Dec. 13: LO jobs; digital products; books by lenders, for lenders, or about lenders; False Claims Act rears up; a fun quiz you should take

“Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?” It turns out that, in terms of grabbing their pieces of ground, first-time home buyers were more active in the first three quarters of 2018 than at any time since 2005, per Genworth Mortgage Insurance. Lenders wish they would be as active: Mortgage lenders are facing an even less profitable environment as purchase and refi biz fell for the ninth straight quarter. Fannie Mae’s Q4 2018 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey found that the outlook for profit among lenders in the fourth quarter reached an all-time survey low across all loan types: GSE-eligible, non-GSE-eligible, and government. “Competition from other lenders” was cited by survey participants as the top reason for their pessimism for the eighth consecutive quarter.

Employment & promotions

Sirius Lending Ushers in a New Era of Mortgage Lending, Led by Industry Veteran Brian Mitchell. Sirius Lending, powered by Sun West Mortgage Company, Inc. [NMLS 3277], is a full-service, forward-thinking service providing residential mortgages across the country, and is being led by Brian Mitchell. Mitchell has built Sirius Lending upon the foundation of integrity, industry knowledge and unparalleled service. Just as the star Sirius has been known as a guiding light to travelers, Sirius Lending is dedicated to guiding prospective homebuyers through their journey towards homeownership. An established industry veteran, Mitchell believes in well-rounded service from start to finish. That’s why Sirius Lending has created a vision to set the industry standard for homeownership by “taking ownership” of the entire process. “I’m thankful for the opportunity Sun West Mortgage Company has given me to lead Sirius Lending,” said Mitchell. I am committed to helping families and individuals achieve the dream of homeownership!”

“Lenders. Realtors. Technology. The convergence of those three forces drives Movement Mortgage’s innovation investments. Movement this month teased its newest offering: Movement Mobile. The app supercharges LO productivity by putting your favorite tools in a single interface on your phone. One app to manage your pipeline, communicate with agents and borrowers, access your database, issue pre-approvals and check calculators and calendars. More power. More productivity. More time. More freedom. Learn more about Movement Mobile and building a career on purpose by clicking here.”

Canopy Mortgage offers a better origination model. Canopy is blending the great price from brokering & the control you get as a Mortgage Banker. Toss in its proprietary LOS with a history of enabling LOs to originate more volume with less time and effort and you’ve found your ability to remain relevant in the rising rate market of 2019 and the future. Canopy Mortgage is in growing rapidly, expanding a National network of full-time loan originators. Do you have what it takes to be part of the Canopy Mortgage team? See how we’re disrupting the old way of doing mortgages.” Reach out to Josh Neumarker, Director of Hiring at Canopy Mortgage for a product demo (888-696-9076).

Congratulations to Steve Baselice who has been brought on by Optimal Blue’s Sales Solutions Specialist group to help grow OB’s hedge advisory and technology business.

And Gateway Mortgage Group has named Steven Patrick its new chief risk officer to oversee the Gateway’s enterprise risk management, compliance and quantitative analytics.

Lender products & services

For brokers, “Royal Pacific Funding is one of the fastest growing wholesale lenders in the nation because of its superior service and hands on approach to every loan. Now they are offering even more! Pricing on FHA and VA loans has been improved substantially for borrowers with 700+ credit scores. Royal Pacific also continues to offer free appraisals for any loan > $300K. But that’s not all! Royal has an extremely wide range of product offerings including Conventional, FHA, VA, NonQM and Reverse. Need solutions for DACA borrowers? They’ve got that too! Check out the latest special of .25 rate improvement on NonQM > $500K or .375 rate improvement on NonQM >$2M (applies to Leverage and Pivot products only). Brokers can contact their AE or brokers that are not signed up can email us for details.”

Are you looking to prevent against loan defects in 2019? Then we have a News Year’s resolution for you – improve loan quality by automating QC. Register for “Maximize QC due diligence reviews with OCR and Defect Management Technology” web seminar happening this afternoon. Your 1 hour that could mean faster closings, less defects and lower production costs in 2019!

