Dec. 16: AMC, sales, secondary, ops jobs; PPE, customer retention, dashboard tools; lender profitability study; rates shrug at faster tapering

I work hard to live a very glamorous life. I mention this because yesterday, when I sent the Commentary out from the road at a glamorous McDonalds in Northern California (free Wi-Fi!), I noticed that the price of my usual glamorous Egg McMuffin meal (with OJ) has skyrocketed to $10.06 from $7.60 earlier this year! Not only that, but it seems that the portion size of the tasty “hashbrowns” and sandwich have dropped. At the “other end” of things, does it seem like toilet paper prices have gone up while the size of the roll has shrunk, especially compared to how big the TP holder is which serves as a constant reminder of how big the roll was previously? Price and shortage news is everywhere. Bank of America is hiring up to 5,000 people this quarter. Taco Bell announced that within three years its minimum wage would be $18/hour, or $37k per year. Speaking of comp, the Pacific region is the best for paralegal hourly pay. The region has the highest billing rate, at $347 per hour, and also the highest hourly pay at $59 per hour. That’s higher than the national average billing rate of about $300 per hour, and average hourly pay of $50. The East South Central region’s paralegals earned an average pay of $36 per hour. Is it tough for you to find entry-level employees? In our biz, it seems like some folks who started in the 80’s and 90’s are starting to retire from the mortgage biz. They made plenty of money, the stock market is helping, and they do not want to face 2022 and 2023. (Today’s audio version of the commentary is available here and this week’s is sponsored by Richey May. Today’s features Interview with Dan Purcell from Richey May, who manages the Firm’s internal audit practice for banks, credit unions, and fintech organizations, as well as focusing on providing services related to Fair Lending, and other regulatory requirements related to the use of HMDA data across all institutional types.)



A Mid-size Appraisal Management Company in the Dallas-Fort Worth is looking for a Chief Appraiser due to a retirement. Candidate will be number two in command and will become a key leader in continued growth. Please send resumes to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt for forwarding.

AmeriHome Mortgage, the 2nd largest correspondent and 14th largest mortgage lender in the country, is hiring! AmeriHome’s Correspondent Lending, Consumer Direct, and Secondary Markets divisions are actively growing to meet the increase in demand. The Correspondent Lending division is looking to hire several positions, including a VP, Non-Agency Sales Executive as well as a Non-Delegated Account Manager. The Consumer Direct division is also looking for Customer Service RepresentativesLoan Officers, and Senior Loan Processors while Secondary Markets is currently hiring a VP, Secondary Marketing Trader as well as a Servicing Investor Reporting Analyst. There’s never been a better time to join the AmeriHome family! Visit its careers page to view all open positions, and submit resumes to to schedule an interview. Make sure to follow AmeriHome MortgageAmeriHome Correspondent, and AmeriHome Consumer Direct on LinkedIn to keep up on any updates, resources, job openings, and more.

TPO, lender, and broker software & services



Holiday mishaps aren’t unique to National Lampoon’s Griswold family. Hosting parties, cooking for a crowd, and putting up extended family members is often enough to push a hot water heater, furnace, or plumbing issue over the edge. Luckily, through HomeBinder’s integration with Thumbtack, lenders can support homeowners when something goes awry by connecting them with skilled professionals to help fix, maintain and improve their homes. Now, in addition to lender-recommended home pros, HomeBinder users can search Thumbtack’s network of hundreds of thousands of home service providers to find the best person for the job at hand, directly from their HomeBinder. Learn more about the integration here or email to schedule a personalized demo.

Find out why Planet Home Lending’s Correspondent network continues to grow, and how you can get those opportunities in the new year. A 30-minute meeting can introduce you to our competitive pricing, flexible service, and a partnership for every market. Meet our Correspondent professionals Danny Hughes, Regional Sales Manager, Correspondent (203-981-5743) or Jim Bopp, VP National Renovation Lending (518-369-8242) at the New England Mortgage Expo, Jan 13-14, at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Uncasville, CT, or at the Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference, Jan 24-27, at Nashville’s Grand Hyatt and chat with SVP of Correspondent Sales Jim Loving (414-270-0027), Regional Sales Manager Jim Shaler (813-784-6237), Regional Sales Manager Stanley Tucker (804-317-9017), and VP, National Renovation Lending, Jim Bopp for more on great pricing on our wide array of loan products: FHA, VA, USDA, FNMA, FHLMC, FHA 203(k), FNMA HomeStyle, renovation, manufactured home loans, and buydowns for your builder clients.

