Aug. 4: LO jobs & transitions; TPO programs, broker locking, new media co., CRM products; misc. investor news; why are rates at the highs of the year?

Planet Home’s Michael B. reminds me, “I miss every shot I don’t take.” The topics here in Orlando at the FAMP convention include not only prospecting, prospecting, and… prospecting, but also not missing a shot by offering clients more than a couple products. Freddie, Fannie, FHA, and VA are fine, but every client and referral source is precious, and what happens if someone walks through the door and needs a loan for a renovation (remodel), or a condotel, or a non-warrantable condo, or qualifies for a bond program, or… the list goes on. In the category of leads, have you looked into any local real estate investment clubs as a source of business? What about going after leads from divorce attorneys or local hard money lenders? Persistence! Another big topic at the FAMP conference is saving money, and STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Improving Revenue Might Be Right Under Your Nose.” (Today’s podcast can be found here and is sponsored by Candor. Candor’s patented automated underwriting decision engine, CogniTech, is a state-of-the-art, 100 percent machine platform that can handle infinite loan scenarios. Listen to an interview with Ally Home’s Glenn Brunker on the homebuyer affordability issue and potential ways to alleviate it.)

Jobs and transitions; return of an industry vet to the biz in the SE

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William “Bill” Sohan, an industry veteran and former Senior Vice President with Academy Mortgage, has joined employee-owned USA Mortgage as a regional Vice President. Sohan will oversee USA’s Maryland operations and work to expand its national footprint. “I found USA’s loan-officer-first mentality, freedom for their regional leaders, and transparent work environment very attractive,” he said. “I am in business for myself, but not by myself. It’s a huge advantage that USA is run by former high-producing loan officers who understand the needs of their salespeople. I’m excited to give my sales team access to some great new resources, while still maintaining their access to Fannie and Freddie direct and dozens of loan programs.” Founded in St. Louis in 2001, USA has offices in 34 states and is licensed in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. For a confidential conversation about joining USA, contact Brooke Anderson at 609-500-1520.

Presidential Bank Mortgage is expanding into the Southeast! John Pruitt, former Director of Fidelity Bank Mortgage in Atlanta, has joined the senior management team of the Bethesda, Maryland-based Community Bank as SVP of Production and Strategic Initiatives. “I’m so excited to join Presidential at this opportune time in the industry to help grow a best-in-class mortgage lending platform,” Pruitt said. “The combination of a solid Community Bank and entrepreneurial mortgage lending model is truly unique in our industry.” Expansion plans are underway to open full-service lending markets in Georgia and the Carolinas. Leadership, Sales, and Operations positions are available throughout the region. Please send your confidential inquiry to John Pruitt.

Academy Mortgage is proud to be among the small number of lenders who have been selected to offer the Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access℠ program. This equitable housing program allows qualified first-time homebuyers looking to purchase a home within one of 10 eligible metropolitan markets to obtain a credit for their down payment and/or closing costs through combined contributions from Freddie Mac and Academy Mortgage. Through this assistance, borrowers can fund 100 percent of the cash required to close; prepare for long-term sustainability through homeownership; and receive pre-purchase homebuyer counseling through the Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access program. Academy is proud to support this initiative to bring equitable housing opportunities to traditionally underserved communities. Academy is committed to fulfilling its Vision to Inspire Hope, Deliver Dreams, and Build Prosperity in all communities by helping its clients build generational prosperity through homeownership. Join a team with the loan products and the Vision to advance housing for underserved communities: contact Scott Starr to explore the possibilities that await at Academy.

Lender and broker software, products, and services

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School is back in session for the majority of America’s youth. But just because you are an adult doesn’t mean you should pass up on opportunities to polish your professional skillset. Surefire℠, Black Knight’s CRM and Mortgage Marketing Engine, has created Mortgage Marketing University (MMU) with free 101, 201 and 301-level courses designed to help brokers, LOs, LOAs and your marketing team get up to speed on best mortgage marketing practices and stay on top of their game. The MMU companion eBook is an ideal resource for your team to keep at its fingertips. Download the MMU eBook today.