Maxwell has released its groundbreaking new product, QuickApply for their digital mortgage point-of-sale platform. Maxwell QuickApply is an easy-to-launch modern mortgage application that, with consent from the borrower, gathers the borrower’s information from Maxwell’s network of data providers to pre-populate fields in the loan application, filling in personal information, employment history, income, real estate owned, financial assets, liabilities, and more. This new application enables clients to increase their application volume and improve borrower experience by reducing the burden on the consumer applying. This is just one more innovative step forward from an industry-leading player in the digital mortgage space. Along with QuickApply, their point-of-sale platform is a must-see for small- to mid-size lenders looking for a digital mortgage solution that will enhance and evolve the human relationship between borrower and loan officer. To learn more about Maxwell and QuickApply or request a personalized demo for your business, click here.

Go ahead, call your subservicer’s 800 number and see how fast they answer. Do they pick up in a minute or less? Or, are you left holding for 10, 20, or even 45 minutes? If the latter, then that’s the same infuriating service that you’re putting your customers through. And they think that it’s a direct reflection of you! Read this article from TMS to get tips on what your subservicer should be doing to deliver great customer service, so you can build a lifelong relationship with your customers.

2019 is fast approaching; are you ready? As the borrower experience continues to evolve–thanks to new mortgage technology–it’s important for lenders to adapt by taking advantage of the latest innovations that enhance their engagement strategy. Join next week’s webinar to learn how to build an effective borrower engagement strategy, so you can get a running start to 2019. Register to learn contact strategy best practices, what new solutions are available at your fingertips, how to continue selling to your existing database to build repeat business, and more! CLICK HERE to register. (Can’t attend the live session? No problem! Register to receive the recording immediately following the webinar.)

Borrower satisfaction

“A lender averaging 5,000 loan units annually is losing $243,000 each year because of poor communication in document collection,” says MortgageSAT Director Mike Seminari. “The cost comes with losses in referrals and repeat business, and in negative word of mouth.” Asking a second or third time for the same document makes a lender look disorganized and unprofessional, and it leaves borrowers, “Why can’t you keep track of things?” According to research from STRATMOR’s MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program, nearly one-third of borrowers report being asked multiple times for the same document, and the effects are devastating, with nearly a 50-point drop in Net Promoter Scores when this happens. Seminari offers five suggestions to help correct this problem in his December MortgageSAT Tip.

Books for the holidays

Congratulations to anyone who can write a book, and there are several (that I know about) in the biz. And with the reasonable prices, good gifts for your staff. Or for your boss! No, these are not paid ads, and the books are either written by folks in our biz or about our biz. In no order, we have…

Russ Van Buren’s Falling, inspired by the true events of 9-11.

There’s “Surviving Sosebee: A Lesson Plan On Life” by Mary Lee Gilchrest with First State Bank Mortgage in Kansas. (“I self-published so the book can be purchased from me by emailing me your address. My book is $15.00 with shipping and I enclose a return envelope for payment on the honor system that buyers will send money. My book tells about some that I have been through in my life and refers to my job many times, and the small profit I give the profit to ALZ and lung cancer research as those are the illnesses my mother and mother in law suffered with.”)

“My Client the FBI: How a real estate appraiser assisted the FBI before and after the mortgage crisis in cleaning up a broken system.” Written by Donald Gossman, you can read more about it here along with thank you notes from the Feds.

Conquering Shifts is for MLOs as part of a 2019 business plan. Authors Cindy Douglas and Kathleen Heck are offering a 15% discount for books purchased through December 15th.

Michael Rosser and Diane Sanders penned “A History of Mortgage Banking in the West,” a “book that should be read by politicians and business leaders everywhere.” Order here and use promo code ROSS17 to knock 20% off the price.

“Buy Your First Home Today” was written by John Mallett is a good book for LOs to give their clients. “Empower your life, build your wealth, own the home of your dreams.”

Anne Elliott composed “Mortgage Risk: A Blueprint for Smarter Origination.” The book is meant for underwriters, sales managers, LOs and appraisers.

“Hacked. Screwed. Gone.” By Jim Deitch is an “A-Z blueprint to protect your business from accidental & malicious information security threats.”

Jason Myers authored “Becoming the Successful Mortgage Broker.” Jason also wrote “The Successful Mortgage Broker.” “Becoming a millionaire in the mortgage industry doesn’t happen by chance. When you lay the proper foundation, you create the opportunity.”

Demystifying Mandatory” by STRATMOR’s Jennifer Fortier is a good read for anyone starting out in capital markets.