Beavers, penguins, and bald eagles are among the few animal species that mate for life. On the other hand, it turns out lobsters do not. Like lobsters, most homeowners are not faithful to their previous mortgage advisor when they’re ready for their next loan. The average American will have about 11 loans in their lifetime, so securing repeat business is a prime way to increase revenue. Want to improve your borrower retention strategies? Join Sales Boomerang CEO Alex Kutsishin and Finlocker President and CEO Brian Vieaux on Dec. 16 at 1 pm ET to learn the secret to creating customers for life. The dynamic duo will offer insight into how nurturing leads, streamlining the loan process, reducing costs and cross-selling value-added products helps lenders create lifelong relationships with their borrowers. Stop trying to find your lobster and learn how to find your penguin.

Ready or not, the new year is quickly coming. Make 2022 the year to step up your game with Richey May’s RM Analyze, business intelligence designed by and for mortgage industry experts. Our platform consolidates data from every department and every piece of software you use. It provides just the right reporting from the C-suite to the front line, plus custom apps to build visually engaging reports on key indicators. Bonus: our analysts have deep mortgage experience, so you don’t need to train us on your business. Don’t wait any longer to set up the reports you needed yesterday. Cross-functional data. User-friendly dashboards. Real-time analysis. Contact us today for a walk-through and custom implementation plan.

Caliber Home Loans just announced the launch of its new National Condominium Division. Dedicated to streamlining condo processes and approvals for both buyers and developers, the new division specializes in loan products and financing solutions specific to condos, including expanded condo guidelines, a non-warrantable condo program and expertise when it comes to newly constructed condo financing. The division’s team is comprised of condo-focused loan consultants and branch managers, dedicated new construction operations and fulfillment teams, a new construction-specific appraisal panel and an in-house condo project approval team.

When you think of the streamlined collection and processing of borrowers’ loan information, you think of Blend. When you think of a streamlined product and pricing engine built for the 21st century, you think of Polly. This past week, the two tools announced their integration together. Where Blend replaces previously-cumbersome and manual processes to determine an applicant’s loan eligibility, Polly makes complicated tree folder structures and duplicate logic a thing of the past, allowing lock desk users to configure eligibility and rule logic with ease. The efficiency and accuracy of the two platforms stems from their reliance on modern technology that’s easily deployable for both platform’s customers, reducing lenders’ costs while accelerating workflows and creating savings for borrowers. This ethos of innovation and efficiency is also at the center of Polly’s newly-released dynamic pricing, which gives your LO’s the ability to see best-ex total price across your investors for any given product in a single view.

Are you STILL manually printing out and mailing goodbye letters, insurance transfer notifications and NOIA’s? Believe it or not, there is a better way. With the help of Connector by Velma®, Encompass automatically prints and mails custom letters, at the exact right time with the right information, while storing a copy in the eFolder for easy audit support. Improve your accuracy, record keeping, and timeliness while eliminating labor costs for a positive ROI with Connector’s Servicing Transfer Letters solution. Learn more here.

Journey mapping & the customer experience


As we go into 2022, the buzzword for mortgage lenders is growth. But not everyone is going to grab more market share in the upcoming year. Lenders who are intentional about providing an exceptional customer experience will be the ones that grow the fastest, protect their margins, and gain market share. In the December issue of STRATMOR Group’s Insights Report, Customer Experience Director Mike Seminari and Senior Advisor Sue Woodard discuss a critical step in the strategy toward creating a superior customer experience: journey mapping. In a purchase market with rising mortgage interest rates and increasing regulatory compliance oversight, a Customer Experience (CX) strategy is crucial. Don’t miss this issue of STRATMOR’s Insights Report.

Lender profitability & sentiment


For the fifth consecutive quarter, most mortgage lenders expect near-term profitability to decrease, according to Fannie Mae’s Q4 2021 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. According to the survey, 65 percent of mortgage lenders believe profit margins will decrease in the next three months, up from 46 percent in the prior quarter, while 31 percent believe profits will remain the same and 3 percent believe profits will increase. Competition from other lenders and market trend changes were once again the top reasons cited for the profitability expectations. Additionally, across all loan types, more lenders this quarter reported reduced consumer demand over the previous three months for both purchase and refinance mortgages. Looking ahead, again across all loan types, lenders on net expect purchase mortgage demand to remain largely stable, while refinance demand is expected to decrease substantially. Call it a return to a more ‘normal’ state in the new year, following the boom experienced over the past two years due to historically low mortgage rates and pandemic-related changes in homebuyer behavior. With both net loan production income levels, and the width of the current primary-secondary spread (an indicator of potential profitability) still slightly above pre-pandemic levels, lenders will likely continue investing in capacity efficiency and process streamlining to maintain profitability despite the thinner-margin environment.