Debuting Rebel Chics Media!We understand the needs of the real estate industry and are here to help you engage, “edutain” and inspire homebuyers with branded social content. Our agency-quality subscription content, along with writing prompts, allows you to address the questions and concerns of potential homeowners. This content is ideal for LOs, banks, credit unions, and Realtors looking to build a strong social brand. Benefit from 50+ years of combined industry experience of our founders, Jillian Sorensen & Dana Trajcevski. Move beyond generic posts like Spring Cleaning tips and Pumpkin Pie recipes, and instead, unlock the power of storytelling. Now is the perfect time to build your brand, and Rebel Chics Media is here to support you. We understand that you’re busy and don’t have the time, energy, or tools to create content yourself. Leave that to us and focus on growing your brand and connecting with your audience.”

Brokers can now shop, lock, and deliver on one platform that seamlessly connects brokers, lenders, and originators. In this market, hustle is everything. You can’t afford to waste a single deal… or a single minute. That’s why ReadyPrice has launched its innovative new Shop, Lock & Deliver loan exchange platform, designed to help independent mortgage brokers like you save time and money. Now you can shop competitive loan offerings from multiple lenders, get rate lock guarantees in real time, receive underwriting findings, and deliver the borrower’s complete loan file to lenders, and all on a single platform, at no cost to brokers. It’s the industry’s most powerful universal delivery portal, and it’s already helping thousands of brokers around the country thrive and compete in even the toughest market environments. Multiple lenders. One platform. Zero b.s. Come check ReadyPrice out today.

TPO programs for brokers and correspondents

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Profitable mortgage companies are focused on the long-term value of the customer relationship. Essex Mortgage’s partners enjoy greater customer retention, GNMA pass-thru pricing, no overlays, no LLPAs, NO EPOs, and NO EPDs.  They also receive Tax Deferred asset growth and a long-term cash flow stream without having to be a GNMA issuer themselves.  Please contact us to discuss how the Essex GNMA Excess MSR program can help retain and enhance your customer relationship, broaden guidelines, and expand into new markets. Please contact Kimberly Schenck.

Push strongly through the summer buying season with Luxury Mortgage Corp. (“LMC”). LMC is offering a 100-bps price special for newly locked Full and Alt Doc (Bank Statement, 1099 Only, Asset Qualifier) purchase loans until August 31st. LMC’s elite team isn’t stopping there; they are also offering a 50-bps pricing improvement on DSCR purchase loans! Click here for full details of the specials. Are you, not an approved broker? It’s time to align with true partners who will be here for you and execute at the highest levels. Take your business to sustainable new heights with the elite team. Click here to become an approved wholesale broker.

Investor & Agency news of all shapes and sizes

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Ginnie Mae launched a New Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Composite and Webpage, view the Press Release.

USDA Rural Development issued Updated HB-1-3555, Chapter 3, Lender Approval bulletin on 07/24/2023.

On 7/26/2023, with Amendment No. 6 to DR-4720, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance made available to Vermont’s Orleans County affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, & mudslides from 7/7/2023 and continuing. See AmeriHome Mortgage Disaster Announcement 20230706-CL for inspection requirements.

AmeriHome Correspondent 20230702-CL Disaster Announcement. On 7/14/2023, with DR-4720, FEMA declared federal disaster aid with individual assistance has been made available to 6 Vermont Counties; Chittenden, Lamoille, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor affected by severe flooding from 7/7/2023, and continuing. See the attached announcement for inspection requirements.

PHH Mortgage had a Disaster Alert for Vermont and California. “The following disaster declaration is being issued or modified today pertaining to: Vermont DR-4720: New Disaster declared 07/14/23, and California DR-4699: Update to End Date of Occurrence.

Citi Correspondent Lending Bulletin 2023-06 includes credit policy updates on mortgage assumptions, public assistance & Section 8 income, and unplanned buydowns. Mandated screening – submitting non-obligated party detail notification, and clarifications on restricted stock & non-vested stock, and Chinese assets.

Collectively, average older homeowners sit on over $9 trillion in equity and have an average retirement savings is less than $60,000. But through a reverse mortgage, senior homeowners can maximize their financial stability by unlocking the accumulated equity without selling their property, allowing them to access the increased value of their homes and provide a financial cushion in a rising housing market. The time is now to build your reverse mortgage business with Plaza Home Mortgage®. We have the programs, including FHA HECM. Plus, we offer training and dedicated reverse mortgage staff to get you rolling into this right. Email reverse@plazahomemortgage.com to get in touch or submit your details for a full reverse pre-qual.

In Pennymac announcement-23-49, the go-live date of Extended Lock Commitments was revised to “TBD,” and the updated schedule will be communicated through a future announcement.