From Texas comes Michael Jones (Georgetown Mortgage) with his tome, “Reset” about a loan officer who is bumping along the bottom and re-ignites his career with some simple process changes and effort.

“The Uncommon Commodity: A Common-Sense Guide for New Managers” was composed by Doug Thorpe. “A collection of many thought-provoking stories, tips, anecdotes, and life hacks to help you grow as a manager.”

Here’s a primer on the capital markets sector from SIFMA…a fundamental overview of U.S. capital markets and financial institutions including an overview of capital markets, role of financial institutions, investment banking, markets & securities, and more.

Civil War’s False Claims Act still the catch-all

The United States Department of Justice announced that Finance of America Mortgage, LLC has agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit involving mortgage fraud. The lawsuit relates to FHA loans originated by Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage Services LP, which FAM acquired in 2015. The settlement resulted from a lawsuit filed under the qui tam whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Debra McGeehan, a former quality control underwriter for Gateway. Ms. McGeehan, who receives $2.4 million, worked for Gateway during portions of 2009 to 2015. “It is extremely frustrating when a mortgage company identifies issues with loans as part of its quality control process, but then deliberately ignores those findings,” said McGeehan. “Gateway was only interested in its own financial interests and was willing to ignore its own quality control findings in order to defraud the FHA program.” HUD’s requirements require that lenders self-report loans that lenders determine have underwriting errors.

“According to the settlement agreement, Gateway did not maintain a proper quality control program as required by HUD for participation in the FHA program. While several of Gateway’s management team notified the company that Gateway’s loans had a high default rate, Gateway did not comply with HUD’s self-reporting obligations. For example, in a February 2014 email, Gateway’s SVP of Compliance and Credit Risk sent an email to Gateway’s executive team noting that there were specific underwriters and branch offices ‘who show a pattern of poor performance.’ While Gateway identified loans during the quality control process that had material underwriting errors, Gateway did not routinely report those errors to HUD, as required. As a result, HUD incurred substantial losses when those loans defaulted and insurance payments were subsequently paid to Gateway.”

Capital markets

The U.S. 10-year closed +3bps to 2.91% as the yield curve re-verted itself, the 2-year now below the identically-yielding 3-year and 5-year (2.77%). Optimism with Treasuries was associated with the release of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou from Canadian custody, viewed as a step toward improving relations between the United States and China although later in the day President Trump admitted that the release could be linked to a broader trade agreement, stirring concerns that the arrest was politically-motivated in the first place. In other international news, Shaktikanta Das became the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. The Italian government is reportedly willing to reduce its 2019 deficit target to 2.0% from 2.4% and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged that campaign promises for retirement reform and a basic income for the poor will be kept. And British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a no-confidence vote today, but press reports suggest she will maintain her post.

The latest European Central Bank decision was announced this morning: The ECB decided to leave rates unchanged in this morning’s statement, with ECB head Draghi’s press conference about to begin. The ECB is expected to announce the end of their QE program, though, perhaps provide more guidance (including a timeline) for when reinvestment purchases will end. Besides the ECB, the SNB and Norges Bank also revealed monetary policy decisions.

The U.S. calendar kicked off with November import/export prices (-1.6%, -.9%) and weekly jobless claims (206k). Finally, and following yesterday’s rescheduling, the November budget deficit will be released at 2PM ET with CBO estimating $203 billion compared with $138.5 billion in the previous fiscal year. Thursday begins with the 10-year yielding 2.90% and agency MBS prices a shade higher versus last night’s close.

We all use the same words, right? Wrong. There aren’t too many things that make my jaw drop anymore but this multiple-choice quiz is one of them. It is a New York Times linguistics test, asking you how you say simple terms. Like how do you address a group of two or more people? What do you call a bug that rolls up in a tiny ball? Takes less than 5 minutes, no thinking, and at the end it tells most folks where you grew up within 50 miles. Incredible.

Visit 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. The current blog is, “Servicing: Don’t Underestimate Liquidity.” If you have both the time and inclination, make a comment on what I have written, or on other comments so that folks can learn what’s going on out there from the other readers.


(Market data provided in partnership with MBS Live. For free job postings and to view candidate resumes visit LenderNews. Currently there are hundreds of mortgage professionals looking for operations, secondary and management roles. For up-to-date mortgage news visit Mortgage News Daily. For archived commentaries, or to subscribe, go to Copyright 2018 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