LenderNews by Rob Chrisman
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Oct. 20: Retail & wholesale sales jobs; another DOJ/FHA settlement; risk sharing heating up; vendor announcement mania

October 20, 2016

Flying to Boston for the MBA’s conference? Here’s a view you won’t see. But probably a more important question is, “Is your cyber secure?” The FFIEC just published some frequently asked questions about cybersecurity worth a read for anyone who has a computer.
 
In retail news “New American Funding won three more Stevie Awards: a Gold Stevie for Employer of the Year Financial Services, a Silver Stevie for Engagement/Happiness Team of the Year, and a Bronze for Achievement in Employee Engagement. New American Funding’s NAF360 culture plays a huge part in happy employees and helped put NAF out front in their nomination. They conduct live nationwide broadcasts, called “Rick and Patty’s 360 Live,” sharing their gratitude and recognizing departmental accomplishments. A variety of events nationwide like an egg toss, water balloon fight, costume contests, ice cream and food trucks, gourmet coffee carts, catered lunches, appreciation events, and the Lending a Helping Hand Philanthropy Committee, further cultivates the NAF360 spirit, shown here on YouTube.  Employees enjoy all of this in addition to Health and Wellness fairs, from their amazing HR Department, with local discounts and representatives from a variety of vendors. And NAF’s ‘If You Want to Grow, We Want to Know’ program allows employees to contact President Patty Arvielo to discuss their career goals, ensuring every employee feels heard and can clearly map out their future career paths.”
 
In wholesale news, AFR is increasing the tools for brokers and is staffing up. “AFR Wholesale’s recent announcement of MyLoanCenter has created an incredible buzz with our new white-label technology solution that streamlines the way our brokers communicate with their customers. AFR Wholesale is looking for experienced Account Executives with an aptitude for technology and growth. As one of the nation’s premier wholesale providers, AFR provides Broker and Correspondent channels as well as On-Demand Processing. AFR’s Government and Conventional loan programs have been enhanced with a new, state of the art technology platform which delivers an exceptional Client experience. Remote based ‘work from home’ opportunities exist across the country. If you are an Account Executive looking to combine your relationship building skills with our new loan platform, apply now at: Wholesale Account Executive NJ and Remote .” Contact VP Jim Melchior with inquiries (502.882.0529).
 
And retail lender SecurityNational Mortgage Company is among the TOP 50 mortgage lenders in the country and management is looking for like-minded people to join the team. SNMC is searching for Area Managers, Branch Managers and Top Producing Loan Officers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska.Security National is on solid ground and has been in the financial business for over 50 years and is backed by a public traded parent company, Security National Financial Corporation, (SNFCA-NASDAQ). The company is approved with FNMA, FHLMC, and offers many non-agency products, superior customer service, in-house processing and underwriting, and a full service marketing and advertising department. The company has won a variety of awards including the Best of State, Top Places to Work, Scotsman Guide ‘Top Mortgage Lender’, CEO of the Year, Sales and Marketing Team of the Year (SAMY Award), and more." Contact Director of Business Development Justin Pater (801.864.2240) for information.
 
Another week, another settlement with the DOJ over FHA loans. First American Mortgage Trust, which does business as NXTLoan.com, and CEO Barry Polack, will pay $1.025 million to settle charges brought by the Department of Justice, which accused the mortgage lender of submitting false claims on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Allegedly First American ignored the FHA’s due diligence requirements and falsely certified that First American loans qualified for FHA insurance when they actually did not – all at Polack’s direction. The settlement also resolves allegations that Polack falsely certified to the FHA that First American complied with quality control requirements, and failed to report known loan defects. The company joins Wells Fargo, Franklin American, Walter Investment, First Tennessee, First Horizon National, M&T Bank, Freedom Mortgage, Regions Bank, BB&T…
 
Vendor news is alive and well heading into the MBA’s Boston conference next week.
 
