Aug. 27: MBA reminds industry of strong 2nd quarter; cash vs. security sales primer; new gov’t/private program for service members

Rob Chrisman

Rob Chrisman began his career in mortgage banking – primarily capital markets – 31 years ago in 1985 with First California Mortgage, assisting in Secondary Marketing until 1988, when he joined Tuttle & Co., a leading mortgage pipeline risk management firm. He was an account manager and partner at Tuttle & Co. until 1996, when he moved to Scotland with his family for 9 months. Read more...

The month-end funding push is in full swing. There are plenty of jumbo loans on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts (providing fodder for the smattering of jumbo securities), but the push for affordable housing has moved inland to where it is actually viable. (This article from last month illustrates the change in demographics for the middle class moving toward the center of the U.S.) Regardless of where one lives, as this commentary continues to mention the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to widen, and now the Census Bureau quantifies it, as well as the gap between younger and older families.

 

On the jobs and recruiting front, “Do you have the recruiting cold calling blues? Without a doubt, everyone’s anxiety level ticks up a couple of notches when they have to make a cold call. Join us today for our Mastering the Initial Recruiting Call workshop at 3PM EST. When you know what to say to get a prospective candidate engaged, you can turn a cold call into a warm call and your probability for a face-to-face interview will greatly improve. Reserve your seat to the on-going Mortgage Recruiting Boot Camp eight part series, hosted by Jim McGrath. In this workshop he trains Hiring Managers his strategies on how to connect with more talent and scripts that convert the “happy for now” to a candidate that is willing to ‘explore their options’. Jim will teach you his proven cold call methodologies that will help land more interviews utilizing his proactive recruiting best practices.”

 

Mortgage banking revenue is a fickle mistress. For most, the first quarter was poor (a charitable term), but lenders know that things bounced back in the 2nd quarter of 2014, and now the MBA gives us some numbers to hang our collective hats on: independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks reported a net gain of $954 on each loan they originated in the second quarter, up from a reported loss of $194 per loan the quarter before.  “The gains seen in the second quarter come after first quarter losses that were likely triggered by a variety of  factors including the implementation of new Dodd-Frank regulations and extremely low origination volumes,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “Some loan closings may have been pushed into the second quarter, resulting in an increase in profitability as per-loan production costs declined.”

 

What do Wells Fargo, Quicken, Citi, Ocwen, and Bank of America have in common? They are all part of a mortgage program announced by the Obama Administration yesterday focused on members of the military. Quicken, for example, sent out a press release saying, “Quicken Loans Partners with the Obama Administration to Ensure Military Members Receive Mortgage Protections…The nation’s largest VA lender and second largest retail lender immediately begins notifying service members of the flexible financial protections that their active duty triggers under federal law…a partnership with the Obama Administration to make sure active-duty military members receive the benefits their service entitles them…has agreed to enhance the financial protections that active military members are granted under the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA is a federal law that assures protection for military members as they enter active duty. In addition to other financial protections, the law allows flexibility for active military members related to their mortgage interest rates, mortgage late fees and mortgage foreclosure protection.”

 

Those five lenders will be reviewing their entire servicing portfolios, monthly, and compare them to the Department of Defense’s current database to proactively identify borrowers that are also active duty members of the military. They will then reach out to the active-duty homeowner or their closest available relative and inform them that (Quicken/BofA/Wells/Citi/Ocwen) will be applying any of the special benefits they are entitled to receive under the SCRA.

 

As a side note, servicing values are critical. Any lender with servicing on its books, bank or non-bank, can never rule out a transaction if servicing values were to reach levels that management thought were abnormally high that would mitigate the negative effects of a tax hit or (for a bank) potentially losing the continuing relationship between the depository and its customers, such as capturing refinancings.

