Aug. 26: Mortgage jobs & training; large title firm in the news for the wrong reason; corporate debt issuance to set record?

It is more fun to talk about Millennials, and they look better in ads, but old people have needs too! At the other end of the demographic, don’t forget that seniors aren’t interested in only Efferdent & Ensure – they might need jumbos or reverse mortgages. Mortgage bankers are aging too, but hopefully we never see exhibition booths giving away Depends at conferences…


Ann Arbor’s Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group is adding LOs and branches in 23 states “is one of the fastest growing companies and top 50 lenders in the nation, and is expanding its national footprint from coast-to-coast. In 2014 Gold Star has selectively added Loan Originators and  industry-leading branches, most recently developing markets in Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Indiana, Utah, Colorado, Oregon and Ohio. Gold Star supports its growth strategy with a superior operations and underwriting infrastructure, a commitment to relationship-based service and cutting-edge technology.” Gold Star has been recognized as an Inc. 500/5000 company, and most recently by Mortgage Technology Magazine as one of the nation’s Top Tech-Savvy Lenders. To find out more about Gold Star’s career building opportunities and culture, contact Shawn Sirko.


On the training side of things, iServe Residential Lending has been mentioned a number of times in this column, and there was the recent National VA Financing Webinar sponsored by iServe in which I participated as a speaker. The purpose of that webinar was to educate and encourage real estate and financial industry professionals to better embrace the VA financing option.  Highly successful, iServe is taking these free and educational efforts a step further in announcing The Power of VA Home Financing National Tour.  Co-CEO at iServe, Ken Michael notes that the tour is held in “strategic iServe markets across the country”. “Our employees are committed to not only helping those who serve or have served our country, but also to keep our real estate referral partners informed on the Veteran Home Loan Program.” These free educational seminars have been successfully hosted in California, Washington, Utah, and Nevada.  Next stop is Kenilworth, New Jersey on September 25th, where iServe’s NJ branches are joining forces, and there will be more seminars on the West Coast later this year. For more information e-mail Allen Freidman or visit iServe.


Speaking of events, if you plan on being in Colorado in early September, the CMLA is hosting Denver Luncheon to discuss 2015 Fun in the Regulatory Mortgage Industry.


The Illinois Association of Mortgage Professionals is offering a special breakfast meeting on Friday, September 12, 2014 with the CFPB and IDPFR. Register now for the opportunity to hear directly from the top regulators of the mortgage industry in Illinois.


WMBAregistration covering Selling Skills for Loan Officers on September 16th presented by Roger Ilsley, National Sales Trainer with Essent Guaranty.


On November 4 at the Capital Hilton in DC Collateral Risk Network is having a compliance training event covering Fee Panel Management and AMC Audits. The Collateral Risk Network is a group of 460 chief appraisers and risk and compliance officers.


Moving away from upcoming events, cutting costs is a full time effort for many lenders, as is determining which producers to keep and which ones are costing you money. Consistent with conventional wisdom, do 20% of your originators close 80% of your volume? Is it more like 30/70? Learn how you can compare origination metrics and more to your peers through STRATMOR’s new Originator Census survey. “We’ve developed this census survey to help lenders understand and measure key attributes of their sales force. Join us in the inaugural survey by registering at the 2014 Originator Census website or email Angie Middlebrook.


Tim Allen, CMB, writes, “The pool of originations is drying up as interest rates increase and therefore customer retention is ever more valuable. Mortgage servicers are currently underutilizing the Internet to promote and protect their business and need to embrace a proactive borrower communication model to defend reputation and protect revenue. LLC is seeking the right equity partner/investor to build and prove this Method for Mortgage Customer Retention. This white paper further explains how the “Method for Mortgage Customer Retention” provides reputation management and customer retention.”


As the commentary has mentioned, imagine all the potential lawsuits that could come from 50 states and various federal agencies, suing all the lenders, investment banks, and rating agencies that were doing business ten years ago. Along those lines, the Department of Justice is once again talking to Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.


Counterparty risk continues to be a BIG DEAL, and word broke yesterday of a huge title agency defalcation in Georgia. (Defalcation: an amount of funds misappropriated by a person trusted with its charge, embezzlement.) Marx David Sterbcow, LLM, JD, Managing Attorney with The Sterbcow Law Group LLC, wrote in with news of LandCastle Title & Morris Hardwick Schneider. They handled approximately 36,000 closings last year and are apparently the largest in the US.

“Morris Hardwick Schneider operates its title company, LandCastle Title, in title states. Management of the firm and title company is vested in the Managing Partner, Mark Wittstadt. The firm also channels the talent and energy of 13 additional Partners and 70+ Associates.”


Those impacted received word: “As you may have heard, we recently learned of substantial escrow account misappropriations within the law firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider. These activities could have negatively impacted the future of our company and our customers. However, Fidelity National Title Group, one of our long-standing and trusted partners, has agreed to step in as a 70% owner of Landcastle Title. FNTG also appointed David Baum as President of Landcastle Title. Many of you may know David, who is the Southeast Regional Manager for FNTG. We are excited about having FNTG as a partner because both our companies share a commitment to excellence in all that we do. A primary focus of both Landcastle Title and Fidelity is to protect the many consumers, customers, lenders and employees who would have been harmed by the escrow account misappropriations. Fidelity agreeing to put its company’s financial resources behind Landcastle Title is critical to our future success and our ability to support our customers and continue to work with companies like yours…On behalf of Fidelity National Title Group, Inc., we want to assure you that FNTG stands behind the funds you have on deposit, or may in the future deposit, with MHS and/or Landcastle. All of the transactions that you have with MHS or Landcastle will be completed on a business as usual basis according to the same high standards as you are accustomed to receiving… If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mark Wittstadt or David Baum.”