Set your loan officers up for success in 2017. Lenders One is launching a one-of-a-kind participative workshop designed exclusively for its members to increase production and “set your LOs up for success in 2017. With best practices from several top 200 originators and sustainable sales strategies led by key industry veteran, Steve Scanlon, originators will participate in dialogue driven, action-oriented experiential exercises designed to transform their work culture. Attendees will not only walk away with the mindset of a world class originator, but also a business plan focused on increasing production in the new year. Click here to secure a spot for this December 8-9 workshop in San Diego! Interested in learning more, stop by Trident Bookstore next Monday or Tuesday during MBA in Boston to meet with the Lenders One team, or contact Susan Malpocker. Interested in membership with Lenders One? Contact Michael Kuentz.
 
STRATMOR has just released the October Issue of its STRATMOR Insights Report, which is filled with interesting stuff like a piece by STRATMOR Senior Partner and founder Dr. Matt Lind that quantifies the value of customer (borrower) retention. Dr. Matt’s analysis shows that successful borrower retention efforts can increase the servicing value of a new mortgage by one-and-a-half to three times the usual value lenders ascribe to servicing. This increase can then be used to fund price concessions and/or service improvements, which can improve overall competitiveness and, in a positive feedback loop, further increase the probability of retention and the ability to fund additional price concessions and/or service improvements.
 
Based on its recently completed Spotlight Survey, Appraisal Process and Turn-Times, STRATMOR also reports in the October Insights issue that, since TRID went into effect a year ago, appraisal fees have increased by nearly 16% along with 79% and 81% increases in appraisal turn-times for purchase and refinance loans respectively. STRATMOR, however, cautions that sharply increase origination volumes coupled with shortages of qualified appraisers undoubtedly account for much of these increases.
 
Finally, STRATMOR reports on data from its industry-leading MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program that revealed that the ways in which mortgage lenders stay in touch with borrowers throughout origination plays a large role in determining satisfaction. When borrowers have to take the initiative, e.g., calling the lender for status updates, satisfaction falls precipitously – to a score of 61 out of 100, the lowest among all of the communication methods polled. Logging into a website, which also requires the borrower to take the initiative, also scored relatively low (84 out of 100).  Conversely, methods in which the lender takes the initiative, e.g., calling the borrower, sending an email, texting or updating status via a mobile application, all resulted in scores above 90. You can view and download STRATMOR’s October Insights Report for free by clicking here.
 
Vantage Production LLC and Insellerate LLC have teamed up to introduce LoanCurve which combines the power of InSellerate’s advanced consumer direct lead and pipeline management system with Vantage Production’s VIP loan presentation and marketing automation tools, readily enabling lenders to succeed while minimizing costs. Vantage Production CEO Sue Woodard noted, "Consumer direct lending is very different from traditional retail. The customers are different, the tactics are different and the sales people and their needs are different. With the technology provided by LoanCurve, lenders of all sizes can now serve origination channels using industry-leading automation equipped with interfaces suited to each set of unique end users."
 
Alight spread the word that it has more than doubled its customer base since the start of 2016. Industry leaders like Guild and First Guarantee have begun using its SaaS-based financial forecasting solution and in recent news, the firm announced American Pacific Mortgage and Midwest-based Cornerstone Mortgage joined as customers. “Why have more than 30 mortgage banks jumped on board? With Alight, firm owners and CEOs have immediate visibility into the financial implications that decisions and sudden market changes will have on firm financials – cash and P&L – before those decisions are made. Alight’s cloud-based solution provides this visibility anytime, anywhere and on any device.” And if you’re a mortgage bank firm owner, CEO or senior finance professional attending the MBA’s AFM conference in San Diego, Alight invites you to be their guest at the 2nd Annual Alight Mortgage Innovators event on November 14 – the day prior to the AFM conference – for an afternoon of interactive sessions focused on innovative ways to supercharge your firm. Visit alightinc.com/forum to register and get the details. 
 