 

Fannie & Freddie’s end-run around the large aggregators and marketing directly to the small and mid-sized lenders is well known in the industry. But smaller lenders may not have the expertise or experience (yet) in analyzing some basic decisions between selling loans directly to F&F (through the cash window) or securitizing loans themselves. It is helpful to have a primer on what that means, and knowing what might be going on behind the scenes influencing your decisions: A Primer on Cash Sales Versus Securities.

 

The Financial Times reports that Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has warned the GSEs (government-sponsored enterprises) that they must stop being so quick to accuse banks of faulty underwriting and then forcing them to repurchase soured loans. “We’re just not going to make those loans and there’s going to be a whole bunch of Americans that are underserved in the mortgage market…If somebody makes a payment for – let’s say – three years, the risk ought to transfer then to the insurance company … If you’re going to pick through each one looking for a technical fault not to pay your insurance policy we’re not going to be in that business.” On the retail side, the industry has watched Wells lower its standards on jumbo loans and FICO requirement on FHA product.

 

A Secondary Marketing gal from the south-east writes, “Rob, thanks for giving us servicing color, by way of MSR tapes you include in your commentary from time-to-time. It’s interesting to see all the different collateral composites.” You’re welcome, and I agree. Here’s a small sampling since our my last blurb….I’ve seen two deals from Phoenix Capital, the first was a $1.1 billion bulk of fixed rate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac MSR’s, with a pool characteristic of: 69% FNMA, 31% FHLMC,  85% 30yr term/15% 15yr term, 4.398% WAC, Avg Bal $237K, 51% CA geography, WaFICO 738, WaLTV 85%,  48% Correspondent, 41% Wholesale and11% Retail….the second a flow deal of $30-$35 million per month of Freddie Mac MSR’s which will all be 100% retail originations, with  89-94% 30yr term; 6-11% 15yr term, average balance between $233-$244k, WaFICO 750-752; WaLTV 81-83%, CO (50%), UT (37%), & CA (7%) geography….and MountainView Servicing Group, LLC selling a $348.4 million FHLMC/FNMA non-recourse servicing portfolio with is 99% fixed rate and 100% 1st lien product, WaFICO of 755, WaLTV 75%, WAC of 4.18%, top states: Colorado (61.3%), California (15.0%), Arizona (6.5%), and Illinois (6.0%) with an average loan size of $234,156.

 

Let’s turn to some investor, lender, and vendor-specific news…

 

“Rob – I took a quick perusal of NationStar’s Defect ‘pie chart’ and noticed that they don’t even have a category for compliance defects, many of which flow through to the loan purchaser. I wonder what will happen to NationStar in the future when either the regulators or a class action attorney discovers that it purchased billions without analyzing their loans for compliance.” Editor’s note: questions or comments should be directed to your NationStar rep – my guess is that the company is accounting for them somehow.

 

And here’s another comment about trends. “Good morning Rob. I have several brokers telling me that more lenders are offering programs where the lenders are ignoring 2106 unreimbursed employee expenses for ‘true’ W2 borrowers. They do this by executing the 4506T for W2 wages only so the tax transcripts would not show any 2106 expenses. One of my brokers sent me a flyer issued by ————— Wholesale. He also told me that this applies to both their conventional and FHA loans. If the home were to go into foreclosure and the investor does a forensic underwrite, might they not claim misrepresentation as 2106 expenses were not disclosed and not used to qualify the borrower? Might this not violate the Ability to Pay and Safe Harbor provisions? (Editor’s note: it sure sounds like it, but my guess is that their lawyers took a good look at it. You can always report things anonymously.)

 

Fannie Mae recently published updated lender resources for mortgage products to finance home construction, renovation, and energy-efficient improvements. The materials construction-renovation-energy of updated resources include: a HomeStyle Renovation (HSR) on-demand recorded training tutorial that provides detailed loan origination, delivery, and servicing information; a HomeStyle Renovation Fact Sheet; a HomeStyle Renovation Product Matrix; a Construction-to-Permanent Product Matrix; and an Energy Improvement Feature Fact Sheet. Additionally, Fannie’s announcement covers information pertinent to Adverse Action Notices, Allowable Foreclosure Attorney Fees, Evaluation Model Clauses, and the Master Custodial Agreement reminding servicers of the requirements.

