every 10 loan officers who fail to implement it? A new white paper out titled, "Eight Ways to Improve User Adoption of CRM and Other Technologies” contains invaluable insights if you and your team are thinking of implementing a new CRM or if you’re struggling with poor user adoption of an existing enterprise-wide software solution. Christy Soukhamneut, SVP of National Sales Performance for Certainty Home Loans, and Gibran Nicholas, CEO of CMPS Institute, share eight lessons they’ve learned from their recent CRM implementation experience where they achieved 70%+ user adoption rates as defined by users who are logging in to the system at least weekly. Gibran will be at the MBA convention in Denver and you can schedule some time to meet with him by emailing him directly.
 
“Denver bound? Let’s connect! Reach150 helps your LOs increase loan transactions by automating the collection of recommendations AND referrals, and then using them as a powerful marketing tool. This system is also used at the corporate and office manager level to recruit and retain top talent on a regional or national level. Client acquisition and talent acquisition all in one system! Set it up and be running in 10 minutes. Email Kimberlee Foster kfoster@smartzip.com to carve out 20 minutes at the MBA to get a quick demo.”
 
Point-of-sale (POS) consumer portals are driving the digital mortgage experience. But to realize their full potential, POS systems need to be fully integrated with a lender’s LOS. LendingQB provides an OpenAPI that offers POS vendors a seamless connection to their LOS platform, with advanced functionality such as credit report ordering, secure document uploading and pricing engine access. Numerous POS vendors have already partnered with LendingQB, including: StreamLoan, LenderPrice, PreApp 1003, LenderHomePage, Maxwell, SimpleNexus, BeSmartee, Floify and Blend. Visit LendingQB at the MBA Annual Convention, where they will be showcasing POS integrations at booth #324. Contact Linn Cook for more information.
 
NFM Lending has decided to make the switch to Loan Vision, an industry-specific financial solution to automate processes and cut hours of manual labor in its accounting department.  “We wanted increased efficiency and improved reporting capabilities to help our branches have more visibility into their financials.” said Chris Curcio, Controller at NFM Lending. The team was specifically impressed by Loan Vision’s ability to consume data from their LOS as well as the software provider’s customer service reputation. As lenders continue to feel the tightening of the lending market, Loan Vision is leading the way in offering an enterprise level accounting and business management functionality in one industry focused solution. Heading to Denver for the MBA Annual Convention? Set up some time to meet with the Loan Vision team by contacting Carl Wooloff.
 
Are all Social Media reviews created equal? In the recent mad dash to collect and share social media reviews and testimonials, many lenders have neglected to weigh the benefits of quality vs. quantity. In this month’s MortgageSAT tip, STRATMOR Group’s Mike Seminari looks at the risks in the “more is better” approach to encouraging borrowers to share their valuable reviews on Social Media sites. Some sites have a greater impact with borrowers, and encouraging them to share their review of you on those sites helps ensure positive customer sentiment has the best chance of translating to an actual referral. Check out this MortgageSAT Tip, where Mike looks and the pros and cons of the most highly visible social media sites and answers the question, “Which social media sites have the greatest potential for impacting revenue?”
 
Investor products
 
AmeriHome Mortgage often partners with banks to help them meet their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) obligations through mortgage loan or securities acquisitions. As the nation’s 9th largest lender, AmeriHome is well positioned to help your bank achieve its CRA goals. AmeriHome’s Capital Markets team will be in Denver for the MBA Conference and would look forward to meeting with you to discuss your CRA needs. If the person or team that handles your bank’s CRA portfolio won’t be in attendance, they’d look forward to scheduling a call to discuss at a convenient time. The AmeriHome team can be contacted via email
 
Freedom Mortgage Renovation Lending is working with lenders preparing to assist homeowners impacted by recent hurricanes and fires. While today’s focus is on restoring fundamentals, shortly, homeowner attention will shift to renovating and returning home. Viable options for homeowners needing assistance due to flood or structural damage include FHA 203(k) and FNMA HomeStyle® Renovation programs. Within parameters, these programs are beneficial, especially for homeowners lacking flood insurance and who meet equity criteria. Depending on the program, borrowers may utilize up to 110% of the completed value of the home for determining loan amount. Another alternative includes combining credit benefits of the 203(h) program with renovation benefits of 203(k) financing (following 203(k) LTV maximums). Independently, the 203(h) program allows to 100% financing. In addition to platform development assistance and customized sales/operations/certification training, Freedom Mortgage offers complete draw management allowing lenders to focus more on their borrowers. 
 
