Daily Mortgage News & Commentary

Dec. 15: AE, MLO jobs; Pricing, subservicer, appraisal, jumbo & DPA products; deep dive & primer on the Fed’s discomfort

California has reinstituted its mask mandate. No one is interested in living in isolation again. Remember, “Your quarantine alcoholic name is your first name followed by your last name.”? Simple. Life doesn’t have to be complicated. What are the ingredients of Frito-Lay’s Corn Chips? Corn, corn oil, and salt. But technology, and compliance, are anything but simple. If you’re not set up for a “cybersecurity audit,” you should be. Vendor management is its own discipline, but as a lender you are responsible to regulators for your vendor’s adhering to regulations. How are you monitoring your service providers? What are they, and you, going to do in the event of a data breach? Is your advertising compliant in terms of print size, color, and placement? Does your company allow team names (“The Jane Doe Team at ABC Mortgage”)? If so, does the name have to be filed with state or county or the NMLS as a DBA/trade name? The list goes on. Today’s audio version of the commentary is available here and this week’s is sponsored by Richey May, a recognized leader in providing specialized advisory, audit, tax, technology, and other services in the mortgage industry and in banking.

Employment

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As we wind down for the year, Embrace Home Loans’ President of National Retail Production Steve Adamo reflects on 2021. “It’s been a special year for Embrace,” Steve says. “We continued to generate record volume and have been fortunate to attract and hire some of the most talented mortgage professionals in the business.” It’s no wonder: Embrace is consistently named to Best Mortgage Companies to Work For by National Mortgage News. It receives high marks for customer satisfaction too: Embrace has nearly 3000 5-star reviews on Zillow and an average 5 out of 5-star reviews on Google. And the company continues to seek mortgage professionals. If you’re interested in finding out more, call Steve Adamo at 401-524-5733, who says: “On behalf of everyone at Embrace, I wish all of our industry colleagues happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!”

Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, the leading non-QM lender has added to its already outstanding roster of Account Executives due to the increasing demand for non-QM and company growth. They recently welcomed the following seven experts to the Angel Oak family: Jared Sobotka in Dallas, Texas, Randi Kenny in Southern California, Ed Veard in Nashville, Tennessee, Bruce Krug in New Jersey, John Mobley in Northern California, Jo Daniels in Pennsylvania, and Ralph Pichardo in Inside Sales. They are ready to help originators with quick and easy solutions using non-QM. And Angel Oak is continuing to look for account executives to deliver unparalleled service to brokers and correspondents nationwide. See JoinAngelOak.com for information on how to join the leader in non-QM.

The Senate has confirmed Alanna McCargo as the next President of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). Bob Broeksmit, CMB, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), sent out, “The MBA applauds the confirmation of Alanna McCargo to be President of Ginnie Mae. Her experience, knowledge of housing issues, and strong working relationships with a wide array of stakeholders will serve her well in this position. “We look forward to working with her on ways to advance Ginnie Mae modernization initiatives, enhance liquidity for Ginnie Mae mortgage servicing rights, and support adequate, affordable homeownership and rental housing throughout the country.”

And President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Sandra Thompson to serve as the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). (She is currently the acting Director.) Recall that Biden dismissed former FHFA chief Mark Calabria following a Supreme Court ruling that the president could fire the director at will. Previously the agency’s deputy director of Housing Mission and Goals, she moved quickly to undo many of the more controversial policies instituted by Calabria. The Community Home Lenders Association promptly responded to the White House announcement, saying, “CHLA strongly and unequivocally supports the president’s nomination of Sandra Thompson to be FHFA director.”

TPO, lender, and broker software & services

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How to prepare today for FHA’s defect taxonomy…. FHA is soliciting feedback on proposed handbook updates to the FHA Defect Taxonomy for Servicing Loan Reviews. Take note that the changes themselves will quickly be upon us. Our recent blog tells you what’s coming, and more importantly, how to prepare to operationalize taxonomy requirements and create a transparent representation of your efforts to be compliant – Does your data paint a clear picture of your loan servicing activities and compliance? This can be a real concern as you strive to meet changing, expanded taxonomy structures and industry data requirements. As experience has shown, refining servicing activities into prescribed data fields and structures can be error prone and create undefined, costly process gaps. Don’t overlook the fact that CLARIFIRE® can readily address digitization and minimize your associated risk. How? Find out how CLARIFIRE is truly BRIGHTER AUTOMATION® at eClarifire.com.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend roughly $998 on gifts, food, and decorations in 2021… around the same amount that they spent in 2020. Though holiday spending may not increase this year, Sales Boomerang’s borrower intelligence tools have been helping lenders increase revenue by identifying quality leads in their own databases for nearly five years. At a 7.5% conversion rate, Sales Boomerang accounted for 14.2% of Q3 loan production volume (over $925 million) for one of the top three lenders in the industry this year. Now those are results worth celebrating! Start 2022 off right with the best automated borrower intelligence and retention system in the industry. Schedule a demo with Sales Boomerang today!

