Aug. 5: Mortgage jobs; higher flood insurance costs are here to stay; upcoming conferences & training events

“What do you hear about Bernanke’s replacement?” First off, most of the “news” articles are merely editorials – don’t expect anything before September. The Fed chairman talk is focused on three people: Janet Yellen, Larry Summers, and Donald Kohn. Investors and the bulk of Congress would prefer Yellen while the White House wants Summers – Kohn is a distant third. Overall, most of Europe is on vacation, Congress is on a 5-week recess without finishing funding the government and resolving the debt ceiling, and the earnings announcements for the 2nd quarter are pretty much over. So this week could be uneventful – we could all use that.


That doesn’t mean companies are sitting on their hands. Due to an internal promotion, Colorado State Bank and Trust has a unique opportunity for a seasoned Mortgage Branch Manager with a strong originating team – this Denver Metro team has a proven track record of producing over $200 million in loans over the past three years and comes with a strong support staff. CSBT is forecast to fund $3.5 billion in production this year, and has a servicing portfolio of nearly $14 billion dollar portfolio. “We offer a wide variety of products for nearly every borrower’s need, process and underwrite locally, and encourage those relationships in order to close loans quickly.  We are the largest bank in the country not to accept TARP money.” If interested please contact Meagan Douat at and the position is posted on the career center at


And Affiliated Mortgage Company’s Wholesale/Mini-Correspondent Division, led by industry veteran Jerry Alred, is now expanding and developing this channel throughout Texas and beyond. Jerry explains that Affiliated is pursuing seasoned Wholesale Account Executives for the Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas markets. Ideal applicants should embody the customer-first approach which exemplifies Affiliated’s business model as well as being professional, responsive and motivated. AMC offers a variety of in-demand wholesale products including Texas Veteran’s Land Board, Fannie Mae Flex 97, Texas Cash Out, Libor ARMs, USDA, VA, FHA, My Community Mortgage and more. Affiliated Mortgage Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Benchmark Bank of Plano, Texas and is comprised of Retail, Correspondent and Wholesale/Mini-Correspondent divisions. The Mini-Correspondent channel has a warehouse program available to clients who qualify and the Wholesale and Mini-Correspondent divisions are licensed in 28 states and continue to grow. For more information about the wholesale channel, please visit If you would like to further you career with a secure, dynamic company, submit your resume to


Compliance is the name of the game. There are a lot of compliance training firms, and I am asked about it often, since now compliance education is not the trend but the reality. I can’t list every compliance vendor, but for example a search shows the 10-yr old Praedo Institute provides “very cost effective compliance education that is robust and track-able. Its compliance education catalog consists of 11 core courses including: RESPA, TILA, LO Comp, SAR/AML, Fair Housing, Privacy Laws, Ethics and Fraud, QM, Advertising and GFE, and for $1,665 your company can buy the annual subscription for unlimited users. (Sniffing around a little farther, if you follow the link, you can take advantage of a 10% discount on any of Praedo’s courses, including the compliance catalog, and an additional 15% off any continuing education, pre licensing education, UST or even the compliance catalog. The user should use the coupon code “celebrate” when prompted at checkout.) If you have any questions write to Chris Maturo at; the site is


Compliance is one thing, fraud is another, and if you think the residential lending industry is done with its public relations nightmare, and paying for the sins from years ago, think again. Fraud is still plaguing us.Steven Pitchersky, 64, of Rancho Mirage, was charged Friday, Aug. 2, in an indictment with one count of wire fraud for his role in an alleged mortgage refinancing scheme that involved the creation of shell companies and fictitious players to defraud Ally Financial of about $5.3 million. Pitchersky operated Nationwide Mortgage Concepts, a California-based mortgage lender that recruits customers through direct mail and has been licensed to conduct business in about 40 states.” Here you go:


“What the devil is going on with flood insurance? A recent bill was passed before Sandy, and one of the sponsors is Maxine Waters so the thought may be to redistribute the wealth of those who can afford to live near water to those who cannot – any truth to that?” I don’t know about the Maxine Waters angle – she did co-write a bill (see a few paragraphs down), but it appears that the government subsidy is going away. There are five companies approved by FEMA to write flood policies through National Flood Insurance Program. The premiums are subsidized by feds, and that subsidy is going away and thus the premiums will be going up. Although it is scheduled for October, lenders are already seeing rate changes. There are other insurance companies, such as State Farm, etc., that write their own policies and those premiums were always much higher than NFI. They aren’t in business for their health – companies are going to cover the loss of any subsidy, so in theory if one owns a house on the sand on the Gulf Coast, and it could be wiped out by a hurricane every other year, the owner will pay the cost, not the taxpayer.


There is another rumor that the government re-did the flood maps so many people are in flood zones who were not in the past, and that storm and flood activity has increased rates across the country just based on claim activity. There are reports of potential buyers being declined after the cost of flood insurance was factored into the future monthly costs and pushing ratios beyond qualifying.


Sovereign (Santander) sent out a note to clients in early July saying, “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be suspending some MA communities from being able to participate in the NFIP beginning on July 16, 2013 because of non-compliance by these communities with FEMA’s floodplain management requirements. If any of these communities can document compliance before July 16, that community will not be suspended. For properties that are in Special Flood Hazard Areas within these communities, this could impact your ability to originate new loans secured by such properties because flood insurance will not be available unless and until they address any non-compliance with the FEMA requirements. It is important that you review your current pipeline and identify any loans so that the consumers can be alerted if and when insurance becomes unavailable. Go to” (Look for the “Department of Homeland Security” section in the right-hand column).