American Heritage Lending Wholesale offers DSCR No Doc Loans including Non-Warrantable Condos.

On June 27, 2023, FHA published ML-2023-13 announcing that it is adopting the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Form 1103, Supplemental Consumer Information Form (SCIF) for mortgage applications dated on or after August 28, 2023. See AmeriHome Mortgage Product Announcement 20230705-CL.

Fairway Wholesale Lending Client Announcement 2022-07-27 issued a reminder about its new Admin Fee schedule that went into effect for all applications dated on or after 7/26. They will work through a transition period with the Admin Fee as this change becomes effective with applications taken & loans disclosed on & after Wednesday, 7/26. Fairway will begin using the new fee schedule for all loans we issue initial disclosures effective Wednesday, 7/26.

Capital markets: Treasury rates hit the highs of the year… why?

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Call it whatever you want, or believe whatever you want, in the rating agency Fitch’s downgrade of U.S. Treasury debt, one of things highlighted was the Jan. 6 insurrection. Once again, a reminder that politics, interest rates, and mortgage banking are intertwined. But overall, despite the increased hikes by the Federal Reserve, for the most part the U.S. economy continues to chug along.

Today we saw the “first Friday of the month” jobs situation figures. But it seems that the unemployment rate is not a leading economic indicator. Looking back at changes in U.S. unemployment rate data since 1953, a period including 10 recessions, on average the unemployment rate has not noticeably changed during the 12 months leading up to a recession. Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. points out that, “But once the recession begins, the unemployment rate slowly rises and peaks 12 months later at a level three percentage points higher than when the recession began.”

Yesterday began with the Bank of England raising UK rates to a 15-year high, though investors domestically continued to react to the U.S. credit downgrade by Fitch Ratings, which led to another “bear steepener” in the bond markets. “Risk-off” themes were present, and Wednesday’s route in U.S. Treasuries spilled over into yesterday’s session. The 10-year yield rose to a 9-month high as market participants took a closer look at rising debt-service levels.

The downgrade of U.S. government debt to AA+ from AAA by Fitch on Tuesday won’t affect the U.S. economy much and puts the Fitch rating at the same level as S&P, which made the downgrade in 2011. A couple other reasons not to worry include debt ratings mattering much more for emerging economies, most bond traders will keep buying U.S. debt at the same level, and the Fed can essentially set the interest rates on U.S. debt, anyway.

On the data front, weekly jobless claims increased by 6k to 227k while the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index and the Manufacturing PMI report showed a deceleration in growth consistent with reports from other major economies. Services sector activity continued to expand in July, but at a slower pace than the prior month. Even so, the report said that the majority of respondents remain cautiously optimistic about business conditions and the economy. Finally, productivity increased 3.7 percent in the second quarter, well above 1.7 percent expectations, with output up 2.4 percent and hours worked down 1.3 percent. Unit labor costs, meanwhile, were up 1.6 percent, lower than expected and which reflected a 5.5 percent increase in hourly compensation and a 3.7 percent increase in productivity. The pickup in productivity and the deceleration in unit labor costs is a good combination for the soft-landing view. After one of the better-than-expected releases this week was the ADP report which reported 324k in private jobs creation versus 189k expected, risks for an upside surprise in nonfarm payrolls were raised.

As for that BLS report, nonfarm payrolls increased 187k versus 200k expectations and back months were revised down 49k jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent, and average earnings are still solid versus 0.3 percent month-over-month and 4.2 percent year-over-year expectations. After any knee jerk reaction, the Treasury market will begin setting up for next week’s $103 billion Quarterly Refunding beginning Tuesday with $42 billion 3-year notes followed on Wednesday and Thursday by $38 billion 10-year notes and $23 billion 30-year bonds. Both 3-years and 30-years were increased by $2 billion and 10-years by $3 billion versus the prior Quarterly Refunding. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices unchanged from Thursday, the 10-year yielding 4.19 after closing yesterday at 4.19 percent, and the 2-year up to 4.89.

In general, the ranks of mortgage professionals are aging. With that in mind, this is tough to watch.

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. STRATMOR’s current blog is titled, “Improving Revenue Might Be Right Under Your Nose.” The Commentary’s podcast is live and at any place you obtain your podcasts (like Apple or Spotify).

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(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. This newsletter is for sophisticated mortgage professionals only. There are no paid endorsements by me. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to www.robchrisman.com. Copyright 2023 Chrisman LLC. All rights reserved. Occasional paid job & product 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