Capital markets


Yesterday the Federal Reserve announced its plan to further accelerate the tapering of Treasury and MBS purchases. To get a good understanding of how this announcement will affect rates, read MCT’s recent post, “How Does the Federal Reserve Affect Mortgage Rates”? In this article, MCT discusses the structure of the Federal Reserve, how the Federal Reserve supports the economy, and how it influences the demand of the three monetary policy tools. Looking to dive deeper into secondary market learning tools? Take a look at the recently announced MCT Learning Center. With a repository of webinars, technical whitepapers, blog posts, market commentary, and a dictionary of industry terms, the MCT Learning Center grants unparalleled educational access to users looking to expand their knowledge of capital markets. Join MCT on Thursday, January 6, at 11 a.m. PT for a webinar demonstrating the new MCT Learning Center.

So Federal Reserve officials have intensified their battle against the hottest U.S. inflation in a generation by moving to end their asset-buying program earlier and signaling they favor raising interest rates in 2022 at a faster pace than expected. The FOMC left the overnight rate unchanged again, though acknowledged the continued recovery in economic activity and the labor market. In a clear signal, the statement announced that the pace of Treasury and Agency securities reduction is being meaningfully accelerated, suggesting that the tightening cycle may be happening sooner, and more pronounced, than previously signaled. The central bank will double the pace at which it’s scaling back net purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to $30 billion a month ($20 billion for Treasury securities and $10 billion for Agency MBS), starting with the mid-January purchase schedule and on track to conclude the program in early 2022 rather than mid-year as initially planned. The FOMC judges that similar reductions in the pace of net asset purchases will likely be appropriate each month, but it is prepared to adjust the pace of purchases if warranted by changes in the economic outlook. The FOMC Statement removed any mention of ‘transitory’ with regard to inflation, saying that it was “appropriate to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee’s assessments of maximum employment.”

The committee also directed the Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to increase the System Open Market Account (SOMA) holdings of Treasury securities by at least $40 billion per month and of Agency MBS by at least $20 billion per month during the monthly purchase period beginning on January 14. The Desk will also continue to roll over at auction all principal payments from SOMA holdings of maturing Treasury securities. The Desk’s purchases of agency MBS will continue to generally be concentrated in recently produced coupons in 30-year and 15-year fixed rate agency MBS in the To-Be-Announced market, and will continue to reinvest principal payments from Agency MBS and agency debt in Agency MBS. Mortgage rates have been kept lower than they otherwise would have been through the Fed’s purchases of longer-term Treasuries and MBS, so forecasts are now that mortgage rates will rise to 4 percent by the end of 2022 and may be more volatile as the Fed backs away from the market.


Following yesterday’s Fed events, today brings more central bank decisions from abroad (the Bank of England raised its rates; Swiss National Bank, Norges Bank, and the ECB ahead). The domestic calendar is under way with weekly jobless claims (206k, 1.845 million continuing claims), housing starts and building permits for November (+11.8, +3.6 percent; starts 1.679 million annualized), and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing for December (15.4, a significant drop). Later this morning brings November industrial production and capacity utilization, preliminary December Markit PMIs, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, and KC Fed manufacturing for December. The Treasury will auction an estimated $20 billion of reopened 20-year bonds and an estimated $17 billion of reopened 5-year TIPS before conducting two buybacks ($1.6 billion 10-year to 22.5-year coupons followed by $1.5 billion 1-year to 7.5-year TIPS). The Desk will purchase up to $4.2 billion of 30-year MBS. We start Thursday with Agency MBS prices nearly unchanged from Wednesday and the 10-year yielding 1.47 after closing yesterday at 1.46 percent despite Fed rate hikes in 2022 now priced into fixed income markets.

Thanks to Alabama’s Brandon S. for sending this “’Twas the Night Before Closing” video!

“’Twas the night before closing when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The boxes were packed in the garage with care,

In hopes that their moving van soon would be there.

The realtors were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of commission checks danced in their heads…”

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, “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).


(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 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.)

Rob Chrisman