 

Citibank has updated its ineligible originator list. This list shows brokers, correspondents or other loan originators and any other parties with any role in any loan origination which is prohibited from having any role in the origination of any loan submitted to Citibank for purchase.

 

M&T Bank posted updates to its agency underwriting eligibility standards that includes re-subordination requirements, mortgage write-offs, foreclosure and bankruptcy on the same mortgage, waiting periods for derogatory events, and co-op flip tax. Additionally, the USDA guarantee fee is increasing from .40% to .50% effective with conditional commitments on or after October 1st.

 

Flagstar Wholesale is reminding clients LPMI price adjustment updates and rate sheet updates went into effect August 11th. Also, starting August 18, the Lending Training team has created live training opportunities to assist correspondent customers with the process and workflow for the Disclosure Compliance Module in Flagstar’s system. Michigan Flooding may require homes in specified zip codes to obtain satisfactory re-inspection dated on or after August 13, 2014. Rural Development has published an interim final rule for Guaranteed Rural Housing loans to replace its existing rule. The interim final rule will become effective on September 1, 2014.

 

Effective Friday, August 15, the Survey Fee applicable to new registrations under the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation, and the Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation, programs will be increased to $750.

 

Fifth Third Correspondent Lending is reminding clients that POA eligibility is restricted to limited situations and includes specific criteria. Additionally, its appraiser and appraisal company Do Not Use List has been updated and posted to Correspondent Connect.

 

New Penn Financial WholesaleHome Buyer Power, a non-QM jumbo product, is available to its wholesale partners.

 

Ellie Mae released its July 2014 origination insight report.

 

Freddie Mac launched the new and improved Workout Prospector®. This brief video shows the functional changes and benefits to streamline existing processes.

 

If someone can figure out this economy, please let me know. We had a lot of news out last week, and yesterday the cavalcade continued: two house price indices showed decelerating price appreciation which helps affordability, consumer confidence is now as high as it was in late 2007 (just before the Great Recession) and manufacturing activity is clicking along. Durable goods orders were revised up for June and jumped 22.6% in July, albeit due to spectacularly large one-off aircraft orders at Boeing. (Ex-transportation Durable Goods were -.8 %.) Be careful with statistics! Values are increasing, just at a slower rate, so be careful about headlines like “Widespread Slowdown in Home Price Gains According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.” The FHFA (which focus on Fannie & Freddie numbers) House Price Index has reported gains for 12 consecutive quarters – it is really hard to argue that housing is not recovering.

 

Yet there is seems to be a disconnect between bonds and stocks. If the economy is doing so well, as indicated by records being set by the S&P 500 and other stock indices, shouldn’t rates be moving higher? Nope – they’re still low. Perhaps investors just don’t have anywhere else to put their money – so let’s be content with these low rates which could be here for quite some time.

 

There isn’t much in the way of news today, and things have been quiet overnight. We will have the MBA survey on lending activity and mortgage rates. After that come the Treasury auctions, first at 11:30am on 2yr floating rate notes ($13 billion) then the 1pm fixed rate sale of $35 billion 5yr maturities. For numbers, the 10-yr T-note yield at the close of Tuesday was 2.39% and in the very early going today we’re at 2.38% and agency MBS prices are better by a smidge.

 

 

Headlines from around the world (part 3 of 5)

  1. Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
  2. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge
  3. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
  4. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  5. New Vaccine May Contain Rabies
  6. Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing
  7. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
  8. Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction
  9. Include your Children when Baking Cookies
  10. War Dims Hope for Peace
  11. British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands

 

 

Rob

 

(Copyright 2014 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.)