ServiceLink combines incomparable speed and compliance with insight at every step. Decades of experience gives us a unique insight into the needs of our clients, allowing us to streamline processes while always ensuring the highest level of compliance. More than 10 years ago, we built the industry’s first instant title offering on a foundation of more than 50 years of title experience and a commitment to innovation. Today, EXOS® Title delivers instant clear-to-close title commitments to help lenders get their borrowers to the closing table faster.

Does a 10-day loan sound good? Candor’s AI technology makes it possible with 1 UW touch on 70% of loans, >1,100 data cross checks to identify data mismatches, one-of-a-kind ability to scrutinize information for integrity issues. A 47,000-defect solution gauntlet for data and information defects. 8.47 autonomous underwrites per minute. 0 defects.  0 put backs. Decisions rep & warranted. Happy clients. It’s hard to think of a reason to not contact Candor for more information. Calculate your added profit here.

Are you a 2005 loan officer or a 2022 loan officer? 2005 loan officers tell Realtors they do Conventional and FHA loans, that they “specialize” in First Time Homebuyers, and that they have some “awesome” paper flyers they can bring to their open houses. 2005 loan officers send borrowers off with PDF pre-qual letters and closing cost summaries that are outdated the second the borrower walks out the door. 2022 loan officers are hitting the market with a little boom, boom, pow action. They help their Realtors close more deals by utilizing technology that gives their borrowers and Realtors an unfair advantage. 2022 loan officers let their borrowers and Realtors run real-time, hyper-accurate payment and closing cost scenarios and generate on-demand pre-qualification letters right from their cellphones. These 2005 loan officers are… well… two-thousand and late in today’s competitive market. Be a 2022 loan officer and check out QuickQual by LenderLogix.

The next evolution of mortgage loan securitizations in 2022 could come in the form of fulfilling increasing investor demand for ESG-compliant products. MAXEX, the first digital mortgage exchange, wrote in its December Market Report that “Originator interest in the Opportunity (minority, women and veteran-owned lenders) and Sustainable (green energy) programs helped ESG loans make up 26% of loan volume traded through the exchange in November. As the programs continue to gain traction and more ESG buyers are added to the platform, it is likely we will see the first true ESG-compliant RMBS issuance happen in 2022.” Subscribe to the MAXEX Market Report to get exclusive data and insights from the non-agency secondary mortgage market.

“Disaster inspections just got a lot easier, and a lot faster. Incenter Appraisal Management’s remote inspections shorten your loss draft process to 72 hours or less from order to completion. Instead of having to schedule in-person professional inspections and then wait days for the reports, an Incenter remote inspection gets the job done in a fraction of the time, with most inspections returned in under 24 hours.* And our super-friendly technology makes it easy on the homeowner. There’s no app they need to download and try to learn. IAM handles everything for you, from inspection assignment to scheduling and quality control. We have fast team scaling for bulk requests, and we’ll integrate our reports and workflow directly into yours. To learn more and request a demo, visit Incenter Appraisal Management.”

When you hire a subservicer, you’re trusting them to handle your loan with the same level of care that you showed during the origination process. “Care” doesn’t simply mean keeping customers current. “Care” means treating customers with compassion, addressing their concerns quickly, and knowing the regulatory guidelines inside and out. At TMS, we have a culture of care. TMS maintains a 98% customer satisfaction rate, a 90% first-call resolution rate, and has earned special praise from FNMA and GNMA (among others) for their Compliance Management. Care, and all it implies, is an essential element of a truly great subservicer. At TMS, caring is our culture. Learn more!

ReadyPrice turns its focus to Non-QM Products as CEO Rick Soukoulis discusses the numbers around why Non-QM mortgages are important to leverage in the new year in his latest video, a part of a series of Mortgage Math Videos. Brokers can also learn more about the Non-QM market by registering for the live webinar, co-hosted by ReadyPrice and FGMC, on December 15th at 10 AM PST. ReadyPrice has its pulse on the constantly-evolving Non-QM market: where to find these loans, how to approach them, and why should a consumer consider alternative financing? Tune in to the webinar, or watch the video, then register with ReadyPrice – it’s FREE for brokers!

Loan product news services

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“At Finance of America Mortgage TPO, we adapt our business to your business. To suit the needs of our TPO Brokers and NDC’s, we offer a full spectrum of agency, government, jumbo, along with our proprietary Flex Non-QM. FAM TPO continues to evolve so we can enable you to pivot your business to the needs of your customers in a changing marketplace. Our products, people and processes are the cornerstone of who we are as a company. Our FAM TPO concierge service at 1-877-FAM-TPO1 exemplifies this spirit and our partnership to the broker community. Give us a call today to find out more information about Finance of America Mortgage TPO or to become one of our approved broker partners.”

