Apr. 9: Wholesale and Retail jobs; affordable housing lawsuit; down payment assistance program primer

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national mover rate has remained stable (between 11.5 and 12.5 percent) since 2008. In 1948, about 1 in 5 people moved over a one-year period, that number is now 1 in 9. Between 2013 and 2014, suburbs experienced a gain of 2.2 million movers, whereas cities experienced a loss of 1.7 million people – despite all the chatter about the urban revolution. Renters exhibit the highest mobility rates, with 24.5 percent of people living in renter-occupied housing units living elsewhere one year earlier, whereas the mover rate for those living in owner-occupied housing was 5 percent. Non-Hispanics had higher migration rates than Hispanics and employed individuals were less likely to move, unless it was for a job, as this was the number one reason for moving.


Let’s talk about some jobs, but first a clarification on a website from a listing yesterday. American Financial Network Inc. has hired Todd Probasco to run its Chicagoland office.  Todd is currently hiring experienced loan originators, sales managers and branch managers for that office, and interested candidates wishing to join are encouraged to submit a letter of interest or resume to Todd. AFN is a full agency direct, multi-billion dollar retail mortgage lender.


Academy Mortgage just celebrated its 27th anniversary and a record-breaking 2014 with $5.5 billion in total loan volume, not including origination tied to its successful acquisition of Republic Mortgage Home Loans. “The acquisition has opened up greater growth opportunities at Academy, all while the company continues to do what it does best: a true retail model, creating an environment focused on volume growth and business development; local fulfillment and credit policy support teams, allowing files to move quickly and accurately through approval; and lending direct to Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and Ginnie Mae, reducing overlays on files and increasing the company’s servicing portfolio. Loan Officers, Branch Managers, branches, and firms interested in growing their businesses with Academy should contact National Recruiting Manager Ben Green at (801) 233-7267 to discuss alignment opportunities.”


Along the Atlantic Seaboard David Wynne, Sr. Vice President & Sales Director of Residential & Consumer Lending at Peoples United Bank, welcomes Denise Sinclair (New York) and Ehren Roder (Boston/Massachusetts) to his team as Vice Presidents of Residential Sales ” We are excited to welcome Denise and Ehren to the Peoples United Bank team, their leadership and experience in their respective regions will allow us to continue to focus as we become the regions premiere purchase lender. Peoples United Bank is currently expanding and hiring Mortgage Account Officers in both New York and Massachusetts. Positions are currently available for Westchester, the Boroughs, Nassau and Suffolk Counties and in both the Boston area and Western Massachusetts. As an Assistant Vice President- Mortgage Account Officer, you will develop and cultivate self-generated referral sources as well as partnering with retail branch members. Please apply online at www.peoples.com/careers. Peoples United Bank, N.A is headquartered in Bridgeport, CT.


Are you a retail mortgage branch or loan officer looking to join a successful bank with a strong product offering, with competitive pricing and significant income potential? Nationally chartered MB Financial Bank currently has opportunities in 45 states for Retail Branch Managers and Loan Officers. Contact Mark Mazzenga, Mortgage SVP and National Sales Manager, “to see how you could become a part of MB. The MB strategic advantage has always been our people. Our leadership team has extensive retail branch experience, and is dedicated to growing and nurturing MB’s retail presence nationwide. We provide you competitive compensation, quality benefits, internal training, marketing support, servicing portfolio leads, and generous tiered commission compensation plans – all to promote your success. MB Financial Inc. is the Chicago-based holding company for MB Financial Bank, N.A., which has approximately $16 billion in assets and a 110-year history of building deep and lasting relationships with middle-market companies and individuals. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employee (Minority/Female/Disabled/Veterans). Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. NMLS#401467


On the “interesting products” front, check out Roadrunner Solutions exciting free service to help you connect your pre-approved borrowers with local Real Estate professionals that will reinforce your relationship with the borrower . “Roadrunner has a large network of Realtors that will respect the relationship between the LO and their borrower. Roadrunner will improve your closure rate and help deliver the high level of customer service required for the purchase money borrower. If you are a Call Center LO, run a Call Center Platform, originate loans outside of your local area, or just struggle to find quality Realtors, Roadrunner is a great service for you to try with no fees or any cost to the borrower.  Roadrunner has also added website design and support to their product offering – e-mail us.”


Have you purchased your second home yet? Catch the wave! The National Association of Realtors reports vacation home purchases jumped to 1.13mm in 2014, a 57% increase over 2013. Strong stock markets, low interest rates and aging baby boomers were cited as key drivers for the increase. Another change in the offing is with banks. Bank of America said it plans to close drive-up teller lanes in some of its branch locations given low usage.


Peoples like rankings, right? Bloomberg reports the top 8 mortgage originators in the US as of the end of 2014 and their market share percentages are: Wells Fargo (15.0%), JP Morgan (7.2%), Quicken Loans (4.9%), Bank of America (4.5%), US Bancorp (3.1%), PHH Corp (3.0%), Citigroup (2.6%) and PennyMac Financial (2.4%). Did you notice that #1 (Quicken), #6 (PHH) and #8 (PennyMac) are not big banks? Boy how things have changed since 2008. And remember when Wells’ supposed market share was north of 25%, some say above 30% at one point. It doesn’t take much volume flowing from the big banks to the smaller guys to make great years for the smaller guys.