To sum this up, Even though they were bailed out by Fidelity, the impact on the entire industry can’t be overstated here because this is going to fuel every lender/investor to significantly tighten up their vendor management requirements for all title agencies AND law firms who do any sort of litigation or legal work.


Let’s play catch up on relatively recent lender, investor, agency, and vendor updates. As always, it is best to read the full bulletin, but these will give you a sense of the trends…


Mountain West Financial WholesaleUW Guideline Changes include VA, FHA, Conventional, Homepath, Jumbo 2, USDA, and 203K products.


Nationstar Correspondent conducts both pre- and post-purchase quality control audits on loans that are submitted for purchase consideration. By focusing on this process, we are able to identify possible trends and defects that have the potential to delay loan purchase. The items listed in the document linked below include the most common critical defect categories, helpful hints to avoid them, and solutions Critical Errors. Also, Mandatory Pricing Flash is now available. Effective with new mandatory commitments established on or after Monday July 28, 2014, please note that new Mandatory Price Adjusters will appear on the Mandatory Rate Sheet Pricing Flash.


Impac Mortgage Correspondent AltQM Products have arrived. Credit scores for all AltQM Products as low as 680, Primary, Second Home and Investment Property, LTVs up to 80% for primary residence and DTI up to 50%.


NewLeaf Wholesale 1 and 2 product guidelines have been updated in various sections. Changes are effective immediately; topics include short sale, leaseholds, POA, HPML, Student loans, large deposits, and investment properties, NewLeaf Matrices.


Carrington Mortgage Services is offering FHA 203K streamline in-house.


US Bank Home Mortgage posted requirements regarding verification of large deposits for all programs Bulletin 2014-50. Student Loans and Open End Loans and FHA REO Appraisals are discussed in Bulletin 2014-051.


Fannie Mae posted Initial Results from the Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. Inaugural results of the survey show significant improvement from Q1 to Q2 2014 in lenders’ near-term profit margin expectations, with fewer lenders in Q2 reporting that they expect their profit margin over the next three months to decrease More Results.


Kinecta Federal Credit Union clarified documentation requirements for all non-Agency mortgage products Announcement .


Nationstar Correspondent Lending’s Seller Guide has been updated Guide 2014-17.


Penny Mac Correspondent Lending Group has posted the following announcements:

Treatment of Seller Credits under QM Points and Fees Announcement 14-41

Updates to Note Modifications on Government Loans Announcements 14-42

Power of Attorney Requirements on Jumbo Loans Announcements 14-43

Regulatory and Investor Compliance Documentation Requirements Announcements 14-44


Envoy Mortgage will require a Homeownership Counseling Disclosure that includes a list of counseling agencies on all applications taken on or after September 1st.


Effective for FHA case numbers assigned on or after 08/04/2014, Sun West is accepting HECM Loans with non-borrowing spouse. HECM Loans with non-borrowing spouse must comply with all FHA’s requirements as specified in the HUD 14-07 Mortgagee Letter.


Penny Mac updated several Jumbo LLPA Values Announcement 14-45.


Mountain West Financial WholesaleBulletin 14W-076 revised ECOA Valuation Rule is effective with loan applications taken on or after August 15th. Revisions include requirement of the creditor to provide borrowers with free copies of all appraisals and other written valuations developed in connection with an application for a loan to be secured by a dwelling. Bulletin 14W-075 outlines revised appraisal delivery process also effective as of August 15th, Mortgage Works AMC will be releasing the Appraisal Report to the borrower upon Underwriter review and Approval.


Turning to the markets, investors in debt don’t only have MBS to contemplate. Corporate bond issuance has jumped to $995 billion so far this year amid low rates and is on track to pass the $1 trillion mark, according to Dealogic. If so, it would be the fastest pace in history. Companies are using the money to do acquisitions, expand facilities, extend debt maturities, refinance existing debt, pay dividends and buy back stock.


So why do rates continue to be so good, and why were most of the “experts” wrong when they forecast higher rates? In a nutshell, they were looking only at the United States and ignored the possible European weakness. And who can predict turmoil overseas? On top of that, here in the U.S. inflation just cannot be found – the rally in the dollar has depressed commodity prices and there is little to no upward pressure on wages.


Last week we had a spate of solid housing news, but yesterday (“yesterday”, by the way, is one of the few words that begin and end in “y”) we learned that new-home sales fell unexpectedly by 2.4% to 412,000 in July for the second month. The median sales price of a new house climbed 2.9% from July 2013 to $269,800. The supply of homes at the current sales rate rose to 6 months, the highest since October 2011, from 5.6 months in June, and there were 205,000 new houses on the market at the end of July, the most in almost four years. (New-home sales, which last year accounted for about 5% of the residential market, are tabulated when contracts are signed making them a timelier barometer than transactions on existing homes.)


I am sending this out early due to a trip to Kansas, but today we’ll see Durable Goods (anything with more than a 3 year life), another bunch of measures of house prices (from Fannie & Freddie’s boss the FHFA, and from the S&P/Case-Shiller indices with their two month lag). We’ll also have Consumer Confidence – are you more than confident than a month ago? For numbers we had a 2.39% close on the 10-year T-note yield, and this morning we’re at 2.37% and agency MBS prices are a smidge better – no one is saying rates aren’t good.



Headlines from around the world (part 2 of 5)

  1. Stud Tires Out
  2. Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
  3. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
  4. Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
  5. Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax
  6. Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
  7. Miners Refuse to Work after Death
  8. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
  9. Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies
  10. If Strike isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
  11. Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures





(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.)

Rob Chrisman