Seroka, providing brand development, marketing and PR services to the mortgage industry, announced its new division, Seroka Digital. The division will focus on the mortgage industry’s need for true NextGen digital communications leadership. "The buyer path to choosing a company to work with is much more complex than it used to be. And, Millennials have raised the bar, expecting more from brands than ever before,” said John Seroka, Principal. “Many companies are not properly leveraging online channels to target their audiences. Seroka Digital is their answer for driving real engagement and, most importantly, conversions.”
 
Optimal Blue’s robust enterprise mortgage pricing service is now accessible to banks and mortgage originators nationwide that utilize Roostify’s innovative technology to deliver a streamlined home lending experience to their borrowers and partners. This strategic alliance of two technology experts will further accelerate and demystify the home loan and closing experience. The combination of Optimal Blue’s expertise in pricing, along with the transparency and step-by-step guidance in Roostify’s loan application and closing processes, provides increased efficiency and profitability through accurate and precise tools.
 
Sindeo announced the launch of its newest technology, SindeoOne. Homebuyers and homeowners looking to refinance can shop and compare over 1000 loan programs by filling out a single application in just 5 minutes – saving them time as well as money, thanks to the ability to find the loan that best suits their unique needs. “SindeoOne guides borrowers through each step of the application process, complete with tips to help them navigate each question and understand how their choices impact their mortgage. Once the application is complete, Sindeo automatically generates a credit report and initiates the underwriting process, instantly verifying eligibility. Gone are the days of completing endless “one off” applications — Sindeo’s integrated process generates a single application that fulfills the needs of multiple lenders and can be completed in as little as 5 minutes, from any device.”
 
Snapdocs announced a new signing agent verification feature to give mortgage lenders and title companies confidence in the third-party vendors with whom they choose to work. “Pillar 4 of ALTA’s revised Best Practices establishes standards for managing and engaging third-party signing professionals, including the requirement of keeping critical documentation on file for an organization’s entire signing agent vendor database. infrequent notary searches. For companies without access to the premium Snapdocs online platform, a free online resource has been launched to assist with infrequent notary searches. The online search portal will identify notaries who have gone through Snapdocs verification and satisfy the requirement of being able to produce proof of Errors and Omissions insurance and a state license. In addition, Snapdocs is offering companies a complimentary scan of their notary database to identify notaries who may not satisfy the new ALTA Pillar 4 revisions.”
 
Turning to the capital markets, most doubt that Congress will actually act and remove Freddie and Fannie from under government conservatorship in 2018. But there are moves afoot that are shifting the risk away from the Agencies, and therefore away from taxpayers, to those who will pay for it. Risk sharing, however, isn’t for everyone… just ask Fannie Mae.
 
The private mortgage insurance companies in the United States are keenly aware of risk sharing. USMI (acronym self-explanatory?) USMI submitted some documents to the FHFA, which oversees Freddie and Fannie, on its front-end CRT request for input. Here we have the comment letter, press release, and fact sheet on the comment letter.
 
People in capital markets know a little something about mitigating risk. Interest rates are back to the “steady as she goes” path, with little exciting news from overseas and even less here. As a proxy for all rates, the yield on the 10-year T-note, which a few days ago was sitting around 1.80%, is back to the mid 1.70% range closing Wednesday at 1.75%, and Wednesday agency MBS prices closed a shade higher.
 
Overnight we’ve had, from Europe’s Central Bank, no rate change and nothing new out of its meeting. Here we’ve had weekly jobless claims from last week (+13k to 260k, higher than forecast) and the Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey (down to +9.7). Coming up are September’s Existing Home Sales at 10AM ET, as well as September Leading Indicators. After the ECB meeting and the U.S. initial volley of numbers, the 10-year is at 1.75% with agency MBS prices a tad better than late Wednesday.
 
 
The mortgage world has plenty of music fans. In this clip, and please excuse the language (above an R rating, certainly), a big fan finds out some bad news about a Rolling Stones tour.
 
 
If you’re interested, visit my periodic blog at the STRATMOR Group web site. The current blog is, “How Consumers Influence Interest Rates.” 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.)