Deephaven Jumbo-Prime: Big Deals for Big Deals. The timing couldn’t be better with the hot purchase market and skyrocketing real estate prices. Deephaven, a leading national non-agency mortgage provider, now offers Jumbo-Prime loans to high-net-worth borrowers through its network of independent mortgage bankers & brokers. Deephaven’s Jumbo-Primes are competitively priced, full doc loans that support LTV ratios up to 89.99% and loan amounts up to $3 million. Advantages include Deephaven’s highly experienced in-house underwriting teams ready and able to make fast decisions. Account representatives work collaboratively with independent mortgage brokers to help expedite the paperwork and application process. High-value customers get the white-glove treatment without the red tape, delays, and often inflexible underwriting of traditional providers. Contact your Deephaven representative today, or reach out to Shelly Griffin for Correspondent /or/ Luke Turner for Wholesale to get more information about Deephaven’s new Jumbo-Prime.

As lenders face ebbing volumes and margins, most are adding products and programs to help their loan officers maintain or even increase market share. Today Zillow announced a partnership with Down Payment Resource to help home shoppers discover the wide variety of down payment assistance programs that can make homeownership more attainable, especially for first-time home buyers. Home listings on Zillow now include information about the number of potential down payment assistance programs that may be available to buyers searching for homes on its platform. Interested home shoppers can input some basic information that is run through Down Payment Resource’s extensive database, which then populates a list of all potentially available programs. Buyers will see a specific maximum amount of assistance offered and links to gather more details. This feature can be found on all eligible for-sale listings nationwide.

Capital markets

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Talking about inflation is all the rage, and trying to assign blame is popular. But as widely-known economist Elliot Eisenberg reminds us, “While inflation is currently quite elevated, it is important to note that monetary policy works with lags of 12-18 months before the impact of rate changes are fully felt. Thus, the Fed would have had to (among other things) anticipate the severe supply-chain problems we have been experiencing and would have had to start raising rates soon after the initial lockdowns of March/April 2020 to keep current inflation subdued. Impossible.”

Ahead of today’s conclusion of the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting, markets received another report yesterday showing U.S. inflation running hot in the form of producer prices (0.8% MOM and 9.6% YOY: well above expectations and the highest reading in 10 years), which adds to pressure on the Fed to act more aggressively. The PPI tends to lead the CPI, so yesterday’s report indicates that pricing pressures will accelerate over the near term.

 

The report is just another data point that will force the Fed into an uncomfortable position of taking a more aggressive policy path at a time when the market also has festering concerns about a slowdown in growth. A faster taper is virtually a done deal, with expectations for a doubling to a further $30 billion a month reduction starting in mid-January, which would wrap up purchases by mid-March. The fear is that if FOMC officials don’t announce a much more aggressive path of rate hikes today, their passivity will risk a repeat of the Great Inflation of the 1970s.

 

The goal of accelerating tapering is to create optionality (not commitment) to hike rates earlier if needed. While inflation is clearly an issue, there are several reasons why the Fed might not want to commit to hiking rates considering the economy is still a few million jobs away from “broad-based and inclusive employment.” Omicron does pose risks to growth over the near term, and inflation might actually slow early next year as seasonal demand strength gives way to seasonal weakness.

 

The market is fully priced in for a June hike and is implying a 40 percent chance of a March hike, both of which are aggressive as accelerating the taper creates a narrative that the Fed is already responding to the inflation threat, which in turn should help restore its credibility and deflect any future criticism and/or political pressure. Additionally, hiking rates in Q1 of 2022 would likely require the Fed to either alter the guidance of “broad-based and inclusive employment,” or somehow fudge the definition of maximum employment and convince the public that the goal has been reached. Given the above, there is little reason that the Fed would want to lock itself into an earlier tightening path.

 

The Fed’s balance sheet has almost doubled in the past two years, from $4.5 trillion to $8.5 trillion, and now it owns about 30 percent of all the outstanding mortgage-backed securities. By taking so much duration out of the market, the Fed may be contributing to the flatness of the yield curve. It is important to remember that the Fed is still buying MBS, just not as much as they used to. Even once they reduce their monthly purchase rate to zero, they will probably still buy enough MBS in the market to compensate for runoff. Allowing the balance sheet to run off sooner might also allow the Fed to address/deflect inflation concerns without hiking rates prematurely, and would also allow the Fed to tighten conditions in a way that does not put as much pressure on the dollar. MBS spreads have been widening as the market evaluates how much the reduced central bank demand will affect MBS pricing.

 

As investors continue to mull the omicron news and wait for this afternoon’s Fed decision in the last FOMC meeting of the year before the new hawkish rotating members take over for the current presidents, today’s economic calendar is already underway. Mortgage applications decreased 4.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. We’ve also received the latest retail sales (+.3 percent, weaker than expected), Empire State manufacturing (31.9, strength), and import / export prices (+.7 ). Later today brings October business inventories and NAHB Housing Market Index before the Fed Statement, SEPs, and Chairman Powell’s press conference in the afternoon. Today’s MBS purchase schedule sees the Desk purchasing up to $3.8 billion of conventional MBS, with no Treasury purchase operation scheduled before returning tomorrow. We begin the day with Agency MBS prices about unchanged from Tuesday and the 10-year yielding () after closing Tuesday at 1.44 percent.

What’s currently going on in Santa’s workshop? Here you go. (Try not to focus on the inane music.)

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. The current blog is, “The Personal Touch” about MLO compensation and motivation. 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 2021 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.)