USDA rural housing news
 
Fiscal Year 2018 Funds Now Available. Yes, funding for Rural Development’s Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program is now available. The funding is authorized by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 (P.L. 115-56, H.R. 601).
 
“Requests that received Form RD 3555-18E, ‘Conditional Commitment for Single Family Housing Loan Guarantee’ (aka Conditional Commitment), contingent upon the availability of an appropriation, will be obligated in the Agency’s financial system over the next 2-3 business days. An updated Conditional Commitment will be electronically generated by the Agency to remove the “contingent upon” language. Lender receipt of the updated Conditional Commitment will signal the request has been successfully obligated by the Agency. NOTE: Closing transactions are not eligible for submission to USDA until a loan is successfully obligated.
 
“Once the loan has closed (including loans that were closed prior to the obligation of funds by the Agency) the lender may submit their request for Loan Note Guarantee along with a closing package. For manually submitted packages, ensure the lender certification on the Conditional Commitment is signed and dated after the Agency’s obligation date (the issuance date on the updated Conditional Commitment). Lenders using the Agency’s automated Lender Loan Closing (LLC) system will complete the lender certification electronically (i.e. no manual signature/date required). Questions may be directed to (202) 720-1452.”
 
Capital markets
 
Here’s some (hopefully) good news. The US Treasury has called for the inclusion of some asset-backed securities in the list of acceptable high-quality liquid assets for the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s liquidity coverage ratio and net stable funding ratio to make assets such as housing loans more attractive. SIFMA and other industry groups have called for the inclusion of private label residential mortgage-backed securities rather than limiting the list to assets issued by government-backed housing lenders.
 
With a taut labor market and low inflation, some policy makers like Fed Chair Janet Yellen, have advocated returning policy to a neutral setting of a fed funds rate around 2 percent that neither spurs nor inhibits economic growth, above the bank’s current 1 percent to 1.25 percent target range. However, we are far from certain that Yellen will be around next year to gradually hike rates. Her four-year term atop the Fed expires on Feb. 3, and while President Donald Trump has said she could retain the job, he’s also looking at formed Fed governor Kevin Warsh, who is urging the central bank to stop trying to fine-tune inflation and instead focus more on developments in finance, money and credit.
 
Fixed income securities (including Treasuries and MBS) ended Tuesday on a mixed note after morning lows reversed on the release of a better than expected Industrial Production report for September. Though it showed a decline from August, it was not as bad as expected in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The capacity utilization rate increased to 76.0% from a downwardly revised 75.8% for August. The 2s10s spread (a measure of the steepness of the yield curve) now sits at its low from 2016 and just above levels that were last seen in late 2007, suggesting the Treasury market is not anticipating any sort of a meaningful acceleration in growth. Instead, the market is becoming more concerned about a potential deceleration.
 
Today, we’ve had the weekly MBA Mortgage Index (+3.6%, the first increase in a month but volume was nearly 19 percent below the same week one year ago, when interest rates were lower), and September Housing Starts (-4.7%) & Building Permits (-4.5%); the October Fed Beige Book will be at 2PM ET. In the early going rates are higher than Tuesday’s close: the yield on the 10-year is 2.33% and agency MBS prices are worse .125-.250.
 
 
It’s that time of year where the yearly debate of great impact and consequence happens: do the different colors on candy corn have a different taste? The candy is 135 years old, and is fat free for the diet-conscious. (Excellent.) If you want to show your kids how it is made, here you go.
 
 
Visit www.robchrisman.com for more information on our industry partners, access archived commentaries, or to subscribe to the Daily Mortgage News and Commentary. If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “Will User Names and Passwords Go the Way of Thermal Fax Paper?” 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 2017 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.)