Announced bank M&A continued this week, and we will certainly see our share of mortgage banks merging as the year passes. In Minnesota Home Federal Savings Bank ($576mm) will acquire Kasson State Bank ($60mm). Pennsylvania’s Bryn Mawr Trust Co ($2.2B) will acquire insurance and risk management agency Robert J. McAllister Agency Inc. (PA). In Illinois First Savings Bank of Hegewisch ($563mm) will acquire South End Savings, s.b. ($34mm), and Wintrust Financial ($20.1B) will acquire Suburban Bank & Trust Co ($470mm) for about $12.5mm in cash, and Town & Country Bank Midwest ($160mm) will acquire The State Bank of Lima ($32mm). Oklahoma’s Bank of Commerce ($193mm) will acquire Anadarko Bank and Trust Co ($84mm, OK). In the Great State of Texas First Financial Bank ($5.8B) will acquire First Bank ($372mm) for $59mm in stock. 1st Bank Yuma (AZ) agreed to buy a branch in Nogales, AZ from First Fidelity Bank for about $700k. The branch has $14mm in deposits and $19mm in loans. Lastly Horry County State Bank ($422mm, SC) will sell 3 branches in SC to Sandhills Bank ($102mm, SC) for a 2.5% deposit premium. The branches hold $45.5mm in deposits and $8mm in loans.


Yesterday the California Supreme Court considered how far cities can go in trying to provide more affordable housing across the state as housing prices and rents continue to soar. In a challenge to San Jose’s five-year-old affordable housing ordinance, the state’s high court will hold arguments in Los Angeles in a case that tests a policy tool now in place in cities stretching from Santa Monica to Napa. The Supreme Court is specifically reviewing a legal challenge to a San Jose law that would require housing developers to include affordable, below-market priced units for low-income buyers on any new projects within the city. The so-called “inclusionary housing” law has been on hold since the building industry sued to block it several years ago.


While we’re on affordable housing, rent, and down payment assistance programs…


A recent study showed that 70% of Americans are unaware of down payment assistance programs. Of course, maybe they don’t need to know. But the study by NeighborWorks America does raise some good points. An Inman News story about survey noted, “There are two common misconceptions about down payment assistance: that only poor people can qualify for it, and that it isn’t available to first-time homebuyers.”


Zillow research found that Millennials are now actually more eager to own a home than older Americans, but their biggest challenge is coming up with enough ducats for a down payment. When homebuyers don’t know down payment programs exist, they aren’t seeking these solutions – and LOs that are not aware of programs are doing everyone potentially involved a disservice.


Some companies, like Mountain West Financial, show approved DPAs they offer. I just came from the Kentucky Affordable Housing Conference – the Kentucky group prides itself on self-funding down payment assistance programs. Other states have their own as well: California, Texas, even New York – funded by its sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol! Every LO should Google their own state and “down payment assistance.”


A TD Bank survey found that only 28 percent of consumers are successfully using mortgage affordability programs. The majority of buyers (86 percent) felt they had an adequate amount of resources to educate themselves about the home buying process and 51 percent believed banks could offer more relevant, helpful information online whereas, 49 percent believed banks could provide better frontline training to prepare loan officers to better explicate options. More first-time homebuyer’s desire better educational resources, as 52 percent of this cohort felt banks could offer additional home financing seminars and workshops and 58 percent look for additional information online. Half of Millennials surveyed said they are either very likely or extremely likely to purchase a home within the next year and more than one third believe now is a good time to buy. This supports the notion that Millennials will drive the housing market this year.


The Mortgage Bankers Association application stats were released yesterday and showed that applications in the U.S. rose for a third consecutive week. The index rose .4% for the week with refinances decreasing 3.3% and the purchase index rising 6.8%. The share of applications seeking to refinance dropped to 57.4% from 60%. Speaking of refinances…


But for now things are very quiet. The only interesting news from yesterday was the FOMC minutes from the March meeting being released. The committee noted that it could begin raising rates before it saw an uptick in the inflation gauges, and several participants thought that a hike might be warranted at the June meeting. This is all pretty much priced into the markets – and the 10-yr is still below 2.00%. The Treasury also sold off $21 billion in 10-year risk free T-notes and apparently saw better-than-average demand.


I am speaking in Iowa today, but for news later this morning we’ll have the usual Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims, along with February Wholesale Inventories and a 30-year T-bond auction. We closed the 10-year where it’s been all week: 1.90%, and coming in this morning we’re sitting at 1.89% with agency MBS prices roughly the same – and around where they’ve been all week.



(I am fortunate to have visited with groups in Kentucky and Iowa this week and head today to Augusta to check out the blooming shrubs with First Bank Mortgage. In honor of that…)

The Pope met with his Cardinals to discuss a proposal from Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of Israel.

“Your Holiness “, said one of his Cardinals, Mr. Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths.”

The Pope thought this was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his hand. “Don’t we have a Cardinal to represent me” he asked.

“None that plays very well,” a Cardinal replied. “But”, he added, there’s a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a Cardinal, and then ask him to play Mr. Netanyahu as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of cooperation, we’ll also win the match.”

Everyone agreed it was a good idea, and the call was made.

Of course, Nicklaus was honored to be made a Cardinal, and agreed to play.

The day after the match, Cardinal Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result.

“I have some good news and some bad news, your Holiness,” said the golfer.

“Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus, “said the Pope.

“Well, your Holiness, I don’t like to brag. Even though I’ve played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful, and my putting was perfect. I played like I was 30 years old again. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous.”

“And what’s the bad news?” the Pope asked.

Nicklaus sighed. “I lost to Rabbi Phil Mickelson.”





(Copyright 2015 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.)

Rob Chrisman