The memo went on. “Some of your policyholders soon will receive letters announcing rate increases that will phase out or eliminate subsidized rates. Companies will send the letters to policyholders at least 60 days prior to the policy renewal date to announce rate changes effective October 1, 2013. The changes will affect certain pre-FIRM properties, which are older buildings constructed before the community joined the National Flood Insurance Program and adopted its first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). These include properties in most high-risk A and V zones, as well as undetermined-risk D zones. The letters explain that the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) requires the phase-out and removal of subsidized rates. Two types of rate changes will be announced: a 25 percent rate increase will be applied at renewal for business and other non-residential properties, properties that have experienced severe or repeated losses, and non-primary residences (this increase began in January 2013), and a direct move to full-risk rates will be applied at renewal for a building purchased — or a newly purchased policy with an effective date—on or after July 6, 2012, the date the law was signed. Lapsed policies reinstated on or after October 4, 2012, also will move directly to full-risk rates. The policyholder will be asked to submit a renewal application with additional information, including an Elevation Certificate, so that the building can be elevation rated.


“Agents should expect questions from policyholders. FEMA’s rate guidance is available in the June 27 WYO Bulletin. Additional guidance for renewing new, lapsed, and assigned policies can be found in the July 10 WYO Bulletin. Fact sheets and other materials are available at”


How about some upcoming events of interest?


Hey, this might be interesting (and timely given my jokes on Thursday & Friday). Given that there are 90 million Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000), the Ohio Mortgage Bankers Association (OMBA) is offering a FREE webinar on “Capturing the Business of the Millennial Generation,” presented by Kymberlee Kaye Raya of Big Shot Marketing. The webinar will be presented this Thursday, August 8, from 10:30AM to 12PM CST PM. To register, please respond to A log-in will then be emailed back to you. Attendance is limited, so please respond as soon as possible.


Next week I am fortunate enough to be “the warm up band” for Dave Stevens at the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association’s annual conference. Check it out at


Down in the Carolinas, the MBAC 58th Annual Convention “The Art of Lending” is attracting registrants from across the country.  With a heavy focus on effective communication and current compliance issues, an expanded trade show and a diverse roster of presenters they are expecting record attendance.  The dates are September 21-23 and the location is Hilton Head Island, SC.  Check it out at at Upcoming Events.


Reps from the FHA’s Santa Ana Homeownership Center will be offering a two-day classroom training in Phoenix, AZ on August 7th and 8th. (Thank goodness for air conditioning!) Recent program changes and announcements, comparison of AUS vs. manual underwriting, feedback certificates and documentation, income and asset calculations, refinance transactions, Post-Endorsement Technical Reviews, insuring deficiencies, and underwriting FHA appraisals all feature as discussion topics.  Although it is aimed primarily at operations professions, loan officers and real estate agents are also encouraged to attend.  Registration is available at


Also available from the FHA is an on-site loss mitigation training in Indianapolis, IN on August 21st.  Designed for HUD-approved counseling agencies, servicing lenders, and non-profits, this particular session will address the changes on the FHA loss mitigation retention waterfall as outlined in Mortgagee Letter 2012-22 from earlier this year.  To register, go to


The same training will be offered the following day in Albany, GA; to register for the Georgia class, go to


For those with a fondness for crab and planning well in advance, the Maryland Association of Mortgage Professionals is hosting its annual crab feast in September (date and location TBD) and its holiday party in Columbia on November 21stCheck the official calendar at for further details.


After Friday’s numbers most analysts agreed that anyone believing that any tapering off of QE3 in September is going to have a very tough sell around the FOMC table in 6 weeks. In fact, last week’s economic data undoubtedly gave the Fed a few more things to ponder on their summer vacation. From a broad economic standpoint, growth is slower than previously thought, with the latest year-to-year real GDP growth clocking in at just 1.4 percent, and July’s employment data was also on the soft side with payrolls adding just 162,000 new jobs and previously reported gains for May and June revised slightly lower.


That being said, although things seem slow, the downside risks to the economy also appear to have diminished. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.4 percent, as layoffs continue to dwindle. Weekly first-time unemployment claims fell to just 326,000 in late July, which is the lowest it has been since January 2008. Consumer confidence has picked up and more consumers are moving forward with purchases of motor vehicles, household durables and even homes, which were put off when job prospects were less certain.


As mentioned in the first paragraph, perhaps August will be quiet. We’ll need it, since we can “look forward to” Congress returning in September, and arguing about the debt ceiling and funding the government, along with the next FOMC meeting. So we’ll take the nice gains in agency MBS prices on Friday, which almost brought us back to “unchanged” for the week, price-wise. And don’t look for much this week: today we have ISM Services, a trade balance number tomorrow, Jobless Claims on Thursday, and Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Speeches from Fed officials may also receive some attention from investors. For rates, the 10-yr closed Friday at 2.60%; this morning it is sitting around 2.61% and MBS prices are about unchanged.



Is romance dead? If so, is texting possibly the reason?

A middle-aged couple had finally learned how to send and receive texts on their cell phones. The wife, being a romantic at heart, decided one day that she’d send her husband a text while she was out of the house having coffee with a friend. She texted:

If you are sleeping, send me your dreams.

If you are laughing, send me your smile.

If you are eating, send me a bite.

If you are drinking, send me a sip.

If you are crying, send me your tears.

I love you.

The husband, being a no-nonsense sort of guy, texted back:

I’m on the toilet. Please advise.

(Brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it?)




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Rob Chrisman